Cover photo
James Kozianski
Works at Google
Attended University of New South Wales
Lived in Sydney
909 followers|140,418 views


James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
This is good. Life Hacks from the 90s.
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet.
7 comments on original post
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Short Book Reviews: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I never felt more like I was in someone else's head than with this book, and never more disturbed by the prospect. This is the harrowing story of a young man's lifelong struggle to free himself from his past. The prose is very smooth and easy to read, but I felt that the world surrounding Jude was too binary. Every person in his life is either utterly evil, or completely wonderful and devoted to him. The thought occurred to me, and it made me feel like a bad person, whether people would really be so devoted to someone so badly damaged, who seems to need constant support in order to keep going, who refuses to take your advice and then burdens you with the resulting misery. And yet I became such a person, as if I was yet another character in the book willing him to get better, for him to simply not think like that. I rooted for Jude but was ultimately overtaken by a sense of profound helplessness, and I suppose that is the point.
<p><b>Shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize</b></p><p> <b>'Astonishing and unsettling ... A masterwork' <i>San Francisco Chronicle</i></b></p><p><b> 'Announces Yanagihara ...
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
2015 is the year of the table flip. Spread it around.
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Short TV Reviews: Orange is the New Black S1

Really great. An upper-middle class white woman gets sentenced to prison for a year for a crime she commit nearly ten years ago. An engaging drama with a great, broad cast of really well-fleshed out characters. So far I prefer it heavily to the massively overhyped Breaking Bad, which by contrast is just a bunch of unsympathetic whiners complaining about life all the time. OitNB does much more with so much less. With its tiny, enclosed setting it builds a universe out of the human relationships that develop between the characters.
Danny Hua's profile photoJames Kozianski's profile photo
+Danny Hua Yeah, it's pretty much all like that. The stakes get higher and the investment you make into the characters does pay off, but I'm not sure it's your kind of thing :-)
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Short Book Reviews: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The story of an elderly couple in older times who leave their village to find their son. I was attracted to the old-timey prose, which was simple and direct, yet not without its own art. I was excited by the idea that unburdened by the need to produce reams of descriptive language the author could focus on ideas and I would have loved a fresh spin on those familiar fantasy tropes. However, the world was a bit too safe and therefore uninteresting to me. Everybody calls everybody else sir or friend and you are never left to wonder if any character is good or bad for very long. There is one scene of potential interest in the book where it almost becomes horrifying, but it is cut short and safety is restored, as if the author didn't have the heart to keep you on the edge of your seat for more than a minute or two, and ultimately that's the feeling I'm left with - a book that pulled all its punches and that didn't really make me feel anything.
<p><b>An extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day</b></p><p></p><p>'You've long set your heart against it...
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Today's the last full day of my time in Thailand. What I expected to be a dazzling spectacle of a holiday turned out to be quite meditative and productive. Rather than getting caught up in Phuket's crazy night life I spent most of my time in pools, on deck chairs, writing, programming and thinking. I feel like I've discovered a few things.

First, that time isn't just a quantity, it can be measured in terms of quality, too. The quality of one's output is influenced heavily by the quality of time that goes into it. High quality time is focused, long and distraction free. Low quality time is aimless, rife with interruptions and of an undefined length.  Until now I've attributed my productivity (or lack thereof) entirely to my own abilities, but I now see that ability is necessary, but not sufficient for doing good work. As the quality of time is largely determined by environmental factors, control over one's work environment becomes a very important aspect of being productive.

Second, very few things are evergreen, maintenance is inevitable and this isn't a problem.  My bike provided the perfect analogy for this. Before I left I got it serviced, and the creaking, soft mess I brought in was transformed into an efficient, silent wonder in a matter of hours. My bike's breaks had worn down to near uselessness without my noticing, and the chain had begun to squeak at a level that was finally concerning. How long had I been riding enduring these subtle annoyances / life-threatening defects? But who wants to take their bike in to get serviced? I just want to keep riding. This holiday was like a service for my mind that I didn't know I needed. I do have a fetish for things that seemingly don't require upkeep (case in point, my bike has dynamo powered lights, and of course, my owning a bike at all), but the truth is that almost nothing truly requires no upkeep, and that there is a considerable amount of pleasure to be gained from embracing that and tending to things.

