704: “The Details Matter,” with Shahid Kamal Ahmad

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Richard Francis Burton, the 19th Century English explorer, linguist, writer and soldier who translated the “Arabian Nights,” kept 11 desks, one for each project, and shuttled between them.


Assuming this is all about gaming, as the description indicates, I’ll probably skip this one. I like to have fun, but I’m not into gaming. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m an hour in, and not much about gaming so far.

And even though gaming’s not my thing, I always enjoy listening to Shahid. :smile:

I’m only a few minutes in, and then work interrupted me (the nerve!) but the discussion is about how gaming can be used in healthcare.

@acavender @MevetS In that case, I may listen after all! I’ll be on my daily run in a few hours so I’ll give the episode a try. Thanks for clarifying! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m not at all keen for a gaming show, so was pleased this had a good amount of balance in the overall discussion. Use of gaming to help with some medical conditions is a fascinating idea.

My action from this show is to look for some of the research that Shahid mentioned that so clearly links gaming with positive outcomes.

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I don’t keep a list of all guests on MPU. But hasn’t this guy been a guest fairly recently? [*]

I know, history repeats itself. But if the pool of potential guests runs dry, it may be better to stop with the podcast.

[*] It turns out he was in both episode 407 and 577.

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I think Shahid has content enough for 2 more episodes in the future… Always a joy to listen to …


I really enjoyed this episode. I was concerned about the amount of ‘gaming’ there would be and if the Android talk would be of little interest, but the conversation was really interesting and relevant. My only quibble would be that the More Power Users segment seemed perfectly good content for the main show. I do subscribe, but I prefer it if the extra conversation is more off-brand (and I then sometimes skip it!)

Give it a hundred episodes or so and I’d love to hear what Shahid is up to again :slight_smile:

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I was surprised to hear that too. I’m a little skeptical. Research may show a correlation between gaming and some positive health outcomes, but I’ve seen too many young boys neglecting their school work and too many young married men ignore their wives, children, and other responsibilities as men, husbands, and fathers because they are addicted to gaming, to take it at face value that the net benefits outweigh the cost in lost learning, lost relationships, damaged marriages and wasted time that could be better spent.


I would be willing to bet that with these individuals if it wasn’t gaming it would be something else :thinking:


With respect, one could use that kind of reasoning to ignore nearly every vice. :slightly_smiling_face:

the only ‘real’ talk about gaming comes at the end, when they discuss Vision Pro for about 20 minutes. That’s it :smiley:

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To be honest, I’ve seen WAY more people who have relationship, marriage, and family problems because of the time they spent on work/study than because of the time they spent playing games.


I’ll certainly grant you that! But, one could argue that at least work and study are worthwhile activities. Gaming (in excess)? Not so much. That said, I agree completely with your point. Men are particularly guilty of loving career more than family and children.

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I think that the whole discussion of games depends very much not only on the type of person who plays these games, but also on the type of games itself. The fact is that games can differ from each other not just like watching some good and “smart” movie and watching 20,000 episodes of a cheap TV show, but like watching a movie and watching Tik-Tok. And when we talk about “games” in general, of course, all people mean different things by this. So talking about “games” is more like talking about… video content. Video content may be understood as educational videos for schools, Alfred Hitchcock’s films or endless vertical videos of dancing children. So, games may be understood as story-driven “short” games that hardly cause more addiction than reading books, some endless PC MMORPGs, literally millions of even more endless mobile games, cognitive games for children or games-simulators for airline pilots.

This was more my response to your comment about the health benefits of games, I didn’t read the research, but perhaps the point is that it’s not about the benefits from all games in general, but about the benefits from individual types of games, that don’t have as many of the flaws you described.


I just finished the episode and was about to write a quick post about Richard Francis Burton’s many (literal) desktops, but didn’t have a ready link. Thanks for posting!

I read a biography about Burton years ago, and he was a fascinating character.

Agree - I was drafting up a giant post in defense of gaming, but I mostly lost interest in my own prattling.

Some of the most enjoyable and stimulating experiences in my life have come from gaming, a lot of it very social. Shoot, for a year I served in a HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE in a digital corporation in the MMORPG EVE Online, literally doing background checks on people that were interested in joining and playing with our group.

Alternatively, some of the most moving experiences I’ve had have come from single-player experiences as well. I’d like to share three brief trailers for three recent games that I’ve played over the past few years that are vastly diverse, affected me deeply, and couldn’t adequately exist in any other medium.

  1. Pentiment: My GOTY of last year. Fun, funny, moving mystery that really got me thinking about heavy topics like legacy and faith.
  2. Like a Dragon: The Yakuza series is one of the greatest of all time. Incredibly attention to detail and Like a Dragon has some particularly fascinating explorations of masculinity. It’s equal parts hilarious, exciting, and extremely moving. I ugly cried several times while playing.
  3. Elden Ring: This game has some of the most amazing art and is one of the most tense experiences out there. I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Truly, the art in this game is unparalleled.

I game a ton, it is one of my key hobbies. I try to get in an at least hour a day. My wife games. Most of my friends and many of their partners are gamers. None of our lives are destroyed.


Burton was indeed a fascinating character. I read a biography of him many years ago, and it stuck with me. I should pick up another.

My introduction to Burton was in the delightful science fiction novel, “To Your Scattered Bodies Go,” by Philip Jose Farmer. I would not be surprised if you said yours was the same.

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