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:
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:
🌟 @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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
🌟 @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.)
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:
(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).
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:
(The game is part of itch.io's "Bundle for Palestinian Aid", if you purchased that.)
https://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.
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: https://itch.io/b/902/indie-bundle-for-palestinian-aid
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.
(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:
(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:
https://lib.reviews and other free/open projects.
Opinions my own :-)
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