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Computers

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Go West, Young Man

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• Oh, no! Gay-marrying New Paltz mayor Jason West, not yet 30 and the closest the upstate hamlet has to a national celebrity, has been defeated by an ex-ally, 514 to 379. West reportedly alienated the town with a "heavy-handed" governing style. Well, he is a puppeteer by trade. [NYT] • This should keep conspiracy theorists occupied for the next decade: A laptop with "sensitive" 9/11 info, including photos of newly unearthed human remains, has been stolen from a medical examiner's SUV parked next to ground zero. [NYP] • Bloomberg's Spanish is improving. The mayor, whose tenuous grasp of the language was a reliable joke for years, delivered a ten-minute speech in Spanish during his Mexico visit and even took questions. [amNY] • The Daily News catches Con Ed in a bizarre practice: The utility giant is hiring limo drivers to guard electrified grates and manholes. The drivers (sorry, "site-safety personnel") simply park next to the stray-voltage area and sit there, sometimes for days. On it, indeed. [NYDN] • And some New Jersey children tuning in to the Disney Channel were exposed to an accidentally aired bit of hard-core porn this week. The program they thought they'd see? "Handy Manny," about "a bilingual Latino handyman and his talking tools." The cable company, Comcast, had no comment. [WNBC]

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Sim Art

Video games, you tend to think, are set in fantasy worlds, so it's a strange fact that the best-selling PC game of all time is The Sims, a real-life simulation rife with mundane, detailed exactness; characters sleep, go to work, and bicker. There's no end -- the characters just live their lives -- but the game has become a cultural phenomenon since its 2000 launch. It has now even inspired "The Sims: In the Hands of Artists," an exhibit opening Thursday at Chelsea Art Museum. For the show, gamemaker Electronic Arts collaborated with Parsons, challenging students to create Sims-inspired art using everything from basic pencil and paper to machinima, a moviemaking technology powered by the game's engine. We got a sneak peek at four student projects.

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Exposé: Ousted Mac Man Was Computer Illiterate!

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Was Justin Long — the scruffy-faced Mac to John Hodgman's straitlaced PC in those ubiquitous Apple ads — ousted from his role simply because, as Radar and Gawker suggested the other day, he was an annoying dweeb? Or was it because — and make sure you're sitting down for this — the human embodiment of cool computing actually didn't even know how to use one of the machines? Long made the confession at a party this summer. "I know nothing about computers," he said at the Strangers With Candy premiere in June. "I get guys coming up to me saying, 'Dude, what makes you think you're better than PCs?' I don't even know where to begin! I know nothing about either. I'm computer illiterate." Even worse, technology frightens him. "It scares me that they control so much of the world. I'm not taking a high road about it. I'm just not smart enough to figure them out. I still have never IMed. That scares me. It's like, "Hi, it's your friend you don't really want to talk to and if you really wanted to talk to you could call." At least, his rep assured us then, he'd been given a free Mac. One hopes he didn't get too attached to it. — Jada Yuan Movie Star, Loosely Defined [Gawker] Apples Ditches 'Mac Guy' In New Ads [Radar Online]

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