Özgür Ozan Çakmak

A Personal Journal

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Amiga – How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Diskette

Hand Cramps from its unergonomic mouse. The feeling of wind when I throw myself out of the bus and the inevitable crash to ground – ripping my woolen gloves but not damaging the disks. A shop on the second floor, with wooden desks, electronic devices and other Amigas scattered by, a gleam coming from well worn Ottoman style floor tiles.

These are what I remember first when I think about my Amiga.

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Tuesday Temptations

SOCIAL MEDIA AND TESTOSTERONE AUTISM

Social Media was a thing more meaningful for me. I had friends from all over the world I get into contact daily. I knew them and they knew me.

This feeling of reality slowly eroded with time. The main reason for this I fear is what OLGA TOKARCZUK describes in her novel DRIVE YOUR PLOUGH OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD as Testosterone Autism:

With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.

I’m not in the second phase of that ailment but the initial symptoms were already there and it doesn’t get any better. Luckily I like novels still. The book is very good, I recommend it if you want to read an Interesting book by the way.

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Monday Monsters

ON DAILIES

I think I’ve started to like this daily, specially named articles. I will continue to write them as long as life permits me.

REMNANTS FROM DREAMS AND BROKEN THOUGHTS

I’m currently reading WONDERBOOK by JEFF VANDERMEER. It is a superbly good book on writing with kickass design. One of the tips he gave was to keep a writable medium to record whatever the mind dredges up from the murky depths of subconscious. Here are mine.

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Datasettes and Diskettes – A Commodore 64 Thing

My first computer was a Commodore 64. I think my father bought it with a friend of his to build a joystick. He was the electronics guy, his friend (I think) was handling the computer side of the things. My reader part wants to imagine it like WILLIAM GIBSON’s BURNING CHROME – Automatic Jack and Bobby Quine. But I doubt it was that epic.

I guess the project fell flat after creating a boxy, super boxy, prototype. But that made me an owner of a breadbox C64 in my tender age of 6 or 7. I remember myself playing platform games like GREAT GIANNA SISTERS, STORMLORD, MYTH and a weird game called WORK. I can’t remember the last one’s name exactly but it was a working simulator that’s what I hazily remember.

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Weekend Tidbits

EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2

When I want to rest my mind I fire up EURO TRUCK SIMULATOR 2. This is a game where you drive trucks from city to city, carrying stuff and gaining money. In time you buy your own truck – the first step of building your own company. After that, you hire new drivers, buy other trucks, gain more money. In theory, of course – I’ve never gotten that far.

And that’s fine. I load up blues playlist or a podcast while driving from Wroclaw to Lodz in the night with heavy rain. All is mellow, the road, the speed limits and GPS are all in my universe.

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Endless Series – A Retrospective

I used to be an avid computer gamer but if STEAM statistics is a metric I play games less now. When I owned a Commodore 64 and an Amiga, my choice of poison was platform and shoot-em-up games. It changed when I begin to learn English and able to understand what the game was telling. I read a lot of books and wanted games with a complex and coherent narrative.

CIVILIZATION entered into my ludocultural universe and it stuck. I still think it teaches a functional history of technological and cultural progress. In a classroom, questions like “Why do we build roads” or “Why is scientific progress important” are hard to answer. With Civilization all these, and more, are on your screen, interactively, showing the results of alternative answers.

But it had some shortcomings which I thought ENDLESS SPACE 2 and ENDLESS LEGEND fixed initially. They had a grand narrative creating its own problems in addition to the problems you, yourself create by your choices. It had different civilizations whose aspects force a different gameplay style. Civilization offered a generic approach. Leaders provided you with bonuses and maluses but the overall gameplay didn’t change. It didn’t have a grand narrative other than you created.

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Friday Festivities

Not long ago I was helping a friend to set up a firewall. I saw a menu item short circuited my imaginary muscles labeled as “Road Warrior Setup”. What I imagined: A Mad Max-ian warrior, in a battered battlecar with spikes, defending the network data; dodging bullets left and right. But this term, Road Warrior, had a more mundane meaning: It meant people accessing the corporate network via VPN – Virtual Private Network – tunnels.

The need for enabling workers to access corporate network stems the need for working non-stop. I know the argument, “the world doesn’t sleep – why should we? There is money to make, biz to transact” but the end result is very interesting. People wired to their computers in the coffee places, shisha parlors, even cinemas – wish I was kidding here. Office meant anywhere with a wi-fi connection. The kicker is, it doesn’t even affect their salary! This is akin to see a hamster, injected with a creative mix of metaamphetamines and crack cocaine, on a wheel. Going on and on, faster in every cycle until it dies from malnutrition or infarctus.

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Games I Play – CCGs and Roguelikes

Collectible Card Games

Currently I am playing SLAY THE SPIRE insanely. It gets me in a way no other collectible card game does. I know it is weird but I don’t like the deck building aspect of most CCGs out there. From MAGIC: THE GATHERING to HEARTHSTONE this feature always scared me. Maybe it’s because my friends were were super into it. They created minmaxed decks which had strategies, long term plans and interaction between three cards and more.

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Thursday Tension

COLD WAR AND ITS DISCONTENTS

As a children of the eighties, the times we live in baffles me. In those days people assumed two outcomes. Either we’d see the world becoming a wasteland after that global nuclear war everybody was very sure about happening. Or we’d have spaceships, flying cars and hoverboards and the future will be brilliant. You can see them in action with Fallout, Mad-Max and Star Trek.

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Technosmuggling or My First Discman

Last week our kettle gave up its ghost to the machine god and we needed to buy a new one. Kettle is an important part of our household. It not only does coffee and tea but accelerates the process of making proper food, soup and macaronis.

To buy a new one I decided to go to Doğubank Business Centre. For the uninitated, this was the place you could buy various types of electronics much cheaper than the official stores. Reason? The young me would readily answer this question with a chirpy “Smuggling!” word but now I do know what parallel import means and this is what they do. You import a product, with no strings attached.

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