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Cover photograph by Metassus.
Kicked and started
As you may have seen repeatedly in these virtual pages and elsewhere, we wanted to take some of our wonderful stories and make a hardcover book and a corresponding ebook. Thanks to the help of nearly 1,500 people who pledged to get books, subscriptions, and more, we’ve achieved our goal of $48,000 — and passed it.
We’re currently working towards a $55,000 total, which would let us produce the 200-page hardcover while expanding the ebook version to 300 pages, while also choosing a fancier hardcover binding than we originally set within our budget.
The campaign is still running as this issue appears! It ends at 1 p.m. Pacific on Dec. 19, after which time all the exclusive rewards and discounts will no longer be available, such as Dylan Meconis’s T-shirt (produced by United Pixelworkers) adapted from her “robo-cat” cover.
One of our special add-on rewards, which you can pick by adding $10 when you click Manage Pledge to whatever reward level you chose, is a ticket to one of the happy-hour events we’ll host in Seattle and San Francisco in 2014. (You can also add the robo-cat T-shirt for $35 to any reward. See the project page for more details.)
The Kickstarter project funds all the overhead of design, printing, shipping, contributor reprint fees, and the costs for some original, new work that will be included, as well as the cost of production and artists’ fees for the special fine-art prints and that T-shirt.
After the project is over, we’ll be selling the hardcover and ebooks, but at full retail price. Thanks for all of you who backed, and to everyone for their support.
Call waiting and other stories
In this issue, we have five stories of discovery. Mary Catherine O’Connor is our guide to calling in the rural landscapes of America in “Cry Wolf.” Humans mimicking wolves for research purposes has a relatively recent pedigree, but animal calls date back to pre-history. The voice is still the preferred tool for wolf research, but increasingly well-crafted analog and electronic devices, along with digital recordings, are used by hunters and scientists to lure animals. As many readers will know, this niche industry now grosses hundreds of millions of dollars a year related to the family in Duck Dynasty, an A&E TV show as a result of their duck-call dominance. Mary Catherine brings us into the fold. (This article includes some neat audio, too.)
Perfection may be the bugbear of a creative mind; the two-edged sword can mean a project is never done, even as the work becomes better and better. Richard Moss shows how Chris Blundell, with little previous experience, built an animated movie in the 8-bit video-game style “Bit by Bit” over multiple years. It’s finally almost — almost — complete after two crowdfunding campaigns and an enormous amount of patience. Blundell is very, very tired, but The Hit Squad will be released at last in 2014.
In the industrial sections of Oakland, April Kilcrease takes us along when she and two friends go urban exploring, Instagram-enabled smartphones in hand: they scale old water tanks and slither through old drainage pipes for a glimpse of the rarest graffiti in the area. Reported over several months, “Graffiti Hunters” is about deep connections made through subversive public art.
There’s a reason the play Macbeth is referred to within theatres only as the “Scottish Play”: it is cursed. Cursed, I tells ya! Michael E. Cohen helped set in the early 1990s some long-lasting parameters for what electronic books should be like and into what form they should evolve. But once he touched Macbeth, his plans were “Scotched.”
Bill Lascher shows us the wilds of indie video-game programming jams, and the delightful support and collaboration of one informal group in Portland, Oregon, that fosters developers and designers. Designing a new game in 48 hours may not change your life, but as we learn in “Multi-Player Mode,” it can help you level up in your ambitions.
We’ve also included a story embedding our latest two podcast episodes from The New Disruptors: the first with Jean MacDonald of App Camp for Girls and the second a multi-segment episode with guests who first appeared a year ago recapping what’s happened since. (You can play the audio directly within our app or from the Web site. We use SoundCloud, which lets us embed the player without bloating our app issue file.)
You can tap the Share button in iOS at the top of any article and then tap Write Letter to Editor. Or email us with your thoughts, noting any article to which they apply. We also read comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter, and App.net. (Although we see iTunes reviews, we cannot respond there; please contact us directly with any issues that need a response.)
On “Bug Testing”
This was perhaps the most disturbing article you have published. Yes, there were a few caveats but mainly it was a gee whiz techno view. I can’t see the difference between this and the stereotype [of] boys who pull wings off flies. I can’t see what this could teach children other than a cold lack of empathy for other loving creatures.
On “Force of Habit”
I’m taking an introductory design based class and while it’s evident most behavior-changing breakthroughs or products have a technological component to them, it’s unclear how to derive that understanding of what trigger to target to entice that behavioral change. Working with someone with domain expertise is one way, doing several observations is another — but it’d be great to hear from the writers contributing to The Magazine how to think about design to create technologies that trigger a change.
In the meanwhile, I’ll be giving Automatic a whirl.
Where the f--- is Reykjavik? I’m in a bar with no wifi, I won’t remember to look it up later, and my to-do list is filled with important things that deter me from actually reviewing it (which is what makes send-to third party app support both invaluable and crippling). I can, however, kind of time travel by queuing up this email.
Reykjavik is a small, ocean-dwelling sea creature with a high-pitched vocalization that occasionally belches great clouds of volcanic powder, obscuring the sun.
On “The Paste-Up”
I’m catching up on months of not reading The Magazine (from which I was seriously distracted by Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels and for which I offer no apologies) and today read Carolyn Roberts “The Paste-Up.” I admit to reading it mostly because Carolyn is Scottish. I grew up in the west of Scotland, though left over 30 years ago.
I wanted to congratulate Carolyn on an excellently-written and evocative piece — she has a real talent with words (and great grammar, too!).
The Magazine is produced by a small but dedicated editorial staff.