How did Twitter become crucial infrastructure? Seriously, wasn’t it just a month or two ago that Ashton Kutcher and Oprah threatened to drain all possible credibility out of the service? Wasn’t there much wailing and gnashing of teeth? So how did we get from there to the state department asking Twitter to delay a maintenance outage in order to support protests in Iran? I’m not making this up:
The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had contacted the social networking service Twitter to urge it to delay a planned upgrade that would have cut daytime service to Iranians who are disputing their election.
Of course, Clay Shirky understands what’s going on. He gets it so thoroughly that he described exactly what we’re seeing now, in fascinating detail, a month ago. Appropriately, TED gives a video record of his prescient talk:
Shirky presents the idea we’re all getting a crash course on this week: it’s nigh impossible to censor media if everyone produces it for instant distribution. It’s the flipside of the social phenomenon The Onion has poked fun at so well. Now that we’re all capable of reporting, everyone is always sharing everything, whether we like it or not.
Lee shared this article and photo from Gizmodo today, and it resonates:
On the left, Lucas surrounded by a ton of stuff from the first Star Wars trilogy, which ended with 1983′s Return of the Jedi. On the right, Lucas surrounded by the only object that mattered in his second Star Wars trilogy, finishing with 2005′s Revenge of the Sith: A green chroma screen.
I’ve been thinking about this in terms of television shows lately. On the one hand, using CG and green screens is so much cheaper that it allows shoestring indie productions to look as good as big studio stuff. (See the indie-to-SciFi show Sanctuary for an example.) On the other hand, green screens make it harder for actors to get involved, and there are lots of ways to get the visuals subtly wrong.
So here’s my question: do we actually need the green screen anymore? There seem to be lots of “extended super special restored director’s cut” editions of existing shows and movies now, and plenty of YouTube remasters of even the crappiest pre-digital video. None of that stock had green screens or motion dots or matchmove data, so why can’t we shoot new video without all those things?
As an intermediate step, would it be possible to dress a set the way you might for a stage play, then fill in the screen-quality props and sets digitally? Can actors look out a cardboard window at a black cloth with stars painted on it, but viewers see a porthole with galaxies whizzing past? That way, you don’t have to make the decision between the on-stage prop and the virtual one until you’re in the editing room. Who knows? You might just decide to leave the cardboard in.
UPDATE: CSS Naked Day is over, so the site is back to its stylish self. If you missed it, the home page looked something like this:
Are things lookin’ a little 1994 in here? That’s because it’s CSS Naked Day 2009, a day when people around the world strip their sites bare so you can see what’s underneath.
The idea behind this event is to promote Web Standards. Plain and simple. This includes proper use of (x)html, semantic markup, a good hierarchy structure, and of course, a good ‘ol play on words. It’s time to show off your <body>.
Since Global Spin looks pretty good even without CSS makeup, I decided to join in the fun. Enjoy the nostaligia; tomorrow we go back to the 21st century.
Upon seeing Project PUMA, the new joint venture from unlikely partners GM and Segway, you might have thought of me. Specifically, you might have wondered, “What would Chris think of this?” And so I’m going to tell you a little story…
What? Okay, maybe not.
I thought, “What the hell are they thinking? Is there really a problem this solves, a problem so compelling it required someone to figure out how to balance a two-person vehicle on two wheels in city driving conditions?”
Seriously. Who is their target market? Prospective Smart car buyers who would jump for something that popped more wheelies? All those Segway owners longing for a dorkmobile built for two?
No, I think this is something much simpler: another publicity stunt by GM to try to associate themselves with progressive “green” thinking without the risk of producing a product that might displace the automobile. Can’t you just hear them talking about it in the boardroom? “I mean really, this one practically kills itself!”