John

Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

Democratise Me!

In Online, Videos on February 28, 2007 at 9:09 am

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There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the latest Open Source video player, Democracy, and though I’ve only started using it today, it looks fantastically good. I used to think that the VLC media player was a pretty decent open-source media player that practically plays every video format (and it still is decent, considering it costs nothing and is waaaay better than the bloated Windows Media Player).

Democracy, which is coded by Participatory Culture Foundation, a renegade nonprofit code shop, incorporates that ability to play Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID–which really encompasses most media formats on the web–but what makes it awesome is its built-in RSS feed aggregator, lets you download in the background through BitTorrent, and there’s a query box that searches for YouTube videos. Wired Magazine is already building up the hype by calling it the future of Net Video. I’ll leave that judgment up to you, but it sure as hell looks good.

Try it. It’s free for download here.

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Presenting: Rehab Britney

In Celebrity on February 28, 2007 at 6:48 am

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The first story I dugg this morning was this fluffy little piece on the new Britney Spears doll. Hey, what can I say–I love celebrity trash like this once in a while. That, and anything involving Scarlett Johansson in a bikini. Besides, who would’ve imagined that 5 years ago something like this would’ve come up? I guess this comes to show how the nature of celebrity is changing; worshipping them was sooooo Spice Girls era. Oh, and just so you can get to know more dirt on BS, here’s a little news that says she was into threesomes (the good kind–two girls).

Right. That’s enough celebrity news for now. I feel dumber already.

Don’t you wish your teacher was as cool as this?

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2007 at 6:37 am

It all started out last week, when I came across this picture that made me laugh out loud:

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And digging out for more silly test result pictures, I came across more pictures which made me think of how cool some teachers can be. If I ever pulled any of this nonsense during my A-Levels Maths class, I’d have my nipples pinched till they were purple. Not that my nipples serve any function, but still, I’d like to keep them. If I had to sacrifice my nipples, it’s going to be something more than just pulling off stunts like this that I found on Flickr

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The closest I came to a teacher as cool as the one below was my Bio teacher in A-Levels, Mrs. Ong, who drew rabbits being killed by Elmer Fudd on the whiteboard.

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And goodness knows how many countless times I wanted to do this during my Chemistry and Square Inequalities classes:

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Big Movie News! JJ Abrams to direct Star Trek, James Cameron says Jesus is fake, and JLA: The Movie

In Movies on February 26, 2007 at 10:42 am

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For some strange reason or other, today I found out that this blog has a total of 16 (!) hits a couple of days back, and none of them came from me. So apparently at least someone must be reading it. Although I hope it’s more than one person because if it is, then I have to apologise to what must be a most disappointed blog-stalker.

Anyways. To those of you who do read it, you’re probably in the geek community, so you’ll be pleased to know that there was a crap load of movie news over the past couple of days that didn’t involve the Oscars. Most of them involves women in tights/female nudity of some sort, so here goes the movie roundup.

1) Star Trek is still alive, or so says JJ Abrams, who will be directing Star Trek XI. According to Firstshowing.net, “The reports say that the deal with Abrams was officially signed just last Friday. Also part of the rumor mill for this film is that Matt Damon was supposedly going to play Captain Kirk, but that rumor has since been debunked and just about every other male actor has been rumored to be in the talks for either Kirk or Spock as well.” My suggestion for Captain Kirk? Steve Carrell. Now that would be awesome.

2) James Cameron, the director of such fantasies such as Titanic, plans to debunk Christianity is his next documentary. According to Time, this documentary will see Cameron as producer, with director Simcha Jacobovici examining the claim “that Jesus wasn’t resurrected –the cornerstone of Christian faith– and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.” Sounds like a publicity generating documentary that won’t have much conclusive evidence. Watch the trailer and have your fill.

3) Justice League of America: The Movie. Dude. Wonder. Woman. Batman. Superman. AWESSSOOMMME!

4) Hostel Part 2 movie poster that was banned. I’m not a particularly big fan of this hack-n-slash film, but I do like the movie poster. Gruesome and sexist. FYI, the storyline for the sequel involves three women who stumble upon the Slovakian hostel. One of the women is Bijou Philips (pictured below).

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5) Random screen cap from Blades of Glory where Jenna Fischer (the secretary from the US version of The Office) plays a prostitute. Always had a thing for Jenna. She’s hot. So there.

