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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

Don Draper and Jackie Brown at LAX

Illo: Matt Haughey

Two scenes shot on LAX's mosaic-backed moving walkway, years apart: Pam Grier in the intro credits of Jackie Brown, and Jon Hamm as Don Draper in last night's season opener of Mad Men. Compare The Graduate.

Matt Haughey carefully spliced stills from the two scenes together to create this exquisite composite. It's unsettling, yet intriguing, to see the two stars with their impassive public don't-bother-me faces appearing to stand before one another. The walkway hidden from view, it could be anywhere in abstract LAXspace.

But I prefer an alternate explanation, where the context of the automatic walkway is assumed: Don has turned around in order to travel backwards while chatting up Jackie, but Jackie is having none of his bullshit.

(For context, here's video of the mosaic and walkway.)

Build the dungeon, not the adventurer

In the Guild of Dungeoneering, instead of controlling the adventurer, you build the dungeon--and put in monsters--as they go. It's $10 to buy into the alpha, and you can play with a browser demo free of charge. I love the hand-drawn style, evocative of every schoolroom doodling ever put to paper by a bored geek! Mute the sound, though.

Windows Phone 8.1 surprisingly great

Windows Phone 7 was Microsoft's belated entry in the smartphone wars, ushering in cool new design trends without making a huge impact on the business. Windows Phone 8 was a disappointment. But the first major point version is a big surprise, packing all the new features expected in its predecessor: "a magnificent smartphone platform," writes Peter Bright. Rob 15

Children confused by Walkmans

Oldness now officially begins with the dawn of the iPod. Today's youngsters no longer find portable cassette players amusingly old-fashioned; they now have no clue whatsoever about any music gadget old enough to contain moving parts. Just to rub it in, they nevertheless understand the historical context and say very funny, insightful things about consumer technology! [Video Link]

Rope removed from urethra

Shanghai Daily reports that one Dr. Dong successfully removed a knotted length of rope from an adventurous fellow's urethra. Rob 13

Amy's Baking Company has its revenge

Amy's Baking Company (previously), the venue of note in the only episode of Gordon Ramsay's cooking show anyone ever needs to watch, is still going strong. And the proprietors are still completely bonkers, ranting about the yelpers, eunuchs, etc: "We are not psychotic lunatic people ... If you come to attack us, we will scream at you and throw you out." [via Gawker]

I'd still rather eat there than Nello's.

Letters of Note finally in print

Letters of Note, the most excellent blog collecting intriguing letters sent by noteworthy persons, is finally to be an excellent book.

"This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher's eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic."

Previously: Letters of Note -- blog of written correspondence from well-known people
Letters of Note, the book

Blackmagic adds more pro cameras at market-nuking prices

Blackmagic's trick is to make cameras with great cinematic image quality at a relatively inexpensive price. The tradeoff is gear that is Satan's gift to ergonomics, with low-end audio inputs, terrible battery life and a limited set of features. Enter the Blackmagic Studio Camera, which includes a big 10" monitor, 4 hours on a charge, XLR inputs, and broadcast-friendly features lacking in the earlier models. With the offered grip accessory, one may even hold it with a human hand! The game-changing prices remain: it's just under $2k, with a 4K version for $3k. You'll still need to bring your own lenses and SSDs.

Also announced is the Blackmagic URSA, a higher-end model with a super35-size 4k sensor aimed at professional feature use. At $6k, it isn't as affordable to students and consumers as the other models (especially the $990 pocket cinema camera), but it compares well on paper to the five-figure price tags hanging off similar gear from Canon, Sony and others.

Condoleezza Rice, surveillance and torture fan, joins Dropbox board

You don't need Mike Judge to remind you how dumb the valley is. Buried on page 3 of a Businessweek story by Brad Stone and Ari Levy, via Sam Biddle at Valleywag:

Dropbox has also added a prominent fourth member to a board of directors that Houston has until now kept small—Condoleezza Rice. The former secretary of state’s consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, has been advising the startup on management issues for the last year. Now she’ll help the company think about such matters as international expansion and privacy, an issue that dogs every cloud company in the age of Edward Snowden and the NSA. “As a country, we are having a great national conversation and debate about exactly how to manage privacy concerns,” Rice says about her new position. “I look forward to helping Dropbox navigate it.”

