Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Books of Skyrim

After the Oblivion book from a few weeks ago, you wouldn't think there would be many other people going crazy over in-game texts. But, then came Skyrim. In this new game, there's books all over the place, and one inventive fan has extracted them, compiled them into ebooks, and has all the in-game Skyrim books available on their website. Now, we count down until somebody puts them on Lulu in physical form...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little Newspapers Doing Well

Here's some good news: small newspapers are doing surprisingly well these days. Particularly, these are weekly papers, small-town newspapers that thrive on stories of largely local interest. They give several examples, and the most striking thing I see is the similarity to newspapers of a hundred years ago.

I do a lot of historical research through online newspaper repositories and sitting at the microfilm viewer, and the meat-and-potatoes of a newspaper in 1920 consisted of a front-page of national news and major local news, a page of just local news, a page of local 'interest' (who was visiting where, how the church social went), a page of recpies and dress patterns for the women of the house, a page of editorials and financial markets, a page of sports, and a page of classifieds. Eight pages, consistently and uniformly produced for decades on small presses for only a few hundred or a few thousand subscribers. Those same methods of news publishing are, apparently, still effective in today's 24-hour news cycle.

So, while those large newspapers have struggled to maintain their hold on news that's available through free sources on the internet, local newspapers are paying their bills by reporting on the stuff not provided by Yahoo! News: the things happening at city council meetings, in the school auditoriums, and in neighbor's back yards. I do suspect, however, that if you added up the budgets of the thousands of successful newsweeklies, they wouldn't even approach that of USA Today, but if they can pay for paper and reporters and keep the lights on, they're going to be the way communities get local news for quite a while.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Truitt's Fix by Rex Evans Wood

The producer of Hear It Now and Dakota Datebook (a show I write for) at Prairie Public Radio has a new science fiction book out. Rex Evans Wood's new book, Truitt's Fix, is about Dan Truitt, a man "caught between warring nations, on the run, and pursued by a relentless villain."

I haven't read the book yet, but I'm passing along this news: Wood will be doing a reading at Zandbroz in Fargo this Saturday, November 12th, at 6:30pm.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

The Keaton Music Typewriter

A typewriter has filled the void between handwriting and typesetting for about two hundred years now, but there's plenty of other things besides just letters and numbers that need ink on paper. Here we have one such example — the Keaton Music Typewriter:
This particular example is for sale on Etsy, with a $6,000 pricetag — definitely worth the money, since there are only a few left in existence. The Early Typewriter Collectors Association has an excellent article on this mechanical musical typewriter, too. If you want to figure out how it works, you can see Mr. Keaton's original patent online.

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