Third, small things are important and big things are simply collections of small things. I found that before leaving I was getting hugely disproportionate satisfaction from simply having a clean desk at work, upgrading the memory on my computer and throwing away old possessions. I used to classify these things subconsciously as too small or unimportant to care about - painful chores that don't bring me any closer to any of my goals, but each of these minor, unquantifiable annoyances creates a little drag and adds a little resistance to everything. Fixing these things also provides one with an unexpected avenue towards self-expression. The state of one's desk can say a lot about you, if you let it.

A corollary to this is that small, incremental steps are the only kind we can make towards anything. Rather than looking for big solutions to big problems I'm finding it far more satisfying to continually look for small actions that can make incremental improvements. This is a very freeing mentality, as big solutions aren't actionable. Thinking small means always feeling productive and empowered.

Fourth, sometimes the biggest gains come from doing 'nothing'. The temptation has always been there on this holiday to spend my down time reading or programming as these are measurably productive pursuits (number of pages read, number of changes committed...), but what does scribbling my thoughts down achieve? What anxiety-inducing problems does it solve? A lot, it turns out. I'm quite aspirational and as such I spend my life living in some imagined future and worrying about whether it will be good enough and wringing my hands about mistakes I've made and mistakes I've yet to make. All that worry is useless, though, and betrays an unconscious approach to life which, left unexamined, has no hope for improvement. Pausing to reflect and think strategically is the only way to solve problems of perception, which it seems to me are the only real kind of problems.
Susan Kozianski's profile photoHayley Neville's profile photoJames Kozianski's profile photo
Thanks, Hayley! Yeah, you gotta go inbox zero. Keep a clear mental desk :-)

Have you tried Google Inbox ( I've found it's great for managing my emails, and it lets you add random tasks and snooze emails, too.
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Short TV Reviews: Master of None

I can't find anything good to say about this show apart from its beautiful and boldly typographical intro. Everything else is just so obvious. Each episode revolves around one central topic, and the plot unfolds mechanically in service of said topic. If an idiot plot is one where characters act in completely unbelievable ways merely to advance the story, then how to describe this show whose plot dances erratically solely to shine light on the tired topic at hand from more directions? I don't feel like there was really any need for someone to say that having kids is good in some ways, but can also be bad in some ways, or that children of (immigrant) parents can be (wrongfully) ungrateful.

The dialogue between the characters ranges from trying to be funny in an oblique way (sitcom), to trying to be somewhat unfunny in an attempt to be real (drama), but the genuine attempts at humour seldom land and the drama never does. None of the characters resemble people at all, and the one character who might is too busy asking his friends these inane questions about today's random talking point.
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Twenty-four hours after an attack by Da'esh (the organization formerly known as ISIS [1]) on Paris left 129 dead and 352 wounded, the Internet and the airwaves alike have been filled with profound waves of self-serving nonsense and stupidity from left and right alike. Everyone seems to have found a way in which this situation justifies their position – protect the refugees! Exile the refugees! Bomb someone! Stop all bombing of anyone! – and magically, it seems that one of the most complex political situations of our time can be reduced to simple slogans.

Well, I've run out of patience with this, so let me seriously discuss what just happened here, and what it tells us. I'm going to talk about three things which have combined to lead to yesterday's massacre: the refugee crisis, Europe's Muslim population, and Da'esh. I'll then talk about a few things which I think have little or nothing to do with what we're seeing – most importantly, religion and oil – and a few things which do – such as food and water. And finally, we'll talk about what it's going to take to fix this, both in the short term and the long term.

