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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Audio and Video commercials in print publications?

A magazine inserts a video chip into one of its issues. The video chip, when activated, plays a commercial. The concept is the same as a birthday card that plays a song when you open it, except that instead of an embedded tune, there is an embedded commercial with moving footage.

First posted 8-20-09

Apple's next step is not what you think


Apple TV growing agressive

Financial Times and SAG Watch report that Apple has also floated the idea of creating a lower-cost video subscription service with News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, Disney and CBS which would combine the “best of television” and would cost $30 per month.

According to the Financial Times, Apple is pressuring the networks to cut the already rock bottom price of off-network shows in the itunes store from $1.99 to 99 cents per episode. Supposedly the Apple execs think tv shows would sell better at a lower price.

Apple is building a facility to bring video and live television on board as they did the music industry with iTunes.

Seeing is Not Believing: changing our perceptions of history

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Seeing is believing.

This proves it must be true.

How often have you heard the phrases above, or similar words, to justify what people swear to be true or to defend their version of events?

We are what we collect as information over our lives, and believe what we choose to believe based on what we think we know.

But is it accurate?

Increasingly even "facts" you believe true need to be researched and viewed from multiple views, with an open mind and a willingness to be proven wrong. The Internet has accelerated this process, but the process of remaking history, cleaning up facts and selling the public is not new.

A professor of mine once brought in the book "The Disappearing Commissar" to class to show how nothing you see or read can be trusted. The book went through the phases of a famous Russian photograph of the founders of the red revolution taken in a railroad car. It also showed, in phases, how at Stalin's bequest people disappeared from the photo, new ones took their place and some stellar communist even moved closer to the founders of the revolution as they grew in favor. Stalin had books pulled and republished, the photo changed, and even a painting commemorating the event repainted to "paint over history".

View the photos at this site. They are only a portion of photos related to the history of  "disappearing commissar" historic photograph manipulation.

Each new generation, or those who are newly educated, learn to accept the version they are presented and not question its authenticity.

We perceive the world through our own prisms. We have our own "noise", screens, filters, interference that helps us make sense of and interpret the world and all of the now over abundant information and communication transmitted in our universe.

Not only can four witnesses to the same car accident see four different versions of the crash, they have many times that many interpretations of the events that led up to the event. The truth may be one of those stories, or none of them. It is in the nature of how we perceive what is around us and our world. We see it differently at the time, and remember things differently later.

In the captions to the Times article linked below the author writes "Perhaps the most famous image of World War II, Joe Rosenthal's shot of Marines on Iwo Jima, was dogged by accusations of being staged. A misunderstanding started the trouble." If you read the book or saw the movie "Flag of Our Father's" you may remember that that famous image was staged since the original flag raising was of a small battle flag and was not captured on professional film. The photographer felt that another authentic battle photo would be the one to remember if any were, and that the staged one was simply done to please the military brass at the time. Yet history remembers the larger staged flag raising and the men who hoisted up the second flag, one large enough to be seen by marines still engaged in the battle below.

Of course even un-doctored photographs can be misleading. The famous photo of a young girl, running toward the camera, her clothing burned off by Napalm, helped end the Viet Nam War, a symbol of  US attrocities. If you take a close look at that photo you will find that the soldiers in the photo are South Vietnamese and not American.

The New York Times story linked below covers a number of famous American examples, including how Abraham Lincoln was made to look more statesman-like. It does not cover recent changes made to our president's images on revised American currency or on social Internet sites.

Be sure to go through the entire slide show. The starting photo in the article does not appear in the slide show but represents the composite of the three photos of General and later President Ulysses S. Grant at a Civil War campsite.

The New York Times controls this content. If the link fails, you may search the Times for "Fake Photographs: Look and then Look Again" by Bill Marsh (Sunday, August 23, 2009).

First posted 8/23/2009

Half empty or half full

Home prices went down 35% since the peak, but have begin climbing back in ten of the thirty cites studied. San Francisco is up ten percent. That said, Las Vegas holds the record of the deepest fall in prices and while up slightly for three months in a row, national figures still show Las Vegas as on a downward price trend.

The good news is, if you have a job and your income has not gone down, your buying power is up by almost 30% on all products (averaged).

Consumer confidence is also reported to be trending up for the first time since 2008.