Since 1998
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 the beat of digital culture
Mindjack may be on ice, but much of our content is as relevant as ever. We've collected some highlights on this page, and you can find our complete archives right here.


Reviews: Books | Movies | Games | Gear

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Daily Relay
Tracking trends and developments in digital culture

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Fresh thinking on current and classic cinema


 

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Features:

january 26, 2005
The Telephone Repair Handbook
by Mark Pesce with Angus Fraser
In a three-part feature, Mark Pesce and Angus Fraser propose a complete rethinking of a technology that everyone depends on: the telephone.

may 30 , 2005
Brooke Burgess: The Mindjack Interview
by Melanie McBride
Mindjack's Melanie McBride recently caught up with Broken Saints creator Brooke Burgess to talk about long form Flash and the way of this Broken Saints warrior.

may 13, 2005
Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV
by Mark Pesce
In two-part article, Mark Pesce looks at how a re-visioned 70s camp classic changed television forever.

feature: february 01 , 2005
The Future of Money
by Paul Hartzog
Mindjack's Paul Hartzog examines the changing nature of money and what might be in store for the currency of tomorrow.

feature: november 05, 2004
Cities Without Borders: Digital Culture and Decentralization
by Paul Hartzog
Paul Hartzog rethinks sociologist Saskia Sassen's idea of the Global City and how it may or may not apply to digital culture.

august 31, 2004
Banner Ads Invade Gamespace
by Tony Walsh
What do you get when you cross the world's most measurable medium with the world's most immersive medium? Video games peppered with Internet-style banner-ads. This new method of marketing allows measurable demographic data to be collected from the elusive online gaming community, targeting dynamically-downloaded advertisements at specific demographics. The promise of a new revenue stream is obviously attractive to advertisers and game publishers, but will the idea win over gamers?

july 20, 2004
Multiplayer Gaming's Quiet Revolution
by Tony Walsh
Today's avatars in massively multiplayer environments like Second Life are giving their users the gift of expression and infusing games with something more, soul.

june 25, 2004
Supernova 2004
J.D. Lasica Reports
Blogging, collaborative work tools and the drawbacks of social software took center stage at this year's Supernova. The third annual tech-in-the-workspace conference — "Where the decentralized future comes together!" — drew more than 150 technology thought leaders, software startup CEOs and other heavy hitters (alas, fewer than 20 of them women) to the Westin Hotel in Santa Clara, Calif., on June 24-25.

may 24, 2004
Will Digital Radio Be Napsterized?
by J.D. Lasica
The Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet. The horror. And so the RIAA, the music business's trade and lobbying group, has asked the Federal Communications Commission to step in and impose an "audio broadcast flag" on certain forms of digital radio.

may 17, 2004
Redefining Television
by Mark Pesce
In the earliest days of television, writers like George Orwell in 1984 and Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 projected television as the instrumentality of a totalitarian future - a monolithic entity dispensing propaganda. And, if any of you occasionally watch Fox News, you can see they weren't that far off the mark. But here's the thing: the monolithic days of television are numbered. Actually, they've already passed - though, as yet, very few people realize this.

april 19, 2004
Linked Out: Blogging, Equality, and the Future
by Melanie McBride
With the mainstream media's interest in blogging at a fever pitch, Mindjack's Melanie McBride takes a critical look at the future of blogging and talks to some of the bloggers trying to shape it.

april 12, 2004
"The killing fields"
Copyright Law and its Challengers
by J.D. Lasica
A profile of Jed Horovitz and his documentary Wilfull Infringement, about his struggles with Disney over copyright laws, and other individuals who have run into similar problems in their creative pursuits.

march 11, 2004
Is Nothing Sacred?
Digital Music for a Digital Age

by Ian Dawe
"Is nothing sacred?" This was the rallying cry, some years back, concerning sampling. Pioneered by the fledgling hip-hop artists, with its roots in music concrete, sampling is the art of extracting snippets of music from other recordings and re-assembling them into a new piece, usually based around some kind of electronic beat. Theft, it was called. Another phrase applied to it was "art".

december 12, 2003
Reunderstanding Movies
by Donald Melanson
Social software is the latest "next big thing" to get technophiles excited and VCs interested. What exactly it is, few can describe. In some respects, it is nothing new at all, but rather a means of connecting and defining previously disparate elements. Mindjack editor Donald Melanson takes a look at one group that has taken this idea and run with it, before the idea ever had a name: film and DVD enthusiasts.

