Monday, December 20, 2010

Oscars News: 248 Films Eligible for Best Picture Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS building pictured) reports that 248 feature films are eligible for the Best Picture Oscar for the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011.

While large, the list is not a record number for the category; in the past more than 300 films were eligible for the award.

Oscar Front Runners.

From the Golden Globes we have The King's Speech, and The Social Network, the movie about the founding of  But the sleeper candidate looks like True Grit, the Coen Brothers' remake of the classic 1969 movie with the late John Wayne.    The list also includes animated films like Despicable Me and Toy Story 3.  And science fiction films like Inception and Tron 3 are on the list as well.

What Films Qualify?

According to AMPAS, films that are "feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format." And movies that, say, appear in a film festival rather than at a movie theater are not eligible for an Academy Award "in any category."

Stay tuned.

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Chevron Reports Elaborate Forgery of Lawsuit Against It In Ecuador

This ran across Twitter:

Chevron Chevron
Expert discovers elaborate forgery of plaintiffs’ signatures authorizing 2003 complaint against #Chevron in #Ecuador:
8 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

That is explosive. According to Chevron's press release, which, in part, reads...

Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) today submitted expert analysis from a leading forensic specialist demonstrating that many of the signatures on the document purporting to authorize the lawsuit against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, were forged. According to Chevron’s filing, this newly uncovered evidence of forgery and fraud makes clear that the lawsuit has been tainted with corruption from the very beginning and must be terminated.

The whole damn lawsuit's a fake. 

The lawsuit claiming that Chevron failed to conduct the proper environmental remediation activities when it produced oil in Ecuador. The lawsuit, led by American lawyer Steven Donziger, who this blogger calls "Steven The Don" was already beset with problems that point to one big fraudulent attempt to extort money from an American oil company.

Chevron filed a motion to nullify the lawsuit, but given that Ecuador itself is a party to the lawsuit and Donziger has taken meetings with many of the foxes guarding the hen-house, foremost among them Ecuador President Rafael Correa and executives of Petroecuador, it's beginning to look like a fixed deal.

If there's any real justice in Ecuador, the case will be dismissed.

Let's see what happens.

Stay tuned.

Top 10 Tech Trends Of The Decade: Apps

It's that time where we're all thinking about our list of "Top 10 Tech Trends Of The Decade," but there's a problem. Some lists, well, all that this blogger has seen, have failed to separate applications from technologies. In other words, a particular technology can be used to make an application, like Twitter, which is a really domain-based application. But the technology itself is IPS, or Internet Protocol Suite and the programming languages used to activate it for various purposes.

With that, here's an app-based list of the top tech trends of the decade. The consideration is from the perspective of social and cultural impact.

1. Search engines - Google obviously leads the pack here.  But consider that in 2000, only a few college students, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area where Google was founded in Palo Alto, had actually heard of it.  At that time, AOL and Yahoo had the dominant search engine systems, but their websites were not "search engine-based," but "content-based."  Bet Yahoo Founder Jerry Yang would love to reverse time, ah?   Now, Google is not only the dominant player, but has used it's 60-percent search market share position smartly, playing a major role in the growth of online advertising and using that via Google AdWords to fuel its incredible growth.   What's the next thing here?  Well, take a look at Blekko.

2. Craigslist and Craigslist-style websites - these application services have almost single-handedly destroyed the newspaper industry, which relied largely on classified ads to generate revenue. With Craiglist leading the change, and now with Angie's List and others, the ad as online - free or paid - era continues to grow. Meanwhile, the newspaper industry collapsed, and thousands of journalists have been tossed adrift and are either, still to this writing, trying to figure out the New Media World, moving or moved into other fields of work, or clinging to the Old Media, using the legal system to help them make organizations like Google do their bidding.

Have doubts? Take a look at how Google News wimped out to News Corporation head Rupert Murdock in 2009, after fears that Murdock would de-list from Google. And look at how Google News has kicked blogs off its system, except those ran by large media organizations. And where's the FTC on this? Good question, but back to the main subject.

3. Blogs - Led by Pyra Labs and Six Apart, weblogs, created in 1998 and really well-chronicled in Scott Rosenberg's book Say Everything, have served as the other app that, with Craigslist, has served to destroy newspapers and alter media as we know it.  Why?  Because prior to blogs, websites were used to place text in, but one needed to know HTML to do it quickly.  Blog programs changed all that.   Now, all you have to do is either install your own pre-written code into a website or join a service like, to have access to a system that allows you to write text and have it posted to the web immediately.  Once used by only a few, the number of blogs now is staggering, and is as of this writing well over 100 million.

Now, the battle is between the nimble blogs - like, I couldn't resist as we're one of the top 100,000 blogs in America - and the slow websites in news publication.  Guess who's running the news websites?  The big Old Media players like, you guessed it, News Corporation.  

But, beyond skirmishes, blogs have emerged as high-value media companies started by people who weren't journalists or even trained as journalists.  TechCrunch, founded by Michael Arrington, a lawyer, was just purchased by AOL for $30 million. was founded by Mario Lavandeira, Jr., who pursued an acting career before he took up blogging as a hobby. Now, his blog's value has been estimated to be as high as $32 million and $48 million in 2008.

4. Facebook, MySpace, and Social Networks - This space, once dominated by MySpace (and really created by tech entrepreneur Marc Canter) and is now the domain of Facebook, has worked to bring together people in ways that few could have imagined when they were created.  Once, like Google, the plaything of college students,  social networks have grown to be used by even the elderly seeking to reconnect with old friends.

