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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

History Comes to Life in Boulder City This Saturday

iPads in the schools, the future of education?

Silverado High School freshman Angelica Panes, 15, receives a new iPad 2 as her 34-year-old mother Mary Grace Gonzales watches on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. The Clark County School District launched a pilot program using an iPad application to teach algebra to students at four schools during the 2011-12 school year. There will be 1,150 students using the algebra application on the iPad, developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The iPads with software cost the School District $790,050.

CCSD iPad Pilot Program

The Clark County School District launched a pilot program using an iPad application to teach algebra to students at four schools during the 2011-12 school year. There will be 1,150 students using the algebra application on the iPad, developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The iPads with software cost the School District $790,050.
Paper textbooks might soon go the way of the slide rule and typewriter as the Clark County School District launches a $790,050 iPad program, the largest of its kind in the nation.
Instead of receiving hefty books, about 1,150 Las Vegas middle and high school students were given thin, iPad 2 tablets, each loaded with an interactive textbook application for their Algebra 1 classes.

Four schools are part of the one-year pilot program rolling out this week: Silverado High School, Silvestri and Leavitt Middle Schools and the Academy for Individualized Study — a school for non-traditional students, such as Cirque du Soleil performers.
The trial program is costing the School District $687 per iPad, which includes the Fuse Algebra 1 textbook application developed by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The application is more than just a digital textbook. It is interactive, engaging students with touch-tap lessons and video tutorials, and has note-taking capabilities, said Josef Blumenfeld, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“These are not e-books, or repurposed digital versions of textbooks,” he said. “These are reimagined, interactive books — the real benefit being we can now deliver truly personalized instruction. We’ve tried to craft something that 20 years from now will be the norm.”
The $49 Fuse application allows users to learn at their own pace, Blumenfeld said. If students miss a class, they can tap into about 400 video tutorials led by textbook author Edward Burger, a math professor at Williams College in Massachusetts.
“Videos allow for anywhere, anytime instruction,” Blumenfeld said. “For students who might have missed class or didn’t understand the lesson, you can push a button and have it explained again and again. You have a teacher available anytime, anywhere.”
From the Las Vegas Sun (click here for access to the full story in the Sun)

Harriet Tubman: The Sexiest Abolitionist

Birds and Bees


PC's and Macs..Macs are cool....but are they?

Martini Shot

The Dell

WED SEP 14, 2011
In movies and on television, when characters sit down to work on a computer – and even when one is just there, in the background – it's almost always a Mac, despite the fact that in the real world, Apple Computer's market share – for desk and laptop computers – is in the single digits.  In the fake movie world, it's closer to one hundred percent...

Thank you for 3 more years on the SAG board, or until we become one union with AFTRA

2011 Nevada SAG Election Results-

Art Lynch has won reelection to the National Board and Bobbi Wolff, Scott Mirne, and Chris Rogers have won their elections to Nevada Council Member-at-Large positions they ran for this year.

On a personal note, respect and a request that all who ran for council and the National Board seat continue to serve on committees, come forth with new and needed ideas and projects, and fully support the Screen Actors Guild and its membership. Thank you all for running.

Thank you to those who signed my petition to run (I was no renominated by the nominating committee), who supported me on the nominating committee, who donated to my campaign, made calls, sent out e-mail and in other ways supported my bid for reelection.

Thank you to all who voted for me and for those who took the time to vote regardless of which candidate you cast your vote for.

And a special thank you to both Charlie DiPinto and my wife Laura.

Charlie gave above and beyond what could be expected to assist myself and another successful candidate who was not nominated for reelectiton to the council, while making the personal choice not to run when he too was passed over by the nominating committee.

Charlie deserves a great deal of thanks from all of us for his work as organizing chair and on the Nevada SAG council.

I pledge to continue to work for Nevada and for our union during my upcoming term.

Thank you all.

Solidarity and God's peace.


"First Friday" intended to be non-profit community event, sold by Whirlygig to private "investors" from Zappos

Doug Elfman

Zappos foursome buying First Friday arts event

First Friday's operations are being sold later this week to four men involved with Zappos. They vow to expand art exhibits, parking and shuttle service for the downtown art party.
The foursome, operating as First Friday LLC, are buying First Friday's trademark, Internet presence, mailing lists and assets from nonprofit Whirlygig Inc.
The new First Friday Four are Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh; Zappos partner Fred Mossler; developer Andrew Donner (who facilitated the Zappos relocation deal downtown); and Joey Vanas, a marketer who works on many Hsieh projects.
Zappos does not have any ownership stake, says Vanas, who handles the LLC's day-to-day operations. This is a personal investment.
Their launch event will be the ninth anniversary of First Friday on Oct. 7. Whirlygig founder Cindy Funkhouser will help with their transition for a month or more.

School District Employees running up overtime.

Click to enlarge photo
Clark County School District roofing supervisor Danny Hurd earned $61,426.14 last year in overtime, but the district says the reality is it's cheaper to pay Hurd and other workers overtime than to bring in more employees, and have to pay benefits on top of salaries.

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World War II NYC Street Life Photos

Mary Ann Conk and 2 other friends shared a link.
Pictures taken by Charles Cushman, of Indiana, are even more impressive today - as they were taken on pricey colour Kodachrome and look far more recent than they actually are.

Newscorp spies, 180 at Comcast's NBCUniversal, remembering John Calley, Messing with Harry's Law, and The Hunger Game

RIP. John Calley, a legendary movie executive who oversaw three studios, died at the age of 81. Calley was best known for being a friend to the creative community, which is rarer and rarer in these number-crunching days. Films that Calley played a big part in getting to the big screen included "Chariots of Fire," "A Clockwork Orange" and my favorite, "Dog Day Afternoon." He also had his fair share of big-budget disaster flicks including "The Towering Inferno." Obituaries and appreciations from the Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesHollywood Reporter and Variety.
James at 38. The ongoing investigation into phone hacking at News Corp.'s now-closed News of the World tabloid has put a road block in the plan to have James Murdoch succeed his father, Rupert Murdoch, at the helm of the media giant. James Murdoch, the company's deputy chief operating officer, is the second son to be considered the likely heir. His older brother, Lachlan, once held that spot, only to leave the company after clashing with other executives. There is also daughter Elisabeth, the only offspring to have a really strong track record in the business when not working at her father's company. Of course, anyone born with that last name and that father was born on third base so we should never assume that they hit a triple. The Wall Street Journal, which has beefed up its coverage of parent company News Corp. over the last several weeks, looks at how badly James has been tarnished.
Corporate Espionage by FOX: Contending that corruption is rampant throughout media giant News Corp., a group of shareholders have added allegations of corporate spying to a complaint against the company's chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch and other board members.
Tuesday's action amended a lawsuit filed in March in a Delaware court by the New York-based Amalgamated Bank, which manages several investment funds that have stock in News Corp. 
The suit maintains that News Corp. board members have failed shareholders by allegedly shirking their responsibility to oversee the media company's practices and business decisions.
News Corp. declined to comment on the litigation.
Encore! Encore! News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch has been invited back for a second grilling by Britain's Parliament. Murdoch, who appeared with his mogul father, Rupert, in July to answer questions regarding how the company responded -- or didn't respond -- to phone hacking by its now-shuttered News of the World tabloid. Some of James Murdoch's responses about what he knew and when he knew it have been contradicted by other staffers at the paper. The scandal has put a cloud over James Murdoch, who had been seen as the likely successor for his father. More from Bloomberg. If that's not enough of a headache, there is also trouble down under as Australia plans a probe of News Corp.'s business practices. More on that from the AFP
NBC Universal Chief does 180 on his views of cable transmission fees. Watch for your cable bill to skyrocket, as Disney's ESPN, Comcast NBC Networks and others seek more dollars from you, the subscriber. For more than a decade as a top executive at Comcast Corp., Steve Burke did all he could to stop the the cable operator from paying cash to broadcast networks in return for carrying their programming.
Now as chief executive of Comcast's NBCUniversal, Burke is salivating at getting big bucks from multichannel video programming distributors in so-called retransmission consent fees for NBC.
Fees from distributors along with a cut of revenue that NBC affiliates get as well should add up to "hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars," Burke said Wednesday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference held in Beverly Hills.
Turn the networks back on. Yes, we're on the verge of a new fall TV season. Are you excited for a remake of "Charlie's Angels." Are you going to turn down the lights to watch "The Playboy Club." Are you just in love with that adorable Zooey Deschanel? Like Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street," I only go with one new show a day. I have not decided what I will add to the permanent roster. Here is some analysis of NBC's schedule from Vulture and the Wrap and an overview of all the networks fromDeadline Hollywood.

