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September 30, 2008

Filed under: random»linky

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So I've got all this bad hypertext lying around. What'll you give me for it? Bids start at $700 billion.

  • Of all the Paul Newman obits I've read, and there have been plenty in recent days, Dahlia Lithwick's is probably the best, with its personal look at the man's love for philanthropy.
  • A while back, John Scalzi wrote something interesting about writing for licensed properties--stuff like the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels: if a writer announced that they were going to write an episode for a TV show, he said, we'd no doubt congratulate them even though it's basically the same situation. With that in mind, I found Karen Traviss's comments on her love for writing tie-ins to be really interesting.
  • The reporters behind the "Giant Pool of Money" piece explaining the mortgage crisis have done another story on the commercial paper crunch at NPR's Planet Money. Also in that program, hilariously, is an interview with a libertarian who thinks that the problem has been too much regulation. Thus proving that no matter what the story, American journalists can always find somebody completely insane and unqualified to comment on it.
  • The White African blog is one of my new favorite reads. Partially because of a series of posts on innovation (If It Works In Africa, It Will Work Anywhere", "Afridex: An Index of African Tech Startups") making the point that the continent is a vastly fertile zone for repurposing and inventing technology in cool ways, contrary to the typical Western perception. But I'm also grateful that it introduced me to Afrigadget, a kind of Boing Boing for Africa without the breathless tone or the endless Disneyland posts.
  • Also vastly cool is FrontlineSMS, which is not a text message-based heartworm treatment, but a free solution for NGOs looking to run information campaigns, polls, and other mass communication over cell networks.
  • The news went out the other day that Valve will start putting Source mods on Steam. I have to say, the most interesting part of the recent resurgence in DRM debate, precipitated by Spore, has been the redemption of Steam. When the service first came out, people were unbelievably upset that their copy of HL2 had to be associated with this buggy, bandwidth-hogging monster. Nowadays, the service has become the very model of how to do DRM and electronic delivery right, due in large part to a set of features--unified chat APIs, easy game reinstallation, discount weekend sales--that are pro-consumer.
  • Michael Berube, author of a number of insightful posts as well as the highly-recommended What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts? has resumed writing at his personal blog.

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