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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 16

The coming "cyberpunk" entertainment war

William Gibson's books often feature big, sinister corporations co-opting near-future technological wonders to uncertain ends. Facebook buying Oculus fits right in there! John Brownlee heralds the coming "cyberpunk war" to be fought by giant multinational corporations, in the future entertainment dystopia you were always promised. [Fast Co] Rob 17

Find God with TempleOS, a 64-bit operating system for PCs

TempleOS is 100% open-source and 100% free of crufty 32-bit code, but "interpretation is tricky." [via JWZ]

Sonar tools head out in missing jet hunt


US NAVY

Debris sightings have drawn attention to a particular region, but choppy seas and rough waters deny a conclusive discovery. The TPL-25 is a military underwater microphone that could improve our chances of finding the flight data recorder, the "black box" that holds Flight 370's secrets. [Wired]

How to unDRM old iTunes songs

If you have anything in iTunes bought prior to 2009, chances are it's got DRM on it. Here's how to take it off. [Wired] Rob 11

How to unhook all those apps with access to your data

Nick Bilton shows how to kick forgotten corporate eyes out of your Twitter, Facebook and Google accounts: "it’s time to start deleting." [NYT] Rob 3

Vine bans sexual content

Twitter's 6-second video-sharing platform, Vine, has banned sexual content. Depictions of "provocative" nudity, sex acts, clothed but "aroused" genitals, and "sexually graphic" artwork or animation is "not a good fit for our community," the company writes. [The Verge] Rob 20

Tech financiers fight

Financier Carl Icahn takes aim at Silicon Valley capitalist and eBay board member Marc Andreesson, who profited handsomely after eBay sold Skype to his investment group at a marked-down price: "Icahn says that profit came at the expense of eBay shareholders," writes CNN Money, "and is demanding to inspect 'all books and records' associated with the sale to Andreessen's group. Andreessen says that Icahn is lying: "I dispute all accusations." Rob 5

Executive shakeup begins at the new Microsoft

Kara Swisher learned that some high-ups at Microsoft at leaving the company following the appointment of new CEO Satya Nadella. On one departing exec: "Good for him not to have hung around twiddling his thumbs ... as often happens far too often at Microsoft and elsewhere." Rob 2

Breathing Machine: Leigh Alexander's memoir of adolescence on the early web

Gen Xers like to complain about not having the flying cars they were promised. But it was the Boomers who were promised flying cars. Unless you're that old, the joke goes, you were promised a cyberpunk dystopia: presently under construction for the Millenials to enjoy.

To kids growing up in the 1990s though— born in an empty space between these "generations" of entertainment marketing—such grand concepts were drowned by the mundane reality of the early web. Too young to be on the pre-AOL net, when it was still cool, but old enough for it to remain a new and strange land, this thinly-sliced cohort experienced a certain yearning bathos, a search for the real in a medium freshly proven otherwise.

In Breathing Machine: A Memoir of Computers, Leigh Alexander captures a powerful scent of what it was like to be born into computer gaming's golden age, to have a taste of a "world bigger than the one you can touch" only to spend adolescence in a world of chatrooms, terrible internet speeds and false frontiers.

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Tekken Piano

Mc Cool hooked up a MIDI-capable piano to the control inputs of classic fighting game Tekken, thereby synchronizing the on-screen action and musical performance. Then he recorded video of him doing online battle. He won!
This is the final product of my project for interaction design. Took the whole semester, to get this to work but it was worth it. How it works: The piano sends a Midi-Signal, which is transferred to an arduino. According to the signals, the arduino triggers transistors, which then trigger inputs on a paewang PCB (This is the PCB of an arcadestick). The paewang is connected to an Xbox360 (you can also use it on PS3).
The TekkenPiano [Vimeo]

The Net Neutrality ruling in a nutshell

A précis from the New York Times on what the courts' apparent rejection of FCC network neutrality rules meant, and what happens next. Rob 6

FAA to allow wider use of electronic devices

The incantation is complete. The curse upon avionic equipment, placed from afar by the spirits of electromagnetic energy, has been lifted. You may now use your kindles during takeoff. Rob 6

n is for the young and stupid, where n = array("love", "war", "software")

Legendary coder and blogger Dave Winer is frustrated with the New York Times because it doesn't cover technology as "seriously" as it covers other things.

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Wikipedia editor count down by a third

Tom Simonite on "the decline of Wikipedia":
The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. ... The main source of those problems is not mysterious. The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.