??????: a wonderfully bizarre 19th century Japanese fanfic history of America

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Japanese historian Nick Kapur unearthed “Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi” (??????), a wonderfully bizarre illustrated Japanese history of the USA from 1861, filled with fanciful depictions of allegedly great moments in US history, like “George Washington defending his wife ‘Carol’ from a British official named ‘Asura’ (same characters as the Buddhist deity).”

They just get weirder and better from there: “Washington’s ‘second-in-command’ John Adams battling an enormous snake”; “George Washington straight-up punching a tiger”; a snake eating John Adams’s mother and seeking help to avenge himself upon the snake from “a magical mountain fairy”; and so on.

If you like this kind of stuff, you should check out Franz Kafka’s first novel, Amerika, which was published posthumously and against Kafka’s wishes. Kafka knew nothing about the USA, so he just kinda made stuff up (think of “English as She is Spoke”), like millionaires being carried through the streets of New York on sedan chairs (I learned about this from EL Doctorow’s — no relation — essay collection The Creationists).

This 1861 book was by author Kanagaki Robun (?????) and artist Utagawa Yoshitora (????).

The title is “Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi” (??????) and it was based on 2 other second-hand sources, “Kaikoku Zushi” (????) and “Amerika Itt?shi” (???????).

A thread of images from a Japanese illustrated history of America from 1861. [Nick Kapur]

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

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Find your perfect side hustle with this freelancer’s bible

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There’s a reason you’re hearing about the gig economy in every other business story these days. More than ever, people are finding income from more than one source. And if you find the right one, a side hustle can do more than just pad your pockets – it can allow you to finally get paid for doing what you love. Looking to dive in? A great way to start is with The Ultimate Side Hustle Bundle: Amazon FBA & Freelancing.

In this nine-course online learning package, there’s a good emphasis on how to launch, market and grow a business selling goods on FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) – with good reason. If you can make it, FBA can move it, as long as you lay down the right foundation with solid marketing and SEO savvy. But the bundle also gives a broad overview of how to make sure a freelance career works for you, without it absorbing too much time. And if what you’re selling is your own know-how or talent, you can learn how to break into the ranks of the most-watched videos on YouTube.

Lifetime access to the entire Ultimate Side Hustle Bundle: Amazon FBA & Freelancing is available now for $49. Read the rest

Shoot your movie now with this filmmaker’s master class

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High-def cameras are available to anyone and for much less than they were just a decade ago. Even the phones in our pockets can be used to shoot and edit short films. It’s never been easier to be a filmmaker, providing you have the technique. Enter the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle, an online boot camp that will take your movie idea from first shot to final cut.

In three separate courses, you’ll get insights into every step of the moviemaking process from conception to distribution. An overview tutorial lets you know what missteps to avoid when writing your screenplay, and how to raise funds for the shoot once it’s done. Then, you’ll dive into the shot-by-shot details with an exhaustive course on cinematography, teaching you how to pick your shots and what equipment you’ll need to capture them. Whether it’s audio recording, lighting or editing, you’ll have a working knowledge of almost every aspect of the process.

Lifetime access to the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle is on sale now for $29. Read the rest

YouTube’s algorithms demonitizes piano tutorial site for “Repetitious content”

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When you’re learning to play a musical instrument, you have to play the same songs and scales over and over again. YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t seem to know this, and so it demonetized a piano tutorial channel for “Repetitious content.”

We just found out that our channel was demonetised for “Repetitious content” and we believe that this is an error, possibly decided by an algorithm, and now the biggest part of our livelihood has been taken away. Please help us by discussing this (tweeting and posting) if possible. We need to be heard by YouTube. It’s a risk for the piano and synthesia community as we all have similar-looking videos.

I hope they get this sorted out soon! Read the rest

Rescue pit bull pup performs perfectly for treat

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“I swear the secret ingredient is crack!”

The good boi in this wonderful clip is named Juggernaut, and his owner says:

So my boy the Juggernaut is a rescue. I’ll make you a deal if you make a donation to your local shelter(please be honest) , I will give him a treat in your honor. For the First 100 people and I will post a pic of him getting the treat. 10 treats max per day. Let’s see how close we can get to the 100 mark. Send me a private message so I can keep track. I will post the pics at the end of the day together.

Good deal, you guys. [link]

I swear the secret ingredient is crack!

