Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK by Marauder

THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK

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Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls

© Jojo Whilden/HBO. All rights reserved.

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The new series, Girls, comes to HBO this Sunday and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I watched the first two episodes in Austin at SXSW spawning my lady crush on its writer/creator, Lena Dunham. The show follows a group of NYC Williamsburg hipsters through their daily machinations focusing on the somewhat unglamorous side of their romantic transgressions. I spent my 20’s living in NYC, the latter half in which I was working at HBO, and hence, was especially excited to see this story unfold.

I’ve been watching the critical reviews come across the internet wires and they all boil down to one thing: sex. The sex in Sex & the City was glamorous Jimmy Choo-laced fantasy, thick with witty Samantha-isms and adorable recaps from Carrie. The sex in Girls is uncomfortable to watch and ‘real’ in a way I’ve never seen on screen before. Slate Magazine describes this realness as the “chronicling of bad sex” whereas New York Magazine raves that the sex “isn’t a reward, it’s a revelation.” So which is it? Lena Dunham writes, stars, and partially directs this series. She plays Hannah, a post-collegiate brutally torn from the parental financial purse strings to go out on her own for the first time. The first sex on screen carries out between Hannah and her sex buddy Adam, and while not ruining anything, I’ll just say, that I would never tell a friend about sex that bad.

That said, it wasn’t only the sex that I found so intriguing. It was the comfort level by which these girls interact with each other and by which Dunham herself is comfortable exposing the world to. There is one scene in particular that I have obsessed over, obsessed because I think it indicates some lack of cool on my part and therefore has been a conversation piece for weeks. Dunham’s character, Hannah, takes a bath with her towel-clad roommate Marnie chatting about their lives, a pastime which in most respects would be done over breakfast or perhaps, any other place with clothes on. I’ve obsessed because I’ve wanted to know if this happens in real life. Do women get together naked and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives? I don’t even like to look people in the eye in the women’s locker room, let alone sit naked in a bathtub and talk about my sex life. Does this make me uncool?

Lena Dunham, as Hannah, with actor Adam Driver.

(Photo: Jojo Whilden/HBO)

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Back to the sex. The attempt to categorize this show at the ‘everygirl’ story would be dangerous. In the same way that Sex & the City did not translate to the lives of most American women at the time it debuted, I don’t think Girls has the intention of direct translation. How many women buy Jimmy Choos on a Monday and Monolo Blahniks on a Tuesday? In the same respect, how many women catch up on their day with their best friend sitting naked in a bathtub and then have discussions about how maybe they really do want AIDS at the doctor’s office? Here’s where I had to reel myself in. Being that you, the viewer, are presented with a woman (Dunham) who looks more real than the skinny plastic surgery-disfigured faces of so many Hollywood actresses, the viewer immediately thinks that what happens on screen will look more similar to their own world. In my case, even though I spent some time living in Williamsburg, the attempt at direct correlation was lost in translation. Frankly, that’s not the point. I think Dunham’s intention is to entertain with her own story and hope that each viewer draws inspiration in whichever way makes sense. Whether that’s making one person feel less embarrassed about their own bad sex moment or more comfortable in simply sharing something with a friend, so be it. So, I’ll attempt to stop thinking about how uncool I am for my lack of bathtub friend time…but seriously, does this make me uncool?! Maybe not, but quotes like this one, make Lena Dunham fresh to death.

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In other news, Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 Billion (scaring the sh-t out of this Instagram user right here and this one over there), Google busts out some augmented reality glasses which sadly bring on the Star Trek jokes, and Bravo announces plans to bring a Silicon Valley reality series to screen.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Architecture Meets Outdoor Art Projection

Photo Credit: Designboom



THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW by Marauder

THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW

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This week, SXSW descends over Austin. If you’re unfamiliar, SXSW is a three-in-one conference encompassing interactive, film, and music. SXSW has launched a few innovative companies in its midst including Foursquare and the now-acquired Gowalla. In my opinion, it’s a nerd fest reunion with some music folks on the back end. Once a year, all of my digital nerd friends from all across the US get together to drink, party and possibly hit a panel or two. This week, I had a conversation with an ad agency executive in NYC about the merits of SXSW.

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While this particular person had never attended SXSW, he felt that the information which returned was never of value. The thought was that SXSW was simply a drunken booze fest without value.

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I thought about this argument and sat down to read an article in the New Yorker about Davos. Davos, as contrasted to SXSW, rounds up the top world leaders with the hope of igniting inspiration at the highest levels. I’m sure cocktails are shared but I’m guessing no one ends up at the Driskill Hotel at 2 in the morning passed out in a hotel lobby arm chair. That said, my argument in defense of SXSW centered on the simple physical aggregation of start-up folk, programmers, product people and marketing experts alike. Primarily, in the past four years that I have been attending SXSW, this has included an audience under the age of 35. We are young, we are innovators, and yes, we like to drink. Let’s face it, a cocktail or two lowers our fears and in many cases, allows creativity to flow. Steve Jobs referenced LSD as “one of the two or three most important things [he had] done in [his] life” as he considered the experience principally one which opened his eyes to creativity in ways he did not think possible.

