Preparing for Winter

Despite my love for our northern homeland, Finland is not the most pleasant place in the world during the winter time. Never mind the cold, snow, sleet or ice, it’s the impenetrable darkness that gets to you. The darkness grows so unforgiving that for a month or two even the pale glow of your monitor is enough to give you comfort. That time is at hand, winter is coming and we need to stock up on entertainment. This is a small glance in to my survival kit for this year’s time of darkness.

Fallout: New Vegas
The narrow field of view brought my first play through on xbox to an abrupt stop. I owe it to my love for the series to try anew – this time around with a fully modded PC-version of course. The dry desert scenery and the unrelenting sun should serve well in immersing myself out of the real life misery that’s going on outside my window.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I clocked in over 10 hours of XCOM during one weekend, that’s incredibly rare for me. This title has the makings of a longtime favorite despite/because of the ruthless nature of classic difficulty and iron man mode (one auto save slot only). It’s oh so heartbreaking when your most lethal scarred bad ass colonel kicks the bucket, especially if you named him after Jayne from Firefly.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
Sins has been on my to-play list since 2007, I finally bought the game from last summers Steam sale. Nothing is more soothing in a sleet storm than a warm thought of the outer rims of my empire stretching ever further into the uncharted vastness of space. 4X at its (recent) best.

Game of Thrones: The RPG
I’m expecting a rugged, half-assed gaming experience but a class A story in one of my favorite settings ever. Fingers crossed I won’t be disappointed.

Small World
No proper darkness will yield without a barrage of board games, candle light and a tall glass of India Pale Ale. Bizarre thought, but every once in a while escaping the digital world actually feels pretty good! This year I’ll fight the digital withdrawal symptoms with Small World and its add-ons, accompanied with Dixit, LOTR: LCG, Call of Ctulhu, MTG and many more.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I’m a late adopter when it comes to series. After finally seeing Firefly I immediately placed an order for the Buffy box set. Seven seasons of Joss Whedon quality should speed up the coming of spring.

I also thought it would be cool to subscribe to Nature but now I’m getting flooded with hardcore science stuff which is not what you would call easy reading. On the sci-fi front however I’m determined to find time for at least Ready Player One and Hyperion.

When this pile of class A and much more of class B entertainment has been processed and transformed into warm and fluffy memories, I’m hoping that what I see through my window are dandelions pushing through the frail veil of spring snow.

Writing With Standards

I have standards. I won’t press “publish” until I’m confident that I’m not contributing to the endless pile of excrement the web produces every day. I’m not what you would call a professional writer, but I try to write texts I would enjoy reading myself.

This post could be about a number of things. Tweeting every brain fart you happen to squeeze out is one of them, the recent spreading of lolspeak another. I however decided to dedicate this one to online journalism (excluding good online journalism mind you).

I know that the average attention span of an online visitor is about half of an ingress. I know news sites sell ad space with fancy click reports and other insignificant stats the advertisers shouldn’t be too interested in. I also know that journalists are probably competing on whose headlines gets the most clicks. I know but I don’t care, because the click wars are destroying the quality of online news. I couldn’t care less which yellow press magazine has the highest amount of web visitors; I want my content written with standards! Well, it’s of course possible that some sites just have really low standards, but that’s not really the point, the point is looking at what you have typed and being comfortable standing behind it.

Traditional newspapers are understandably trying to get a foothold in the online world, but the pace of events and reporting has apparently caught them with their pants down. News posts are typed as fast as possible to ride the click wave, and in the process proper quality gets axed. Not a week goes by that I don’t see something completely rubbish published and then silently edited as commenters point out the typos or even outright lies. Disgusting. It’s notable (and awesome) that most online-only sites leave the original text untouched (some sites also use strikethrough) and mark their edits clearly, perhaps that takes guts the traditional news corporations don’t possess.

It seems clear that the old journalistic self-righteousness still affects the news world. The change of mindset has been slow, and the changes mostly towards worse. In order to adapt to the new digital world order, it simply is not enough to send your writers to a copywriting course to learn click-for-more-headlines, I think we readers deserve more. Social media only adds to the vicious cycle, because since people don’t have the patience online to think about what they’ve read (if they read at all), utter bullshit gets shared. “Don’t spoil a good conversation with facts” is a too common sarcastic notion nowadays.

It’s not much but I’ve decided to start boycotting two of Finland’s biggest click hoarders you can still call news sites, funny enough they’re also the top 2 most visited sites here. Three weeks in and I already feel smarter.