ACM - Computers in Entertainment

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Smart Things Still Don’t Play Well Together

March 22, 2018

AI at home? Don't have it. Don't want it. Oh sure we've got smart speakers, smart thermostat, some smart lights, smart TV but they're just smart enough to do what they're told. True Netflix and Amazon Prime suggest entertainment based on stuff we watch but when we say no they don't insist that they know better than we do. We call them smart, we call them assistants. We don't call them AI because we've heard the stories, seen the movies and they never seem to end well. Right now they're smart...just not smart enough to talk to each other, work together
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The Stuff That Makes Your Entertainment Enjoyable

March 14, 2018

It is so easy to get drawn into the director's intent when you watch a movie, TV show or streaming content that you overlook the work before the project and work begins. And it's going to get even better! Hammering out agreements on standards, technology makes it possible for you to watch the visual story on any screen and it will always look, feel and be the same. Events such as the recent HPA Tech Retreat and SMPTE Technical Conference this fall aren't like convention boondoggles. They're activities people attend to make the content people want more and more of on their screens. It'll be so great you'll have to wear shades. Sometimes technology really can be entertaining.
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Filmmakers Tackle Some Projects Because They Can

March 7, 2018

I'm still digesting and trying to figure out what really came out of the HPA Tech Retreat last week in Palm Desert, CA. It's not that easy. Why? We know a lot of EPs, DPs, DITs, editors, audio, creative people who work in the visual storytelling field. They all focus on delivering "the director's intent" to the content consumer even when that director is him or herself. They see things differently. They use the best, most advanced tools available to create something they can only see in their mind(s) and let the viewer interpret the message. Sometimes they bomb. Sometimes they hit the bullseye and people just get it. Most of the time the story works well enough to make them want to do it again. That's more of a commitment than most people make in their day-to-day job. They're judged by their peers, experts, pseudo-experts Hope you're willing to take those types of chances!
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Don’t Kid Me…You Like Free!

Feb. 28, 2018

With appointment TV getting whiskers and streamers becoming more important, upfronts this year are going to be interesting. Upfronts? That's where advertisers place their bets on shows. This year there's a new set of tools focused on attribution and outcome...the ability to trace commercials to actual sales. Yes all your online activity enables this. Now advertisers can have proof that their 6-,15-,30- and 60-second commercials work...or not. Don't kid me you don't just watch Netflix and Amazon Prime stuff. Free wins over a few bucks every hour of the day, day of the week. And thanks to the marvels of OTT shows, networks and marketers will be able to check off when you go to McDonalds vs healthy food places. Free...Gotcha!!!
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Streaming Services and the Olympics Highlight Viewing Trends

Feb. 23, 2018

Our son recently said he doesn't like TV even though the weekend before he spent three hours in his room binging on some new Netflix series on his iPhone. Right now he has to constantly recharge it so he can watch all the extreme Olympics contests. He doesn't really dislike TV, he just likes to pick when/where/how he watches the stuff. Sure if you're "of a certain age" you like watching the 6 p.m. news at 6 p.m. but the Olympics coverage is proving people increasingly like the convenience of the video stream. Now all we have to do is wait for 5G to move beyond trials and into the real world. Maybe it will be here for the 2020 Olympics!
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Security, Privacy Are Lost Causes … Get Over It

Feb. 15, 2018

Consumer Reports just discovered your smart TV is so smart it's watching you and letting those other guys know. Oh yeah and all those free apps on your phone, all of your stuff on the Web, your increasingly smart car, the smart stuff that is making home life so great...all listening in, sharing. About the only thing that isn't sharing is your offline encrypted personal and business storage. Everything else assume your info is out there. Yes you could go off line but that's a little drastic. Better yet spend some time checking all your settings, adjust your mindset, control what you can control and enjoy the benefits of your shared information.
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CREATE - An Oculus social VR experience

Feb. 10, 2018

Have you always wondered what it was like if you could create a reality of your choice? CREATE, an Oculus social VR experience, allows you to do just that. Starting with only four basic elements, create, discover and unlock new combinations to use as building materials to form and craft ...
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If Toys Are Getting Smarter, Maybe Parents Should Too

Feb. 7, 2018

If you're a millenial you're concerned about raising your kids the right way. At CES that meant checking on them constantly, monitoring that everything is going right and that you're doing it at a distance. Thanks to the latest and greatest in technology you can do it all, be it all without actually having to be there. The new smart toys are great because they can carry on a conversation with your child and thanks to a huge memory bank back home they remember that conversation that can be helpful to others. Of course there are the unscrupoulos people out there who also want to mine that information. Still it's important that the young ones understand the open, transparent world they will be inheriting.
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Maybe the Problem of Sundance is the Distribution, Not the Content

Jan. 31, 2018

Sundance was "different" this year. The #MeToo ground rules took center stage this year with some good projects where females and minorities found their voice. There were some great leading edge/edgy projects to view. There was a solid set of VR (virtual reality) offerings that showed the technology is finding its way and its place in personal and group immersive entertainment. It's found its way and is moving to become commercially viable, not just another cute oddity. There was a whole lot of angst as to how aggressive the distributors were going to be with their checkbooks. Not a lot of them wrote big checks in the past and they said it was because the excitement quality wasn't there. They're hungry for the hits but they have to be the safe hits.
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Autonomy Will Reshape Transportation More Than You Think

Jan. 25, 2018

Even with the latest "self-driving" incidents self-driving transportation is coming faster than you think. The industry is designing, testing, installing and promoting more safety solutions. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and self-parking features are paving the way. Millennials ­ the tech-savvy generation ­ have more faith in cars that drive themselves. Sitting in a miles long parking lot for hours on end is a big waste of time. Seeing people fiddling with their phone or driving under the influence really ticks folks off...and they're a menace to me! But if you're only going to be a passenger why buy the car...
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