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So maybe I'm on the right side of this trend after all... Netflix apparently has no love for Blu-ray rental.

http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/03/netflix-bumps-extra-blu-ray-charge-for-most-accounts-again.ars

Again, it seems that only HD mavens with lots of money can really do the Blu-ray thing.
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I'm wondering whether it's worth it to stay behind the trailing edge of adopting Blu-ray. I imagine that using this technology is very much a personal decision and depends on a lot of factors, but I suspect that there's also a demographic sweet spot that Blu-ray adopters are living in, and I think it's mainly a financial thing (i.e. having a lot of disposable income not destined for other forms of entertainment).

Though I am typically defined as a "techie" the hardware I use for A/V is woefully primitive. My computer monitor is way more advanced than my TV (a roughly nine year old 32" Panasonic tube which still works wonderfully well); I no longer have a DVR and only use cable for Internet access, I use a PS2 for a DVD player, and my DVD collection is quite small - mainly because I only believe in purchasing DVDs that I can watch over and over again. I once had a stereo and speaker set, but found that I never really used it much, so I guess I'm not really an audiophile.

Anyhow, when I think about going Blu-ray, the following confronts me: I have to create a whole new ecosystem. I'll really need to get an HDTV, and I'll have to get a Blu-ray player. It would also make sense to get a nice little sound system, even a cheapo CostCo one. All of that will probably be around $3500 after taxes, I'm sure. When faced with this up front investment and set up effort, I balk a bit. I pause and consider how much time I really spend in front of a television. I have no desire to buy Blu-ray versions of the DVDs I already own, if versions of them even exist, so what would all that new hardware get me? I can always set up Netflix to deliver me Blu-ray disc rentals, but how extensive is the Blu-ray catalog really; do the movies I want to see even exist on Blu-ray? Is having a home theater really important to me at all? I think the answer is "not really" and I think that's a function of the fact that I go out more than I stay in.

I am leaning very heavily towards just ignoring Blu-ray altogether, and solely relying on streamed and downloaded HD content (via torrents or Hulu or Netflix or iTunes). It gives Sony less of a foothold in my world, it's more economically and environmentally friendly (fewer things destined for landfills). I know somewhere down the line I will be getting an HDTV, but it will only happen when my TV dies or when I make another big move to a new residence (it's way too heavy to move again, too much hassle). Ideally, I would like my next TV to have wireless and bluetooth built in, and allow me to stream content to it via various sources. I don't really care about having a gigantic display - maybe it would just make sense for me to get a 30" Apple Cinema display down the road and just use that for everything? I just wish it were more "television-like" where I could just plug in component cables or s-video and have those things pump a signal into it...
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Someday people will learn that greed is not sustainable. The serpent can only eat so much of its own tail before it chokes.

I predict that the DJIA will settle down when it hits about 3500. I suspect it will take nearly another year to get to that point, when the markets all finally bottom out. Some time after Google's stock tanks, I think.

Why 3500? Because that's where it was 15 years ago, after more than a decade of steady growth through the 80s. That's where it was at just as the Internet first came into play - before people started going apeshit with everything, and began to believe that castles could be built on clouds. How could we possibly have created 300% more wealth out of thin air? The DJIA had barely broken 1000 for two decades prior to the 80s, and then we saw real growth with the rise of computing and software and general advancement of technology up to the early 90s. But somehow people went batty along the way and started ignoring things like "profits" and "business models" and suddenly CEOs started making exorbitant salaries, and more and more snake oil salesmen popped up to part fools and their money with made up shit they called "financial instruments", usually aided and abetted by our own government with tailor-made legislation paid for by the finest of lobbyists. And what was the result of all that?

Well we've now witnessed the implosion of finance, real estate, and car companies. Really these events are still ongoing, these prideful bastards haven't fallen all the way yet - all the bailout money in the world won't cushion their impacts either. But the real killer will be when high tech hits the skids again.

Internet bubble 2.0 is on the way. Internet advertising is going to pop it, again. Advertising revenue is just not sustainable on the Internet, because there's no way to make money from it unless you completely control the medium. It worked great for newspapers when they had regional monopolies. It worked great for TV with the network and cable monopolies. And of course the Internet killed both of those monopolies! So the Internet must be the future monopoly, right? Wrong.

Google's doing pretty well with ad revenue because they've got a search monopoly - but how long will that really last? Hint: it's already eroding, because iPhones and user generated content from social networks make Google obsolete. So wait, social networking is the new monopoly? Well, Facebook certainly won't have a monopoly on social networking for any long period of time... remember when MySpace was the monopoly? Ask yourself: is Facebook really worth billions? Was MySpace? No. That's utterly ridiculous, because people always move on to the next site, and the Internet is too big to really control.

Did Google ever advertise itself? Wikipedia? MySpace and Facebook? YouTube? Never. Because viral social networks spread word faster and more effectively than any advertising ever could. And when you actually have a piece of hardware that enables that viral action (iPhone: Google Killer) you're going to see just how ineffective ads actually are in comparison. Someone can write an iPhone app that will change a playing field overnight and render whole industries worth of web sites obsolete. You just can't beat the power of a network of millions and millions of people continuously sending the freshest live audio, video, GPS, and pure data streams. All the dead data in Google's web page index is worthless in comparison.

Maybe people will try to speculate a biotech bubble into existence, but I doubt that will succeed. People are too freaked out by biohacking, and legislation and regulation will continually muddle its development, too much so for it to really boom like the other deregulated industries all did.

Lie To Me

Feb. 23rd, 2009 02:30 pm
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Okay so... I'm not an expert here. And I don't credit myself as being more observant than the average person. But just watching this TV show has made me start looking for microexpressions on people, and I think I'm starting to see them. I was just watching an outtake from an episode of NOW on PBS, where the reporter is questioning a lawyer who's defending a sexual harassment suit, and when she asked him whether or not he believes anything wrong actually happened, he swallowed and made the "fear" microexpression.

This shit's kind of scary.
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In the tradition of "What Comics Mike Is Reading", I present - "What Shows Mike Is Watching". I won't use the word TV since I don't really rely on that medium for my media watching. Anyways, here's the list, alphabetically, with 5-star ratings:

24 *** (3)
Battlestar Galactica (almost over) *** (3)
Burn Notice *** (3)
Damages ***** (5)
Fringe **** (4)
House **** (4)
Lie To Me **** (4)
Lost **** (4)
Medium *** (3)
Sanctuary ** (2, may drop)
Testees *** (3)


BONUS: Will Start Watching:

Dollhouse
Kings (maybe)
The Unusuals


So far, 24, BSG, Burn Notice, Medium, and Testees are all the usual fare - good, relatively consistent, usually stimulating. Lost has recaptured my interest, House continues to be great, and Lie To Me is very intriguing; I love the concept, and I hope the show goes far, but it's pretty much another House-style-curmudgeon-Sherlock-Holmes-hero procedural. Which brings me to Damages: the coolest show I didn't watch at all last year but caught up with on Hulu just in time. Stellar talent on this show, and excellent writing, with a story told in a flashback/flashforward style that heightens the drama and keeps you guessing at what's really going on right up until the end. Highly, highly recommend it.

Heroes is garbage. Utter tripe. It had such a promising beginning to, but it clearly was a casualty of the writer's strike. Can't even talk about it any more, makes me so sad.
mik3cap: (Default)
The actor Michael Hall, of Six Feet Under and Dexter fame, gets off at my train stop?

TV update

Oct. 10th, 2006 11:57 am
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Shark is about to get punted, purely in the interests of freeing up some of the time I spend watching TV. It's still a little interesting, but there isn't enough meat in the characters or stories there to really chew on... it's kind of like bad chicken wings, you eat them because they're 10 cents each and they're there, you know?

Grey's Anatomy also feels a little flat. Izzy was my favorite character, and she did some amazing acting last season, but she's been so destroyed that it's hard to even justify keeping her on the show.

On the other hand, CSI seems to have rebounded a little bit. I've been watching that through CBS Innertube, and the writing has definitely improved. I'm starting to think maybe I'm going to have to bump up CSI's season pass priority and stick Grey's below it and watch Grey's in reruns later. I'll give it one more week though.

Heroes continues to be interesting and cool, but it's so much like a comic book that it feels like there isn't enough in every episode - I'd almost rather just watch it all at once on a DVD than in episodes (like reading a graphic novel collection instead of the individual issues). Some stuff you just want to read/watch all at once.