september 18, 2003
The Myth of Fingerprints
by Ian Dawe

Mindjack's newest contributor, Ian Dawe, examines the history of identification technology, from passwords to fingerprints to DNA.

august 11, 2003:
The Trouble with e-Voting
by Sarah Granger

e-Voting is one of those things I've been dreading for several years. Since it first became a technological possibility, the thought of all of the security risks involved has been swarming in my head like a hornet's nest. On the surface, it sounds like a beautifully democratic thing each person anywhere in the world just needs to get him or herself to a computer in order to vote. But when one puts together the current legal ramifications and the technological flaws, it's actually rather scary.

june 11, 2003:
Reloaded: The SimMatrix
Bryan Alexander on The Matrix Reloaded

A sequel to The Matrix faces a series of challenges. It must satisfy, then exceed its audience’s appetite for imaginative fight scenes. It needs to work with the science fiction concept of split-level reality, going further without undoing the premise. Fidelity to an ambitiously defined alternate world isn’t crucial, yet – unlike the situation of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies. However, a sequel is bound to plumb the first movie’s underworld of technological fear and cultural theory riffing. The Matrix: Reloaded attempts all of these, but diffuses, throwing itself into an open, unsettled finale

may 26, 2003
Taste Tribes
by Joshua Ellis

Josh examines the online, interconnected groups of people that you turn to for advice on music, art, fashion, books, etc., and the broader implications of these taste tribes.

may 05, 2003
Thinking Outside The MUD
Ludicorp CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending

Mike Sugarbaker talks to Stewart Butterfield about his company's take on massively-multiplayer gaming.

april 26, 2004
Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture

reviewed by J.D. Lasica
When future generations look back at this unsettled era in which we're transitioning from an analog to a digital society, the search bots may be impressed most by the works of Lawrence Lessig.

march 21, 2003
The State of Digital Rights Management
Bryan Alexander reports from the Berkely DRM Conference.

In February the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology held a conference to demonstrate and push the limits of DRM. For a sunny weekend in northern California, representatives of computer science, entertainment, media companies, Congress, the FTC, European copyright law, and the occasional cypherpunk, offered their versions of DRM, while holding each other's notions up to fierce scrutiny.

march 21, 2003
Two Degrees of Separation
by Sarah Granger

In an entirely unscientific study, Sarah examines the uncanny social connections that sprout from the Silicon Valley populus.

march 10, 2003
More Machine Than Flesh
by J. Johnson

A review essay of Rodney Brooks' Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us.

february 24, 2003
Just Not Evenly Distributed

Cory Doctorow on William Gibson's Pattern Recognition
In Pattern Recognition, Gibson, for the first time in a novel, turns his attention to the present day. Ono-Sendai decks are replaced with iBooks and cell phones. Websites and MPEG movies take the place of the consensual hallucination of cyberspace. Cory Doctorow has our review.

november 04, 2002
Inside The Internet Archive
by Doug Roberts
Tucked away in one of the seediest neighborhoods of San Francisco is a roomful of over two hundred computers with a terabyte of data stored on every three.

october 28, 2002
The Transmetropolitan Condition
An Interview with Warren Ellis

by Melanie McBride

There has never been a better time to read the work of comic book legend Warren Ellis. From the formulaic pornography of news coverage to the on-going ineptitude of our world "leaders", Ellis delivers an intelligent and savagely funny antidote to global idiocy. The creator of Transmetropolitan, Planetary and Global Frequency talks to Mindjack about his work, our times and the future.

november 04, 2002
Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold

reviewed by Cory Doctorow
" Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs is not the first book to be written about the ad-hocratic times we find ourselves living in, and it won't be the last, but page for page, you won't find a better summing-up of all the disparate bitzenpieces that add up to a genuine social revolution."


may 08, 2002
Sid Meier
interviewed by David Brake
Mindjack's David Brake sat down with Civilization series creator Sid Meier in London to discuss games, history, artificial intelligence, and the future of the Civ series.

april 27, 2002
Reading McLuhan
by Melanie McBride
" If there's a message of the 'for dummies' age it's that nothing is beyond our grasp. And our desire to believe this is reinforced by trends like usability, which privilege economy over elucidation. No one anticipated it all better than Marshall McLuhan, who whittled big insights into sound bites in order to engage an audience beyond the lecture halls of the University of Toronto. "

April 22, 2002
Building Emotional Machines
by Ana Viseu

"What is an emotional machine? Usually this term is applied to a machine-soft- or hardware-that is able to recognize, express and perhaps even 'have' emotions."

