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June 28, 2013

On the wholly preventable spread of linkrot

Linkrot is when you click on a link hoping to find the page on the other end and get a 404 error. It's a problem unique to the internet and completely preventable. It's an issue now as Google is posed to kill off tens of thousands of adult blogs over the weekend. The spread of link rot | Felix Salmon
I’m a great believer that once something is placed on the internet for free, it should continue to stay there, for free, unless there’s an extremely good reason to delete it. Back when hosting websites was difficult and expensive, that was easier said than done. But now web hosting is effectively free, there’s really no excuse — and one might hope that, as a result, we’d see less link rot. But that’s not what’s happening. For one thing, the institution of the permalink is dying away as we move away from the open web; if you’re not even on the web (if, for instance, your content comes in the form of a show on Netflix), then the very concept makes no sense. What’s more, we’ve moved into a world of streams, where flow is more important than stock, and where the half-life of any given piece of content has never been shorter; that’s not a world which particularly values preserving that content for perpetuity. And of course it has never been easier to simply delete vast amounts of content at a stroke. (For instance: the Kanye West and Alec Baldwin twitter feeds.) The Wikipedia page on link rot says (at the time of writing) that “permalinking stops broken links by guaranteeing that the content will never move” — but in the real world that’s not much of a protection at all. Content management systems change, and when they do, many publishers don’t bother to ensure that the old links still work. (Which is why, for instance, old links to Gawker tend to die, even though the website is still going strong.) And of course permalinking can’t prevent an entire blog from getting deleted — as Google is now threatening to do with certain adult sites. Small personal blogs die every day, of course, but it’s no protection being owned by a huge media company, either. My boss, Jim Ledbetter, used to edit a site called The Big Money, which was unceremoniously killed off by the Slate Group, its archives lost to history; more recently, Thomson Reuters did the same thing to one of their sites, News and Insight. (The press release announcing the move was one of its victims; a shadow of it lives on here.) When these decisions are made, the fate of the archives never seems to matter; the result is thousands more dead links scattered across the internet every day, pointing to once-valuable resources which no longer exist.

June 26, 2013

How To: Turn Ice Cream into Bread in 5 Minutes

How To Make Ice Cream Into Bread in Five Minutes

June 25, 2013

Play Kyle Baker's MASS MURDERER OF STEEL

Commentary on the new Superman movie delivered in the form of a flash game where Superman and Zod fight and kill millions in their wake. “Enjoy high-flying mass destruction as you ignore the hideous death screams of the millions you are pledged to save! Use your super powers to wage a never-ending battle for self-important allegorical bombast! Bludgeon your senses into numbed awe!”" GAME: MASS MURDERER OF STEEL

June 20, 2013

Wedge-shaped fighters killed the robot death matches

A Brief History Of The Demise Of Battle Bots | Popular Science
Robot battling was poised to become a true sport of the future. It had all the right elements: mad science, gladiatorial combat, plucky garage inventors, and televised action. So what killed it? A brutally effective, utterly simple machine called the wedge bot. The wedge-style bot killed robot wars because it was invincible, which in the end made it boring. Yesterday SB Nation published a fascinating full history of BattleBots, which is a great, though giant, read. But the mechanical evil that is the wedge bot deserves special attention. Competitions originally focused on robots using arms and blades and blunt objects to bash and slash and break each other apart. Wedge Bots had one simple, cunning attack: slide a wedge under another robot, flip it onto its back, and watch it flail about like a dying cockroach. Here is the timeline of how it managed to make killer robot duels boring.

June 19, 2013

After pissing off everyone, Microsoft reverses course and removes DRM from the nex Xbox

It's not region locked. It will play discs. You'll be able to trade and sell used games. It won't require an always-on connection. It won't require a Kinect to always be monitoring you. In short, all of the next-gen security Microsoft was forcing on to consumers--none of this is for the consumer's benefit of course--has been backtracked. Gamers said they wanted something that was the Xbox 360 but better, and it looks like that's what will be delivered. Xbox One-80: Microsoft reverses Xbox One DRM features | Joystiq