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123, ABCs, and the big losers are…

In magazines on February 23, 2007 at 1:13 pm

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I’ve decided to start blogging again in a desperate bid to revive a flagging blog so that I won’t be lumped into the category of “failed blogger”, which, when you come to think of it, is rock bottom as far as ambitions go, considering a good few million others have their own blogs. On the personal front, I’ve finally kicked off my column for KLue magazine, entitled “Borak” and in it I basically rant on about whatever’s being talked about during lunch/dinner/mamak. The first column was about the duplicitous nature of magazines (KLue 100) and the second one, due out in March, is about my love affair with Pop music, and a small dig at Hannah T’s rebranding effort as she enters the pop arena. Will post the unedited versions up in a couple of days.

In the meantime, what got me all hot and bothered again was the recent release of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures in the British mag industry, and the biggest losers turned out to be the lads’ mag category. FHM, the market leader, has every reason to press the panic button after seeing its circulation figures plummet a whopping 25.9% year on year to sell an average 371,263 copies each month. This, from a magazine that used to sell over 600,000 copies just barely a couple of years before. And turns out that Emap has pushed the panic button. Editor Ross Brown has been removed from his position after 10 years, to be replaced by Anthony Noguera. Arena, Emap’s high-end quality men’s mag, also suffered, dipping nearly 30%, and its editor was also sacked (or rather “reassigned to special projects”) .

Said Rob Munro-Hall, managing director of FHM, Zoo and Arena: “Emap continues to dominate the men’s lifestyle magazine market with the biggest and best portfolio on offer. FHM, Zoo and Arena are all successful multiplatform international brands, and primed for further growth given their unique understanding of their respective consumers and advertisers.” Which, when translated, basically means: LALALALLALALALALALALA.

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The fact that GQ and Men’s Health were one of the few rare ones to buck the trend (though in very small increments of 1%) tells me how, since the introduction of the internet as a significant part of the media diet, the media is fragmenting, and the type of content determines what magazines will succeed and which won’t. FHM has always pushed the edge when it comes to its pictures, and its no big secret that it has evolved into pornography. Tit counts are high, nudity is no longer a stranger on the cover, and you don’t have to peek through a lacy bra to see some nipple action. The problem is, though, that when it comes to porn, the internet beats the monkey crap out of magazines. Whereas FHM can only show pictures of nude women, which, on the internet, is soooo 2000, dahrling. Sex tapes are abundant on the ‘net, and nudity in movie format are legion. So who wants to stare at a picture when they can download all these Girls Gone Wild videos for free? What made FHM’s value depreciate further was its switch from focusing on celebrities to its “Girl Next Door” approach, which, although boosted lagging sales, has backfired on them because the prevalence of these amateur porn is exponentially even more on the ‘net than a Paris Hilton sex tape.

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So, really, this sorta juvenile, lads’ material won’t live for long in magazines. Men’s weeklies like Zoo and Nuts, once heralded as a genius product, have suffered catastrophic dips, and I don’t see it coming back because their content is not dissimilar from the porn you get while surfing. Hell, the rumours are rife that even Felix Dennis is planning to sell of Maxim, the leader of the men’s mag market in the US. If you want proof of how new media trumps over old media in the lad’s mag department, scoot on over to Dennis’s purely online magazine, Monkeymag–it’s pure genius, and it’s got the figures to back it up: the average number of Monkey’s weekly editions opened in January was 209,612, and steadily rising. It’s not hard to see why: it incorporates all the web can do that mags can’t–movies, youtube, cut-n-paste–and in doing so, gives the “readers” what they want: nude women in action. Guys don’t want to read about how hot Sienna Miller and Jamie King are in sex scenes. We wanna SEE.

So, which leads me back to why GQ and Men’s Health are still on course: it’s all about the type of content. Magazines, and print media, aren’t dead, and won’t die in my lifetime. And that’s because magazines hold an advantage over the ‘net in that you don’t have to start your friggin’ computer up to read an article, more so when it’s a long-assed, 3000-word feature that you’d feel more comfortable reading while lounging around in the sofa with a nice cuppa. That’s the type of quality journalism like GQ and Men’s Health does, and it suits the medium. Coupled that with high-class, glossy-mag photo shoots that aren’t pornographic and not easily available (or easily substituted by any other amateur porn), and hey, you’ve got a winner.

Like John C. Dvorak said on TWiT 88, print media can’t simply whine about how circulation figures are dropping and blaming it on the ‘net for the downfall of their mag/newspaper. They’ve got to up and change their game, improve on the content in which print media trumps over the web. That means giving the reader a more compelling reason to own a magazine in providing better journalism, better pictures, and less porn ‘n’ gossip that anyone can pick up on the ‘net. So yeah, that’s what my hunch for the mag biz is heading to in the next 5 years. It’ll be interesting to see how these two medias will adapt to each other.