Nominate your digital heroes for EFF's Pioneer Award

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual Pioneer Award honors people who have "contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications," and the 26th annual awards will be given out this year: nominations are open until May 23. Read the rest

Let's go pioneering

It's fun to feel you're a video games pioneer. The world sprawls out in front of you, in chunks of textured map-land, and you have to make often risky decisions about how to manage what lies before you. Will you spend time and precious energy stripping nearby plants for medicine, or will you make the long trek forward into the unknown, on the off chance you'll find water there? Something about games makes the old-timey cocktail of pioneering exciting -- remember playing Oregon Trail as a child, sorta-learning all about the journeys of early Americans while wagoners named after your classmates broke all their limbs and died of dysentery? Games are fun ecosystems to play relatively fearlessly with risk and possibility. Berlin-based Maschinen-Mesnch's Curious Expedition, which I first saw in a Swiss games festival last year, is a fun and straightforward game of land expedition, where you manage your health and mental well-being as you wander maps in search of temples, villages and good trades (you're likely enjoy it if you enjoyed FTL). The cute thing about Curious Expedition is you can play as any number of great historical pioneers, from Charles Darwin to Ada Lovelace, each with their own special ability. Pioneers, by Eigen Lenk, is another top-down game about forging out into the textured world and wrangling with the forces you find there, in a narrative wrapper that makes you feel like you're a kid again, peeping a musty copy of Swiss Family Robinson from your grandparents' garage cabinet. Read the rest

Webcomics pioneer Joey Manley dies

Joey Manley, creator of Modern Tales, online comics trail-blazer, podcaster and author, died last week at 48. Many tributes are being posted to his Facebook page; Kevin Melrose published an obituary at Comic Book Resources.
He “was a true pioneer of webcomics,” retailer and convention organizer Chris Butcher wrote last night on Twitter. Cartoonist T Campbell went more in-depth about Manley’s contributions on his blog, writing, “There was a brief moment, hard to remember now, when webcomics and the Web in general seemed to be unsustainable through advertising. Ad rates were in freefall, panicking artists who, a few years prior, had thought they were more or less set for life. Joey knew how to talk to people, how to bring talent together, and he was the one willing to address the elephant in the room: maybe we needed to change the business model.”
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