andygates: (Default)
The Israeli operation in Gaza has kept journalists out, resulting in the world mostly getting a picture of a skyline and some kabooms but not much on-the-ground footage.  Al Jazeera (who are shaping as a really serious arabic news agency) already have reporters on the ground, so they have material.  To get that material out, they're sharing the hi-def stuff out under the Creative Commons "attribution" licence (in summary: use this how you like, just give us the byline).  That's a really neat way to get around all that contractual negotiating nonsense and get the massive collateral damage onscreen where it belongs.
andygates: (hellboy)
Nickelback: Rockstar.  A dumb singalong "list song" that's topping the charts now: the list is all of the cool aspirational idiot stuff that rockstars are suppose to do.  What does the radio edit do?  Bleep "drugs".  So, according to them, it's okay to be a fake, a sex maniac, a thug, a barfly, anorexic, scrounging, hyperconsuming, sex-mad, shallower than a monolayer at low vapour pressure and to pop your pills from a Pez dispenser (best line in the song) ... but even though everybody's got a drug-dealer on speed-dial, the [BLEEP]s are cheap.

Radio edits: Proving how dumb the moral majority are ever since the '80s.

(Now where did I put that Hulk Pez?)
andygates: (santa)
That's more like it.

Don't mess with our memes, broadcasters.

300

Apr. 2nd, 2007 07:45 pm
andygates: (Default)
Well, I've finally seen 300 and I think I agree with the detractors.  The "you can't trust appeasers / support the troops" subplot was entirely added and even used lines the American political right have used, verbatim; the "Hooah!" Spartans were really silly; the clean-cut = good, simpering dark pierced weirdo = bad schtick was way overplayed; and I hated hated hated what they did to Xerxes, who's just your overweening god-king in the original but turned into some sort of pervy Stargate mutant freakoid.  Oh, and they got rid of the whole Stelios/Stumblios thread and humoured-up the Spartans so they weren't such hard icy bastards, just to be sure we emoted.  And they conveniently underplayed the baby-killing psycho part of the Spartans to overplay the "flower of democracy" - even while saying "we do what we were bred to do" with no irony.

The war rhino was crap too.

In good: The shield clash was perfect, some of the fights were a delight, the Spartans' magic leather pants of invulnerability were nice eye candy. 

But mostly, the eye-candy left me cold.  I like silly war porn, I like comic-book cheese, but this did leave me with that dirty, you've-had-your-strings-pulled-by-Leni-Reifenstahl feeling.  I wanted to rave about it; I came out ranting instead.  Sad

Now Wash Your Eyes.
andygates: (Default)
I'm getting mixed messages from the Super Columbine Massacre RPG.  You've got standard video-game slaughter which just happens to be based on real events; cute eight-bit 2D sprite schoolkids getting shot, bombed and burned by cute eight-bit 2D Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (with hit points and ammo counters, of course).  Cut scenes range from the ridiculous ("You found a Marilyn Manson CD! The lyrics are sure to inspire impulsive aggression and rage!") to the tragic - CCTV stills of the real victims.  Real humans, after all, don't blink twice and disappear when you kill 'em.  Take the dialogue out of its real-world context and it reads like a manga, so overblown and melodramatic you'd giggle.  The visuals look like South Park.

So is this just plain bad taste?  Gratuitious nastiness?  Inspired shock-jockery to go alongside Brass Eye's Paedogeddon skit?  Does it show that the developers are sick, cynical disconnected bastards, or that the general public is irrationally squeamish?   Is this the first real game documentary?  Why do I feel less disturbed by it than I do by the Call of Duty series' exploitation of real events?

 
andygates: (hellboy)
Yup, it's Steampunk Starwars.  Does it work?  I'm not so sure, but a clockwork Vader makes me smile.
andygates: (Default)
Here's my prediction for the day.  The US military have classified a cockpit video which allegedly shows an A-10 crew killing a British tank and, inside it, a chap called Matty Hull.  The coroner at Matty's inquest has seen the video and is furious, demanding that it be declassified.  So far, the Powers that Be have failed to do this.  Everything points to the video showing trigger-happy tank killers killing the wrong tanks, and the "secret" classification being purely to save face.

A blag of that tape is going to get on YouTube.  I don't know how but I'd say within the week.  Because this sort of dumb cover-up stinks, and because it'll get the uploader their fifteen minutes.  You heard it here first
andygates: (Default)
Not a bombAnyone who can shut down the centre of Boston with a few dumb illuminated signs wins my respect.  It seems that Bostonians come pre-terrorised these days. 

Look out!  It's a... little cube thing flipping the bird!  Better panic!

