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iTunes 11: It’s time for Apple’s horrible, bloated program to die.

At the head of the team is a grizzled old engineer who’s been at Apple forever. He’s surly and crude, always making vulgar jokes about iPads. But the company can’t afford to get rid of him—he’s the only one who understands how to operate the furnaces in the iTunes boiler room. Then one morning the crew hears a strange clanging from iTunes’ starboard side. Scouts report that an ancient piston—something…

What kinds of local stories drive engagement? The results of an NPR Facebook experiment

  We looked at every story we geotargeted during the months of July, August, and September 2012, focusing on the ones that the localized NPR Facebook following liked, shared, and commented on at a high rate. From this group of successful stories, we identified similarities which allowed us to create nine distinct content categories. We then dissected each successful story to decide which category it fell into. To identify a…

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Let there be light

The Irish have a weakness for puns, and this is as evident in the Book of Kells as it is in Finnegans Wake, although in the former the puns are for the most part visual, for no monk would think to tamper with the Gospel texts…. Thus on the recto of folio 180, a line of text referring to Peter’s denial of Christ incorporates the figure of a hare, an animal…

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Author of 80s classic The Hobbit didn’t know game was a hit

The Hobbit stood out from the adventure games of the day in three ways, the first of which was its use of graphics. Many scenes in the game included a colour image that may have drawn at painfully slow speed but still offered a far richer experience than the text-only adventures of the day. The second key innovation was ‘Inglish’, a parsing system that went far beyond the verb/noun syntax most…

What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2012?

Current US law extends copyright protection for 70 years after the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1955 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2012.…