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Facebook’s News Feed: Often Changed, Never Great

I’ve never liked Instant Articles — Facebook’s Newspeak term for “We want to make it harder for users to leave Facebook even when they’ve chosen to follow a link to an article on a news source.” In The New Yorker, Om Malik writes about Facebook’s evolving interface. There are days when I look at my news feed and it seems like a social fabric of fun—a video of the first…

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Facebook is predicting the end of the written word

Facebook’s video push threatens the edited TV news package as much as it threatens the written word. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in traffic when I post a YouTube video (which generally gets modest attention on FB but often accumulates views over time) vs when I post similar content directly within Facebook (which FB seems to promote more quickly, but which disappears into the memory hole about 24 hours later,…

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Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible.

Language evolves, so oldsters like me should get just used to it, right? Well, langauge was evolving long before “text” was a verb, and that’s exactly the reason why the English of Dickens and Shakespeare and Chaucer looks so different from our ordinary speech. I still use a pay-as-you-go dumb phone, and have to pay per message, so I use periods to pack multiple thoughts into each text. I use…

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Narrow Parsers

Creating n00b-friendly interactive fiction by deliberately reducing the number of available verbs? Intersting… Though I rather liked the results when I experimented with diegetic (in-game) hints delivered by an NPC who gets more and more specific to help the player accomplish some orientation tasks. Parser IF is fundamentally driven by player action, by game verbs, in a way that’s not necessarily the case of choice-based IF. When you’re designing a protagonist, a…

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Clickbait writers hate this English professor’s time-saving trick!

Defeat clickbaiters with this one weird trick! You won’t believe how punctuation can save you time. Will you regret clicking that headline phrased as a question? (You can safely avoid clicking any headline phrased as a question, promises an emotional reaction, or hedges a claim with “may” or “could be”. You won’t miss anything important if you don’t click that bait.)

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Releasing a Tiny Game and Trying to Get Paid

[G]ames is a bit more financially brutal than either theatre or poetry, which is funny, because poetry is already financially brutal. It is harder to get people to pay for games than for any other artform I work in. I could make more money for less work elsewhere. That said, in both theatre and poetry most of my money comes not from sales but from commissions and public funding: trying…