Fun Fact: Most people would rather watch a movie than go to work... unless of course watching movies is one of your job functions, in which case you might be happier reading a book--It’s a strange world out there. Unfortunately, the majority of we worker bees aren’t able to take in a flick while on the clock, forced instead to keep our eyes on spreadsheets, assembly lines and work orders. Don’t fret: Hollywood’s just a set of headphones away, thanks to Listen to a Movie, our Cool Site of the Week.
Raise your hand if you've heard of Epic Meal Time. Great. What about Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech? Excellent. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? If most of you geeks aren't raising your hands by now, something's wrong. But that's not what this is about.
And that's why I'm here: I'm not going to point you in the direction of super well-known video shows that you could (really, should) be watching. I'm here to show you some of the slightly less popular gems that might have flown under your Geek Radar for some odd reason. I'll wait while you make the popcorn.
There’s nothing better than finding out your favorite artist is coming to town on tour. There are few things worse than finding out that tickets for said artist’s show were sold out before you ever even heard about it. The same goes for sporting events, and if you must, the touring version of Broadway musicals, both modern and classic. Today’s edition of Cool Site of the Week makes it a little harder to overlook who’s coming to town and a heck of a lot easier to snag tickets for when they do.
Several years ago, I was in Florida for a convention and a shuttle launch. I spent a few days with one of my nephews. One night, all discussion stopped immediately after dinner so we could watch a new sitcom he had become enamored with. Suffering from an untimely attack of good manners, I kept my mouth shut and prepared to suffer through 22 minutes of inanity. Instead, I laughed out loud. The show was The Big Bang Theory, and I immediately recognized it was about me, all of my friends, and most of the readership of MaximumPC. Returning to the left coast, I set the DVR to record every episode.
The reviews are in, and The Social Network didn't have much trouble finding friends at the box office. It was the No. 1 movie this past weekend, pulling in a respectable $23 million.
The Social Network is a dramatization about the founders of the world's most popular social networking website, Facebook. Hollywood definitely took some liberties in adding spice to how events really played out, and in doing so, director David Fincher brought out a brilliant performance from actor Jesse Eisenburg, who portrayed the face of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.
"It really is a great start for us. This is a move that is resonating everywhere. The reviews are the best I've seen at our studio in my career," said Rory Bruer, head of Sony Distribution to the AP. "It's just one of the movies that critics and audiences alike are embracing, and I think it's going to have a tremendous life."
The movie delves into Zuckerberg's legal dealings with his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) over millions of dollars Saverin claimed he was cheated out of, as well as with three other Harvard students who accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea.
There's a fair amount of nerd speak in the beginning, particularly as Zuckerberg hacks into Harvard's PCs to swipe student pictures for a separate project, so it's not the ideal date movie (try You Again if you're looking to score some brownie points and catch Betty White before the Grim Reaper does). But it is worth watching, even if Nancy Doyle Palmer at The Huffington Post disagrees.
Ticketmaster started up a new blog this week and wasted no time getting down to business, jumping straight into the discussion about everyone's least favorite part of ordering tickets online: service fees.
"We get it -- you don't like service fees," the blog begins. "You don't like them mostly because you don't understand what the heck they are for. We'll try to do a better job in this space over the coming months of helping you understand our business, and how our fees compare to others in the industry (both in ticketing and ecommerce in general). But the reality of the live entertainment business is that service fees have become an extension of the ticket price."
Ticketmaster went on to candidly acknowledge that the way these fees are presented in the check out process "is a huge frustration," which ultimately hurts ticket sales. To address this issue, the online ticket vendor said it will start listing actual ticket prices rather than tacking on service fees at the end of the ordering process.
"Over the next few days we are rolling out a new way of presenting pricing and fees on Ticketmaster.com," Ticketmaster explains. "Going forward, just like almost every other business in the world, we'll tell you up front how much you can expect to pay for a certain ticket. We'll still break out the 'face value' from the other fees where required, and we haven't broken down per-order fees yet (although you will begin to see many of our clients move to truly all-in pricing, because they know it sells more tickets and makes you happier). This user experience mirrors what you see across the Web from leaders in their field -- Amazon, Apple, Expedia, Zappos, and more."
Ticketmaster also talked up a new return policy in which anyone who buys a ticket in a venue operated by Live Nation now has three days to return it, up until one week before the show.
Does Ticketmaster's upfront pricing model make the service fees a little easier to swallow, or does it not really matter? Hit the jump and sound off!
It's a big day for the Internet, an Internet meme has successfully invaded the real world. The Auto-Tune the News folks saw their tweaked version of the Lincoln Park Bed Intruder song reach number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 today. This feat was made possible thanks to a 2005 decision by Billboard to include digital downloads in their rankings. Bed Intruder is currently number 35 in iTunes.
Just let that sink in, the Gregory Brothers (the group behind Auto-Tune the News) saw something in the cadence and vocabulary in this news report, and made a hit song out of it. The song is currently only available as a digital download. The Gregory Brothers recently told Wired that they are also working on a pilot with Comedy Central based on Internet culture.
If you haven't heard the song, just check it out. You won't be sorry.
Up until now, if you wanted to watch a program in your bedroom that you recorded with your living room DVR, you were out of luck, at least with DirecTV. But with the launch of DirecTV's Whole-Home DVR service, you can do exactly that.
"We’ve created a connected whole-home service that is perfectly attuned to our customers viewing habits and lifestyles, delivering a DVR experience with maximum convenience and control," said Romulo Pontual, CTO of DirecTV. "The DirecTV® Whole-Home DVR service truly enables customers to watch what they want, where they want and when they want it, by simply using a single HD DVR."
The service runs $3/month, and for that you're able to record and watch shows in up to 15 rooms with a single HD DVR. That means if you record a movie in one room, you can pick up where you left off in another room with a standard receiver. What's more, you can control the DVR from any DTV receiver in your home, including record, delete, pause, and rewind functionality.
If you’re in the market for a luxury car in the next few years, they might try to upsell you an Atom-based “infotainment” system. BMW and Mercedes-Benz expect to get the units in cars sometime in 2012. Mercedes-Benz will make the systems available to buyers of its S-Class and C-Class vehicles. BMW will have them in the 7-series.
Intel’s Paul Otellini said these would be just the first of many in-vehicle entertainment systems based on the Atom platform. It’s possible this is the beginning of a trend. Maybe these carputers won’t be relegated to luxury models for long. This is yet another creative use for the Atom chip, but will anyone be interested?
Xbox 360? PlayStation 3? OnLive? Psh. A company you've never heard of released the first-ever Linux-based gaming console today, and if this is the route that open-source is taking to your living room... count me out. Envizions Computer Entertainment's EVO Smart Console looks like the dark offspring of a PlayStation 2 and a home-theater PC -- only, instead of a baby, a penguin popped out.
Early adopters can pick up the Linux-based console starting today, with retail units expected to ship on April 10. The system will set you back anywhere from $280 to $350, with the price shooting up to $380 after April 17. Most games for the system will come shipped on SD cards at a cost of $20, although Envizions maintains that developers will be free to set whatever price they want for their offerings.
Take a moment if you need one, because I'm about to delve into the guts of this pioneer platform. Ready? Click the link!