It's hard for even me to believe this, but the camp classic Xanadu has been reincarnated as a Broadway musical, opening today. When Xanadu came out as a movie in the summer of 1980, the story of Olivia Newton-John as a Greek goddess coming to life in Venice Beach probably didn't make a lot of sense to anyone over the age of 18. The plot was pretty incoherent and the heroic goal was to open a roller disco, after all. But if you were a 12-year-old girl, the story gave you plenty to do for the rest of the summer as you wrapped your barrettes in ribbons, put on your leg warmers, and roller-skated around the block for the thousandth time. The movie's low-tech special effects were actually a plus, because it was easy to pretend you were a wall mural coming to life with your friends.… Read more
A full-out assault has arrived in my living room. Transformers movie tie-ins are being marketed non-stop through ads on Nickelodeon, selling everything from Burger King kids' meals to Pontiac cars. We only watch about a hour of commercial TV a day, but there are multiple ads featuring the Transformers being shown within a single commercial break. The contradiction of a violent action flick based on Hasbro toys is spelled out right in the Burger King commercial--hey kids, get your kids' meal with one of eight toys based on characters from the movie (PG-13, some material may be inappropriate for children under 13).
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has turned a spotlight on this situation but has not yet received a lot of response. Transformers star Shia LaBoeuf has said that producer Steven Spielberg fought back against a proposed R-rating. Yet the movie is being marketed to kids all the way down to the toddler years. (Opti-mash prime Mr. Potato Head, anyone?)… Read more
More advertising dollars are flowing to the Internet, in a trend that started years ago. Advertising Age has come out with its annual look at the United States top-100 advertising spenders. There are few surprises, but it's confirmation of what you've probably been seeing and expecting. Internet ads now account for 5.5 percent of total spending by the top 100 advertisers in the U.S. That adds up to nearly $10 billion, and the Internet's about even with radio and ahead of outdoor.
What are the biggest losers? TV's share of ad spending has been … Read more
It's just one man's opinion, but I always like to hear what the end customer thinks about technology. While I'm not a big believer in the Linux desktop (at least, as a direct competitor to OS X and Windows in the US/EMEA enterprise market), I'm glad to see SUSE Linux Desktop pass the test with the CIO of CareGroup:
...Halamka found in SUSE a version of the Linux operating system that didn?t crash or lock up once during the month he used it; that booted quickly (within 30 seconds); that was easy enough to … Read more
Ziff Davis Media announced Thursday plans to sell its enterprise group for approximately $150 million in cash to a New York-based private equity and venture capital firm.
An affiliate of Insight Venture Partners of New York is snapping up Ziff's publications EWeek, Baseline and CIO magazines, according to Ziff's announcement.
Ziff is also selling a number of online publications as part of the deal. These include EWeek.… Read more
You'd think that bloggers and podcasters would be happy with their respective media. After all, how much better can it be to have free worldwide distribution of whatever it is you want to say at any moment.
But if you think that's enough for them--and hey, why not lump them all together in one large group--you'd be wrong. We know this because Larstan Publishing has just announced the launch of, well, Blogger & Podcaster magazine, a new monthly dedicated to chronicling the latest and greatest happenings, and the biggest names in, er, blogging and podcasting.
"Believed … Read more
Idio is an online music magazine that launched late last year. Idio looks and feels like a paper magazine, with turning pages and some pretty slick-looking layouts. What's neat is that Idio isn't just made up of text and photos, there are also music and video clips embedded right into the pages. Users get content fed to them by an algorithm that selects articles or clips (it thinks) you might be interested in based on your favorite bands. Content comes from all over, either from blogs or music news feeds.
To drill down into your musical tastes a … Read more
Kudos to Laptop magazine for getting the scoop, with the one of the first hands-on reviews we've seen of the Netgear EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD. There's just one problem: they got one big detail of the product dead wrong. The Netgear product does play songs purchased from the iTunes Store, as confirmed by hands-on tests in the CNET Labs.
We purchased and played two songs from the store, and were surprised to see that the Netgear was able to stream them to the TV/stereo system in the next room just as easily as it could with DRM-free … Read more
If I hear about one more highly focused social networking site, I'm going to explode. Or failing that, write a blog post. Every day, Webware gets pitched on at least one, and sometimes several, new social nets designed for particular demographics: Barack Obama supporters, lesbians, you name it. The new metasocial network service Ning is leveraging this trend by making it possible for anyone to start a network, just as easily as anyone can now launch their own blog.
People with traditional publishing backgrounds are looking at this trend and thinking that social networks could become the new special-interest … Read more
Now all those people claiming to read Playboy for the articles will have easy access to finding them.
Playboy Enterprises and Bondi Digital Publishing are releasing the entire catalogue of Playboy magazines on six DVDs. Each $100 box set will consist of one DVD including a decade of Playboy magazines and a 200-page companion book of images and highlights.
As with the digital archive Bondi did for The New Yorker magazine, the searchable archive will include articles, fiction, cartoons, photos and covers.
The Playboy digital archive will feature 636 issues and more than 93,000 photos, starting with the famous … Read more