Ramblings & ephemera

A mummified body in front of a TV

From Reuters’ “Mummified body found in front of blaring TV” (17 February 2007): Police called to a Long Island man’s house discovered the mummified remains of the resident, dead for more than a year, sitting in front of a blaring television set. The 70-year-old Hampton Bays, New York, resident, identified as Vincenzo Ricardo, appeared to […]

HDTV’s widely adopted by American households

From Alex Mindlin’s “Room to Grow as Homes Add HD TVs” (The New York Times: 21 November 2010): High-definition televisions have entered American homes with startling speed; 56 percent of households now have at least some HD channels and an HD set, according to Nielsen. Among consumer technologies, that speed of adoption is rivaled only […]

Don DeLillo on how film has changed our society completely

From Adam Begley’s interview of Don DeLillo in “The Art of Fiction No. 135” (The Paris Review: Fall 1993, No. 128): Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of […]

David Foster Wallace on serious vs. commercial art

From David Wiley’s interview of David Foster Wallace, “Transcript of the David Foster Wallace Interview” (The Minnesota Daily: 27 February 1997): But Plato and John Stuart Mill both take books to talk about different types of pleasure. In my own personal life, I like really arty stuff a lot of the time. But there’s also […]

The future of news as shown by the 2008 election

From Steven Berlin Johnson’s “Old Growth Media And The Future Of News” (StevenBerlinJohnson.com: 14 March 2009): The first Presidential election that I followed in an obsessive way was the 1992 election that Clinton won. I was as compulsive a news junkie about that campaign as I was about the Mac in college: every day the […]

David Foster Wallace on TV, loneliness, & death

From Larry McCaffery’s “Conversation with David Foster Wallace” (Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois: Summer 1993): One thing TV does is help us deny that we’re lonely. With televised images, we can have the facsimile of a relationship without the work of a real relationship. It’s an anesthesia of “form.” The interesting thing […]

Why everyone wants a computer: socializing

From Paul Graham’s “Why TV Lost” (Paul Graham: March 2009): The somewhat more surprising force was one specific type of innovation: social applications. The average teenage kid has a pretty much infinite capacity for talking to their friends. But they can’t physically be with them all the time. When I was in high school the […]

The future of TV is the Internet

From Paul Graham’s “Why TV Lost” (Paul Graham: March 2009): About twenty years ago people noticed computers and TV were on a collision course and started to speculate about what they’d produce when they converged. We now know the answer: computers. It’s clear now that even by using the word “convergence” we were giving TV […]

What passwords do people use? phpBB examples

From Robert Graham’s “PHPBB Password Analysis” (Dark Reading: 6 February 2009): A popular Website, phpbb.com, was recently hacked. The hacker published approximately 20,000 user passwords from the site. … This incident is similar to one two years ago when MySpace was hacked, revealing about 30,000 passwords. … The striking different between the two incidents is […]

The color of the TV you watch determines the color of your dreams

From Richard Alleyne’s “Black and white TV generation have monochrome dreams” (The Telegraph: 17 October 2008): New research suggests that the type of television you watched as a child has a profound effect on the colour of your dreams. While almost all under 25s dream in colour, thousands of over 55s, all of whom were […]

One group files 99.9% of all complaints about TV content

From Christopher M. Fairman’s “Fuck” (bepress Legal Series: 7 March 2006): The PTC [Parents Television Council] is a perfect example of the way word taboo is perpetuated. The group’s own irrational word fetish – which they try to then impose on others – fuels unhealthy attitudes toward sex that then furthers the taboo status of […]

How technologies have changed politics, & how Obama uses tech

From Marc Ambinder’s “HisSpace” (The Atlantic: June 2008): Improvements to the printing press helped Andrew Jackson form and organize the Democratic Party, and he courted newspaper editors and publishers, some of whom became members of his Cabinet, with a zeal then unknown among political leaders. But the postal service, which was coming into its own […]

MTV’s global reach

From Robert Sam Anson’s “Birth of an MTV Nation” (Vanity Fair: November 2000): Now watched by more than 340 million viewers in 139 countries (among them, Russia, China, and Vietnam) …

2 New TV Interviews, Both on Cell Phones

I was interviewed twice in the last couple of months by two local TV news channels, both times on the same subject: the cool stuff that even ordinary cell phones can do nowadays. Google features prominently, as does Flickr, Wireless Amber Alerts, and Cellfire. Best of all, the later one has Libby, my dog, in […]

What can we learn from Scooby-Doo?

From Chris Suellentrop’s “Scooby-Doo: Hey, dog! How do you do the voodoo that you do so well?” (Slate: 26 March 2004): The Washington Post‘s Hank Stuever concisely elucidated the “Scooby worldview” when the first live-action movie came out: “Kids should meddle, dogs are sweet, life is groovy, and if something scares you, you should confront […]

AT&T’s security tv station

From Stephen Lawson & Robert McMillan’s AT&T plans CNN-syle security channel (InfoWorld: 23 June 2005): Security experts at AT&T are about to take a page from CNN’s playbook. Within the next year they will begin delivering a video streaming service that will carry Internet security news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according […]

TV signals passing through the Stone Age air

From Adam Goodheart’s “The Last Island of the Savages” (The American Scholar, Autumn 2000, 69(4):13-44): The gift-dropping missions had ended in 1996. There was still no television set on North Sentinel; it remained, like Prospero’s island, a place where the air shimmered with invisible signals, with unseen Hindi soap operas and Thai music that drifted, […]

Clarabell the Clown’s final – and only – words

From The New York Times‘ “Lew Anderson, 84, Clarabell the Clown and a Bandleader, Dies“: Lew Anderson, whose considerable success as a musician, arranger and bandleader paled before the celebrity he achieved as Clarabell the Clown, Howdy Doody’s sidekick on one of television’s first children’s shows, died on Sunday in Hawthorne, N.Y. … “Well, his […]

More distribution channels = more viewers

From “NBC: iPod Boosts Prime Time“: NBC’s “The Office” delivered a 5.1-its highest ratings ever-last Thursday among adults 18 to 49, a bump the network credits in large part to the show’s popularity as an iPod download. … Such a connection between podcast success and broadcast ratings success is particularly significant because the NBC data […]

Now that is one good insult

From Yahoo! News (March 2004): Andy Rooney certainly knows how to stir the passion in his viewers. The ’60 Minutes’ curmudgeon said Sunday he got 30,000 pieces of mail and e-mail in response to his Feb. 22 commentary, in which he called ‘The Passion of the Christ’ filmmaker Mel Gibson a ‘wacko.’ It’s the biggest […]