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Now, I’m not condoning alcoholism or drug use. I’m simply pointing out that discounting SXSW because this particular audience parties or drinks heavily,is simply disregarding it based on unfair terms. It may be Spring Break for digital folks but don’t we all need a vacation from reality every once in a while? If you’ll be at SXSW, I’ll be speaking on a panel entitled, “Are We Killing Social with Social?”  Stop by and share some thoughts, cocktail or no cocktail.

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In other news, Pinterest is surging while Google + is puttering, Lady Gaga becomes the first person to hit 20MM followers on Twitter, newspaper revenue tanks shocking no one, smartphone owners now outnumber other mobile users in the US, Yelp shares surge on their first day of trading, and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai is leaving Foursquare.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Lowline: Underground NYC Park Life



THIS WEEK: THE ARTIST MEETS ONE RIGHT LEG by Marauder

THIS WEEK: THE ARTIST MEETS ONE RIGHT LEG

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Monica Almeida/The New York Times

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Is it just me? I can’t be the only person alive who doesn’t understand the intrigue of The Artist…can I? It’s a silent film with a sickly sweet message crammed with actors pouring their emotions out like water from an unbridled hose. Simply stated, I’m not a fan. Clearly, the Academy does not agree; the Artist picked up 5 wins last night at the Oscars. At the very least, actor Jean Dujardin could have given us a throw-back to Roberto Benigni Oscar mayhem, but apparently Italians have a bit more joie de vivre. The Artist aside, the Oscars along with Billy Crystal, just felt a bit washed up last night. I enjoyed the 4 hours of Whitney Houston’s funeral the weekend before far more than the night honoring a bunch of films that, for the most part, were mediocre.

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Maybe the solution is to crowd source the nominees rather than giving the power to the Academy. Maybe then, there would be some actual surprises outside of Angelina Jolie’s right leg. Speaking of that, please Ms Jolie. PLEASE EAT. Till next year I suppose.

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In other news, the Samsung Galaxy Beam projects on walls, Facebook plans to release premium ads, The Oatmeal puts HBO on blast, and HTC releases the One X prompting Gizmodo drool.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Nerd Alert: Smartphone as Glasses



THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET by Marauder

THIS WEEK: DELAY TO GRAMMY & SPEED TO TWEET

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First thing’s first, Happy almost Valentine’s Day with a little love from Google and some geeky Valentine’s Day cards.

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By now, you’re well versed in the loss of Whitney Houston Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton directly before a pre-Grammy event being thrown by the man who discovered her: Clive Davis. I recommend reading the rest of this post with the following background track. Whitney Houston’s voice has been making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end since I was a little girl. She also convinced me, incorrectly I might add, that pink eye shadow was a fantastic decision for a 7-year old. May she rest in peace.

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Last night, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the talented Houston belting out “I Will Always Love You” in a truly sweet and very simple performance. For all of the producers of the Grammys, please take notice of what happened in your show last night. The sad passing of Ms. Houston brought emotion back to your show. Music is the fabric which connects us together and recognizing this stitching is what transforms a show from meh to great.

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Unfortunately, CBS didn’t get the memo about the connecting powers of music. While the east coast was watching the Grammys live as it was happening in LA, the west coast had to wait 3 hours to watch a show which was happening, for some, in their own zip code. So, let me address CBS directly. Delaying your broadcast of the Grammys on the west coast is one of the most ridiculous, vile things a broadcaster could possibly do. Here are some tweets from Piers Morgan of CNN, Brian Stelter of the NY Times, & Shira Lazar of What’s Trending (formerly on CBS) outlining the failure.

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If you want to know why the entertainment business is stumbling, here is one of the best examples. While we were all tweeting away about the Grammys on the east coast, our digital counterparts on the west coast were sitting and watching the events unfold in 140 characters of text rather than in video. By the time the west coast was ‘allowed’ to watch, many social media enthusiasts had already ‘watched’ the show. The reason live events, like this one, are so powerful is based heavily on the connection we feel to family, friends, and strangers alike in different time zones taped together by the social networks. Facebook and Twitter sit us all down on our community couch, and like in Coolio’s ‘Fantastic Voyage’, we somehow all fit. Last night CBS, you disconnected us. You put us in competition with each other. You delayed a show on the west coast which was happening live IN THAT MARKET. You ran tweets on your own live feed which literally ruined the biggest moments of your own show for that audience. Please don’t cry to me about the legal ramifications continuing to persist an antiquated model. Fix it.

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Back to Miss Whitney. What you may not know about her death is that it was reported 27 minutes before major news outlets on Twitter. This, along with stories like it, represents a significant shift in the reporting of news, one that has rested in the hands of professionals with journalism degrees and now has shifted to anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account. But slow down Gossip Girl. It’s not that simple. Twitter urges us to believe that speed should always be prioritized. Speed is pretty tasty especially when Keanu Reaves is starring. That said, there are several examples of Twitter setting the stage for misinformation.

