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Good afternoon super friends. I hope the week's going well.

In respect of computer games, you might call me a latecomer. Nevertheless, even with the most casual interest, the impact and aesthetic of gaming is woven into last four decades. Delightfully, my little console offers not only the hyperrealistic 3D iterations in longstanding franchises, but also versions from yesteryear. It's not often on-screen media gives away much about its evolutionary path: it's got me thinking about obsolescence within cultural touchpoints of our recent past.
RETRO ON SCREEN: Time and again, perhaps in reaction to our changing relationship with technology, there seems to be an appetite for the comfort of the familiar. So just as the web is going through a crisis of trust, there's various signs of reaching back to the era of its inception. Partly a celebration of the early web, but also part-fictionalisation. Staggering summer music site Poolside FM, which has been the soundtrack to my working summer, draws upon operating systems of the early Nineties. The Retro version App Store and it's Android equivalent reimagine today's biggest app stores with a pre-Windows aesthetic.

It might be coincidence, but San Junipero and Stranger Things make sci-fi feel like it has inflected, from the near future of sparse spaceship corridors to the recent past of GLOW and Halt and Catch Fire. Gaming too is moving forward by looking backward. Games like Neon Drive are overt stylistic homages, but hypermodern hand-cranked console Playdate has a distinctly retro feel.

That faux-Eighties magenta/cyan Miami palm tree aesthetic is a well-baked pastiche, captured perfectly in the greatest movie of all time, Kung Fury. Only recently have I started to grasp what replaced it, and only really because it's resurfacing. The delightful Institute for Y2K Aesthetics has been cataloguing this blobby, shiny, pinky-purply feel. It reminds me of the golden age of the London Trocadero complete with Segaworld in all its massive and wildly ambitious delight. Now you've noticed it, you'll see that Nineties thing creeping turning up everywhere, from the coolest online phenomena to the windows of Selfridges. ๐Ÿ‘พ
โ˜‚๏ธ Ways to support the Hong Kong protests from afar: there's acts of solidarity and then there's positive action. Good practical suggestions.

๐Ÿค” I wasnโ€™t getting hired as a Data Scientist. So I sought data on who is: a data-centric approach to understanding those in a data-centric role, with a view to how to become one.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ How Women In EDM Are Fighting Sexism With Success: EDM is still, like the majority of the music industry, dominated by men. Many female dance musicians often find themselves having to prove to their peers that theyโ€™re not just not a pretty face.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Funko Pop vinyl figurines are a $686 million dollar business: each toy is based on a character from pop culture. There are now 8,366 different figures. Serial collectors make up over a third of custom.

๐Ÿ”“ Major breach found in biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defence firms: security researchers had access to over 27.8m records, and 23 gigabytes-worth of data including the fingerprint data of over a million people, facial recognition data, face photos of users, unencrypted usernames and passwords, logs of facility access, security levels and clearance, and personal details of staff. On the plus side... nope, I've got nothing.
The battle for preservation: The Internet Archive holds a playable collection of coin-operated arcade games from the Seventies through to the Nineties. The library contains over a thousand games but, in the grand scheme of game production, is still modest.

For the web itself, there's also much to do in terms of preservation. Perhaps with the exception of Wikipedia, very little of the early web has escaped redesign after redesign. The History of Web Design has a good go at plotting the key trends, while Version Museum retains periodic captures of some of the biggest websites, games and operating systems. But with each iteration, little of what was there before is preserved, in turn prompting a concerted archiving and preservation effort using tools such as Webrecorder.

The web's paradox is that its ease of use afford creators low barriers to entry, while also allowing that which is created to be removed or easily replaced. The effect has been an aesthetic homogenisation that is detrimental to the web's personality. Further, as attention has been turned into revenue, Eye on Design argues there's too much damn content and pages are just designed to keep us scrolling endlessly through it all. Perhaps, then, the blog broke the web.
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Finally: The Internet Needs Tumblr More Than Ever: the site was once a staggering library of fan-fiction and home to more memes that you could ever reasonably consume. A place where freak flags waved proudly and everyone felt supported, where communities self-policed and everything was shared and shareable. (also: Automattic's CEO on what's next for Tumblr). ๐Ÿค“

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