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Posts tagged Worth Reading

Portable, Closed Headphones Mega-Review 

Marco Arment published a gigantic headphone review on his blog. He tested and used 17 pairs of headphones with these criteria:

  • Semi-portable, over-ear headphones — not pocketable, but should fit comfortably in a small bag; suitable for listening at your desk and bringing on an airplane, or maybe wearing outside
  • Closed-back design with at least moderate isolation
  • A straight, short cable with a 3-button clicker

The hard price cap is $400, but ideally, these should be under $300.

This is right in my wheelhouse. If you remember I obsessed over the Roc Nation Aviators but haven’t used them for some time because the cable kept breaking. I’ve been using Panasonic RP-HTX7’s and while I love them they don’t have an inline remote.  I’m going to dive in and I’ll probably do a post if I buy one of the headphones from this review.

George Lucas blew up the galaxy, but I still remember it 

So, this was inevitable. Yes, George officially “blew up the galaxy” after the sale of the Lucasfilm but he’d been chipping away at it for some time, and it started when he made the prequels. Say what you want about the prequels but the most offensive thing to me was how he changed Boba Fett’s origin and made him a clone.

It was at that moment that Lucas made it abundantly clear that he was doing to do what he wanted, and that movie canon was different than book canon. We fans understood that hirearchy. Movies > Books > Comics > Video Games. No one thought for a second that playing Rebel Assault II on my PlayStation was contributing to the canon in any meaningful way.

When he sold Lucasfilm to Disney the goal was to make more movies and television shows. If Episodes 7, 8, 9 were going to exist they were going to have to ruin more book canon.

Here’s the thing with the books. They were all, at some level, Lucas approved and were eventually even published by Lucasbooks. To us (diehard fans) this was the way our charters were going to live on and it always felt mostly official. You couldn’t get away with killing off Luke but you could have a clone of Luke, and he could marry the Emperors secret apprentice.

In that way it always kind of felt like George Lucas wasn’t really looking at the books. Like he always had his back turned, or never really went into that side of the office unless he had some kind of broad directive like “kill Chewbacca.”

So now Disney has Star Wars and the books are gone. Disney is going to make a unified canon that spans across Movies, TV, and books. I suspect comics and video games will keep existing but not contributing to the canon. For new fans coming in, I think it’s great. It’s great to experience a unified world and it’s great to know that if you pick up a book it relates to the films and television you’re watching.

For people who have been reading Star Wars books for the better part of 30 years … like myself… it’s disheartening. And it will, inevitably, lead me to say “Oh man that was so much better in the book” as things like the Solo’s have children, and if Luke get’s married and it’s not to the Emperors secret apprentice.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY AND THE ART OF CONSTRUCTING JOKES 

I saw Guardians last week at the Ziegfeld theatre in New York. It’s my favorite theatre and (I’m pretty sure) it’s the largest non-IMAX screen in the city. It’s the perfect place to see action movies (it’s the perfect place to see anything, really, but it lends itself to big action movies a little more).

Anyway, after reading Film Crit Hulks review (it’s not really a review, but I don’t have a word for it) I think I like the movie more than when I left the theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Guardians. I’m happy I saw it in theaters and I’ll probably watch it again, but the internet really over hyped this film.

I kept seeing it compared to Star Wars regarding its scope, size, and characters (specifically Rocket and Groot) and that sets a very high bar for me. It’s not Star Wars. But almost nothing is. Heck, even some Star Wars movies aren’t Star Wars. So when I walked out of the theatre I was a little let down when really I shouldn’t have been.

Reading Hulk’s assessment of the story and characters makes me appreciate this movie more than I did after seeing it. And actually makes me want to see it in theaters again.

The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World 

Do we have a word yet for “totally winning the internet”? Because maybe that word should be Clickhole. Everything they are doing, from the quizzes (the serious ones and the fake ones) to their lists have been absolutely killing it. But this… this is a weird other level.

Today, Clickhole uploaded (from what I can tell) the entirety of Moby Dick as a blog post with a new title. Well done. I’m probably going to take the rest of the day off, there’s no point in internetting any more.

Why Marvel wants the X-Men to fail 

Great read. 

I’ve been hearing for a while that Marvel was considering canceling all Fantastic Four comics in an attempt to hurt the movie, but I didn’t think Marvel would do this to the X-Men.

