Monday, January 26, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-01-26: MacHEADS Trailer II

Incredible that they can make a movie out of this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rating Film Review Ranking Systems -

Not normally a reader of the Wall Street Journal, but they have an interesting article today critical of Film Review Ranking Systems

Lost Obervations

I already wrote about the experience of Twittering Lost, so I won't get much more into that here. I just want to talk about my impressions of the first episode.


I was floored from the first moment. There was some unnecessary silliness (Sawyer's "Gimme your shirt" Hurley's T-shirt purchase, and Hurley/Sayid's "Weekend at Bernies" segments in particular), but for the most part I was in the grip of the storyline start to finish. The semi-resolution of last season's finale was great. The cameo appearances by many deceased characters was brilliant. I love how Sun has a dark side being revealed. On the negative side, I am not sure how I feel about the rest of the Oceanic 6. I don't fully understand their motivations, particularly Jack and Sayid, but I expect that that will come in time over the course of this season.

I do think that the producers of Lost are going to experience a viewer purge as a result of this episode, and here's why. The most common reason that I suspect that casual viewers ("casuals") are prevented from becoming rabid viewers is the story complexity. Casuals want to be able to miss an episode once in a while or miss the first 10 minutes here and there. Casuals certainly don't read blog posts like this one. The problem that casuals have that prevents them from becoming more engaged is story complexity. Rabid Lost viewers ("fanboys") such as myself delight in the complexity. We come up with theaories, post our obervations on blogs, examine the show frame by frame with our HD DVRs, and debate the philosophical underpinnings of the show. As more and more answers are given, the layers of complexity get deeper and deeper, and fanboys love it. I can't imagine being a Casual. I really can't. I love what the producers did with the storyline because it caters to the fanboy, but make not mistake, it will hurt them with the casuals. Just do a twitter search for #lost + confused to see what I mean.

On the other hand, I don't think that you can please the casuals and the fanboys. Thankfully, I think that the Lost producers are aware of this. I am guessing that they figure that they have a dedicated fanboy base that they want to maintain. If they had taken the story in a less complex direction, they probably would not have won over too many casuals and would have turned off the fanboys.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Wire: The Complete Series DVDs for $82

2/3 off the MSRP. Today only from Amazon--via /Film

Twittering Lost

MILD SPOLIER ALERT! I you haven't watched the season premiere of Lost, do not read any further!
So I was definitely geared up to watch the Season premiere of Lost last night. When my Lost-watching buddy bailed out at the last minute, rather than watching alone, I decided to watch with the Twitter universe. I'm writing this post about that experience. My impressions of the show itself will be in a later post...

I started with Twitter Search and searched for the standard Twitter tagging convention #Lost. That gave me some great tweets. But then someone posted a tweet about following Lost posts on Twitter in chat form via Tweetchat. Of course I had to check it out. I am really glad that I did. Tweetchat essentially creates a live chatroom (no manual refresh required) for you based on the tag of your interest. One great feature is that you can post your own tweets from tweetchat and they are automatically appended with the appropriate tag. I retweeted some of my favorite tweets of the night as they were happening, and I have listed those tweets here....

  • @shortie And I just realized all the wispered voices they hear in the jungle are themselves through time. My therory #lost
  • @brownpau Neil, you're fired. #lost LOL
  • @bashen weekend at sayid's. #Lost LOL
  • @movingsideways "My name is #Lost and I am here to rock your face off with timespace awesomeness. Would you care to see my pamphlet?"
Tweetchat was great. I felt like I was sharing the experience with some of the most rabid fans out there. Fantastic! I loved hearing the back and forth banter. I had two problems with the experience, though.

First, I watched on the East coast. I feel bad for the folks using the same service in time zones where Lost was airing later who may have read some unwanted spoilers. Tweetchat would be well served to add an optional time zone filter.

Secondly, I found it distracting. I was obviously very much into watching Lost, but the running commentary was also compelling and often pulled my attention away from the show. In the end, I wasn't able to dedicate my attention adequately to either. That's just my own limitation. I'll probably watch last night's premiere again without the distraction, and next time I'll try to discipline myself to only twitter during commercials.

Yes, there will be a next time. Go Twitter!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The iPhone iUpdate iPromised

As is tradition, Apple may be making product changes (if not announcements) toward the end of January/beginning of February. The latest evidence is this story from Engadget.

C'mon, Apple! Daddy wants a new 64GB iPhone!

The latest on my iPhone choice (as I wrote about last week) is that I am able to get my old number ported, but my employer asked us to hold off on purchasing a new phone until they make an official statement of what the official procedure is. So thankfully as I wait for that statement I am not agonizing over the should I or shouldn't I choice. I expect it to only be a brief respite....

Lost Countdown

Lost premiere is just a few hours away! Here are a couple of spoiler-free articles about the show that I found interesting:

2008 CG Award for Annual Achievement in Film

About a year ago, I wrote a post that proposed that the Academy should add an annual achievement award because there are so many people that have amazing years without necessarily having any single award-winning piece of work. Since it was my fictional award, I got to make the nominations. (Ridley Scott, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Judd Apatow, and Josh Brolin)
In fact, my winner wasn't nominated for a single academy award, though he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, of all things! Read the full post to learn who won my award last year.

