In the early 1980s, Susan Kare joined Apple Computer to design fonts and user interface graphics. A legend of pixel art, Kare created the look of the original Macintosh, from the Chicago typeface to the Trash Can to the Happy Mac icon. She's currently creative director at Pinterest. David Kindy profiles Kare in Smithsonian:
Pioneering designer Susan Kare was taught by her mother how to do counted-thread embroidery, which gave her the basic knowledge she needed to create the first icons for the Apple Macintosh 35 years ago.
“It just so happened that I had small black and white grids to work with,” she says. “The process reminded me of working needlepoint, knitting patterns or mosaics. I was lucky to have had a mother who enjoyed crafts..."
Designing the icons proved to be more of a challenge (than the typefaces). Reproducing artwork on those primitive CRT surfaces, which used a bit-mapped matrix system with points of light, or pixels, to display data, was a designer’s nightmare.
However, the friend who recommended Kare for the job—-Andy Hertzfeld, then lead software architect for Macintosh-—had an idea. Since the matrix was essentially a grid, he suggested Kare get the smallest graph paper she could find. She then blocked out a 32-by-32 square and began coloring in squares to create the graphics...
After leaving Apple in 1986, Kare became creative director for Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at the short-lived NeXT, Inc., an influential computer startup that was eventually acquired by Apple. She founded her own eponymous design firm in 1989, which created graphic designs for hundreds of clients, including Autodesk, Facebook, Fossil, General Magic, IBM, Microsoft and PayPal. Some of her more memorable work includes the playing cards for Microsoft’s Windows 3.0 Solitaire game in 1990 and the virtual gift icons she developed for Facebook in 2007.
British writer, director, and satirical genius Chris Morris has been body-slamming the media and establishment with biting dark, satirical comedy for decades in the UK.
With his groundbreaking The Day Today series and the polarizing but brilliant Brass Eye, Morris has established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
For those out of the loop, this is a man who managed to convince Conservative MP David Amess – who was later appointed chair of the Psychoactive Substances Bill Committee – to bring up the horrors of a new street drug in a Parliamentary debate. The drug was a giant dinner plate-sized yellow pill called ‘Cake’ and it didn’t even exist.
Adding to his notoriety, Morris also flashed a message containing one of the world’s most offensive words during the eventual TV airing of a show canceled by the UK’s Channel 4, declaring the channel’s then-chief executive to be that four-letter uttering. Morris is scared of no one, and that’s why people love him.
So, after waiting nine long years for Morris to follow up on his daring and unflinching 2010 terrorism-farce movie masterpiece Four Lions, you might understand why the build-up to his new movie The Day Shall Come has been excruciating for his fans, especially those who want to financially support him.
“Based on 100 true stories, the explosive new film from Chris Morris (Four Lions, Brass Eye) is an emotionally gripping, laugh out loud thriller that exposes the dark farce at the heart of the homeland security project: It is harder to catch a real terrorist than it is to manufacture your own,” the movie’s homepage reads.
Sadly, I – one of Morris’s most enduring and fervent fans – will have to take his word for it. I shall indeed be in the UK when the movie goes on general theatrical release on October 11 but as I write this on Tuesday, Oct 1, frustration has set in like never before. And that really shouldn’t have happened.
On my regular news-tour of torrent sites I could see that the movie had already appeared online. It’s a so-called WEBRip release, meaning that it was ripped from a legitimate streaming service. Considering that Morris has built his celluloid history and fanbase, not to mention infamy in the UK, that means it must have been ripped from a UK source and available to buy, right?
Industry anti-piracy initiatives such as the UK’s GetitRight (from a Genuine Site) are 100% targeted at people who have the ability to pirate but might be persuaded to part with their money instead, so this was a great opportunity to test the system with something I actually care about.
So, with cash in hand, seeking out a source for a legitimate purchase, I headed off to the portal. It couldn’t help me directly and I was subsequently directed to FindAnyFilm.com, where the movie is indeed listed.
