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Harmon calls his circles embryos—they contain all the elements needed for a satisfying story—and he uses them to map out nearly every turn on, from throwaway gags to entire seasons. If a plot doesn’t follow these steps, the embryo is invalid, and he starts over. To this day, Harmon still studies each film and TV show he watches, searching for his algorithm underneath, checking to see if the theory is airtight. “I can’t not see that circle,” he says. “It’s tattooed on my brain.”

“How Dan Harmon Drives Himself Crazy Making ‘Community’.” — Brian Raftery, Wired

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Photo credit: Joe Pugliese

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But once I paid the toll to enter, all of the problems in the current iteration of the Times’ iOS apps became glaringly obvious in quick fashion. Some are giant and stupid, while some are slight and mystifying. This is Four Fails and a FTW: The Gray Lady’s New Digital Clothes.

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Sony’s Playstation division has managed to perform a once-in-a-lifetime kind of fail, and it reminds me that corporate pride is bullshit. In the age of Netflix Instant and Online Multiplayer Deathmatch, heads should have rolled off of the boardroom tabletop by now. Sony’s board of executives should be begging for their lives back in a manner that would make Tony Hayward write compassionate op-eds for the Wall Street Journal. But no: today, three weeks into the complete and utter annihilation of Sony’s servers at the hands of hackers, the consuming class has no reason to ever trust Sony again. …