Now, Facebook has well over 500 million users and has caused a kind of "closed-loop" versus "open-loop" discussion where Google represents the "open-loop" world, and Facebook, with it's membership-based system, is the "closed-loop" where searches for content can be done within it.   Facebook Founder and President Mark Zuckerberg was just named Time Magazine's Person Of The Year.

5. Twitter and Microblogging -You might say "Why not just Twitter?" but that would not have been fair to Twitter-competitor Pownce, that other San Francisco-based 140-character challenger that lasted until 2008.   While Twitter is not a social network - in fact, they say so in their Twitter blog - it's considered as such because of the unique new communications style that's sprang from it, and the way it allows people to share everything from what their doing and where they're doing it, to pictures of what they're doing and where they're doing it.

6. Video Games and Computer and Online Gaming - It's funny how video, computer, and online gaming is as much a part of tech as Google, but seldom talked about in that way.   It's pushed to the forefront at the GDC, the Game Developers Conference, that I attend, but almost never considered at functions like TechCrunch Disrupt.  Yet, video games, computer and online games are types of applications.   This field has grown so that companies like GameStop are publicly-traded, and conventions like ComicCon are actually dominated by game developers mixing with comic book artists, and in the last five years, movie producers.   The online games market is said to be at $15 billion as this is written.

The cultural impact of computer and online games is staggering.  They've served to alter how we related to each other, and arguably for the worse, considering the "flaming" that happens in online game communications and how that's spilled over into areas like online comments.  It's also caused young women to think that a game without, say, the ability to realistically dismember a zombie, is just plain boring.

7.  YouTube and Online Video - In the beginning there was YouTube and, and now there are around eight main players with the now-Google-owned heading the group.  Online videos cultural impact was communicated with TIME's "Person of The Year" was YouTube in 2007.  Then it grew more as TV news managers started to figure out how to take video clips and place them on as part of a telecast.  Now, as we see with CNN's iReport, you, the user of a camcorder, can make national news, replacing the work of camera people, who once made as much as $1,000 per story.   And now YouTube is being challenged by live streaming companies like  But not willing to sit still, YouTube is working on its own live streaming service.   Meanwhile, Yahoo is dropping online video and AOL's just trying to figure it all out, it seems.  In, then out, then in again.

8.  The Smartphone - The smartphone, paced by the iPhone, but still led by Nokia, has become the instrument by which people access the other apps above, as much as computers and laptops.  You can Tweet, post to blogs, and even make videos and upload them to YouTube. But this app has its own apps to use those apps.  Get it?  The smartphone industry was unheard of in the year 2000, and now has become the source of devices people feel they can't be without.   The act of texting was borne within the smartphone revolution, and itself has altered how people communicate, again, arguably for the worse.  Now, people make deals and even breakup with each other via text, making the impersonal communication the new cultural norm.

9. iPhone and Android Apps - The next logical step in this process, and the fact, is that applications created for the iPhone and Android smartphones have become a growth industry.   There are tens of thousands of apps now that allow you to do everything from get the name of a song played in an elevator, to access the online World of Second Life.  Indeed, while the term "app" has been with us for just over a decade - remember the idea of the "killer app," some only think of smartphones, and one other device when the term is used.

10. iPad and iPad Apps - That other device is also another app of a technology - the iPad.  Yes.  Remember, we're talking about the term "app" in its purest form, which means a way of doing something using a system created around an available technology.   Ok?   Now, the idea of a tablet has been in the mind of folks like Michael Arrington for years, but it took Apple's Steve Jobs to bring us the first really insanely great version of this app, the iPad.  And the apps created for the IPad app may revolutionize publishing, even if they don't save print media.   Right now, the iPad is an app used mostly to consume media; but when it's developed to allow the better production of content and media - specifically to create, edit, and upload videos, then its full potential will be realized.

The future app?  Just what's next is a constant conversation, so I'll turn it a bit.  What should be next?  The next app is going to be a combination of two or three of the current apps above, yet help to frame the future of media.  That's another way of saying I have an idea.  But beyond me, that is the real future. We're in an app-dominated World that didn't exist 11 years ago.  Now, you can even use Google Apps to make your own new app.  Indeed, kids should have to take a basic programming language as much as they have to take basic math, because if they don't, they're going to be left behind.

As large companies continues to crumble under the increasing weight of small, Internet-based organizations formed around apps, and outsourcing and open-sourcing is more common, being able to make an app is fast becoming an engine of economic advancement.  In the future, the most economically-powerful cities and countries will be those where app-based industries thrive.  

Stay tuned.

Paramore Loses Zac and Josh Farro

Most people don't even know who Zac and Josh Farro are, but the true Paramore fans know that Paramore is more than just the beautiful Hayley Williams...or at least it was. Maybe Hayley's fame was too much for them to handle?

Zac was the drummer of Paramore, and according to Paramore's official web site Zac has now started his own band called "Tunnels." Zac's brother Josh was the guitarist of Paramore.

The official statement on the band's site states that it had been known months in advance that the Farro brothers planned on leaving the band:

"None of us were really shocked. For the last year it hasn't seemed as if they wanted to be around anymore."

The remaining members of Paramore are Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York. The three have posted:

"We want Josh and Zac to do something that makes them happy and if that isn't here with us, then we support them finding happiness elsewhere."

Well that all sounds great but what people really want to know is if the band members will be replaced, if Paramore is going to break up or if Hayley is just going to peace out and become a solo artist (cough).