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An “e-ink typewriter” that can only do one thing

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Lucian’s SPUDwriter (Single Purpose User Device) was designed to help him focus on creative writing after a long day of staring at a screen in his engineering job: it uses an e-ink screen and a keyboard, and only outputs via SD card or thermal printer.

As a person who does all of their engineering work on or adjacent to a computer, the idea of coming home and spending even MORE time on the computer for creative writing isn’t super appealing. So I made an e-paper typewriter – no browser, no games, just you and your word count. It has a character LCD at the bottom for the current line you’re typing, to make up for how slow E-paper updates, and when you’re finished you can save your file to an SD card or print it all out with the internal thermal receipt printer for redline editing. I call it the SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device), hopefully the first of a couple of SPUDs. It’s built on MBED and the STM32F401 Cortex M4.

The SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device) for creating writing made with E-paper, MBED, and STM32F401 Cortex M4 [Adafruit]

(Thanks, PT!)

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Bring your game idea to life and learn to design from home

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Breaking into the indie video game market may be easier than you think. It all starts with an idea, and then it’s a matter of finding the right development platform to bring it to life. No matter what that platform is, it’s a good bet that it’s covered in the 2019 Game Dev & Design Mega Mastery Bundle, an online course designed for budding developers.

This bundle covers it all in ten courses and 160 hours of training. You’ll get hands-on training in Java and Python by using them to create a reasonable facsimile of the viral hit Flappy Bird. If you see your world in higher-def, you’ll want to pore over the sessions on Unity 5 and Blender, and how they can be used to create stunning visuals and smooth first-person shooters. You’ll even learn how to use platforms like Mapbox to build the next hit AR app.

It’s all included in the 2019 Game Dev & Design Mega Mastery Bundle, now on sale for $39. Read the rest

The Internet of Dongs remains a security dumpster-fire

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The Internet of Dongs is Brad Haines’s term for the world of internet-connected, “teledildonic” sex toys, and Haines, along with Sarah Jamie Lewis, have exhaustively documented all the ways in which internet-connected sex toys can screw you, from leaking private data to physically attacking your junk.

But Lewis and Haines’s work remains an obscure curiosity that is mostly followed by information security geeks; and now the do-not-buy advice for these gadgets is going mainstream. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Mozilla updated its Privacy Not Included guide (previously) (a review of tech gadgets’ security and privacy practices),to include a suite of “romantic” gifts, from fitness trackers to “smart beds” to sleep trackers to sex toys, that track you, transmit your personal details to distant corporations, and sell, leak, or endanger your private information.

I was pleased to see Lovesense blacklisted by name, given the company’s incredible, appalling history of security blunders, including making secret audio recordings of your sex sessions (the company called this a “minor bug”).

Not all the products are do-not-buys: there’s a kegel exerciser that looks pretty good, but others, like the Lovense Lush 2 get failing grades for “shar[ing] your information with 3rd parties for unexpected reasons”; while the charmingly named Vibratissimo Panty Buster flunks for not using encryption (!).

So what makes for a cyber-safe sex toy? According to Mozilla, you’ll want to look out for things like whether the product uses encryption, automatic security updates, strong password requirements (where applicable), an accessible privacy policy, and a way for the company to manage security vulnerabilities in its products.

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A gorgeous, haunting story of technologically mediated love

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After years of outstanding work as a cyberlawyer and science fiction/policy wonk, Kevin Bankston (previously) has published his debut science fiction story, Early Adopter, and it’s a doozy.

Bankston uses chatlogs and other exhaust from digital communications tools to spin a gorgeous and haunting tale of romance that starts with “met cute” and goes farther than you’d ever believe. If you’re not at least a little choked up by the end, then I don’t wanna know you.

Craigslist> SF bay area> san francisco> community> missed connections: September 27: Atari Teenage Riot in Dolores Park (Mission District).

We passed each other yesterday while I was walking my dog Baxter in Dolores Park. You (brunette curls, green eyes, wry smile) stopped to pet the dog (terrier, Jack Russell, brown and white) and then commented on my old Atari logo t-shirt because you were wearing an Atari Teenage Riot band t-shirt (“I guess that means I’m the more aggressive one” you said). But then you kept going before I (tall, dark, momentarily speechless) could really talk to you. I’ve never used CL missed connections before–it always seemed like a long shot–but my friend said that even if you didn’t see it, maybe someone who knows you would, and I’m going to be kicking myself for a long time if I don’t try something, so…hope we can connect!

