We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Digital filmmaking ended up surpassing traditional cell stock for many reasons, but the battle between the two formats is far from over. The Atlantic considers film's resiliency in the face of the digital onslaught.
The Atlantic: Jason Apuzzo & Govindini Murty - At the Summer Box Office, a Battle Between Two Ways of Filming
David Fincher are already including media players along with their archived digital footage in order to guarantee that the footage can actually be watched years down the line.
On the box
Vanessa Grigoriadis spars with IAC's Barry Diller on Aereo, the media landscape, and the cable industry's sluggish pace of innovation.
New York: Vanessa Grigoriadis - Blow Up the Box
Why is it that the remote control attached to the set-top box and the navigation systems are so lame? Cable has not needed to innovate. When the first innovation came along, TiVo, they killed it. I’m not saying they’re bad folks by any stretch, but the natural forces of technology are forcing a level playing field— now, people will come up with new ideas and compete.
In another great piece from this week's New York, Matt Zoller Seitz looks at how the culture of live reactions and episode recaps has forever changed how we watch TV.
New York: Matt Zoller Seitz - Matt Zoller Seitz on the Shifting Boundaries of Television
These were seized on, dissected, criticized, and debated within hours of their airing, with a thoroughness that might have unfolded over days not too long ago. The online record of people’s instant reactions may be critically incomplete, but it has personal and journalistic value. It shows us how people reacted to television moments when they happened and tells us about the changing culture and the technology that increasingly shapes it.
With Instagram's recent billion dollar sale and Facebook's IPO in mind, Mat Honan tells the story of Flickr's acquisition by Yahoo, which went horribly wrong.
Gizmodo: Mat Honan - How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet
It was a stunning failure in vision, and more or less the same thing happened at Flickr. All Yahoo cared about was the database its users had built and tagged. It didn't care about the community that had created it or (more importantly) continuing to grow that community by introducing new features.
On preservation and emulation
Wesley Fenlon explains the difficulties — and importance — of properly emulating the classic 16-bit video game systems of the past.
Tested: Wesley Fenlon - 16-bit Time Capsule: SNES Emulator Makes a Case for Software Preservation. Similarly, check out developer Byuu's 2011 piece on the matter at ars technica.
Historians will be able to look back on the engineering performed at Nintendo R&D 2 in the late 1980s through the window of bsnes — or some future software built from byuu's source code — and see almost exactly how this one video game console functioned. And 100 years from now, at least some of the ROMs uploaded to the Internet will actually be legal.
Finally, don't miss our roundup of the best longform writing about Facebook.
Too much? Then we recommend the Harvard Crimson's take on thefacebook.com just days after it launched at Harvard in 2004.
The Harvard Crimson: Kevin J. Feeney - Business, casual
Zuckerberg had the same devil-may-care attitude this fall, when a federal lawsuit added an expected $20,000 to TheFacebook’s monthly expenses. In total, Zuckerberg says the lawsuit filed by Divya K. Narendra ’04, Cameron S. H. Winklevoss ’04, and Tyler O. H. Winklevoss ’04 of Connect-U could cost TheFacebook upwards of $200,000.
"But whatever, it’s just money," he says. "We’ll just sell more ads or something."
Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.