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Posts tagged television

Don’t be ‘That Guy’
June 2, 2014 | 6:06 pm

yell-monitor-l1Over the last few days, someone on one of the forums I frequent has started screaming bloody murder about a Kindle technical problem. I’m not going to say who or where (and I’d ask that any commenters who know who I’m talking about please do the same), because it’s not my intention to “name and shame.” I’ll just call him That Guy. Anyway, That Guy has posted his rant across three different forum boards, accusing Amazon of “fraud” because he can’t get his e-books to sync to the second Kindle on his account from the “Manage Your Content &...

How TV is Looking to Novelists for Inspiration
March 27, 2014 | 10:25 am

novelistsBy Miles Young Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead; if you've ever had trouble tearing yourself away from one of these hot TV programs, you understand why critics call today's menu of tantalizing cable offerings the “New Golden Age of Television.” The shows keep you up past your bedtime. They account for a significant amount of bleary-eyed commuters each morning.  Staying up late to find out what happens next in a soul-gripping TV melodrama isn't a new phenomenon. Before the serial soaps of today, there were the thrilling page-turner novels of yesterday. Some people say that today's must-see cable shows rival the...

Thirty years of time shifting: The Supreme Court decision legalizing the VCR
January 18, 2014 | 2:14 am

Today marks an important anniversary for our digital media era—an era that couldn’t have been foreseen thirty years ago, but nonetheless relies to a very great extent on a legal decision exactly thirty years old. Today is the 30th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared the Sony Betamax VCR was legal because “time shifting,” recording a program off the air to watch it later, was fair use, and thus the VCR had substantial non-infringing purposes. Ars Technica has a feature article looking at the context of the decision in greater detail. This decision is crucial to...

Weaponized libraries and the delights of 50 years of Doctor Who
November 26, 2013 | 12:15 pm

You would have to have had your awareness sucked dry by memory-devouring aliens The Silence not to realize that this weekend marked the fifthieth anniversary of classic British science fiction TV series Doctor Who, still unbelievably better than ever after all those decades. And if you want to learn what gives a story arc eternal life, now read on... For one thing, it really helps to make the fundamental mechanism of your narrative's renewal a crux of the plot itself, so that regeneration and refreshment of the story comes as an inevitable outcome. And the just-aired fiftieth anniversary special, "The Day...

Amazon data mining to find customer tastes
November 3, 2013 | 10:54 pm

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on Amazon’s original television programming pilot selection process, in which it winnowed down a long list of pilots using user ratings and feedback to pick the ones that were most likely to succeed to base series on. The WSJ compares this approach to that taken by Netflix, who didn’t even require a pilot for shows like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. While this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with books, it does bring up one of the most crucial aspects of Amazon as a process. I found...

Morning Roundup: Spain’s anti-piracy laws, religion publishing; more
September 24, 2013 | 9:52 am

Don't Price Your eBook at $1.99 (GigaOM) Evidence from Kobo’s self-publishing platform, Writing Life, suggests that $1.99 is a bad price for ebooks. That’s corroborated by recent data from self-publishing site Smashwords. *** Spain Ratchets Up Anti-Piracy Laws to Even More Ridiculous Levels (Techdirt) If you may recall, for a while, Spain had some of the most reasonable copyright laws around. The country properly recognized that it didn't make sense to blame service providers for the actions of their users, rejecting lawsuits against a number of online services. *** Are We Living in a Golden Age of Television Writing? (Galleycat) A team of journalists talked about the...

Cord cutting snips the reality-TV noose
August 10, 2013 | 9:00 am

reality-tvFrom Techdirt comes yet another bulletin about the phenomenon of cord cutters—this rising demographic is, well, continuing to rise. From the article: The pool of potential customers has risen with no correlative rise in subscribers. That's an indication that more households are foregoing cable television entirely...that had better represent a huge concern for the industry. Television providers have done a horrible job of making their content available in the way customers want it, when the customers want it, and they result has been a declining subscriber base. Personally, I humbly submit that the availability...

Morning Roundup: A game of piracy under the dome
August 9, 2013 | 10:00 am

pirate-keyboardGoogle Now Selling & Renting Textbooks in Google Play Books (The Digital Reader) Many colleges are going to start in the next few weeks, and Google is ready for them. I’ve just learned that the new textbook section of Google Play Books now has the textbooks that Google promised some weeks ago. -- Yes, Jeff Bezos Should Shut Down the Washington Post Printing Presses and Here is Why (GigaOM) Shutting down the printing presses at the Washington Post would impose a financial cost on the newspaper, but the benefits of such a move — both psychological...

The ‘Future’ of Entertainment Looks a Lot Like 1995
July 21, 2013 | 8:44 pm

iTunesThis weekend, we hit a milestone in my household: the Beloved finally got sick enough of the limited selection on flat-rate Netflix to venture into the pay-per-movie world of the iTunes Store, which we can access on the bedroom television via the spiffy little Apple TV box. And ... color us disappointed. We made our selection, pressed the play button and got the following screen: 'Ready to Play in 2 hours, 7 minutes.' Um ... really? What followed was almost more entertaining than the movie turned out to be: As the Beloved kept trying to reload the screen to increasingly random predictions (ready to...

Veronica Mars Novels to Follow Kickstarted Movie
July 16, 2013 | 9:02 am

Veronica MarsThis is the kind of media circle of life I like to see: GalleyCat is reporting that Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas plans to release some Veronica Mars novels as a follow-up to the upcoming Kickstarter-funded movie. From the article: "The books will contain completely new stories, and will be stand-alone novels that will appeal to fans of the show, as well as general mystery readers. The plot of the first book in the series will begin where events of the upcoming “Veronica Mars” film end, and will feature an adult Veronica Mars." I remember reading interviews with Rob Thomas during the run...

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: ‘Cord Cutters’ Survey Makes Wrong Point
July 12, 2013 | 9:38 am

surveyGigaOM has a report about a comScore survey showing that 16 percent of Canadians "stream all of their TV from on-line sources." The survey also has an additional 35 percent of Canadians watching both traditional television and a further 35 percent only watching traditional television. Janko Roetggers correctly points out some food-for-thought in the results here: that Google, owner of YouTube, commissioned the survey, and that bandwith caps, which are prevalent in Canada, might be playing a factor in what Canadians watch on-line. But it also misses the point that if you don't ask the right questions, you won't get a full picture...

Netflix and e-books: E-media symmetries
July 9, 2013 | 9:30 pm

At first glance, this story about how Netflix is changing the nature of how Hollywood thinks about TV doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with e-books. But if you take a second look, you might notice how the service’s “celestial jukebox” nature lines up with the instant gratification and format freedom of e-books. There’s some interesting symmetry there. E-books made it possible to sell shorter-form works like novellas, short stories, or feature-length articles on their own as “Kindle Singles” or equivalent formats. They also allow consumers to “binge” on series if they’re all available, getting around the...