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What a Week to be a Geek! A Trove of Atari 2600 Goodness

Back when the box art had little to do with the way computer games looked, you got used to the cognitive disconnect between the two media. My brain still hasn’t fully processed Infocom Diskgate, when I come across a trove of Atari 2600 cartridges that resemble games I played, but the boxes seem… different.  Here’s my favorite. Check out the others at Mightygodking.

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Of Hitchhikers, Hard Drives, and Happenstance

Imagine that, since childhood, you’ve been a fan of a now-obscure genre of computer games called interactive fiction. Imagine that, since 1999, you’ve kept a weblog. Imagine that, since 2003, you’ve taught journalism and new media courses, in which you have introduced students to weblogs and interactive fiction (among other topics, of course).  Recently, after about five years of on-and-off research, you published an article that included archival material about…

Forum Refereee!

Jason Scott (who has produced a documentary on BBS culture and is working on one now on interactive fiction) offers a thoughtful analysis of an Atari forum thread that went awry. The problem with a “what do you think about this”, or the hardest portion, is listening to what people say and then waiting until it’s all died down to give a summary thanks and move on. Fulop instead begins…

Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy – Waxy.org

Andy Baio offers some forensic digital journalism: From an anonymous source close to the company, I’ve found myself in possession of the “Infocom Drive” — a complete backup of Infocom’s shared network drive from 1989. This is one of the most amazing archives I’ve ever seen, a treasure chest documenting the rise and fall of the legendary interactive fiction game company. Among the assets included: design documents, email archives, employee…

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Video: Water Balloon Exploding at 2,000 Frames per Second

Wired: An enterprising photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, captured a series of snapshots — a filmstrip — of a horse trotting and definitively settled the question in the affirmative. You can see the horse in-motion and check out the geeky tech from this magazine piece on high speed photography. Fast forward 130 years and we can now split a second into 2,000 of its constituent parts and examine them. One incredible example…

Professors Gone Paperless

Inside Higher Ed: 1998 was the last time that John Gallaugher, an associate professor of information systems at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, used a traditional print textbook. He assigned it to his graduate-level introductory course in information systems. The book cost about $150. He also assigned supplemental reading — trade press articles, online case studies and the like. Student feedback was clear: The textbook cost was too high,…

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How to write 200,000 books, with a computer's help

An article about an entrepreneur who stretches the definition of “book” (International Herald Tribune): Parker has generated more than 200,000 books, as an advanced search on Amazon.com under his publishing company shows, making him, in his own words, “the most published author in the history of the planet.” And he makes money doing it. Among the books published under his name are “The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Acne Rosacea” ($24.95…

Elementeo — Enter the Chemical Battlefield

This game sounds great. Created by a 14-year-old, says Wired. With Elementeo, we inject fun into education! Welcome to the Elementeo game!  In this action-packed game, two or more players wage a chemical war with just one goal in mind – destroy their opponent’s electrons to zero!  Armed with their arsenal of elements, compounds, and nuclear reactions, these young chemists strive to create, combat, and conquer the world! As the…

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Commando Performance

The WashPo ruminates on the social significance of the activities of the brain-eating collegiate undead. The 2005 inaugural Zombies game drew about 70 Goucher students. Since then, as many as 200 have played, making it one of the most popular student activities — even though it’s not an official student activity — among the school’s roughly 1,500 students. The game has spread to other campuses, with thousands of students playing…

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A Mathematician's Lament

My ten-year-old has wanted to be a scientist since he was four, but he’s bored by math. Paul Lockhart (PDF) helps me understand why. But what do I do now? The difference between math and the other arts, such as music and painting, is that our culture does not recognize it as such. Everyone understands that poets, painters, and musicians create works of art, and are expressing themselves in word,…