Had another conversation with Blackbeard about the state of the online P2P world. He mentioned an interesting development with some pre-release movies. Movie companies send out 'pre-release' DVD-quality copies of movies out to a select group of people for the purposes of awards consideration. For a while now the movie companies have had a problem with members of this select group ripping the DVD and compressing it with DivX and then putting it on KaZaA. Often the only difference between this copy and the copy that will eventually be released on DVD is that the pre-release copy has a text message appear at the bottom of the movie that appears every 10 minutes or so that says "For Awards Consideration Only" etc. This level of degrading the movie was acceptable to the sharing community and few cared that the message appeared. Lately though, a new tactic has been seen. Instead of just having a message, the movie actually degrades to black and white for about 2 minutes every 15 minutes or so. The colour data is just gone. Removed. Interesting. I think the movie companies are on to something with this. As far as awards consideration goes one should still be able to properly evaluate the movie, but from a movie-traders point of view the movie is now only marginally more tradeable than a hand-held camera theater capture. This doesn't of course address the ripping and sharing of undegraded DVDs after they are officially released, but this should help with the pre-release crowd. Many people if given the option to spend $10 to see a movie, or watch it for free will choose the free version. But, if the 'free' version has been degraded to the point where it isn't enjoyable to watch anymore then many people would rather opt for the $10 version. The trick will be finding that perfect threshold of degradation.
June 2003 Archives
Mr. Cringely, in his latest article at pbs.org, explains how homes are demanding more and more Internet bandwidth whereas businesses can usually get by with the same amount they had 5 years ago. Where is this bandwidth going to come from?
Fortunately, there is at least one solution to this problem, which I will share with you next week.Hmm... perhaps data through the power grid?
Amusing quote from the movie Donnie Darko.
Girl 1: Beth's mom said the boys locker room is flooded and they found feces everywhere.
Girl 2: What are feces?
Girl 1: Baby mice.
Girl 2: Awwww!
A friend of a friend (of a friend), let's call him Blackbeard, is an avid user of KaZaA [Lite] -- the infamous peer-to-peer file sharing software. He recently came across this article that says this:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.Blackbeard just about dropped a load upon reading this. But then after some careful thought realized he had nothing to fear. Downloading music is so... Napster. So... 2000. He hadn't traded music for over a year. DVD ripped, DivX and MP3 encoded, high-resolution, dual-CD Movies are where it's at. Duh.
Why do mirrors reflect left-to-right, but not up-and-down? I mean, they're mirrors right? How do they know?
Alright. I saw it again. After some discussions and the reading of other's opinions, I decided I needed to see it again. If you haven't seen it, then I possibly suggest stopping reading now. Mind you, I'm not going to walk through the plot but instead just point out some random points of interest. I didn't get it the first time I saw it. I'll admit that. I blinked a few too many times, didn't catch a phrase of explanation, then swam through the oblivion of one-off movie watching. I got it the second time. I am now looking forward to the third movie. Specific parts I didn't get in the first viewing:
- The whole 'Agent-Smith in the real world' think went right over my head. The way the introduce this concept is when you see Agent Smith taking over some guys body right before he exits the matrix through the phone. Remember that scene? Because of the way the filmed it, I thought it was only Neo's dream sequence... Agent Smith downloads... Neo sits upright in bed all surprised. Next time we see that guy that is also Agent Smith he is holding a knife and stalking Neo and crew as they leave. His plan is foiled by the annoying twerp bringing Neo the 'There Is No Spoon' artifact. Check out the Animatrix if you want to find where the twerp actually came from. Next we see him urging a Captain to volunteer his ship to go after the Nebuchadnezzar. The Captain refuses. Next we see him in the stunning climax UPSIDE DOWN lying with Neo unconscious. Like what the hell? Even if you were completely clued in to have caught the previous three appearances of this guy, do we really know the character of his face well enough to recognize it upside down? I think not. I certain didn't. The 5 other people I was with at the time didn't either. We all embarrassingly admitted to each other that we had no idea who that guy was. So, in summary, the whole progression of Agent Smith in the Real World went over my head the first time I saw the movie.
- Zion didn't fall! I was completely under the impression that Zion was now gone.. and that the Sentinels had burrowed their way all the way there. It isn't so. They were getting close, some ships had been sent to intercept in a surprise attack, someone (we must assume RealWorldAgentSmith) triggered an EMP prematurely and the surprise attack turned into a massacre. The sentinels had not reached Zion yet.
- The Oracle's and the Architect's ramblings. You gotta listen to what they say. They really do outline a whole bunch of interesting things. I missed a good chunk the first time I saw it and paid for it with a complete lack of understanding as to how the overall trilogy was progressing. Even if you pay attention there is stuff that the Architect says that is confusing and ambiguous.. but I now believe that it is supposed to be :)
- The consequences of Neo's decision when talking to the Architect weren't very clear to me the first time. Two doors.. lots of TVs.. mentions of 6 Neos... mother and father of the Matrix.. blah blah blah. Choose a door already!
Whenever I hear the phrase 'certified pre-owned' in reference to a vehicle it brings to mind an inspector with a clipboard leaning his head in a car window and taking in the food stains on the back seat, the missing knobs on the radio, the fraying seatbelts that don't retract and then he stands up, makes an exaggerated checkmark on his clipboard and exclaims: "Yup -- It's pre-owned!".