Minimalists are famous for purging everything from their lives that keeps them from being super-productive machines. But I know that I’m not the only minimalist gamer around, so I figured there must be more of us out there-hiding our SNES collection and keeping secret HDTVs for Xbox 360s. If gaming brings you joy, there is no reason it can’t be apart of your life!
The future of video gaming looks a lot different from the current market. Apple has opened up gaming to a huge population of mobile gamers; from casual to core, you can find it on the AppStore. If there’s one thing that iOS devices have taught us, it’s that digital downloads can work as a distribution system. And this past generation has seen Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo take a stab at digital distribution.
The future of video gaming is minimal.
No one wants their living room full of plastic instruments, controllers, peripherals, and WIRES. The future of gaming has no need for such things either. In the future, your body is the controller, and we’ve seen the start of that future already. Accelerometers are built in to most current generation gaming platforms and cellphones. Microsoft’s Kinect has enjoyed incredible sales and adoption rate. But besides a cool dancing game or two, indie developers and programmers have discovered ways to use the Kinect sensor bar to do incredible things. Just search ‘Kinect hacks’ on Google or Youtube. This technology is going to carry over to fields besides gaming.
The future of video gaming is portable.
We’re reaching a point where hardware power and graphics don’t matter anymore. You are now able to enjoy the ‘console experience’ on your iPhone. Look at Infinity Blade or Dead Space-portable gaming is toeing the line of traditional consoles. Nintendo has just released the 3DS, which seems to have the graphical capabilities similar to the Gamecube or even Wii. Sony is working on their NGP (“Next Generation Portable”) which claims to deliver the PS3 experience in the palm of your hand. Consoles are clunky, take up lots of room, use lots of energy, and tie us to our couches. I foresee an all-portable future.
Bear with me on this one. Imagine NGP actually stood for “Next Generation Playstation”. What if the NGP was the PS4? Imagine leveling your RPG character on the train, and then coming home and docking your handheld and continuing play on your TV. I don’t think that future is too far off base. The original PSP had the ability to be played on an external screen. What if Sony has realized this trend toward mobile gaming and is trying to corner the market early? This could be the gimmick that fuels competition in the next generation, as motion control was to this generation. I look forward to the day when I can play the latest Call of Duty or Final Fantasy on my handheld and then come home, plug into my TV, and not notice a difference in the experience while playing on the same handheld device.
The future of video gaming is in the cloud.
I feel like this one is self-explanatory. Physical media is dying or dead, the future lies in the cloud network. Gamers have slowly learned to trust services like Steam, PSN, XBLA, Wiishop and the AppStore. Soon, that will be how we will expect to receive our games. You’ll never be without your library of games. And not only game downloads, but saves too. Your save files will be stored in the cloud, and you’ll never have to worry about corruption or loss due to hardware failure because their backups will have backups. This is the end of memory card juggling.
For this future to be realized, broadband access needs to be more ubiquitous. There are still vast regions of the US that rely on *gasp!* dial-up. Perhaps we will see an interim period of physical releases at marked-up prices to promote digital downloads. Or maybe if you don’t have high-speed internet access at your house, you could make a trip to the store and get the latest download beamed to your device (or transferred via some version of SD card/USB).
The future of gaming is a minimalist/gadget lover’s dream. I can’t be the only person who sees these trends developing. Do you agree with me? Lament the loss of cartridges? Tell me about it in the comments or via Twitter.
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Lately all of my spare time has been dedicated to design studio. For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently a graduate student studying architecture. This whole term we’ve been working on a big housing project. Initially, I was super-pumped for this project, but that excitement was soon diminished to the point of loathing. It seemed like it would never end! Each day, the professors would make changes to our design that almost seemed arbitrary after awhile-like they were required to make a change each day, whether it was necessary or not. This can really wear you down after spending so many hours working on a design.
