Introducing Tech Jetsam: UH's Technology Column

Technology is changing Hollywood forever. The Writers Guild of America was forced on strike by the conglomerates' refusal to seriously negotiate payment rates for work distributed over the Internet. And if you doubt that the Internet is going to be the dominant force in content distribution, take a look at the news coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. The LA Times wrote a great article about why CES should matter to content creators. Several WGA members and a cadre of fans have been leafleting selected locations. According the Washington Post, security guards have kept them on the move. But it's having an impact. Robert J. Elisberg dashed off this email to us:
"I spent a LOT of time talking to people and press at CES -- my message was always very simple. The AMPTP walked away, the AMPTP says there's no profit in the Internet, the AMPTP is offering to pay zero. People to a person are always aghast."
To keep you informed about the fast-moving world of technology, we're inaugurating a new column, "Tech Jetsam" by WGA member David Simkins.


Welcome to Tech Jetsam, a feature intended to keep you in the loop of tech and how it may affect you now and in the future. Full disclosure: I'm a hardcore Mac user. If sources are looking a bit Apple-centric that's why. I'll do my best to not be too obnoxious about it. Obnoxious Side Note: If you're looking to get a Mac or upgrade, wait until after MacWorld in San Francisco. On January 15th Steve Jobs will be announcing new gear. Prices will drop on the old (still great) stuff.

First, get yourself over to Gizmodo or Engadget to get an ongoing peek at what's happening at CES. That's hours of surfing and drooling right there.

A quick review of the big events as 2008 began must include the Blu-Ray dust-up. Sony scored a major victory with Warners Bros.' announcement. It was strongly rumored that Paramount was also ditching HD DVD. However, Bloomberg.com has Paramount's denial of defection.

This week Gizmodo has a quick interview with a VP at Samsung (they of the dual HD format players). His take on the Blu-Ray domination issue is worth a look.

Netflix is making a move toward ditching the red envelopes. It will be strictly a Windows XP/Vista deal. No Mac support because of copyright issues. The New York Times covers the move as well.

And Apple is also heading into the downloaded rentals arena.

This blog post from Evan Williams has some bearing on the current talk concerning writers moving toward new and creative methods of distribution. Blather or helpful guideposts?

And if you are writing on a Mac you owe it to yourself to check out Scrivener. I can't begin to describe its geeky beauty.

And while we're talking software, nothing jazzes up a script's title page like a good font. I especially like comicbookfonts.com's "Deadline" font. Grim and unyielding. I hope I get to blow past a deadline again soon.

Tangentially-related: Have you noticed that movie trailers and posters all use the same one? This guy noticed.

More links later...
-David Simkins


Tanja Barnes said...

Nice to see this very important aspect of the strike being covered in this blog. This is a topic that gets me all twitterpated as I am a bonafide geek grrl and my fast machine is a MacBook Pro.

My only advice: think different. :) By that I mean let go your Mac bias and check your user stats. Easy enough since you're encoding your RSS feed in Feed Burner. Over 75% of my podcast subscribers that are using iTunes are doing it via PC. Less than 10% are subscribed via iTunes on a Mac. Hence the reason why I encode my podcasts in mp3 format rather than Apple's proprietary m4a.


I predict that within 3 years that will all change, especially now with Gates throwing in the towel. Until then, I'm with you in solidarity as a SAG member and a Mac enthusiast!

AKA Delaney said...

It's amazing how they don't want to give up 2.5% of "nothing". Seriously, if there was no money to be made, they would've inked the deal months ago. Their argument makes no sense.