Daniel Mai

Computer Cultures

I’m interested in the cultures associated with computers. That might not mean much, though, since computers are essentially everywhere in society. Nonetheless, there are several cultures that I am interested in.

Video games

Video game culture is all about creativity and expression. Indie Game: The Movie conveys this so clearly. Although it’s primarily about business and entertainment, there’s so much more to video games than making money and having fun. Creators of video games are like film makers. They deal with visuals, visuals, and emotions. But unlike film makers, video game makers are able to create dynamic sets. The position of the camera in a game isn’t set in stone by a cinematographer. Players may be able to move the camera around at will. Movies are “linear” in the sense that every second of the movie is already predetermined. The pacing is mostly set by player, who has the ability to roam around mindlessly for no reason.

Programming a game means alternately acting as the creator of a universe, and as a scientist struggling to understand how it works. No big.


There are people who want to use technology to enhance the lives of humans. They believe that computers should work for computers, and not the other way around. We shouldn’t have to learn about the inhumane characteristics of computers. We shouldn’t need to know about zeros and ones, computer languages, or any of the technicalities that allow our machines to work the way they do.

Instead, we should focus on using the computer for other sectors of our lives. We can use this digital black box to improve our analog lives.

The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook, is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.

Mark Zuckerberg


Efficiency comes from the obsession over the minute details of the inner workings of a computer. Find yourself doing something over and over again? Automate it. Find yourself doing something that the computer, with all it’s mighty power, should be able to do with less redundancy? Find the answer and implement it into your workflow.

If you wrote a piece of software, did you optimize it? Will it run efficiency—as fast as possible, with a small footprint in memory?

Efficiency is about having only the necessities, and nothing more.

The computer is equivalent to a bicycle for our minds.

Steve Jobs