Link Dump

This time, featuring actual relevant and timely information. Partially. It's otherwise just links to interesting stuff from ye olde internets. No one's perfect.
  • Sony Cancels ‘The Interview’ Release, Has No Plans For VOD/DVD; U.S. Links North Korea to Sony Hacking - This makes me feel like a grumpy old man. Say what you will about America's problems, one of the things we've always been decent at (not perfect, to be sure) was free speech. For all our partisan rhetoric and cheap debating tactics, we used to be pretty awesome at free speech. No matter what problems we faced, we could at least talk that shit out. The past few years seems to have heralded an odd resistance to free speech, often from those who rely heavily on its protections. The lessons here are simple. Are you offended by something stupid someone said? Threaten to kill someone, and they'll stop talking. Sony apparently considered a VOD release (and there are interesting implications to that approach), but currently has no plans. I was ambivalent about this movie before, but I would have totally seen this in the theater (or VOD). This is a shame. I'm really hoping this precedent isn't set it stone.
  • Hobbit Office - In lighter news, this is brilliant. No, wait, it's offensive. Someone threaten SNL.
  • In an All-Digital Future, It’s the New Movies That Will Be in Trouble - The challenge of archiving digital data is more challenging than it might seem:
    ...when it comes to preserving movies for the long haul, the digital revolution may turn out to be something of a catastrophe. "At this time, the longevity of digital files of moving images is anybody's guess," says Paolo Cherchi Usai, senior curator at George Eastman House, one of the nation's most significant motion-picture archives. "We do know that it is much, much shorter than the longevity of photochemical film." If hard drives aren't occasionally turned on, he notes, they start to become unusable.

    ...In one of the most famous examples of the perils of digital preservation, when the makers of Toy Story attempted to put their film out on DVD a few years after its release, they discovered that much of the original digital files of the film - as much as a fifth - had been corrupted. They wound up having to use a film print for the DVD. "That was the first major episode to draw public attention to the fact that digital files are a challenge when it comes to conservation," says Usai. (Somewhat hilariously and almost tragically, a similar fate came close to befalling Toy Story 2, which nearly got nuked when someone accidentally hit a "delete" button.)

    The fate of Toy Story highlights a sad irony of the digital revolution: It's the newer movies that are in trouble. For a long time, it was assumed that the real loser in our rapidly approaching all-digital future would be older films shot on celluloid, as they would have to be digitized at great cost in a world where movie theaters had forsaken film prints.
    And that's before you get to more intentional transitory experiences, like video games (remember Lord British?). It feels like there has to be a better way to do this. Maybe if someone threatens... nah.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for some some reviews for SF short stories.