And then Vox pointed out this:

The story lines involving the X-Men could be taken as affronts. In 2005, Marvel implemented the “Decimation" storyline, where Scarlet Witch (an Avenger) altered reality and took away powers from over 90 percent of the mutant population. This eventually resulted in the deaths of some mutants, as well as classic mutants like Jubilee — a long-standing member of the X-Men — losing their powers.

I was reading X-Men back then and I would have never thought anything so evil.

Alex Abad-Santos points outs that the X-books are immensely popular, and are currently being used to help promote Guardians of the Galaxy. So Marvel probably won’t be canceling any X-men comics, but they’re certainly not going to make an X-Men cartoon or merchandise that would coincide with any of the new X-men Movies.

And it’s kind of a bummer because First Class and Days of Future Past were both wonderful films. I’ve been a huge fan of the X-Men (I read them from 1993 until 2007) and I’d love to see them make it to the mainstream the way the Avengers have been the past couple of years.

Rebooting YouTube 

Wow. Just, wow. This is a gigantic article. No, I haven’t read it all yet, but I wanted to share it ASAP.

For the past few weeks (months?) I’ve been seeing ads for specific YouTube channels in the subway. The first run showed a baker, a stylist, and a makeup artist. Recently I’ve seen 15 and 30 second commercials for channels while watching Hulu for Vice News and Epic Rap Battles. If this is any indication of what’s coming, I applaud it. YouTube is already a monster company boasting”over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month”.

But now, with Susan Wojcicki at the helm YouTube wants to change the way you think about it. YouTube is not just a place to watch cat videos. It’s a network, like cable, with highly produced shows you can only watch on YouTube.

I’m going to dive in to this article, I’m very excited.

Did OkCupid send a bunch of incompatible people on dates on purpose? 

I’ve been a pretty big proponent of OK Cupid in recent years.  I used it for most of 2012, went on a lot of first dates, a few second dates, and I credit it with meeting my girlfriend (even though that was through friends, when you go on that many first dates it’s useful experience). I like Ok Cupid more than Tinder because you can see a persons personality not just the best few photos of them and more than Match because the barrier to entry is lower (there is no membership fee).

These experiments that Ok Cupid ran are a little disturbing. The article doesn’t make it clear if “Love Is Blind Day” was something that was advertised or not. It’s honestly a pretty good experiment, and it plays to Ok Cupid’s strengths as a service. If people were told ahead of time, then that’s fine.

As Dylan Matthews says in the article, the third experiment is the most troubling. “Users [were] told they were 90 percent matches when they were in fact 30 percent matches”. Yikes.

Users were told the truth after the fact, but I know that I’d be more than a little upset, more because the service was wasting my time than anything else. Because, at least for me, when you’re actively looking for dates (online or irl) the last thing you want to do is waste time.

Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment 

Uh, what?!

The Summer Movie Season is dead 

A great case for why “Summer Movie Season” is now 10 months out of the year. 

Summer Movie Season is now just another marketing angle, the movies chosen for release during that window amounting to the multiplex equivalent of “maximum strength” painkillers.

And with everything from Avengers, to Star Wars, to Jurassic World, to Fast Seven all coming in 2015 “Summer Movie Season” would have to grow. We are seeing similar things happen in the video game industry. It used to be that the AAA titles were released in the fall. Now we’re seeing games like Watch_Dogs come out in May, and Mass Effect 3 came out in March of 2012!

Why multiplayer games are better in person 

But the advent of the online first-person shooter means that games like Goldeneye 007 and Halo are no longer the preserve of late-night sessions in the dorm room. Why play for nothing with your friends when you could be fighting against the world for new perks in Call of Duty? Major developers have all but ignored local multiplayer games in recent years, and now it’s up to the indie scene to pick up the slack.

Everything Sam Byford says here is completely true. Luckily, so far Halo has stuck to its local multiplayer roots, but it’s getting harder and harder to find games like this.

My favorite gaming memories come when playing local multiplayer. It’s the reason I own multiple Xbox 360s.  A contingent of friends used to come over and play 6-8 player Bomberman and Halo in my old apartment. There is really nothing more satisfying than killing your friends sitting in another room.

Personally, I hope there is more local multiplayer coming. Even if it’s not from the AAA devs.

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