Looking into my options for a compact, inexpensive home server, I chanced across PC Magazine's May 2016 review of the Dell Optiplex 3040. In the middle of it, reviewer and PC Magazine Lead Analyst Joel Santo Domingo is seen very briefly to caress the Dell. Pack it in, gadget reviewers: the best 2 seconds in the history of reviewing servers is over.
I added the music.
Here's the full review:
Read the rest
I first encountered Noelle Stevenson's work through her groundbreaking
, but before the 'Janes, Stevenson was tearing up the webcomics world with Nimona
, which was collected and published by Harper Teen
Between 1920 and 1924, the Free State of Fiume
was a real-world "pirate utopia
," an ungoverned place of blazing futurism, military triumphalism, transgression, sex, art, dada, and high weirdness. In Bruce Sterling's equally blazing dieselpunk novella Pirate Utopia
, the author turns the same wry and gimlet eye that found the keen edges for steampunk's seminal The Difference Engine
to the strange business of futurism.
Tim Harford's Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives
plays to Harford's prodigious strengths: the ability to tell engrossing human stories, and the ability to use those stories to convey complex, statistical ideas that make your life better.
Last week, the National Coalition Against Censorship
honored Rainbow Rowell for her refusal to be back down
on the frequent challenges to her multiple-award-winning, bestselling 2013 novel Eleanor & Park
. I was there, and got a copy of the novel, and have read nothing since, and now that I've finished it, I find myself profoundly moved.
is Nisi Shawl's debut novel, it's also been a hotly anticipated book for years, as Shawl is the co-author of Writing the Other
, a seminal book about diversity in prose; and is a much-respected critic and teacher. The book was worth the wait.
Tim Wu is a multiple threat: the originator of the term "net neutrality"
; a copyfighting lawyer who cares about creator's rights
; a fair use theorist
; Zephyr Teachout's running mate
in the NY gubernatorial race; an anti-monopolist
who joined the NY Attorney General
and used open source to catch Time Warner in the act
; a lifelong deep nerd
who was outraged by the persecution of Aaron Swartz
, and the author of one of the seminal books on telcoms policy and human rights
Now, he's back with his best book yet: The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, an erudite, energizing, outraging, funny and thorough history of one of humanity's core undertakings -- getting other people to care about stuff that matters to you.
Following complaints and a scathing exposé by Review Meta (previously) Amazon announced it will now ban incentivized reviews, a form of shill review written in exchange for free or reduced-cost products. Read the rest
YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier is a force of nature; her Babysitters Club graphic novels
are witty and smart and snappy; her standalone graphic novels are even better, but her latest, Ghosts
, is her best to date: an improbably upbeat story about death, assimilation and cystic fibrosis.
On September 14, 1987, Garry B Trudeau ran the first Doonesbury strip that mentioned Donald Trump
, in which his characters marvel that New York's "loudest and most visible asshole" had floated a political trial balloon, hinting that he would run for president; thus began 30 years of marveling at, mocking, and skewering Der Drumpf, so rattling the Short-Fingered Vulgarian that he felt the need to issue a series of wounded denunciations. Now, just in time for the election, Trudeau has released a collection of his Trump-themed strips, Yuge: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump
, just the thing to put the Republican nominee on tilt.
Since 2015, our family has been in love with Dana Simpson's Phoebe and Her Unicorn books, a kind of modern take on Calvin and Hobbes, only Calvin is an awesome little girl
, Hobbes is a unicorn, and the parental figures can see and interact with the unicorn, but are not freaked out because she generates a SHIELD OF BORINGNESS. Now, the insanely prolific Simpson has released the fourth
collection in the series: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure
It's been more than 20 years since the publication of Making Book
, Teresa Nielsen Hayden's collection of essays, mostly drawn from the pre-online days of fanzines and letters columns; this year, in honor of Teresa's stint as Fan Guest of Honor at Midamericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention
, NESFA Press has published a second volume: Making Conversation
, a collection of essays drawn from the online world on subjects as varied as moderation and trolling, cooking, hamster-rearing, fanfic, narcolepsy, the engineering marvels of the IBM Selectric, and more.
Review Meta has published an in-depth analysis of 7 million Amazon reviews and found that "incentivized reviews," those with a disclaimer that the reviewer got the product free or discounted, skew substantially higher than non-incentivized reviews. Read the rest
Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl trilogy
was one of the best kids' comics of the new century (and it's headed to TV!
), and he's been very productive
in the years since, but his new series, Mighty Jack
feels like the true successor to Zita: a meaty volume one that promises and delivers all the buckle you can shake a swash at, with more to come.
The Mysterious Package Company’s (previously) audience is bifurcated into two groups which seem to overlap only slightly. The first group buys one or more of the six (soon to be seven) “experiences” and sends it either to themselves, or more likely to an unsuspecting victim … and then waits for the fun or horror to start. The second group subscribes to a quarterly newspaper called Curios & Conundrums (more about that in a moment). If an experience is sent to yourself, it’s a collectible rather than a mystery; but if sent to someone who has no clue what it is or what’s coming next, then it becomes the unexpected and thus unsettling occurrence the folks at the Mysterious Package Company have in mind. Here is their video for “The Century B*e*a*s*t,” their first Kickstarter project sold last summer.
In the end, "The Century B*e*a*s*t" seemed too scattered and drawn out, with 10 mailings sent out over almost a year. The older experiences are more compact with fewer mailings, a lower price, and have more impact. If you’ve never done anything like this before, and wish more immediate satisfaction, I would become a member of the Mysterious Package Company and send either “R*i*s*e*n” or “The K*i*n*g in Yellow” to yourself or a friend—they will begin shipping with 30 days of your order and are both creepy.
Costing only $99 is the least expensive experience which consists of a single mailing, “The W*e*e*p*i*n*g Book,” which is genuinely dark stuff and prompted at least one terrified recipient to call the police. Read the rest
SPOILERS BELOW: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. (previously) Read the rest