Thursday, September 28, 2006

Marc Cuban Is Waiting for YouTube to Get Sued

He Also Wants You to Stop Being Cheap and Make Hi-Def Ads Already
By Abbey Klaassen

Published: September 28, 2006

NEW YORK ( -- Marc Cuban was his usual opinionated and effusive self when he addressed an early-morning crowd at the TV Week Spotlight event during Advertising Week. Take his view on YouTube, which is that the video-sharing site made it big "because they had no problem with copyright laws. ... The minute YouTube gets sold there's going to be a deep pocket that gets sued."

The oft-opinionated Marc Cuban was grilled by the audience -- and he returned the favor.

Click fraud: Teens' fault
YouTube, however, wasn't the only target on his hit list. What's his take on click fraud? It's the fault of teens who can "set up a blog, get Google AdWords on it and get all your friends to click on it. So what if you make $50 or $100 -- that's better than what dad gives you for allowance. Now imagine that's going on around the world ... it's just too easy."

On viewing a standard-definition ad on a high-definition TV: "It screams 'Hey, I'm a cheap advertiser! Change the channel!'"

TV Week Publisher Chuck Ross, who conducted the Q&A, said the excuse he hears for creating standard-definition ads is that HDTVs have not yet reached critical mass. "But YouTube [has]?" interrupted Mr. Cuban. "A million people watching three-minute clips of Lonelygirl is critical mass?"

The HD ad scenario
He compared the move from analog to hi-def to radio's move from AM to FM frequencies and said not every channel will be able to make the jump to hi-def by 2009, when every TV sold will be HD. He questioned whether advertisers thought about the ramifications of such a scenario.

"Almost every TV sold in 2007 is hi-def and more [will be high def] in 2008 and they all will be in 2009 -- and, by the way, standard def looks worse in an HDTV," he said. "Are you doing long-term ad deals without knowing whether you're going to be in the AM ghetto?"

The morning session was nothing if not interactive. Several times Mr. Cuban or Mr. Ross addressed questions to the audience, asking them who owned HDTVs, how many had seen a standard-definition ad on an HD set and who had watched the first three seconds of a YouTube video before turning it off.

Battle with cinema owners
One member of the audience asked about resistance Mr. Cuban has gotten from cinema owners on his plan to release movies at the box office, on cable and on DVD within the same window. Mr. Cuban's idea is that theater owners could sell the DVD at the theater and get a cut of DVD revenues. Mr. Cuban defended the plan and said if movie theaters can't compete with the couch, "what business are you in?" He said Landmark, a chain of theaters he owns, is in the "date business ... we're the answer to cabin fever."

He conceded that moving to such a condensed release window could cause a reduction in the number of cinemas, but "it'd be a stronger business because of multiple revenue streams."

Bill Maher Discussion about Jesus Camp

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Tea Partay," a music video by Prep-Unit

Friday, September 22, 2006

STS-115 Object Briefing

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Technorati Profile

Are the wheels coming off The Walrus?

An flame war has begun between the Ken Alexander, the founder of the Walrus magazine and someone who calls themselves annonymous;

Who could "annonymous" be, a former employee, someone in the industry, or just a shit disturber?

The last post made by annonymous reads,

Anonymous said...

If Ken alexander is not the cowardly guy he may actuallybe then he ought to realize that falling on his sword for the sake of his magazine is the best move he could make. is he open to that possibility, if it turned out that this would be best thing possible? Or is being the walrus editor publisher president of the board, the board, most of the senior staff , the only jobs he can get?

Original LonelyGirl 15 videos on You Tube

The Lonelygirl That Really Wasn’t

The Lonelygirl That Really Wasn’t

A nearly four-month-old Internet drama in which the cryptic video musings of a fresh-faced teenager became the obsession of millions of devotees — themselves divided over the very authenticity of the videos, or who was behind them or why — appears to be in its final act.

The woman who plays Lonelygirl15 on the video-sharing site has been identified as Jessica Rose, a 20-ish resident of New Zealand and Los Angeles and a graduate of the New York Film Academy. And the whole project appears to be the early serialized version of what eventually will become a movie.

Matt Foremski, the 18-year-old son of Tom Foremski, a reporter for the blog Silicon Valley Watcher, was the first to disinter a trove of photographs of the familiar-looking actress, who portrayed the character named Bree in the videos. The episodes suggested Bree was the home-schooled daughter of strictly religious parents who was able to find the time to upload video blogs of her innermost thoughts.

The discovery and the swift and subsequent revelation of other details surrounding the perpetrators of the videos and the fake fan site that accompanied it are bringing to an end one of the Internet’s more elaborately constructed mysteries. The fans’ disbelief in Lonelygirl15 was not willingly suspended, but rather teased and toyed with. Whether they will embrace the project as a new narrative form, condemn it or simply walk away remains to be seen.

The masterminds of the Lonelygirl15 videos are Ramesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, Calif., and Miles Beckett, a doctor turned filmmaker. The high quality of the videos caused many users to suspect a script and production crew, but Bree’s bedroom scenes were shot in Mr. Flinders’s home, in his actual bedroom, typically using nothing more than a Logitech QuickCam, a Web camera that retails for about $150.

Together with Grant Steinfeld, a software engineer in San Francisco, Mr. Flinders contrived to produce and distribute the videos to pique maximum curiosity about them.

The photographs of the actress, which made it clear that Ms. Rose has been playing Bree in the videos, were cached on Google.

“We were all under N.D.A.’s” Mr. Steinfeld said, referring to non-disclosure agreements the cast — and their friends — were asked to sign to preserve the mystery of Lonelygirl15. “They had a lawyer involved,” he said. “My first impression was like, wow, can this be legitimate? Is this ethical? I was very concerned about that in the beginning.”

But after he came to understand the project, Mr. Steinfeld said, he came to believe that something truly novel was at hand. “They were like the new Marshall McLuhan.”

Mr. Flinders and Mr. Beckett obscured their location by sending e-mail messages as Bree from various Internet computer addresses, including the address of Creative Artists Agency, the Beverly Hills talent agency where the team is now represented. Amanda Solomon Goodfried, an assistant at the agency, is believed to have helped Mr. Flinders and Mr. Beckett conceal their identities. Moreover, Ms. Goodfried’s father-in-law, Kenneth Goodfried, a lawyer in Encino, filed to trademark “Lonelygirl15” in August.

The story of how Mr. Flinders, Mr. Beckett and Ms. Rose were discovered in spite of their efforts to hide, and prolong the mystery, sheds light on the nature of online wiki-style investigations and manhunts. When Mr. Steinfeld’s dummy site, which had been set up before the first Lonelygirl15 video was even posted, struck users as suspicious and unsupervised — Mr. Steinfeld says he grew tired of running it, and dropped out of the project — fans set up their own site devoted to Lonelygirl15, which soon attracted more than a thousand members.

Both sites drew contributions from novelists, journalists, academics, day traders, lawyers, bloggers, filmmakers, video game designers, students, housewives, bored youngsters and experts on religion and botany. In the cacophony of conjecture, analysis, close-readings, jokes, insults, and distractions, good information sometimes surfaced.

Last month, a Lonelygirl15 fan discovered and posted a trademark application by Mr. Goodfried, which seemed to prove that the videos, which presented themselves as nothing but a video diary, were at least in part a commercial venture. Then, last week, three tech-savvy fans, working together, set up a sting on the e-mail being used by “Bree”; the operation revealed to them the I.P. address of Creative Artists Agency.

On the strength of this information, Mr. Foremski was confident he could find some trace of Bree on the Internet. He was sure that any participant in a semiprofessional production like Lonelygirl15 would have posted pictures somewhere. Sure enough, they had.

Mr. Steinfeld, on learning that Mr. Flinders and Mr. Beckett had been found out, offered his photographs of Ms. Rose as proof of his involvement in the Lonelygirl15 videos. He had been hired to take the pictures on the set at the start of shooting.

The series, which Mr. Flinders and Mr. Beckett plan to continue on a site overseen by them, may play differently with fans now that they know for sure that Bree is an actress. Part of the appeal of the series was that the serious-minded, literate Bree offered an unbeatable fantasy: a beautiful girl who techy guys had something in common with.

On learning that Ms. Rose was an actress whose interests, unlike the scientific and religious issues that fascinated Bree, ran to parties and posing, one fan wrote, “Very cute, but she’s really not into Feynmann and Jared Diamond! (I’m heart-broken ...But a wonderful actress, had me fooled into thinking she was a geek like me.)”

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Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


[murmur] is an archival audio project that collects and curates stories set in specific Toronto locations, told by Torontonians themselves. At each of these locations, a [murmur] sign with a telephone number and location code marks where stories are available. By using a mobile phone, users are able to listen to the story of that place while engaging in the physical experience of being there. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.

[murmur] believes interesting things don't just happen at the Rogers Centre and Nathan Phillips Square -- the city is full of stories, and some of them happen in parking lots and bungalows, diners and front lawns. The smallest, greyest or most nondescript building can be transformed by the stories that live in it. Once heard, these stories can change the way people think about that place and the city at large. These are the stories that make up Toronto's identity, but they're kept inside of the heads of the people who live here. [murmur] brings that important archive out onto the streets, for all to hear and experience, and is always looking for new stories to add to it's existing locations.

[murmur] was first established in Toronto's Kensington Market in 2003. That same year projects were launched in Vancouver's Chinatown and along St. Laurent Boulevard in Montreal. In 2004 [murmur] spread north from Kensington to the Annex neighbourhood and also established a site at The Drake Hotel. This year [murmur] will, as part of the City of Toronto's " Culture Capital" program, collect stories along Spadina from Bloor down to Queens Quay and will launch in October 2005.

[murmur] was initially developed with the assistance of the Canadian Film Centre, Habitat New Media Lab.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

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