To: w5cjq-6599435498@comm.craigslist.org
From: her@gmail.com
Subject: Atari Teenage Riot in Dolores Park

Dear Old Skool Atari Boy–Glad you posted despite not being familiar with this so very newfangled technology.

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Who can forget those scenes in Count Zero where they all stand around eating soup?

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Back in the 1980s, the giant German sf publisher Heyne tried out an experimental partnership with a soup company Maggi (they’re still around), and it was bonkers.

Under the terms of the deal, science fiction novels would be periodically interrupted by scenes in which the characters would drop everything and start eating Maggi soups, smacking their lips and exclaiming over just how delicious they were.

But to keep readers from confusing the soup ads with the novels, these scenes would be set in different type and set off with other weird textual flourishes.

To German sf fans of a certain vintage, these Maggi ads are legendary: I first heard tell of them from Tim Powers, who told me how he’d been leafing through a German edition of one of his books and discovered this weird stuff and asked a German fan about it and been told, “Oh, those are the soup ads, of course!”

Of course.

Heyne publishes some of my German editions, including the forthcoming German edition of Unauthorized Bread, and the editors I’ve spoken to there all seem weirdly proud but embarrassed by the soup ads (I’m sure there’s a long German compound word to describe this emotion). I think they should do an anthology of these weird, food-oriented fanfic short stories.

Here are the soup ads from William Gibson’s Count Zero, the sequel to his seminal novel Neuromancer. For reasons no doubt lost to history, this book was called “Biochips” in German, and boy, did it have a hell of a cover! Read the rest

Unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for $100,150

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Eric Bradly says:

An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., the classic video game released by Nintendo in 1985, set a world record for a graded game when it recently sold for $100,150.

“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” says Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games.

Due to its popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. from 1985 to 1994 numerous times, resulting in 11 different box variations (according to this visual guide). The first two variations are “sticker sealed” copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986. Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known “sticker sealed” copy and was certified by Wata Games with a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++.

“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed games extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower said. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”

A group of collectors joined forces Feb. 6 to purchase the game, including some of the biggest names in video games and collectibles as a whole. The buyers include Jim Halperin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, renowned coin dealer, pioneering video game collector, and owner of Robert B.

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How to deal with getting fired

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Brilliant culture critic Rob Walker, author of the forthcoming book The Art of Noticing, just launched a new column at Lifehacker about “navigating the modern workplace,” a continuation in some ways of his long-running New York Times column “The Workologist.” Naturally, Rob’s first column in the new series is about getting fired:

…What I’m suggesting is that you should not wait for a major crisis (getting fired, a horrible reorg, your worst rival becomes your boss) to start thinking about other objects. It’s better to always have a kind of low-grade, ambient awareness of and openness to other professional opportunities. That’s true even if you’re ecstatic with whatever you’re doing. Always take the lunch or have the meeting or go on the informational interview that pops up on your radar…

The absolute flat-out most irritating piece of career advice is this: Reframe challenges, failures, slap-downs, and humiliations as exciting opportunities.

Yes, we all get the logic. In fact we all get it so well that we don’t need to hear this advice anymore. Particularly right after we just got fired and it doesn’t feel exciting at all!

So let me try to offer a slightly different reframing. As noted, it totally sucks to lose your gig. But take a deep breath and try to keep an open mind about what might come next. This, in a way, is just a restatement of the “permanent job search” idea, with a little panglossian polish.

How To Get Fired(Lifehacker)
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Master Spanish with this intuitive language learning system

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Learning a new language like Spanish doesn’t have to be hard. Either you can buy a ticket to a Spanish-speaking country, immerse yourself in the culture and pick it up intuitively – or you can do it from the comfort of the chair you’re in right now by logging on to Rocket Spanish.

There are a lot of language learning apps out there, but this is a full online course, designed to get you speaking Spanish confidently at the intermediate level – fast. Rocket Spanish makes full use of tools like voice recognition and interactive flashcards to fine-tune your pronunciation and assist in memorization. But the foundation of the course is rooted in “chunking,” or breaking complex topics down into quickly digestible lessons without overwhelming your memory or patience. You’ll even get lessons on Spanish culture to help you settle into the language and truly speak like a local.

Right now, you can get Rocket Spanish Language Learning: Level 1 for $59.99, a full 59% off the original price of $149.95. Read the rest

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