Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Why I love All Kinds of Stuff:
Art that is this narrowly conceived, that does not look outside its closed doors to either the real world or a wide assortment of other artists has no humanity to it. There is no opinion, no comment on the world. it's just product. Product made under the guidance of pure fear and distrust of anything remotely creative.
When a whole era and society degrades to the point where everything is blind absorbtion or stealing, then the art and culture gets more and more primitive.
Eventually everything degrades to no style or substance at all.
Skill declines and is replaced by superficial imitation or sheer nondescript blandness, ideas disappear, humanity dissolves.
Stuff just happens arbitrarily, blandly at great expense so that corporations can feed the masses with ground faceless product until the executives eventually bankrupt their companies and retire with giant bonuses. [Link]
Monday, August 27, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Bankrate.com has a nice tool for estimating how far a car will go on a tank of gas. The visualization of the car's movement thus strays from the more-frequently emphasized metric of gas mileage but the charts do highlight the "cost per mile" using gas prices provided by the user. I'd like to be able to compare cars across classes rather than just within them, though.
Only bug is that the price per mile drops the tenths if cents are in 10's - $0.10 becomes $0.1, etc. Whoops! [Via|Link]
Monday, August 13, 2007
"We continue to be fascinated with showing viewers things that you cannot see - the line of scrimmage in football, the strike zone in baseball, and the airflow in motorsports ... known as drafting," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. "Draft Track brings to life for the viewer an element of NASCAR racing that has been a much-discussed but unseen part of the sport for decades."Video at the link. [Via]
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Crazy-good animator Paul Robertson has been trying to figure out whether to try to charge money for downloads of his soon-to-be-released short film. He has been getting a lot of advice, some good, mostly bad. Here's TiP's perspective: Selling digital content per se is a losing proposition. Bundle it, make it concrete, add more physical stuff, give it rarity, and you will give it pride of ownership and fan interest and thus monetary value. Here's how.
- Create a nicely-packaged DVD. Produce and include some random stuff for purchasers that can be spread around, shared on peer networks or emailed around. A bonus clip, higher-res film, application icons, avatar images, whatever. Include something that cannot be ripped off - an original poster, a T-shirt, really nice cover art, a sheet of stickers.
- Release in limited and open editions, with the limited edition being a real limited edition - not 10,000, not 2,000. One hundred, maybe two or three. This is not where you make your money, at least not most of it. Include something in the LE run that will become the stuff of legend, which relates well to the movie - a custom-run toy, a wall-sized wheatpaste, whatever. Spend and you will be rewarded. And this is important: The cost must be driven by high quality, not by editioning. There's a reason they give away boats on The Price is Right, because people have a hard time pricing boats, the price is incredibly variable, and the service provided by matching up buyer and seller is at a premium. This is your sweet spot. Even the people who buy and will never resell should feel like they "made money" when they watch the price rise on eBay as the package is parted out.
- Get input from fans if needed to help determine what your packages should contain, but not much. Be coy. Get them curious. Get a bit of feedback or solicit ideas, promising to reward someone with a pack of goodies if their idea gets used. Draw on your fans' creativity.
- Pricing is the tricky part, because the LE needs to disappear so that people know they are gone and start wondering if and when you'll do it with your next project. Don't think of this as a luxury item, because luxuries are measured in ability to pay, which is completely antithetical to the spirit of the medium in which you are working. It should cost more but not too much more, so that fandom is rewarded more than willingness to pay out. Cover your costs and get a bit out of it but don't overshoot. Better here to make a little than a lot, just make sure you are making the financial risk at least moderately worth your while. Reserve a few to give away on launch and a handful more to sell when you need the cash and they are worth more.
- Make the movie itself as widely and freely available as possible. Put it on every network. Track it. Respond to feedback and fandom. Charge nothing. Do not, under any conditions, release the film until you have any and all sale materials ready to ship.
- Advertise. Partner. Send high-res versions to mags and bloggers who will write about it, but don't give them any schwag, it makes them fat and lazy and they will brag about this and this will keep others from buying it legitimately.
- Get the goods out the door and paid for. Consider a paid fulfillment service which starts with warehousing and ends with shipping, even if you choose to process payment through an automated system you are in charge of. All of the people who didn't buy/win/steal the LE and who are even remotely candidates for buying anything from you ever will automatically buy the open edition at $10 or $15. Unless you want that to become your job for a while, consider what your time is worth and what scale of response you want to be ready for.
- Become rich and forget all about me.
Friday, August 03, 2007
From the creators' website:
In this demo, the text background of Wikipedia articles is colored according to a value of trust, computed from the reputation of the authors who contributed the text, as well as those who edited the text. ... Text on white background is trusted text; text on orange background is untrusted text. Intermediate gradations of orange indicate intermediate trust values. ...
We compute the reputation of Wikipedia authors according to how long their contributions last in the Wikipedia. Specifically, authors whose contributions are preserved, or built-upon, gain reputation; authors whose contributions are undone lose reputation.
We call this a content-driven reputation, since the reputation is computed automatically via text analysis. This contrasts with other reputation systems, such as those in use at Ebay, where buyer and seller reputations are computed on the basis of user-provided ratings. [Via|Link]
Thursday, August 02, 2007
What if, instead of trying to reconcile all video games with one monolithic set of laws for design and reception, we admitted that video games have many possible goals and purposes, which couple with many possible aesthetics and designs to create many possible player experiences, none of which bears any necessary relationship to the commercial video game industry as we currently know it. ...
I’ve started focusing more on the people who might be interested in different kinds of game experiences. People who fly for business more than three times a month, or people who read all of the Sunday newspaper, or people who have kids with food allergies, for example. I am sure these people read magazines and watch television and listen to the radio. But it would be short-sighted to label them ziners or tubers or airwavers. They are just people, with interests, who sometimes consume different kinds of media. - Ian Bogost, "How I Stopped Worrying About Gamers and Started Loving People Who Play Games" [Gamasutra]
The only way to support the view that Exile [on Main Street] is best listened to as an album, in other words, is to dismiss the actual preferences of most of the people who like the Rolling Stones. Carr sets about this task with gusto:Who would unbundle Exile on Main Street or Blonde on Blonde or Tonight’s the Night - or, for that matter, Dirty Mind or Youth and Young Manhood or (Come On Feel the) Illinoise? Only a fool would.Only a fool. If you are one of those people who has, say, "Happy" on your iPod (as I do), then you are a fool (though you have lots of company). And of course this foolishness extends to the recording industry, and to the Stones themselves, who went and put "Tumbling Dice" on a Greatest Hits collection. (One can only imagine how Carr feels about Greatest Hits collections.) - Clay Shirky, "New Freedom Destroys Old Culture" [Many 2 Many]
The onslaught of recalled toys and food originating from China continues with yesterday's recall of nearly one million Fisher-Price Toys sold between April and July 2007, due to lead paint. ... When looking at the sea of toys, one thought pounded in my head: I would never have bought any of these products for my daughter.
- Elmo's head on a toy power drill
- Elmo and Cookie Monster on a shape sorter
- Elmo's face on a 6-key musical keyboard
- Cookie Monster on a toy saxophone
What does Cookie Monster have to do with sax music? When we buy out-of-context licensed characters we are following a marketer's agenda for our children. - AJ, "Elmo's Head: An Analysis of Recalled Fisher-Price Toys" [Thingamababy]