Rice joining Dropbox is the insult, not the injury, which is in the firm's DNA: customer privacy as a feature, not a principle.

Amazon launches Fire TV set-top-box and game console

Described as a "tiny box you connect to your HDTV", Amazon's $99 Fire TV hits a crowded field, with Roku and Apple already offering nearly-identical products. The difference Amazon touts is more powerful hardware--a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM--and the claim that it has freed itself from the "closed ecosystems" that reduce the appeal of small set-top boxes to people already renting big ones from cable TV providers.

Amazon Instant Video is the deal, with apps for Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, MLB and the NBA also available at launch. There's a bunch of Amazon Cloud Drive stuff, too, allowing photo sharing and other stuff of scant living-room appeal.

Most interesting, though, is what else is enabled by the beefy specs that Amazon packed into the hipflask-size gadget: it's a game console, with the Amazon Fire Game Controller a $40 upgrade. Each comes with $10 of credit for games, with 100 or so titles available at launch, including Minecraft Pocket Edition and Monsters University.

Games will be cheap and cheerful, with an average price point under $2. This is no PS4, or even a WiiU: expect 20 million free-to-play titles by christmas.

Is Gresso Azimuth the Sony Ericsson K850 killer we've all been waiting for?

Packing exclusive materials, handicraft and attention to detail, the Azimuth is luxury phonemaker Gresso's bid to take on Sony Ericsson's K850 at the premium end of the cellphone market.

The slim candybar packs beefy Dual SIMs, but lacks the reigning champ's Memory Stick Micro slot and 5.04 megapixel CMOS camera with Xenon flash. No word on polyphonic ringtones.

Like its rival, which was discontinued seven years ago, the Azimuth opts for svelte metal buttons for a "pleasant tactile perception" and a brushed metal casing evocative of the DeLorean DMC-12, the most popular sports car among men who claim to have killed Jon-Benet Ramsay. Unlike long-defunct Sony Ericsson's flagship model, though, it's assembled by a single craftsman to allow the titanium casing time to mature.

Sporting Nokia's cutting-edge S40 operating system, the Azimuth should offer a snappier experience than even the beefiest and most packing Symbian handsets, but business users might not be so quick to give up their BlackBerry Pearls.

The Gresso Azimuth is just $2000 and may be ordered directly from gresso.com

Dear Abby has comment section

Rather, the latest version of her syndicate's website has them. But America's greatest dispenser of marvelously passive-aggressive and contradictory advice will hopefully yield the best responses. Do help out! Rob 25

Why did this cop smash this woman in the face during the Arizona "riot"?

Well away from the "front line" of this weekend's sports-related disturbance in Arizona, a cop dashes up to what appears to be a calm, unthreatening spectator and strikes her in the face (0:20s). She's thrown over a bench; the officer makes no attempt to detain, arrest, or otherwise communicate with her.

The officer just turns and walks away.

Answers on a postcard, please! [Video Link]

Cooked tarantulas on a stick

Cooked tarantulas are seen at the 110th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, March 15, 2014. The club, which promotes scientific exploration, featured catering by chef and "exotic creator" Gene Rurka. Chef Rurka prepared a variety of dishes featuring insects, wildlife and invasive plant species. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Linkrot on The Million-Dollar Homepage

The Million Dollar Homepage was a lucrative advertising gimmick launched in 2005: one pixel cost one dollar. Nearly a decade on, 22 percent of the links on the homepage are dead, reports David Yanofsky. [via]

I bet a lot of the 'live' stuff is effectively dead, too: squatted, sold and repurposed domains. But that would be much harder to check for. Perhaps a "heat map" showing how many DNS changes the domain for each ad has undergone since 2005?

Read the rest