WonderCon 2009 might've had a smaller crowd than in previous years--it certainly felt that way walking the convention floor at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Just don't tell anyone who was there.
From lectures on superhero physics, to an impressively diverse display of costumes, to discussions with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and fan-favorite writers, San Francisco was the place to be for fanboys and fangirls last weekend. There were even deals on Obama comics.
Update 2:49 p.m. PST: to include comment from Amazon.
Paul Aiken and the Authors Guild aren't gloating.
The executive director of the 9,000-member guild isn't taking all or even most of the credit for Amazon's abrupt about-face on Friday. The retailer announced that it would allow publishers to disable the Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature on any titles of their choosing.
He says while Authors Guild managers were "vocal" with their objections to the Kindle's speech technology, including publishing an op-ed piece in The New York Times, much more powerful entities were leaning on Amazon to make changes: large book publishers.
There was one more reason Amazon was prompted to make changes, according to Aiken.
"Amazon realized the magnitude of the contractual problem," Aiken said Monday morning. "Many of the author's publishing contracts give publishers the right to publish e-books, but only without enhancing audio. A reasonable reading of those contracts shows that publishers didn't have the authority to sell e-books for use in a Kindle device with audio enhancement."
An Amazon spokesman denied being pushed into Friday's decision. As for whether contractual issues played a part, the spokesman repeated what the company said Friday: "Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal."
Aiken began criticizing Amazon soon after the Kindle 2's debut last month. He argued that the retailer was violating the author's copyright and was cutting them out of a potentially new and lucrative market. … Read more
Don't panic! The title is actually in reference to Dong's idea of what a punch line for a joke should be. Yeah, Dong attempts to tell an elaborate joke that, honestly, falls flat; however, this does not mean the joke wasn't hilarious. Oxymoron? Only someone who has not heard the episode would think that. So start listening!
At some point during this episode, I actually get Dong to talk about comics and comic book movies, without him turning into an ignorant, negative Nancy. Speaking of comics, I'm writing this having just seen the "Wonder Woman&… Read more
Mark Licea AKA MTI fills in for Justin Yu's diminutive shoes on this beautiful snow day, who's out with a genital warps outbreak. (Mwuahaha... Wilson would like to thank Justin for giving him the power to write the blog post/show description.) Mark gives us his one word review of Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 3: "Yeah". Also, Jeff can't wait to catch Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li, which seriously got a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. The only reason why Wilson wants to see it is because Kristin Kreuk is in it. (Volume off, of course).
We find out today that Judd Apatow will be taking over the production of Ghostbusters 3, the long awaited sequel. We're just worried that Seth Rogen will be in it smoking a doobie the whole time, while the original Ghostbusters try to break out of a nursing home instead of a mental hospital. Plus, we don't think that New York City can take any more monsters, even if it is Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Some one please let J.J. Abrams know that because apparently he has an idea for the next Cloverfield movie. This time with more vomit-inducing camera shake. Finally, Nokia phones can take a beating but don't survive the fryer.
Tonight might also be the end of the world. A small asteroid will swing by our planet tonight, barely scrapping by at 40,000 miles from the earth's center. To keep that in perspective, the diameter of the planet is only 7926.28 miles. Who knows you might be able to catch the streak of light tonight? But we know one person who won't be sad today: James Mincey. He's a California DJ, who won "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection" for the Xbox 360. We'll be sending that his way soon. We've got more giveaways coming up, so please send in your calls and e-mails and keep on listening to the most irrelevant podcast on the Internet. Tomorrow, we've got Dr. Michael Breus on the show to explain to us how to stop our wet dreams.EPISODE 289 Download today's podcast… Read more
Despite the fact that iTunes has been getting so bloated with so many features and functions, it's arguably still the best software to manage your music. And now there's a way to play its content, as well as using its playlists, in the Media Center user interface if you use Windows Media Center as your entertainment center.
Proxure announced on Monday its MCE Tunes software application that allows for complete iTunes libraries access, including purchased music and video content, from within Microsoft's Windows Media Center (MCE) interface or Windows Media Player.
On top of that, MCE Tunes can also stream iTunes music to Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming consoles or other Media Center Extender devices.
I tried the application briefly with my Windows Media Center 2005 and it worked as intended. There wasn't much to do. Once installed and launched, the MCE Tunes interface allows for merging iTunes' library with MCE's library. You can choose different criteria for the merge, such as: the whole library, just content rated with certain amount of stars, or certain playlists.
The merge only happens once, and when you want to share more music from iTunes to MCE, you'll need to run MCE Tunes and repeat the process. However, there's also an option for MCE Tunes to automatically perform this task everyday for those who add more music and video to iTunes regularly.… Read more
I just noticed a New York Times blog post about the sales trends of DVD and Blu-ray discs. While numbers for DVD and Blu-ray weren't broken out, overall sales for discs were down big in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Here's the key quote from the article:
In last year's fourth quarter, usually a big one for DVD sales...the studios' revenue from sell-through of conventional DVDs and Blu-ray discs fell 23.4 percent, to $2.6 billion from $3.4 billion. This drop of $800 million, Adams Research figures, shaved fully $500 million from the studios' … Read more
Everyone is raving about the "unblinkingly real" quality of watching the animated "Coraline" in 3D. That could turn to disappointment when it's time for the animated film to make its DVD and Blu-ray debut. But Dolby Labaratories, which made its name taking high-quality theater audio and compressing it for home use, thinks it has a solution.
Right now, when 3D films like "Journey to the Center of the Earth" come to disc a pair of anaglyphic paper glasses--the kind with blue/red or green/red lenses--is included with the case, which doesn't offer anything close to the experience of watching a film in 3D in the theater. It could explain why some 3D films, like "U2 3D" have yet to make it to disc at all.
As more 3D films start popping up in theaters, the quality of their appearance once you buy them on disc for home viewing is going to be an increasingly important question.
The barriers to re-creating a similar theater-quality experience are both technical and practical: some content makers believe there will have to be a whole new format to make 3D films feel the same way on the couch as they do in the theater. That would involve all new equipment, which means ditching your brand new Blu-ray player and buying yet another disc format. After all the marketing messages consumers have heard about Blu-ray in the last few years, the last thing they want to hear is that Blu-ray is suddenly obsolete. … Read more
Pixar showed the first 45 minutes of its next animated feature "Up" at WonderCon here in San Francisco this weekend. I did not see all of those minutes, due to there being some limited-to-first-250-people-to-come BS I didn't have the patience to deal with.
I did get to see about 17 minutes of the film, however, via five scenes Pixar debuted. My impressions after viewing the clips is that the movie looks very good--visually, conceptually, and just for pure entertainment.
"Up" deals with a curmudgeonly old man tying a bunch of balloons to his house and … Read more
For a long time after its debut in 1991, I considered "Terminator 2" my favorite movie, with the first "Terminator" comfortably placed in my top 5. "Terminator 3," although entertaining, did not live up to that high James Cameron standard.
Even with Christian Bale ("Batman") as John Connor, I've yet to get excited about this fourth entry in the series, "Terminator Salvation". At WonderCon on Saturday, the movie's director, McG yelled at me for a good 30 minutes to get me to change my mind.
Well not directly … Read more