April 08, 2002
Simon Singh
interviewed by Bryan Alexander
" I interviewed Simon Singh, author of The Code Book (1999), during a campus visit to Centenary College. After he mesmerized one of my classes and delivered a series of energizing lectures, we chatted about various aspects of cryptography today."

march 29, 2002
Digifest 2002
Jim Lai Reports From Toronto
" I didn't have much in the way of expectations going in to Digifest 2002; pretty pictures, glitzy art/advertising pieces, and possibly some cool tech. I was pleasantly surprised by the breadth and depth of the presentations. "

march 18, 2002
SXSW Interactive 2002
by Jon Lebkowsky
"This year's South by Southwest Interactive conference was lean and mean - attended mainly by the core group of edgy 'net whackadistas, the conference had an interesting vibe, like 'Wow, glad the goddam dotcom splurge is over, let's get back to what we were doin'."

march 11, 2002
Conforming to the Machine
by Douglas Rushkoff
"The old man had never seen a computer up close before. As countless other first-time computer users had done before him, he picked up the mouse, pointed it at the monitor, and clicked. "

february 11, 2002
Nanoengineers of the Altiplano
by Chris McKinstry
"My printed in China desk calendar tells me that tomorrow is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. February 12th, is also the first anniversary of the simultaneous release of the human genome sequence by the publicly funded Human Genome initiative and by privately owned Celera Genomics Corporation, and I think not coincidentally, Charles Darwin's birthday."

january 28, 2002
The Future of Infantry?
by Jim Lai
"Recently there has been talk of networks and warfare. It may come as a surprise to some that the US has been actively researching network-centric warfare since the 1990s."

december 31, 2001
Twenty Twenty: Astronomical Vision
by Chris McKinstry
"Very early on a cold February morning in 1979 I looked with one of my highly astigmatic eyes through my first professional telescope at a setting Jupiter."

november 12 , 2001
Marketing the X
by Jane Pinckard
The aggressive marketing tactics for Windows XP and the Xbox demonstrate that Microsoft wants to control not just your work time, but your playtime, too.

november 05 , 2001
Richard Linklater
interviewed by Jon Lebkowsky
An interview with the director of Slacker and Waking Life, conducted while LInklater was editing Dazed and Confused.

october 29, 2001
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act: Licensing The Commons
by Bryan Alexander
"Two high-profile stories in 2001 drew public attention to a recent, subtle, and potentially dangerous United States federal law."

september 18, 2001
Mobile Phones: Reporting From Death's Doorstep
by Justin Hall
" Last week, a series of well-organized terrorist attacks hit the northeastern United States. From chaotic streets and airplane bathrooms, across America and the Arabic world, nearly all parties involved in the tragedy used mobile phones to distribute news and reach out from extraordinary situations. "

july 31, 2001
A Closer Look at Life in the Summer of '76
by Chris McKinstry
"I heard nothing again about the Viking life detection experiments until last week - twenty-five years after the first Viking Lander landed."

july 23, 2001
Webzine NYC 2001
by Jonathan Swerdloff
"On Saturday July 21, 2001 New York City witnessed the birth of a new geek festival. Webzine NYC 2001 was the first annual webzine convention on the East Coast, after three years in San Francisco. "

july 09, 2001
A Few Words On E-commerce...And Buying A Car

by Paul Waterhouse
"One of the proud boasts of the e-commerce world is that you can buy anything online. Paper clips. Cheese puffs. Even a car."

july 02, 2001
Raffi Krikorian's Gear for the Road
One geek's essential gear for wandering the hills of San Francisco or travelling across the country.

february 15, 2001
Wire Fraud and other Childhood Pasttimes
by Shawn FitzGerald
"Mostly, I phreaked, and I was probably about half as good at it as anyone could be. The crap I knew would never have gotten me into MOD, though I'm pretty sure if I could have met Phiber or Scorp on the street (maybe at one of those 2600 meetings...) I would have been able to learn enough from them to be dangerous."

february 15, 2001
A Second Date with the Gnomes of San Jose
by Cory Doctorow
The second meeting of the Intel Peer-to-Peer Working Group

january 01, 2001
IT/ECO: A Short-term Vision for the New Century
by Cate Gable
"Despite the fact that those nine's turning over into zeros' got us all a little crazy last year, purists know that this year is the real beginning of the 21st Century. So without further ado, let's do the requisite Janus thing (looking-back/looking-forward) and lay out a short-term vision for our new century."

