Stationery Day

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Father Tim Jones was outraged in a local stationary store. Photo credit: Ross Parry/York Press

After the success of last year’s Tradition Inventing Day, it’s time again to devise a fixture for my calendar.

Celebrate Stationery Day by covering your desk in squares of yellow paper. Each square of yellow paper must be inscribed with the rune TAX.

Celebrate Stationery Day by buying a notebook that you’ll never fill. Stationery is the cenotaph for our literary ambitions.

Celebrate Stationery Day by asking your friends, “What’s mightier than the sword?” Your friends must then shout, “THE PEN IS,” or perform a forfeit.

Stationery Day falls on the Friday after Easter.

18th February: Tradition Inventing Day

tradition-banFeeling slightly cheated by missing Shrove (AKA Pancake) Tuesday for the fourth or fifth year in a row, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

Each year on the 18th of February I will invent a new festival day . The appointed date will take its rightful place in the calendar and be celebrated in the appointed way from that moment until the end of time.

Please join me in celebrating today, Tradition Inventing Day.

Installing Adobe Acrobat Reader on 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04

If you install Adobe Acrobat Reader on recent versions of 64-bit Ubuntu you may see errors like the following:

/opt/Adobe/Reader9/Reader/intellinux/bin/acroread: error while loading shared libraries: libgdk_pixbuf_xlib-2.0.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

This is caused by missing 32-bit libraries. You can install the ones you need as follows:

 sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386

How to keep individual tracks on your phone with Google Music

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Here’s a handy way to save individual songs to your phone or tablet with Google Music so that you can listen off-line:

1. Create a playlist called “Keep”
2. On the playlist view hit the push pin icon (pictured right) to set it to be downloaded and saved to your device
3. Add tracks to your new playlist; they will be automatically downloaded

You can also add songs to the playlist from your desktop and they’ll be downloaded by your device automatically; you can remotely install your favourite music!

Game Over

Money isn’t the ultimate arbiter of cultural significance, but it’s surely the next best thing. And iff you buy that, video games, a creative industry generating some 100 billion dollars a year, long since made the grade.

Video games have a distinctive culture and aesthetic that is increasingly influential on and visible in mainstream culture. The bleeps and wump-wump-wumps of Dubstep nostalgically recall the playtime sounds of a late 20th century childhood. The televisual language of sporting events is a dialectic of sports video games. The field is flattened and augmented with statistics, infographics and advertisements.

I don’t claim that such cross-fertilisation is unique to video games: it is the nature of ideas, forms and motifs to osmose across cultural membranes. However that interplay has become more obvious in recent years. There have long been games of movies of books; now there are books of movies of games too.

There is much that could be written about video games, but I want to focus on one increasingly significant way in which games are influencing our broader culture and society. It’s called gamification.

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