Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem
Netflix has been getting troubled by the telecoms a lot, but how about YouTube? Are they less bothered by the telecoms? Do they just not complain publicly as much? How does being a part of Google make their situation different than Netflix's?
45% of U.S. Jobs Vulnerable To Automation
Isn't a big motivator for automation the fact that businesses need to cut costs right now, so if the economy was better employers would be in less of a hurry to automate even if the technology was available? Isn't a big cause of the US economy being bad the fact that it's much cheaper and easier to do business in China, a situation that's gradually changing? As Japan became rich, it invested much and hired many in the US. Will China do the same? Aren't there only so many US jobs that can be cut until companies no longer have customers?
The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens
A Canadian company Time Play has the audience use their smartphones to play word games with each other on the big screen. Years ago a company in Spain set up a LAN party in the movie theater but they're out of business now. Any news of something like this happening in the States, aside from one-time theater rentals for console gaming?
Slashdot Asks: What would you like to see at CES?
I'd like to see 3D printers all over the place: homes and offices for starters. Show some killer apps for them so they fly off the shelves. Convince all the convenience stores to replace their cobweb-gathering photo equipment with some sexy new 3D printers that are bigger and better than what people can get at home so customers can order top-quality printed objects in store.
The ever-improving capabilities of remote-controlled helicopters and planes are always interesting. Is a programmable, unmanned submarine now possible?
OLED TVs and monitors should sell based on speed and contrast. If Peter Jackson and James Cameron get their way and make high frame rate movies the norm, TVs will sell more and more based on their ability to show native HFR material well.
All Systems Go For Highest Altitude Supercomputer
Do any space probes carry what qualifies as a supercomputer? Those are rather higher in altitude than any mountaintop.
Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services
When I worked at Walgreens from 2007-2010, the amount of printing the photo department did dropped sharply because the economy was worsening and because people were moving most of their photo viewing onto smartphones. Nowadays, 3D printing would make much better use of the photo department space than 2D printing and it would substitute many of the cheap toys and tools on the middle aisle.
What's especially intriguing is that 3D printing could substitute all forms of 2D printing. Instead of selling paper and inkjet cartridge refills, the store could sell powdered plastic for home 3D printers. Instead of printing pictures in store, the store could print objects that are bigger, better, and made from more materials than home 3D printers can use. In addition to sending out orders for custom mugs and T-shirts, the store could send out orders for the highest quality 3D printed items possible.
One problem is that there isn't really a consumer-level killer app for 3D printing yet. It needs somebody like Steve Jobs to make 3D printing into something nobody can do without.
THQ Clarifies Claims of "Horrible, Slow" Wii U CPU
None of the games I mentioned above used extra processors. Neither did any of Squaresoft's games but Super Mario RPG. Neither did any of SNES's fighting games except for Street Fighter Alpha 2 which actually ran slower than the fighting games that didn't use co-processors. Neither did the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. The SNES's most enduring games didn't use extra hardware, just great programming and imaginations. This is why I'm confident that developers can do great things with the Wii U. Unlike the PS3, the Wii U doesn't seem to have a complicated architecture, just unusual tradeoffs.
THQ Clarifies Claims of "Horrible, Slow" Wii U CPU
It sounds as if Nintendo's priorities when designing the Wii U's chipset in contrast to the Xbox 360 were similar to what they were when designing the SNES in contrast to the Sega Genesis: more RAM, more powerful GPU, slower CPU. Some SNES launch games either suffered slowdown and flicker (Gradius 3) or lacked a two-player modes and had fewer enemies onscreen (Final Fight) compared to similar Genesis or arcade games (Thunder Force 3 and Final Fight arcade). Most post-launch SNES games fared much better in these areas: Axelay, Space Megaforce, Turtles in Time, Final Fight 2, Smash TV. So far the Wii U is repeating the SNES's launch pains. Let's hope it repeats the payoff years!
Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating
This wouldn't be the first time the mainstream media has ignored a big protest march. They also ignored the FTAA protests in Miami in 2003.
According to my friends who went, it stayed peaceful but the protests apparently didn't have much effect on the negotiations since they were a long way from the protest area set up by the police.
Major Security Flaws Discovered In Internet HDTVs
Running a wide variety of apps on a TV has tremendous potential, but just as with PCs, game consoles and smartphones, the tech is changing so fast that the user will need to overhaul it every few years, so this tech should be implemented as set top boxes. Nobody wants to throw out their whole TV just because one small part of it is obsolete.
Apple vs. Google TVs
A lot of commentators say that this tech needs to be built into the TV, but I disagree. Chipsets, storage and networking hardware are less expensive than display tech, but they also change and improve much more rapidly. People don't want to have to replace their entire TV just because some new networking standard came on the market, or because a new app requires more storage or a more powerful chipset than the TV has built in. In fact, I think the even digital tuners built into most HDTVs are obsolete because they only decode MPEG2, not H.264. We'll never see higher picture quality in traditional broadcasts or cablecasts no matter how cheap H.264 decoding hardware gets because that part of the TV is set in stone. It's most economical and convenient for the customer to only replace their set top box.
So another reason why Apple's ahead of Google is that they're not bothering with TV integration for now. It's bad news for TV makers who had hoped to get customers to replace their entire TVs because one part had become obsolete, but that's such a bad value for customers that it wouldn't work even in a good economy.
