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Links for December 3rd 2009 through December 6th 2009:
- Panic Attack and YouTube Discovery [The Chutry Experiment] – Great post from Chuck Tryon about Fede Alvarez’s sudden appearance on the Hollywood radar thanks to his YouTube short “Ataque de Pánico,” (Panic Attack!), 4 minute special effects driven extravagnaza in which a city is destroyed and a career created: “One of the underlying narratives associated with Hollywood mythology is the “discovery story,” the idea that a talented newcomer emerges by chance, out of nowhere, to become a Hollywood “star.” Lana Turner was discovered, so the legend goes, on a barstool at Schwab’s drugstore. Now, as the tools of filmmaking and film distribution have been democratized, those discovery stories have expanded to filmmakers as well. And although it is the case that such stories can be read ideologically, it is also true that YouTube and other video sharing sites still offer us the opportunity to be astonished by the talents of an aspiring filmmaker.”
- Memories of a paywall pioneer | Media | guardian.co.uk – Scott Rosenberg reflects on Salon’s experiments with a paywall, suggesting it’s not the model for future news media: “I’m not hostile to the notion of people paying for online content. I do so myself. I’m glad people stepped up and paid for Salon. But the value of stuff online is usually tied to how deeply it is woven into the network. So locking your stuff away in order to charge for it means that you are usually making it less valuable at the moment that you are asking people to pay for it. And that’s why people so often respond with: “No thanks.””
- Vampire Politics by Lisa Nakamura et al [Flow TV, 11.03, 2009] – “True Blood is socially conservative, gesturing towards a radical politics (or any social movement based politics) that it cannot (or will not) deliver. Likewise, the form of the medium itself is conservative. Like its vampires, True Blood is a relic – it airs on television, not the Internet, and it is broadcast rather than streamed. Though HBO claims “it’s not television, it’s HBO,” we know better. Like the credit sequence’s time-delayed decayed foxes and possums, True Blood is a memento mori – to the Civil Rights South, to broadcast television, to civil rights organizing and “unsexy” rights-based movements. True Blood pursues vampire politics, which are all about sexy self fashioning. Were it not for the exquisite Godric’s self-immolation in season two, the program’s credo might be “survival of the sexiest.””
- Networking Families: Battlestar Galactica and the Values of Quality by Jordan Lavender-Smith [Flow TV, 11.03, 2009] – “Galactica’s interrogation of post-nuclear family mechanics and what it means to be human was potentially groundbreaking, but by the show’s end the reconstitution of the family breaks down, and a thick line is drawn between the natural and artificial, delivering an outmoded humanism through posthuman technologies.”
- Identity Wars: Google & Yahoo! Bow to Facebook & Twitter [RW Web] – “Yahoo! announced this morning that it is adding Facebook Connect across many of its properties. This afternoon Google Friend Connect announced the inclusion of Twitter as a top-level log-in option. These moves will be convenient for users, but may not be good for the future of the web.” (This is a really interesting article looking at what happens when Facebook and Twitter become default identity authentication systems – so much power then resides in these systems, and what happens to attempts at standards like OpenID?)
After Tony Abbott won the #spill, ensuring Australia will continue doing nothing about Climate Change in the immediate future, it would be fair to say that December has not begun on a peachy note. This effort from the Goodie Bag showing the Hollywood penchant for destroying New York seems to fit the day nicely:
I’ve always been partial to Gershwin!
Links for November 24th 2009:
- Why Academia Is No Longer A Smart Choice By Melissa Gregg [newmatilda.com] – “So often the perception of university life in Australia is a cosy existence involving luxurious philosophical debates, long holidays and international sabbaticals. The reality is far less glamorous. The past 10 years has seen an escalation of requirements for entry-level jobs so great that starting positions aren’t even advertised. The over-supply of PhD graduates has made competition so fierce for tenured positions that casual contracts have replaced ongoing junior positions. Our best graduates, fresh from the biggest challenge higher education can throw at them, face their most energetic years vying for the privilege of this state of insecurity. As the system currently stands, junior scholars are asked to prove their worth to universities in ways that those hiring them never had to.” (Depressing, but all too true.)
- Murdoch madness [BuzzMachine] – Jeff Jarvis speaks with wisdom: “Were Bing to pay News Corp. to drop Google, it would be a double-play in Google’s favor: Microsoft would lose money and gain little. News Corp. would lose traffic, shifting away from the search engine with more than 60% penetration in the U.S. and more than 80% in the U.K. to one that has 10 percent here – and that’s just the search engine; it doesn’t account for the disparate popularity of Google and Bing News. […] News Corp. leaving Google would be a mosquito bite on an elephant’s ass. Unnotice by Google or by the audience. For there will always be – as Murdoch laments – free competitors: the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corp, which he and his son complain about, not to mention the Guardian, the Telegraph, NPR, CBC, and any sensible news organization worldwide.”
