I read a bunch of great stuff over the holidays and you did too. Thought I’d share a few bits:
The Smithsonian Mag piece on Jaron Lanier was incredible, and more memorable (for me) than his last book, You Are Not a Gadget. The passage about how he predicted that anonymous screenames would have a detrimental effect on national politics is stunning.
The piece about Dan Wagner from the MIT Technology Review about how Obama 2012 used micro-targeting to create their own data-rich intention-to-vote-for-Obama oracle (an in-house Nate Silver, so to speak) is fascinating and honestly, unbelievable. A techno-thick read, but approachable.
On the photography-front, I loved Josh Hanner’s investigation of the ethics of telephoto lenses. My beef with telephotos is that they misrepresent what is one of my favorite aspects about photography, but yeah, let’s not get into that…
Eddie Dean’s article from 1999 about Joe Bussard and his legendary collection of 78s is fantastic, if only for wondering how loud Bussard plays all that shellac in his basement. I wish there was a recording that could accurately replicate that. (Or maybe that’s included in Desperate Man Blues, which I need to see.)
A great precursor to the Bussard piece is Burkhard Bilger’s profile of Art Rosenbaum and Lance Ledbetter from the New Yorker in 2008, which I just discovered. I’ve been to a few Dust-to-Digital record release parties and generally love everything they do. I love how Ledbetter recounts buying the CD re-release of the Anthology of American Folk Music out of the trunk of some guy’s car. So Atlanta!
The Ian Rogers profile in Wired was insightful, if only for the exhaustive look at a career’s trajectory, launched alongside the digital explosion of the late 90s.
The Seinfeld profile was great, not because I love Seinfeld (I don’t) but because it depicted a craftsman with a clinical attention to words and language I’ve only witnessed in poets. Jerry’s no poet, but he deeply cares about words, and stringing the right ones together in the right order (a cribbed quote if there ever was one) more than most. Made me reappreciate the man and his work.
On the how-to front: if you have an old machine and want to create redundant network storage, you’ll enjoy this lifehacker piece that outlines how to get the whole thing rolling with nas4free.
Or if you’re a photographer who was early to embrace the Drobo as a not-too-technical solution for back-up, but your Drobo has gotten so old and faulty (permission-wise and power-supply-wise) that you know you need to do something different, a 4-disk RAID on a NAS might be your answer. Srlsy, this thing works and is awesome.