Displayport V1.2 To Take Giant Leap Over HDMI
Recently, when I went electronics shopping, I noticed that all the TVs on display were hooked up by coax, and that HDMI cables are annoyingly expensive. Could lossy compression be a way to deliver higher quality video over lower cost cables? After all, compression processors obey Moore's Law, cables don't. If video cabling used, say, H.264, or maybe JPEG2000 to preserve a higher quality colorspace, we could perhaps get away with using cheap USB cables for video connections. Viable?
James Cameron On How Avatar Technology Could Keep Actors Young
What would be so much simpler than trying to de-age actors would be Hollywood rurunning all their classic movies in theaters using the new DLP projectors in theaters to keep the distribution cost down. The long tail works not just for new indies, it can also work for old classics. A steady stream of reruns in theaters would make everybody from movie fans to studio execs question the need for remakes, and then Hollywood could spend more of its current money and talent on more original movies.
"Doomsday Clock" Moves Away From Midnight
Who watches the Watchmen?
Console Makers Worry Over Growing Competition From Apple
The iPhone could be a real threat to the DS and PSP, but even within the casual gaming space, handheld and console gaming are two different experiences. There's a reason movie tickets and big HDTVs are selling great, people love huge screens. Also, the all-in-one device concept works for the iPhone because for handhelds compactness and convenience is everything, but there's enough space in the house under the TV for multiple devices. People have been predicting the death of game consoles since the early 90s when home PC sales took off, but now most PC game customers and developers have migrated to consoles. Playing both movies and games helped PS2 but it didn't help PS3. If the two-in-one concept works again, it'll probably come from a combined OnLive and Netflix device or service which won't come from Apple. Finally, Apple TV bombed.
In summary, Apple may very well conquer a big swath of handheld gaming, but there's no sign that they're about to enter, much less conquer, console gaming.
Is "Good Enough" the Future of Technology?
I keep wondering when the Good Enough phenomenon will hit movie theater projection systems. Currently, Hollywood is making a slow, painfully expensive transition from film projection, which has fairly low hardware cost but very high media cost, to 3 DLP chip digital projection, which has nearly zero media cost but extremely high hardware cost. Hollywood is going from one expensive projection system to another because they insist that picture quality only ever go up. But movie theaters have already installed a cheap, dim, LCD projector next to every one of their Hollywood-approved projectors to display preshow ads.
So far, about 450 screens in the US also use these dim preshow projectors to show an alternative content series called Fathom Events that includes independent movies, live news events, and live opera. Fathom is not yet big, but it's in mainstream theaters like Regal, AMC and Cinemark. Interestingly, the theater chains own Fathom and the creators of content are nobodies compared to Hollywood, so theaters may be getting a larger cut of the ticket than Hollywood lets them have. Fathom is the only theatrical system in which both the hardware and the media are low cost, so why hasn't its popularity exploded?
Sony Charges Publishers For DLC Bandwidth Usage
This raises a question I've had for a long time: If the consumer has a gaming PC or game console, does it take less bandwidth to send them a CG movie in polygon form or in MPEG/H.264 form? GTA4 on Xbox 360 is an enormous game that fits into 7 GB. If you made a 720P 60FPS H.264 movie of a fairly thorough playthrough of GTA4 including cutscenes, how many GB would that be? If TV/movie studios want to send an entire TV series in HD to customers over the internet, they might save a lot of bandwidth fees if they could send it as polygons instead of MPEG. Of course, the TV series could only be created by artists at computer desks, not by actors on sets, so bandwidth capping would give game companies an advantage over Hollywood on the internet. I doubt even Pixar or Dreamworks would send their movies as game console-ready polygons because they're used to having nearly infinite memory and rendering time.
Ultimately, Hollywood will have to do some major lobbying and investing with the telecoms so that every home can affordably stream real HD video over the internet.
Amazon.com To Accept Game Trade-Ins
Amazon has let customers sell used copies of games to eachother for years under the brand "Amazon Marketplace", similar to Half.com.
The Facts & Fiction of Bandwidth Caps
I've thought of a new business model that might emerge from a widening gap between processing power and bandwidth: movies transmitted in polygon form. Everybody wants movies, or even better, whole seasons of TV shows in HD and on demand, but the internet, at least in the US, isn't fast enough for this. Meanwhile, many video game companies, especially in Japan, are making their games more and more cinematic. It seems to take fewer bytes to describe a cutscene with polygons than even with H.264, so game companies could use their CG cutscene-making skills to make actual movies, taking advantage of the current problems in the internet movie market.
Something similar is happening in video games themselves. In order for Xbox 360's DVD games to approach the richness of content in PS3's Bluray games, and for CD-sized downloadable games to approach the richness of DVD games, some titles use procedural synthesis for textures and geometry. Perhaps the most famous of these is .kkrieger, which fits a FPS with Doom 3-style lighting into just 96k. It takes over a minute to boot, but the amount of content fit into that tiny file is astounding.
Hollywood, of course, will be horrified that video game companies are using their specific advantages to encroach on the movie studio's turf. But hey, Hollywood has clout. If they want to fight back, they should pressure the telecoms to give customers a lot more bandwidth at a low price.
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