Friday, February 15, 2008

The fat lady is singing at the format war

About a year ago I posted on how the battle of formats of high definition video disks was becoming irrelevent. Between the plans for dual format players and dual format disks, all the bases would be covered. Well, a lot has changed in the last 13 months.

The dual format disks never actually appeared. The dual format machines did appear, and the most recent models were pretty much full-featured, from what I read (the initial ones were basically Blu-ray machines that could also play HD-DVDs, but with very little of the special stuff). But the prices of the single format machines fell so much that you could buy one of each for significantly less than a dual format player.

Meanwhile, a lot of the movie studios and big retailers really started choosing sides--and most chose Blu-ray. Now the final nail in HD-DVD's coffin has been nailed: Wal-Mart has announced it will sell Blu-ray exclusively.

Though there are arguments as to which format is technologically superior, it seems to me that Blu-ray has a slightly better case--though I doubt very many people could ever tell the difference visually. What is really important is that there will be one single standard. People, even people like me, have put off buying anything. Now we know what to purchase.

Meanwhile, the ability for people to get their movies via internet download has been picking up steam. I foresee a big problem with this--if it gets extremely popular there just won't be enough bandwidth. It will clog up the internet completely. I really wonder if that's at least part of the cause of the slow internet problem I've been having recently.

Male or Female: Choose one!

Recently I got a new Myspace friend, Queering MySpace's Gender: Official Petition. This is someone who's trying get Myspace to change its requirement that everyone identify as either male or female. He/She/I-don't-know-what-pronoun-to-use has also just started up an online forum, Gender is Not Binary: Queering the Gender of Social Networking Sites, "the official discussion forum of the Queering Gender movement." I really doubt there is anyone qualified to designate it the "official" one, but I'll accept it as the site's self-identity.

But he/she/whatever has a little problem with the site (actually there is more than one--I also found a technical glitch in trying to access my Profile from at least one page): To register you are required to identify as Male or Female! It turns out this is a restriction of phpBB, the software the forum is using, but the founder never had to register, so he/she/whatever didn't know. A request has been put in to phpBB to change this.

This just shows how ubiquitous the gender binary is.

Headline of the day

No Homicides in Newark for More than 30 Days
That's great for Newark, but I think it's really sad that this is seen as something unusual.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Plat du jour

French for "the teacher."