William Gibson: "The Digital Is Now Real Enough to Kill You"

Categories: Books, Tech

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Courtesy of William Gibson/Putnam
William Gibson
When William Gibson published his first novel, Neuromancer, thirty years ago, he triggered a seismic shift in the landscape of science fiction. With its vision of a gritty near-future populated by cowboy computer hackers and cybernetically-enhanced mercenaries, the book singlehandedly established cyberpunk as a genre, in the process foreshadowing the growth of the Internet and inventing the concept of the "the matrix" that the Wachowskis would later draw from to make their film of the same name. It also won Gibson the Nebula, Hugo and Philip K. Dick awards, and saddled him with a reputation as a kind of prescient prophet of what's to come.

Gibson's latest effort, The Peripheral, is a mystery that spans two very different futures, an economically depressed corner of rural America where high-tech drug manufacturing and professional gaming are some of the only jobs around, and a far-off London where drone technology lets people interact across space and even time. Westword spoke to Gibson, who comes to Tattered Cover Colfax on November 3, about the disappearing lines between the web and the "real world" and technology's scary side; read on for an edited version of our conversation.

See also: Travis Heerman Aims to Put the Fun Back in Speculative Fiction

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Meet Ello, the Social Network Created Right Here in Colorado

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ello.co
If you have been anywhere near the Internet in the past week, you've probably heard about Ello, a new social networking site that's still in the Beta stage. But it's picked up a lot of steam as Facebook users started jumping ship after Facebook announced its "real name" policy -- which drag performers and other members and allies of the GLTBQ community charge is dangerous and discriminatory.

Ello's Denver-based programming team is is spearheaded by Paul Budnitz -- the guy behind vinyl toy maker Kidrobot, which moved its headquarters to Boulder in 2010 -- along with Mode Set and fellow Colorado designers Berger & Föhr. We recently chatted with Mode Set's Justin Gitlin (also known around town as music and multimedia artist Cacheflowe) to find out what, exactly, Ello is all about -- and how it's been affected by the recent Facebook move.

See also: CacheFlowe Releases Open-Source Robot Vocal Software to Welcome Our Digital Overlords

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MHM Packs founders launch Kickstarter project for CO.ALITION Colfax backpack line

Categories: Tech

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Courtesy CO.ALITION
This morning the co-founders of Denver-based Mile High Mountaineering launched a Kickstarter project for their offshoot brand CO.ALITION, taking the same technical design chops that have made their backcountry MHM packs a hit and adding integrated technology components and a more urban aesthetic for everyday use. CO.ALITION co-founders Jeff Popp and Casey Lorenzen call the concept "urbaneering."

See also: Mile High Mountaineering selected as ISPO BrandNew Awards finalist


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Animal Help Now app designed to find aid for animals in Colorado and Texas

Categories: Tech

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Courtesy of Animal Help Now
After Maggie was attacked by another dog, her owner was able to use Animal Help Now to find the right care provider.
An animal advocate for more than two decades and the co-founder of Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, David Crawford knew how to help injured and distressed animals he encountered in Boulder -- but was often at a loss for the right resources outside the area. "We were constantly getting calls from people who had encountered animals that needed their help and the people had no idea what to do," remembers Crawford. "Injured and orphaned wildlife, dogs in hot cars, cats on top of telephone poles, lost-and-found animals and situations like that. We kind of knew what to do; we as an organization had the local resources. But it was difficult to help somebody who wasn't right in Boulder and it was very frustrating to have people call us and not be able to know always where to send them."

Now there's an app for that: Animal Help Now.

See also: Mercy For Animals wants to know why you eat some animals, but not puppies?

