Kicks Condor

LEECHING AND LINKING IN THE HYPERTEXT KINGDOM

I FIRST DISCOVERED
THE 【TECHS-MECHS】WHO
ARE A CLAN OF SOUTH
OF THE BORDER GUNDAM
BREAKING DOWN
IMMIGRATION FENCES
WITH THEIR
IMPRESSIVE MANOS
MECANICAS

PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole.

ramblinggit, bumped into him, lots of crossover with this blog.

whimsy.space v good zine by danielx.

caesar naples wiki social media website.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.

#death

A Kindergartener’s Best Computer is About to Die

I think the iPad Mini could have reshaped pre-reading education, but it didn’t get a chance to.

The iPad mini, which was last upgraded in 2015, and the 9.7-inch iPad, last refreshed in March, won’t be upgraded, a person familiar with the company’s plans said.

Chromebooks are the new fashion in elementary school. They are cheap; they are everywhere. And they are unusable by kids in kindergarten through, in some case, third grade.

Sure, by now children can do some rudimentary typing and mouse flicking. But if you think trackpads are awful for adults, you should observe children using them. Tears, people.

I like this—from an abstract I saw recently:

The choice of the proper device can lead to benefits in terms of user engagement, which often is the prerequisite for learning. There are also additional dimensions to consider, as the usability and the physical fatigue. Their undervaluation, in an educational context, can hamper the successful outcome of the experience.

The iPad Mini was the first device in a very long time that I was truly excited about. In my mind, the most underserved group in our educational system is the pre-reading group from K-2, which cannot be served by the current Internet and which are largely given mobile edutainment apps.

Despite that—the touchscreen is watershed technology for this group. And younger:

Children as young as 24 months can complete items requiring cognitive engagement on a touch screen device, with no verbal instruction and minimal child–administrator interaction. This paves the way for using touch screen technology for language and administrator independent developmental assessment in toddlers.

In my experience, using Chromebooks and iPads among these groups, the tablets far outshine—a child is able to immediately speak its language. Sure, time spent learning a Chromebook can be useful. But making the device an end unto itself is part of our problem—language is technology and technology is language.

The language that toddlers are picking up on their parents’ phones can be built upon in school. This is a great benefit—since it has been very difficult to map gamepads—another similar ‘language’ form—to education.

And yet, we have so many problems:

  • The software has not caught up. We are so impatient to move on that we don’t take the time to utilize amazing technology that is still trickling its way down to children.
  • The stock market has moved on. Apple is end-of-lifing the iPad Mini for its poor sales. Despite tremendous evidence that this device has the ability to transform the lives of a specific group of pre-readers (and, I would also argue, the lives of autistic and special ed students—who I’ve seen similar results with), Apple is ready to just leave these groups to Google in pursuit of further growth, when they should have the freedom now to make a contribution like this.
  • Mobile devices are still seen as lesser technology in education. Yes, for adults, a mobile device can be a handicap. But to a child, this perspective is reversed—they can actually work on mobile devices. They can create, they can express, their abilities are enhanced.

Apple has recently put a $299 price for schools on their standard iPad, but Chromebooks are still eating them alive. I’m afraid that this signal away from the iPad Mini could set us back for the foreseeable future.

If only we could see an era where a $199 iPad Mini flourished among second grade and lower. This age group needs a breakthrough.

  1. Hey Kicks! I'd be interested in your thoughts on this piece about how Chromebooks (and I guess iPads, too) potentially limit students' ability to push the boundaries of computing.

  2. I’m not an expert on all grades—and I’m only three years deep into my research on the grades I specialize in, which is 1st through 3rd in the U.S. I have spent a bit of time in 4th and 5th—Chromebooks are very useful to these grades and are a step forward. (From no computer 😆.)

    I have such a different perspective from articles such as Stager’s that I just don’t know where to begin! And since this is an off-handed comment, I’m not going to dig up citations—but hope to do more of that soon on my blog.

    On the topic of laptops:

    • Trackpads are a huge problem. Childrens’ hands get extremely tired trying to manipulate them. So an article that mentions a laptop without emphasizing a mouse—I realize this seems like a small thing, but it isn’t!
    • To say a Raspberry Pi is better—I just can’t imagine. I did RPi stuff in after-school clubs but the setup and takedown is insane. And you don’t want your kids behind giant glowing tombstone-sized screens. They also are totally underpowered—they take longer to boot and get going—so it seems funny to criticize Chromebooks as not being beefy, then mention… RPi?
    • To say that a Chromebook can’t fulfill Papert’s and Solomon’s list smacks as disingenuous—it’s just that there is a lot of elitism around what is proper technology. Just off the top of my head: Sphero, Twine and Voxel Builder are legit tech. Scratch and Scratch Jr. are legit—but are aging. I looked down on these, too, until I saw what kids were doing with them.