Speaking of which... I just picked up all five volumes of The Walking Dead, a new-ish comic series collected in softcover trades. It's about day-to-day life and survival in a zombie world - it'd probably make a great HBO or Showtime series!

Hee

Mar. 3rd, 2006 11:33 pm
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v: Someone going to say something? Anybody?

t: You have been impregnated... without copulation.

v: Yes, and I'm absolutely terrified. Have any of you ever heard of anything like it??

m: Well, there's one...

t: Darth Vader.

v: Really?

t: Mm.

v: How did that turn out?

CToons

Feb. 28th, 2006 11:37 pm
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My first job out of college was working for an Internet startup called CToons Studios. I worked with an animator there by the name of Kevin Lane... on a whim I decided to google him, and look what I found!
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"Would sticking your eyeball in a woman's eye socket consitute a sex offense?"

"Well, rape is legally defined as putting an unwanted foreign object into a genital opening, so sexual... no?"

"But offensive...? Yeah. Yeah."
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"What eats alligators?"

"Other alligators."

"That's the only predator an alligator has?"

"Basically, once they reach a maturity of four foot yeah. Pretty much."

"So that's why we gotta get these things separated, they're big enough now they're looking at each other. You don't feed em, they go on one another."

"So that's your job today. To separate 'em."
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Did anyone notice if the number of survivors went up when the Pegasus joined the fleet?
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"This is a serious device?"

"Yes it is. That's Big Daddy."

"What the hell?? It looks like a space ship."

"Yeah... that's what it's going to feel like for that bull."

"Oh dear. It's like a tackle box from Amsterdam..."
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"Adrian - you have to sit. This is a picnic."

"I don't sit on the ground. Animals do things on the ground. Terrible, terrible things..."
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Second of all, women are not people, they are devices built by the Lord Jesus Christ for our entertainment!
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A friend of mine asked me a question recently; she mentioned it was for some assignment, but wasn't specific about it exactly. The multi-part question was: if you were going to be a superhero for a day, which one would you choose to be, why that superhero, and what would you do for the day?

As it turns out, I have spent many of my waking hours since childhood considering this question. When I was very young, I always loved The Hulk. I think my first exposure to him was the Bill Bixby TV show - I know I had some Hulk toys and clothing as a child, and I did have a few issues of the comic before I really got serious about collecting later on. It just seemed cool that The Hulk was so incredibly strong, and could just keep on getting stronger and stronger whenever he got angry; yet he also had this very smart side to him that tried to keep his monstrous nature in check.

In my early teen years I turned to Batman. And really, how can you not? Batman is the man. He's a genius inventor, a billionaire, a scholar, a martial arts and combat expert, and a master detective. He doesn't need super powers. He outwits and outmanuevers his opponents. And that's why I'd want to be him.

And if I were to be a superhero, I would do what superheroes do - fight for justice. Justice is very important to me, because I really want a fair and equitable world. The strong should defend the weak and defenseless. People should get what they deserve.

On a related note, Green Arrow has been appealing a lot to me in recent days. I just got the latest issue, and it's a doozy. GA kicks Solomon Grundy's ass (Grundy is DC's answer to The Hulk). And all Green Arrow has is a few arrows, and not even the boxing glove arrow. And he totally wipes the floor with Grundy. What a great issue...

La Dee Da

Oct. 20th, 2002 01:06 am
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So, went to the Bijou on Friday night and saw Spirited Away, a great anime from the makers of Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. It was bizarre. Highly surreal and much cool. I'm going to go see it a whole bunch more times, especially now that I have my Bijou membership card and can see it again and again...

Saturday was mostly a bumming around day. I caught up on some TiVo, and started packing up a couple of things (RPG books mostly). I'm going to go room by room around the house and clear things out a little at a time - hopefully if all goes well tomorrow I'll start moving stuff into the new apartment during the next week. In the evening I went over to joe and chia's place (their townhouse is incredible) and played board and card games with a bunch of friends. Great time had by all.

In about twelve hours I get to look at my prospective apartment and decide if I want to live there. A little after that, I get to see No Doubt and Garbage at the Centrum. Apparently an episode of Dawson's Creek is going to be filmed at the concert tomorrow. Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of Katie Holmes or something.

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