Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category
This is a big day for announcements.
First, IBM announced a record 6,478 patents in 2012, patents for inventions that will enable fundamental advancements across key domains that includes analytics, big data, cybersecurity, cloud, mobile, social networking, as well as industry solutions like retail, banking, healthcare, and transportations.
These patented inventions also will advance a major shift in computing, known as the era of cognitive systems.
This is the 20th consecutive year that IBM topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients.
Ginny Rometty, IBM’s chairman and CEO, had this to say about the milestone:
“We are proud of this new benchmark in technological and scientific creativity, which grows out of IBM’s century-long commitment to research and development. Most concretely, our 2012 patent record and the two decades of leadership it extends are a testament to thousands of brilliant IBM inventors — the living embodiments of our devotion to innovation that matters, for our clients, for our company and for the world.”
IBM’s record-setting 2012 patent tally was made possible by more than 8,000 IBM inventors residing in 46 different U.S. states and 35 countries. IBM inventors residing outside the U.S. contributed to nearly 30% of the company’s 2012 U.S. patent output.
There was also an early morning announcement from Los Angeles, this year’s Academy Award nominees.
There was another long slate of Best Film nominees, including Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.
I’ve seen five of the nine, which puts me well ahead of where I am most years in terms of what films I have and haven’t seen.
Best Actor nominations were led by Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln and Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook. If you’ve seen Lincoln, it’s hard to see how the Best Actor Oscar doesn’t go do DDL.
On the Best Actress front, the nominations were led by Juillard-trained Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. But don’t rule out Emmanualle Riva for Amour, or the chamelon-like Naomi Watts in The Impossible. In a crazy year, Quvenzhane Wallis could even walk away with the Oscar for her crazy good performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of the most unique, imaginative films I’ve seen in years.
Quentin Tarantino got a nomination for Django Unchained in the Best Original Screenplay category, but I think that one is there for the taking by Mark Boal, screenwriter for Zero Dark Thirty.
Congrats to all this year’s nominees. As a big movie fan myself, looking at that slate of Best Pic nominees, you realize what a strong movie year it’s been.
Finally, on the topic of movies, if you’re a big movie fan, check out Stephen Rodrick’s piece in The New York Times magazine about the trials and tribulations renowned screenwriter-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Affliction, et al.) had financing and making his new film, The Canyons, which stars that ever-intemperate actress Lindsay Lohan.
Meanwhile, below I’ve included a nice video clip summarizing IBM’s 20 successive years of patent leadership, and you can learn more about IBM’s patent efforts on our Tumblr site.
The Interwebs platform wars continue to escalate.
Not days after I read Ken Auletta’s fine New Yorker piece on the U.S. antitrust suit against Apple and several book publishers for alleged price fixing — a scheme that clearly had Amazon and its Kindle Fire in its gunsights — do we discover that Amazon is working with Foxconn on its own mobile mousetrap, one that, like the Fire, would presumably provide easy access to all kinds of compelling content from Amazon’s vast cloud of digital entertainment.
Books, movies, gaming apps…Amazon’s play suggests that the Internet industry is moving into the razor/razorblade club, with the devices being the razors, and the razorblades being all that vast digital content.
I, personally, mostly don’t care which razor I use. I’ve owned tablets and smartphones both Android and iOS now, and most recently have given a Kindle (not the Fire) a test drive.
The most important element for me in the digital content wars are the depth and sophistication of the content libraries themselves.
That is to say, help me move beyond Amazon and Apples’ 57 Channels On Demand and Nothing On!
Amazon’s bookstore, of course, has virtually the world’s book population at your disposal, so no complaints when it comes to reading (although I do agree we need healthy, competitive alternatives to the Amazon reading ecosystem).
But when I go into my Amazon Prime movie library, which lets me watch some movies for free with my Prime subscription, it’s like dragging the bottom of the movie barrel.
To some degree, I see the same problem with Netflix, although Netflix has seemed to have worked more diligently to expand its library. Amazon Prime, on the other hand, just added a bunch of new episodes of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line.”
Woo hoo, where do I renew my subscription??!
The cloud providers may be lining to try and lock in as many denizens as they can via their device and subscription services, but the form factor is less important than the catalog function.
What’s kept me from cutting my own cord on the TV is the fact that the Netflix’s and Amazons of the world don’t have enough diversity of content (never mind live event access to major sporting events, which for my money are msotly worth the high cost of monthly cable subscriptions alone).
