Films you should have seen last year

Inception

I seriously don’t get it. There is no doubt Inception was one of the high lights of last year but the golden globes seemed to skip over inception.

Anyway, this is my list of films you should have seen (or look out for in 2011) in 2010,

  • Inception
    Need I say more?
  • The Social Network
    Didn’t really want to like it, but after seeing it I really liked it. Its certainly one of the best internet/tech to movie translations I’ve witnessed. The tone is just right throughout.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs the world
    This film is simply nuts. A whirlwind of modern film techniques wrapped up in a fantastic coming of age plot with like-able multi faceted characters.
  • Cash
    Simple plot with devastating results. A very heart felt to the characters who end up on the wrong side of this psychopath.
  • Takers
    Stylish heist movie in the vein of Inside man and Lucky number Sleven. Reminds me of Guy Richie’s Revolver crossed with Heat. Tasty stuff.
  • Catfish
    What on earth is going on with this movie? All I can say is its intriguing true or false.
  • Exit through the gift shop
    Like Catfish, a documentary style which could be true or false, don’t really care its just a intriguing tale.
  • Freakonomics: The Movie
    The film based on a few chapters from the famous and popular Freakonomics book. Well worth watching as a introduction to the books.
  • Flipped
    2 children growing up together and learning from each other how life can or should be. Each bit is told from each point of view which makes for a interesting story.
  • Monsters
    Imagine Cloverfield happened 5 years ago, Monsters is what would the future be like after a alien invasion. It is like District 9 in scenario but this is a very slow burning storyline which will lose lots of people expecting more
  • 4,3,2,1
    4 girls different storylines which over lap in places. Noel Clarke has once again outdone himself with this stylish and sometimes quite gritty drama
  • 127 hours
    I wanted to put in both 127hours and buried. But choose 127 hours because although there quite similar, 127 hours isn’t so focused on one scene. The flashbacks are a good break from what was going on.

It still shocks me when I hear people say they haven’t seen inception. I mean I can understand it if you haven’t because of time but the reason I usually hear is because they have heard its a bit of a mind screw.

In actual fact, its actually not that much of a mind screw. Yes you do have to pay attention and quite a lot does indeed happen but its not any more difficult to understand that Twelve monkeys. Put it this way, its nothing like Primer. and that crazy timeline of the film.

For goodness sake if you’ve not seen Inception, go rent it today!

Facebook checkins turned into advertising, quit moaning…

Its intriguing to see ideas you’ve had previously, explored and implemented. I wrote a while ago about mydreamscape and how it was going to make money. One of my suggestions was product and locational placements.

Maybe a lot of people are dreaming about a certain location or a certain product. If you own that location or product you may want to own that page and make it more like yours? So for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/items/buzzlightyear/ – could be a page about buzzlight year in dreams and have images and links to the item its self. This would also be true of locations too for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/location/europe/london/thamesbarrier – would obviously link to the Thames barrier in London with information taken from Wikipedia.org and other open sources. The information architecture of exactly how this would this work needs to be sorted out.

Realizing this in my head, but decided not to include the option of having people who were spokespeople for a certain thing in there dreams. So realistically if I was to consistently have dreams about buzzlight year not only would I be featured on a item page but I’d be highly ranked. So if one of my friends was to have a dream about buzzlight year not only would they have a link to /buzzlightyear but my friends thoughts or dreams would be ranked much higher. Of course this would change once Pixar decided to own that space.

Sounds confusing…?

Well Facebook just included this feature in a slightly different way…

If someone checks you in to a certain place or likes a certain thing. Facebook can and will use your location/like to advertise to your friends that thing/location.

So back to mydreamscape, you would get. Ian Forrester had a dream about the Amazon Kindle automatically but the difference here is Amazon would be able to pick and choose which stories they would use in the advertising. So you don’t get that embarrassing problem, where a person has a negative dream and the advertising is based of it. Just because someone checks into Starbucks doesn’t mean they had a positive experience there, so to run it across a human eye makes sense to me.

Ok now thats out the way, I would agree that the whole process of mining users likes/checkins for data they can use for advertising purposes really sucks. But then again, to be fair to facebook. Its all in there in the EULA. If you don’t like it, for goodness sake switch to something else or stop using it.

Just quit moaning…

Self distribution and why not?

I’m with Kevin Smith on telling Hollywood to go suck it.

