Amazon Prime Air delivery.
Great movie worth checking out on Netflix. Really makes me consider living in the South.
Runtime: 72 minutes
Robert Persons’ General Orders No. 9, an elegiac, experimental documentary about the American South, is the type of film that demands viewers to submerge themselves in it like a pool of water—anything less, and it will seem hopelessly abstract. Forgoing anything that could be described as a narrative, it combines a pensive score and poetic voiceover with imagery of nature, maps, crumbling buildings, and small towns giving way to gray, oppressive urban landscapes.
“In April, you can still feel it—that something is pushing against the surface of things,” muses narrator William Davidson, as shots of a neglected memorial in the woods, a trickling stream, and a quiet clearing at twilight glide by. “There was a war here, a hundred years before this generation was born. A war happened here. We’re lost without a map, but well misplaced. Bring us doubt upon doubt, bless us, and break us with mystery upon mystery. The Lord loves a broken spirit. Pray that we are well broken.”
General Orders No. 9 is bound to test your patience, but there are rewards to be found in its deliberate rhythms—foremost amongst them, the glorious, haunting visuals. They straddle the line between moving images and photography. Persons, who also serves as cinematographer, spent 11 years putting together this film, his first. That can be sensed in every meditative beat.
STEREOGUM: Last week, Kanye West released his perfectly absurd video for the great Yeezus closer “Bound 2,” in which he an a naked Kim Kardashian made out on an obviously greenscreened motorcycle. You probably did not need any help to realize how ridiculous this video was. But if you did, Seth Rogen and James Franco are here to think. The two made a shot-for-shot remake of that video, with Franco playing Kanye and Rogen playing Kim, right down to the orgasmic facial expressions.
TECHCRUNCH: Almost 15 years ago, a friend of mine at McKinsey spent a few nights writing a document called “The Battle for the Home”. The thesis at the time was that with broadband, the home PC was gradually going to challenge the TV as the core home digital system. Over the following few years, that battle gradually grew more complex, as the home saw the adoption of a new generation of HDTV sets, game consoles, set-top boxes and DVR options. But fundamentally, the discussion was about who was going to control the home entertainment system.
Now, the battle has expanded to the rest of the home. With the emergence of connected devices, the entire home is being reinvented as a data product, opening great opportunities to entrepreneurs. A whole new generation of startups is rushing in. Nest, with its beautifully-designed home products, has become the poster child for this phenomenon, but many others are producing exciting new connected devices and platforms, at an outstanding pace.
The irony of this market, not always acknowledged, is that a number of large companies with big brands and existing “pipes” in our homes, have been unusually innovative. From connected locks to mobile-controlled home automation platforms, large companies such as GE, Comcast or Philips have been offering connected home products for a while now, sometimes at the risk of cannibalizing their own analog products. As a result, the new wave of connected home startups finds itself in the fairly unusual position of having to not only execute and build consumer brands, but also out innovate dynamic incumbents. The home is once again at the crossroads of a major battle between startups, cable companies, telcos, industrial conglomerates, and large technology companies. READ MORE
NYTIMES: The Weinstein Company, founded eight years ago by Mr. Weinstein and his brother, Bob, is making a surge into TV production that will soon test whether it can extend its success in film to the world of television.
By next year, the company — known for movies like this year’s prize contender “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” along with some reality television, including “Project Runway,” and scattered fashion and media ventures — will be at work on more than a half-dozen new scripted series, while expanding its unscripted TV business.
The heavy investment in the production and sale of series signals a strategic shift that is meant to anchor Weinstein, a midsize independent studio, almost equally in television and film. It mirrors changes occurring elsewhere in Hollywood: Last week, for instance, the much larger Sony Pictures Entertainment said it would trim its film slate, while building up TV.
“The way to add stability to the company is to be in the television business,” Harvey Weinstein said in an interview by phone last week. Mr. Weinstein, who spoke jointly with the company’s president, David Glasser, said his goal was to create a television operation “as powerful as the theatrical division.” READ MORE
XKCD: “Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll end up co-orbiting the Sun alongside Earth, living out your days alone in the void within sight of the lush, welcoming home you left behind.”
NYTIMES: David Soloff is recruiting an army of “hyperdata” collectors.
The company he co-founded, Premise, created a smartphone application that is now used by 700 people in 25 developing countries. Using guidance from Mr. Soloff and his co-workers, these people, mostly college students and homemakers, photograph food and goods in public markets.
By analyzing the photos of prices and the placement of everyday items like piles of tomatoes and bottles of shampoo and matching that to other data, Premise is building a real-time inflation index to sell to companies and Wall Street traders, who are hungry for insightful data.
“Within five years, I’d like to have 3,000 or 4,000 people doing this,” said Mr. Soloff, who is also Premise’s chief executive. “It’s a useful global inflation monitor, a way of looking at food security, or a way a manufacturer can judge what kind of shelf space he is getting.”
Collecting data from all sorts of odd places and analyzing it much faster than was possible even a couple of years ago has become one of the hottest areas of the technology industry. The idea is simple: With all that processing power and a little creativity, researchers should be able to find novel patterns and relationships among different kinds of information.
For the last few years, insiders have been calling this sort of analysis Big Data. Now Big Data is evolving, becoming more “hyper” and including all sorts of sources. Start-ups like Premise and ClearStory Data, as well as larger companies like General Electric, are getting into the act. READ MORE