My latest Locus column is Teaching Computers Shows Us How Little We Understand About Ourselves, an essay about how ideas we think of as simple and well-understood -- names, families, fairness in games -- turn out to be transcendentally complicated when we try to define them in rule-based terms for computers. I'm especially happy with how this came out.
Humble Ebook Bundle II: name your price for Last Unicorn, Wil Wheaton, Lois McMaster Bujold, Little Brother, Boneshaker, and Spin!
It's time for another Humble Ebook Bundle! Once again, I was honored to serve as volunteer curator of the Humble Ebook Bundle, a project from the Humble Indie Bundle people who've made Internet history by bundling together awesome, DRM-free media and letting you name your price for it. We did the first Humble Ebook Bundle last fall (with my novel Pirate Cinema) and made over $1.25 million in two weeks (!). The new Ebook Bundle is even cooler. Here's the lineup:
As with all the bundles, there is a secret stash of releases in the wings for week two; if your payment is higher than the average at the time you make it, you get them for free (and they are sweet!). Otherwise, you can always get them by topping up your payment. And as always, there's charities involved -- you can earmark some or all of your payment for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Child's Play, and the Science Fiction Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund.
Edge Magazine's Jason Killingsworth interviewed me at some length about my history with videogames, from Apple ][+ to Atari to arcades, with notes on Zynga, DRM, piracy and the Humble Bundles.
Illustrator Brian J. Smith did me the tremendous honor of creating this fabulous, detailed illustration inspired by my novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which turned ten this year. He hid all kinds of great little gracenotes in it, too -- tons of characters from the book and from the Disney parks.
Last weekend, I took part in a panel at Yoko Ono's Meltdown festival at Southbank in London, on "Technology and Activism," along with Jamie Bartlett (Director for the Analysis of Social Media at DEMOS) and David Babbs (Executive Director of 38 Degrees), chaired by Olivia Solon from Wired UK. It went well and covered lots of ground, and the Meltdown people were kind enough to put it all online.
BTW, if you're interested in my upcoming talks, I've got a page listing them.
I got tired of people savvying me about the revelations of NSA surveillance and asking why anyone would care about secret, intrusive spying, so I wrote a new Guardian column about it, "The NSA's Prism: why we should care."
Neil Gaiman's taken over the Guardian's Books Podcast, and had me and agent Jonny Geller and Henry Volans, head of Faber Digital, in the studio for a wide-ranging and awfully fun podcast. The first 20 minutes are a fascinating look at weird London by Damien Walter, and then we kick off with the discussion.
The Institute for the Future commissioned me to write a story about the "Internet of Things," and I wrote them a piece called By His Things Will You Know Him, about death, networks, and computers. It's part of an anthology called "An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter," which we'll be publishing on Boing Boing in the following weeks. The stories to come are from great authors including Rudy Rucker, Ramez Naam, Bruce Sterling, Madeline Ashby, and Warren Ellis.
I read the story aloud for my podcast last week, and have been awaiting the chance to publish it -- now that it's live, here you are!
I recorded an interview with the PRI show The World yesterday about Orwell, Huxley and the NSA. It came out well, I think.