So if the Apples and Googles and Amazons really want to move these markets, they need to quickly hire some sophisticated business development executives and hard-driving attorneys who can make some negotiation headway in the hills of Hollywood’s film libraries rather than try to draw lines around the device footprints.
It’s never about the razors, always about the razorblades.
We lost a great writer with the passing of Nora Ephron.
Judging from all the accounts of those who knew her, we also lost a great human being.
I did not know her, but I knew her work. Anyone who followed American cinema over the past three decades, how could they not?
Starting with the anti-love love story (about love, and Ephron’s love for New York City), “When Harry Met Sally,” when both Harry and Sally decided they couldn’t just be friends after all…“You’ve Got Mail,” the first movie that presciently understood love in the late 20th cyber century…“Julie and Julia,” which brilliantly bridged time and space, juxtaposing a young female blogger in Queens in the early oughts struggling to follow her life’s passion with Julia Childs bushwhacking her way through male-dominated culinarydom in Paris in the 1950s.
What I liked most about Ephron’s writing was her humor. But I also liked that she challenged accepted and conventional wisdom about women and humanity in general…and threw most of that conventional wisdom right out the window.
She understood their were universalities that underscored us all — men, women, children, — and made us all seem more like one, despite all our supposed differences. She could also brilliantly underscore those universals with her fantastic humor, humor that highlighted our common humanity and sometimes made seem so frail, but stubbornly persistent, our human condition.
But she wasn’t always about funny. 1983’s “Silkwood,” much of which was shot at the then new Las Colinas film studios near Dallas, demonstrated Ephron’s knack for serious storytelling, revealing the story of Karen Silkwood, an Oklahoma nuclear plant employee whistleblower (played brilliantly by Meryl Streep) who disappeared under suspicious circumstances before she could arrive for a New York Times interview. It was a serious movie about some very serious and relevant issues, and paved the way for later whistleblowing films like “The Insider.”
Or “Heartburn,” which laid bare the thorny thistles underlying marriage, again with Meryl Streep playing her alter ego to Ephron’s former husband Carl Bernstein (played devilishly by Jack Nicholson), with Ephron falling in love with the insider Washington columnist despite her (valid) fears about marriage, only to find him living a double life with another woman (John Edwards, anyone?).
No, I didn’t know Nora Ephron. But for the last thirty years, I did know her work, much of which still makes me chuckle years later. That’s a rare talent, especially these days.
I don’t know what it exactly what it was that Ephron had…but I’d like to have just a little bit of it nonetheless.
I picked a heckuva week to travel up to Boston. I arrived the same day as the Boston Marathon, and apparently, the weather this year for the run was “hellish.” In fact, I met a guy on the rental car shuttle bus who had just run the marathon, and he explained all he wanted was a beer, he was SO sick of drinking Gatorade to stay hydrated during the race.
But also this week, we’re witnessing the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, one of the classic old baseball parks and home to the 7 time World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
No sooner do I arrive in Boston than I start reading that former Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is stirring up agita amidst the player ranks in Boston — ah, we miss you down in Texas, Bobby.
I’m expecting to attend the Rangers/Red Sox game this evening at Fenway, my first time there. I’ll be the crazy Texan along the third base line wearing the cowboy hat (not really).
Now, out in viva Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters show has kicked off. As part of the festivities, IBM just released a new IBM study of the media and entertainment market, which reveals that as consumers adopt an increasing number of digital devices, four distinct new “digital personalities” are emerging.
Think Sybil for iPad users!
This shift, in turn, is compelling companies to adopt more innovative business models that deliver personalized experiences.
Here’s some details behind the study: First, not all these folks are college students, contrary to popular belief. Sixty-five percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 report surfing the Web and texting with friends while watching TV. Take that, young whippersnappers.
Eighty-two percent of surveyed global consumers aged 18 to 64 embracing connected digital devices. And more than 50 percent of consumers in China and the United States are moving away from traditional forms of media and using online sources for breaking news.
The New Personalities: Instant, Efficient, And Social
With the growth of digital devices, one-way communication and distribution of content is no longer enough. Connected consumers these days are demanding instant access to personalized content on their own terms. These new “personalities” look as follows:
- Efficiency Experts: With 41 percent in this category, these respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.
