Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘movies

Patents And Oscars

with one comment

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.

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

The Netflix Identity Crisis

with 5 comments

I got the most extraordinary email earlier today, from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix.

The email is also posted on The Netflix Blog, if you want to go and read it in its entirety.

Upon the heels of Netflix’s announced price increases, which went over with many Netflix customers like a ton of bricks, Hastings is now announcing that Netflix is going to become the “Sybil” of video delivery services, online and off.

That is to say, Netflix as we know it shall be no more.  The Netflix you used to know — you know, the one that delivered DVDs for years and helped close a few thousand Blockbuster stores — well, they’re now going to be called “Qwikster.”

I know, they clearly don’t have a corporate naming department over there at Netflix…err, Qwikster.

From here on out, Hastings explained, Qwikster will do the DVD deliveries.

Netflix, which used to do DVD deliveries, is no longer going to do deliveries, because they’re going to be the streaming part of the former Netflix.

The new Netflix is the same as the old Netflix, minus that key part of DVD deliveries, which apparently is no longer key.

Ya got all that?

Now, let me just say this: I’m a HUGE fan of Netflix and/or Qwikster.  I’m more a fan of the new Netflix than I am the old, meaning I prefer the online streaming delivery model to the USPS model.

However, there’s one big issue with this move: The better content library seems to be in the Qwikster part of the business, which is exactly the opposite of the way it should be.

The streaming delivery model should be the core of the Netflix model, but everytime I go to Netflix online, I struggle to find new and/or interesting titles that have at least a three star rating (I’ve found that’s the minimal threshold for watching movies on Netflix).

In fact, I’ve been watching mostly foreign films (which I have no problem watching whatsoever) lately, because the Netflix library is much deeper with foreign distributors than American ones (read: Hollywood ones).

And therein lies the real problem. Hollywood is still scared to death of being “Napsterized.”  They want control of their content, come hell or highwater.  And the early deals they stuck with Netflix were made when streaming was still a novelty.

Well, those days are over.  Streaming has grown up: It’s convenient, it’s immediate, and it’s a huge business opportunity, for the Hollywood studios as well as filmmakers around the globe.

There’s no stopping it, not even with Netflix’s latest branding identity crisis.  The big question that remains is, who of the big movie industry players is going to step up and make a deal.  A BIG deal, one that offers a deep and wide movie library that benefits consumers, but identifies a business model that can work for the studios and the Netflix/Qwiksters.

Because if THEY don’t, someone is going to.  Or not.  And then the so-called “Napsterization” of Hollywood will make what happened to the music industry seem like “The Bad News Bears” meets “Moneyball.”

Ultimately, avid movie fans like myself want just a handful of small things, none of which seem too much to ask: a robust library of movie choices at reasonable prices delivered the way we prefer.  Again, let me mention that we’re willing to pay for it!

Increasingly, that channel is going to be via streaming, and no amount of putting-head-under-the-sand by Hollywood studios is going to alter that direction.

Despite all the consumer hysteria about this change that’s already bubbling up across the Blogosphere, I have to say, that probably is the best and most valuable lesson from this whole endeavor: The fact that Hastings made his announcement in a letter he sent out to customers via email and posted on the Netflix blog.

His customers, according to the comments section, are mostly not in favor of this move.  But what’s different is: Hastings and his team are given his customers a direct vehicle response to the message he delivered to them.

Only time will tell whether or not Hastings and team heard them.

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Turbo Finds His Avatar

leave a comment »

Ho Ho Ho.

Happy holidays.

First off, if you’d prefer to listen to the Turbo “Stuff I Like and Hate” from the 2009 post that I wrote the other day (rather than read it), I wrapped it up in a podcast edition and thank my fellow collaborator Scott Laningham for pulling it together.

Meanwhile, I finally got myself out to the multiplex to see “Avatar.”

I was gonna check it out while out in Utah, but decided to ski that last day instead and also to let the first few days’ crowds go down.

All I can say now having seen it is “wow.”  Big frickin’ wow.

What a gorgeous and mind blowing movie!

I mean, talk about being transported to another world.  Literally.

I don’t think I’d actually ever seen a 3D movie until now (go figure), so that would be my first suggestion, see it in 3D.  It’s too gorgeous and complex NOT to see it the way the filmmaker intended you to see it.

Second, I would suggest you go ahead and pay the extra to see it at an IMAX.  I may even come back and see it again at an IMAX, it’s such a visual feast.

I don’t think James Cameron needs to worry about making back his $230M for that reason alone (repeat visits).

I’m not going to give much else away about the movie, but will say that I liked the storyline as well as the visual feast.

From this viewer’s perspective, “Avatar” lived up to the hype and then some.

I stumbled upon this article from Data Center Knowledge which explained the horsepower that was required by Weta Digital to do the renderings of Pandora.

According to the article, it consisted of a 10,000 square foot server farm with much of the movie processed on 4,000 HP BL2x220c blades.

Thirty four racks made of 32 machines each with 40,000 processors and 104 terabytes of memory.  All water cooled on Rittal racks (there was too much heat for standard raised floor and forced-air cooling).

So, Avatar is hot hot hot (and hot to make), and now I can’t wait to see the X-Box and Playstation games of that gorgeous digital world.

That’s the third time I’ve used the word “gorgeous” in this post, I know, but that’s exactly what Pandora was.

Thanks for the Christmas gift, Mr. Cameron.  You continue to raise the bar for your fellow filmmakers and to transport your audiences to parts unknown.

Written by turbotodd

December 23, 2009 at 11:10 pm

%d bloggers like this: