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Seriously, Fuck You, “Kindle Unlimited”

I’m just quoting the f-bomb in the link, but I do agree with the sentiment behind it. Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is…

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Russia Conspiracy Theories Trap Putin Malaysia Airlines MH17

An old journalism joke suggests that, during the Cold War, the USSR state-run news agency reported the results of a two-car race this way: “Soviet car finishes second; Americans next-to-last.” In a culture without a free press, the official story is the only story. Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia? Well, it’s all true—at…

Peter Greste trial: Egypt rejects criticism of judicial system after jailing of Al Jazeera journalists

Egypt sentences Al Jazeera journalists to years in prison

An Egyptian court has sentenced two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison and another to 10 years, on charges including aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news. A judge delivered the verdicts Monday against Peter Greste, an Australian citizen; Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen. Al Jazeera has always rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence. –Al Jazeera America.

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Blood & Laurels : Emily Short’s Versu launches iPad Game

Emily Short (Galatea, First Draft of the Revolution), formerly employed by Linden Labs to work on the interactive fiction storytelling platform Versu, announces that her Versu game, Blood and Laurels, is now available for iPad. (The Versu team also includes Richard Evans and Graham Nelson.) It’s the eight hundred and twenty first year of the city of Rome, a year of bad omens and unrest. The Emperor is bloodthirsty and…

Amazon’s Tactics Confirm Its Critics’ Worst Suspicions

This week, as part of a contract dispute with the publisher Hachette, we’re seeing Amazon behaving at its worst. The company’s willingness to nakedly flex its anticompetitive muscle gives new cause for concern to anyone who cares about books — authors, publishers, but mainly customers. Here’s the back story: In an effort to exert pressure on Hachette, Amazon began taking down preorder buttons for many Hachette titles. It has also…

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Facebook’s Mike Hudack rants about the media: Why won’t anybody do something about these shallow viral stories?

When a Facebook executive whines about all these shallow viral links clogging our feeds, Slate’s Jordan Wiessmann clicks him a new one. If only we, the American people, could summon a champion. Someone who could, with the change of a single algorithm, turn the entire media ecosystem on its head. But who? –Jordan Weissmann, Slate.

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Text Adventure Geeks Rejoice: Major Inform7 Update

I have final grades, an annual report, and a video project for a publisher to finish before I unleash my inner nerd and install the latet Inform7 update. (Inform7 is a free programming language and development environment for writing command-line computer games in the spirit of Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure.) This release is a major reform of a now-mature language which is widely used, and it has been over…

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If Google+ Heads to the Grave, at Least It’ll Have Direction

Forced Google+ integration in Google Reader and YouTube, both of which had strong communities of their own beforehand, are prime examples of how Google+ fostered hostility rather than goodwill. The time is right for Google to rethink its approach. I still like the idea of Circles as a way of controlling who sees what, but there are other ways of letting people share without the Circle mechanism, whether it’s through…