Being entirely out of patience right now, forgive me for being particularly blunt. I suspect that, by the end of this, you will be thoroughly offended by my opinions, whether you are American, European, or Middle Eastern, left or right: nobody has behaved well in the lead-up to this.

The first thing to realize about the refugees streaming into Europe from Syria and its environs is that not only are they not, by and large, terrorists – they're people fleeing these exact terrorists. France was just hit by Da'esh, with over five hundred casualties; in Syria, people are surrounded by Da'esh on one side, and a bloodthirsty army on the other side, and have been seeing death on the scale of yesterday's attack every single day for the past four and a half years. [2] If you were living there, you would very likely be fleeing, too.

But the second thing to realize about the refugees is that there are, in fact, Da'esh members among them. It's clear that at least one of the attackers came in from Syria as part of October's refugee flood, and there's no reason at all not to believe that quite a few more are among them, working both at short- and long-term goals. (More on which in a moment)

Everyone seems to have simplistic solutions, here: kick out all the Muslims (as America's Ann Coulter and Donald Trump suggest), settle the refugees more permanently, build giant prison camps. These solutions tend to miss a few very basic points:

(1) When you have hundreds of thousands of people who are quite literally willing to risk not only their deaths, but the deaths of their families, in order to escape, your odds of being able to keep them out aren't actually great, unless your plan is to mobilize a giant army and start attacking inward until they're fleeing in the opposite direction.

(2) You do not have enough prison camp capacity to handle this many people, nor could you build it. Nor do you have enough housing and residential infrastructure capacity to easily settle this many people, because the flux you're seeing out of Syria is very far from the end of it. 

This is why large regional disasters quickly tend to spread into adjacent regions. This is why it's important not to let regional disasters get out of hand, no matter how politically appealing isolationism may appear.

The second thing to be aware of is that this didn't happen in a vacuum: Europe has a very large Muslim population, and it seems that most of the attackers were French or Belgian citizens. This started out with Europe's colonial ambitions, back in the day: France, for example, ruled over Algeria with a mind-bogglingly bloodthirsty approach [3] for decades, but now has a large population of people with a right to French residence who have been moving in to the country in search of a better economic situation. (Hardly surprising, when you leave behind a colony wracked by a horrifying civil war for decades) And France is far from alone in this.

Europe's Muslim population is both profoundly European and profoundly not European. They are European in that they have been living there, often for more than a generation; they work there, they pay taxes, they have become as assimilated as they can. They are not European in that Europe has been profoundly unwilling to allow them to assimilate. This is far from a historical anomaly: Europe has historically defined itself in terms of villages or cities and their local populations, which one can't really join very easily. Groups marked as outsiders – be they Jews, Romany, or Muslims – have been considered only marginally European. At times, there has been a high degree of apparent assimilation: for example, Jews were thoroughly integrated into European culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, intermarrying, forming friendships and professional associations across the board. As you may notice, "thorough integration" can be an awfully chancy business. 

Muslims in today's Europe, on the other hand, don't have anything close to this superficial level of integration; France has been routinely passing laws banning Muslims from dressing the way they did in their home countries in the past few years, which should tell you a great deal about local opinions of that population.

So you have a large population who finds it systematically hard to find work, impossible to be accepted, the regular target of police, and told every day that they should probably be kicked out of the country. I'm sure you will find it shocking that, if you do this to a few tens of millions of people for a few decades at a stretch, you will end up with a disillusioned and disenfranchised youth, some of which will combine this with the general hot-headedness and stupidity of being a young adult to become easy fodder for people who have shown up to recruit.

Lots of people seem to have half-assed solutions here, and they tend to be even more foolish than the solutions to the refugee crisis. "Send them back," the European right frequently cries: back to where? Most of the Muslim population is no longer fresh immigrants; they are second and third generation Europeans. They don't have homes anywhere else. The European left, on the other hand, preaches a mealymouthed combination of urging assimilation and unmistakeable racism. 