My group and I kept plugging away, and finally we’ve reached the last week. It seemed that the end was here and we’d no longer have to make revisions. Well, long story short, we were wrong. I was tasked with redesigning the entire roof the day before our review with the external critics. And on top of that, the professors made changes to the design that had been decided upon weeks ago, and acted like they had never seen them before.
Needless to say, I was upset. I huffed and puffed about, being overly loud and obnoxious about the work I was assigned. The injustice! I spent the better part of the day silently fuming.
Later- much later, I eventually got down to work. Surprisingly, once I actually started working, I discovered that it wasn’t that hard to do after all. All the hard work and practice we had done had taught me how to work efficiently against a deadline. When I finished just a couple hours later, I found that I had created a design that I really enjoyed.
Once I quit bitchin’ and whining, and started working, it wasn’t that bad.
This made me think about how much time we waste just dreading the IDEA of doing something. Not to mention how much time we waste being frustrated and upset. No one else was affected by my rantings-I still had to do the work. I was just delaying myself.
Being angry didn’t help me at all.
I was only causing myself grief when I could have just buckled down right then and there and been done with it and had my whole afternoon to myself. We may not always enjoy the work we have to do, but worrying about a job usually takes longer than just doing the job.
Next time you’re procrastinating on something, just push yourself to start working. You’ll save yourself the grief and the embarrassment of looking like a fool being upset over nothing and you’ll be done before you know it!
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My bedroom is just that; a room with a bed. I also keep a small nightstand that holds a reading lamp, photo of my girlfriend, and it has a drawer for my journal and whatever book I’m currently reading. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, and I don’t bring my laptop in here. I have no need for an annoying alarm clock, that’s one of the many devices that have been consolidated into my iPhone.
My bed is simply dressed. I use a fitted sheet and a duvet with a cover. When I was in Europe, every hotel did it this way. It’s so simple and elegant, I don’t know why it hasn’t caught on in the US. I guess people are too taken by decorative pillows and shit. When it’s cold I simply add an extra blanket. It takes me 30 seconds to make my bed in the morning. I just give the duvet a good snap, smooth out the edges, and place my pillows at the top. Done! Washing my bedding is simple as well. Less sheets=less laundry.
I love coming home to a simple, clean, minimalist bedroom at the end of the day. It’s even better waking up on a Saturday morning snuggled up in a thick and fluffy duvet with sun streaming through the bare windows.
Try clearing out your bedroom. No tv, laptop, etc. Just the essentials. See if it doesn’t change your life.
I’ve followed Mike Donghia’s work for some time now. I’ve watched his website, The Art of Minimalism, evolve through its many (many) design changes, and I’ve watched Mike grow as a writer. I’m a fan of his work, so it goes without saying that I was excited when he asked me to write a review of his first ebook, Rise Above the Noise.
Rise Above the Noise is about the increasing chatter we face everyday. Whether it’s from the Internet, television, advertising, or other sources, the amount of data our brains have to process is growing daily. Mike noticed how hard it was for him to concentrate with all the noise surrounding him, so he set out to find a way to combat the external stimulation and wants to help others do the same. This ebook is the result of his research.
In Rise Above the Noise, Mike pinpoints several sources of “noise” in our lives. He takes the concept of minimalism further than physical possessions, and looks at ways to simplify our lives by learning how to filter incoming data in order to select that which helps us grow. He recognizes time as our most valuable asset and that in the future, as information streams continue to grow, our ability to focus on the task at hand will become more important than ever. One of my favorite parts of the book is when he writes about choice. As a society, we are given so many options for every little thing that we have become paralyzed by choice. Now, we have to consciously choose less, choose to simplify, if we want to find clarity.
It’s actually possible to have too much freedom. Because we have so many choices, so much information to process, so many meetings, so much stuff, so many thoughts, texts, phone calls, emails and uncertainty –we’ve created the ultimate catch-22. We can’t filter through this noise fast enough to make a choice. We’re becoming slaves to our own freedom. And it’s only getting worse.
