I Wanna Be William Shatner's Pet Monkey!
September 6th, 2006 5:49PM
Well, in case you haven't heard, William Shatner has started a DVD club, and is hiring a
spokesman. The lucky guy/gal gets chosen via an online competition, and I figured I'd
give it a shot. I've submitted an application, and it's a little sappy, but for someone who
loves science fiction as much as I do, that's unavoidable.
Take a look, and vote if you like. I'd really appreciate it! :-)
July 4th, 2005 5:53PM
So, I went in to work today. Yes, on the Fourth of July. I didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter, but I really didn’t mind, either. My company held a little cookout behind the building, and I enjoyed a nice, relaxing on-the-clock lunch of burgers, potato salad, Doritos, deviled eggs, and cake. The big-screen TV was tuned in to ESPN.
What I saw this afternoon was beyond description. Perhaps this is old news to many of you, but allow me to explain for the benefit of others who were in the dark. Instead of baseball, football, hockey, or even NASCAR, ESPN was showing a hot-dog-eating contest. The goal of which was, of course, to eat as many franks as one can in twelve minutes. They actually showed this, on TV, on a network dedicated to sports programming, and labeled the participants as “athletes.” Cable TV and competitive sports have officially reached the point where the ability to consume 16 pounds of questionable meat is as admirable as an archer’s aim or a runningback’s quick feet.
Even still, I don’t think Independence Day is a day to be cynical. It’s one day we should all just drop the politics and soapboxing and just be thankful for what we’ve made for ourselves. Looking at this from another angle: here I am, getting paid to sit and eat greaseburgers and chips, and follow it up with carbonated sugar water and cake. On top of that, I’m provided with the image of people wolfing down dozens of hot dogs at a time, thus preventing me from ever feeling bad about anything I could ever eat! GOD BLESS AMERICA! Pass me another cheeseburger.
I Want to Stop Poverty Too, But...
July 2nd, 2005 8:42PM
... am I the only person who thinks "Live 8" will wind up being as exciting as "Woodstock '94"?
Aaron's Adventures in Tech Terms
June 18th, 2005 9:45PM
Today's Blog has been brought to you by the letter "K" and the number "2".
Here at DVD Verdict, many of us judges can be sticklers for accuracy and correctness. Given how much time we spend behind the keyboard, it’s certainly to the benefit of our readers that we strive to communicate facts clearly and simply. We’ve been known to react harshly to poor grammar or misused terms. Sometimes, however it seems unavoidable, especially in the ever-changing world of technology.
Case in point: last night, I was looking at cameras with some colleagues, discussing the benefits of Digital SLR cameras. I mentioned that SLR was an acronym for Single Lens Reflex, which in film terms, meant that the camera’s eyepiece and the film are exposed through the same lens, and the photographer can see exactly what the camera sees. He then pointed out that, in the digital realm, all cameras showed exactly what the lens saw… so, does that make all digital cameras SLRs? Well, of course not, but by definition, he was right. So now, SLR (in the digital realm) has been adapted to mean any high-end camera with interchangeable lenses… though it doesn’t fit the original definition of SLR at all.
What we’re seeing is language being re-worked to fit new needs, yet it remains unchanged on a literal level until it’s no longer even remotely accurate. Technology abounds with such things, here are some more examples:
* Rewind—how often do you try to “rewind” a DVD? Why? There’s nothing to wind. A disc spins, that’s it. Some DVD players have named this function “Reverse Scan,” a much more accurate term, yet still, I think people will be “rewinding” DVDs or years to come.
* Digital Film Card—Kodak has been using this label on their low-budget flash memory cards.
* PC—what once designated any computer that could be owned and operated by an individual, “Personal Computer” has now been morphed into a term for any box designed to run some variant of Windows. Using “PC” to refer to something running Linux or MacOS will get you severely chastised.
There’s plenty of others, but you get the idea. In any case, I’m off to play Nintendo.
These are the Voyages...
May 13th, 2005 9:22PM
Go to Hell.