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kristin Stransky

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#85: Kristin Stransky

There's a new kind of alchemy happening in the art world, a creative compound where art and science merge. At the University of Denver, it's called Emergent Digital Practices, and Kristin Stransky, who teaches there, is at the forefront of the movement, making stuff that wouldn't have been possible ten years ago, using up-to-the-minute materials and technological tools. What do things look like on the frontier of digital art? Find out by reading Stransky's 100CC questionnaire.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Chris Coleman


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Filmmaker Guy Maddin on cinematic séances and the Brakhage Symposium

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Guy Maddin
Filmmaker Guy Maddin resurrects the ghosts of silent cinema in his 2000 film The Heart of the World.
Filmmaker Guy Maddin says that watching a movie has more in common with a paranormal séance than meets the eye; he remembers the first time he realized that the French word for a movie screening is "séance," which translates into "a sitting." Both activities take place in the dark; both are enchanting; both evoke spirits from the past who have been separated from their physical bodies. Attempting to resurrect lost movies -- films improperly stored and turned to vinegar, destroyed to make room for new stock or abandoned in closets (in 1981, the original cut of Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc was found in a janitor's closet in a mental hospital in Oslo Maddin says) -- the filmmaker holds public séances where he puts actors into a trance and shoots his own adaptations of missing films. He sees himself as a spirit guide summoning the sad souls of lost movies. "I've been shooting one film in public per day. I did three weeks in Paris, two in Montreal, and I'm always looking to shoot more. I wanted to shoot a hundred films for one hundred days, but it looks like it's going to be more like seventy," says Maddin, who will be performing a séance and participating in the Brakhage Symposium at the University of Colorado Boulder this weekend.

See also: The Weirdest Movie in the World: Nobody does nostalgic melodrama like Guy Maddin

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100 Colorado Creatives: Lynne Bruning

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Lynne Bruning, Hello Kitty Valentine eTextile Tutorial.
#13: Lynne Bruning

Denver-based but with an international following, Lynne Bruning studied neuroscience and architecture, but found her place in the world as a weaver, designer and well-traveled e-textile expert active in the worlds of the Internet, Maker Faires, hackerspaces and Burning Man. In a brilliant twist, Bruning blends an innate proficiency in the most ancient of textile arts with the most progressive ideas, somehow remaining down-home while also being technologically sophisticated at the same time. We asked Bruning to share her intercontinental point of view by answering the 100CC questionnaire; keep reading and see if you can keep up.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Julie Carr


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Menswear Mondays: Hyatt worker Marques Pryor on his tech fashion

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All photos by Mauricio O. Rocha

Fashion is a creative field, in which people can take materials from the strangest of places and re-purpose them as wearable pieces of art. Someone who we caught rocking innovative menswear is Marques Pryor, a cashier at a Hyatt hotel , who was wearing a circuit board turned lapel pin. Read here to learn where he shops, his style inspirations, and his favorite accessory.

See also: Menswear Mondays: Sales representative Samuel Schuler on his winter fashion


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Can Aereo become the next player in the broadcast business?

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Alex Brown

It was a sad day when television switched from analog to digital. People had to go out and buy antennas and converter boxes just to watch basic television that had been free forever. Those antennas were never quite reliable, though, and while cable was more consistent, it was also more costly.

Enter Aereo, a new antenna service that is giving consumers another option for TV service. Today Aereo hosted its official launch in the Denver market at Galvanize, and we were there.

See also: Photos: Ten best places to find a job in Colorado

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Take Charge plugs into National Plug In Day Saturday

Categories: Events, Family, Tech

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From the DMCC's Facebook page
Scene from 2012 National Plug In Day.
If you're interested in saving money on gas and maintenance for your vehicle, get in gear and head over to "Take Charge," Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition's third annual National Plug In Day. It will rev up on Saturday in the parking lot at South High School. Chevy, Nissan, Tessla and many others will have vehicles available for test drives, and experts will be on hand to answer questions about tax incentives as well as to demonstrate how easy it is to operate an electric vehicle.

See also: Sing the vehicle electric: The Electric Avenue expo and Revenge of the Electric Car

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