- Heads Of Major Movies Studios Claiming They Just Want To Help Poor Indie Films Harmed By Piracy [Techdirt] – “Just last month, we talked about a top exec at Paramount claiming that his “real worry” about movie piracy online was how it was going to harm indie films, since, as a big company, Paramount could take it. Then, just a week or so later, Sony Pictures’ boss, Michael Lynton, also started talking about how fewer movies were being made due to piracy. Unfortunately, he was wrong. In the past five years the number of films being released has more than doubled and the major studios are making more money than ever at the box office. And yet… they keep trying. … the CEO of Fox Films, Jim Gianopulos, is the latest to claim that movie “piracy” is harming independent films the most (while saying it’s harming everyone in the movie business, despite no evidence to support that claim). He made this statement while suggesting that the US needs to follow France in kicking people off the internet for file sharing accusations (not convictions).” (It’s called a straw man argument … or a lie!)
Links for January 11th 2009 through January 13th 2009:
- The Evolution of Dance 2 Proves You Can’t Go Home Again [YouTube Reviewed] – “That guy who has done arguably the worst job in the history of the internet capitalizing on one of the most widely viewed viral videos ever is back (and, of course, featured on the front page of YouTube) with Evolution of Dance 2. While the original was kind of fun because it seemed like one of those really cool moments that just happened to be captured on film, the corporately co-opted sequel reeks of a coordinated production trying way too hard to look like a spontaneous moment caught on tape.
- Twitter’s Massive 2008: 752 Percent Growth [Mashable] – “There’s little doubt that Twitter was one of the most talked about startups over the past year. But just how much did it grow in 2008? The final numbers are in, and according to Compete, they’re astounding: 752%, for a total of 4.43 million unique visitors in December. After starting the year with only around 500,000 unique monthly visitors, Twitter saw its most dramatic growth in the back half of ’08, picking up more than one million additional visitors in December alone. And that’s all just in the US.”
- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button: Possible “Benjamin Button” Snub Proves Oscars Hate Science Fiction [io9] – “Variety reports that the Oscars are considering passing over Brad Pitt’s performance in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button for a Best Actor nod, because his acting was enhanced by special effects. Especially in the early scenes where he’s an old-man infant, some critics say he’s more of an animated Gollum-esque figure than an actual actor. Variety wonders whether Paramount did too good a job of exposing the movie’s makeup and CG wizardry in the promotional campaign, and that biased Pitt’s critics against the role.”
Interesting links for August 23rd 2008 through August 25th 2008:
- Drilling Down – Preferring the Web Over Watching TV [ NYTimes.com] – “For children ages 10 to 14 who use the Internet, the computer is a bigger draw than the TV set, according to a study recently released by DoubleClick Performics, a search marketing company. The study found that 83 percent of Internet users in that age bracket spent an hour or more online a day, but only 68 percent devoted that much time to television. The study found that the children often did research online before making a purchase (or bugging their parents to make one). The big exception to this rule was apparel: like many grown-ups, the children said they preferred to choose their clothes at a store.”
- Film Studies For Free [Catherine Grant on Blogger] – “Film Studies For Free actively espouses the ethos of Open Access to digital scholarly material. It aims to promote good quality, online, film and moving-image studies resources by commenting on them, and by linking to them. These resources will include published scholarship or research in various forms: from film and media weblogs, through online peer-reviewed journals, to other forms of web-based scholarly writing, as well as online works of film/moving-image research by practice. Film Studies For Free readers are invited to bring relevant items to the blog’s attention; please use the comments option or this email link to do so.”
- “A Few Lives Left” for Poor Research into Virtual Worlds [PERSONALIZE MEDIA] – A substantial, well-research and convincing rebuttal of this article from the SMH on Second Life and Virtual Worlds. This rebuttal contains many stats and figures which cast Asher Moses’ piece in a pretty poor light.
- Hollywood losing its grip on television content [Darknet] – JD Lasica interviews Eric B Kim (an Intel VP and general manager of its Digital Home Group) and Patrick Barry (VP of TV for Yahoo) about the coming trend of getting TV properly on the net: “Kim’s quote that most stuck out for me was this: “We’re bringing television to the internet.” Notice what Kim didn’t say: We’re bringing the Internet to television, which has been the approach of the big movie studios until now. (Or, until recently, We’re preventing the Internet from coming to TV.) I don’t know whether Kim’s turn of phrase was intentional or not — I suspect so — but the difference is a significant one. “
- Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games [Times Online] – “Extraordinarily lifelike characters are to begin appearing in films and computer games thanks to a new type of animation technology. Emily – the woman in the above animation – was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as ‘uncanny valley’ – which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness. Researchers at a Californian company (Image Metrics) which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a ‘control system’.” [Via io9]
- The dawn of intelligent machines [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The idea may scare some, but Intel predicts that by 2050 machines could surpass the peak of human intelligence. So predicted Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at the chip maker, in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum which examined how technology is expected to bridge the gap between man and machine. The vision included sensitive robots and shape-shifting materials. “There is no question that one of the most likely things that will happen in the next 40 years is that machine and human intelligence will come much closer together,” Mr Rattner told the BBC. “The ability of humans to communicate with machines and for machines to communicate with humans will get so much better.””