Out with the Old, In with the Blu

28 02 2008

This is now very old news, but I realized today I never made a post announcing or sharing my thoughts on the end of the format war. In case you live underground and haven’t heard, Sony’s Blu-ray has triumphed over HD-DVD as the next-generation entertainment/storage medium. I can’t say I’m surprised. With a better storage capacity and a name with less than half the syllables of its adversary, Blu-ray has always been the better product in my mind. The final nail in HD-DVD’s coffin was when Wal-Mart announced they’d only be carrying Blu-ray and DVDs henceforth. At that point, Toshiba threw in the towel and said they wouldn’t be manufacturing any more HD-DVDs.

Do you think Blu-ray discs will be the last physical medium for the Blockbusters of the world to stand on, before Hollywood goes the way of the music industry? (That is, before it dies, slowly and painfully.) This year I’ve been renting movies a whole lot less than I did last year, despite living even closer to the video store. Although, the pitiful selection at Rogers Video doesn’t exactly help. (In the last few weeks they’ve failed to have: Grosse Pointe Blank, Il Postino, America’s Sweethearts, and Equilibrium, among others. Yeah. Shame shame shame!) Still, no matter where you go, nothing quite beats the savory flavor of freeness, something that March’s issue of Wired says is going to be the new golden standard in the future of business. Indeed, more and more people are discovering the magic of Bittorrent, and sharing proliferates now more than it ever has. It’s becoming difficult to keep track of everything.

Just a few days ago, for example, I discovered the amazing Stage6, which is YouTube-like in what it does and Torrent-like in what it delivers. The site offers full TV episodes of just about anything you want, but forget fiddling around with trackers and seeding, and all that other torrent nonsense. A whole episode of, say, Heroes, takes just a few minutes to buffer before it’s ready for your viewing pleasure in full DVD-quality. Not bad for a video-hosting site! However, for reasons pertaining to its dubious legality, Stage6 is being shut down tomorrow, probably around midnight. So if you’re like me and didn’t know about it until now, you missed your chance! Still, we seem to be going through the same motions with movies today as we did with music back in the early 2000s. If you ask me, it’s probably just a matter of time. Maybe one day we’ll see a model in place where all films and TV are pay-what-you-want, a la Radiohead.

But, back to Blu-ray. One thing that’s interesting about it is the fact that the PS3’s power to groove with the format du jour is now more enticing. Also, if I remember correctly, they’ve scored a couple more exclusive and noteworthy titles since I last wrote about it. After all this time, I still want a friggin’ Xbox 360. (And it might not be so far off – when I get a job this summer I should be able to meet this price as advertised on Newegg.) But perhaps now the PS3 will start getting some more, well, play.

Back in the summer of ’07, I got it straight from the horse’s mouth that Sony intends for the PS3 to be a general entertainment unit, which seemed risky at the time since the format war was still in full-swing. Also, many gamers feel that software support is ultimately more important than the versatility of the medium. I cautiously count myself among those gamers, but I do see where Sony is coming from. I mean, let’s face it: getting a two-for-one is sweet, because electronics are hella expensive. Especially when you’re a student who will pay $500 for a course that teaches you how to transcribe English words into the phonetic alphabet, fork over another $100 for the textbook containing this worthwhile information, and then drop the course because, frankly, it kinda sucks. Ahem.

What’s your take on the blu-ray takeover? Are you still mourning the passing of HD-DVD, (or thinking of buying a bunch of movies and a player for dirt cheap) or are you dancing on its grave, all decked out in your Sony memorabilia? How long will Blu-ray last, or will it have a lasting effect at all?


The Shiny Guy Always Worries

26 02 2008

A few people I know have been posting this in various places in the last couple days. This video is awesome.

Why NN is Important

21 02 2008

One of my friends dugg this image and I liked it so much I just had to post it here. (By “like”, I mean it terrifies me.) Click to enlarge.

Sorry for the lack of content on this blog lately. Most of the stuff I’d post here always makes me think, “actually that’d be a good one for my class blog!” so I end up doing it there…since I get marks for it, and stuff. On the subject of net neutrality, though, here’s a post I wrote recently explaining it since it came up in class and I was pretty sure a lot of my peers would be unfamiliar with the issue.

New Indie Trailer is Out

20 02 2008


Can’t wait. Though I didn’t see Karen Allen’s face anywhere in there, which makes me sad. I was hoping she’d make a comeback.


19 02 2008

You know what, Jack? Forget about giving this struggling new medium a hard time at every turn. That’s bad, but it doesn’t even come close to using a tragedy, a disaster in which young people lose their lives to further your own twisted agenda. It makes me sick. And then you threaten to sue the school if they don’t humor you by sending you some information to support your little argument, which everyone knows is absurd in the first place. Let the people grieve, you twit.

Holy Fat Blue Text, Batman

15 02 2008

Edit: It’s fixed itself now.

I did not manually change my list of del.icio.us links to a link cloud. Don’t know why it’s doing that. In fact, I don’t even know if it’s appearing that way for anyone other than me.

In any case, I’ll fix it when I feel like it. I think my blog’s earned enough cred looking super-sexy for long enough to hold me over for a couple days.

My reading week starts today. Cool, huh? I’m taking the bus home tonight. More posts and stuff coming soon.

Jeff Han’s Amazing Multi-Touch UI

7 02 2008

Check. This. Out. My media prof emailed this TED Talk vid to my whole class. I think this is spectacular:

Told you so. For those saying this is just what the iPhone does, note that this was recorded a year ago. Also, the iPhone doesn’t support more than 2 points of contact to be computed at a time, whereas this device can handle at least 20 according to Han. (He does not give an exact number but demonstrates using all 10 of his fingers, and says somebody else could be there manipulating objects as well.) In any case, the potential for this technology is nigh unfathomable. The photo exploring and object sculpting are fun, but what really struck me was the demonstration he gave near the end involving animated characters. I’ve been excited to watch the nascent stages of Mo-Capping over the last few years, and now similar human life can be injected into objects to create a puppet-like medium. Plus, unlike super-high-budget Peter Jackson movies that can afford to Mo-Cap, the average artist with average resources can take this on easily. (Assuming this technology is to be made attainable by that demographic.)

Imagine the potential for video games, too. The possibilities are endless.

This is all especially interesting to me because it’s a perfect example of the aspect of my class I’ve taken the most interest in: that is, the notion of moving toward interfaceless-interaction in various media, as discussed in one of our texts, Remediation by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin.