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It’s bizarre but true: wire recording is the longest-lasting capture format in audio history, one that paved the way for reel-to-reel tapes and a host of others—even though most people today, and some techies included, have barely heard of it. READ MORE: Forgotten audio formats: Wire recording | Ars Technica
Taking the form of a local radio show, Welcome to Night Vale is a 30-minute, twice-monthly dispatch full of nightmarish community news conveyed in a tranquil manner. Imagine a municipality that features a sinister, five-headed dragon and occasional rifts in space-time, but whose citizens are often more concerned about, say, the dry scones at the last PTA meeting, and you’ll understand why Night Vale has been described as something akin to “if Stephen King and Neil Gaiman started a game of SIMS and then just left it running forever.”
Since its launch in 2012, Welcome to Night Vale has expanded into a sprawling, frightening universe with a lot of charm. In its three-year existence, the podcast has produced 79 episodes (and counting). It’s also spawned a successful live show and, as of October, a novel that debuted at No. 4 on the New York Times best-seller list. Along the way, its creators have demonstrated their ability to comfortably shift mediums while building one of the most immense and compelling fictional “worlds” in recent memory. READ MORE: The Welcome to Night Vale novel is as weird, existential, and addictive as the podcast that inspired it | Vox
In the French city of Grenoble, there are unusual vending machines that don’t dispense soda or snacks — they print out short stories that look like paper receipts instead. These machines were built by a publishing company called Short Édition, which placed eight of them in public locations (such as the city hall and libraries) as part of a pilot project. Each dispenser has 1-minute, 3-minute and 5-minute buttons, so readers can choose how long their stories are, all of which were written by members of the Short Édition community. SOURCE: Short story vending machine promises old-school distractions | Engadget
Flip open any comic book and you’ll find a story of overcoming the odds. Whether it’s a web-slinger seeking to make his way in the world, a caped crusader intent on making his city a better place, or a mutant who has to deal with human hate, comic books have always been a beacon of hope for the underdogs of this world. But perhaps the greatest comic book story ever told is that of the books themselves…
…Today, comic books command a seat at pop culture’s table. They rule the box office and television screens. But most of all, from Superman to Sex Criminals, they’re still places where the greatest stories are being told. Here are 50 comic books that explain the vast history, how certain books shaped the medium, and the state of comics today…READ MORE: 50 comic books that explain comic books today | Vox
Trying to save space on image files? It can be tough to know exactly which filetype is the best to use. If you save your image as the wrong type, you could end up blurring a beautiful photo, losing all the detail of your logo, or turning a transparent background black.
If you’d like to know exactly which is the perfect image filetype to use for which images, and save a lot of space and bandwidth in the process while maintaining a quality image, check out the handy reference below for the facts.
CDs may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of the Library of Congress, but it houses more than 500,000. The extensive collection includes everything from music to maps and labs where researchers are destroying CDs to learn how to preserve them, CBS News Jim Axelrod reports.
In 1982, Billy Joels album “52nd Street” was the first commercial compact disc to be released. Since then, hundreds of billions of CDs have been sold worldwide. Once the latest music technology, the CD is now a collectors item, replaced by digital downloads. But those who built up music libraries in the 80s and 90s may wonder how long will those discs work? Fenella France, chief of preservation research and testing at the Library of Congress, is hoping to figure that out.
Several months ago, while performing an inventory of recently acquired video games, I happened upon a DVD-R labeled Duke Nukem: Critical Mass PSP. My first assumption was that the disc, like so many others we have received, was a DVD-R of gameplay. However, a line of text on the Copyright database record for the item intrigued me. It reads: Authorship: Entire video game; computer code; artwork; and music. I placed the disc into my computer’s DVD drive to discover that the DVD-R did not contain video, but instead a file directory, including every asset used to make up the game in a wide variety of proprietary formats. Upon further research, I discovered that the Playstation Portable version of Duke Nukem: Critical Mass was never actually released commercially and was in fact a very different beast than the Nintendo DS version of the game which did see release. I realized then that in my computer was the source disc used to author the UMD for an unreleased PlayStation Portable game. I could feel the lump in my throat. I felt as though I had solved the wizard’s riddle and unlocked the secret door.
Like it or not, CDs rot over time — your well-worn copy of Soundgarden’s Superunknown might not play anymore. Just how they rot is frequently a mystery, though, which is why the Library of Congress is currently destroying CDs (including those you donate) in hopes of improving its archival techniques. Researchers are using a combination of artificial aging tests and simple observations to see what factors trigger decay, sometimes with surprising results. As the Library tells The Atlantic, data loss varies widely between manufacturing processes, the lasers in CD players and even individual discs; experimenters can subject two identical copies of an album to extreme heat and lose only one of them.
The renaissance of the long play record isn’t just an anecdotal trend. Even as physical record sales decline, people are buying more vinyl than they have in decades. In 2013, sales increased 31-percent to about 6 million units year-over-year. It’s not a single-year bump either, either. Sales have climbed to 6 million from after having been at about a million in 2007…The “why” behind it, though, is a little more elusive. People don’t have to buy vinyl, and yet, they’re increasingly choosing to do so. It seems that in a world where CDs are obsolete, and digital files are intangible, the vinyl record still has a physical value that gives you your money’s worth. If the music industry wants to survive, it better pay attention to why people are buying records.