Friday High Five: Technology fails, Best Books 2012 and the end of irony

We share five of our favourite links and articles from around the internet this week.

Why your passwords don’t protect you

Wired senior writer Mat Horan was famously targeted by cyberhackers earlier this year, who managed to crack the password for one of his (linked) Apple, Gmail and Twitter accounts - and then had access to all three. The hackers wiped his iPad, iPhone and Macbook - including all his messages, documents and photos. Since then, he’s been looking into the world of online security. His conclusion? Our passwords are essentially useless.

*Wired* senior writer Mat Horan: Hackers erased his whole digital life.

Wired senior writer Mat Horan: Hackers erased his whole digital life.

Ann Patchett helps the bookstore strike back

Just as the end of bookshops was being declared (this was right before they declared the end of book publishing itself), author Ann Patchett decided to put her time and money where her mouth was … and opened her own bookshop in Nashville, where both local bookshops had closed down. She writes about Parnassus Books in the Atlantic.

Ann Patchett at Parnassus Books

Ann Patchett at Parnassus Books

Is irony over?

The New York Times published a dig at irony and the hipster generation last week, taking an Attenborough-style approach of identifying the characteristics of a species: ‘the hipster haunts every city street and university town’. Gabrielle Carey (aka ‘the serious one’ from Puberty Blues, also an acclaimed author of essays and memoir) has taken a more philosophical approach to the same subject on Meanjin’s blog this week, where she asks whether irony has gone too far - and whether its co-opting by advertising and corporations has rendered it meaningless.

Image from *New York Times*. The hipster 'is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living'.

Image from New York Times. The hipster 'is merely a symptom and the most extreme manifestation of ironic living'.

Oslo Davis on Melbhattan

Oslo Davis is one of Melbourne’s most recognisable and loved illustrators. This year, he’s been hard at work on Melbhattan, a short film that mimics the opening sequence of images at the start of Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan - both an homage to and a pastiche of our beloved City of Literature. Melbhattan is screening before each feature at the Rooftop Cinema this summer. You can read more about Melbhattan at The Design Files.

Best books 2012: From New York to London, and back to Melbourne again

It’s that time of year when publications start gathering their choices for the best books of 2012. The New York Times has a hefty list of 100 books - worth checking out to see if there’s something obscure worth adding to your ‘to read’ pile. Publisher’s Weekly has put together a snappy top 10. Slate staffers have chosen their favourite books of the year. Justine Jordan of the Guardian has compiled her favourite novels, short stories and graphic fiction. And coming back from the US and UK to Australia, Melbourne bookseller Readings has posted a fistful of top 10s (and a couple of top fives) in a range of categories, chosen by their staff, including the stalwarts of fiction and non-fiction.

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