All the Podcasts I Listen to

This is an update to a post from four years ago with the same title.

Regular listens

Occasional listens:

It will be fun to see how these have shifted around or disappeared in the next four years.

Alto’s Odyssey Review

I place the first game, Alto’s Adventure, high in the echelons of great iOS games. Alto’s Odyssey builds on the simplicity of Adventure in just the right ways. While I still greatly recommend the first game, after playing all the way through Odyssey I’m starting to think you should skip it entirely.

The core difference between the games is the terrain, there are three new “zones” Dunes, Canyons, and Temples. Each have their own unique set pieces and corresponding tricks you can do in that zone. For some examples: Canyons has cliff faces you can do wall rides on, it’s really satisfying to chain these however if you’re not paying attention you can end up beginning a flip and soon crash. You can only wall ride when in the standing orientation not in the middle of a flip like the wing suit. In the Temple zone there are waterfalls who’s water runoff is similar to the ice flow feature in Adventure. Sometimes, at the end of these flows are pools which act as trampolines if you land in them with enough force. The Dunes are pretty plain but has many air balloons which have lines you can ride between them, being non-fixed points the lines oscillate, making them a little more challenging to land on. The variety of landscapes is simply a joy to endlessly ride through, where going over 20km in Adventure becomes quickly repetitive, 20k in Odyssey is a cool breeze on a hot day.

The next three paragraphs are for if you have played all the way through Adventure. There is a potential spoiler about an unlockable character’s abilities in the second paragraph.

If you have played all the way through Adventure, be prepared to do it all over again with the same characters and similar power-ups. For having completed Adventure you get nothing, I was hoping for maybe some extra currency, maybe half of the power-ups I’ve already grinded for or not having to go through roughly the first 10 levels of essentially the same challenges all over again. (Let’s face it, you won’t use anyone but Maya until you unlock the final character or a challenge requires someone else.)

In the theme with swapping old mechanics for new yet similar ones, instead of disturbing elders who then chase you, there are lemurs you startle. (I guess that cements the game’s setting in Madagascar?) The chases are shorter but more dangerous, the lemurs are a bit faster, can run on rope lines, and will jump at you even if you aren’t on the ground. However, the final character is immune to these leaping lemurs! A great addition to the game, Elder chases are the number one reason why my runs would end in Adventure and it’s a relief I don’t have to pull the same acrobatics to avoid late-game lemurs here.

There are no more llamas and I miss them. Birds of Paradise will fly with you for a minute or two and nearby collect coins, but it’s not the same as wrangling a herd after running over a horn in the first game. A radio beacon replaces the llama horn, running over the radio drops some vessels with coins and power-ups in them, if you level the beacon up twice it can be significantly lucrative.

Adventure is still a joy to play to this day, only until the final character was unlocked did Odyssey replace that for me. I expect I’ll be playing it as much in the coming years. The early drafts of this review were rough on Odyssey, perhaps it was that I could not get fully used to the new and sometimes unfair terrains, or maybe the grind of getting all my characters and power-ups back soured me, but once you get through it Odyssey becomes much more rewarding to play than Adventure. (It’s so tempting to end this review with “See you on the slopes!“ but then again I guess I just did, sorry.)

How to Run a Crowdfunding Scam

Despite only ever funding one, the targeted ad powers that be have determined that I really like crowdfunding. I’ve noticed that a specific category always gets advertised to me: technology that can do something truly amazing which no one else is pursuing. A year or so later I catch an article that these same projects either get removed from Kickstarter, move over to Indiegogo, or vanish indefinitely into development hell. I’ll absolutely give the benefit of the doubt to the majority these creators, unexpected snags can pop up when you’re trying to scale hardware products. Though sometimes I wonder if people are just cashing in on technolust. In this brief post I’ll layout some steps to running a crowdfunding scam around a technology product.

  1. Come up with a tech product that:
    1. Fills some niche. Good categories include smartphone accessories, drones, and VR gadgets. For the appearance of novelty you can also take regular day item which just has some bluetooth addon so you can call it “smart” some ideas for free:
      • Smart ring
      • Smart post-it note
      • Smart drawers
    2. Claims to do something way better than anything out there, especially since you can connect it to your phone!
    3. Technically impossible, but not so much as to make customers think that it is impossible. For example (real examples):
      • A hub that transcribes lectures which is also a portable battery and wireless speaker. (Titan Note)
      • A drone that follows you autonomously and takes selfies. (Lily drone)
      • A bracelet which projects a smartphone interface on your wrist. (Cicret)
  2. Hire a prop shop to make a mock of the product.
  3. Make an amazing marketing video featuring the prop-product. Use the magic of editing and special effects to make it look like it’s functional. You could skip step 2 and use a digital model and place it in the video too but you’ll want something physical for later steps.
  4. Post it to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, preference to the latter because if you don’t meet the goal you still get the money.
  5. While the campaign is on-going take the time to develop a crude actually functioning prototype to post as an update to the backers. You don’t want to deceive people too much.
  6. After the campaign is over, post updates every couple months about the challenges and the “progress” you’re making. Do this less frequently as time goes on, a sort of fade away to make people ever forget you still have their money.
  7. Finally, after several months–or years–make a post about how you’ve run out of funding. How there were too many problems with the manufacturers but that you’re proud of your team and the work that you accomplished.
  8. Disappear with all that money.