Writer/Director Kevin Smith premiered his new film Red State at Sundance today—he’d led everyone to believe that after the showing, he’d publicly auction the distribution rights to the highest-bidding studio. Instead, he bought it himself and used the attention generated to note how broken the studio distribution system is (why spend $20 million on a film that cost $4 million to make) and how he was convinced he could a better job handling things on his own.

Just like the guys who setup Revision3 and Twit.TV, they used there familiarity and popularity from the now defunct subscribe only techtv cable channel, to launch there own much more sophisticated and effective projects to basically replace techtv. The result is light years ahead of the old techtv shows in every respect.

Kevin Smith would be crazy not to "cash in" on his followers and reputation in this space. Its actually begs the question why he had not done it earlier really? Heck and whats wrong with a little shouting at the hand that use to feed you…?

It cost Red State roughly $4 million to make, and Smith didn’t see any sense in spending $20 million (i.e. 5 times the amount it cost to make the film) just to advertise it. Smith also was tired of huge marketing expenditures whose efficacy would be determined within a period of three days.

It does raise the question what do you do, if you’ve not got that track record behind you and your looking to self publish or self distribute but I’m a firm believer that the best will rise to the top. It may take 10 years, but they will get there in the end.

Hacker friendly: Microsoft turns over a new leaf?

I never thought I’d see the day but it seems Microsoft have really got into the hacker spirit recently. I mean what would Bill Gates say about this new leaf of openness, who knows… but I can imagine a shudder of fear slowly tingling up his spine.

Remember Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering by Andrew bunnie Huang

"Hacking the Xbox" confronts the social and political issues facing today’s hacker. The book introduces readers to the humans behind the hacks through several interviews with master hackers.

"Hacking the Xbox" looks forward and discusses the impact of today’s legal challenges on legitimate reverse engineering activities. The book includes a chapter written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about the rights and responsibilities of hackers, and concludes by discussing the latest trends and vulnerabilities in secure PC platforms.

Its not just phone 7, Kinect kicked off a new attitude for Microsoft. Good on them, but I do wonder how long it will last?

A side point

I was a little excited when I discovered Rafael Rivera was one of the people behind the phone 7 unlocking. But of course he’s not to be confused with the new BBC director of Future media Ralph Rivera. That would be so weird if it was…

Swap your kindle for a ton of books?

Do you love books?

Do you love books so much that you’d buy a kindle and sell your kindle for a stack of books? Yeah I thought not…

But just in-case your thinking about giving up on your kindle. Microcosm Publishing will take your bet.

I think its all stupid but to be fair Microcosm must have knew it was going to get there name in almost every news site and blog. So to be fair to them, good on them. I wonder how many people have taken up there offer. Although I think the swap is for new books, so its hardly cost effective but then again a 2nd hand kindle can’t be worth that much, can it?

Its also worth noting that Amazon ebooks outsold Hardbooks

E-books have hit a significant milestone. In each of the last three months, Amazon reports that sales of books for Kindle have outpaced the sale of hardcover books, and that growth is only accelerating.

…and Paperbacks just recently

The ebook revolution has swept past two more milestones in its ferocious advance upon the bastions of literary culture. As the Man Booker prize embraces the digital era, the online retail giant Amazon has announced that sales of Kindle editions have overtaken paperbacks in the US.

TED Books? But will it share?

In my email today, a email from Chris Anderson of TED,

I’m delighted to share with you a significant new step in our efforts to promote "ideas worth spreading". We’re announcing today the launch of TED Books. TED Books are to Books as TED Talks are to lectures. They’re short, pithy, riveting. They’re designed to express a single big idea in a way that can be absorbed in a single sitting. A typical 18-minute TED Talk might be around 2000 words. A typical traditional book is at least 60,000 words. TED Books nicely fill the gap in between. They come in at 10,000-20,000 words. So they can be read and absorbed in an hour or two.

These books are designed for electronic distribution. We are launching with the Amazon Kindle Singles program which opened today. The Kindle platform allows books to be read on iPad, iPhone, Android phones, PC and Mac – as well as the dedicated Kindle readers. Each TED Book costs just $2.99 (but may cost more in international markets)

Interestingly me and Nicole were just talking about my Kindle and reading non-fiction books. I have quite a few non-fiction books like Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent tipping point. I regularly lend them out to friends and family.

I’ll be interested to see what permissions are attached to the these ebooks. Ideally it would be very open and easily sharable. But thats not going to happen… Wishful thinking on my behalf I think but its a shame because the authors seems to be publishing under the TED brand, so I imagine it wouldn’t be that hard to convince the authors to make there work freely available or at least with less restrictions. Oh well…

Mary Portas: Secret Shopper

I don’t usually watch these kind of things but I did find Mary Portas Secret Shopper somewhat interesting

In this brand new series Mary Portas has changed sides. Rather than helping businesses to maximise profits, she’s now championing the shopper, and battling to get Britain’s biggest chains to put customers first.

