Archive for the Actual News Category

Why oh why, Syfy?

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out with tags on July 8, 2009 by Just Zach

In what’s perhaps the oddest bit of branding since the Gilette Fusion: Gamer razor, the Sci-Fi channel rebranded itself as Syfy yesterday.

I say odd in a very selective manner.  I don’t mean to say it’s bad.  Nether do I mean to say it’s an ill-concieved move.

The spelling is just goofy as hell.

Not to say that in itself is bad.  It’s been in fashion for years now, especially in the era of the internet domain names (flickr anyone?) to blatantly misspell a word so that one may trademark it.  Which is largely what this boiled down to- a trademark issue.  Sci-Fi is a genre.  It’s a generic term invalid for trademarking.  What’s the next best thing?  Misspell the fukk out of it.

I’m a design student by trade, so I’m a little more attuned to branding than the average bear.  This doesn’t bother me at all, but then, Sci-Fi Channel and I haven’t always gotten along.

What this spells more, to me, is a sea change behind the scenes at the company.  It started with things like them broadcasting professional wrestling and turning Starbuck into a woman, moving into things like this.  Sci-Fi used to regularly count itself among the most watched cable networks, and likely will continue to do so after this rebranding.  What these guys are after, I think, is mainstream recognition.  Just like most other geek hobbies or interests, heavy sci-fi is usually derided as ‘nerd fodder’ or the like.  While I’d argue we’re a nation of geeks already, sometimes softening the blow will still let you get a hit out.

In an interview with Wired.com, Craig Engler, (senior vice president and general manager of Sci Fi Digital) said of the new name, “It’s a brand that catches up with our programming… “It is our stake in the ground. Last year was tremendous for us, with Battlestar Galactica getting recognition as one of the best dramas on television.”

I’ll buy it.  Where else am I gonna watch the 70’s Incredible Hulk reruns?

Happy Birthday, You Old Coot!

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out on July 6, 2009 by Danny Methane

62 years ago today, one of the worlds greatest champions was born.

This champion does not have a clean record, unfortuneately. Having been an accessory to the murders of over one million people, I’d say he’s pretty damn evil. But today is his birthday, and we must focus on the goods. Continue reading

The Pirate Bay… goes legit?

Posted in Actual News, Reviews & Previews with tags , on July 1, 2009 by Just Zach

Forget the recent smattering of celebrity deaths… (God rest ye, Billy Mays) … I read some news today that has completely thrown me for a loop.

Global Gaming Factory X AB, a “new media channel to reach visitors of Internet cafes and gaming venues” has shelled out 7.8 million dollars US to aquire the infamous torrent site as early as next month.  This comes on the heels of the announcement of The Video Bay, the original Pirate Bay crew’s take on YouTube, but without the necessity to be beholden to corporate interests.

We’re facing something unprecedented here, I think.  The single most popular site online for pirate content may very well be coming clean.  Is the end of torrent piracy?  PSH.  Hell no.  Someone will just step in to fill the black market shoes this ‘new’ Pirate Bay will be leaving behind.  Another site will step in to regain the lost popularity… and because these guys seem to be intent on turning this operation legal, I can guaran-damn-tee the popularity will be out there for grabs.

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What is this “MySpace” you keep mentioning?

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out with tags , , on June 24, 2009 by Just Zach

MySpace?  Psh.  Wow.  That’s so 2005.

I hardly use it anymore.  Anyone who checks the Just Action News promo MySpace profile could attest to that.  But it’s not just me, it’s the nation at large.  Look.

That folks, is the writing on the wall.  It’s Facebook’s market to loose now.

MySpace just cut 1/3 of it’s staff to better compete in a suddenly very hostile enviroment.  This in and of itself might not sound like much, what with businesses announcing “corporate contractions” and “downsizings” and “strategic repositionings” (and the unemployment rate teasing double-digits for the first time in years)… but remember, this is MySpace.  MYSPACE.  They were the long and short of Web 2.0 not but a few scant years ago.  Social networking used to be synonymous with Tom Anderson and his little patch of internet.  But now…

I mean, just look… MySpace has been flat for the entire year.  Facebook is now the nation’s most popular social networking site.  And Twitter… is actually making real world impact.  The Twitter folks actually delayed server repairs for Iranian election demonstrators organizing through Twitter.  The jet plane that landed in the Hudson River was first found through Twitter.  Twitter sucks the air out of a room.  It’s got problems of it’s own, you know, what with a very terrible retention rate, but it’s growing at least.  More than I can say for MySpace.  It’s one thing to have the most subscribers or to generate the most ad revenue, but it’s something else entirely to affect lives or influence the governments of nations across the globe.  It’s just one of those funny side-effects of being a wired world.

It’s not just yet an also-ran like Xanga, Bebo, MyYearbook or the others… but unless they do something, MySpace won’t ever be the mover and shaker it was.

LifeLock ruled illegal, cyberprivacy takes a hit

Posted in Actual News with tags , on June 8, 2009 by Just Zach

The budding field of identity theft protection was delivered a major setback recently with the ruling that the business practices of LifeLock violate California  law.

LifeLock is most well know for it’s unique ad campaign- CEO Todd Davis publicly giving out his Social Security number, auspiciously because his company’s services are so effective at protecting his identity.  Experian, one of the nation’s three major credit boards, sued Davis and LifeLock for placing an undue and prohibitively expensive burden on thier operations.  A federal judge agreed, and LifeLock and competitors may be forced to discontinue business.

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Episode 7: E3

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out, Rants and Raves with tags , on June 4, 2009 by Just Zach

It’s that time of the year again!  No, not just another miserable Texas summer, but the Electronic Entertainment Expo!  Hooray vidyea games!

Episode 4: Duke Nukem Never Ever

Posted in Actual News, Geek-Out with tags , on May 7, 2009 by Just Zach