Fare thee well, ThinkGeek

It's the end of a geeky era: After 19 glorious years of flogging movie, comic book and gaming-related swag, ThinkGeek is shuttering its website next month.

From The Verge:

ThinkGeek will officially close down its website and will migrate its operations over to its parent company GameStop’s website instead. In the meantime, the store is holding a 50 percent off “moving sale.”

By way of explanation, a GameStop spokesperson would only provide the following business-speak: The company is “engaging in a strategic business transformation initiative to build the GameStop of the future,” and that as part of that effort “we have made the decision to reorganize our ThinkGeek business by streamlining the operations of our ThinkGeek.com ecommerce platform and transitioning it within our GameStop.com omnichannel platform.”

Apparently, renewing that domain name every year was way outside of GameStop's budget. I suppose that being able to buy the same kit online will do, but it just won't be the same. Back in the day, I bought a number of handheld console emulators from ThinkGeek. It always felt like I was getting away with something special. I can't imagine having that same customer experience by shopping through a corporate behemoth like GameStop.

On the bright side of things, for the time being, over 40 of ThinkGeek's brick-and-mortar shops will remain open across the United States. I mean, you can't shop there at 3am in your underwear like you could with their website, but it's something, I suppose.

Image via Wikipedia Commons & Amazon Read the rest

Congress passes FOSTA, Craigslist personals vanish. 'Casual encounters' & 'missed connections' gone.

The personals section of Craigslist was shut down indefinitely by its management on Thursday, a response to Congress’s passage of a law that holds websites liable for users who misuse personal ads.

That means no more "casual encounters" or "missed connections" (or anything under the “personals” umbrella) for anyone until much-further notice. It's all just gone.

Here's what it now reads when you try to click on any of the personals links:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, "FOSTA", seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

Crazy! This is really happening.

According to Gizmodo, Reddit has shut down several "questionable" subreddits because of the bill too. They are fearing "FOSTA" repercussions as well.

The EFF wrote Wednesday about the bill, saying, "Today was a dark day for the Internet."

Read: How Congress Censored the Internet: In Passing SESTA/FOSTA, Lawmakers Failed to Separate Their Good Intentions from Bad Law

Thanks, K-daddy! Read the rest

Meltdown Comics, a Los Angeles landmark, is shutting down

Last night I learned that one of my favorite things about Los Angeles -- Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood -- is closing its doors after 25 years. It was always much more than a comic book store. It was a community center for creative nerds. It had a performance room and gallery, a podcast studio, and all kinds of fun pop-up stores-within-the-store.

I interviewed many cartoonists there for live events over the years, including Dan Clowes and Ed Piskor, and our Dungeons and Dragons group played our game at a table on Sunday afternoons. I saw Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord play and talk about their videos to a packed crowd in the back room. I bought bitcoin from its Bitcoin ATM. And I bought lots of great comic books and art books. I'm going to miss the place and LA won't be the same without them.

Here's a letter from the owner of Meltdown Comics, Gaston Dominguez-Letelier:

To The City of Angels,

As is the case with all good things, at some point they must come to an end. Meltdown Comics is no exception to this rule and so, after 25 years coveting every comic treasure we could lay our hands on, I’m sharing that on March 30th I’ll be closing our doors for the final time.

No business is easy, least of all one rooted in paper surrounded by brick and mortar, yet against all odds we survived just long enough to host, share, and celebrate some of the most creative and imaginative artists in the world.

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