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.

I love New York. Now that former Congressman Anthony Weiner has tweeted his way out of running for mayor of New York in a few years, is Disney CEO Bob Iger thinking about throwing his hat in the ring? That's how some political consultants interpreted a video Disney made starring Iger talking about New York and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The video, produced as part of a tribute dinner that saluted Disney's donation to the building of the Ground Zero, was sent to employees and posted on Disney's ABC News website and features anchor Diane Sawyer gushing about the courage of her boss. That the video seems more about Iger than about the company he runs is what has some wondering if there is another purpose to it. More on the video and how it is being viewed by the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

The newest art film studio. Sony Pictures has a slew of movies at the Toronto Film Festival. Usually, festivals are where movies made for adults get screened, which means big Hollywood studios steer clear because they're focused on making franchise films that will attract kids and lead to toys. TheNew York Times looks at how Sony is trying to produce both art and commerce.
Still of Kathy Bates and Christopher McDonald in Harry's Law
New look for "Harry's Law." Last season, NBC got a pleasant surprise in the performance of "Harry's Law," a legal drama starring Kathy Bates from producer David E. Kelley. The show proved popular with a large portion of the audience. Alas, for NBC it was the wrong portion. Looking to add younger viewers, the show is being overhauled although whether it will be any less preachy remains to be seen. Will it lose its core audience and the respect of the critics by "dumbing down" for a younger target audience? Details from USA Today.
Who to hit up for a loan. It's time for another "who makes what" list from Forbes magazine. This time the Capitalist Tool (that's the magazine's nickname for itself in case anyone thinks I'm being crude) takes a look at the highest-paid men in entertainment. At the top is Tyler Perry. Also up there: Dr. Phil McGraw. Next month, will Forbes tell us which TV and movie pets are pulling down the biggest paychecks?
Time for a make-good. The Hollywood Reporter says a top sales executive at Viacom's MTV Networks was let go for allegedly taking kickbacks from clients. The executive, contacted by the paper, said it should be "very, very careful" about reporting the allegations. I don't know if THR was careful, but the picture of the guy looks nice.
Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence
Lions Gate's first 100 million dollar plus movie. As Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. investors gather for the company's annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday, three things will be on their mind, Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst James Marsh said: "'Hunger Games,' 'Hunger Games' and 'Hunger Games.'"
The first of four planned movies based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling trilogy wrapped production in North Carolina on Saturday and will be released March 23. It's the Santa Monica studio's most expensive, and potentially most lucrative, production to date.
Lions Gate spent nearly $100 million to produce "The Hunger Games," a figure brought closer to $80 million after tax credits.
When it acquired the rights in 2009, the studio had conceived of it as a smaller production that would appeal only to young adults. But at the time only one book had been released and it had sold fewer than 500,000 copies. Today the trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies, and backers believe it could be what Hollywood calls a "four quadrant" film -- one that appeals to men and women, young and old.
Mary McNamara on Sarah Michelle Gellar's return to television in the CW dramas "Ringer." A look at Anderson Cooper's first day as a talk show host.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: 
Check out the story in Tuesday's Times for much more on what it took to make "The Hunger Games" and what it could mean for Lions Gate.
Robert Lloyd reviews new NBC comedies "Up All Night" and "Free Agents." Patrick Goldstein on John Calley.
-- Joe Flint
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From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.