Category: Pulp Media

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Goodbye, Palladia

February chill kills one of my favorite television channels—changing character, possibly, with major rebranding. Palladia will become MTV Live on the 1st. Oh joy. Tomorrow comes too soon. There’s something about the current name that delights the tongue—double l and how the ending “ah” syllable rolls. Granted, Palladia also is a FDA-approved drug for treating canine cancer, which isn’t the best connotative association for the television channel.

Still, it’s an established brand, as is MTV, and I can understand the rationale of uniting the channel with others in the music video and programming empire—perhaps funneling all the network’s recorded live broadcasts to the renamed channel. My concern: Losing the programming character that I find so appealing; perhaps you, too. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter IX

I owe you an apology. Months ago I promised to finish serializing my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, before releasing it into the public domain. The last installment was in mid-October, with one chapter and the Afterword remaining. As I prepare for the New Year, not leaving loose ends is top of mind. Thus, with a huge sorry, this evening I present the closing chapter (but exclude the outdated March 2014 Afterward), The book will release into the public domain to start 2016.

I have posted from Chapter IX before, on Dec. 30, 2014: “You Could Study Journalism, or Learn as Much Watching These Five Films“. Each movie teaches lessons about responsible reporting—some by illuminating irresponsible and/or unethical behavior. The last in the list expresses in an exchange between characters something that should be embedded into the synapses of every 21st Century news gatherer: 

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SDCC 2016 Preregistration Success!

At 9:35 a.m., I completed buying a full pass to Comic-Con 2016, four minutes after moving from the Waiting Room to the purchase queue. The pulp-media cultural event costs more every year. I paid $220 this year and $245 for next, which works out to $40 each for Preview Night and Sunday (Family Day) and $55 apiece for the others.

SDCC 2016 is the second year I pay to attend. Comic-Con International did not recertify my press status for 2015. I have submitted fresh verification documentation but took advantage of preregistration rather than wait. My concern is not attending rather than paying. Press certification’s major benefit is assured attendance. But there’s no guarantee that my media status will be approved. 

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Take the Pledge and Stay Off the Internet This Saturday

You spend too much time online. Take a break from the Net on November 14th. Show us all that you aren’t a connected device junkie—that you can step out into the real world and enjoy fresh air and sun, and prove your ability to talk to real people face to face (pack the breath mints!).

Aren’t your thumbs tired from texting and Facebook Liking? Don’t your eyes need a break from squinting at flat-screens? If you must stare at a screen, make it a big one—catch an early matinee. Take the pledge to give up the Internet for one hour. You could even go 90 minutes. Turn off the PC, smartphone, or tablet. Join others taking the challenge. Let’s everyone start at 8:45 a.m. PST and commit to staying offline until 9:45, or later. You’ll feel better for it. 

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Chromecast (2015) Review

This is one of the easiest reviews to write—and the shortest, too. If you own an Android or iOS device, buy the new Chromecast. Nothing more needs to be said, but I am obliged because you do want to know why. Right?

Google opened up the streaming stick category with launch of the original Chromecast, in July 2013. Release of its successor, on Sept. 29, 2015, makes an already compelling platform better. I see two benefits that matter: WiFi AC support and the hanging dongle design. Wireless update primps the device for faster routers, like Google’s own OnHub. The other is more crucial. Some people needing or wanting to plug into one of a TV’s rear HDMI ports may find the original Chromecast won’t fit. The new design, puck hanging from HDMI cable, solves that problem. 

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Where No Values Have Gone Before

For more than two weeks I have kept open in a browser tab essay “How Star Trek Explains the Decline of Liberalism” by Timothy Sandefur. Someone shared the story in one of my social feeds in mid-September—and apologies for not recalling whom. I don’t agree with the title, set against the writing, but I do largely agree with the analysis about Star Trek’s reflection of our society over the course of 50 years.

I loved the original series, which aired in 1966. Much as I liked, and even imitated Spock, Kirk’s bravado and moralism rapt my attention. He acted rather than hesitated. Meanwhile, series creator Gene Roddenberry and his producers, directors, and writers used the storytelling as metaphors and allegories commenting on American society and its values. I aspired to be like James Tiberius Kirk: Do the right thing, for the greater good of all, regardless the risk. 

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Amazon Fire TV Review

Streaming set-top boxes are no longer about media consumption. The newest entrants—from Apple, Amazon, and Google—fit into a larger lexicon of connected digital lifestyles. Think intelligent television for the information-obsessed and for visual voyeurs demanding the highest-quality video that is commercially available.

On Oct. 1, 2015, I started testing the new Amazon Fire TV, which goes on sale October 5th. I will later review the newer Google Chromecast but unlikely Apple’s device (because a review unit isn’t available and I wouldn’t buy one for personal use). There is nothing radically new about Fire TV. It’s more of the same only much better. Key benefit for some: 4K Ultra HD video support. Benefit for all: Enhanced voice-interaction capabilities that include Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. Then there are iterative enhancements that improve overall benefits. 

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Comic-Con House of Worship

I lied, but didn’t mean to. Turns out that my “Final SDCC 2015 Reflection” isn’t. I have another. Whether or not you believe in the existence of God, or some kind of deliberate creator, ponder this observation: Comic-Con, more than any other gathering, reveals how much human beings need to worship. Some evolutionist might argue that such innate genetic trait leads us to manufacture deities and religion. God believers could point to the fallen human condition and idolatry replacing pure faith.

Whether you accept either, neither, or something else, nevertheless ponder what San Diego Comic-Con and events like it represents: People gather to worship what or whom they see as being greater than themselves—fictional superheroes, artists who create them, writers who tell their stories, actors who portray them, and directors, producers, showrunners and others who bring them to film and to video. 

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Uh-oh! Red Shirts!

What an Uglydoll way to go. I wonder how long these will last? Star Trek Uglies are this year’s San Diego Comic-Con exclusives. Just beam me up some, would you? But Preview Night wasn’t their time for big sales. Long lines queued elsewhere.

Each day of SDCC has its own distinct character. Preview Night is the big geekfest. It is not the pretty people gathering. The group fulfills a wide range of stereotypes that says nerd. The fewest cosplayers are seen of any day, also. You would think Star Trek would appeal to these types, and perhaps it does. I observed more of a Dr. Who, Orphan Black, and The Walking Dead crowd.