Archive for the 'Internet' Category

How Streaming Video and Traditional Movies Can Lead to New Art Forms

I came across this Atlantic piece about Christopher Nolan’s recent criticisms of Netflix. Nolan believe that the Netflix’s policies are hurting, even killing, the movie theater business. Specifically, he mentions the policy of allowing internet access to films on the same day Netflix releases those films in the theater. Why not release the films in the theaters for a short period of time, and then stream them online? he asks. After all, Amazon does this, and they have had success. This seems like a reasonable point, and it got me to think, not only about ways online streaming services can actually boost the viability of movie theaters, but also of the new cinematic forms that could result if these two media formed the right, symbiotic relationship. Here are some ideas off the top of my head: Continue reading ‘How Streaming Video and Traditional Movies Can Lead to New Art Forms’

When There Are No Credible Gatekeepers

In The Social Needs of Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump, I discussed the way the lack of social constraints that exist in offline interactions has lead to an erosion of behavioral norms and the notion of mainstream ideas. In this thread, I want to discuss the way the press can help improve the situation. To start off, I wanted to post an excerpt from a interview with a Conservative talk show host:

tweet from Oliver Darcy, a political writer for Business Insider

The quote comes from an interview between Darcy and Charlie Sykes, a Conservative talk show host. Sykes speaks about excoriating the mainstream press, with charges of liberal bias, and how this has basically destroyed or severely damaged the ability of the press to serve as sources of facts and truth. I do think Conservative attacks have contributed to this, but I also think the democratizing effect of the internet created the conditions where this could really occur. In the internet age, the elite, which the press is a part of, have less and less authority as filters and arbitrators of what is important, meaningful and true–creating a situation where the individual, and algorithms, more and more, have supplanted them.

This is something I’ve been worrying about. In this thread, I’m going to offer some quick ideas to address this problem. way to address the problem. Continue reading ‘When There Are No Credible Gatekeepers’

The Social Needs of the Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump

I’ve been spending more time on the Atlantic website, including participating in the comments section. There are some ideas I wanted to get off my chest based on this experience (and, really, I may have had these ideas before, but my recent experience has just underscored them.).To start off, I want to list some of the differences between online and offline communication and social interactions, including some observations about both: Continue reading ‘The Social Needs of the Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump’

A News Super Team and a Lesser Version

Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose you were the richest person in the world, and one of your goals was to become well-informed, which would entail managing the flow of information you received, getting the most vital information and understanding at the appropriate time. How would you go about doing that? The first thing that came to mind would be to create and hire a super team of journalists, academics, former business people and former government workers–e.g., former editor of the New York Times, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, etc. Their job would be to pick out what they thought was the most important bits of news that occurred daily; they would identify the most important issues and would write articles, video discussions and interviews to help explain these issues, including offering solutions, etc. In some cases, they may actually go out and do research and reporting.

Obviously, I’m not going to be able to do this, but it would be cool if I could; and it would be cool if such a super team had their own website or show. (Since more prominent people like Bill Gates and Bill Clinton probably wouldn’t do this, I might concentrate on long time journalists who are out of work; long time Congressional aides, legal secretaries, as well as academics.)

But here’s another idea that is similar, but on a smaller scale. Continue reading ‘A News Super Team and a Lesser Version’

Adventures in Prime

Amazon’s Prime membership was never really very tempting for me, because although I spend a lot of money on the website (like, more than anywhere else that doesn’t involve groceries), the free two-day shipping part of the package is not included for Hawaii residents. You get free standard shipping, but since most of my purchases are for e-books, I was pretty sure a hundred bucks a year was more than I was paying for standard shipping.

But then, in celebration of the Amazon original series Transparent winning some Emmys, Amazon had a one-day sale on Prime: $67 for new members. That was too good to pass up.

I’m going to use this space to chronicle my first year in prime, kind of as a way to evaluate, in one year’s time, whether or not I’ll want to renew membershp at regular price.

Digital Natives’ Ignorance of the Internet

I recently read an Atlantic article, Digital Natives, Yet Strangers to the Web, which raises the point that students need guidance and a richer understanding of the internet, despite growing up with it. Reuben Lowey, one of the educators featured in the article, has been developing a high school curriculum to address this issue. I liked the topics in his curriculum–topics relating to the notion of identity, privacy, algorithms, differences between virtual and actual reality. These topics are more philosophical rather than practical, and I don’t think this type of understanding occurs just because someone grows up on the internet. Whether Loewy is aware of this or not, his curriculum suggests that a person’s way of knowing, socializing and even being differ dramatically on the internet versus the real world. I think this kind of distinction and awareness is really important, not just for students, but for anyone who uses technology.

Having said that, the idea of a curriculum to teach these topics gives me pause. Actually, if I were an educator, I’d probably groan and roll my eyes. As the article mentions, teachers already have a lot on their plate. Some have to fight to teach subjects like social studies and the arts.

How do you you get around this problem? Here are some thoughts: Continue reading ‘Digital Natives’ Ignorance of the Internet’

Why Blog When You Can Write in a Journal?

This question came up the other day while making a mental note of something I should write about in my journal. Why write on the internet, while I could do the same thing in my personal notebook? I thought I’d explore that question in this thread. Continue reading ‘Why Blog When You Can Write in a Journal?’

Net Neutrality–Why This Issue Matters

A saw a video of John Oliver talking about net neutrality. Oliver mentions how boring the topic is to many, and I have to admit I’m included in that group. But he briefly what net neutrality is and why it’s important. Here’s the gist:

Cable companies want two-tiered system in the internet–one tier being able to operate faster than the other–with the faster tier being more expensive. In other words, some services and activities will be available at faster speeds–but at a cost.

This is not how things operate on the internet now. All services and activities are basically seen in the same way. This is net neutrality.

Big cable companies are trying to change this–and the most likely reason is so that they can charge more for certain activities. The problem for internet users intensifies, if the cable companies have monopolistic power. Additionally, smaller start-ups, who don’t have the capital for the higher tier, would have a big disadvantage.

I’d be interested in hearing any cons against net neutrality. Right now, it seems like it should be preserved.

Here’s the video: Continue reading ‘Net Neutrality–Why This Issue Matters’

MOOCs as a Model for the Future of News Media

I’ve been taking part in an a Massively Open Online Class, or MOOC for short. For those of you who don’t know, these are university classes, taught by faculty, that are free and open to anyone–you don’t have to be enrolled in the university. The class I’m taking features video lectures, a discussion forum and assignments (mostly written essays). You have to register, but, again, there isn’t a fee.

Some see this as a promising model for higher education, including a potential way of generating revenue for universities. But I had a different line of thinking, namely, the impact the format could have on news agencies. To whit, this might be a new way for news agencies to inform the general population while possibly creating a sustainable source of revenue. (I intentionally used the phrase “inform the general population” versus providing news because I think the latter is too narrow. Hopefully, I will say more on this later.) The idea is new to me, and I haven’t had time to reflect, examine and refine these ideas. I want to do these things in this thread. Continue reading ‘MOOCs as a Model for the Future of News Media’

Re-Envisioning the Fourth Estate–New Media and a Radical Shift in the Role of the Press

The other day I posed a thought experiment to a friend: Let’s suppose we had the resources to change the way we get news and important information in any way possible. And let’s also suppose the primary goal was to create as many informed individuals as possible.* The first thing that came to mind was something like this: Continue reading ‘Re-Envisioning the Fourth Estate–New Media and a Radical Shift in the Role of the Press’

The Ultimate Goal for Information Technology: Getting Exactly What One Wants Instantly and the Drawbacks to This Goal

In this thread, we discussed the way businesses may moving to more shared platform and information-based approach. In this thread, I wanted to explore the premise behind these changes–namely, the desire to give people what they want as soon as they want it. I believe this is one of the main drivers of the new technologies we see today (Or do people disagree with this? I’m not implying that this is the only driver, btw.)

Now, if this is true, I want to explore this. Is this a good goal to have–or does that seem like a ridiculous question? What are some of the benefits and drawbacks to reaching this goal or getting closer to it? I want to explore these questions in this thread.

Let me start with this. Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Goal for Information Technology: Getting Exactly What One Wants Instantly and the Drawbacks to This Goal’

Shared Platform + Information Technology= New Business Model

“Do More, Own Less–A Grand Theory of the Sharing Economy” is an excerpt from Lisa Gansky’s new book, Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. Gansky believes that information revolution will start disrupting physical goods:

That’s possible because of our GPS-enabled mobile devices move in real space and time with us. The network can connect us to the things we want exactly when we want them. We can increasingly gain convenient access to these goods, greatly reducing the need to own them. Why buy, maintain, and store a table saw or a lawn mower or a car when they are easily and less expensively available to use when we want them?…We need a way to get the goods and services we actually want and need, but at less cost, both personal and environmental.

Seems to make sense. Gansky believes that companies can do this in two ways: 1)moving to a share platform; 2) integrating information technology and processes into their operations. She uses netflix as an example–a share platform that also utilized customers preferences to better serve them and recommends that big-box retailers use the same model:

Most of Walmart’s business, of course, is selling stuff. It sells a customer the cheapest TV or toaster today, expecting her to come back in a few years to again buy the new model of cheap TV or toaster….What if, instead, Walmart guaranteed a customer the best-priced TV and toaster way into the future? If the TV breaks in three years or five years, Walmart repairs it, or offers upgrades that are less expensive than buying a new one. At the end of its life, the company reclaims the old TV, upcycles the parts and materials, and offers the customer a discount on a new one.

Members of a “Walmart Share Club” could be given a special password to a daily online auction on used equipment certified to be in good working condition. The auction would include many items that other customers traded up–customers grateful for a way to deal with unused consumer electronic devices that they don’t know what the hell to do with. REI, for example, has had success with offering a discount on new skis when people return their older ones. REI then refurbishes the old skis and offers them as rentals.

Her ideas about Wal-Mart selling TVs reminds me of William McDonough’s ideas from his book, Cradle-to-Cradle. I believe he recommends a subscription fee for electronic equipment, where customers could trade in their equipment everytime upgrades occurred. This idea definitely appeals to me (especially with computers and other electronic devices). But can Wal-Mart do this at a reasonable price and still make a profit? That’s the question for me.

More Thoughts on Internet Relationships

In “The Social Network (2010) and a Discussion of Facebook” and “Thy Truest Self: Offline or Online”, we touched upon the nature of online identity and relationships.

I wanted to continue with some other obvservations I’ve recently had on the subject. Specifically, I want to touch on the nature of online relationships I have and the reason they’re not sufficient or “real” enough for me. Here are some thoughts. Continue reading ‘More Thoughts on Internet Relationships’

Thy Truest Self: Online or Offline?

Mitchell said something on the thread, “The Social Network (2010) and a Discussion About Facebook” that I wanted to comment on here. (My response to his post was already too long, and I thought his comment might warrant a separate thread.) Here’s what Mitchell said,

Your last question* is an interesting one, because while I seem to be making the case that online-only friendships seem to beg to be consummated by real-life socializing, I still think that many online-only relationships can be more real than real-life relationships. While it’s true that many people hide behind online handles and assumed personae, many of us find instead that it’s easier to be our real selves when we’re online. Without the burden of certain social stress I feel when I’m in the physical company of others, I find myself much better able to interact with others. You might laugh because you know me as someone who shoots his mouth off far too often, but in many of my online communities, I’m known as someone who thinks before he types, someone slow to judge and quick with the benefit of the doubt.

(*Here was my last question: “Are we geting to the point where the internet relationships are more “real” than face-to-face interactions in real time and space?”)

(I’m going to address this to Mitchell, but I hope others feel free to join in the conversation.) Continue reading ‘Thy Truest Self: Online or Offline?’

Improving Internet Discussion Boards

A thread to discuss some of the problems with internet discussion boards and ways to improve them. Continue reading ‘Improving Internet Discussion Boards’

The Social Network (2010) and a Discussion About Facebook

In addition to a review and discussion of the film, The Social Network, I thought a broader discussion on Facebook and its effects would be interesting. The idea occurred to me after I read a Sadie Smith review of the film, “Generation Why?” from the New York Review of Books. (See also Alex Madrigal’s response: “Literary Writers and Social Media: a Response to Zadie Smith”. Here are some of the more interesting parts of the article regarding Facebook: Continue reading ‘The Social Network (2010) and a Discussion About Facebook’

Film Director’s Cup Challenge

The discussion boards on currently has a film director’s cup challenge that some of you would be interested in. Basically, this a tournament style competition between the film directors. Here’s how it works. Individual users select specific directors to “manage.” The users will then select a film from their director in the first round. These films are then paired up in a “competition.” For example, in the first round, Alfred Hitchcock might go against Steven Spielberg. The users managing the directors might choose Psycho and Jaws as the films to “compete.” The general user group at the site then votes on which film wins. The winning director advances to the next round, until only one director remains. The tricky part is that only films can only be used once, so the managers have to be strategic in their selection. Think of this as a sort of “fantasy football of films.”

What makes this cool is that you can see a lot of good films, films you may not have heard of, and you get to discuss them with other people. Some of the films are hard to get a hold of, but many of the films can be seen on youtube.

The Value of Twitter

I saw a Time magazine article, “How Twitter Will Change the Wolrd”. I haven’t read it yet, but I know that Mitchell (and maybe others) use twitter. I wanted to hear the value they see in using the medium and possible pitfalls.

The Internet and the Deep Relationships

Lane Wallace of Atlantic Monthly discusses a possible downside of the internet and other technology that allow for electronic connectivity in an article titled, Loneliness in Numbers. Do you think her points are valid?

Is the Internet Killing Storytelling?

That’s what this Times of London article claims.