Rob Dean:

Over on his excellent website, Extension 765, Soderbergh has uploaded a black-and-white version of the 1981 blockbuster in an effort to prompt cinephiliacs to think about how an impressive talent like Spielberg was able to convey so much of the story merely through length and composition of shots. He also removed all sound from the video, instead replacing it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Social Network, so that viewers can solely focus on the staging of the film.

So this is what “retirement" is like for Soderbergh. (The end result, which you can watch on Soderbergh’s site is beautiful and sort of mesmerizing.)

Cecilia Kang:

Podcasters also like the personal connection they have with fans who listen through ear buds or headphones, which can make shows feel more intimate than other forms of media.

Mars said he keeps that in mind and mikes himself more closely than he used to. This allows him to use a quieter voice, which he calls a “head voice,” in the hopes of more closely connecting with listeners.

I like that concept.

Certainly doesn’t sound like the absolute worst device is the world, but certainly nothing that will save BlackBerry. A solid C-/D+. 

I’m perplexed by the design choice here. Yes, it’s the shape of a passport, but why is that a good thing? No one types on their passport. No one reads things on their passport. It looks as if BlackBerry made it different simply for the sake of being different.

Yes, it sounds like the large, square screen makes it mildly easier to read email and documents. But the shape also makes it harder to type, negating any positives of the screen. And it’s arguably net negative given BlackBerry users love of their keyboards. 

I would have gone the other way — either way. I would have either made a device that’s the ultimate one-handed use machine (especially since Apple is going in the other direction with the iPhone 6/6 Plus). Or made the thing bigger, with the best physical “thumb” keyboard on a phone ever.

Tweets In The Time Of Travel

Fine, Hunter, here you go:

Yes, I find myself tweeting less now that I’m living abroad. My assumption is that it’s mainly related to the time difference (8 hours). My tweeting cadence has basically been destroyed.

Granted, I have always been sort of a “lumpy” tweeter. That is, I tend to tweet a lot in relatively short bursts of time. (1/ Though not 2/in Tweetstorm™ 3/ format.) In fact, I did tonight about “iOS 8.0.1-gate”.

But now the stuff that tends to pique my tweeting interest usually happens at odd times of the day for me here. Either I’m asleep or in the middle of something else. 

Maybe I’ll find a new rhythm or other things to care about (the other football). Or maybe I’ll just mainly lurk. Or maybe I’ll just tweet more pictures of flowers and British thingsThe fact remains that a lot of what I tweet about (breaking tech news, live sports, etc) tends to happen on American hours. So I either come late to the game, or more likely, not at all. 

And I think I’m okay with that. At first, it was a little weird. But it’s also kind of nice having one less thing to be constantly checking and thinking about. 

Cynthia Littleton:

HBO at long last has confirmed the first specifics about season two of drama series “True Detective,” including the casting of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in lead roles.

Story will revolve around three cops and career criminal who navigate a web of conspiracy after a murder.

Farrell plays Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him. Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a man in danger of losing his criminal empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner.

“Fast and Furious” helmer Justin Lin is on board to direct the first two episodes of the eight-episode season. Lensing is set to begin later this fall in California for a January premiere.

All jokes aside, you better believe I’ll be watching this. The best part of the first season of True Detective was the writing and the cinematic quality of the entire production — it really was like a great, eight-hour film.

The fact that it was Matthew McConaughey’s best performance ever (for my money, better than his Oscar-winning performance last year) was just icing on the cake. And I wouldn’t rule out Colin Farrell, who started out his career in such promising fashion with films like Tigerlandbefore veering off course, having a similar turn. 

Meg James:

HBO has long been part of the glue that holds the TV channel bundles together. Distributors want HBO and Cinemax to remain exclusive to their premium packages — rather than being sold as a stand-alone product.

Bewkes might be positioning HBO for upcoming negotiations with cable and satellite TV operators. Several key contracts come up for renewal in the next few years, and Bewkes could use the threat of offering HBO as a stand-alone offering as leverage with distributors.

This is my concern — that while it seems like everything is headed in the right direction for HBO to break away from cable and offer a stand-alone service, that threat will likely just be used as the negotiating point when HBO starts to talk with the cable providers for a new deal in the coming months.

The reality right now remains that three-fourths of HBO’s revenues come from these deals. And Time Warner knows they now have leverage to get even more. For example, this oddity:

HBO doesn’t collect revenue generated by about 10% of domestic subscribers. Formulas created years ago to provide incentives to pay-TV companies to get more customers to sign up for HBO allow the distributors to keep the subscription fee if they reach undisclosed bench marks for recruitment.

Would love to know those benchmarks. Undoubtedly these kind of incentives are what lead to situations like this.