I've been experimenting with interactive storytelling recently, with one eye on presenting my other writing in a new, tablet friendly way as well as in print.
The result is Black Rock Trail.
I think it's totally natural to read text on a tablet; outside of inky print, text is more naturally at home on a tablet than on a laptop or desktop computer, so combining photos, text, narrative and interactivity was natural for someone weaned on Colossal Cave on a ZX Spectrum.
Twine, created by Chris Klimas, has been my tool of choice.
Twine is an open source free to download piece of deceptively simple software, which allows you to experiment with presenting words, narrative or not, along with almost any other piece of information you may find on any web page.
I've put up a page for my new interactive photo stories, or you can take a look at my Photography page if you would like to see the Black Rock Trail photographs 'story free'.
You can find Twine here, thank you Chris.
Almost as importantly take a look at the best Twine hosting site philome.la if you have a Twine tale of your own you want to share.
I am eternally grateful to @colinmarc and @trucy for putting philome together.
All the photographs used in Black Rock Trail have been fairly brutally edited in Aperture for effect rather than improvement.
For other sources of interactive stories try Indie Games,
and for very texty stuff go to Zarf's.
To get your twine tale up on Android try Gritfish. To look at a twine tale on your Android device try The Abyss.
Owners of iDevices might try Inkle.
For truly artistic pieces of creative wonder look at Porpentine's work, not all suitable for work but all amazing.
As the most patient of my friends and relatives will bear witness I am in the throes of writing a book about money tentatively entitled 'How Money Works'.
During my research and reading over the last couple of years I have delved into and read at length any number of different books, blogs and tomes, all of which have moved my research on a little or shown me new directions to explore. There has only been one traditional economics text book among that lot, very boring, and very little to do with money.
This traditional economics dry spell has continued right up until now when I am delighted to say that I have discovered an amazing little book called 'Economics of the Real World' written by Peter Donaldson and published by Pelican Books in 1973.
Peter Donaldson read philosophy and economics and graduated from Oxford in 1956. He lectured at Leeds, Leicester & Nottingham; with the Workers Educational Association; at Osmania University in Hyderabad; for Ruskin College, Oxford; and finally did a considerable amount of broadcasting which is where we come in.
This little book came out of a joint publication between Pelican and the BBC and so far seems to be an absolute gem for the non-professional searcher for economic knowledge. That'll be me and you.
I am considering quoting a large part of the first two pages of the book in my preface. Peter speaks with my scepticism, some of my passion, but with more knowledge, so as to briefly and succinctly describe economics in as small a nutshell as you are ever likely to find.
I confess I'm only up to page 33 as I write but it seemed appropriate to break off and post about Peter Donaldson's wonderful little book - 'Economics of the Real World'- this link will take you to Amazon's secondhand section and if you buy I will receive a minuscule percentage of your purchase in a long while.
If you do, you won't regret it. If you do, thank you.
PS - This is quite probably the only economics book you will encounter the sentence: "Households, on the other hand, are the places where people live, eat, drink and ,make love."
Peter Donaldson (27 October 1934 – 6 September 2002)
I developed a passion for using fountain pens sometime last year that is both a delight and a continuous itch. And the process of seeking out the 'best' pen started. My first new purchase was a beautiful Lamy Nexx in aluminium and orange, beautifully made and reasonably if not cheaply priced that wrote like a dream. Smooth and easy, thick ink line, seamless ink flow - lovely.
What more could one ask for.
Having the perfect pen wasn't enough though and various Ebay searches pulled up an increasing amount of awesome, interesting, old, strange and expensive pens for me to browse through; so much so that ones enthusiasm becomes slightly blunted, even.
Eventually my second fountain pen purchase was a Reform 1745, NOS (New Old Stock) in green and black with an inbuilt resevoir and built-in piston filler from Ebay seller bigeddiephotography -most excellent service btw.
The nib of the 1745 is an Iridium item. This is ranked as being better than not being Iridium by those that know about these things. The piston filler, a little built in twist cap on the end, works faultlessly. The pen holds loads of ink. There is a little clear section in the pen so that the quantity of ink can be easily seen, nice. The Reform is a delicate pen in the hand, easy to write with for long period and comfortable for even big (ish) hands. The cap screws on, this I like tautologically both for certainty and for sureness. And there is a simple level of detailing and a quality of finish that far exceeds the Reform's purchase price.
But in writing, the only test one might say, the writing experience of the 1745 was ever so slightly scratchy and a little ... rough even, after the Lamy. Still perseverance persevered and ...
Now, after a few months I find the Reform is my go-to pen. I like the sound and feel of writing. Thin sound, thick sound, different grips on paper, all movement has a certain Reform sound and feel to it which I value and enjoy. The scratchy has transmogrified into tactile feedback, which I enjoy.
The nib also has a definite spring in it's step, a little flexibility, that allows for a flourishing variety to the line width, and my writing with the 1745 has become undeniably more expressive and interesting.
The Review experience will vary a great deal with the ink you use. This is something I'm only just getting to grips with, for instance Diamine Asa Blue is smooth and lovely all the time in a Review where as Diamine Damson just won't flow regularly or sometimes at all in the Review so I use it in a different pen. I have a Parker Frontier which just loves Damson, can't get enough of it.
Rough and noisy is the new perfect.
Different pens suit different inks.
Another more conventional review of the 1745 here.
My favourite ink is Diamine. Made, nay Manufactured in England since 1864.
The colours are perfect. The price is perfect. The size of bottle-v-price is perfect. Perfect.
My favourite pen and pen supplies supplier in the U.K. is Cult Pens.
Astonishingly good service or exactly the service you can easily come to expect.