november 15, 2000
Election Notes 2000
by Jon Lebkowsky
"Just before the turn of the millennium we hold an election and all hell breaks loose. It was too friggin' close, and that's one of the mysteries that pundits are trying to fathom, that hair's breadth difference between the final tallies for the two major parties."

october 15, 2000
My Date with the Gnomes of San Jose
by Cory Doctorow

A First Person Account of the First Meeting of the Peer-to-Peer Working Group

september 15, 2000
Who Are You? Who Owns You?
by Jon Lebkowsky
"Amazon.com recently updated its generally well-conceived privacy policy, and as part of the update added a disturbing section on 'business transfers.'"

september 15, 2000
Robots "R" Us
by Cate Gable
"When Sony's Aibo robotic pup, priced at $2,500, instantly sold out last year other toy makers quickly jumped on the bandwagon. The Hasbro iRobot doll is only one of several entrants into the high tech toy category. Mattel's Toy Innovation has its own wired-babydoll in trial called "Miracle Moves Baby." And MGA is set to launch its electronic-tyke into the ring. "My Dream Baby" grows, its torso slowly extending like a telescope, until it ultimately learns to walk. Yikes! Walking robo-dolls."

august 01, 2000
Apple's New New Direction
by Michael Boyle
"The summer Macworld Expo has traditionally been one of two or three major events at which Apple announces new products and its vision for the coming year. This year's edition, held from July 18 to July 21 in New York, both continued and extended Apple's bold vision of mixing form with function, power with beauty."

july 01, 2000
Good Thing or Gattaca?
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
Reflections on the recent completion of the mapping of the human genome.

june 15, 2000
The City of Gold
by Are We Really?
An insider's view of the Bay Area's dotcom culture's history. The development and rise of the new gold rush.

june 01, 2000
You Are Here
by David Brake
Location technology is making advances at lightning speed. Companies are vying to provide the next generation of services so accurate, that in the next five years just about anything and anyone with a global positioning receiver will be able to be located within just a few meters.

may 15, 2000
Nodal Politics
by Jon Lebkowsky
"Grassroots organizing is about networking to build political presence, creating influence in the democratic sense, where sheer numbers are assumed to have relevance. Virtual politics adds a new dimension to this kind of networking. "

may 01, 2000
Caffeinated Culture

by Donald Melanson
"Addictions are not usually seen as a good thing. They are something that should be treated, or concealed from others. At the very least, they are frowned upon. One addiction, however, has been embraced by society as a good thing, perhaps even a preferable behavior. It is, of course, coffee."

april 15, 2000
Living in the Fray
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
"Let me begin by pointing out that I'm as organic-coffee-drinking, independent-bookstore-patronizing, sweatshop-product-boycotting as the next bleeding heart liberal. And I'm in support of the goals of the IMF/World Bank protesters. "

april 01, 2000
Cybergothic
by Bryan Alexander
"After years of patient development in a time of occasional wars, an architecture created by the command of a military-industrial complex alters its character. Spaces designed to resist assault become screens for the imagination, haunted by projected fears and desires. The outside world treats these places with a mixture of contempt and craving, peopling them with its demons, rebels, tyrants, and alter egos."

february 15, 2000
Information Technology Meets Global Ecology
by Cate Gable
"Is there an intersection between the worlds of information technology and global ecology? "

february 01, 2000
Whither Y2K?
by Jon Lebkowsky
"What surprised me about the Y2K riff was that analysts and code warriors, who should've known better, were actually stocking up on staples, cases of Campbell's vegetable soup, Top Ramen, Evian water, Jolt cola and Vendange Merlot, as though some kind of catastrophe was truly imminent."

january 15, 2000
The New Future
by Donald Melanson
"For a very long time, the 21st century, and the year 2000 specifically, have been the future. It was then when we were supposed to vacation on the moon, have personal robots, and fly to work in our personal hover cars. But these seem as far off now as they did in the fifties. Even technologies that were supposedly right around the corner, like real virtual reality, are still far from our reach. What happened?"

january 15, 2000
The AOL/Time Warner Merger
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
"What's going to arrive tomorrow morning over crepes - an Apple/Sun merger? Linus Torvalds buys IBM? A joint Steve Case-Bob Vila commercial for Time-Life's home improvement series?"