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One such example is evident in the reporting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ “death” beginning with a tweet from NPR. Of course, Ms Giffords was shot but not in fact killed. NPR’s tweet created a cavalcade of tweets from other major media organizations including the Huffington Post and Reuters. What this represents is the classic antagonism between speed and quality. Major news organizations like the New York Times and others have to weight the information in front of them and double-check the sources before they can officially report on anything. Citizens on the street don’t have to double-check their sources and therefore speed to tweet before asking any questions whatsoever.

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So, which is better? Should the NY Times run a Twitter feed of a news story in progress on their site even before that news is verified? I try to play anthropologist on my own behavior when I’m trying to track a story of this nature. I immediately access my own Twitter feed with the anchor text of whatever I want more information about, in this case “Whitney Houston.” The sources I find there are partially verified by the fact that I follow them, increasing their accuracy at least in certain respects. I have become an editor of my Twitter feed, attempting to verify accuracy on my own, rather than waiting for the NY Times to do it. Why? We all want to be the first one to ‘break’ a story to our friends, confirming that we are in-the-know and on top of events like this one. I found out about Whitney Houston’s death in Providence, RI while visiting my mother. She had gone into a bathroom in the restaurant we were eating at and came out armed with information that another woman had told her after reading a text on her phone. While in the car on the way back home, I verified the news on my social networks, again, playing editor to the information supplied.

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In other news, Pinterest experiences the slap of the hockey stick to 10MM users drawing substantial growth from the middle of the US, one dad teaches his teenager a lesson with a 45 and her laptop. Apple rises to the top, and Redbox reverse engineers to add a streaming service.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Giving Your Order with the Click of a Table




ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

After previously only having an option to rent HD movies, back in March, Apple added the option to be able to buy HD as well. The problem? A complete and utter lack of options. Even now, some 8 months later, there were only a few dozen HD movies you could buy, and the majority were movies like The Midnight Meat Train— movies you probably had no desire to buy, let alone for the amped-up $19.99 HD price. Yesterday, that changed. (Techcrunch11/10)

HD Apple

While PCs have been able to use Google’s Chrome browser for some time now, the rest of us Macs have been waiting patiently for a proper, non-developer build that we too can use. That day may be coming very soon. (Mashable 11/11)

Well, the spirit of giving arrived a little early this year! For my birthday last month, Google announced it was partnering to offer free Wi-Fi on all Virgin America flights until January 15th. Great, thanks Google, now I have to check the feeds even while flying at 500MPH. But I guess that just wasn’t enough kindness to satisfy the Goog. They’ve just announced that they’re going to be extending the free Wi-Fi to 47 entire airports. (Crunchgear11/10)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Google users may not turn up any News Corp. articles in their searches after the company launches its paid content strategy, according to comments made by Rupert Murdoch in a Sky News interview. Murdoch complained that search engine readers hold little value for print sites’ advertisers and again held up his Wall St. Journal site as an example of what the model would look like. (Only the first paragraph of news stories would come up in search engines.) “There’s not enough advertising in the world to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our websites but paying,” said Mr. Murdoch.

Techcrunch reported that 25% of WSJ.com’s traffic comes from Google. That’s, in essence, what we’re talking about here: 25%. It’s a bit like Kraft taking all of it’s products off of supermarket shelves. And considering that WSJ has a deal with Google to allow users to read full article content when they search through the engine, it seems a bit like an about-face no?


In a continued housecleaning at Walt Disney Co., studio distribution veteran Mark Zoradi is leaving after 29 years. The departure of Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion pictures group, follows the ousting of his former boss, Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, in September and Miramax Films President Daniel Battsek late last month. (LA Times 11/10)

LinkedIn and Twitter have linked up. Starting immediately, users of LinkedIn and Twitter can cross-file to each other’s services, by checking a box on either Twitter or LinkedIn. (Reuters11/10)

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MOBILE by Marauder
November 10, 2009, 3:45 PM
Filed under: WIRELESS | Tags: , , , , , , ,

MOBILE

Now that in-app purchasing has been live for a few weeks in the iTunes App Store, and Apple is now ranking the top-grossing apps, whether they start out as free or paid, we have some initial data on what kinds of apps are pulling in the most money from in-app purchases. (In-app purchases allow apps to offer a free version and then make money by requiring consumers to pay for additional features or content). Today, Distimo put out a report (download it here ) which breaks down the top 40 grossing in-app purchasing titles by category. Games, social networking, and Book apps are doing the best job upselling consumers from free apps to paid enhancements. Music, news, and finance apps, not so much. (Techcrunch11/10)

In App Purchases iPhone

Today’s announced deal to by mobile ad startup AdMob for $750 million is Google’s largest acquisition since its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick in March, 2008, and its third-largest ever after the $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition in 2006. (Techcrunch11/10)

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