-Mike Donghia, Rise Above the Noise
Mike enlisted the help of 3 other bloggers; Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle, Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology, and Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens to contribute pieces to the ebook. I especially enjoyed Tyler’s essay on obsession, and I can totally relate to Colin’s story about his crazy college professor. I think Tammy’s contribution is the weakest; I’ve read her story on going car-free many times before. Ending the ebook with this piece leaves you wanting a bit more. Perhaps in a future revision, Mike will add some of his own closing thoughts, but as is, it reads like a cliffhanger.
Overall, I enjoyed Rise Above the Noise. It was a quick read (around 50 pages), but packed with useful advice in a well-designed package. If you enjoyed Leo Babauta’s Focus, and are looking for more inspiration to find peace in the noise of your day-to-day, I strongly suggest checking out Mike’s ebook. Mike is a guy with solid values. He focuses his energies on family, community, and religion. These values extend to his work as well. He has decided that all proceeds from sales of his book during its first week will go to charity. By purchasing Rise Above the Noise, you will be supporting Hope International. Hope International is an organization that gives micro-loans to people in developing countries in order to help them start small businesses. Not only will you be investing in yourself, but your purchase will help others get a leg up and rise above.
In nature, waste equals food, this is the main premise behind Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The idea is, that by re-imagining our industrial processes, we can create a system that not only does not harm the planet, but actually contributes to its growth and success. The authors take the stance that the problem lies not at the consumer level, but at the production level. If corporations and industries could come up with ways of making their products in such a way that they actually replenished the earth, then consumption could actually be seen as a good thing.
Normally, I would recommend buying a digital copy of a book whenever possible, but with Cradle to Cradle, I think it’s important to pick up the actual “paperback”. This is because the book itself is a lesson; they say it right off the bat, “this book is not a tree.” Traditionally, books are printed on high quality paper, often from virgin sources. Paper doesn’t last a long time, it breaks down. Books are meant to last a really long time. So why do we use such a precious resource-trees, to create a product-books, which are meant to last longer than the pages they’re printed on? Instead, Cradle to Cradle is printed on a plastic resin that resembles high quality paper. It’s waterproof, the authors encourage you to read in the bath! This book will last for generations with no decrease in quality. In 200 years, it will be as crisp as the day it was purchased. But surely plastic is bad, you cry! Yes, but it makes more sense in this case, for something we want to last. It doesn’t make sense with a plastic yogurt container. And the best part is, when this book is done being Cradle to Cradle, the print can be removed using a special solvent, and the pages can be reused to make more books. Waste makes food, books make more books.
The authors aren’t just speculating, they’ve actually put these ideas to the test in the field. For example, they were commissioned by Herman Miller to create a new kind of fabric for their chairs that wouldn’t be harmful to the environment to produce. What they came up with is a fabric that is biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals. The inspector that tested the factory where this fabric is produced was shocked to find that the water flowing out of the facility was cleaner than the water flowing in to the facility. They looked at each part of the manufacturing process and whittled each step down to the bare essentials. Everything going into the fabric was considered. They ended up with a product that used far less “ingredients” to make. Instead of forcing a product to fit their needs by filling it with chemicals, stabilizers, and harsh dyes, they designed the production system to work with the surrounding environment, and ultimately, giving back to that environment. The best part: no economic trade-offs. The authors believe that you should be able to make a profit on eco-friendly designs. In fact, their version was cheaper and easier to make!
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things was required reading for one of my architecture classes, and I urge everyone, regardless of your field, to read this book and consider how you could apply the ideas to your work. Consider how your work could benefit from working with someone in another field. You never would have suspected an architect and a chemist to benefit from each other’s work, and yet look at what they’ve accomplished. At the very least, the book will make you reconsider how you buy and use products and handle your own waste.
I am not being paid to endorse this book, I am simply a fan wanting to spread the message. However, if you buy Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things from Amazon using any of the affiliate links in this post, you will be helping to support my work. Thank you in advance!
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