I’m not quite ready just yet for a full reveal, but the long and short of it is that I started a video game company last spring and we’re about to have the public unveiling of our first game at PAX East in Boston at the end of this month. We’re in a mad scramble to get things locked down and stable as possible before then. In the coming weeks I’ll be trickling out more bits of information and then a full-on blowout of what the game is, the thinking behind it, who’s involved in making it, what you can expect it to evolve into … lots of fun stuff.
So for now this is just a tease, but the wait for tons of details will soon be over. Promise!
Pinnacles jutting into the sky, Highclere Castle is a place millions of Americans are familiar with — even if they haven’t heard the name before. The sprawling British estate is where Downton Abbey is shot, the wildly popular PBS series that depicts daily life in a British mansion during the early 20th century. But Highclere isn’t just a backdrop, it’s a real-life muse for the series, one of the last operational ‘great houses’ still occupied by lord and lady and accompanying staff.
“It’s possibly the most important Victorian House still lived in in England today,” says Lady Fiona, the charming 8th Countess of Carnarvon (and real-life equivalent of Downton’s Lady Cora Crawley). With her husband, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon George Herbert, the couple call Highclere home, employing a roster of domestic staff, hosting royal guests (as well as commoners) and gleaning income from the surrounding farmland.
Located in England’s southern county of Hampshire, Highclere Castle is the seat of the Earl of Carnarvon, owned by the Herbert family since 1679. The property’s history goes back 1,300 years, when it was owned by the Bishops ofWinchester (hence the term ‘abbey’). Since the 17th century, the great house has gone through several architectural incarnations: it was renovated in Elizabethan style, converted to a classical Georgian home, and then underwent an extensive expansion in the 19th century under the direction of Charles Barry, a Renaissance revival architect who added the soaring tower and bath stone exteriors that grace the castle today. The accompanying gardens were sculpted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, an 18th century landscape architect who designed more than 170 gardens including those of the royal palace.
I just started watching the show (late to the party, I know), but I already adore it. Incredibly well done in every regard. Definitely worth your time, and like most British series, the seasons are short, seven to ten episodes, which I much prefer to the 22-24 episodes we get on American network television.
And it gives away nothing about the story. There are more gorgeous shots in these two minutes than there are in two hours of most movies. I cannot wait to see this. I worry that it will make me feel as stupid as Carruth’s first film, Primer, did, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Here’s the synopsis of the film, which gives away no more than the trailer.
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Like a parent washing out their child’s mouth with soap, IBM was forced to cleanse its supercomputer Watson’s memory after it learned a thing or two from the Urban Dictionary.According to CNN, the Jeopardy champion began memorizing entries from the slang-filled site when the supercomputer was in development years ago, but sadly, Watson was unable to separate polite and proper language from the crude phrases found in the Urban Dictionary. So while terms like “LOL” and “cool story, bro” likely caused no issues for IBM research scientist Eric Brown, Watson’s vocabulary also extended into the vulgar, with Brown recalling a time when the computer responded to a query by saying “bullshit.” Ultimately, the entries were removed from Watson’s memory, but we can’t help but think about how entertaining its interactions with Alex Trebek would have been had they been left untouched.
Read the rest at theverge.com. A few of the comments are pure gold.
On Monday, Amazon briefly broke its all-time record share price on the NASDAQ exchange, hitting a high of $269.30, and closing at $268.51. The company now has a market valuation of a shade under $121 billion; that’s roughly half a Google, twice a Facebook, or 44 Netflixes. This is despite most other big tech stocks like Apple or Google being down or flat on the day (with the exception of Netflix, which briefly broke $100 again on some good news). It’s also despite Amazon losing $274 million last quarter, giving Amazon a ridiculous price to earnings ratio of 3569.50 over the last four quarters. In short, all the traditional metrics are telling Wall Street to run away. Instead, traders are snapping up Amazon stock like cab rides on New Year’s Eve.
While Apple, with insane growth and billions in profits, continually gets hammered by Wall Street. But what do I know? (And that is not a dig at Amazon at all, just an observation about how incredibly stupid Wall Street is about some — well, most — things.)
My young adult novel Everwhen is now available in the format of your choice! Here is the cover and the blurb (click the cover image for a much larger version):
Fifteen-year-old Dan Kerlin’s life is pretty ordinary: hanging out with his buddy Brian, putting up with the losers his friend Maddie dates, and avoiding the school bully. He’s haunted by nightmares about a demon hunting him in the dark, but he’s had nightmares since his mom died a year ago, so it’s easy to ignore the signs that these might be more than simple dreams.
But when Dan and his new neighbor Sophia have a chance meeting, his world turns upside down in ways he can’t explain. First it’s little things, like strange dreams about a mountain of black glass and a secret key locked away inside him. Things become even stranger—and increasingly dangerous—when Sophia confesses that she’s an angel in human form and tells Dan he has a part to play in a war that is literally as old as time itself.
Soon Dan finds himself surrounded by dogs that can turn human, reanimated corpses, armies of spiders, and a host of demonic entities that seem to want him dead. He needs answers before he and his friends end up as casualties in a conflict they barely understand. But the more he learns the less sure he is of whom to trust, or what he should do.
Dan has powers of his own, and they may prove to be his only hope for survival … but he has no idea how to use them. All he knows is they’re tied to an almost unknowable dimension called Everwhen—a place where all of time exists in a single, eternal moment. There’s an ancient secret at the heart of Everwhen, one which both sides will stop at nothing to uncover, even if it means the universe itself goes up in flames.
He needs to figure out his abilities or he could find himself used as a weapon in an epic, everlasting war. A war where Dan isn’t so sure he wants either side to win.
For your format of choice, follow one of the links below:
Definitely not safe for work (red band means that it’s a preview limited to showing before R-rated movies), but a great — and gory — new look at the remake of Sam Raimi’s classic film about an evil book and a cabin in the woods.