Items that recently have caught my attention

Reading

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2009
Published at Foreign Policy on December 14, 2009.
Global warming, international relations, Iraq, Chechnya, and more — but not the headlines you were expecting. An important year-end list from Foreign Policy magazine, spotted via kottke.org.
From a naval alliance that could shift the military balance of power on two continents to a troubling security gap in the U.S. passport system to a brand-new way to circle the globe, these are the stories that never got the attention they deserved in 2009 but could dominate the conversation in 2010.

Augmenting our Reality: two or three big bangs per page
Published at garciamedia on December 3, 2009.
A fun roundup of what magazines are doing with AR at this point. A bit gimmicky, but an interesting start.

Explore a whole new way to window shop, with Google and your mobile phone
Published at The Official Google Blog on December 7, 2009.
QR codes + Google business listings = Yelp killer? Maybe. But aren’t QR codes so 2007? I thought Augmented Reality was the 2009 solution to this problem.
To scan the codes, you’ll need a phone with a camera and an app that can read QR codes. For Android-powered devices, including the Droid by Motorola, we recommend using the free Barcode Scanner app. For iPhone, we have found the $1.99 QuickMark app to work best, and starting today, we’re partnering with QuickMark to offer the app for free for the first 40,000 downloads.

Sports Illustrated – Tablet Demo 1.5
Published at YouTube on December 2, 2009.
I’m a sucker for any and every slick video about a tablet or e-paper product. This one is the slickest I’ve seen yet.

Writing

Write Better Blog Posts Today
Published at Chris Brogan on December 13, 2009.
Chris Brogan runs down some of the textbook tactics of the best professional bloggers. Hint: He’s one of them.
Before you write, consider what you’re seeking. Do you want the post to drive a sale? Do you want it to engage your audience? Do you want the post to handle some mechanical goal, such as receiving more links, more bookmarks, and thus improve the rank of your site? Maybe your posts only serve to point out that you’re the thought leader. Know your goals before you post.

Monday Morning Breslin: A Death in Emergency Room One
Published at Gangrey on December 7, 2009.
A classic Breslin piece from the New York Herald Tribune on the death of John F. Kennedy. Be sure to read the whole thing, then check out the links in the comment thread below to bits of history, rebuttal, clarification.
These things he was doing took only small minutes, and other doctors and nurses were in the room and talking and moving, but Perry does not remember them. He saw only the throat and chest, shining under the huge lamp, and when he would look up or move his eyes between motions, he would see this plum dress and the terribly disciplined face standing over against the gray tile wall.

Peter Gammons: My 20 years at ESPN
Published at ESPN The Magazine on December 12, 2009.
Not a huge Gammons fan, but as a huge baseball fan who came of age while he was reporting for ESPN, I love the litany of anecdotes here, from Jack Morris to Mariano Rivera.
And I watched Fidel Castro stand for and sing along with the U.S. national anthem, because it was baseball, and it didn’t surprise me because Gene Mauch had told me that when he played there in the 1950s, he had befriended Castro and that first and foremost, in Mauch’s words, “Fidel loved baseball the way you and I love baseball.”

The Content Strategist as Digital Curator
Published at A List Apart on December 8, 2009.
This article from A List Apart is mostly geared toward the producer who works with *internal* content — think of the archives of a newspaper.com — but the principles all apply to anyone curating the best of the Web for a given audience.
In galleries and museums, curators use judgment and a refined sense of style to select and arrange art to create a narrative, evoke a response, and communicate a message. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content.

Arithmetic

How to Make an Interactive Area Graph
Published at FlowingData on December 9, 2009.
Nathan at FlowingData provides this Actionscript/Flash tutorial on how to build a graph that looks a bit like those baby name explorers and unemployment charts you’ve seen lately.
This tutorial is for people with at least a little bit of programming experience.

Man Promotes Band In The Middle Of Nowhere On Google Street View
Published at TechCrunch on December 4, 2009.
I’m personally fascinated by the physical hacking of the world to insert messaging into virtual representations of the world. In this case, the plot involves tracking a Google Street View car and getting ahead of it to set up, essentially, an advertisement.
After making a sign and keeping it in the trunk of my car for about a month I finally chanced across the google street view car. Then I had to follow it until I figured out its pattern, then get ahead of it with time to set up.

baratunde: “I can reach more people on my Twitter account than the Star Ledger reaches with its Monday edition.” – @CoryBooker http://bit.ly/6rpe38
Published at Twitter on December 7, 2009.