    There was also a project that Linden Labs was doing on iOS called Blocksworld that was fantastic, but everyone ignored it (and their in-app purchases were awful.)

    Since my focus is young kids, I feel (and the research seems to be showing more and more) that tablets are the sweetest computer at that age. A pre-reader just cannot navigate a keyboard yet. And a tablet is not a computer for mere consumption for them—armed with the right software, they will write, record, create visuals of all kinds, it totally opens them up. I hope to show more of the projects that I do with the kids because I think it will be eye-opening.

    For me, the hardware issue is pretty easy at present: iPads for up to 3rd grade; Chromebooks thereafter. The more interesting discussion—the software—is where we should spend our time. And also, there is a limit to how much time you can spend with technology in the younger grades, for motor skill developmental reasons.

    If I am off, I am always glad to be directed to papers I’ve missed!

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Turn of the Century Photograph of Charlie McAlister

“He never knew he was sick. And he died in the arms of a gal!”

It really sucks that Charlie McAlister died last year. I had really hoped to write to him more and maybe talk to him one day! Back in 1998, I found this cassette of his and it’s still out there! But you won’t find lyrics and tabs out there—he was truly underground. (There is a section of my upcoming link directory devoted to the muckpile of this rambling maniac.) In the meantime, please enjoy these wonderful lyrics to the second song.

Bog Man
He never knew he was sick
And he died in the arms of a gal!
Who threw his body into the bog
Next to the rice canal.
Next to the rice canal.
And ten-thousand years later they found
His body buried in the moss--
And his skin and eyes had turned to leather
And his bones had turned to rock.
His bones had turned to rock.
So then they took him to a museum
And put his body in a case.
And people came from miles around
To see the bog man's face.
To see the bog man's face.
But late one night after the museum had closed,
The bog man came back to life--
And he went out into the streets in a rage
And strangled the mayor's wife.
And strangled the mayor's wife.
So the next villager to die only had one leg
And couldn't run to escape.
And the bog man hit him with a cinder block
And a pointed rake.
And a pointed rake.
So the next villager to die was blind in one eye
And didn't see it coming.
And the bog man hit him with the pointed rake
Till the blood started flowing.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.
Bog man, bog man, you are an evil man.

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How the Blog Broke the Web

tl;dr The demand for recency (Chronos!) obliterated the Web’s static directory—and the lowly home page. Strangely, the home page is still out there in plain view. But it has died as an art form.

In a way, portfolio/brochure-style home pages also killed home pages by stagnating the form. On the other hand, home pages are also very alive in the form of wikis (such as Creepypasta) and static directories like Know Your Meme.

I think the underlying appeal is a return to the Old Web. I don’t think this appeal is possible—we’ve moved on—but I think a more cohesive #DeleteFacebook and IndieWeb movement (hang on a sec, the IndieWeb is cohesive! get in here!) could help steer us. Related: Here’s my post discussing what we should take with us.

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F.A.T. Lab is Dead

Geez I was really hoping the ending would reveal that they were all dead the whole time. Now we’re going to need to band together, in order to resist this intoxicating urge to deify F.A.T.

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Fables of Tables #1

Rising Sun: The Shame and Sorrows of Godzilla

In my first game of Rising Sun, a Kaiju came in from the sea—and what happened next brought a profound mix of delight and sadness.

This is the first in my Fables of Tables series. It’s a type of review series. But instead of dryly reviewing the game’s mechanics and stamping some harsh grade on its face, I’m just going to tell a story.

Today’s game is Rising Sun. This is a miniatures game—full of plastic monsters. I don’t really play miniatures games, but a friend had a copy so it just happened. And, what the blazes? A miniatures game in pastels?

Midway through the game, I noticed that you could buy a giant Godzilla-like monster to have in your crew.

Daikaiju, so not exactly Godzilla, but hey.

“What’s the Godzilla do?” I asked.

And the friend who owns the game—I’ll call him Hustle—says, “Oh, he has five force.” So he’s huge—his power is equal to five whole army guys.

He goes on to explain that when you buy the Kaiju, you put him out in the sea—the whole board is a rough map of Japan and there is water surrounding the islands—so you put the monster out there, and then during battle you can spring him on to any of the game’s provinces and he’ll destroy all the buildings there. (The buildings are these strongholds where your units can appear.)

“Oh man!” I’m thinking. “Just like Godzilla! I love it! I gotta have it!”