Aaron J. Bossig
Dancing at DVD's Funeral
April 25th, 2005 8:21AM
My local cable company has started offering Video-on-Demand
services. It's a fairly small, rural operation compared to the
likes of RCN or Comcast, so it seems like VOD seems to be hitting
prime time. I suppose it's about time, because I've been
hearing for years that VOD is supposed to make DVD, VHS, and
any other tangible media obsolete.
After all, why would you go through the hassle of going out
and buying a single DVD for $15, when for a fee, you can just
stream the movies and watch them whenever you want? No
return times, no late fees, no discs to scratch. And no more
waiting in line at the DVD retailer of your choice. We can now
store thousands of movies on servers or set-top boxes. The
technology is here that replace those shelves full of discs with
one little box.
Lemme tell you something: DVD isn't going anywhere, and the
reasons have nothing to do with better technology.
I've spent a fair amount of time in DVD stores as both a customer
and an employee, and one thing is clear: people like to shop.
People like to buy movies. There's something enjoyable about
being able to walk into a store and fill up a basket, or make sure
you get that new release next Tuesday. Buying is a tactile thing,
customers like being able to pick up something and look at it,
read the box, before deciding on buying. People like shopping
in groups too, it's just that much more fun.
DVDs are great to shop for. They're small, affordable, and a lot
of fun once you take them home and pop them in the player. VOD keeps
treating DVD shopping as a chore, and for a good chunk of the
population, it isn't. It's one of the few things we'll enjoy spending
money on. What the VOD Evangelists aren't counting on is that buying
movies (or even renting, for that matter) is about more than just
putting the product in the consumers' hands. There's a larger dynamic
at work here. People have a certain lifestyle when it comes to
home video, and shopping is a big part of that.
If anyone needs me next Tuesday, you know where I'll be.
Why Electronics Companies Think I'm Uncool
March 28th, 2005 9:58PM
I have a portable game device, it's a GameBoy Advance.
I have an mp3 player, it's a 20GB iPod.
I have a cell phone, it's an LG VX3200.
I have a digital camera, it's a Sony DSC-P100.
See anything in common with these devices? They all do one job,
and they all do that job extremely well. And, in my opinion, that's
exactly how it should be. More and more, it seems like consumer electronics
is getting diluted by gadgets that do way too many things, and none of them
The Sony PSP is but the latest example. For over a decade, Nintendo has
had unquestioned dominance in the handheld game market, and Sony has decided
to challenge them. What are they bringing to the table? A device that
has a miserable game selection (as most systems do at launch) but it plays
MUSIC and MOVIES! Woweee!!
*sigh* So, Sony, what you're telling me is that the reason I should buy your
game system is because I can do stuff on it that has nothing to do with video games?
All in all, PSP isn't so bad. At least it's supposedly *good* for at least one of
its three jobs. What really irritates me would be stuff like the Olympus M:Robe,
a combination mp3 player and digital camera. Because, you know, many's the time
I'll be taking pictures at a wedding, and I'll wish I could be listening to Massive
Attack. (Watch your feet, folks, don't step in any sarcasm, please!) The M:Robe has a touch screen, so that you can create slide shows of the low-res images and mp3 music. Both the camera and music player are overpriced and perform poorly in
comparison to similarly-priced standalone units, but because they're in the same box, suddenly it's a deal?
I do admit that some convergence makes sense. I've seen some clever PDA/Cell Phone
combos, and it seems that PVRs and DVD Recorders are a match made in Heaven. Those
combinations are different for one very important reason, though. The intended uses
of the standalone devices are similar enough to make convergence a natural
idea, instead of a brain-teaser hoisted upon R&D by the marketing department.
I'm sure these Swiss Army electronics will have their following, and for that,
they'll be praised for being marvels of engineering. As for me, give me a cell
phone that makes phone calls, a camera that takes pictures, and a Gameboy that
isn't trying to quit its day job.
Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?
March 16th, 2005 9:44PM
It occurred to me last night. As with so many other things, it sprang from an IM
discussion with a friend. While discussing some of the video games the two of
us planned on getting, I suddenly realized there was a game I very much wanted,
but wasn't even made.
