The Dramatic Success of Apple’s iPad.

I think this quick quote really helps show the dramatic success Apple’s iPad has been.

Apple sold 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, more than double the number it sold last year. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, helped put this in perspective during the company’s earnings call.“Just two years after we shipped the initial iPad, we sold 67 million,” he said. “It took us 24 years to sell that many Macs, and five years for that many iPods, and over three years for that many iPhones.”

via Tim Cook Spells Out the Rapid Growth of Apples iPad – NYTimes.com.

American Reunion Movie Review

I had the chance last week to go to an advance screening of the newest film in the American Pie franchise, American Reunion.  Overall I greatly enjoyed it.  I laughed more than I have at a comedy in a long time.

I think possibly part of the reason I enjoyed it so much, is that because I am the roughly the same age group as the characters in the film.  The film is built around the groups high school reunion, their 10 year reunion just happening a few years late.  Next year (2013) will be 10 years since I have graduated from high school so I am at a similar point in my life.  The things the characters are going through I am either experiencing or seeing my friends experience.  For these reasons the things that happen in the story make me more apt to relate to the film to a certain degree.

With taking that into account, this movie is still at its heart another American Pie film,  the characters are now just a bit older and facing different problems, but they have not changed drastically, but the natural evolution that you might expect at their current age.  The movie still has what I would call American Pie humor, some of the low brow humor and sex jokes the films are known for.  To me in the end if you liked the other films in the series, American Pie, American Pie 2, and American Wedding I bet you would enjoy this film overall.  This could be that since I have not seen the other three main films in the series for a while, but I think American Reunion could be the best of the series so far to me.  I just don’t remembering laughing as much during the other three movies as I did in American Reunion.

If you could not tell I would certainly recommend seeing this film if you are in the mood for a good comedy.

Game Of Thrones what’s new in season 2

Here are two great videos to help get you ready for Game of Thrones season 2. If you are looking for a good primer on what will be new season two of Game Of Thrones these will certainly help. One that introduces several of the new characters that we will see in the second season.  The second video is of the new locations that we will be seeing in the new season.  I am repeating myself in saying this, but these videos certainly help in making me excited for the new season that is coming on April 1st.

If you are looking for a good primer on what will be new in season two of Game Of Thrones these will certainly help.


Embracing IMAX for 2D and not 3D

An article over at Movieline.com talks about how “more and more evidence suggests that audiences are both showing a preference for IMAX and happily forgoing often-reviled 3-D visuals.”

Personally for me if a movie films scenes with IMAX cameras to take advantage of the bigger picture it can offer, like Christopher Nolan did  with the Dark Knight did, I am more willing to pay for that experience than I am with 3D.  For me I don’t see 3D as a big attraction or something that I care to spend the extra money on .  While 3D can add some value to movies, overall it just does not add enough to a movie where I would regularly pay the higher 3D ticket price for that experience.

IMAX to me I think can add enough value when the film makers film at least part of their movies using IMAX cameras, some of the recent examples of that are Dark Knight like I mentioned and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. The more immersive world they can create normally for action scenes to me is overall normally worth the extra price if I am already interested in the movie.  While I don’t always choose the IMAX screening I certainly normally consider it in the movies that take proper advantage of it.  To truly see what IMAX filmed scenes can bring to a movie see the picture below and how much more detail IMAX brought to the screen.

Image via Slashfilm.com

This part from the article has some good stats on performance of 3D vs 2D showings of the movie The Lorax. (Emphasis mine)

Other telling statistics came with the hit film The Lorax, whose hefty $70 million opening far exceeded expectations. Industry investment analyst Richard Greenfield found that while 3-D screens represented a nearly two-to-one majority of The Lorax’s theater count, the grosses expose a nearly even split between 2-D and 3-D. The per-screen average shows that more money was made in conventional screenings, a stunning figure once you factor in the inflated 3-D ticket prices. That breakdown means that while 60 percent of the screenings were displayed in 3-D, 60 percent of the audience watched in 2-D.

via The IMAX Old Wave: How Audiences and Filmmakers Are Embracing the 2-D Mega-Screen – Movieline.

