Son Of Sun Tzu blog

Son Of Sun Tzu blog

They keep saying my audience will find me…

02 May 2022

If work is fun it's still work

A summary of what I’ve done over the last month or so.

I attended:

  • I went to a Sarah Le-Fevre event where Nick Kellet demonstrated some aspects of his new product, Deckible. It’s an interesting idea, putting card decks on your mobile device, especially the aspect of making card-decks as accessible to everyone in the same way that Spotify does for music. Using an app doesn’t replicate all of the functionality of a card, but there were good demonstrations of the audio and video capabilities. It was interesting to see what the technology is capable of, but I’m not sure these are card-decks now, but also I’m not sure they’re not. Also I was reminded of this tweet thread, and many recent conversations about interfaces and form factors. As per the military trainees in the picture below, while surrounded by laptops, sometimes you need a pen and a shared map to make sense of the environment:

picture courtesy of Jim Dawson on Twitter

  • I was in another meeting of the PlaySecure organisers. We decided on ticket prices and discounts and some other administrivia. Follow this for the conference details and we’re using Papercall for content submissions. Ostensibly the conference is about game-based methods to improve decision making in cyber security, but anything related to game-based methods for training or planning will be welcome… especially anything half-complete that would benefit from audience feedback, or something unusual that won’t fit in elsewhere.

  • I attended the online wargaming conference Connections Online and enjoyed the presentations I caught, in particular it was good to see some variety and discussion of what wargaming means and what it is and what it can achieve. I believe the presentations will be up on the Armchair Dragoons YouTube channel soon. I thought the combination of using Discord and YouTube worked well, and it was good to see a wargaming event be openly experimental.

  • I also attended the Digital Overdose online conference. As with Connections Online above, it was good to dip in and out of it for presentations I was intrigued by, but also to leave it on in the background to see what caught my eye. For example this usage of a 2D games format for a presentation, and I always like a good analogy; but if you’re in cyber security at all check out their YouTube channel recordings and see if there’s anything new. Digital Overdose has a great community, with some insightful and new thinking; but what stood out for me was the lack of the weariness you get at conferences with many older or more experienced participants, which was refreshing.

Not your usual PowerPoint

  • And in related news I took part in a seminar on the future of “Control skills” for professional wargamers, I’m optimistic something will come out of that. I’ve thought for a long time that, beyond any other issue, wargaming has a “branding problem”; a viewpoint recently strengthened by my reading Alchemy by Rory Sutherland. I want to fix that problem.

  • I was double booked for UK Fight Club’s webinar on Tactical Decision Games, but I’m hoping to catch up on their YouTube Channel, as this is a format I’m considering for cyber security exercises.

I created:

  • I updated my interactive fiction The Lost Key into a more usable state. I think there’s a lot of possibilities with this format for cyber security training and thinking, such “solo games” being the “safest to fail” environment of all, but it’s yet another potential market where I’m not convinced there’s enough interest, or a viable business model, to warrant doing more than playing with ideas to see what feedback that elicits.

  • I co-wrote a piece on cybersecurity strategy. I’ve two further pieces in development around high level cyber security thinking, with more planned beyond those.

I need to blog on what I think strategy is ( Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash )

I consumed:

  • I enjoyed the last episode of the first series of Severance. As per my last blog, if you’ve enjoyed Black Mirror and that kind of look into the future, it’s recommended - preferably without reading too much about it or what happens… depending on your appetite for spoilers of course.

  • I finished reading Pencil Me In by Christina Wodtke, “The Business Drawing Book For People Who Can’t Draw”. An idea that appealed to me as I increasingly want to convey complex ideas between different disciplines or industries. However, while interesting, this was mostly a collection of ideas from Wodtke and her contacts list, rather than a guide on how to build up a skill. I’m right handed for life, but left handed for writing, so I think my innate ability is below average to begin with. Also some of the book didn’t ring true… the neat one page “sketchnoting” for example. This is the practice of writing up notes from a seminar or lecture as images and text, to be understood and reread afterwards. I like the idea but I have the impression sketchnoters know how much material is coming to ensure they don’t end up with one and a half pages of “notes”. I mean I didn’t give it a “proper” try, but it’s short on explanation or demonstration, and I don’t think it’s just my old man eyes that have difficulty comprehending some of the examples of work given. I still like the concept, but I think I need to look elsewhere.

  • I watched both seasons of “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” on Netflix… well I watched the first couple of episodes, grew a little tired of the “take relatively standard situation that someone pushes it to an extreme, and beyond the normal length of a comedy sketch” format, and checked the rest of the shows were the same… which they appeared to be. A shame, as I loved some of the ideas, but in the end I think this is in the “I’m glad someone is experimenting” pile rather than “I must watch” pile. But do try it if you like unusual or cringe comedy, I don’t think it’s quite like anything else out there.

the best meme from the show

  • I enjoyed the end of Cowboy BeBop, the live version - although a little bittersweet, and overall the series was “good but not great”. I didn’t really read online discussion but heard about the general outcry second hand. I think this series was hampered by trying to remake the animated version, which is not only protected by a shield of nostalgia, but I think live action and animated/anime are more different than the creators assumed. I’ve only watched the animated version very sporadically, so can’t really compare the two - but I think I would have preferred to see something live-action but using the same characters after the end of the animated series and movie, or different characters from the same “world”. I think there’s so many possibilities here for creators to have freedom while still satisfying their relatively unimaginative backers with a close enough tie to the thing that made the money.

fun likeable adventurous gone

  • Surprisingly I enjoyed Boss Level in a way I didn’t expect. It’s a hyper-violent Groundhog Day that we planned to watch in an ironic way… but it turned out be well made, very tightly structured, endearing, and absolutely played to its actors’ strengths. This line from the Rotten Tomatoes website sums it up well: “Boss Level powers up the increasingly crowded time-loop genre with a gleefully over-the-top sci-fi action thriller that revels in its own excess.” Don’t even think of watching a trailer, enjoy.

  • I watched The Personal History of David Copperfield. I loved the characterisation, and the excellent acting throughout; it strikes me as a film that almost succeeds or fails at the casting stage - with such a high standard of performers one weak piece can be so noticeable. Also I enjoyed the “Dickensness” of it all, which, yes, I’m mainly familiar with through The Muppet Christmas Carol. The colourblind casting was a key positive for me, differentiating this from a standard period drama - with that and the opening scene I was immediately thrown into a slightly “magic realist” world, which as before is high variance modality for me, either it throws me right out or draws me right in. With this film it was definitely the latter. The film doesn’t appear to have been commercially successful, I suspect it fell between people looking for a period film, and people looking for a comedy film, attracting neither. A shame, as this is very entertaining. I’ve linked to the trailer with the fewest spoilers.

  • I watched “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”, a whimsical weird fun film with songs but not a musical. The nearest comparison I read was one of the screenwriter’s “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion meets Airplane”; this spoiler free trailer will be the only reference you need to decide whether to watch it or not…

this film made me smile a lot

I worked

  • The usual collection of promising and interesting conversations, but with a poor hit rate. I still choose not to wonder “is it me, or is it everybody else” most of the time.

  • To a significant extent a lot of what I described above was work too, but I only realised that while writing all this up. While I’m still exploring ways to make money while having some kind of fun, having found it increasingly impossible to engage in the default transaction of trading happiness for the ability to pay bills, I’ve yet to get used to things I enjoy being “work”.

Other Things

  • Summer is coming. I hate it already.

I copied this from someone who stole it, I'm looking forward to October