Review from the weekend: "The Overstory" by Richard Powers (2018). A branching novel about trees and the humans who love & destroy them. I enjoyed and recommend the book; even if it got a bit repetitious at times, it succeeds at sharing many different _ways_ to relate to nature. Full review:

lib.reviews/the-overstory

We have a new job opening that works closely with the SecureDrop team.

We're looking for a Newsroom Services Coordinator - a person who will be the first point of contact for our services to news orgs, including SecureDrop support.

This is not primarily a technical role -- we're especially looking for folks w/ partnerships, project management & administrative experience.

If you're looking for full-time, mission-oriented nonprofit work, check it out:

freedom.press/jobs/job-opening

Honestly, as a Linux gamer, the Steamdeck looks pretty good, and will hopefully lead to cont'd Proton improvements. Put in a reservation for one (only took 5 tries!).

#FollowFriday / #FF recap of this week's recommended follows:

🌟 @theartshole - Wonderful art history videos with a dry sense of humour

🌟 @hexdsl - Video blogger who chats about tech stuff, FOSS and video games

🌟 @merle - French musician creating modern folk and electronica (in French)

🌟 @the_white_wolf - Let's play videos and an official mirror of the Igor's Lab PC tech channel (in German)

"Strange Weather" was my second Joe Hill book. It's a collection of four mostly horror-themed novellas. This was a real page-turner for me that I recommend without reservations. Just note that the centerpiece novella is a pretty gut-wrenching piece about gun violence, so know what you're signing up for.

Here's my full review:

lib.reviews/review/37d5bc08-57

My employer, Freedom of the Press Foundation, is looking for a web design firm to partner with for a redesign of one of our flagship projects, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

This is a pretty cool opportunity to do mission-driven design work -- please help pass it along to design firms who you think could be a good fit.

Budget is $40-$50K. Note that we have an internal web dev team, so the focus here is on the design.

freedom.press/rfp-pft/

If you like point & click adventures, I recommend picking up "The Last Time" - it's currently just $1 on Steam. The art is minimalist, but it's got a great vibe & "choices matter" gameplay. Native Linux version. Content warning: violence/murder.

bigcowstudios.com/thelasttime/

OK, a genuinely short review of a very short game - "Take A Hike!", part of this year's massive itch.io Indie Game Bundle For Palestinian Aid.

lib.reviews/review/086f85e3-27

If you're not sure if kinetic visual novels (where you don't get to do anything other than read text on a screen) are your thing, you may want to try this one -- it's only ~30 minutes long and it's both sweet and funny.

TIL that emacs ships with a text adventure game easter egg (`emacs -batch -l dunnet`) first written in 1983.

#FollowFriday / #FF recap of this week's recommended follows:

🌟 @engineerguytilvids - Video account about engineering of everyday objects, by university professor

🌟 @switchingsoftware - Beginner's guide to help people switch to privacy-friendly FOSS and federated services

🌟 @cmdln - Makes beer, runs blogs/podcasts about food & drink, tech

🌟 @freedomboxfndn - Special Linux distro that makes it easy to host your own server on a PC, Pi, ARM device etc.

Two reviews from the weekend:

1) "Before I Forget" is a short narrative game that focuses on the protagonist's experience of dementia and memories of a person they once were. (Part of the itch.io bundle for Palestinian Aid.)

lib.reviews/review/66e7e7b3-24

2) "Boy in the Book" is a free (no strings) web-based, choice-driven documentary game/film about a found diary in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book -- if you want it to be:

lib.reviews/review/df812744-f5

(I recommend both titles with few reservations)

At my work (Freedom of the Press Foundation) we're still hiring for a Senior Security Engineer to join the @securedrop team.

This is a work-from-anywhere role that's great for folks who have worked in security-sensitive software engineering roles for 3+ years (with or without the SecEng title).

freedom.press/jobs/job-opening

Non-profit & open source jobs can be few and far between. HMU if this looks of interest to you or you have questions about it :)

I am apparently incapable of writing short reviews, but here's my take on "Bury Me, My Love", a game which tells the fictional story of a refugee of the Syrian Civil War in the form of text messages exchanged between her and her husband.

I felt that it fell short of its ambition to use the medium of a game to build empathy and understanding, but your experience may vary. Full review:

lib.reviews/bury-me,-my-love

(The game is part of itch.io's "Bundle for Palestinian Aid", if you purchased that.)

6b.eleuther.ai/ is pretty fun to play with to get a feel for what the babbling AI models known as Transformers can and cannot do.

It's the latest model developed by Eleuther.AI, an open source alternative to GPT-3 (the proprietary model developed by "Open"AI).

Try it with a prompt like this:

Elvis In Paris (2033)
Plot summary: Elvis Presley finds himself in 21st century Paris,

(Each run will produce different results, some more coherent, most less so. :-)

Latest review: "Highway Blossoms", a choice-free romantic visual novel about two women (Amber and Marina) who meet on the side of the road.

It's a wholesome, over-the-top love story that I would compare more with a rom-com movie than with a novel, including in its tropes and the "adventure" that animates the story: a treasure hunt across multiple US states, which has unfortunate colonialist undertones. The romance works, if you're not looking for realism.

Full review:

lib.reviews/highway-blossoms

An amazing bundle of 852 DRM free games – including 247 Linux games – 24 books, 5 comics …

All for 5 USD!

And all the money goes to Palestinian aid!

What an unbelievable deal. Go get it. Less than 10 hours left: itch.io/b/902/indie-bundle-for

#LinuxGaming #LinuxGames #GamesBundle #Palestine

I quite enjoyed my time w/ "Iris and the Giant", a stylish roguelike deckbuilding game (Win/Mac/Linux/Switch).

Excellent game design that is likely to hold your attention for 5-15 hours without getting you hooked indefinitely, as some roguelikes do. Content warning: The game's story is about depression and bullying and not its strongest suit, IMO.

Full review:

lib.reviews/iris-and-the-giant

(It's on sale on Steam currently, and you can pick it up for even less in Fanatical's "Slayer" bundle.)

OK, one more review for today - "How We Know We're Alive" is a 30-60 minute free narrative game with point-and-click exploration and keyboard movement. It's a melancholy story about a woman returning to her hometown to pay her respects to a friend.

The game is sad & beautiful, and I recommend it if and when you are in the mood for that kind of thing. Short, spoiler-free review:

lib.reviews/review/4aa2cb56-db

(We're in a golden age for lovely indie games, and this is no exception.)

Over the weekend, I finished Ken Liu's second collection of short stories, "The Hidden Girl". I loved his first collection, "The Paper Menagerie".

While there are some gems in "The Hidden Girl" that you may want to seek out, I can't wholly recommend the book, as the stories kept revisiting the same themes (especially mind uploading) without bringing new perspectives to them. Full spoiler-free review:

lib.reviews/review/bf0f9b2d-d3

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