Archive for the ‘Net Culture’ Category

We’ve Got MOVIE SIGN!   Leave a comment

MST3K Crowdfunding Success

Just look at that.  It’s a beautiful sight.  (A beautiful sight that Twitter user Stephen P, AKA @dim_halo has allowed me to use here.  Thanks for sharing the screenshot, Stephen!)

There’s a lot of talk about this.  Most positive, some negative.  And there are worries…

I’m worried that the show will be too “polished” and won’t actually be the same slapdash performance that I like.  I’m worried that there’s some sort of behind-the-scenes issue that a lot of the old cast and crew aren’t talking about.  I’m also worried that there’s no such issue, but that fans will imagine that there is and worry about it and bug the old and new people so much that it becomes an issue.  I’m worried that it won’t be the same.  I’m also worried that it’ll be too much of the same.  Basically, I’m a neurotic Internet fan.  But not a single one of these worries are important: what really matters is that MST3K is coming BACK, baby!  I’m giddy!

And just look at what we did.  114%!  That’s major, guys.  And that 114% is of the final 5.5 million dollar goal, not the original 2 million dollar goal.  We actually raised, like… over three hundred percent!  And it stunned and delighted everyone…

Sadly, financial pressures being what they are, I had to lower my donation just a bit.  I’m still looking forward to that printable ID card, but a lot of the higher tier rewards were REALLY nice.  I especially wanted that VHS tape…

Incidentally, if you haven’t watched the Telethon, do it now!  Well… maybe not now.  Not in its entirety.  It was a multi-hour event that featured islands of really cool entertainment and information in the midst of charming awkwardness and technical problems.  But there are a lot of moments that I predict will become big parts of MSTie nostagia.  If nothing else, the look on Joel’s face when, with almost exactly a minute to spare, the totals were updated and passed the 3.6 million dollar total.  There were also moments that some liked and others didn’t (I enjoyed the Castlevania song, though I’ve heard some claim that they actively disliked it.)

Also, did I hear Felicia Day accidentally start singing Mike’s theme song for a second before correcting herself?  I could’ve sworn she almost mumbled “Way Down in Deep 13″… funny moment.

Anyway… it’s a great week to be a MSTie.  Friends, we’re not actually living in a post-MST3K world.  We’ve simply been living in the 15+ year inter-season hiatus.

And it’s almost over.

(Incidentally, I don’t mention this often on the blog, but for the record I frequent MST3K: The Discussion Board.  If you want a place to chill and discuss the show, I’m over there from time to time.  More importantly, LOTS of people are.)

The Internet Slowdown   Leave a comment

Net Neutrality

Okay, so, September 10th is going to be an event called the Internet Slowdown.  You can learn more about the event here, and I recommend that you do so.  It’s a tricky issue; we tend to look at it in terms of “Net Neutrality good, all opposition EVIL!”, and that’s not quite the case.  However, between all the different options available at the moment, I’m still in the camp that supports the Net Neutrality movement.  We’re sitting at a technological and cultural crossroads of a sort that doesn’t happen very often.  Generally, big businesses have a knack for figuring out the implications of technologies before the customers so that they can shape the future of the industry before the customers have much of a say so.  In this case, however, the Internet as a culture has the advantage, and at the time of this writing over a million dollars are being spent daily by companies like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon to lobby the FCC to get their advantage back.  We can’t let that happen.

The best comparison I’ve heard of this sort of situation is the one that puts Netflix in the role of a delivery truck driver.  Netflix delivers its movies to its customers for the pre-agreed price.  However, the company that owns the road sees the truck driver’s cargo and who it’s for and tells Netflix to pay them more money, or else they’ll lower the road’s speed limit and make it impossible for the customer to get the video as soon as they want it.  Effectively, Internet providers are lobbying for the ability to make it legal for them to run protection rackets on the Internet content providers.

There’s a lot of other issues involved, admittedly.  For instance, what happens if seven trucks want to drive down the road at once?  That sort of problem is why I recommend that you read up on Net Neutrality to make sure it’s the kind of thing that you support.  However, I urge you to support the movement.  I might not always support it myself, but for this week I certainly will.  

Posted September 9, 2014 by John Little in blogging, Net Culture

Ten Days Until They Cancel Australia   Leave a comment

People familiar with Penny Arcade might be familiar with the brilliant way that it’s written, especially if they go beyond the comic and check on the news posts.  Tycho made a statement once in one of his posts referring to what, at the time, seemed like the pending cancellation of E3.  He claimed that saying this to a gamer was a bit like what a normal person might hear if they were told that “they’ve cancelled Australia.”

How can one cancel Australia?  Like E3, Australia has just always been there.  It’s a part of life’s basic infrastructure.

We’re currently ten days away from another Australia cancellation, and unlike E3 I don’t think we’ll eventually be getting this one back.  Friends, we are ten days away from Yahoo’s plug-pulling of Geocities, one of the Internet’s earliest and most well known free, DIY website hubs.

For those who have only been on the Internet for five years or so, Geocities might not feel like so much of a staple of the Internet as it does to old guys like me in the early/mid twenties.  Geocities provided a simple framework that people could use, and use it they did.  All it took was some basic HTML knowledge, or even just knowledge of how to hit buttons on a keyboard.  Fan sites for cartoons, personal sites to show pictures of people’s pet kittens, a few optimistic (and, on a truly rare occasion, even succesful) businesses here and there…Geocities acted as a host to them all, providing the space as long as you were willing to provide the decorations.  And provide they did.  Many, many people did.

We’re less than a fortnight away, and I want to invite you to do something with me.  Take a quick look through Geocities.  If you’re new to Geocities, search around for information on old cartoons you might remember.  If you’re already familiar with it, take a quick glance through some of your old favorites lists that you’ve not checked in ages.  You’ll find some interesting things there.  You’ll find packets of data that are worth a few clicks, data that is (or at least was) worth something to you, as well as to the website’s creator.  You’ll also find a lot of ghost towns, websites that haven’t seen visitors in weeks, months or years.  Apart from the tumbleweed, you’ll be the first there in ages.  And you may also be the last.

You may also discover that a few websites are still up and running.  Fansites have a tendency to do one of two things, I’ve found: they either shrivel and die quickly, or they struggle onwards with an amazing tenacity that can last…well, I’d say decades, but the Internet as we all know it isn’t even two decades old yet.  Maybe two if you count the very early newsgroups and college mainframes and such that the current Internet was built upon.  Three if you’re willing to only count networks created for collegiate work and military studies.  But I digress: the point is, there’re a few websites on Geocities now that are still active, still getting visitors, and still making plans.  A few of them are willing to go down with the ship, and some are making plans to transfer.

I’m sorry for the maudlin tone of this post, I don’t mean it to be as sad as all that.  The time for a website like geocities might be gone.  AOL Hometown just vanished last month, and it’s not like a huge amount of clamor surrounded that.  Social Networking sites and Blog sites have eliminated the majority of uses for places like them, and while there’s a sort of undeniable nostalgia and historical interest, I can’t honestly claim that my geocities pages were going to be updated any time soon (that’s right, I had some.)

It’s going to be weird to wake up on the 27th to find myself in a world without Geocities.  But I’ll adjust.  The future for the Internet and net culture is brighter than ever, it’s practically mainstream.

So, take care, Geocities.  You’ll be missed.  If the future websites of the world let us see far, it will only be because they stand on the shoulders of giants like you.

Posted October 16, 2009 by John Little in blogging, Net Culture