Why do videos go viral, while audio doesn't? What's the most high-tech music device you can purchase in prison? Who were the first meme cats? Answers to all this, and more, in this week's Tech Reads!

  • Dave Girard looks at the rise and fall of QuarkXPress, a long-forgotten internet publishing software that once had a stranglehold on the field with a 95% market share. [Ars Technica]
  • Charlie Warzel gives us a glimpse at the lives of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Kanye, through the eyes of their Twitter accounts — and shows you how you can do the same. [BuzzFeed]
  • Stan Alcorn examines why video has such an easy time going viral, while the same almost never happens with audio. [Digg]
  • Brian Merchant asks 100 companies the toughest, most important question in tech: how does this thing make our lives better? [Motherboard]
  • Chris Kohler shows us the latest, most awesome new game for . . . Super Nintendo? [Wired]
  • Joshua Hunt researches the very specific market where the Sony SRF-39FP pocket radio flourishes: federal prisons. [The New Yorker]
  • Steve Meltzer shows us the very first lolcats — from 120 years ago. [Image Resource]

Image: This photograph shows Neil Armstrong next to the X-15 rocket-powered aircraft after a research flight. President Barack Obama has signed HR 667, the congressional resolution that redesignates NASA's Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, into law. The resolution also names Dryden's Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Both Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong are aerospace pioneers whose contributions are historic to NASA and the nation as a whole. NASA is developing a timeline to implement the name change.

Neil A. Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and a master's in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He was a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. During the Korean War he flew 78 combat missions. In 1955 he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's predecessor, as a research pilot at Lewis Laboratory in Cleveland.

Armstrong later transferred to NACA's High Speed Flight Research Station at Edwards AFB, Calif., later named NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. As a research project test pilot over the course of seven years at the center from 1955 through 1962, he was in the forefront of the development of many high-speed aircraft. He was one of only 12 pilots to fly the hypersonic X-15 as well as the first of 12 men to later walk on the moon. In all, he flew more than 200 different types of aircraft.

Image Credit: NASA


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The failure of QuarkXPress is simple. It was a pile of shit even in it's heyday. Functionality was unnecessarily convoluted and they had this fixation on doing things differently than everyone else. Foreign language support was terrible, PDF exporting was a frustratingly tedious process, it was prone to crashing and corrupting files.

I don't even remember half of what made it such a terrible application. All anyone needed to unseat QuarkXPress was to offer an application that was merely “okay”. And that's what those early versions of InDesign brought to the table. From the start it was evident that QuarkXPress' days were numbered. Quark could have responded; but clearly the company had stagnated and management was clueless. They refused to fix major issues and address the biggest complaints. Instead, they focused on adding on irrelevant functionality.

Another reason to hate Quark is that they started outsourcing development to India long before it was a twinkle in the eye of most companies.