- Content Kings: Are generally male consumers, who frequently play online games, download movies and music, and watch TV online. This audience represents 9 percent of the global sample.
- Social Butterflies: Place emphasis on social interaction – they require instant access to friends, regardless of time or place. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed reported they frequently maintain and update social networking sites, add labels or tags to online photos, and view videos from other users.
- Connected Maestros: 35 percent of those surveyed take a more advanced approach to media consumption by using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.
“Media companies need to engage with consumers based on their digital personalities, if they are going to maintain a sustainable and connected relationship, said Saul Berman, Global Strategy Consulting Leader, IBM Global Business Services, and co-author of the study. “With the mass infiltration of digital devices, organizations can now enhance, extend or redefine the customer experience within minutes due to a steady stream of real-time data via social media. Future success is dependent upon successfully executing on insights based on this data, to reach the right consumer, at the right time and place, using the right tools.”
According to the IBM study, media and entertainment companies’ payment infrastructures need to be flexible and scalable to allow a variety of innovative pricing approaches to attract consumers with different preferences to their content.
The need for payment option flexibility, even for the same set of consumers, is apparent by looking at those most active in adopting new devices.
This group’s preferred mode of payment to watch a movie on a website is by viewing advertising that is included with the movie (39 percent of this segment chose this option), while they prefer to see movies on a tablet by purchasing a subscription (chosen by 36 percent). But to watch movies on a smart phone, they prefer to pay per use (the payment choice of 36 percent).
IBM surveyed 3,800 consumers in six countries – China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States for this study, and also met with global representatives in broadcasting, publishing, as well as media service agencies, and telecommunication providers, to evaluate digital consumption behaviors.
You can register to download the full report here.
I decided to try my luck last night watching “Luck,” the new Michael Mann directed, David Milch produced HBO series about the sport of horse racing.
If you’re not familiar with David Milch’s work, you’re missing some of the best TV ever: “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” “Deadwood,” “Brooklyn South.” “Deadwood” has to be one of my all-time faves.
So Milch’s foray into horse racing, it turns out, wasn’t simply a fictional exercise. He’s also been a race horse owner himself.
The first episode, like a good long 1 1/4 mile race, got off to a slow start, but by the end of the episode you could see some momentum building.
We’ll see how the race for ratings for “Luck” pans out in the weeks ahead.
In the meantime, PGA golfer Kyle Stanley simply ran out of luck, or skill, or something at the Farmers Insurance tournament at Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA).
They were playing the South course over the weekend, one of my faves, and Stanley strutted into the 18th hole in his last round with a three stroke lead over Tennessean Brant Snedeker.
However, Stanley’s luck faded when he hit what seemed like a beauty of a shot over the water and behind the pin on the par 5 18th. However, the English he put on the ball spun it all the way back to the edge of the green and into the water.
Stanley then hit is now 5th shot into the green, and three putted for an 8, bringing Snedeker back into the tournament in a playoff that took them both back to the tee at 18. They tied on the first playoff hole, so they returned to the par 3 16th, where Snedeker sent his tee shot over the green next to the TV tower. He got a good drop (actually, a placement), and proceeded to chip within 6 feet. No gimme, but a makable turning putt.
Stanley plopped his tee shot onto the short side of the green, then put his putt also within 5 or 6 feet. Snedeker was ruled out, and in his ever impatient style, dropped his putt directly into the cup. Stanley, however, slid his putt past the hole, and it was painful to watch him realize a tournament that was his wire-to-wire, had suddenly dropped beyond his grasp.
If that’s the kind of drama we’re going to see in week 4 of the 2012 PGA Tour, then I can’t wait for next week…and to find out who else’s luck might run out!
Scott Laningham and I, having entirely too much time to ourselves over the holidays to ponder all things technology, spent a good 26 minutes one late December day discussing likely future tech trends: Everything from the absurdity of code names for mobile operating systems to our having our own technology reality TV show someday — but one in which nobody could give Scott and I a rose.
That just simply wouldn’t be appropriate.
I also provide a shout out to the IBM Connections event, which starts a week from today in lovely Orlando, Florida. It’s not too late to register for it, and for Lotusphere. Go here to learn more.
I’ll be arriving in Orlando early Sunday evening and plan on bringing all the blogging coverage my little Turbo hands can handle (And Scott assures me in the video below he’ll do some remote podcasting, since he won’t be there live and in person. Make sure you provide some comments and try to hold him to it!)