If you’ve been following me on Twitter, no doubt you’ve seen some of my many tweets about Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a law in California that took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. AB5 places significant restrictions on the ability of companies and other hiring entities to classify state residents as independent contractors. It was aimed largely at gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft, but it has devastated the livelihoods of many freelance journalists and other folks who have worked happily for years as contractors.
If you’re wondering why this website hasn’t been updated in a while, now it can be revealed. On March 8, I launched The Steampunk Explorer, a new website billed as a “shopping, travel, entertainment and research guide for steampunk enthusiasts and creators.” It could also be described as a hybrid “National Geographic” and “Time Out” for the steampunk world. But it’s really my personal Maker project. Some people like to make goggles or rayguns or costumes. I like to make websites.
If you want to see the future of sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, you go to Comic-Con in San Diego. But if you want to preview the tools that enable the wild visual effects in those movies and TV shows, you go to Siggraph, the annual conference and exhibition on computer graphics and “interactive techniques.” Developers of 3D graphics software often use Siggraph to announce new products, and this year’s event, held July 24 to 28 in Anaheim, Calif., was no exception, as Autodesk and Maxon demonstrated major upgrades to Maya and Cinema 4D respectively.