Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

April 28, 2003

Shared creation

The point of Artefact Publishing is the gathering of passionate friends to create and publish works that interest, move or inspire us. While it’s not publishing, playing in a publically archived PBeM RPG is pretty close. Today I rejoined The Apple’s Vault, a Nobilis game of surpassing goodness that I played in last year.

When I last ran a PBeM (Beneath the Golden Moon, way back in 1996), I found that I enjoyed the creation of the world more than actually playing/running the game. Similarly, while playing in small dreams was always great fun, coming up with the deep history of the Dreaming gave me a richer pleasure. I think this is simply to say that I find potentials (background which can be the basis for all sorts of activity) more pleasing than actualities (a specific set of actions).

That said, I’m going to love being part of this game again, creating worlds with my fellow players, being encouraged and challenged by their excellent writing and imaginings. If I’m really lucky, I’ll get to know them as people and not just the source of crazy characters — I’ve met a lot of good people through online games, and count several as friends.

Posted by jamie at 21:47+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 27, 2003

Community service

This morning I implemented a dated sort of MPD/DID titles in the Multiple Personality / Dissociation Book List. I personally don’t see much use for it (particularly since, as it stands, the actual dates aren’t shown in the list), but it was a feature requested by a user. The exact, anonymous, request was: Please list books by dates. THANK YOU!

I love it when I get this sort of feedback. While the book list isn’t a community site (though anyone is welcome to add their reviews to the books), a request like this shows that people use and care about the site, and it’s nice to be able to make the site better for someone in particular (contrast this with the last set of improvements).

I would like to do more such work. In my last job (which I left last year before going to Thailand), most of what I did was entirely commercially driven with no significant connection to what is important in people’s lives. I hope I can find such connections in whatever employment I next find.

Posted by jamie at 13:03+12:00 | Comments (6) | Permalink

April 24, 2003

Monastic reading list

Here’s a sample of what I read during my stay at Wat Pah Nanachat. I’ve omitted most of the Buddhist books simply because I don’t have much to say about them.

[Entry edited on 1 May 2003 to add rendering of ghazal in Arabic script. I don’t know how to write Arabic, so used the Unicode characters used on a sample ghazal. I don’t know if the fact that that page is in Urdu and not Arabic means that its form of the word is written differently. From the little I’ve read, the vowel markers were not historically used in Arabic. I would prefer to use the standard Unicode Arabic characters, rather than the presentation forms that I’ve copied, since that leaves the determination of different forms to the rendering engine, but there may be spacing requirements I’m unaware of that need to be specified by the author. Probably I shouldn’t even include the copied character references until I fully understand the complexities of writing Arabic, but I can’t resist.]

Posted by jamie at 09:43+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 20, 2003

MPD/DID Book List improved

I have have spent some time yesterday and today improving the Multiple Personality and Dissociation Book List. Reviews are now able to be roughly rated by the administrator, and are listed in best to worst order. Hopefully none of the reviewers will be offended at this approach, and instead appreciate that it makes reading book entries with many reviews (eg, When Rabbit Howls) less harrowing, since the well-written reviews are first. Not, however, that they’ll necessarily realise that, since I’m only mentioning it here and not on the site itself, but it’s an improvement all the same.

I have also changed the book links from the reviewer pages to point directly to that review — again, something potentially useful for books with many reviews. I am assured that no one will use this, but I don’t care.

Finally, it occurs to me that the scripts which run the site might prove useful to others who want to do something similar, as none of the code relates to the content of the database. I shall think about the possibility of packaging them up into a nice bundle (which probably means a lot of refactoring, since I don’t want people to see the code in its current state).

Posted by jamie at 15:50+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 18, 2003

Convivialist

I have just now sent out an email to a number of my friends to invite them to join Convivialist, a mailing list on how to live well. It’s for my friends and friends of friends (I am less interested in creating an online community than providing a tool/forum which aids an existing community), and it’s entirely likely that I didn’t email people I really should have — if that includes you, then the subscription instructions are at the end of the above link.

The name of the list was inspired by Ivan Illich’s Tools for conviviality and the desire to have a clever name in the tradition of Nobilist, for the roleplaying game Nobilis, and Nahuat-l, the discussion list on the Aztec language.

Posted by jamie at 14:57+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 11, 2003

Artefact discovered

Yesterday I arrived back in Wellington, having left วัด​ป่า​นานาชาต (Wat Pah Nanachat: International Forest Monastery), where I have been living for the past fifteen weeks. I hope I have used the correct Thai characters — despite being in Thailand I have learnt no Thai, as almost all of my contact was with the saṁgha (monastic community) who have English as their common language.

So, I am back and Artefact Publishing is back.

Posted by jamie at 10:59+12:00 | Comments (1) | Permalink