Wrote this while on the plane and cut off from wireless, but a couple of random things that have been kicking around that don’t deserve their own posts.
- Is TV Making a Creative Comeback?
I should preface the question by saying that I watch very little TV generally, and sat in front of a TV maybe 4 or 5 times all summer (not counting watching ballgames at the Osprey – at home I mainly listened to them on the radio). But from my outsider’s perspective, it does seem as if there’s more variety these days. Sure, they’re still pumping out crime dramas , reality shows and family sitcoms out by the dozens, but while I’ve never seen them people that I talk to rave about shows like Lost and 24. Love them or hate them, at least they’re different. Same with another couple of shows that I don’t watch: Eureka and Prisonbreak.
More than that, directors seem willing to take chances that would previously have been unthinkable. Last season’s final episode of Battlestar Gallactica, for example, pretty much threw the previous three seasons out the window to more or less start over. Again, love it or hate it, at least they’re not getting stale.
If TV is getting more creative, the logical question would be why? My off the cuff answer would be the Long Tail. Watching the Colbert Report last night on my flight to Denver, Stephen Colbert featured a graphic depicting the rather decline in expected maximum audience share for shows over the past 50 or so years. I Love Lucy was watched by 62% of Americans, the Cosby Show 50 and change, and today’s shows are lucky if they do 20s and 30s. If studios learn to accept rather than fight this, and give a show the ability to target a specific demographic on the Long Tail rather than saddle them with the burden of trying to please all the people all the time, I’d expect the quality and variety to be somewhat better.
But as I said, take all of this with a grain of salt since I haven’t seen most of the shows I’m arguing about. Maybe they’re on superficially diverse. Why don’t more people take this problem seriously?
- Package Management:
I’ve written on package management so many times now that I hesitate to revisit the topic, but I’ll just note that I find it interesting (and potentially troubling) that not only are tools building such functionality in these days (e.g. Eclipse), so too are
web frameworkslanguages ( RailsRuby Gems *).
- Emailing Flickr Photos:
While I’ve known that you could do this with Flickr for a long time, it didn’t make any sense until I a.) had a phone with a halfway decent camera, and b.) the same phone had email capability. In my LG CU320 – which incidentally has been a terrific phone so far – I’ve got b and (sort of) a. The camera on the phone is a long way from terrific – or even good, but it’s more or less acceptable for simple stuff. As a result, I’m getting more into the mobile Flickr experience. I’ll probably try this over the next two days as I drive back to Denver, so if you’re terribly, terribly (borderline clinical) bored watch my Flickr stream for signs of my visual progression across the country.
- Speaking of Cameras…:
Let’s hear it for Membership Rewards. After not using the points which accumulate on my American Express cards for several years, I’ve got around a hundred thousand or so available, which apparently is the approximate cash equivalent of a thousand bucks. I’d been planning on using them to buy something I normally would not spend money on – e.g. a bed frame or a rug – but in browsing the AMEX site the other day it would seem that one of Nikon’s Digital SLR’s will be in reach within a month or so. Can’t tell if it’s the D50 or D70, but I’ve been in the market for a bigger, better camera for years now – I’ve just never been into photography enough to justify dropping a grand on one. My principal question is this: for those of you that have DSLR’s: is the size as much of a negative as some have told me it is? Or are the benefits of having lens interchangability worth it?
- What’s My Most Valuable (Material) Possession?:
Apart from the obvious bit ticket items like an apartment and car – which the bank owns more of than I do anyhow – my single most valuable material possession is easily my music collection. I hadn’t really considered it until I was headed east, bringing along the Maxtor drive upon which most of my music collection resides, and considered the possibility that an accident could destroy the collection that has taken me over a decade to compile. Weighing in just under a hundred gigs with 10K +/- 2K tracks it’s a decent amount of music, though I know people with terabyte plus size collections. Forget the actual dollar value it would take to replace the music itself; the sheer eclecticness of the collection would be virtually impossible to reassemble . A music collection is the product of changing tastes, new discoveries, and random finds – serendipity, in other words. If this data was lost, I would not even know how to begin putting it back together. Thus it was that a second, backup hard drive was procured this summer to back up said data. And just like the President and Vice President, the two drives are not permitted to travel on the same flight. One made the trip back with me last night, while the other will be tucked carefully away in the Volvo accompanying me on the 2K mile drive.
As an aside, I’m still somewhat surprised we haven’t seen more of a market for consumer focused local backup appliances. Yeah, it’s geeky, but the first time someone loses all those carefully bought iTunes tracks to a failed hard drive they’re going to be in for an unpleasant surprise.
With that, you’ve probably heard the last post from me for a few days unless a.) the hotels I stay at the next two nights have wireless and b.) I’m up to posting after a 12+ hours on the road. I will, however, be reachable on the cell (617.320.9757) if you need me.
* Update: Having encountered Gems first in the context of playing with Rails, I’d assumed – erroneously as it turns out – that the update facility was a feature of the web framework. As Tim pointed out in an email, however, and Wikipedia confirms – it is not. It’s a language function, not a framework function. The point isn’t really affected, but much appreciate the clarification.
 I think it was Family Guy that spoofed this with a “Law & Order: Elevator Inspectors Unit” bit. Comedy.
 As an example, a list of some of the discs I’ve burned for my return trip to Denver (the iPod being out of commission):
- Best of Pearl Jam (Covers)
- Best of Pearl Jam (Live)
- Best of the Ramones
- Best of Sigur Ros
- Best of Van Morrison
- Blues (Big Mama Thornton, Howlin Wolf, etc)
- Buena Vista Social Club (w/ tracks from Celia Cruz, Perez Prado, etc)
- Countryish Rock (Cash, Orbison, etc)
- Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (don’t blame me: I took an opera course in college)
- Female Punk (Horrorpops, Le Tigre, etc)
- Jamaican Ska (Desmond Dekker, Joanne Dennis, etc)
- Oldies (The Big Bopper, The McCoys, etc)
- Modern (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Eels, etc)
- Troubadours (Donovan, Dylan, etc)