Tag Archives: Media

Love him or hate him, he gets it.

Looks like America’s favorite left-wing nut is at it again, but give Michael Moore some credit.  His last two documentaries (Sicko, Fahrenheit 9-11) reside in the list of top 3 height grossing documentaries of all time.  His latest film “Slacker Uprising” is slated for release on September 23rd across America and Canada, but this time Moore is borrowing a few tricks from Radiohead by releasing the film for free.

Moore gets it!  His low-budget film ($2M) aimed at young democrats will be circulated in high-definition on servers across the world, beginning at the film’s homepage: slackeruprising.com

Movies will be pirated, so why not give a little back?  Thank you Michael Moore, from all of us on the net.  I highly recommend any content developers to follow Moore’s and Radiohead’s lead and look into releasing your media through a creative commons license.  

The world is changing, lets take the money out of big companies’ pockets and put it back into the hands of hard working individuals where it belongs.  

Moore appears on Larry King Live (CNN) tonight at 9:00 PM, take a gander and open up your minds because this man gets it.

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Facebook gets a “new” facelift

Well Mark Zuckerberg is at it again… or at least his infrastructure team is.  As I mentioned in May, Facebook would be launching a redesign and some are now witnessing the “new.facebook.com” looks, acts, and thinks much differently.  It was rolled out last week, and I’ve given it a thorough test drive.

The re-design scared me at first, it looked too much like myspace.  Homepage changes include a wider sidebar on the right, and the freakish absence of my beloved left-hand nav.  Applications can now be found in the top blue bar or made into bookmarks on your homepage.  The overall look comes off as more sloppy I think because the site has grown so many legs in the past year with all the new applications and tools.  Where can you put it all?  I have to say I am a bit disappointed with this update, but maybe I was expecting too much (after all the company did acquire mozilla’s online OS parakey last year) anyways heres the breakdown: 

PROFILE LAYOUT (TABS):
So instead of having a single-paged profile now we have customizable tabbed profiles which is by far the biggest change in the update.  For those as confused as I was, profiles were basically enhanced with more information space, new navigation, and an impressive “back-end view” that makes editing a breeze

But what are the benefits of tabs?  Profiles are no longer one-stop-shops or billboards for personal information, tabs make personal info and activity a few clicks further away.  They have essentially deepened the pool of information here, making users actually have to dive deeper if they want to invade someone’s privacy.  

THE WALL & NEWSFEED AS ONE:
Like before the newsfeed still displays stories related to you and your friends and it still shows everything the same as before, such as friend requests or action items (like being tagged in a photo). But the big change here is to give users the ability to toggle which stories are shown at any time by choosing either “Posts by _____”, “Posts by Others”, and “All Posts”, along with moving the wall onto its own dedicated profile tab.

Activity is less transparent, the feed works differently now (reminds me a lot of pownce).  The days of landing on a friend’s profile page and stumbling across any back-and-forth conversation with someone else is over.  However you still can view users “wall-to-wall” conversations if you want.. but then your just a creep and trust me facebook will know.

NEW “PUBLISHER”:
Think of this as a widget docked at the top of your homepage.  It can add links, photos, videos, notes, updates in a snap and allows 3rd party development access which of course rules but for someone like myself who a whole lot of uploading, its an eyesore!  With all the options and preferences out there already, I’d really like the ability to remove this.   

FRIENDS PAGE:
The last change I noticed was a new friends page layout, its given a taller left hand navigation list and makes it a little easier to create friend groups, and organize contacts.  

If you use Facebook you may notice a lot more information being pushed through the site this year and the recent redesign was built to withstand the wave.  The importing of activity from other social websites like flickr, digg, and hulu will play a huge role in connecting social networks.  Could this be the year Facebook and Myspace start exchanging info? I doubt that, but its an idea..

Can you feel it?!

