Hackers and Makers

A longer-than-usual introduction to a reading assignment in my “Media and Culture” class turned into a useful opportunity to reflect. We are all busy people; yet somehow, many people who say they are too busy to take on another task spend hours reading, interpreting, and debating Harry Potter; some post stop-motion Lego spoofs; some do crossword puzzles; some study statistics for their fantasy football leagues; some perfect dance moves that…

Dolores Hart, who kissed Elvis Presley, is now a nun in Oscar-nominated documentary

Dolores Hart kissed Elvis Presley in her first film, starred in nine more movies within six years, and then gave it all up to become a nun. On Sunday, she returns to Hollywood to attend the Academy Awards, where a new film about her is up for best documentary short. via Dolores Hart, who kissed Elvis Presley, is now a nun in Oscar-nominated documentary  – NY Daily News.

Amazon Pulls Thousands of E-Books in Dispute – NYTimes.com

When the Kindle contract for one of the country’s largest book distributors, the Independent Publishers Group, came up for renewal, Amazon saw a chance to gain some ground at I.P.G.’s expense. “They decided they wanted me to change my terms,” said Mark Suchomel, president of the Chicago-based I.P.G. “It wasn’t reasonable. There’s only so far we can go.” With each side unwilling to yield, Amazon pulled the plug, and all…

Zombie Code and Extra-Functional Significance | Play The Past

Useless code and comments in code—these are the zombie figures of software. They serve no purpose in a program’s execution, but they exude what Mark Marino calls extra-functional significance. They have meaning beyond the program. They speak not to the machine or the compiler, but to a different audience, another reader. In software development, that other reader is often idealized as other programmers on the same project, though in practice…

Tantalizing Details for Colossal Cave Adventure Enthusiasts

The most detail I’ve ever seen about Will Crowther’s other creative projects; here, in a conversation dated 1996, he discusses “different ‘adventures’”, and reveals that he wrestled with many of the same challenges that interactive fiction programmers faced through the 1980s and on to the present. I have at various times made different “adventures.” Two stand out. One had hundreds of objects. I made a dump next to the well house,…