The New York Times reported last week that led by robots, roaches abandon [their] instincts. Specifically, when left to their own devices, groups of cockroaches followed their instincts and natually preferred a darker hiding place to a lighter hiding place virtually all the time. And when a minority group of robotic cockroaches replaced some of the bugs in the cohort and followed natual cockroach rules, again virtually all cockroaches sought the darker hiding place. But when the robots were programmed to seek the lighter, rather than a darker hiding place, fully 60 percent of the wild cockroaches teamed with the robots rather than obeying their instincts, thus demonstrating that even cockroaches are susceptible to bug peer pressure.… Read more
On Thursday night's episode of The Office on NBC, dweeby Dwight Schrute (played by Rainn Wilson) revealed himself to be a Second Life addict--something that doesn't require any suspension of disbelief.
The Second Life banter began when Dwight's notably less nerdy co-worker, Jim (played by John Krasinski), asked Dwight if he was "playing that game again."
"Second Life is not a game," Dwight replied authoritatively. "It is a multi-user virtual environment. It doesn't have points or scores; it doesn't have winners or losers."
With all the deadpan wit that'… Read more
At a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, Hitachi unveiled its new "Ultra Thin" LCD TVs, a new line of flat-panel sets that measure only 35 millimeters (1.5 inches) in thickness. While other companies have also announced uberskinny flat-panel TVs recently--some even thinner than Hitachi's--the Ultra Thin (or UT) LCD line is the first to actually hit the market.
"Our focus for the last few years in the flat-panel business has been on the plasma side, but we've been working very diligently on the LCD side," Kevin Sullivan, Hitachi's chief strategy officer … Read more
It's a lot harder to find an analog television at Best Buy these days. That's because as of the beginning of October, Best Buy stopped selling them, according to an Associated Press report. The largest consumer electronics chain in the U.S. will now only sell televisions with digital tuners.
It's not a huge surprise. The government-imposed digital television mandate is fast approaching. By Feb. 18, 2009, TV broadcasters will be required to broadcast only digital signals, and TVs with only analog tuners will be unable to pick up the new broadcasts. As part of the gradual … Read more
Current TV launched in 2005 with a dual-platform message: It was a TV station with a built-in Web component. But it was clear that it was really a TV station first, that the site was its feeder system. Today, though, Current TV becomes just Current. The new Web site is a much better destination than the previous version, and makes Current into an honestly multinetwork media product. Current's Web site has content and social features that make it interesting if you never bother to tune in Current on TV.
Current has become a good-looking social bookmarking and community site. … Read more
Everyone knows Nielsen as the company that measures how many people are glued to their TV sets watching news and sitcoms for what is called Fall Sweeps. The numbers can make or break a new show.
With eyeballs increasingly turning to PCs and mobile devices for entertainment and news, Nielsen is boosting its audience measurement services in those areas.
"For television, we measure video wherever it goes," on TV sets or over the Internet to PCs, Susan Whiting, chairman of Nielsen Media Research, said in a recent interview. "More broadly, we measure all kinds of consumer behavior … Read more
College football is back, and so is fall television. If you're looking to pick up some free TV shows (legally), the Internet is your friend and is a great place to go for digital versions of TV shows, sans a TV or the need for a VCR or DVR to watch shows when you want to. Note that several of these sites are walking a fine line of what's legal and what's not, which was outlined in yesterday's post about legal suicide for start-ups. We don't condone piracy or encourage it; this guide is for entertainment purposes only.
Free (and paid-for) downloads:
iTunes. iTunes is worth mentioning here because you can often get the first and last episode of any show for free. You can then put it on your iPod, iPhone, or watch it full-screen on your computer. While the iTunes Store is now lacking shows like The Office, because of NBC pulling out of its renewal deal, you can still find shows from ABC, CBS, and Fox--which incidentally is offering free pilots of all of their series, which you can find here (link opens up in iTunes).
Amazon Unbox. While we may not have had the best experience using this service in the past, if you're looking for legal digital copies of NBC's newest shows, you're stuck with Unbox until Hulu launches next month. Like the iTunes Store, you'll find all the big players here, although keep in mind that you can't watch these shows on any portable media players, which makes the $1.99 price tag a little harder to swallow.
Editor's Pick: MythBusters
Joost. There is an absolute ton of content on Joost, including entire seasons of the original Transformers from the 80s. The only catch? You've gotta download and install the client, and get a private beta token, which these days is about as easy to get as it was to get a Gmail invite a few years back.
Click the "read more" link below to continue reading, and find out about free, streaming options.… Read more
To all you cable and satellite subscribers who gripe about writing checks each month for the privilege of receiving dozens of channels you never watch, take note.
A new lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles charges that every major cable and satellite provider--and the entertainment conglomerates that feed them content--form a cartel that deprives consumers of choice and forces them to pay "inflated" prices for services that don't correspond to their desires.
The suit, brought on behalf of cable subscribers in several states, calls for unspecified damages and for a court to decree that … Read more
I'll admit it: I watched Wednesday night's series premiere of Gossip Girl, the new teen drama on the CW network that details the slightly-too-scandalous lives of privileged young New Yorkers--as chronicled by an anonymous blogger. One of the prominent characters in the first scene is a sleek LG Chocolate mobile phone. The show is packed with MacBooks, BlackBerrys, Sidekicks, and just about any other gadget that the average American high schooler could possibly want.