With box office sales going downhill until the last couple of weekends, movie studios have been reconsidering their options. The fruit of the labors of Disney, Cisco, and Intel to this end is called MovieBeam. People are rightly skeptical about downloading movies online since they'd probably prefer to watch it on their TV without having to get a media center PC. Pay-per-view is nice, but you can't choose what movies they offer. However, with this set-top box you have 100 movies to choose from on that box, and you basically just pay $2 or $4 (for old and new movies, respectively) to unlock a movie for 24 hours. Periodically, older movies are replaced with new ones. How? They're paying PBS to piggyback on their signal and broadcast new movies through that. The main drawback I see is that the box itself costs $200, which seems a bit steep to me. It's a cool idea, but I don't think I'd pay more than $100 for one. What this thing really screams is simplicity. It's probably easier to use than Tivo, and quite easy to understand as well. However, it appears that they need to improve the quality. They claim that the 4 titles a month offered in HD cost an extra buck, but more than that should be in HD or at least have a near-HD level of quality. Another thing they should fix is to have more featurettes, like how iTunes offers exclusive content when you preorder certain albums and such. This could really hurt premium cable since there's no subscription fee with this service, but I'm sure it'll be several months before it catches on, assuming that it does. I like the general idea of it, personally.
The music industry has been shook up itself: the websites of Sony BMG and Warner Music have been defaced, but no word yet on who did it or how the companies will react. However, unrelated to that incident, two top executives from Sony BMG have resigned as part of the fallout from the new CEO taking over the company and trying to fix up internal discord. Meanwhile, DoCoMo, Toshiba, and Microsoft are teaming up to make an iPod rival in Japan. More importantly though, a much smaller company is looking to make a WiFi phone, which could pose a real threat to the iPod, in my opinion. It has interesting features, including seeing what your friends are listening to and even WiFi radio. In response to Intel championing themselves as catching up with AMD, they've started slamming Intel's power consumption and claiming that they're making even more enhancements themselves. I love watching these little skirmishes as they develop. Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox, and it seems to just fix a bunch of security issues. You should probably pick it up unless you're a loser and use IE. Lastly, a BusinessWeek columnist makes a good point in blasting Apple for not trying to market its Macs for gaming, especially since it can handle some pretty good games (even more now with Boot Camp). He clearly wrote this because he was motivated to by the rumors of the new game developers they've hired, but the market for gamers is not to be taken lightly.
We have slightly more buzz on Angels and Demons: Sony wants to offer Ron Howard the directorial role before offering it to anyone else. I liked what Howard did with the first one so I wouldn't mind another one from him. If you're really anxious for The Omen, Fox has released a 6 minute clip, but I haven't checked it out myself yet (namely because my Internet sucks). In any case, I'd like to go into the movie with a relatively clean slate as far as the plot. IGN has heard from a very reliable source that the Wachowski Brothers are planning on making a Speed Racer movie, but all interested parties are keeping rather mum about it. I wonder how they'd handle it since you know it would be live action. The X3 news keeps coming in with rumors that the possible sequel would go into the backgrounds of the students more than a whirlwind adventure for the whole team (or what's left of them, at least). That may actually make for a good movie if they handle it properly. I didn't know that there was a Magneto spinoff in the works right now as well, but they'll be looking for a younger actor for the title role. Still, McKellan will be in the movie for the older years. Lastly, if you want to see the trailer for the new Woody Allen movie, Scoop, then Yahoo Movies has your back. I'll have to check it out later myself though since my Internet currently hates me.
Now for Friday's Feast:
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest), how funny do you think you are?
Probably around a 6 or 7. I have a real good sense of humor, but my jokes sometimes lack in delivery. Some people really laugh at my jokes, and others, namely my close friends, barely laugh at them. It almost seeems like girls seem to like them better; go figure. I guess it matters more that girls like them though, eh? ;)
Name a local restaurant would you recommend to a visitor to your town or city.
I'd recommend Brick Oven to a visitor of Austin. I really liked the pizza we got there, and it had a nice atmosphere.
What's a lesson you were lucky enough to learn the easy way?
Always check for ice in the winter when your defrost doesn't do jack. Being from south Texas, we don't get much cold weather. So when we had an ice storm while I was away from my car all day, I thought that the glasses were foggy. Little did I know that it was ice, and there was a guy waiting for me so I pulled off to the side in the lot to scrape it all off with my bare hands and luckily didn't hit any cars along the way. I'm totally getting a scraper before the next winter.
Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
At a real good company enjoying work. Maybe it'll be TI, who knows. Obviously I don't enjoy work right now, but I'm sure it'll be funner when I start my real project next week.
If you could see the front page of a newspaper from June 2, 2106, what would you imagine the headline might be?
Earth declares war on Mars? Hell if I know.
This Week in Tech 644: This Is Fine
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