So now on the eve of the Academy Award nominations, I thought that I'd propose my 2008 Annual Achievement in Film Award. Here goes:

And the winner is....
Aww man.... I started writing this post thinking Winslet, and after I completed the list, I shelved Winslet and vacillated between Street and Van Sant. In the end I am giving it to Van Sant because putting together two hugely impressive films in one year trumps two impressive performances in my mind. Plus, he had a great supporting role on Entourage in their season finale. That was the tiebreaker.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-01-19: Inspirational Speech Montage

In anticipation of Obama's inauguration speech tomorrow, a montage of inspirational speeches.

Friday, January 16, 2009

iTunes Offering 10 Free Sundance Short Films

/Film is reporting that iTunes is making 10 shorts from this year's Sundance Film Festival available for free download. I'll be checking this out ASAP.

Nero TV

How did I not know about this? Not just any DVR, but actual TiVo on your PC? Brilliant! I wonder if they have plans to port this to Mac? No indication of that on their site. If so, I'm there....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To iPhone or not to iPhone (Yet)?

My dreams have come true, but of course things are never so simple.

My employer has finally decided to support the iPhone. Hooray! You can imagine the moment I heard the news I was on my way to the closest AT&T store, ready to turn in my Blackberry. I was, except that I encountered the age old problem when purchasing electronics or computers. Will the item that I purchase today be obsolete tomorrow? In the case of the iPhone, I am in love except that I am really hating the 16GB maximum capacity. I was ready to live with that limitation, but then I noticed that some predicted as early as September that Apple would be releasing a 32 GB model at Macworld or by the end of January.

Well, Macworld has come and gone without a 32 GB iPhone announcement, but the end of January is only a couple of weeks away. I am not surprised about the lack of an announcement--the Macworld keynote is better served by more dramatic announcements than simple memory capacity upgrades. With Steve Job's recent announcement that he is taking a medical leave, the time seems ripe to make another couple of announcements, if only to reassure folks and offset a general feeling among Apple freaks and industry analysts that the sky is falling. But it's not like Apple planned for this leave--they may simply not have anything dramatic announcement to make in the immediate pipeline.

If the end of January announcement is true or even a couple of weeks off, it is obviously worth waiting. Of course, what usually happens is that these rumors turn out to be false or at least timed inaccurately. I believe that Apple will offer a 32 GB at some point, but it could be June, October, December, or longer. At a certain point it becomes not worth waiting.

So what to do? Advice is welcomed. I'll keep you posted on my decision.

BSG Returns Tomorrow!

Battlestar Galactica is coming back. Take a look at this preview of the final season. After so many months of TV drought, I am psyched about the return of Lost, BSG, and to a slightly lesser extent, 24.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What to Do With Your Old Phone/iPod

Recently my employer decided that they would support the iPhone, so without even blinking, I decided to kick my Blackberry to the curb. They referred employees to this site to recycle these old devices. Awesome! I ended gathering a ton of old phones and iPods for trade-in and managed to donate almost $100 to my favorite charity. I could have gotten cash or an Amazon gift certificate. Nice.

If you are like me and have a ton of old devices sitting in desk drawers at home gathering dust, this site is for you. advertises--Get Cash for your Old Cell Phone or iPod While Saving the Environment at the Same Time. It's true!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-01-12: Sundance Starts This Week

Here is a trailer for one of the Sundance Festival films.

Incidentally, I find it quite humorous that coming of age films are creeping into post-college, 40 Year Old Virgin aside.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I am a Twit

I am now a Twitterer. I will be tweeting as I post new entries on the blog and about what is going on related to my experiences and thoughts on film and consumer technology in general. Please feel free to follow me as I embark on this new usage of modern Web 2.0 social networking technology!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wireless Charging!

The just-announced Palm Pre can be charged wirelessly. Wireless charging? Are you kidding me? Awesome! That may be enough to make me fall in love with Palm again. Plus it looks like it is going to have a lot of great features. Too bad it is only going to work with Sprint. via Gizmodo

BSG Online Series

The final season of Battlestar Galactica returns in a week, but if you can't wait until then, check out "The Face of the Enemy," a 10-part online miniseries. The series is quite engaging. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the last episode, which will be posted on January 12.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

iPhoto 2009 versus Picasa 3 on OS X--FIGHT!

Ironically and probably not coincidentally, as Apple announced iLife 2009 that included iPhoto 2009, Google announced Picassa 3 Beta for the Mac. I have a love/hate relationship with iPhoto and have tried out a couple of competitors but was no more impressed with them. Now, just as I think that Google makes a big leap forward, so does Apple. I am really excited by the face recognition features and geotagging support offered by iPhoto. I'll try both out in the coming weeks and post my impressions.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iTunes Finally DRM Free

Following in the footsteps of Amazon and others, Apple is taking the iTunes Store DRM free, Gizmodo reports. They may just win my business back from Amazon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-01-05: Lost Premiere in 2 Weeks!

I am soooooo pumped.

Incidentally, if you are a fan of lost, check out the other videos from campetin. He's got official ABC slips as well as a whole slew of self-produced previews that rock.