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Monthly Archives: December 2011

…with computing devices and storage. retronaut has a picture of one of the first IBM “supercomputers” in 1956. It weighed a ton (literally) and had an awesomely unbelievable five Megabyte hard disk drive. Now, it takes that much memory to store one song in your playlist.

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I went with my family to see Mission Impossible 4 last week, and that was a pretty satisfying move experience. We’re pretty choosy about when we want to spring for a move because it’s gotten fairly expensive for four tickets plus concessions. Movie revenues for 2011 lagged far behind 2010, and 2011 had the “smallest audience since 1995.” Roger Ebert has some theories about why:

1. Obviously, the absence of a must-see mass-market movie. When moviegoers hear about “Avatar” or “The Dark Knight,” they blast off from home base and land in a theater seat as quickly as they can.

2. Ticket prices are too high. People have always made that complaint, but historically the movies have been cheap compared to concerts, major league sports and restaurants. Not so much any longer. No matter what your opinion is about 3D, the charm of paying a hefty surcharge has worn off for the hypothetical family of four.

3. The theater experience. Moviegoers above 30 are weary of noisy fanboys and girls. The annoyance of talkers has been joined by the plague of cell-phone users, whose bright screens are a distraction. Worse, some texting addicts get mad when told they can’t use their cell phones. A theater is reportedly opening which will allow and even bless cell phone usage, although that may be an apocryphal story.

4. Refreshment prices. It’s an open secret that the actual cost of soft drinks and popcorn is very low. To justify their inflated prices, theaters serve portions that are grotesquely oversized, and no longer offer what used to be a “small popcorn.” Today’s bucket of popcorn would feed a thoroughbred.

I don’t really care about #1. I’m not that sophisticated or discriminating a movie consumer;  I just have to believe (or have a reason to believe) that the movie I’m going to plunk down $60 for is going to be entertaining. Consequently, we see a lot of movies on Redbox, or cable for the first time.

I definitely agree with #s 2, 3, and 4, though. The movie theater experience can be pretty disappointing at times, and downright annoying at others.

Update: Smitty likens the movie business’ suck is very much like the government’s suck. I agree.

Read the rest:

via I’ll tell you why movie revenue is dropping… :: rogerebert.com :: News & comment.

From White House Dossier:

Michelle’s request was part of an email sent to the Obama 2012 list today.

Over the next 11 months we’ve got an organization to grow, voters to register, and people to get fired up.

I hope you’ll close out this year by donating $3 or more now to help make sure we’re ready for the next one . . .

Thank you so much, and happy new year,

Michelle

The obscene juxtaposition of the first lady on a $4 million vacation while asking what would have to be middle to low income earners for three bucks – who else would they be targeting with such an appeal? – is yet another example of lack of perspective the Obamas seem to be gaining while in power.

Mrs. Obama takes extravagant vacations to Spain and southern Africa. The president golfs obsessively and is currently dining at Honolulu’s ritziest restaurants. All while asking their fellow Americans to “sacrifice” during this time of not plenty.

And they blow $4 million – mostly taxpayers’ money – on a vacation, while wondering if the small people can come up with $3.

What about renting a beach house next year at the Jersey shore? I mean, if we’re all going to sacrifice.

I’ve got a better idea: how about next December, the Obamas spend the 17 days clearing out of the White House? Then, they can go on a permanent vacation.

via On a $4M Vacation, Michelle Seeks $3 From Backers | The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier.

I guess this is the inevitable progression for watches: they talk to your smartphone by Bluetooth. This one has some neat-looking features.

Casio Japan is planning [JP] to roll out the G-SHOCK GB-6900 on March 16 next year, a wristwatch that connects to certain smartphones via Bluetooth LE (LE=low-energy, a standard that’s baked into Bluetooth 4.0). The device will be compatible with the Medias LTE N-04D Android phone from NEC  (to be released next year) and NEC’s Medias PP N-01D.

Casio says that the G-SHOCK not only synchronizes the time with the phones but also shows incoming calls, emails, or SMS on its display. Users can also switch their handsets to vibration mode by pushing a button on the watch or set alarms.

At about $231, it’s pretty affordable, but won’t be available until March 16. From TechCrunch

You can get it on that double with cheese at Wendy’s, but only in Japan. Oh, and it will cost you $16. Wendy’s recently re-opened in Japan after a two-year absence. The truffle and foie gras luxury burger is a creation of the franchise owner in Japan.

Photo credit: Tomohiro Osumi / Bloomberg

Wendy’s has a new burger, and it’s not for the cost-conscious.

It’s a foie gras and truffle-festooned burger that costs $16. But the trip to the restaurant will cost you much more — this burger is available only in Japan.

It marks the return of Wendy’s — the third-largest fast-food chain in the U.S., now on track to overtake second-placeBurger King — to Japan after a two-year break. The first new Wendy’s in the country opened this week in a luxury shopping area in Tokyo.

The Japanese franchisee developed the luxurious 1,280-yen sandwich. The folks at Wendy’s International Inc.’s corporate offices in Dublin, Ohio, said they “really don’t have anything to do with it.”

The goose liver-topped burger won’t show up in the U.S. any time soon. Wendy’s said its most expensive items here are in the $5-to-$6 range.

Chief Executive Emily Brolick has said Wendy’s will aim to eventually triple its number of foreign restaurants to about 1,000. Other fast-food giants, including KFC owner Yum Brands Inc., are also looking overseas for growth opportunities.

Read more at The L.A. Times