Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Marketing as Disease

I've had fights at work over this same thing: Viral Marketing is bullsh*t. Adoptive Marketing isn’t.
I hated the word “viral” the very first time I heard it in the mid 1990s, probably because it made Marketing sound like we were spreading a disease other people had no choice but to spread, too. At the time, the whole “viral marketing” thing got people excited because it used the Internet to cheaply spread crap like Burger King videos or Hotmail invitations. Dance monkeys, dance.

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Häxan (1922)

Last night's Birmingham Town Hall screening of Häxan was remarkable, not least for the Julian Cope lecture that preceded it:
But there is much more to "Häxan" than a mere collection of grotesque images and vignettes. Towards the end, in particular, the commentary becomes quite pointed. It is quite easy for anyone - film-maker, writer, commentator - to criticize and condemn the beliefs and practices of the Middle Ages or of any other long past era. But it is far more of a challenge to, as Christensen has done here, point out the sometimes devastating parallels to one's own era. It is always such a comforting fiction to believe that we are so much more enlightened than past generations have been, and yet it is rarely if ever true.
Häxan isn't easy-going for a modern audience, partly because familiarity with some of the imagery has reduced it to the level of the ridiculous, partly because it takes its time in developing scenes that wouldn't get screen time now. It's still amazing though, and demonstrates the sheer wonder about the medium that must have been commonplace in 1922. Here's a clip, though lacking the electronic live soundtrack we were treated to last night.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Force Feeding

Over-jealous waiters annoy me almost as much as they do Christopher Hitchens:
The vile practice of butting in and pouring wine without being asked is the very height of the second kind of bad manners. Not only is it a breathtaking act of rudeness in itself, but it conveys a none-too-subtle and mercenary message: Hurry up and order another bottle.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Going deeper on Digital Photography

I've been looking for proper information on this sort of thing, and I've found no better than Norman Koren's particle on Tonal quality and dynamic range in digital cameras:
If you choose to save images in RAW format, you should expose to capture maximum information: to maintain as much highlight and shadow detail as possible, even if the middle tones aren't what you want in the final print. You should strive to capture all highlights except for bright light sources and specular reflections. You should expose enough to capture detail in large shadow areas. I mostly agree with the Luminous-Landscape.com article, Expose (to the) Right, which recommends setting the exposure to the maximum value that doesn't burn out highlights. (This applies only to images saved in RAW format.) However I wouldn't go too far. A little margin doesn't hurt; there are plenty of levels in 12-bit A-to-D converters. In extreme situations, you may want to make two exposures and combine them.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Best news of the week, in a week of horrible news

Steven Moffat gets the Doctor Who lead job:
Moffat said: "I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.
"Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television.
Pretty much all the best episodes have had Moffat's name on them.

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