1. “Surprise! Microsoft jumps to Windows 10.” Forget Windows 9. In an unexpected twist, Microsoft will be going straight to double digits from Windows 8 as it faces a challenging future for its operating system.
“Microsoft just said no to 9. The follow-on to the current Windows 8 operating system will be known as Windows 10. Originally codenamed Windows Threshold, the new operating system essentially does away with the dependency on the tiled ’Metro’ user interface that Microsoft had attempted to implement across its entire device line, from desktop PCs to Surface tablets and Windows Phone devices. In its place is a combination of the so-called live tiles, present in areas like the new Start Menu, and a more classic Windows experience that aims to please both touch and keyboard-and-mouse users. Windows 10 is such a substantial leap, according to Microsoft’s executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson, that the company decided it would be best to skip over Windows 9, the widely expected name for the next version. ’Windows 10 will run on the broadest amount of devices. A tailored experience for each device,’ Myerson said at a press event here Tuesday. ’There will be one way to write a universal application, one store, one way for apps to be discovered purchased and updated across all of these devices.’”
2. “The sad, disturbing case of Ed Champion.” Laura Miller explains why the literary world put up with a mentally troubled, abusive troll for years.
“Yet [Ed] Champion’s power was largely illusory, a mirage he’d concocted of smoke, mirrors, boasting and bullying that worked best on vulnerable newcomers. He did not work for a large publication or command any influence outside of a small circle of acquaintances. A few early freelance assignments came to nothing once editors learned that to work with him was to invite lunatic tantrums and meltdowns. In the office of the New York Times Book Review during [Sam] Tanenhaus’ tenure, he was referred to with exasperation as Special Ed. He had his blog and his podcast, but so do countless other insignificant cranks. Being denounced by Champion became almost a rite of passage, in which one observed the sacred rituals of the ’block’ and ’unfriend’ buttons. His rampages were anything but a secret—the swapping of Ed Champion war stories enlivened many a late-night literary get-together, and I warned more than one younger writer to steer clear of him however friendly he might initially appear.”
3. “Free Yourselves from the Shackles of Spoilers!” Because, as Adam Sternbergh of the Vulture declares, life is too short.
“The spoiler roulette simply reveals to you the climactic moment of a film, show, or season, in which some huge twist is revealed. Some of these [SPOILER ALERT] are iconic spoilers—the untwisting of Verbal Kint’s limp—while some are more recent. (Think ’Ricin cigarette.’) I’m sorry—were those spoilers? Maybe you haven’t yet seen that famously twisty film from 1995? Or you haven’t got around to all of Breaking Bad? Or you still think ’Red Wedding’ is a song by Billy Idol? Which means your whole life is still structured around acrobatically evading those toxic informational tidbits that will absolutely, positively destroy your ability to feel human pleasure from entire films or seasons of television. See, that right there is the whole problem with spoilers. Thanks to a climate in which pretty much everything is available to be watched any time we want to watch it—in other words, we’ve achieved total hedonic mastery of when, why, and how we watch—all that’s left to us is what. As in, what’s going to happen? Which is a primal question! It drives all storytelling. But it is not the primary pleasure of storytelling, any more than the primary pleasure of a well-chosen gift from a loved one is the fact that we don’t know what’s in the box before we unwrap it.”
4. “Parenting as a Gen Xer.” The Washington Post’s Allison Slater Tate on how we’re the first generation of parents in the age of iEverything.
“On the one hand, resistance is futile: this is my children’s brave new world, and they need to know and understand all the internet highways and byways to live in it. On the other hand, my children don’t have fully-developed frontal lobes yet. I have spent a lot of time beating myself up for letting them have screens or devices, or for afternoons when I didn’t have it in me to fight the mystifying addiction to Minecraft that all of my children have acquired. The question of managing screen time and who is on what screen and how to protect those in front of the screens from things they might not un-see or un-hear is a constant, exhausting issue that frankly makes me want to go full-on Amish on all of them and throw every last blinking screen away.”
5. “The Essential Cinema du Rock.” Fandor’s Chris Norris annoints a new “cinema du rock,” where sheer soul, funk, and/or rockingness trump all other concerns.
“If we’re being honest, a title like ’Best Music Documentaries’ lumps three absurdities into one list. First there’s the idea of ranking works in a form of human expression as vast and multifarious as ’music.’ Second, there’s adding film’s own fog of aesthetic criteria to the mix. Third, there’s the idea that ’documentary’ is still a coherent genre these days. True, ’Rock Doc’ is catchier and has a tighter focus, but it still must consider hagiographies, kooky-character studies, group psychodramas and subcultural reportage—and do all of it under the shadow cast by This Is Spinal Tap as both satire of and finest entry in the genre. So let’s here retask the Fandor term essential, and, with a nod to 1980s French cinema, anoint a new ’cinéma du rock.’ Not everything in this microgenre prioritizes style and spectacle over narrative and substance, but they get a lot closer to rock’s essence when they do. Few films capture the actual chest-thumping panic of rock, the twitchy, neuron buzz of bebop or ineffable effects of any music that means as much as off-screen as on-, fewer still who take it head-on as their subject. Some films here are masterworks by major artists, some are ballistic promo material, some are happy accidents like those that produced rock’s greatest songs. All should be at least an LP’s worth of viewing time.”
Video of the Day: La jiggy jar jar doo:
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