After seeing Al Gore endorse Obama the other night I was a bit dizzy.  The ‘hope’ campaign had finally made its debut in Michigan and I was standing front-row center when they took the stage.  Actually no, if I remember correctly we had nosebleed seats and it was a bit hard to hear.  Though given the unusual ant-sized perspective we had I was happy to at least recognize each politician before they reached the podium.

To understand the personal significance of Monday night’s rally we’ll have to go back in time a bit… not far back but about six months.  So Christmas had long passed and the new year had arrived, and I now had a brand-spanking new hard-drive to fill (thanks Santa!).  This is when I began to download heaps and heaps of new media, which I highly recommend doing.  I had my own place with my own computer, and I paid for the Internet, so why not?  I managed to download just about every political documentary that was floating around on the pirate bay.  I started running out of video content to discover and in some cases my searches began bringing up the same results… so I switched media.  This is when I discovered the art of the audio book.  GENIOUS!

The Art of the Audio Book:

It never really occurred to me how listening to a book could actually be so enjoyable but audio books really make the act of absorbing a book painless and the material easier to comprehend.  This is the case with Barack Obama‘s audio translation of The Audacity of Hope in which Barack himself passionately narrates the story behind his grassroots Illinois Senate campaign, then actually leads listeners into Washington to hear stories about meeting President Bush for the first time, candid conversations in congress, and hundreds of new observations.  This audio book is a breath of fresh air.  Also note that if you listened to this for just one hour each day it wouldn’t take even a week to finish!

Enlighten yourself.  Change your Perpective.  Try something New.

If you’re reaally feeling risky you might try putting in a copy of Al Gore‘s newest, punchy and thought-provoking audio book: The Assault on Reason narrated by Will Patton.  The material might seem a little dry at first (after all it was written by Al Gore) BUT, and this is a huge but… the conclusion that is eventually reached stands as an accurate depiction of our current state of politics.  Its a bit disturbing.  Focusing mostly on media, former presidential candidate Al Gore expresses a sincere outrage to a nation that is described as being continuously misled and ruled through fear.  He details all the lines that were crossed by Bush’s administration leading up to the unnecessary war in Iraq.  Gore also brashly devotes an entire chapter of this book to the explanation of all the ways in which Americans are ruled through the television media.  Finally!  The book also covers the importance of net neutrality and its link to democracy.

These audio books have made a huge impact on the way I choose to follow politics in 2008.  They give concrete proof to the sad fact that presidential campaigns, wars, and entire ideologies are now being sold to the American people by our government.  We are beginning to lose our highest form of democracy to the age of government marketing strategies and a way-too-highly concentrated media.

So Monday night was special -I knew it would come eventually but to actually be there to witness Gore publicly endorse Obama was kind of magical.  Watching ant-sized Obama preach about carrying his grassroots campaign until November and hearing his strong reach for younger generations gives this country hope that we can break from the disguised lies, and from the sound bytes.  I don’t want to comment too much on the next election, but wow it almost feels like something is upon us.  Maybe you’re in the dark and don’t see it.  You will.  American Revolutions always seem to happen at a decades end, so here’s to 2008.

P.S. if you’re interested in a copy of either audio book I mentioned e-mail me and I’ll send you a free copy.

21st Century Advertising

 In advertising any campaign that proves to increase revenues (or in the case of a corporation increase share price) cannot be stopped, and will not be stopped –that is until the same campaign begins to bear negative effects on the company.  This strategy has become popular only in the past quarter-century and has lead to major changes in social behavior in America.  

As consumers we now expect to hear a company’s jingle or slogan over and over and over, and we must see the logo over and over, or else it will not be remembered.  This extreme over-exposure has only led to the evolution of a culture that has now managed to acquire the unconventional acceptance of recurrence, in which one can now tolerate frequent repetition for longer periods of time.  Consumers’ expectations have also lowered significantly in part due to our cultures’ uniform social structure brought upon intentionally by powerful advertisers, media outlets and various facets of government.