For some context, go back to the Charlie Hebdo attacks several months ago. There was a large outcry, saying that what the magazine (a notable left-wing satirical organ) had been doing was entirely in the bounds of proper satire, that the satire of religion was a hallowed European tradition. What this explanation glosses over is that nobody on the receiving end of the satire saw it as satire of religion, for the simple reason that religious affiliation, in Europe as in the Middle East, has little to do with what you believe and much to do with who you are. Charlie Hebdo's targets weren't simply religious extremists preaching from Saudi mosques; they were a portrayal of the French Muslim population as violent extremists, the dangerous other. And that's precisely the European left-wing line: Muslims are fine, so long as they become completely European, to the extent that we can forget that they were ever from someone else. Which, realistically, might mean they have to intermarry for a few generations and acquire blue eyes and blond hair, but that's OK, we welcome them!

The honest fact is this: neither the European left nor the right have ever made the large Muslim community into a full part of society. One side has covered it in nice words, while the other side has blared its xenophobia from the rooftops, but nobody on the receiving end of either of these has been fooled.

You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. What did you expect was going to happen?

And then we come over to our friends in the Middle East, the psychotically bloodthirsty bastards of Da'esh itself. It's a bit off to even refer to them as Islamist extremists in the mold of al-Qaeda; they've gone so far off the rails of Islam that the only clear ideology that often seems left is power and murder. Exhortations from theologians of any stripe aren't really going to have an effect on them.

But they seem to have realized that they are on an upswing of power, nobody having the resources or will to stop them, and have come up with the idea of spreading this worldwide, with attacks spreading to places like Russia and France – and, as soon as they can, everywhere else. Because as far as anyone can tell, they want to take over the world.

(Yes, this is a kind of screwy plan, and they barely even control chunks of land in the ass end of Syria and Iraq. But they've had enough luck with killing people that they seem to have convinced themselves that if they engage in even more killing people, it'll continue to work just as well. [4])

They seem to have one fairly simple strategic objective with these new attacks: drive a hard wedge between Muslim and infidel populations around the world, so that the Muslims will have no choice but to join them and become their army, overthrowing the local governments and establishing a world-wide Caliphate.

Unfortunately, political stupidity seems likely to help them. If the response to these attacks is to further isolate Muslim populations – both settled and refugee – then they will certainly have a far easier time recruiting among them. It's not actually going to lead to them taking over the world, but it will lead to bloodshed.

This recruitment tends to take a few forms. One is to recruit fighters to come and help in the bloodshed in existing battlefields; the second is to recruit suicide bombers and the like in other countries. These are somewhat disjoint processes, since the process of recruiting someone to commit suicide is rather different and targets different sorts of people, but there is also overlap: one strategy which al-Qaeda long favored was to recruit people to come to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Chechnya to fight, and later export trained fighters elsewhere.

One important thing about these tactics is that they seem to be realizing that surprisingly little training and planning is required. Yesterday's attack required some coordination among teams, but nothing spectacular; it did require practice in gunplay. But even this was fairly complex compared to the bare minimum required; consider the amount of chaos caused by the D.C. Sniper back in 2002.

Da'esh poses a particular danger because they seem to have latched onto the idea of exporting their violence to the rest of the world, but they're hardly the first or the last group to do this. If they were to be wiped out, I wouldn't bet any money that someone else wouldn't get the same idea soon after, much like al-Qaeda did before them. It's not even a particularly regional idea; the notion that if we kill enough people we can restructure the world to be perfectly {Aryan, Muslim, Democratic, Christian, Communist, etc.}, or to be the economic vassal states of the {X} empire, is frankly a cliché by now on pretty much every square kilometer of the planet.

So let's review where we are, for a moment. There's a large European Muslim population which is disillusioned, disenfranchised, underemployed, and generally treated as outsiders and fair political punching bags by the society as a whole. There's a giant stream of refugees pouring in to Europe, combining huge numbers of people running for their lives from bloodthirsty maniacs with small numbers of bloodthirsty maniacs looking to recruit. There's a factory of particularly bloodthirsty maniacs with a vision of taking over the world through (a) killing people and (b) convincing the rest of the world to treat Muslims even more like outsiders, who are actively trying to both create refugee streams and send out recruiters, to this end.

