This site is, itself, an example of responsive Web design. If you shrink your browser, or turn your device on its side, you will see the design shrink, grow, and rearrange itself to fit your screen.
This cutting-edge approach to Web design has many advantages over old methods like maintaining separate websites for desktop and mobile: Your readers get the same content no matter how they're viewing your site, they get it perfectly sized and formatted for them, and you save money by not having to develop and maintain two separate codebases.
The Cyborg Name Decoder is an entertainment page, coded in PHP, that takes the user's name and transforms it into a robotic acronym. It has attracted hundreds of millions of visitors over its lifespan.
The site shows how PHP, properly used, can not only affect text and layout, but can also create customized graphics on the fly in response to user input. Go there.
Roshambo Run is a game with several levels and custom graphics, created in Adobe Flash and coded in ActionScript.
My writing for Wired magazine includes many reviews of mobile apps.
I recently got to thinking about the parallels between my videogame life and my real life. Arguably, I would have accomplished much more in real life if I didn’t play so many videogames, but there’s very little chance that I would have saved the planet from a bunch of ancient evils suddenly freed from their timeless imprisonment, or even killed hundreds of legless green pigs by throwing myself at them, so it’s kind of a toss-up. I have noticed, however, that in spite of the fact that in videogames I am generally better looking, better armed and can often somehow jump a second time when I’m already in midair, there are some clear parallels between how I play videogames and how I play this life we call real.
To begin with, I’m not very good with money in either milieu. This is due in part to my love of trinkets, gadgets and habits, but it doesn’t really get out of control until I combine that love with my enormous ability for self-deception. For instance, when I was sucked into World of Warcraft for a couple-four years, I kept convincing myself that I had figured out how to game the crafting system.
For those untainted souls who have never played, your character in Warcraft can learn how to create things like weapons or armor or fish soup, and then sell those things to other players. So I would borrow in-game gold from my tolerant then-girlfriend, use it to buy materials to level up my crafting skills, then start making saleable items and, by and large, fail to sell them. Luckily, this rarely bothered said then-girlfriend, because in the meantime she had been actually playing the normal, monster-slaughtering part of the game, leveled up, and gotten tons of gold.
I have the same difficulty in real life. You would be amazed at the purchases you can justify if you’re a professional tech writer. No writer ever got paid more because he had the 32-GB iPhone instead of the 16, but standing in the Apple Store it’s easy enough to convince myself that the upgrade is a business purchase, along with the nifty iPhone case that holds my credit cards — there’s irony in there somewhere — and the extensible, retractable charging cable. This, as you might imagine, has not lead to a well-funded IRA. Another parallel between my videogame life and my oxygen-metabolizing life is that in both cases I tend to either under-think decisions or drastically overthink them. For instance, I’ve been playing a number of multiplayer strategy games lately, and I always use one of two approaches:
1. “Let’s see what happens if I do this. Ah, OK, I get stomped.”
2. “Let me create a spreadsheet with complicated estimates of relative power levels of various components of the game, then revise said spreadsheets to take into account assorted contextual factors depending on the current state of the— OK, I’m bored now. Let’s just see what happens if I do this. Ah, OK, I get stomped.”
I think there’s room for a revolution in psychotherapy here. Real life is so messy and complicated; imagine the insights that would come from having a therapist follow you around Azeroth or Liberty City and see how you interact with the world. There’d need to be therapists who understand that videogames’ mindless, continual murder is part of the normal background of the medium, of course, or else everyone would end up with a diagnosis of “the sort of psychopath that even psychopaths think is kinda skin-crawly,” but once you get past that, a lot of good could be done.
I wonder if, with such guidance, I might overcome my lifelong tendency to overthink and overspend. I’m tempted to seek out such help, but I already owe my therapist of five years a bunch of money.
Huge beast. Ate only plants, but could crush a '93 Cabriolet with a single step of its titanic brontosaurus feet. Name means "Thunder Lizard" which is about as cool as you can get. Its only real drawback is that it didn't really exist. B+
This is what they're calling brontosauruses these days. Apparently they had some problem with the wrong skull on the wrong body--duh--and once they figured it out they had to change the name to "apatosaurus," which means "Deceptive Lizard." Personally I think they should have looked up the Latin for "Stupid Scientist." D
Looks like a gecko with a mohawk. Big sail on its back that they think attracted mates or conserved body heat. Actually, that's what scientists say about anything on an animal they don't understand. They could find evidence of an iguanadon with a ZZ Top beard and they'd say "the beard was probably to conserve body heat or attract mates." Which, come to think of it, is probably what ZZ Top uses them for. Anyhow, C
Cool animal. Name means "Tyrant Lizard King." Cool. I wish my name meant "Tyrant Lizard King." Anyhow, we all know what makes this such a great dinosaur--it could completely eat you. Plus the little tiny forearms make it look like some demented nightmare beast from the fertile mind of Tim Burton. A+
These guys got a lot of press from "Jurassic Park," but let's face it, they're pretty lacking. They couldn't even manage to eat two little kids, one of whom had only minutes before been turned into a toaster pastry. Sure, they got the hunter, but he was coming up with cute last words when he should have been running like a bunny. And then all three of them got totally worked by a baby Tyrannosaurus! Lame! D!
Two words: spiked tail. "Oh, so you're sneaking up behind me to eat my delicious body? WHAM! Spikes! For you! In your head!" Plus it had I-am-an-industrial-monster plates on its back, which while probably for conserving body heat or attracting mates, were impressive-looking. A
I occasionally read my material for public radio programs like NPR's All Things Considered
A cartoon about the Transformers. I did all the voices.
One of many video shorts I did for Wired.com
Created for a Wired.com column about a possible World of Warcraft movie.
Created for a Wired.com column on electronic documents.
Created for the Monster Name Decoder site and T-shirts.