With options to ‘Buy to Own’ turning up nothing for Blu-ray, DVD, or Digital, the ‘Watch Now’ option (streaming) seemed the final but perfect option. Unfortunately, both ‘buy’ and ‘rent’ turned up absolutely nothing. No options whatsoever, with no idea provided when they might become available.
It’s not FindAnyFilm’s fault, it’s not GetitRight’s fault, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I was already two websites into this mission and it was not going well.
A direct search on Amazon.co.uk did reveal a DVD listing for £10.00 but that was accompanied by a message stating that “This title has not yet been released. You may pre-order it now and we will deliver it to you when it arrives.” Even if I wanted a DVD, which I do not, no release date was provided. Which is absolutely useless. Three websites in.
After various inquiries it soon became clear that Amazon.com was the only straightforwardly obvious place where Morris’s new film might be streamed in the UK. So I tried to log in and surprise – Amazon.com didn’t like it one bit.
The company sent me a one-time validation code, to prove I am indeed me, which I used after receiving it via email. Once logged-in I tried to ‘rent’ the movie but of course, it was unavailable for purchase because I wasn’t in the United States and my payment method was apparently “invalid”. It wasn’t, I’d used it minutes earlier. Four websites in, and an email. No movie.
In my opinion, the steps taken above go way beyond reasonable. Exactly how many hoops do these companies, that combine to present these content distribution machines to the public, expect people to jump through to willingly part themselves from their money in order to support the industry?
For those who know Morris and appreciate his work, this is the kind of ridiculous situation he himself might dismantle with glee, particularly considering The Day Shall Come was in part funded by the UK National Lottery/BFI Film Fund. The citizens of that country, who helped to fund it, cannot see it online at the same time as their US counterparts.
There will be pirates out there laughing to themselves wondering why I didn’t click on the magnet link I saw earlier and simply download the movie, there and then, and save all the headaches. After all, that would’ve been one site visited, one movie watched. For free.
But for someone who actually wants to support Chris Morris and in industry-speak, “make sure he can make more movies in the future”, why shouldn’t I be able to pay if I want to?
The answer is simple: ‘they’ – whoever they are – won’t let me. The Day Shall Come when this nonsense gets sorted out but people’s patience may have run out by then, if they can be bothered to expend any at all. The content is available legally so for the sake of sanity, let us – the fans – buy it.
For EFF this was more amusing than threatening. We knew instantly that we needn’t worry about the implied threat, and if things went badly, we probably have more IP litigators per capita than any entity that’s not a boutique IP litigation firm. So we wrote back explaining the situation, and expect that will be the end of this.
But for many entities, it can be quite scary. Even if they are secure in their rights, the potential for a costly or time-consuming conflict may lead to a rational choice that a link is a low-cost solution. They might wonder if this misunderstanding will escalate into a DMCA takedown, potentially interfering with the availability of the page until the improper notice is resolved. Even if they disregard such a weak threat, dealing with it has the serious potential to take time away from running their operation.
Pippin Barr (previously) writes, "I have a history of making variations on existing games (see also: PONGS, BREAKSOUT, SNAKISMS), and Chesses (source, CC BY-NC) is a continuation of that. I find chess a really interesting game to play around with because it's so classic and sort of monolithic - it's fun to mess with tradition. Other than kind of formal enjoyment involved, I suspect the variations might level the playing field a bit and allow non-experts (or even non-players?) to play some chess."
I went through a larger set of ideas for chess variants that might be interesting specifically played via a computer (rather than just playing on a chess board), and of course culled some (fare thee well, Mirror Chess, Swaps Chess, and Pawn Chess). Mostly I tried to end up with a set that I think are genuinely somewhat interesting to play - both just to try to understand how to do anything sensible, and then beyond that to try to play "well" in the new version.
Chesses is also another data-point in the ultra-detailed process documentation approach called MDMA. So, if you want to, you can read a lot about the game's development by reading its process documentation, by going through its commit history, and by reading the research questions.