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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #15: Geek 4x4, Ditlog, Pattern Recognition

by Ken Newquist / September 20, 2005

The podcast opens with sad news about Derrek of Skepticality, who appears to have suffered a stroke, then discusses two sites of note: the Geek 4x4 podcast and the new gamer dad blog, Day in the Life of a Gamer. Finally there's a review of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, a novel about the present day Internet, and those who immerse themselves in it.

Getting the Podcast

You can get the podcast in two ways:

Show Notes

  • Show News & Notes
  • Sweeper: TSFPN
  • Sites of Note
    • Geek 4x4
      • Just started listening, but so far I'm liking it. Looking at the back issues, it looks to focus on comic books, with occasional forays into other geeky subjects. I particularly like the "Previews" podcasts, which look at what cool comics are upcoming, based on the Previews catalog. Thanks to the most recent of these, I found out that a new X-Factor title is coming out.
    • Ditlog: Day in the Life of a Gamer
      • New blog by Lance, one of the guys in my gaming group, a fellow WoW addict, and a dad trying to balance family, work and gaming.
  • Sweeper: I Should be Writing
  • Book Review: Pattern Recognition
    • by William Gibson
    • 384 pages
    • Publisher: Berkley
    • Buy it on Amazon
    • Story of the present future -- that is, current day stuff, but it's written in such a way as to show the inherent strangeness -- and coolness -- of a world with ubiquitous internet access and a growing computerized history.
    • Main character is Cayce Pollard, a cool hunter who's allergy to trademarks.
    • Wonder if this was Gibsons way of letting himself write about something so inherently corporate.
    • Much of the story revolves around "The Footage". In the novel someone -- or a group of someones -- is releasing short clips of video to the internet. Each piece is hidden on some obscure web site, bbs or file storage sites.
    • Each clip flows together into a larger narrative -- but what that narrative is ... or if there even is a narrative, is the subject of intense internet debate among a dedicated community of Footage watchers.
    • And that's were Gibson is at his strongest. He perfectly captures the intense interpersonal relationships that appear in such online communities which are simultaneously detached and intensely personal. Like I think Stephen King said, writing is as close as we'll get to telepathy -- you'pre actually "reading" someone else's thoughts.
    • He also does a great job of capturing the sort of euphoria and geeky excitement that surrounding the projects spawned by new technology.
    • At the time I read this novel, it felt all the more immerse because I was delving deep into two intense online communities: and podcasting.
    • Each had its own kind of intense online relationships
      • in the Geezers, you had like-minded gamers coming together via a message forum AND real-time conversation via Xbox Live.
      • In podcast, well, you're listening to this, so you know. But back then, which was around january/feburary, you had this second generation of podcasts coming online, the occasional flame wars between podcasters over terminology (is it a podcast, an audio blog or something else.
    • Patter Recognition captures all of this deftly. Also captures something else -- the sheer glee that geeks have for expanding their culture in unexpected ways. For example, one artist in London decides he wants to build an art exhibit comprised of dozens of networked Timex Sinclair computers, which thrilled me since I actually had one of those things as a kid.