Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books dealing with the subject of technology that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Jawbone Is Now the Startup Apple Should Fear Most
(978 words)
by Marcus Wohlson, Wired

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In case you hadn't heard, there are reports that Jawbone is securing a massive round of funding that would fuel the company's IPO. The Bluetooth gadget outfit has given us a range of wireless speakers and it's line of Up fitness trackers, but more capital could mean new product categories -- things like smart clothes and improved wrist gadgets. As Wired's Marcus Wohlson notes, those new categories are "a move Apple has struggled to make in recent years." And of course, there's always the chance Google could nab Jawbone up before Cupertino has a chance to.

Behind the Scenes at Nerf HQ and the Making of the Slingfire Zombie Blaster
(919 words)
by John Brownlee, Fast Company

Ever wondered what the design process like behind the master blasters from Nerf? Sure you have! Here, Fast Company's John Brownlee takes a behind the scenes look at the development of the Zombie Strike Slingfire: a sawed-off, pump-action foam dart weapon that'll have you... er, kids... prepped to handle hoards of zombies this fall.

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The Floating, Fragile Indie Bubble
(2,273 words)
by Jessica Conditt, Joystiq

Joystiq's Jessica Conditt takes an in-depth look at the current indie gaming landscape and the impending identity crisis that devs face. There are new tools and programs to lend a hand, but this means more devs are diving in. "Overpopulation and quality assurance are concerns echoed by nearly every developer I ask," writes Conditt. However, the population boom has led to much better indie titles and more diverse voices, too.

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Pandora Suit May Upend Century-Old Royalty Plan
(1,292 words)
by Ben Sisario, New York Times

Nearly a century ago, ASCAP and BMI began serving as middlemen between publishers and songwriters with those looking to license their work. Now, with Pandora bogged down in legal proceedings over royalty payments, the aging system may be discarded. Of course, this is quite alarming for publishers who would then have to fend for themselves, and not even the largest outfits are equipped to do the work of the pair. "This is a horse-and-buggy consent decree in a digital environment," said Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America. "There's no way that works now."

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Our Numbered Days: The Evolution of the Area Code
(3,149 words)
by Megan Garber, The Atlantic

Long distance calling isn't the money maker that it once was in the US, but the area code has been ingrained into our culture for decades. The Atlantic's Megan Garber takes a look at the history of those digits and what services like Skype and Google are doing to deplete the finite 10-digit numbering system -- including adding one or two more digits. All of this begs the question: what will happen to those three-digit codes that have developed significant meaning for us?

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Recommended Reading: Jawbone on the rise and the indie gaming bubble