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Manipulation

(or: Hollywood still hates you)

As if you needed another indicator, this new deal between Warner Bros. and Netflix highlights how completely out of touch Hollywood is.

Another clutch quote:

Under the companies’ previous agreement, users could add discs to their queues even before they went on sale. Warner executives apparently believed that policy made it easier for consumers to wait, confident that the discs would arrive eventually.

Being able to put them in my Netflix queue, long before the DVD was available, was the best way that I could ensure that I would remember the movie. I would eventually see it, and Hollywood would get paid something.

There is logic here, it’s simply faulty. In a previous world of limited choice I could probably count the number of movies I heard and cared about in any given year on one or two hands. Now, just in movies alone, I am overwhelmed with what I hear about and what I have access to.

Consider only new releases: I know for a fact that I’ll never get to the movie theater to see all of the movies that look interesting. Being able to put them in my Netflix queue, long before the DVD was available, was the best way that I could ensure that I would remember the movie. I would eventually see it, and Hollywood would get paid something. If I can’t do that, I’m much more likely to simply forget the movie ever existed, not count down the days until I can buy it. I think there was a time that tactic could’ve worked. I simply don’t think it does anymore.

(via Apple Outsider)

One Week In Japan

by Mike Matas

Mike Matas, designer and co-founder of Push Pop Press compiled a week’s worth of vacation photos from his time in Japan with his girlfriend into a captivating short film, framed perfectly with music by Patrick Brooks.

Flat Tax

I don’t understand at all why it has taken so long to get to this point. A flat tax seems so painfully obvious as the best way to manage income tax. The only thing I can think is that, for the most part, the people who benefit most from the current tax system are the ones in charge of managing said system. Surprise, surprise.

I hope Fred’s right. I too would be excited to see a true simplification of the tax system.

Lobbying

We get what others lobby for…

Interesting take by Mat Honan. I can’t say I disagree.

I think the main feeling I have walking away from today is shame.

Today was interesting. I don’t usually find myself caught up in the sorts of protest-type “movements” that we saw today, but this one got me. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Whether Mat is 100% correct or not, I think the main feeling I have walking away from today is shame. Shame that it got to this point. As a country, how do we continue to put people in power who are so ready to listen to special interest groups? Is it simply because sometimes our special interests get listened to and we feel like we got a win?

The very existence of SOPA/PIPA (and the lobbying efforts that birthed them) underscore a deeper problem in our current political system. It’s deeper than money in politics, corporate lobbies, or congressmen who don’t understand the internet. I think we’re facing the result of making politics a lifelong-career of the privileged and attention-seeking. How different would Washington be if everyone knew they only had—at the most—a few years to do the work they were elected to do?

F48 Hazzard

by OWL Studios

This stop-motion animation by OWL Studios for the bag maker, FREITAG is clever. I especially love the shot near the beginning of the model riding the bike. There are a few others in the series.

The Tax War

This opinion piece in The Economist has one of of the more balanced takes on the US (and Western World’s) current tax and income redistribution adventure. It asks a lot of the same questions that I’ve wondered myself.

I’m not a tax expert by any means, but it seems that our efforts shouldn’t be focused on how to get only the rich to pay more taxes directly, but on simplifying and streamlining the existing tax code: the result automatically being that everyone pays a more “fair” share of tax related to the revenue they bring in. I guess that just doesn’t have the same political punchiness in the pulpit for either side.

We gave you the Internet…

…and no, there’s no time machine.

Nat Torkington, in response to the president’s request of ideas and help from the tech community to stop and prevent piracy.

I don’t like piracy. I wouldn’t want my work stolen and I certainly don’t like seeing the work of friends stolen. But what the president is asking for doesn’t exist. I think future generations will look back on the invention of the Internet and—if it’s mentioned at all—see a footnote about how it made it hard for some industries to continue operating under their pre-Internet status quo. That is, unless we screw this up. Then the footnote will talk about the Internet Dark Ages where we allowed government and lobbyists to try to turn back the clock. I bet there was proposed legislation that required cars to artificially restrained to the speed of a horse too.

(via @timbray)

PROTECT IP/SOPA Explained

This video is three months old, and even the addendum at the end hasn’t quite kept up with these bills, but it’s still one of the best plain-language explanations I’ve seen on what the SOPA and PIPA acts are all about.

I know, I know, yesterday everyone on Twitter was celebrating the SOPA is dead (technically it has only been shelved and could come back up for vote at any time), but PIPA is still alive and furthermore, you owe it to yourself to understand these topics and be able to speak eloquently about them to your friends. Watch this video.

(via Swiss Miss)

Attention

We’re training young designers to get noticed, rather than to excel at their craft

So very true. I’d counter this, though, with the unfortunate observation that, as an industry, we reward this behavior.

Dribbble, while one of my favorite sites on the Internet, is most-often a popularity contest that is getting a lot of designers who make very pretty (but very untested) things a lot of attention. No problem, except for the confusing message it sends to these young designers.

Design blogs like The Dieline (and perhaps, even this very blog) are beautiful, but a lot of the work tends to be student work, that has never met mettle or gone through the ringer of a client that’s not entirely sold on the design.

…you’re young and inexperienced; now do things to get attention.

I’m not trying to pass judgement on these types of online establishments, I just think that we’re communicating a double-message to young designers: you’re young and inexperienced; now do things to get attention. Because of this, we’re cultivating a crop of designers who play this game really, really well, but may be completely lost or out-of-sorts when it comes to actual client work.