 As that helps show I am not the only one that prefers 2D over 3D whether for cost reasons or if people just don’t like 3D itself.  It will be interesting to see if and how this trend continues in the future both in terms of movies filming at least partly with IMAX cameras and how prevalent 3D movies stay in the next few years.

To read more about how Dark Knight scenes came about in IMAX check out this article over at Slashfilm.com: How The Dark Knight Went IMAX

4 Days until return of Game Of Thrones to HBO

It will be great to have the HBO TV show Game Of Thrones back for its second season starting on Sunday April 1st. From all the previews I have seen for the new season it certainly looks like we are in for another good season or at least I hope we are.  As it was with the first season, it will continue to be interesting to see how the second book is adapted to the screen and what type of changes end up being made.

Below is a trailer for season two:

HBO has also released a series of Pledge Your Allegiance videos focusing on 5 different noble houses that are in the show.  I have put the one for House Stark below and included links to the other four.

House Baratheon House Lanister House Greyjoy House Targaryen

Hollywood’s Idea Of Innovation, Make Buffer Copies Regulated & Licensed.

While SOPA and Protect IP are dead, we still need to be aware of what the next regulation or purposed laws will be.  The cause for concern here is a purposed provision in a leaked version of the  Trans-Pacific Parntership agreement (TPP).  What Hollywood in this case wants to regulate is:

the treaty contemplates requiring licenses for ephemeral copies made in a computer’s buffer. That means that the buffers in your machine could need a separate, negotiated license for every playback of copyrighted works, and buffer designs that the entertainment industry doesn’t like — core technical architectures — would become legally fraught because they’d require millions of license negotiations or they’d put users in danger of lawsuits.  

Via Son-of-ACTA, the TPP, wants to legislate buffers – Boing Boing.

This type of regulation has been purposed before (for more information on that see link above) and has been beaten back before.  In a Techdirt.com article, notes how this could present a real challenge to innovation/new services company’s could provide, giving this example as one case:

What the negotiators here are trying to do is to kill off any cloud streaming service (or require it to pay a lot extra). In the US, a few years ago, the 2nd Circuit ruled that Cablevision’s remote DVR was legal. Basically, Cablevision set up a bunch of servers that could act like a standard DVR, but rather than the box being at home, it was in a central data center. The TV networks freaked out about this and insisted that it must be illegal. But, of course, the only real difference between this and a TiVo was how long the cord between the DVR and the TV was. It seems ridiculous to think that the copyright could be impacted by the length of the cable. 

The key, then, to the TV guys’ argument against Cablevision was to show that Cablevision itself was involved in copying works without a license. Since it was the user pushing the button to “record” something that argument wasn’t very strong — so they picked up on a specific piece: that in the process of making this work, Cablevision had to, for an exceptionally brief period of time,buffer the TV streams that it was playing. The crux of the TV networks’ argument against Cablevision was that it was that buffer that violated copyright law. The court laughed this off, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, leaving the ruling standing.

via The Real Goal Of Regulating Buffer Copies? So Hollywood Can Put A Tollbooth On Innovation | Techdirt.

To me this leaked draft provision of the newest TPP agreement, just shows how companies are more interested in trying to control their content and looking for new ways to put up road blocks to innovation and new ways of doing things that is unless they get their cut every time their content is somehow moved even if that is just transferring on a computer for content that the person has already paid for.  As the TechDirt.com article rightly points out, this type of regulation vastly extends beyond just hollywood content, in that it would have an effect really on type of digital file that a buffered copy was created of.  The article goes on to say:

For anyone who knows anything about technology, such a proposal is pure insanity. It’s an attempt to massively expand copyright law in the age of computers, for something that has nothing to do with the intended purpose, nor components, of existing copyright law. It seeks to put a legal liability for a transitional state of content for no reason other than that Hollywood wants to get paid any and every time a piece of content is touched. 

This kind of broad over reach just goes to show how important it is to keep aware of what is going on in these types of new purposed regulations, laws and treaties, to help beat back these type of ideas that are harmful to the future of technology and innovation.

Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues & why it is misguided.

Under a new deal between the two companies, Netflix users won’t just have to wait 56 days to rent Warner Bros. movies on DVD. They’ll have to wait 28 days to add the movies to their queues.