Why, oh why isn't there a Ghostbusters video game for one of today's
Actually, two Extreme Ghostbusters games do exist: one Playstation
game that was only released in Europe, and a Gameboy Advance game of which only
about fourteen copies were ever made. No, what I'm looking for is a large-scale
game, something that could truly capture the unique feel of the movies. I think it'd
be best as a GameCube or X-Box game, since those systems support 4 players
natively, but I wouldn't complain if it were a PS2 exclusive.
Now, I'm sure the idea has been tossed around to some degree, and it was rejected because
the Ghostbusters franchise has run its course. I would ask, why does that matter?
Video games are a very unique medium in that people will pick up a game just because it's good,
not because they like the license. If the game is good, it'll attract non-Ghostbusters fans too.
I would also point out that lots of gamers are in the 20-30 range, and a Ghostbusters game would
appeal to our warped sense of nostalgia. And the franchise isn't totally dead yet... someone did
bother cranking out that GBA game, after all.
Then you might say "But Aaron! Even if someone did make it, it would stink, as most
movie license games do." And I would say "Shut up." Yes, I do admit that a lot of
tie-in games aren't that great, and I could give examples from the Atari 2600 E.T. to
the more recent Enter The Matrix. That doesn't mean all that much, because there are
lots of great games that were spawned from licensed properties: the NES Batman: The Video Game,
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and of course, GoldenEye 007, one of the most
popular games of the last 10 years.
Come on, do we really need this less than we need another racing game?
March 5th, 2005 11:01AM
With Star Trek: Enterprise ending prematurely, it's a depressing
time to be a Trekkie. Honestly, I'm convinced someone at UPN
must hate the show. They gave it the time-slot-of-death, watch
the ratings tank, and then cancel it when the show can't survive.
Now we see this:
We now have people actually trying to PAY them to keep the show on
the air, and they say its performance is disappointing, and the ratings
show it's not making money. Notwithstanding the fact that the ratings
system in the US is hopelessly outdated (that's a blog for another day),
Does anyone in their right mind think that people don't watch Star Trek?
Although, thinking ahead, isn't it about time for this sort of thing? Why
can't fans support their favorite shows a little more directly? PBS is the
only network that'll take fan pledges, but HBO and Showtime channel their
subscriptions directly into their programming. Is it such a bad idea to
start getting funding for shows from memberships and DVD sales, rather than
advertisements? To give one example, I'm
also a huge fan of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, though I've never watched a
single episode during its original run. I simply bought the show on DVD,
and have been loving it ever since. It's convenient for me because I can
watch the show when I want, where I want. I've discovered other shows
in much the same way.
Even still, if I were to depend on cable TV, I wouldn't mind paying for
shows I like more directly, a la HBO or Showtime. True, I don't subscribe
to either of those channels now, but for a show like Star Trek, I just might.
Or take the PBS route and let us personally pay for it.
I know that last one might not be a viable option for a show with a budget
like Star Trek: Enterprise, but how much more viable is the current situation?
Why should we let shows continue to be judged and evaluated based on a system
designed half a century ago? Could a direct-to-DVD release be more economical
for everyone? (Why not, I'm already paying $100 for each DS9 set) Could a
high-budget show succeed on a premium channel? (I dunno-- ask Tony Soprano)
I'm not trying to say I've got all the answers, it just seems like it's time
to explore other options. A lot of great shows are dying because they can't
survive on broadcast TV, and someone's betting $3 million that there's a better
way of handling this.
March 3rd, 2005 9:45PM
Greetings, greetings, one and all! Welcome to my blog, a new feature of DVD Verdict
that will (hopefully) let us judges vent to the web at large. Myself, I plan on using my
blog mostly for mini-editorials, things that didn't quite fit into a review, or stuff that's
out of the scope of normal DVD Verdict writing. Hopefully, it'll prove interesting enough
to give my reviews additional context, and keep you readers coming back for more. Of
course, as it's still a blog, I reserve the right to post about stuff that has nothing to do
with DVDs and that no one cares about. Happy reading!