linkmachinego.com
July 4, 2022
[books] Holmes’ sweet home … A literary search for the real 221B Baker Street. ‘Where Holmes and Watson lived was surely in the midst of the grime and bustle of late Victorian London, much closer to Oxford Street. And so it proves. Baker Street in the 1890’s was much shorter than its modern version, and ran south from the junction with Paddington St. The modern section north from Paddington Street to the Marylebone Road was then named York Place. So “221B” – one should discount the actual number, however resonant it has become – was situated on Baker Street somewhere between Paddington Street and Portman Square. The evidence for its whereabouts is secreted in one of the best Holmes short stories…’
July 1, 2022
[google] Is Google Dying? Or Did the Web Grow Up? … The Atlantic takes a look at where Google Search is at in 2022. ‘The AI attempts to understand not just what the searcher is typing, but what the searcher is trying to get at,” Haynes told me. “It’s trying to understand the content inside pages and inside queries, and that will change the type of result people get.” Google’s focus on searcher intent could mean that when people type in keywords, they’re not getting as many direct word matches. Instead, Google is trying to scan the query, make meaning from it, and surface pages that it thinks match that meaning. Despite being a bit sci-fi and creepy, the shift might feel like a loss of agency for searchers.’
June 29, 2022
[watergate] Woodward and Bernstein’s Forgotten Editor … Barry Sussman – the man who got written out of Watergate. ‘[A] stripped-down morality tale, mano a mano, doesn’t leave much narrative space for other characters. The Post’s work required not just creative and dogged reporting by Woodward and Bernstein—it required editors, it required news librarians, it required lawyers, it required an owner, all willing to do their part and able to do it skillfully. It required an institution that could both commit the resources and then stand its ground against Nixon’s threats.’
June 28, 2022
[comics] The Crisis Generation … Garth Ennis, John McCrea and Sean Phillips interviewed about their work on Crisis.

June 27, 2022
[books] AIs named by AIs … How good is an AI at naming Iain M. Banks Culture Ships? … ‘Absently Tilting To One Side. ASS FEDERATION. A Small Note Of Disrespect. Third Letter of The Week. Well Done and Thank You. Just As Bad As Your Florist. What Exactly Is It With You? Let Me Just Post This. Protip: Don’t Ask’
June 23, 2022
[speccy] Celebrating 40 years of ZX Spectrum ❤️ 💛 💚 💙 … A look at what’s happening with the ZX Spectrum forty years after it’s creation. ‘Can you believe it still has a large and active community creating new content, archiving old content, and hacking on all sorts of hardware?’
June 20, 2022
[life] Why City Life Has Gotten Way More Expensive … A look at why things like Uber are starting to cost more. ‘It was as if Silicon Valley had made a secret pact to subsidize the lifestyles of urban Millennials. As I pointed out three years ago, if you woke up on a Casper mattress, worked out with a Peloton, Ubered to a WeWork, ordered on DoorDash for lunch, took a Lyft home, and ordered dinner through Postmates only to realize your partner had already started on a Blue Apron meal, your household had, in one day, interacted with eight unprofitable companies that collectively lost about $15 billion in one year.’
June 17, 2022
[crypto] The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto Crashing — a quick map of where we are and what’s ahead‘Whales breaking ranks — Monday’s price collapse looks very like one crypto whale decided to get out while there was any chance of getting some of the ever-dwindling actual dollars out from the cryptosystem. Expect the knives to be out. Who’s jumping next?’
June 15, 2022
[tech] I’ve locked myself out of my digital life … A cautionary tale about digital identities. ‘In the boring analogue world – I am pretty sure that I’d be able to convince a human that I am who I say I am. And, thus, get access to my accounts. I may have to go to court to force a company to give me access back, but it is possible. But when things are secured by an unassailable algorithm – I am out of luck. No amount of pleading will let me without the correct credentials. The company which provides my password manager simply doesn’t have access to my passwords. There is no-one to convince. Code is law.’
June 14, 2022
[gaming] Inside the $100K+ forgery scandal that’s roiling PC game collecting … Fascinating forgery story within the world of retro computer game collecting. ‘When Racle made a disk image of his rare find for preservation purposes, that excitement quickly turned to disgust and distrust. With the help of an Apple II preservation expert going by the handle “4am,” Racle found that the disk he received contained a cracked version of the game, complete with a loading screen sporting the message “Presented by the Data Killer.” Needless to say, that message would not appear on an authentic 1981 version of the disk with its original copy protection intact. It does, however, appear on cracked copies of the game that have been floating around the Internet for years.’
