Minecraft is awesome – a world-wide phenomenon, loved by millions, including me.

But, there is just one small thing which bugs me about this sandbox game.

Maybe it is just how my friends and I play it, but after a while you end up with so much clutter, it starts to feel like an episode of Hoarders.

In survival mode, you’ve built a shelter from the Googlies (Stampy word) and you have mined, chopped down trees and collected all sorts of objects from gold to buckets full of lava.

What do you do with all this stuff?

You build chests to store all these things for the day later in the game you may need this item or that one.

Then you play some more, which naturally means collecting more stuff.

Then your chest is full, so you extend it to be a double chest.

Then the double chest is full.

So you make a new double chest and another and another. Soon you have so many you have to make signs to hang above each double chest to label each: “plants”; “rocks”; “food”; “tools”; “weapons”; and so on and on and on.

Each world I have played in Minecraft survival mode has been awesome until I have got to the point where I have so much stuff I have a house full of chests all full of clutter.

On some level the game seems to lead us towards the accumulation of things. At some point it flips from the basics you need to survive the harsh world to a modern problem of having just way too much stuff in your life.

The game moves seamlessly from battling to live with nothing but your wits to the world of high capitalism in its purest form.

You mine, you farm, you make, you barter, you own. You own some more.

The whole game boils down to accumulating more and more, some kind of Ferengi heaven of acquisition.

I don’t know if there is some hidden, intentional irony, in where the game takes you – the guy who built it sold the game to Microsoft for an astronomical sum.

Maybe the whole game is some kind of ironic take on human society which I am not smart enough to get.

Or maybe its a great game of battling against the elements, building unbelievably cool structures until you end up with a house full of chests full of stuff you don’t need.

Meccano, the French toy manufacturer, has announced an open source, build your own robot project. Details here. As far as I can tell from the website, it isn’t yet available to buy.

I havent had a play with a real one, but I am excited. A robot you can build and adapt, using open source software (which i guess reflects the nature of Meccano, which is a bunch of pieces which can be assembled and re-assembled in any way you can imagine – similar to Lego for the unfamiliar), is a big deal in my world.

There are two versions of the robot, I link above to the larger one of the two. The massive social change around a robot in every home is coming and while the Honda Asimo is the early runner, there are so many players in this arena it is certainly unclear who will end up being the Microsoft, Google, Amazon or Apple of this brave new world.




PC in my pocket

June 28, 2011

A long,long time ago, in a galaxy that seems so far away, Bill Gates said there would be a PC in every home. That revolution was scoffed at back then in the 1970s. But it has come to pass.

What is happening now – which I think Microsoft is trailing behind on – is the PC in every pocket.

I have a HTC phone – which has more processing power than the first computer I ever owned (tho that Spectrum +2 will always have a special place in my heart). I would guess it is also more powerful than the first IBM clone (PC) I ever owned too. It runs an Android operating system and I use it to surf the net more than my desktop PC.

I would hazard a guess my HTC has more processing power than NASA used to send men to the moon, but that statemnet would have to come with a citation request (more on Wikipedia another time).

At some point the PC in my pocket will become as powerful as the desktop in my house. There is a good article about the future of “smartphones” here.

When my pocket PC (that also makes phone calls) is as powerful as a desktop is now, what I want is either a docking station (or an app that conects via wireless) to my 17 inch monitor, keyboard and mouse, so I can work from home in a comfortable way.

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