Tweaking Twain

A new edition of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, scheduled to be published in February by NewSouth Books, substitutes the word “slave” for the “n-word” and “Indian” for “injun” throughout the book.

The publisher has been accused of censorship and altering a classic of American literature for the sake of political correctness. Early argues that this is just another case of tinkering with texts in order to create a version that best serves its audience.

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How Andrew Plotkin raised $31,337 on Kickstarter

There’s no easy answer here. Andrew ‘Zarf’ Plotkin is a big name in interactive fiction, and without his reputation backing up his idea, it would probably have failed. Still, he has some smart suggestions:

Some subjective factors that I can’t measure, but which I’m sure helped:

  • Say up front what you want to do, why you want money, and how that money will be converted into something awesome. (A list of features is not exciting, of itself. Describe an experience.)
  • Have a great video. I wrote a script, and then my co-conspirator Jason McIntosh and I whaled over it. Jason threw away a bunch of stuff and added a bunch of stuff; then we filmed it. Twice.
  • Think about your audience and who wants what. I have contributors who want an iPhone game, contributors who want interactive fiction, contributors who want to support my open-source projects, and contributors who want to support me. These are not all the same people. Rewarding all of these groups appropriately is non-trivial, and there has been some discussion about the way I did it.
  • For a game project, include a demo. (I realized this only barely before launch-day! The demo that I posted represents two intense weekends of work; I hope that’s a good omen for my production rate in 2011.)
  • Don’t be afraid to plug yourself and your CV. I know you’re all saying “how could you fail to promote yourself?!” but I had to be chivvied into it. (Thanks, Jason Scott.)
  • Contrariwise, don’t be a jerk. Actively don’t be a jerk. Say thank you to everybody, early and often.

via Andrew Plotkin: How I raised $24,000 on Kickstarter – money.cnn.com

Related: Hadean Lands: Interactive Fiction for the iPhone – kickstarter.com

Casio Tryx / Fujifilm FinePix X100

This is a novel form factor for a point-and-shoot. If anyone gets serious about making an open source camera, they should definitely try something inventive like this.

The design of the “variable frame” allows it to act as a sort of tripod, giving you steadier shots for video or low-light exposure and giving you one less thing to carry. Another odd feature is that the lens is not a zoom, but instead a fixed wide-angle.

(via Casio goes innovative with Tryx camera desig – core77.com)

I’m not really sure the benefits are worth the hassle though. The thing is almost like a puzzle!

Engaget has some specs.

The 12.1 megapixel shooter sports what the company’s calling Exilim Engine HS, which equates to 1080p 30 frames per second video, up to 240fps (at 432 x 320 resolution) slow-motion, and various HDR and panorama options. there’s also a 3-inch touchscreen LCD, but the biggest draw here is the swiveling enclosure that serves as a stand for setting up just the right shot. We got an early glimpse at a non-functional prototype, and the size is definitely interesting — we still need to see it in action, though. Price is a penny shy of $250 and shipping date’s April 2011.

(via Casio’s Tryx pocket camera takes a stand (literally) alongside new Exilim lineup – engadget.com)
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