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July 21, 2008

Filed under: random»linky

Link and You'll Miss It

So fast, we had to add extra anchor tags.

  • Farhad Manjoo's second look at the 'long tail' theory is a much-needed dose of skepticism about Chris Anderson's over-hyped economic theory. Indeed, it's a lot like the "1,000 true fans" that Kevin Kelly hyped up a while back--sounds very cool, but ignores the realities of both the marketplace and any externalities that crop up. I've never been terribly impressed with Manjoo's writing for Salon, but if he can write pieces as good as this on a regular basis for Slate, it'll be a good reason to stop in.
  • Years after they were thought lost, tapes of Dr. Who theme arranger and synth pioneer Delia Derbyshire have been found. The "dance" track is surprisingly forward-looking--or, perhaps, computer- and sequence-based music inclines its creators to certain paths, and Derbyshire simply discovered them long before Aphex Twin started twiddling knobs.
  • This is, in part, why walled garden models are unworkable for consumers. It may seem nice to have applications collected in a single place instead of scattered around the Net, as is true for Symbian and Windows Mobile. But if it's not run well, what you end up with is all the worst parts of the software marketplace combined with the worst parts of a (possibly abusive) bureaucracy. What I've heard about the iPhone app store so far (a few quality programs surrounded by loads of shovelware and barely-adapted web apps) has done little to alter this perception.
  • In response to the ruling against the DC gun ban, the Washington Post featured an article last week in its style section penned by Dr. Guns.
    [The gun] should be part of something larger: locks, lights, cellphones, safety rooms, whatever. It's not the only resort, it's only the last resort. But because that awful day can come, for God's sake, shoot it! Understand its textures, its traits, its problems, its issues. Teach it to your hands so that, in the dark with a boatload of adrenaline in your blood, it will feel like an old piece of soap and not a prickly, sharp-edged conundrum wrapped inside a riddle. You don't want to be thinking: What do I do next? You want the gun to be second nature, its mechanics a confidence-building given. If you're worried about the gun, you will not dominate the upcoming transaction.
    Seriously, I know I betray exactly the kind of unease he's talking about, but Dr. Guns freaks me out a little. And I don't think the answer for me is to go shoot something.
  • I was honestly a little upset by the news that the XBox was getting a new Portal title. Thanks to Bioshock my console FPS skills have gotten better, but my endless refrain is still that aiming with a thumbstick is like painting with a live chicken--painful, and it annoys the chicken. Luckily, it's just a rehash of stuff that we've already seen on the PC.
  • Inside Nairobi, the Next Palo Alto? - Very cool.
  • Here's a neat interview with game composer Tommy Tallarico by the Onion's AV Club. He's very gung-ho about using orchestral recordings to create interactive music. I'm personally more intrigued by the ideas of building synthesis into software for dynamic audio, the way that we can now do graphics dynamically.

Future - Present - Past