Listen to Shadow Planet!

Robin’s feed

A mirror, green and gold

Work and refreshment; a shadowed niche in space.

Robin's 2021 gift guide

Old favorites, new treasures.

Notes on Web3

Meager counterweight to the growing hype.

The appreciator

Sloan on Tooze on Malm.

Shadow Planet

This is a new album from The Cotton Modules.

The slab and the permacomputer

Two directions at once.

The spirit in Vault B

You can do it any way you want, as long as it works.

It will think you are crunching bones

The marrow of book publishing.

The cutouts

Explaining a chunk of code in a Colab zine.

Fantasy query languages

Fishing for inspiration.

Whomst styles?

A humane touch; a protocol that's not.

Ghost faves in the mystery machine

Nobody knows anything.


Always read these comments!


Train trips, publishing guides, handmade maps.

Just link!

Part of the “newsletter thoughts” series.

Dreams of discord

How could you make a chat room weirder and better?

In search of the new

Mapping the edge of contemporaneity.

Celebrating Alexis

Who else would you want to be the voice across the water?

Defending inflation

Somebody's got to do it.

Two charms

A blockquote with death and life in it.

Cold start

Baby hummingbirds and power plants.

Thinking, not replying

Part of the “newer media” series.

Cloud study

Just a couple of notes on cloud functions.

Reading Frank's Corpus

An uncommonly interesting piece of writing.

Many subtle channels

Part of the “newer media” series.

Withered or seasoned?

The power of a word.

Here is your liberal art!

Dispatch from the fair days of spring.

A library demand list

A view of the NYT Best Sellers list scaled according to library e-book holds.

A coat check ticket, a magic spell

Minting digital art in a weird new market.

Programming note

Don't miss the new feed!

Foundation (part two)

You see the method to my madness.

Fresh from Ganymede!

I want to end this year by going back to the basics.

Advice for newsletter-ers

Part of the “newsletter thoughts” series.

Orthographic media

A view without perspective.

POTO diary: the Perimeter League

There was a band of heroes, all with different backgrounds, different skills.

POTO diary: the storefront conundrum

Where do you sell an indie video game? Where do I sell THIS indie video game?

The Conspiracy Museum

This is a piece written for the Atlantic.

A newspaper serial!?

Can you believe it!

POTO diary: inky

An introduction to Ink, the scripting language that controls this game's branching story.

POTO diary: paused

A couple of other works that are relevant to the interests and goals of this newsletter.

POTO diary: mechanism or bust

This past Tuesday was probably the most important day in the lifetime of this project so far.

Two nice databases for Ruby

YAML::Store and Daybreak: both underrated!

POTO diary: imagination engine

Exploring thousands of imaginary cities.

POTO diary: ladder of abstraction

Worldbuilding, voice, and writing lessons.

POTO diary: oblique

Soldierly perspective and sketchy shaders.

Chasing a ghost

What causes this particular vintage optical printing effect?

POTO diary: barnyard

This one's all about text and typography!

POTO diary: overworld

I'll begin in the most basic way: why make a video game?

An integration loop

Its origin is a mystery. All we know is how it sounds: stately and nostalgic.

The thing about blogging is

you can just write about the things you love.

Reframing inflation

People need money; let's exorcise the ghost of the 1970s.

Notes from a week

I never imagined a world without cafés.

The master tapes

Part of the “newer media” series.

Writing and lightness

Every way of writing can work, and every reason for writing can work.

An app can be a home-cooked meal

I made a messaging app for my family and my family only.


An essential new conjunction.

The origin of the double dagger

Why ‡?


A thread from a fictional social network.

Proposal for a book, etc.

This is my proposal for a book to be adapted into a movie starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson. It’s very serious.

Expressive temperature

Documenting a machine learning technique.

Fortnite and the Fermi paradox

This is a piece written for the Atlantic.

Voyages in sentence space

A new machine learning project.

Making the music of the Mazg

This is a story posted on the MCD Books website.

How to think (dangerously)

Describing a standard.

Writing with the machine

It’s like writing with a deranged but very well-read parrot on your shoulder.

How to end on the internet

All the conventions of print feel false: the neat summary, the mild prediction, the kicker quote.

Julie Rubicon

This is a story posted on Facebook.

Shmuplations across space and time

Translations across languages and through decades.

In praise of the serious playground

Remembering a wonderful tool.

Typographical tune-up

Fixing some small problems.

Whispering about virtual reality

A brief era is coming to a close and I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

In praise of Josephine

This is a piece written for the Atlantic.

The Decagon House Murders

This was a weird one. I loved it.

The Counselor

This is a story posted on Motherboard.

Pictures and vision

Okay, I’m going to argue that the futures of Facebook and Google are pretty much totally embedded in these two images.

Alien signals

Memories of long-ago Sunday nights on the road.

Dancing the flip flop

A particular creative and technical process that fascinates me.

The primes of the story

This is an idea I swiped from Zachary Mason.

The secret of Minecraft

This is a piece posted on Medium.

Return to Nib's Knoll

This is a piece written for Aeon Magazine.

Making culture for the internets

It’s us, the internet culture makers, who are behind.

The prime mover

One of the people we lost in 2012 was Jim Naughton. He had an outsized influence on me.

The wiggle of least resistance

This is a piece written for the New York Times.

Making progress, sure and steady

An encounter in the fog.

Penumbra has a posse

You know those heist movies, where half the fun is watching the team come together?

Inventing the book

Notes on The Book in the Renais­sance by Andrew Pettegree.

Further reading for Penumbra fans

So you read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and now you want something similar.

One-man ILM

“You’re the direc­tor, you’re the spe­cial effects coor­di­na­tor, you’re the cos­tume depart­ment, and you don’t have to worry about a budget.”

The main thing to do here is sign up for my email newsletter, which is infrequent and wide-ranging. I always try to make it feel like a note from a friend: