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The Days of Microsoft Internet Explorer Are Numbered—But Its Sorry Legacy Will Live On

Starting today, Microsoft will no longer support most versions of Internet Explorer, one of the most contentious pieces of software in history. … By insisting on following its own path with IE rather than follow generally accepted standards, Microsoft dictated web design by years. That probably drove many aspiring web developers [to] careers that didn’t require trying to figure out why the margins between images looked different from one browser to…

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How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain

I get my fill of Disney pretty quick. In the 90s I chose the time period 1920-1950 for my dissertation, because at the time works published in the early 1920s were entering the public domain in the US. I figured I could publish online annotated editions of the works I had studied, as each fell out of copyright. A certain rodent changed all that. Every time Disney’s beloved mouse is…

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Rest assured, there will soon be enough Rey toys to monetize the imaginations of the little girls who grew out of princess worship

The problems of female characters being under-represented in geek merchandise is real. But when it’s a secondary character like Gamora or Black Widow, at least toy companies have an excuse. When the girl is not just the star of the movie, but of the whole franchise, that’s another story. That character, of course, is Rey, the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the latest problem has to…

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Excessive Copyright Strikes Again in 2016

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and 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 1959 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2016,…

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Coding Bootcamps and the New For-Profit Higher Ed

There are actually a number of narratives – some of them competing narratives – at play here in the recent push for coding bootcamps, MOOCs, and other ed-tech initiatives: that everyone should go to college; that college is too expensive – “a bubble” in the Silicon Valley lexicon; that alternate forms of credentialing will be developed (by the technology sector, naturally); that the tech sector is itself a meritocracy, and…

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Canon Australia video: 1 man; 6 backstories; 6 photographers; 6 photos

Canon Australia wants to sell cameras. This soft-sell video flatters the creative ambitions of customers in order to make them want to invest money in a fancy camera. We should be critical of the premise, because the video is not an art project or a psychological study. Still, this is good storytelling, and helps make a point about how media creates the reality that we perceive.