I just really enjoy monster movies—particularly Shin Godzilla—that wail that sounds like metal sheets tearing and that slow, sinuous tail as he moves methodically through the cityscape. I get that he’s historically out of place in this game, but I don’t care! He is the force of the Earth fighting back against civilization—what if he could have done this in some bygone age?

The guy playing purple (don’t recall his name) buys the Kaiju before I can. This player is already in the lead and now has Godzilla, placing him in the sea. It is as if two titans of this world have allied and we are waiting for our defeat.

I look on wistfully at this being. Five force! I am in awe and I sit in anticipation of what the lurking god will do when war begins.


War arrives and the fellow playing purple brings Godzilla on to land in the northern province of Hokkaido. The Kaiju storms into the scene and—well, there are no buildings there—he has no effect. But still—this is an island teaming with monsters and warriors and look how Godzilla towers above them!!

Hustle reaches across the giant board and points. “Ok, so, you see, I have the Earth Dragon here.”

Hot snakes, I had forgotten about the Earth Dragon! So the Earth Dragon does not have the force that Godzilla has. However, the Earth Dragon is able to push away one unit from each opponent in the battle. It is as if the Earth Dragon takes a big breath and then >SNUFF< a bunch of guys fly off to other parts of the island.

Of course, he chooses to snuff off Godzilla. The Earth Dragon takes a big breath and a myriad of warriors and creatures scatter across the map. Godzilla is propelled all the way across the board—using a marked sea lane, I should add, since the winds of the dragons respect these rules as well—and he lands in Kyushu, destroying a few buildings when he lands.

War rages on and, before long, the spotlight shines on Kyushu. Godzilla has picked up the pieces and, with some tarnished pride, admirably overshadows the vast assembly of demons and gods there.

“Hang on,” says the player to my right, “my Fire Dragon goes first.”

Holy cats! Right! The Fire Dragon! This twisty, devious dragon coughs his terrible fireballs just as the battle forms—incinerating one unit for each opponent present in the conflict. Warriors and barbaric creatures fall away in the fire—and Godzilla himself, no, it can’t be! Can it??

Gods, it is true! The vast unshakable behemoth is now wildly dashing from the island in a pyre of his own burning scales. He tumbles down the beach, a maniacally flailing lizard, a lizard of flame and agony, howling his metal-rending chord.

The great Kaiju sinks back into the ocean—in shame and sorrow—having made no effect on the actual game at all. Like we never did any math with Godzilla involved. Literally no effect.


I sat there for some time after the game had concluded. Stunned and humbled. I contemplated the fate of Godzilla. Perhaps even the great gods get tossed and squashed and embarassed on a bad day.

Perhaps when I die, my Guardian—or my Saint or Kami—will approach me to greet me into a new kingdom. And she, too, may trip and fall into fire, to be engulfed and never seen again. These things happen. I realize that now.

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Those Delirious Tales

I often have the students concoct their own story problems. I highlight the most insane.

I often have the students concoct their own story problems. Lately, I’ve been using a tablet-based drawing tool along with some stickers from Byte. (I would love to use Byte—but it doesn’t live up to COPPA.)

One kid came up with the pictured story problem. Pardon the grammar—we didn’t proofread these.

The lime that got struck.

To clear this up: the lemon is struck by lightning 117 times each day! This lemon also appears to be alive, unlike the unfortunate turtle and teacup that found themselves stuck on the same hillside.

He is also probably actually a lime. How would that be—to have your key identity discarded during this defining moment? Maybe this is that elusive lemon-lime that the soft drinks always talk about.

Clearly we are dealing with a tough fellow here—an affluent, though morose, lemon-maybe-lime. We all hurriedly dashed out the answer so that we could know exactly how many strikings this poor citrus had endured! It was a tough four days.


Now for this one.

Kids love bombs. Almost as much as poop.

I asked the student, “Will the hobo still blow the monkey up after he spends his $40,000?”

He said, “He’s going to blow him up no matter what.”

Wealthy monkeys, don’t do business with hoboes! Especially hoboes trafficking 18 mil in explosives! That seems suspicious to me.


The last story problem I want to mention never actually materialized, but this next one is a math-in-feelings problem.

It went like this:

(Student who has been at the counselor’s office arrives late for the activity.)

Me: “Ok, (Student). We’re coming up with story problems.”

Student: “Oh, I know what mine is!”

Me: “Let’s hear it.”

Student: “Ok. There are two guys. And they’re neighbors.”

Me: “Sounds good.”

Student: “And they hate each other in a hundred different ways.”

Me: “Oh, wow.”

Student: “But they love each other in a hundred different ways.”

Me: “So they cancel each other out.”

Student: “No, so you take all of their feelings—how many feelings all together do they have for each other?”

One of the kids next to us goes, “Four hundred feelings!” jubilantly.

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