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…

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#MyNYPD Hashtag Promptly Hijacked

Someone is regretting this PR move. The official @NYPDnews Twitter account made an attempt at social media outreach today only to get promptly torn to shreds by users resisting the PR push. Hijacked hashtags are a common Twitter phenomenon, but tend to be played more for giggles (“trolling,” some call it) than to make a coherent political statement. With #myNYPD, however, a harsh pattern emerged right away. –NYMag