At this point, I expect to hear a chorus of voices blaming two things for this: religion (specifically, Islam), and oil (specifically, the West's insatiable need for it). To which my main response to both is "hogwash."

The reason I reject Islam as an explanation for this is that there's nothing particularly Muslim about any of it. The European Muslims which are being treated as second-class citizens aren't being treated that way because they pray on rugs facing Mecca, rather than in pews facing an altar; they're being treated this way because they're "dirty foreigners." (I'll spare you the actual terms used to describe them) Da'esh's plan to take over the world isn't rooted in a theological destiny of Muslims; it's rooted in an explicitly political vision of conquest. And quite frankly, the people being shot at the most are Muslims, too; remember who the refugees were running from?

More profoundly, people in the Middle East aren't systematically any more religious than people are in America. You have the same spectrum from the wholly secular to the crazed fundamentalist, with the former predominating in cities and the latter in the countryside. There's a tendency to assume (for example) that any woman wearing a headscarf must be extremely devout, or subject to domination and terror by some devout man; you have to back away and look at it in its local context, where sometimes it's a sign of devotion or a political statement, but it's also just what people wear; for many people, walking around with one's hair exposed is not done in much the same way people don't walk around in most of the US or Europe with their asses hanging out.

Oil is generally used as a proxy for "if only the Americans|Europeans never intervened in the Middle East, it would be peaceful there!" This bespeaks a rather curious innocence as to the history of the Middle East, combined with a reversed vision of (generally American) exceptionalism, that somehow our surpassing evil can corrupt otherwise noble savages. It's certainly true that without oil, most of the Middle East would be desperately poor – but as it happens, most of it is desperately poor anyway. Oil is not uniformly distributed, and Syria doesn't have that much of it to begin with.

There is one sense in which this is true, which is that the 2003 invasion of Iraq created a spectacular disaster. George W. Bush's belief that if we just created enough of a power vacuum, democracy would magically rush in to fill the void – the precise belief which his father didn't have, mind you, which is why GHWB made the explicit and deliberate decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power – proved to be exactly as unwise as it sounds when written so plainly. The result was a giant area of anarchy and civil war smack in the center of the Middle East, into which would-be fighters from all over the region (as well as other regions) swarmed: veterans of Chechnya and Bosnia found new employment in Iraq, as Sunnis and Shi'ites alike slaughtered one another. This anarchy, never resolved, has been the perfect factory of chaos which quite easily spilled over elsewhere.

But there's one profound factor which has driven the violence in the Middle East far more than oil ever could: water.

The entire Middle East has been in a water, and thus food, crisis for decades. In Egypt, for example, the Nile Valley has been drying out ever since the Aswan Dam was completed in 1970; as this once-fertile soil turned to desert, people have streamed into Cairo, doubling and tripling its population by forming tremendous shantytowns. Unemployment was extreme, as it's not like the cities suddenly had tens of millions of new jobs in them; the government kept order as well as it could by importing grain in tremendous quantities (the government's by-far largest annual expense) and selling bread cheaply. Unfortunately, a drought in Russia and Ukraine, Egypt's primary suppliers, caused those countries to cut off wheat exports in 2011 – and the government collapsed soon after.

Syria is a similar story: the lead-in to the collapse of Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship was steady droughts in the Syrian countryside driving people into the cities by the hundreds of thousands, leading to mass unemployment and unrest. People's livelihoods had simply disappeared. Stories like this repeat across the entire Middle East.

When we talk about the ultimate causes of the situation, this is the fact we tend to ignore: at the root of it, there isn't enough water, and there isn't enough food, and droughts have been hitting the area harder and harder for a decade. When there isn't enough food, people move from the countryside to the cities; and now you have giant groups of people who still don't have jobs or food, and that's a recipe for the collapse of governments as surely today as it was in Europe in the 1840's.

