Monthly Archives: June 2012

FA Article #9: The Incubator

As a follow-up to last week’s article, here’s more info on “The Incubator” project (dun-dun-DUN!!!)

J/k. It’s actually pretty cool. Though they weren’t specific, I assume this program will be rolled out in Afghan high schools, since it seems unlikely that you would be able to teach a third-grader how to code a video game or edit a movie.

Then again, who knows? I’m 27 and unmarried so kids are like short little aliens to me–who knows what they’re capable of in this day and age?

Read my blog on Film Annex to find out more.

Netflix: Now With Autoplay

My life just got about 65% better.

As someone who watches a lot of television shows more so than movies, I have been waiting for Netflix to add an autoplay feature for months, maybe longer. I knew we were getting close when they added the Hulu-esque “Play Next Episode” screen when the current episode ended. But today…finally today…my wish has been fulfilling. Netflix has added autoplay, on a 20-second delay to give you a chance to switch episodes. I may never leave my living room again.

The little things mean a lot 🙂

Also, if you are like me and let autoplay run continuously in the background while you are off doing something else, Netflix has installed a little check-in feature to regulate your viewing experience. After X number of autoplayed episodes (I think it’s somewhere around 3 or 4), it will display a little question asking you if you’re still watching the show (in my case, it was Bob’s Burgers, as you can see above–I’m sort of obsessed with it). From there you can either say yes or return to the main menu. I assume this is a safety function for Netflix, based on the assumption that they pays royalties per view to the copyright holder, and they don’t want people autoplaying their content if they’re not watching it. Smart move, Netflix.

I guess one could argue that I’m costing Netflix a lot of unnecessary money by letting these shows drone on in autoplay for hours while I’m actually doing something else. But I don’t think so. I work from home, and I am alone from basically 8am-5pm, sometimes later. Having the TV on is a cheap and easy way to feel less lonely. Maybe that’s a little…pathetic, but it works for me.

Ah, I’m so excited! I was getting tired of clicking Play Next Episode every 21-42 minutes, because I have to stop what I’m doing and change my focus, which messed up my my whole workflow. So thanks, Netflix, for helping me become more productive. I’m sure that’s exactly why you did it.

FA Article 8: Advertise.com Joins the ADP

This is my first Film Annex article where they gave me a very specific topic to write about! It’s very exciting–feels like a milestone.

Anyway, this week’s article is kind of a press release about how more internet-based companies are getting involved with the Afghan Development Project as well as a new initiative called the Afghan Incubator and Technology Grid. Yes, it sounds like something an evil super-genius would invent, but I assure you, it’s not.

At least, it doesn’t sound like it is.

Read my blog on Film Annex to find out more.

The Madison of the Northwest

Whatever you are watching, stop it immediately and watch Portlandia.

Unless you’re watching it already, in which case…as you were.

Portlandia
Format: 30 minute television show
Category: Sketch Comedy
Starring: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein
Premise: The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland…along with a lot of really weird citizens.
Original Broadcast Channel: IFC
Off the Wire Location: Netflix (season 1)

At first, I was really lukewarm about watching this show. I didn’t really care for Fred Armisen, I had never heard of Carrie Brownstein, and I have a strange competitive feeling about Portland (I’m from Madison, and I want us to be the weirdest city ever dammit!)

However, from the first sketch, I was completely drawn in by the quirky strangeness of it, and I watched it straight through to the end. It took me a little bit to like Fred and Carrie (a lot of the characters are very abrasive, as is the case in most sketch comedy shows), but it did happen in the end. They kind of grow on you.

Still not convinced? Fine–here’s five succinct reasons to watch this show now:

1) Great music. Fred Armisen was a musician for many years before he got into comedy, and it really shows in the soundtrack.
2) The Portland travelogue. At the beginning of every sketch, they label their location with a street address. It’s a genius way of promoting Portland, and it makes you feel like you’ve been on a mini-vacation even though you haven’t left your couch.
3) Kyle MacLachlan. Yep, that’s right–Agent Dale Cooper plays The Mayor of Oregon and appears in the majority of the episodes. It’s a really funny character and he plays it perfectly.
4) I’m a sucker for a great title sequence, and I love this one. Very Kids in the Hall; it brings me back to my youth.
5) It’s only six episodes (for now). You can watch the whole series in an evening, so you’ve got nothing to lose (except for that one evening–but come on, were you really going to do anything that important anyway?)

There you go. Now you have no excuse–you’re welcome.