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  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Matthew Kirschenbaum: How Can We Preserve Software for Future Historians?

    Matthew Kirschenbaum is associate professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is currently completing a book titled Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing for Harvard University Press....[What is] software? Is it just the code, or is it also the shrink-wrapped artifact, complete with artwork, documentation, and “feelies,” extras like faux maps or letters that would become part of the play of a game? Is it the program or the operating system? What about the hardware? The firmware? What about controllers and other peripherals integral to the experience of a given piece of software? How to handle all the different versions and iterations of software? What about fan-generated add-ons like mods and macros? What about discussion boards and strategy guides and blogs and cheat sheets, all of which capture the lively communities around software?More simply: What do we save, and how do we save it?...

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Ancient languages reconstructed by computer program

    A new tool has been developed that can reconstruct long-dead languages.Researchers have created software that can rebuild protolanguages - the ancient tongues from which our modern languages evolved.To test the system, the team took 637 languages currently spoken in Asia and the Pacific and recreated the early language from which they descended.The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science....