If you've ever wondered why I have often said that we need to be very actively worried about climate change, this is it. Changing climate breaks agriculture in various areas; the people who were farming there don't magically turn into factory workers or teleport to places which are (slowly) becoming more fertile; they become desperate former farmers, generally flooding into cities. 

So given all of this, what can we actually conclude? I think the most important thing is that you can't bury your head in the sand, and assume that problems in some other part of the world aren't your own. A drought or a civil war somewhere else can easily start to spill over in unexpected ways.

If you want to avoid terrible consequences, what you have to do is plan, and in particular never let kindling build up. For example:

(1) If you have a large, disenfranchised, population, this is trouble waiting to start. The only way to fix this problem is to enfranchise them: give them a full stake in your society. Yes, that means treating people who are very different from you like full equals. Yes, it also means that your society – that is, the set of people that you're responsible for – now includes a bunch of people who are a lot poorer than you are, and this is going to be expensive to fix. You're not going to like it. But you're going to like the alternative a whole lot less.

(2) If there's political instability, or worst of all, food supply instability somewhere else in the world, it doesn't matter how far away it seems: you need to get together with everyone else and have a serious plan to deal with it. Once masses of hundreds of thousands of people start streaming across the countryside, chaos will follow in their wake. 

(3) Climate change isn't an abstract fear for the future; it's a major political problem right now. You can't punt it away and talk about what to do about carbon emissions or its effect on the economy; you have to sit down and come up with serious strategic plans for what to do when agricultural productivity in critical breadbaskets drops sharply, or watersheds dry up. Contingency planning for any government needs to include anything from hurricanes to long-term droughts, and not just as one-offs, but what to do if these start happening a lot. The reason you need to plan for this is that it's not a goddamned hypothetical, you idiot.

What do we do in the short term? This is harder, because right now Da'esh has been sending agents across the planet to cause as much trouble as they can. One obvious prong of the solution is ordinary police work; that's proven far more effective than complex intelligence solutions at catching terrorists. Another prong is stopping their support system at the root. Because Da'esh's plans are so focused on actual conquest, a collapse of their regime back home is likely to have more of an effect on their satellite agents than the collapse of a more ideologically-oriented organization like al-Qaeda.

A third prong is to stabilize the situation in Syria: here the key isn't so much blowing anyone up as giving people a way to stop fighting. There are three key obstacles to this. One is Da'esh, which seems to be pretty committed to fighting for its own sake; this is unlikely fixable by any means short of straightforward military defeat. One is the underlying lack of food availability. The third is that quite a lot of people have reason to believe that they will be killed either if al-Assad regains power, or if he loses power. They need a serious guarantee of personal safety in any peace.

What this probably means is that a peace agreement will require very heavy international support: aid to rebuild the country, neutral military forces to guarantee cease-fires, and some way to deal with the underlying economic issues. That's going to require heavy international coordination of the profoundly unsexy sort: not deploying giant militaries to bomb targets and wave banners, or propping up regimes and helping them "suppress insurgencies," but working on the long-term realities of helping locals build a government that they're invested in – even when said government is unlikely to be either similar to Western norms, or friendly to Western aims. Military force to crush Da'esh is almost certainly needed as a precondition to this, but it's by far the smaller part of the game.

The short version is: if you want to fix problems, you're going to have to deal with some very serious, expensive, and unsexy solutions. Because life isn't simple, and you can't just bomb your way out of trouble.

[1] See this recent editorial for the argument for switching to the term Da'esh more broadly: [Thanks to +Lisa Straanger for finding this more in-depth discussion than the Boston Globe op-ed which I had earlier cited]

[2] cf, for example, this infographic:

[3] cf, for example, this obituary of a proud French torturer:

[4] cf
498 comments on original post
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
My life.
Was reminded of Dyson's article for the Notices about birds and frogs:
 ·  Translate
4 comments on original post
Ray Wu's profile photo
Ray Wu
:) the monkeys would also have been acceptable
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Well, this is dumb.
What the frak??? The bizarrely slow process of releasing Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. What is this? The 1990s?