As part of the Warner’s continuing effort to boost its DVD, Blu-ray, and video-on-demand business, the studio’s new deal with Netflix throws up a new roadblock for people willing to wait and get the movie as part of their monthly subscription.

via Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues – latimes.com.

Making people wait to just add it to their queues on Netflix, just another example of why people dislike Hollywood entertainment companies sometimes.

I totally agree with Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) on what this delay means for me in practice.

If I’m adding a movie to my Netflix queue, I’ve already decided not to buy the DVD. I’m adding it because it looks mildly interesting and I’d like to watch it sometime. If I can’t add it to Netflix, I’ll just forget about it and probably never see it.

via Netflix deal with Warner Bros. includes delay in queues – Marco.org.

To further echo that, If I am looking to rent a movie it is likely one that I did not have enough interest to see in the theater itself. That means I am not real interested in buying it before I have seen it, so I will wait to rent it.

The point that MG Siegler makes below is very pausbile I think in the long term.

I hope we all realize where this eventually leads: the banning of movie rentals entirely. 

via parislemon • A 28-Day Window Before You Can Even *Think* About Renting A Movie.

That leads into my final point, that making it harder for consumers to access and enjoy the movie and TV studio’s content does not help in the fight against piracy.  I am not advocating piracy here in response to this, but the harder companies make it or more barriers the companies put up to access their content, they should not be surprised if people turn to other means. In that sense this issue is just another facet of the fight over SOPA/Protect IP, if companies offered easier ways to pay at fair prices to let us use their content, company likely would see more people take advantage of those opportunities. One example is the iTunes music store.

Protect IP/SOPA And The Impact It Could Have On Industries And Jobs

 

All images come from AmericanCensorship.org

When I started to learn about SOPA and the Protect IP Act that were being considered in the House and the Senate, I was saddened to see that both of my Senators Klobuchar and Franken were supporters and co-sponsors of it. I wrote a short letter to Franken about my dislike for Protect IP and I got a letter back from his office which seemed to have as one of the main reasons for his support of it being the protection of American jobs. So in crafting a reply to that argument I did quite a bit of research.  With that research I ended up creating a lengthy reply that I think helps to show while Protect IP may be designed to protect some industries and jobs in them, it also as it is currently written will have quite a negative impact on many other industries and jobs. The results of what I found in my research are below.  If you want to see a PDF of this piece with all the footnotes and bibliography, you can download it here:  PDF

Let me make clear I am not against better enforcement of copyright, as long as it is done in a fair and just way both for the copyright holder and the accused party so that they have reasonable means to contest it if they feel they are wrongfully accused of infringement. Any new bill should balance the need of the copyright holder and potential new business’ ability to innovate without there being overburdened with legal worry.  After looking into SOPA and Protect IP they do not seem to fit into that criteria. Continue reading Protect IP/SOPA And The Impact It Could Have On Industries And Jobs

New trend in technology “Sell Big or Die Fast”

A good article on the changing landscape in technology and the devices the companies make. The article talks about several reasons have helped speed up the process of declaring them a failure or success. Which really is not a huge surprise given the growth of Twitter, Facebook, and tech websites and other places that all help to speed up the process on reviews and the collective consensus for each new device, which is talked about a bit in the article.

I think that is partly where Apple is successful they often are able to create great buzz around their products.  The company then also has to deliver the goods when the product is actually shipped or all the hype won’t help once it is out, and in terms of hardware devices Apple has had an amazing success rate in the last decade.

These days, big technology companies — particularly those in the hypercompetitive smartphone and tablet industries — are starting to resemble Hollywood film studios. Every release needs to be a blockbuster, and the only measure of success is the opening-weekend gross. There is little to no room for the sleeper indie hit that builds good word of mouth to become a solid performer over time.

Some analysts trace the origin of this blockbuster-or-bust mentality to Apple. Each release of the company’s popular iPads and iPhones crosses over into being a mainstream media event. Al Hilwa, an analyst at the research firm IDC, described the accelerated lifecycle of high-end hardware as “Darwinian.”

“There’s a level of desperation from anyone whose name is not Apple,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at the research firm IDC.

via Technology Devices Either Sell Big or Die Fast – NYTimes.com.