Thursday, August 01, 2002

Yesterday’s News - for a price - Major Business News: ABC Starts Charging Viewers For Video Clips on the Internet

"In a sign of the growing pressure on media companies to make money from their online efforts, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News will no longer allow users free access to video clips on its Web site.

"Instead, ABC News Wednesday will begin charging visitors a $4.95 monthly fee to view news programming on its Web site, ABC News will also greatly expand the range of news programming to include full broadcasts of "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" and "Nightline," as well as a 30-day archive of those shows and other material, rather than the more limited selection of short clips that was previously available on the site. The expanded programming also will be available through RealOne, a package of news and entertainment offered by RealNetworks Inc. for $9.95 a month."

But, so as not to alienate its TV affiliates, you can only view today's news tomorrow.

Why would I want to pay for stuff I can watch for nothing on TV? Or view the same story ad infinitum -- there are very few exclusives these days. I have a hunch isn't going to make enough on this to justify the expense of redesigning the website and programming (or contracting) transactions capabilities to accomodate this change.

ABC also said they quality of the video would be better. Maybe -- but it'll probably take so long to download you'll forget what it is you were going to watch.
posted by lee on 08/01/02 at 10:27 PM
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oh, well, another place to burn those minutes that will never exist again

The Useless Pages. Oh what a wealth of mindbending links to absolutely nothing worth reading.
posted by lee on 08/01/02 at 10:45 PM
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Sunday, August 04, 2002


02sign.jpg We went to see Signs last Friday afternoon. It's an excellent movie, though not worth the four stars Ebert gave it. M. Night Shyamalan is a remarkable director (he plays a key role in this movie), but it's getting to the point of once you've seen Sixth Sense or Unbreakable, you kinda know what to look for and it cuts way down on suspense and there's really not much of a surprise. If you've NEVER seen Sixth Sense or Unbreakable, this movie would be superb for you (as a viewer). I was a little disappointed because it didn't surprise me as much as the hype promised it would. Maybe Shyamalan needs to think about making a movie that isn't so much of a Shyamalan cliche. That's not to say it's a bad movie - it's a very good movie. Just not Oscar material. Or even Top-Ten material.
posted by lee on 08/04/02 at 07:37 AM
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Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Finding Bouvet Island

Web Forms and ISO 3166 country codes: when standards are so over-developed that bureaucracy dictates bad design.

On another bad design front: MS PowerPoint 2000, I discovered, has ruined its web slides wizard tool. PP98 had a decent automatic slide show tool. This new wizard makes code-bloated crap that users have little control over. Why would they turn something that works into something useless? Silly me, it's Microsoft.
posted by lee on 08/07/02 at 04:42 AM
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anti-telemarketing tactic

Junkbusters Anti-Telemarketing Script: What to say when they call if you don't want junk calls
Every time you get a call you consider junk, just ask the questions in this script. If they answer no, you may be able to sue them. You can print copies of it to keep by every phone at home. If everyone follows it, the junk calls will slowly but surely drop off. "Are you calling to sell something?" (or "is this a telemarketing call?'')
"Could you tell me your full name please?'' ... and so on. If you can't avoid them, at least make life miserable for the companies that pay for the peons to make these calls.

from John Rhodes at WebWord Addiction.
posted by lee on 08/07/02 at 06:39 AM
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Thursday, August 08, 2002

i love maps

And this one is really cool: Current US Air Traffic
posted by lee on 08/08/02 at 01:31 PM
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Friday, August 09, 2002

Stress Test, well, kind of

hellokitty pscyological test. I can't stand Hello Kitty, but I went through this test to watch the well-done Flash. The translations are strange (making it at least funny.) View it for the Flash. (I'm not stressed, according to the test. Maybe because I didn't see the volcano as "about to expose.")
posted by lee on 08/09/02 at 10:26 AM
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Beating the heat - Weegee’s world

Arthur (Usher) Fellig, better known as Weegee, was a remarkable photographer who began his career as a tintype photographer in 1913. He later became a police photographer in New York City, and spent some time in Los Angeles shooting celebrities. The International Center of Photography now has an online exhibit of some of his work, which includes a good chronology of his life.

Coney Island at noon Saturday, July 5th, 1940(?), by Weegee
posted by lee on 08/09/02 at 10:56 AM
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Saturday, August 10, 2002

blood work

A serial killer movie. Yeah! And Ebert liked Blood Work. So of course we went to see it yesterday.


And, actually, we liked it. A lot. Despite some flaws. Blood Work is essentially about an FBI agent who, sort of, comes out of retirement after he received a heart transplant in order to find the murderer of the woman who supplied his new ticker. We did figure it out long before Terry (Clint Eastwood) did -- the whodunit part anyway. The whydunit we figured out a little earlier than Our Hero did. But it was still a satisfying movie, nonetheless.

Wanda de Jesus is absolutely stunning -- she played her role superbly, hit all the right notes, and I hope she's in a lot more movies. Angelica Huston hammed it up as usual. As Stanley says, "It's in her genetic make up." I usually like Paul Rodriguez, and would love to see him in a role that doesn't cast him as a Mexican buffoon, but this wasn't it. He was way, way over the top in this movie and struck a very irritating false note. It wasn't that the character couldn't have worked -- it just didn't work the way Rodriguez played him. And Clint was Clint -- he did a great job, I thought, not trying to be a superman, playing it like his transplant HURT, pushing it only as far as someone in his post-transplant condition could. Still picking up the minute details that make some detectives successful where other detectives just go throught the motions. Jeff Daniels, one of my all-time favorites, was damned good, too, as the ne'er-do-well neighbor.

It's funny, but despite the cinematography, which was sun-drenched and looking like those slightly over-saturated snapshots of the sixties, it still left me feeling slightly depressed, a film noir kinda feel. Which was okay. I ignored the very ending, the wrap-up stuff, because that wasn't quite right, either. I'd rate this, hmm, three stars out of five. Might've rated higher without Rodriguez and Huston.
posted by lee on 08/10/02 at 08:37 AM
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Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Blatant Theft

James Ziegler's ripoff vs. the real Lockergnome is one of the more blatant examples of design theft I've seen in a while. This Ziegler person must be a total maroon. This example of design ripoff comes via Pointing and Laughing (Pirated Sites), which was linked to in Design Theft - The Webmaster's Recourse by Oleg Krogius in SitePoint. Go to Ziegler's site and let him know what you think. Imitation is one thing, but this goes way beyond imitation.
posted by lee on 08/14/02 at 04:49 AM
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