"When Hillary Clinton handed over 30,000 e-mails to the State Department, she did so in a very 20th-century way: She had them all printed out."

"The State Department then completed a tedious process to convert the 55,000 pages of e-mail and attachments back into a suitable electronic format. The scanning process itself involves five steps that are time-consuming and labor-intensive."

What's even worse, is this: "On Wednesday, a State Department official said that printing emails is common practice, and it would have to print Clinton's emails in the normal review process."

So... H.Clinton prints the emails, the State Department scans them back in, only to print them out again for 'review' ????
96 comments on original post
Susan Kozianski's profile photoJames Kozianski's profile photoMincong chen's profile photo
I have to send faxes for work. I tried to email them the application form once, they received the email, but because it wasn't done via fax as per the instructions they knocked it back...
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
Short Game Reviews: Fire Emblem: Awakening

When I bought a DS recently I did the normal thing and got Pokemon. It was pretty cool I guess, but my obvious attempt to become a kid again (gaming-wise at least) had failed. The experience wasn't terrible, so I tried my luck again, this time on something that seemed to ape another classic game from the olde thymes: Fire Emblem, a tactical RPG in the same vein as Shining Force, and was instantly reminded what it was like to be my former self - a kid whose only concern is maximising the amount of time spent playing games.

This game is ridiculous. Not only are the battles crazy tight, with real tactics actually needing to be employed to win, but the meta-game of sharing out experience points and crafting your team is beautifully executed, too. I was perfectly happy with its meaty complexity already when I noticed that your fighters can become friends, and then they fight better alongside each other. Then I realised they can get married. Then I realised that their future children come back in time and fight alongside their parents, leading to a whole other crazy level of concerns and planning. Not to mention the class system and the bevy of secret characters that can be acquired along the way.

Ultimately, I can't think of anything wrong with this game at all. For me it was a slice of pure enjoyment and a reminder that games are basically a drug.
Mark Tsui's profile photoGlen Murphy's profile photoJames Kozianski's profile photo
+Mark Tsui Cool, Zelda was on my list. I'll have to bump it up! Right now I'm playing Etrian Odyssey 4, which looks like it'll take a while. Map drawing is a great concept. I'm surprised how well some games make use of the second screen.

+Glen Murphy I faced the same temptation but fortunately I managed to resist. In fact for a while I didn't know there was a way to grind, so every decision to include or exclude someone from the team bore the weight of the rest of the game, which added crazy tension. Next playthrough (probably when I retire) I'll go walkthrough crazy.
Add a comment...

James Kozianski

Shared publicly  - 
I've read Goodnight Moon almost every night for the past two years.  It's a wonderful book which my son enjoys.  Here are some of my issues with the bedroom depicted in it. 1.  The Size of the Bedroom This bedroom is enormous.  There is no one, I think, who has not noticed this.  As someone…
View original post
Add a comment...
James's Collections
Collections James is following
  • University of New South Wales
    Computer Science, 2004 - 2007
Basic Information
  • Google
    Programmer, 2007 - present
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Beautiful cafe with 1900s charm. Situated in one of the most gorgeous streets in Annandale. Big breakfast is filling and nutritious.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
The haloumi burger is SO GOOD. Great service and very pleasant decor and outdoor setting.
Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
Amazing handmade dumplings and noodles that can easily stand with the best in Sydney, and incredibly friendly service. Strongly recommended!
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
Amazing food, easily amongst the best in Sydney, and super friendly staff.
Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
54 reviews
Delicious! Better than meat.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
The view and atmosphere are great here. The big bird is really delicious and the coffee is fine.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
Fine - good size room with lights and air con that aren't key-operated, close to the station and the famous Shimaname highway / cycling route.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago