Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #3

Here is the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is looking like this will easily be the film of the summer.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Today marks the passing of an entertainment legend. Leonard Nimoy died this afternoon at the age of 83 at his home due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that the actor freely admits was probably caused by his years of smoking.

What can you say about his acting, his directing and his writing? His career though wasn't just limited to Spock. Depending on your age you might remember him from Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible (the TV series), In Search Of and later Fringe. For Transformers fans he is known as the voice of Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie and Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. His directing efforts including Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and 3 Men and a Baby. (Hero Complex Video Retrospective) He also helped with writing Star Trek IV and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. His free time was often spent on writing poetry, photography and music where he used his twitter account to remain connected with fans and friends. Regardless of his other work, all roads lead back to Spock. (Top Quotes)

FCC Officially Protect Net Neutrality (Again)

The FCC has officially voted to protect Net Neutrality once again. Neutrality was over turned by the Supreme Court. The new rules exist to try to re-enforce Net Neutrality in such a way that maybe the Supreme Court will leave it alone by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service that the FCC is in charge of. The key of the new rules are this:

1) Broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
2) They may not impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of content, application, services, or any classes thereof.
3) They may not favor some internet traffic over other internet traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind — no paid prioritization or fast lanes.

While the press and others try to make it complicated, the definition of Net Neutrality is very simple - "All data is treated equally". It doesn't matter if the data is a video, a picture, text, it gets treated the same. It does not matter the source, the destination or the subject matter - it gets treated the same. The subject could be the Constitution, a cat or a blank page - it gets treated the same. Fox News and others take a "sky is falling" belief on this but really Net Neutrality has been the default rule of the internet since its very beginning.

The main reason they want to reverse Net Neutrality is of course money. Treating all data equals means the ISPs can't charge to not treat it equally. Say by creating the internet version of an airline with first class service (called fast lanes), business class, and so forth. So if Netflix didn't want to suddenly find their videos playing slowly for not reason...they would have to pay a fee. Or if you are Comcast maybe those TV related websites they own load fast but those ABC websites they don't own kind of chug and skip. Perhaps a new music service with big bucks enters the market and gets that first class for their service but that new start up that does it even better just can't afford it so they fade to obscurity because the ISP's throttled their speed for not paying up. You can see how easy it would be to abuse things (and charge for it) if not forced to treat all data equally.

Now some says "this would never happen!". The thing is there is proof that the abuse had already started. Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner (three of the biggest ISPs in the US) have already been caught throttling Netflix, YouTube, World of Warcraft, Bittorrent and more. Netflix had to pay up to get the video streaming service speed restored. They have all started to introduce tier pricing where you pay more to use more data (which with video on demand can add up real quick). Not because it costs more to deliver more data but simply because they can. Whether you use 1gb a month or 1000gb a month, the cost for them is identical...but with tiered pricing they can just make more money for doing nothing. Sadly the rules do nothing about tier pricing but my point is they already happily abuse the lack of rules to create a reason to make more money while providing no actual additional benefit to the customers. The question isn't if they would abuse the lack of Net Neutrality rules, just when and how much it would cost us when they did.

So what does this mean for the average American? Nothing. Net Neutrality has been in place since the beginning and all this does it make sure it remains in place. While Verizon, AT&T, etc are doing the woe is me game the reality is they should have already been following the rules of Net Neutrality and so nothing has changed for them too. The only reason to complain about rules that tell you "don't run with scissors" is if you planned on doing just that.

Ultimately though even if you don't understand what its all about just think of it this way. Do you trust AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, etc to treat their customers well and with fair pricing? If the answer is no, then you should be for Net Neutrality.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jon Stewart Leaving The Daily Show at End of Year

It is a true end of an era as Jon Stewart announced today that he is not renewing his contract with Comedy Central to remain the host of The Daily Show. No reasons have been given nor a final air date of his show provided. After nearly 17 years of shining a comedic light on the failures of the media to do their most basic job and our leadership often refusing to lead to the point where The Daily Show is not just a trusted source of information but often the only source you can go too despite the 24 hours news cycle it lampoons (that such a sentence exists and is true is why no one trusts the media anymore).

His first show aired on January 11, 1999 and I missed that. It was not until sometime in 2000 I started watching. I have not missed a new episode in the 15 years that followed. Knowing that someday soon he will not be there to watch and inform simply makes me sad. It is almost like a favorite celebrity has died.

His legacy will live on. Before him the effort to police the media was lackluster at best, now its a thriving industry. Before him it was a regular thing to make fun of our ineffective politicians but most of the time it was of the pop culture variety. He started the trend to also humorously question their decision making and the often questionable motivations. In effect he often questioned why the media didn't do their job and then turned around and did the job for them. It is too early to predict his replacement but he (or she) has some mighty shoulders to stand on and a true north example to follow. Television and the "news" is losing a great one this year, one that cannot really be replaced but its in everyone's best interest for as many of our best and brightest to try.

From Comedy Central:
For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart. His comedic brilliance is second to none. Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision,The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.
My most memorable Jon Stewart moment continues to stick with me after all these years when he opened his first post 9/11 show (I would embed it but it auto-starts) with a message of sadness but also of hope. Its worth watching even all these years later. Other top moments can be found here.

Here is the transcript of Stewart's announcement on 2/10/15's show.
“Dough Herzog and Michele Ganeless of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise,” Stewart said as his audience grew very quiet. “And 17 years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job, by 16 years and five months. The upshot there being I am a terrible employee.

“But in my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity. Not right away. We’re still working out the details. I’m up in September. It might be around then, it might be December, it might be July — we’re still working out the details. I don’t have specific plans — I’ve got a lot of ideas….I’m going to have a dinner, on a school night, with my family, who, I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people.

“I’m not going to be here and try and sum up what this place has meant to me over the years. I couldn’t do that and…I’m not going anywhere tomorrow. But this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you. I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They are the best, creative and collaborative and kind. I love them, and respect them so much.”

“It’s been an absolute privilege — the honor of my professional life,” Stewart continued. “I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it — whatever reason you were tuning in. You get in this business with the idea that maybe you have a point of view, and something to express, and maybe you receive feedback. That is the greatest feeling you can ask for, and I thank you.”
Here is to hoping he changes his mind.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Avengers, Minions and Terminator Superbowl TV Spots

This Sunday is Superbowl Sunday which means this is when all of advertising blows what limited creativity they have on possibly interesting commercials. On the movie front that means teases of summer movies. So far the Superbowl TV spots of most interest in the movie category are Avengers: Age of Ultron, Minions, and Terminator Genisys. Sadly not a whole lot new was shown as the 1st and third are from the teaser trailers while Minions is another cute one around watching football.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Terminator Genisys Trailer #1

Here is the new trailer for Terminator Genisys that will be out summer of 2015. The overall story takes a page from Star Trek and X-Men were the previous movies still are technically part of continuity but also reboots that continuity. In this case the idea is the movie takes place in the future we expect - John Connor leads the remains of humanity against Skynet. Only something changes. From Connor's perspective he needs to send his friend Kyle Reese back into the past to find and save his mother (aka the events of the first movie in 1984) only something has clearly changed as Kyle finds himself in a different timeline than one he (and the audience) expects.