December 26th, 2006


Arisia panel schedule

Discussion last night inspired me to really go look at my panel schedule for the con. I'll be on:
  • The Annihilation of Distance (with Kes), Friday at 9pm. I expect this to be the best of the bunch, given the panelists.

  • LiveJournal and Your Social Life, Saturday at 2pm. I have hopes for this one -- I think it's a deep and complex subject, that people aren't thinking enough about yet -- but we'll see what happens.

  • Keeping the Faith: Changes in Your Comics, Saturday at 3pm. This year's deep comic-geekery panel.

  • Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November, Sunday at noon. With any luck, an interesting discussion of art, politics, and the relationship between the two.
So come on by -- in general, this year's panel lineup seems a good deal stronger than usual...

TRoOB Capsule Reviews: Vertigo Edition

So I was chatting last night with siderea about comics, and it reminded me of a project I've been meaning to take up for a while. I've been tending to do very occasional, in-depth reviews of a very small number of comics, but haven't talked about the vast majority of what I've been reading. So let's go the other way for a bit, back to my older style, and give a paragraph or two each to a whole bunch of books.

So, welcome to the latest installment of The Review of Obscure Books, the now-and-then comics review column I've been doing for about 20 years now, starting way back in the heyday of rec.arts.comics. Just to calibrate properly, here's the rating scale:
  • A: the creme de la creme -- the best comics ever written. V For Vendetta, Sandman, A Contract With God.

  • B: solid and high-quality, with some depth, recommended to anyone looking for a good read. The better parts of 2000 AD.

  • C: perfectly good entertainment, but not high art; generally recommended to those who like That Sort of Thing. Iron Man, The Flash.

  • D: not really worth your time. Doesn't show up much here, because I don't usually buy more than one issue at that level.

  • F: the stuff you skim off the creme de la creme, after it has rotted for a while. Secret Wars II.
Note that A-grade books are *rare*, and C is entirely respectable. I try to avoid grade inflation, so don't take a C as a scathing indictment of a story.

I hope people find these useful, and I encourage y'all to ask questions and add your own comments -- it's more fun if we can get some discussion going. They will be in no particular order, save what I happen to have read recently. (Today will be all Vertigo comics, because several happened to be on top.) Note that I'm even further behind on my comics than I am on LJ, so I'll mainly focus on each run in general, more than individual issues, and I may be slightly behind on major changes.
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Enough for now; more later. (Possibly including the rest of the Vertigo line, like Deadman and Y the Last Man...)

If nothing else...

... this is probably the best-footnoted game ever written. As part of prepping for it, I've been going through the series to date and taking extensive notes, with everything back-linked so I can check it later. At some point, just out of sheer curiosity, I want to figure out how many links I have from the game wiki to the story. It's certainly hundreds; wouldn't surprise me if I crack a thousand when all is said and done...

The Vista Horror

Thanks to my apprentice Aaron/Gundormr for this fascinating article, which tears into Windows Vista quite thoroughly. The upshot seems to be that the usual arguments about the politics of DRM have simply been a distraction from the real problem with Vista, which is that, in implementing DRM comprehensively, they have rendered it a *wretched* operating system to use for most media use -- not just a nuisance, but deliberately breaking all sorts of high-fidelity applications. It argues, quite effectively, that the home consumer just plain shouldn't buy it, and that uptake of this OS by consumers will cost the industry as a whole a fortune.

When the history of 2006 is written, the interesting technology question may well be which was the bigger screwup: the PS3 or Vista. Both started with specific goals that made a certain amount of sense in isolation, but in following those goals too far they shot themselves in the foot.

(And may I say, it annoys the hell out of me, because the .NET underpinnings of Vista are really lovely tech -- cutting-edge, even innovative in some ways. If they had left the DRM crap out entirely, I think I would really have liked this version of the OS...)