More fun reportage (and great not-a-bomb) photos here, here, here and gloriously (with big suits taking it All Very Seriously) here.  I can't find a shot of the top cop with latex gloves showing a press conference the Evil Terrorist Sign Thingy, but you'll have to take my word for it, it was a moment of pure broadcast surrealist delight.

And hey, newswires, stop calling it a hoax, cretins.

I want this little bastard on a T-shirt, right now.
andygates: (15t cog)
I can't keep the grin in any longer.  Vista's extremely silly Protected Media Path (PMP) has been hacked.  That didn't take long, did it?  Alex Ionescu describes how he did what he did in his blog, but daren't release actual code for fear of a black helicopter visit by DMCA attack lawyers.

The weird thing is that the commercial success of the entire IT sector relies on many perfect copies being made form everything.  That's the whole point: it's why cassettes were good too.  We get involved, we dick around, we don't just passively consume.  Mixtapes are cool to share.  The business model that was appropriate for manufactured pressings of vinyl - few high-quality originals dispensed from the central vendor - is totally and catastrophically broken by fast easy digital copying.  That model assumes a need for relatively low losses as the product is relatively expensive to produce; with digital media the cost of reproduction is trivial but the bean-counters haven't yet worked out that this means that massive unit losses are financially acceptable. 

The example of the MP3 player - mine is full of personal rips and allofmp3.com downloads - is canonical: because I can get lots of cheap easy music, I do.  Some I pay top whack for, and that's the profit.  But I wouldn't have bought the half-dozen CDs I have recently unless I had been energised and enthused - and engaged - by the dozen downloads.  And (listen up, suits) I would not have bought all eighteen; or all six, more likely one or two.  I would have passively flicked over MTV and Scuzz and shrugged and done something else.  Rob Zombie has a dollar to spend on shampoo and carny chicks because of piracy.

Anyway, there's the memetic imperative.  Information wants to get copied.  We, as memetic entities, like copying information.  "Hey, have you heard this?" is a memegasm.  And to play something, you have to decrypt it somewhere along the line.  So even without black-hat snarkiness at the corporate bishops, DRM will fail every time.  And it deserves to fail, and it will not be mourned. 

A wise geek observed that the internet routes itself around damage.  DRM is getting the same treatment, and with good reason: encrypted, unplayable data is damaged data.  The internet will route around it.  All things being equal, if you insert broken and healthy data into the memestream, the broken data will be copied less and will eventually die (a phenomenon which also explains the self-healing of Wikipedia and survival of healthy bittorrents).  DRM data is broken as designed.
andygates: (Default)
It was a close-run thing, though.  Went to see Rocky Balboa.  If you didn't 'get' Rocky, you won't get this - it's the same downbeat, understated, very human and surprisingly warm stuff.  If you just thought he was a dumb slurring lump, steer clear.  Of course, if you did get it, this is grand stuff.  There's lovely rich continuity and it's nicely shot, making economic use of the changing cityscape to tell the times-they-are-a-changin' motif.  The training montage made me grin a face-cracker of a grin ([personal profile] thudthwacker, note the lateral raises with chains - Westside brutality at its lowbrow best); and the fight was a delight.  Having Mike Tyson do a five-second cameo, like the end-credits scenes of the general public running up those steps, really blurred the line between fact and fiction, deliberately laid on with a trowel - HBO PPV logos everywhere, Bruce Buffer saying "Rockyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Balboaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" (something I bet he used to do while warming up the mic) - it didn't put a foot wrong.

It's not a perfect film, but it's a damn fine final round to Rocky's career and better than all of the other sequels (yes, even the one with Dolph).  "A cute kinda ugly, y'know?" 
andygates: (Default)
The series has been going since 1999, but it's not been until now that it's raised anything more interesting than gossip and prurient titillation.  Now, we've got housemates doing stuff that is socially unacceptable.  The interest is all outside the house, which is churning out the same unwatchable pap as ever, but it raises interesting issues.  And some of the responses are more interesting still, from the Indian street burning Endemol producers in effigy, to those producers hurriedly saying "crikey no, it's not race, it's class".  These, of course, are among the traditional responses of the people who perceive themselves as both the intellectual elite and the oppressed and downtrod. 

The world in microcosm?  Hardly - Big Brother is still a glorified Sea Monkey freakshow - but as a catalyst for stuff that really is quite interesting, it seems to be doing a job.  Shilpa Shetty looks set to come out of it smelling of roses, and the delightfully hideous Jade really has no idea what sort of trouble she's going to be in.  The global village is large indeed.
andygates: (hellboy)
My inner geek just went "squee!"  Transformers live-action movie trailer here.  Directed by Michael (Armageddon) Bay.  And the guy voicing Optimus Prime has done voice work on Megas XLR.  Nice.

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