December 01, 1999
Converge This!
by Dan Richards
"Lately, it's all about convergence. At least the word. It sounds cool. It sounds like something's happening. If you are working with convergence, you're catching the next wave. "

November 01, 1999
Hazy Cosmic Jive
by Donald Melanson
"In a very short period of time, the SETI@Home program has grown from a small project based at the University of California at Berkeley to a bona fide phenomenon, with well over one million registered users at last count."

September 15, 1999
What I've Learned In Sixteen Years Online
by Elizabeth Lewis
"Sometime back around the dawn of the renaissance -- the summer of 1983 to be precise -- I first read about how computers could connect via modems in ways that let people talk to each other people via their keyboards. "

september 01, 1999
The Mind of Howard Rheingold
(part 1)
september 15, 1999
The Mind of Howard Rheingold
(part 2)
Dan Richards talks with cyberspace guru Howard Rheingold about life, the Internet and desserts.

June 24, 1999
Organic Theater
by Dan Richards
"In the beginning, way way back in the early nineties, a few people began keeping online journals on the internet. The World Wide Web had opened gates for new audiences and a new mode of expression. In 1996, film director Doug Block set out to make a documentary on these denizens of cyberspace. "

May 07, 1999
SAY WHAT?: Noise Levels...
by Dan Richards
"It's all around us. We swim in a sea of noise. In this new millennium society we're bathed in walkmans, construction sites, roaring traffic, power tools and a myriad of other sources of deafening sound that assault our systems on physical and psychological levels. "

April 03, 1999
Straight No Chaser
by Dan Richards

"New sound technologies are always around long before they reach the attention of consumers. The importance now in looking around the next corner is that it's coming faster than you realize and it's bigger than you think."

December 7, 1998
David 1, Goliath 0
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
"Amazingly enough, it seems that some federal judges somewhere actually have a minimal understanding of technology issues. Yes, dear readers, Microsoft just received a holiday lump of coal courtesy of US District Judge Whyte."

September 5, 1998
The Stuggle Goes On. Class and the Information Age
by David Howell
"From the Industrial Revolution of the last century, to our post-modern age, class forms the bedrock on which society gives structure to its means of production and distribution. This hasn't changed with the metamorphosis that is taking place, as we move into an informationally dominated society. "

August 20, 1998
The 21st Century Breathing Down My Neck
by Shawn FitzGerald
"Harlen Ellison wrote that people only have a right to an informed opinion, which I agree with. That doesn't stop everyone from having instantaneous opinions on topics from abortion to Olean. More polite people choose to keep these opinions to themselves. Others choose to voyeuristically flaunt them in front of the world."

August 20, 1998
The Frankenstein Complex
by David Howell
"Think of all the people outside of the information industry you know, and ask yourself if any of them have a PC. If some have, great! But of those that don't, ask yourself why?"

June 12, 1998
Technorealism
by Craig Saila
"It's been said revolutions move in stages, at first there are the visionaries those that show the exciting possibilities laying in wait and then there are the realists."

July 11, 1998
The Razor's Edge: They're Wrong About Us
by p.l. frank
"To hear all the "experts" tell it, the Web is a virtual hotbed of hackers, spammers, perverts, cross-gendered posers, pornographers and socially-retarded geeks void of any concept of appropriate social discourse. Hopping the Web-Bashing Bandwagon are a host of psychologists and sociologists touting a doom and gloom message about the TechnoHeads Culture. "

June 12, 1998
Tempest In A Teapot
by Elizabeth Weaver Engel
"In the current brouhaha between Microsoft and the Justice Department, one finds something for everyone: threats, drama, hysterics, pronouncements of doom from both sides, more threats, angry retorts...about the only thing missing is a love story. My favorite part however, is the humor."

May 11, 1998
The Razor's Edge: Why The Digital Culture Is Good For You
by p.l. frank
"The news media, along with social and behavioral scientists have recently sent out a multitude of warnings about the many dangers that await us out there in cyberspace. The truth of the matter is that the Web is no more inherently insidious than anything else in the world. "

May 11, 1998
The Transparent Medium
by Brian Igo
"There haven't been many movies I've rushed to see in the theaters since I got a VCR. Hollywood's greatest fear when it debuted almost 20 years ago has, at least in my case, come to pass. The nearest cineplex is a 45-minute drive and it's not worth the hassle when every gas station and bait shop has a video department. "

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