Weekend tech reading: Remembering literary legend Ray Bradbury

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Brought Mars to Earth with a lyrical mastery Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose imaginative and lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91. His death was confirmed by his agent, Michael Congdon. By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science fiction writers of the 20th century... The NY Times

Newton, reconsidered In the grand scheme of things, 1992 is such recent history that it barely qualifies as history. When it comes to portable gadgets, however, it’s an era that’s nearly unrecognizable to we 21st-century humans. Sure, there were pocketable gizmos back then: The Game Boy, for instance, had been around since 1989, and the Sony Watchman was hot stuff. There were even miniature computers, such as HP’s 95LX. But in 1992, nobody had an MP3 player. Or a GPS handheld. Or a smartphone. (Less than five percent of people in North America had a mobile phone, period.) Time

The war for India's Internet "65 years since your independence," a new battle for freedom is under way in India -- according to a YouTube video uploaded by an Indian member of Anonymous, the global "hacktivist" movement. With popular websites like Vimeo.com blocked across India by court order, the video calls for action: "Fight for your rights. Fight for India." Over the past several weeks, the group has launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against websites belonging to Internet service providers, government departments, India's Supreme Court, and two political parties. Foreign Policy

PC gaming: E3′s dirty little secret It’s a bit odd to cover E3 with a PC-focused slant. Initially, I felt horrifically out of place roaming the LA Convention Center’s banner-plastered halls. The Kratoses and Master Chiefs of the world leered at me from their billowing sky perches, and I longed for the warm embrace of, say, a game about embracing people -- as Rambo. Xbox controllers and PlayStation pads contorted showgoers’ hands into unnatural, vice-like claws, and I could only grasp feebly for a mouse that failed to materialize. RPS

Evaluating the harm from closed source Some people are obsessive about never using closed-source software under any circumstances. Some other people think that because I’m the person who wrote the foundational theory of open source I ought to be one of those obsessives myself, and become puzzled and hostile when I demur that I’m not a fanatic. Sometimes such people will continue by trying to trap me in nutty false dichotomies (like this guy) and become confused when I refuse to play. Armed and Dangerous

Kodak's patent allure fades Eastman Kodak Co.'s effort to draw interest in the sale of its digital patent portfolio is flagging, people familiar with the matter said, complicating the 132-year-old photography pioneer's chances of emerging from bankruptcy court.  The people said the company hasn't been able to attract what's known as a stalking-horse bidder, one who agrees ahead of time to purchase the assets for a certain price, a tactic that can push prices higher. The WSJ

The silent majority: why Visual Basic 6 still thrives Microsoft recently extended "It Just Works" compatibility for Visual Basic 6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8 (see this month’s Editor’s Note, "Old Soldiers Never Die"). Visual Basic 6 first shipped in 1998, so its apps will have at least 24 years of supported lifetime. Contrast that with the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 (2002), which is incompatible with Windows 7 (2009). Microsoft

Where are all the high-resolution desktop displays? When we covered LG’s new 440 PPI display, several of you asked why small panels were getting all the high-resolution lovin’, and when we might see high-rez desktop and laptop displays. We’ve discussed the concept of a "Retina display" as it relates to both handheld devices and widescreen televisions, but we’ve not touched on desktop displays all that much. ExtremeTech

How many seconds would it take to break your password? Security breaches of mind-numbing size like those at LinkedIn and EHarmony.com set crypto- and security geeks to chattering about weak passwords and lazy users and the importance of non-alphanumeric characters to security. And insisting on a particular number of characters in a password is just pointless security-fetish control freakishness, right? Nope. ITworld

Porn, gambling, and malware: Bitcoin as the 'Net's Wild West On June 8, 2011, the same day Ars Technica ran its first story about Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency's value jumped to an all-time high of $32. Bitcoins had been worth less than $1 just two months earlier, and that day proved to be the peak of the bubble. The value of a Bitcoin fell below $20 within a week, and by November it had fallen to $2. Ars Technica

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS Thirty-one. That’s the number of months it took Palm, Inc. to go from the darling of International CES 2009 to a mere shadow of itself, a nearly anonymous division inside the HP machine without a hardware program and without the confidence of its owners. Thirty-one months is just barely longer than a typical American mobile phone contract. The Verge

A tour of the Phoronix office As I am frequently asked about my unique monitor setup, brand preference on different computer peripherals and other questions about my personal hardware choices as it pertains to Linux, here's a tour of my Phoronix office for this weekend article. There's also some additional thoughts beyond what you will find in previously-published Phoronix reviews. Phoronix

500 free movies online: great classics, indies, noir, westerns, etc. Where to watch free movies online? Let’s get you started. We have listed here 500+ quality films that you can watch online. The collection is divided into the following categories: Comedy & Drama; Film Noir, Horror & Hitchcock; Westerns & John Wayne; Silent Films; Documentaries, and Animation. OpenCulture

iPads on a plane let Scoot save fuel by shedding TV tons Scoot Pte is offering Apple iPads to budget long-haul travelers after ripping out aircraft entertainment systems weighing more than two tons to save fuel. The tablets helped the carrier cut 7% off the weight of planes obtained from parent Singapore Airlines even after a 40% increase in seating... Bloomberg

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