Advancing Market Research

I can’t believe someone actually pays for studies like this. “A recent study in England has found…wait for it….almost 90% of users of DVR/TV time shifting devices skip the ads in the shows they have recorded. “It really took a market research study by Deloitte to figure this out? “Stunning!! A revelation of market research!!” In the same story, the respondents did say that if the “ad pods” were shorter, they would consider paying more attention to the advertising. As noted earlier this week, some advertisers are grappling with this situation by trying to fake out viewers by having their ads look so much like the show that they are watching that they will stop Fast Forwarding through the ads.

Doom Virgin


Stephen Tolito from the gaming site Kotaku lost his Doom virginity after jilting the game’s advances for 17 years.

I am not sure how I failed to play Doom during the last 17 years. While I have long been primarily a console gamer, I dabbled with PC gaming before, during and after Doom’s launch. I had a Commodore 64, a PC that ran games off DOS and, later, Windows 3.11. I had friends who loved playing Marathon, which they described as Doom for their Macs. But somehow I never played Doom. Maybe it was too gritty for me. I was one of those kids who collected Superman comics, not Batman, and never Wolverine.

While Doom’s day in the sun has come and gone with all the advances in the gaming industry, as a game it is the equivalent to Linus’s blanket…comfortable, familiar and its always there when you need to kill a few digital monsters.

Via Slashdot

Star Wars Uncut

Star Wars: Uncut is an online project where the original Star Wars movie has been broken down into :15 increments. From there, folks from around the Web and world then submit their own video depicting that scene. The final product is a mash up of all the best submissions for each scene edited together to create the full length depiction of the movie. Just brilliant and awesome!! Here is a clip of a preview of the movie, which will be premiered at a film festival in Copenhagen.

Bad Move, Mr. Leno

The move of former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno to his new “Jay Leno Show” at 10PM weekdays is looking more and more like a fiasco of epic proportions for NBC. His ratings have fallen off the shelf as he is averaging only 4-5 Million viewers, off from a high of 18 Million viewers when the show first started out in September, and compared to the other shows in that time-slot that are bringing in 11-14MM viewers.

When I was out in California last week, we took a tour of the NBC studios in Burbank. What struck me during the tour was the cringe of the tour guide’s face when he spoke of “former ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno”. He looked like he was smelling rotten fish. It was also interesting that Leno’s face and “Tonight Show” murals were still all over the studio, which implies to me that maybe NBC is hedging its bets and may be planning on some sort of course correction, because this experiment has been dead on arrival. The hard part here is to figure out how they will handle Conan O’Brien if they do in fact move Jay back to the “Tonight Show”.

But maybe this will be Comcast’s problem soon, if the rumors of them buying a controlling stake in NBC are true. I’d hate to be in the NBC boardroom when this is the topic of the day.

One Last Riff

The guitar pioneer Les Paul left us today. What’s most interesting is that not only did he invent the electric guitar, but he also experimented and created new recording techniques:

There he experimented with recording techniques, using them to create not realistic replicas of a performance but electronically enhanced fabrications. Toying with his mother’s old Victrola had shown him that changing the speed of a recording could alter both pitch and timbre. He could record at half-speed and replay the results at normal speed, creating the illusion of superhuman agility. He altered instrumental textures through microphone positioning and reverberation. Technology and studio effects, he realized, were instruments themselves.

Don’t Touch Holden

The reclusive author J.D. Salinger issued a lawsuit targeting a ‘rip-off’ of his classic novel Catcher in the Rye.

Lawyers for Salinger filed suit in federal court this week to stop the publication, sale and advertisement of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” a novel written by an author calling himself J.D. California and published by a Swedish company that advertises joke books and a “sexual dictionary” on its Web site.

Interestingly, the article also notes that Mr. Salinger once turned down Steven Spielberg’s offer to make a movie of his classic novel (news to me!).

Get Your Harry Potter Geek On

The new (and old) trailers for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie are up at Apple’s site.  The new trailer looks great.  I was watching the HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone this evening on TV and it’s amazing how much the three main characters have changed and grown in the 8 years since that movie was produced.  I’m already looking ahead to see how they will do “Deathly Hallows” on the big screen.

Movie Magic

Yahoo recently released a list of 100 movies to see before you die. They made a point of clarifying that its not the 100 best movies of all time but more a list of top influential or significant movies that you should see. I don’t fully agree with their choices but they have made a strong effort here.

I am slightly embarrassed to report that I have only seen 55 of their 100 that they have listed. I’m not planning on departing anytime soon, but it appears I may need to get over to Netflix soon. The vast majority of the movies I have not seen are from the 1950’s and 1960’s, which is way before my time, so cut me some slack there.

Now, if they did a “Top 100 Movies Since 1975 That You Have To See Before You Die”, then I think I’d have that locked up!

Slumdog Millionaire

Rating: R
Released: December 5, 2008
Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor
Trailer / Official Site

This movie takes you through all sorts of twists, turns and emotions in Jamal Malik’s life, while using the popular game show Who What’s To Be A Millionaire (We won’t get into the exchange rate between dollars and rupees) as a metaphor for his real pursuit, his love interest Latika whom he has known since childhood. The movie is an exceptional work however after seeing it, I don’t think I have a great desire to go to certain parts of Mumbai anytime soon.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Rating: R
Released: November 26, 2008
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji Henson, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond, Elias Koteas
Trailer / Official Site

I was a little underwhelmed with this movie. It was excruciatingly long. I think they could have easily cut an half hour off the movie. The story itself was interesting (based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story of the same name) and I did find the challenges of Button’s situation (getting younger as the years went on) one that you could have a ton of fun with. But through out the movie, I consistently felt that they were trying to make this an updated version of Forrest Gump, and it just never came close.

Update (1/19/09): Appears my observation about Forrest Gump was right on the money after all.

Milk

Rating: R
Released: November 26, 2008
Starring:Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna
Trailer / Official Site

I’ll come clean here. Before this movie, I’d never heard of Harvey Milk. I had no idea of his impact and importance in American Civil Rights, Politics or GLBT rights. But I know who he is now. The movie and story is one of passion, triumph, and sadness. This movie is brilliantly acted and directed and it did a great job of enveloping you in the San Francisco Gay scene of the mid 1970’s. After watching this movie, I did some research on Harvey Milk, which included listening to an audio clip of him speaking. Doing that reinforced what an amazing job Sean Penn did in depicting Harvey Milk. His acting was spot on. Just an amazing performance! Kudos also to Josh Brolin for a nice performance as Milk’s main enemy. This is definitely one of the better movies of the year.

Frost/Nixon

Rating: R
Released: December 5, 2008
Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon
Trailer / Official Site

Watergate has always been a fascinating piece of American history. Watching Frost/Nixon was a great treat as these interviews were viewed by many as Nixon’s confession, even though he never fully grasped it or stated such. There were several interesting elements to the movie: the background that it provided about how Frost and his team scored the interview and their prep work before and during the interviews; the way Nixon was depicted, and how he turned “on” during the interviews and turned “off” when they were done revealed a great deal about Nixon himself; and most of all, the way Nixon was firmly convinced this was “his world” with “his rules” and we were just living in it. Langella’s overall performance as Nixon was fantastic and is definitely Oscar worthy. If you are a Watergate junkie, this is required viewing.

Cars 2 Coming In 2011

Pixar will be releasing Cars 2 in 2011. Just what my house needs, more Cars toys strewn across the floor. The plot of the animated sequel:

[John] Lasseter mentioned that he came up with the idea for the sequel while traveling around the world doing publicity for the first film. He wondered how the characters would react in various locations all over the world. Cars 2 will follow Tow Mater getting his passport and traveling to Europe with Lightning McQueen.

Enter Sandman

As I’m watching the last game at Yankee Stadium on ESPN (Disclosure: I’m a life long Red Sox fan), you can’t help but get a little tingle watching Mo Rivera leave the bullpen to Enter Sandman. Its just an awesome and, if I was a player, pretty intimidating spectacle.

I’ve never been too fond of the Yankees, but I’ve been to the old Stadium in the Bronx enough to appreciate the history and importance of the building. From a baseball history perspective, I’m sorry to see it go. From a competitive perspective, I can’t wait for them to tear the place down. Too many bad memories (but one spectacular one – Game 7, 2004 ALCS) I just don’t look forward to the extra cash that the Yanks will rake in with the new stadium and how they will use it for their team.

The NYTimes posted a pretty cool panoramic of Yankee Stadium from last night. If you have a wide computer screen, be sure to enlarge the photo to full screen.

So tonight is the Yankees night. Enjoy the off season, watching the Red Sox in the playoffs.

Steve Nash’s “Training Day”

Agency Spy and several other websites have noted how Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash has created, and produced his own spot for Nike depicting a day in his life during the off season from his regular job as a guard for the Phoenix Suns and a former NBA MVP.

This past summer I was walking to work in TriBeCa and happened to see Nash cruising on his skateboard down Chambers Street, in a very similar fashion to what is depicted in his video, and just days after an article in the NY Times talked about how he spends summers in NYC playing soccer in various leagues in the city.

Duck Hunter

Jon Stewart is in absolutely rarified form these days with all the news about VP Dick Cheney shooting one of his fellow Republicans at a ranch in Texas. I wish no ill will on Mr. Whittington, the man whom Mr. Cheney shot (giggle, giggle), as the reports are that he had a heart attack and is slow to recover. But this is one of the most hilarious political stories in a long, long time. And the talk shows are rightfully having a field day.

Chucks

I was listening to the 80’s Alternative station on [email protected] and the song “Eighties” by Killing Joke (Album: “Laugh? I Nearly Bought One”) came on. While an udergrad at Syracuse, my friends and I went to a great watering hole called Chuck’s (Hungry Charlies). Every time this song came on, this one guy whom I never actually met, would get up on one of the tables and just start stomp dancing. The coolest thing was that when the song came on, and if he was there, everyone in the bar knew what was going to happen and would stop what they were doing and just watch. Listening to that song brought me back there.