Mary believes that Britain is cowering under a cloud of poor customer service and that we’ve never had it so bad. By using the stealth weapon of secret shopping, she exposes shoddy customer service and uses the evidence to give company bosses a wake-up call. And, with the help of her covert cameras, she’s planning to start a retail revolution.

Customer service is indeed a sham in the UK. Everything has been pushed aside for higher profit. Theres a great scene where Mary is talking to the head of pilot in front of the owner of leon. He gives all the reasons why he felt everything was going well and they didn’t need to change. Of course all the reasons were to do with expansion and profit, customer service was never mentioned in anyway.

Its intriguing because theres so many elements we’ve learned from the online world via things like the cluetrain manifesto at play. In actual fact the real world can learn a lot from the online world.

Customer is king, how sad we are for not punishing them who forget this.

Instapaper’s wireless delivery

I didn’t notice Instapaper now supports wireless delivery of epub’s.

Reading on the Kindle’s non-reflective, e-ink screen is easy on the eyes and great for longer content.

Instapaper provides Kindle-compatible files, easily transferred at no charge via USB, containing the Text versions of your saved pages in any folder.

Additionally, you can set up wireless delivery to automatically send your most recent Instapaper stories every day or week. Note: Amazon assesses a surcharge for each wireless delivery, and wireless delivery is not available in all countries.

Instapaper also provides ePub files for other electronic reading devices that support ePub, including most Sony Readers and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Ok besides the Amazon surcharge (which doesn’t seem to apply if you have a wifi only kindle it seems), this is fantastic. I use to use Instapaper but switched over to using Readitlater. I might have to switch back? At least till readitlater enables the same feature (i and others have already suggested it)

Rights holders take down on dj mixes

I got this in my email today from Soundcloud.com

Hi cubicgarden,

Your upload "The pulse of a nation mix" may include content that is owned or licensed by Moist Music ("By Your Side (Martin Roth Rmx)" (The Thrillseekers;Gina Dootson)) and has been made inaccessible on SoundCloud by request of the rightsholder.

If you are certain that you have all necessary permissions from the rightsholder to upload and share this content, you can submit a claim here:

http://soundcloud.com/settings/disputes/

Thanks,

The SoundCloud team

Moist Music can get lost up there own ***** and have this one. I would fight this copyright take down (the very first one I’ve personally ever had) but since I’ve all but switched over to Mixcloud.com, its not worth fighting. Either way, it was interesting to see Martin Roth himself talking about Mixcloud and Soundcloud on his tumblr site. I might have to send him a link to this post and the mixcloud/soundcloud posts.

We are certainly much better off without these stuck in the mud middlemen.

I’ve now canceled my Soundcloud pro subscription, so all my mixes will be moving to mixcloud I’m sorry to announce. Nothing to do with Soundcloud, its just not the place for dj mixes and this latest event proves it.

Erik Huggers leaves the BBC

Copyright Gareth ford williams

Yep its true the leader of BBC future media and technology Erik Huggers is leaving for a job in Intel.

We heard the news about 5pm today (Tuesday 18th Jan) and funny enough we had an informal meeting with the new director of BBC future media – Ralph Rivera, planned for 5:30pm in the Manchester office.

Although I did actually like Erik Huggers, I’m really looking forward to working under Ralph Rivera’s vision. John Linwood will now take on the Technology part of the old Future Media & Technology.

To be fair to Erik, he was actually a very likable kind of a guy. He made some very difficult decisions and brought in some very interesting people including Richard Titus, Anthony Rose, John Linwood, etc. He tended not to shy away from conflict and certainly made his presence felt when required. Erik always supported the Backstage project which is obviously now closed. But the thing which I will always remember Erik for is the look on his face when he came up to Manchester and we presented him with a Manchester City Tevez board saying welcome to Manchester, but switched Tevez for Erik. There was a certain amount of confusion but he never let on, he just accepted the gift with welcoming arms.

I do wish him well and I know he’ll do some great things at Intel given half a chance.

The first thing I asked Ralph Rivera, was about his background and the answer I got back was not just impressive but delightful to hear. Not only did he say all the right things about technology from his computer science background but he also said some great things about games and the internet. Not only does he get it, but he seems to live it. It was almost like if you were to cut him, Geek blood would pour out. So yes Erik was great but Ralph is just something else. To be honest, this is my own opinion, Ralph is exactly what the BBC needs right now. A geek running things…

Someone suggested it could be like when Greg Dyke joined the BBC. I wasn’t there for those times but I heard some amazing stories and some great projects. Bearing in mind Ralph is not the Director General of the BBC only (I say only, but you know what i mean) the director of Future Media. I’m intrigued and very excited what plans he has to shape up the BBC and take it on to to the next Decade. So excited I can’t bloody sleep…

Standards in bundles

The concept is very simple.

One URL/URI points to a series of resources which have preselected by someone else. There usually arranged in someway, to either tell a story or illustrate a point

Bit.ly for example implemented bundles back in November.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of bit.ly bundles, a new way of sharing multiple links with a single bit.ly short URL.

You can start bundling links right away! Just head over to bit.ly, shorten some links and then hit the “Bundle” button.

Its a good idea but I’d like to see some standard applied to bundles. For example it would be great if Xpointer could parse bundled links. It would be possible for browsers to support a small subset of Xinclude to give a standards approach to bundled links or heck take the XLink support in Firefox and shift it towards the purpose of bundled links.

Mobile Apps working together to better support the user

I just started using Astrid on my HTC Desire (Running android 2.2) and I’m very impressed. The thing which amazes me is the integration with Locale.

Yes it a task app but the difference is with Locale, you can set conditions. Conditions like show me this task when I’m in certain location. Show me this task when you walk into a wifi signal with a certain SSID. Show me a task when blah blah blah…

Unfortunately it seems I’m behind the curve on this one. The locale team blogged about this last year.

I put on my todo list all sorts of tasks. Sometimes they are work tasks like “fill out my expense report.” Occasionally, I add random ideas like “ask the dentist about electric toothbrushes.” More frequently I add personal tasks like “get bananas.” With Locale + Astrid, I get reminders for these tasks when I can do something about them. By tagging tasks as “groceries” and connecting the tag to a situation in Locale (for example when I am near my local Trader Joe’s), Astrid will remind me to get bananas the next time I’m near the store. In the same way I can limit Astrid’s pestering me about my expense report to times I am in the office. And the next time I am sitting in the dentist chair, Astrid can alert me to get his take on the latest teeth-cleaning gadget.

While there are many tools that provide a place to save information you want to remember, most of them lack reminders when you need them. Locale gives Astrid the power to do this in an amazingly simple way, making Astrid less annoying and much more useful.

Exactly!

So theres a interesting trend of apps building on other apps. I noticed this with Dropbox. I got a feeling that because Dropbox has been out for the iPhone for longer, there might be more tightly integration that on android at the moment. But I noticed quite a few apps are using dropbox as there syncing method instead of creating there own. Its not just syncing there’s a lot more that comes with using dropbox as the storage method.

Whats also weird is I’m now expecting dropbox syncing as standard in a lot of the apps I download. After that I’m also expecting some kind of locale ability.

In actual fact, if I was to improve Astrid, I would indeed the ability to use dropbox and create tasks using a very simple XML format. It currently syncs with Google Tasks but I’ve not really got that syncing with Evolution or anything else yet, so something else would be great.

I’ll be watching this trend of apps working off the back of other apps more closely.

What is it with White chicks and Gang signs?

Me and Sarah use to laugh our asses off at this video. Why because of the hilarity of the fact most white woman I know, when faced with a camera will pull some crazy pose and throw some kind of gesture with there hands. Why? Why oh why? Now to be fair not everyone does this but most do. Its like some kind of meme which has spread deeply in the consciousness of the woman of our little planet. To see the effects you need to breaks out a camera and ask to say cheese, bizarre!

The weird thing is, not many men know what I mean when I mention it. So for those men, here’s exactly what I mean.

I can’t work out if its a cultural thing either because I’ve known non-westernised woman to also throw a few signs when having themselves shot. What makes things even worst/sad is I’ve seen quite a few dating profiles pictures on Okcupid and many others (there’s plenty on plenty of fish, bad pun ignore me). One of the girls I’ve been out on a date with had all types of signs all over her profile pictures. I so wanted to ask her, so what the heck is with all the gang signs? Do you think its funny or something? Of course I never did, mainly because we had one date and never saw each other again (lucky escape I feel).

Of course this will be in my folder for geeks talk sexy part 2: The other half of population. Its very easy to imagine all men are weird (some more that others of course) but in actual fact woman are equally as weird. We’re a perfect fit for each other maybe? :)

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