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Friday, July 8, 2011

"The Best Years of Our Lives" and com class

I mentioned "The Best Years of Our Lives" in class. The film is a multiple Academy Award winner which speaks strongly about war, returning home, change, adjustment and what we would call PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I still holds true and is a good study in communication, film making, history and human psychology. The co-star who lost his arm is real (not in this scene). No special effects. He won best supporting actor, despite never having acted before in his life. He sold his award years later to pay the bills and later died broke. That speaks volumes about how we treat our vets.

A laptop that reads your eyes

Prototype from Lenovo, Tobii is a real eye-catcher

Lenovo has teamed with a Swedish company named Tobii Technology to develop the world's first laptop that reacts to the eye movements of the user. Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America, said the system "makes using a laptop more efficient. What if you could just look to where you're going to take your mouse and the [cursor] just appears there? If [you] have to look at something anyway, why not have that actually facilitate the movement you're getting ready to make?" The Wall Street Journal/Digits blog (3/1), PC Magazine (3/1), CNET/Crave blog (3/1)

Photo: Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of eye-tracking software maker Tobii, tests the motion-sensing laptop. The good-size hump on the back of the computer contains the cameras that track a user's eye movements.
(Credit: Tobii) Read more:

Soaps find new life on the web. How much would you pay to see a movie currently in theaters on your home TV? Horrible or just funny movie weekend?

Below is from the LA Times Company Town Blog and other sources. Click here for up to date information and the complete stories from the LA Times.
SOAPS Continue as WebCast:  Soap opera plot twist. In good news to soap fans, ABC has struck a deal with a company called Prospect Park to move the soaps "All My Children and "One Life to Live" to the Internet after their runs on the network end. However, pulling such a move off and maintaining the same standards of production online will be a big challenge. Soaps cost as much as $50 million a year and advertising on the Internet does not generate that kind of revenue. In the future, the Internet will become the gateway to television and certainly some brands could go from TV to the Web and work, but can two old soaps with small audiences pull it off creatively and financially? The New York Post broke the story. Analysis on how this will be easier said than done from the Los Angeles Times

Not much demand for Video On Demand. The recent public flap between theater owners and studios over premium video-on-demand appears to be much ado about nothing -- at least for now.
Initial consumer response has so far been tepid to an experiment by four studios that signed up with DirecTVto offer movie rentals at home for $30 as little as 60 days after theatrical release, executives from three of those studios acknowledged privately because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
Under their agreements with DirecTV, each of the four studios is expected to provide at least four premium VOD films to the satellite television service by the early fall.
Beginning in April, the studios -– 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. -– began testing so-called premium VOD. They have thus far offered 13 films, ranging from the comedies "Hall Pass" and "Paul" to action films including "Battle: Los Angeles" and "Sucker Punch" and dramas "Water for Elephants" and "The Adjustment Bureau." The pictures became available about two months after they debuted in theaters and one or two months before they were released on DVD.
Stop the presses. Seriously! Facing a growing backlash from readers, advertisers and government officials, News Corp. said it would shut down its scandal-filled U.K. newspaper News of the World. The move comes after the paper had been shamed by revelations of extensive phone hacking of not only celebrities and royal family members, but regular citizens who were victims of crime. The decision is seen as an effort by News Corp. to try to keep alive its efforts to buy the 60% of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB that it doesn't own. Also, by closing News of the World, News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is opting to for now protect a couple of senior executives and family members rather than an iconic newspaper that was a cornerstone of the company. Coverage and analysis from The New York TimesLos Angeles TimesDaily BeastForbesAdvertising Age andThe Guardian. The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal has covered the mess with kid gloves and on Friday used five reporters to write a rather soft piece on James Murdoch, the family member on the front lines of the debacle. In Photo Rupert Murdock, owner of Newscorp (which owns FOX, Wall Street Journal and other properties in US).  Could the same type of twisted journalism be true of FOX and other Murdock holdings? And how bad has his brand damaged the reputation and brand of journallist and the ability to present the news?
"Horrible Bosses" or horrible-looking "Zookeeper"? This weekend's box office battle will be between comedies "Horrible Bosses" starring Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston, and "Zookeeper" with Kevin James. "Horrible Bosses" looks like one of those movies I'll leave thinking wasn't bad but could have been funnier. I'm pretty sure I'll just leave "Zookeeper." But if that's what I'm thinking, then bet the opposite way. Watch "Zookeeper" turn out to be a smash. Both movies are expected to finish behind the latest "Transformers." Preview from the Los Angeles Times.

Double secret probation. The major Hollywood studios and producers and the nation's biggest broadband providers -- including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon -- are teaming up on a new effort to fight piracy. As part of the initiative, consumers whose computers are found to be uploading or downloading stolen content will receive a series of increasingly intense warnings. However, the odds of anyone's Internet service actually being cut off for piracy activity is very long. Still, it marks a big step for content creators and Internet service providers, which often disagree on how to battle piracy. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
Dismissed! A federal court tossed the Federal Communications Commission's plans to toss an old rule that prohibits a company from owning both a television station and a newspaper in the same market. Some companies, including Los Angeles Times parent Tribune and News Corp., have waivers and don't have to worry. There is great debate in the media industry about whether this rule has become outdated. Advocates for removing it argue that newspapers are struggling, and combining with a broadcaster could help, while opponents fear more media consolidation. But there are very few big media companies with TV stations looking to buy newspapers anyway. A relaxation of the rule would likely lead to deals in smaller towns where some papers are really on the brink of extinction. Coverage from Broadcasting & Cable and TV News Check.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Cable network E! has a new president. Wonder if the Kardashians approved. Could Oprah Winfrey host the Oscars? Kenneth Turan on "The Clock." faith's perspective voiced

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