June 10, 2022
[life] Study: Most Americans Now Believe Society Has Gotten Dystopian Enough to Start Adding “Neo” to Names of Cities‘“Most participants also mentioned that they were disappointed that we reached dystopian status without having flying cars, murderous replicants or the ability to have katanas pop out of your arms,” said research assistant Daniel Matthews. “People were pleasantly surprised by a few dystopian traits that are present, such as the plentiful amount of synthwave and neon colored mesh tank tops. Other than that, though, the cyberpunk genre did not prepare Americans for how much scrolling through Reddit they would be doing in the dystopia.”’
June 9, 2022
[truecrime] I Think I’m Done with True Crime For Now … Moving On from the True Crime Genre. ‘I remember YouTube’s parodically evil algorithm recommending me far too many ‘body language expert’ reaction videos of Carole Baskin, all of which seemed keen to write her off as a true sociopath. The same thing happened with lawyers (or a bunch of people in suits claiming to have law degrees) offering their own advice on the crimes of the day. TikTok, of course, joined in. This was all familiar stuff when Amber Heard was put on trial for defaming her ex-husband who she accused of domestic abuse. Soon, it was truly impossible to avoid the splurge of ‘true crime’ smearing Heard in the name of justice and journalism. Suddenly, everyone was a body language expert, a psychiatrist, a cop, a lawyer, a domestic abuse expert.’
June 8, 2022
[comics] Ed Brubaker on the Reckless series, L.A. 1980s pulp fiction‘With a slew of Eisner Awards to his name and a reputation as one of the industry’s most popular storytellers, Brubaker set out to do something new not by choice but out of necessity. Comics are created on a tight schedule. When the pandemic hit, not only did comic book shops around the country shut down — so did the printers and distributors. It was a bleak time for the business. “Everybody in comics panicked,” Brubaker said. “How are we going to be able to keep making comics? Are all the stores going to go out of business?”’
June 7, 2022
[zuck] The Only Good Thing Left About Facebook … A look at Facebook Groups – It’s best feature? ‘Several Facebook-group administrators and members described to me the conundrum of relying on an imperfect platform to create strong, and for many people invaluable, communities. They understand that their groups exist on a controversial site, but they also say that not many alternatives have the capacity to build fellowship the way that Facebook does. “As someone who really tries to live the most harm-reduced life possible, there’s this almost defeat I find when I think about using Facebook,” Alexx Duvall, a co-founder of “NYC Plant Friends Hangout,” told me over the phone. Even though the group, which plans real-life and virtual events for plant lovers, has an Instagram account and an email listserv, Duvall finds that the community it cultivates on Facebook is ultimately more active.’
June 3, 2022
[brand] Russell Brand’s latest addiction … Tanya Gold on Russell Brand. ‘At the end, when he has hugged everyone who waited, I listen to them praise him. “You can’t have control over what’s going on in the world, but you can have control over yourself,” says one. It’s a doctrine of renewal, but so atomised as to be meaningless. “He’s got that attention to the working class,” says another. “He is like us,” says the third, “a free thinker [who] cares about everyone in the world, not ground down by politicians and big corporate companies. He cares about individual people.” But does he? I think he is using them, and, worse, they let him. Brand is another symptom of our alienation: of the fracturing of the institutions that we need. We will see more, and different Brands in future, as the centre falls away. They will blow in on the wind. His doctrine of disengagement will change nothing for them.’
June 1, 2022
[life] Your Personality, Explained by Your Annoying Household Habits‘Soaking Dishes in the Sink – Your ability to make life more difficult is unmatchable. If an easy solution is available—and I mean a mind-numbingly obvious one—you decide that maybe the fix can’t be so simple and that you’d better let things marinate for a few days, at which point, yes, they’ve now become the nasty thing that you imagined, seeped in a rancid cesspool of indecision and procrastination (and, literally, rotting food).’
May 26, 2022
May 25, 2022
[media] Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly‘So why might people be more open to experiencing the same thing over and over again? As options multiply, choosing gets harder. You can’t possibly evaluate everything, so you start relying on cues like “this movie has Tom Hanks in it” or “I liked Red Dead Redemption, so I’ll probably like Red Dead Redemption II,” which makes you less and less likely to pick something unfamiliar.’
May 24, 2022
[moore] Alan Moore On ‘From Hell’ – Interviewed In 2002 … Future biographers of Moore, please take note of this quote: ‘I do get some funny phone calls. Nicolas Cage phoned me up a few times because he likes my stuff. He seems nice enough, but he phoned me once to ask for advice on his love life. It must be a lonely existence being a film star…’
May 23, 2022
[comics] Garth Ennis and Kevin O’Neill on Reviving the Infamous Kids Rule OK! for Battle Action Special … Wonderful interview, with lots of British 70s comics history from O’Neill. ‘I was often asked to change little small things in my artwork for ludicrous reasons later on. But the fallout from Action, which the Garth story is built around, was massive at the time because you cannot underestimate the power of the tabloid newspapers when they turned on comics. I believe Action was torn up on a BBC show called Nationwide with Frank Bough, who was disgraced years later for various misdemeanors, but he tore up a copy of Action on-screen as worthless trash. That was the atmosphere. I don’t think 2000 AD could have been canceled before it was launched because too much time and money had been spent developing it, but by God, it probably came close. And nobody knew what was happening.’
May 18, 2022
[web] I’m a fucking webmaster‘People would come to us with a problem, and we would figure out a solution. We couldn’t just search the web because the web was still being written. And you couldn’t just punt a hard question to the engineer in the desk next to you. Why? Because you were sitting alone in a utility closet packed with floppy disks and old tape drives.’
May 17, 2022
[covid] Michael Lewis: ‘We were incentivised to have a bad pandemic response’ … An update with Michael Lewis from last year about his latest book on Covid-19. ‘Each December, Dean would write her new year resolutions on the back of a photograph of her grandmother. On 20 December 2019, she wrote down two things. “1) Stay sober. 2) It has started.” She had a kind of sixth sense that the viral pandemic she had long been expecting had begun. By coincidence, and rather oddly, at about the same time, Lewis put forward the idea, in a conversation with the Observer, that the only thing that could wake America up to Donald Trump’s governmental negligence was a pandemic. He now plays down his clairvoyance, explaining that he gave that example simply because it was a situation that would affect everybody. “Rich white people would be scared too,” he says. In the event, many Americans followed Trump’s lead in denying the danger of Covid-19 and the virus has remained a highly divisive and contested subject. “If it had killed twice as many people and killed kids,” says Lewis, “you wouldn’t be seeing these revolts in Oklahoma. You’d be seeing the New Deal.”’
May 16, 2022
[movies] Raise The Titanic and Its $5 Million Replica Liner … The story behind one of the biggest movie failures of all time. ‘In many ways, the removal of the source novel’s melodramatic exclamation mark hints at what really hampered this $40 million confection: it’s all so slow and deathly serious. The book’s pulpy tall tale is flattened out in the film as a terse Cold War thriller. The supporting cast, which includes Sir Alec Guinness, Jason Robards and M Emmet Walsh, all talk with furrowed brows and aching sincerity – even when saying things like, “We’re on a ship that never learned to do anything but sink, that’s distress!” At one point, Dirk Pitt yells at a graphic of the Titanic on a computer screen, “It’s just sitting there. Move, you bastard, move!” By the 100 minute mark, you’d be forgiven for shouting the same thing…’
May 13, 2022
[art] My brother the superhero: how the death of comic book legend Steve Dillon inspired a creative awakening … A powerful piece on how Glyn Dillon reacted to the death of his brother Steve. ‘Steve’s death changed his younger brother’s life in all sorts of ways. When it happened, Glyn was working at Pinewood Studios as a costume designer on the latest Star Wars movie. It was work he loved but it also involved long, stressful hours and it had been nagging away at him that what he really wanted to do with his life, ever since he was a teenager, was paint. This family tragedy gave him the push to pursue his dreams. “At first I thought about doing a comic [about Steve’s death], but the feelings felt too big for that medium,” he says. “I needed to do something different, more physical, standing up, climbing a ladder.”’
May 11, 2022
May 10, 2022
[microsoft] Ewan Dalton’s Tip o’ the Week … If like me, you spend a lot of time working with Microsoft products you might find some useful tips at this blog from Microsoft.
May 6, 2022
[life] 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known … Some advice from Kevin Kelly. ‘Dont believe everything you think you believe.’
May 4, 2022
[comics] Arena: The Comic Strip Hero… … A look back in 1981 at the success of Superman with interviews from the creators Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and other comics artists such as Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman.

April 29, 2022
[herzog] Werner Herzog Has Never Liked Introspection … A long, powerful interview with Werner Herzog. ‘The deepest of catastrophes was the First World War, and then only twenty years later or so you have the Second World War, and the complete destruction of Germany. Almost every single major city in Germany looked like the World Trade Center after its attack. And that sank in—and it’s in me. My first memory is of my mother ripping my brother and me out of bed in the middle of the winter night, wrapping us in blankets, and taking us up on a slope. In the distance, at the end of the valley, the entire night sky was red and orange and very slowly pulsing. She said the city of Rosenheim was burning. I was only two and a half. Normally, memories do not go back that far, but I know this was my very first memory, and it’s embedded in my soul.’
April 28, 2022