Disney – the OG – re-establishes innovation foothold in SF

The Bay Area – and San Francisco, specifically – is no stranger to high-tech movie production with the likes of LucasArts, Pixar and Dreamworks churning out feature films that use massive computing power and performance. But a new musuem opening in SF’s Presidio (where LucasArts currently resides) in October will offer a glimpse into cutting-edge movie-making of the past – via Walt Disney’s mastermind – before the PC was used in the process.

The Walt Disney Family Museum was opened to media this week and the FT gives a report of the highlights:

…we were introduced to innovations such as the 13-feet-high Multiplane Camera and the optical printer. The camera rises through two floors of the museum… Its use was perfected in Snow White, allowing several layers of artwork to be moved past a camera… giving a 3D effect and also allowing different parts of the picture to move in and out of focus. The optical printer takes two films and combines them, allowing real-life pictures to be merged with animation, such as in Mary Poppins .

The FT also opines: “[The Museum] is likely to lead to a reassessment of [Walt Disney] as a great innovator and visionary than movie mogul.”

Here, here. Cool stuff. AND, seems like a huge opportunity for social media engagement. Whether Facebook applications and trivia or games, a Google Earth live tour of the museum, videos galore and Twitter updates on museum specials, guests, etc. (like the California Academy of Sciences in SF), this consumer-facing campaign could do very well. Will look forward to seeing what Disney rolls out as they get closer to launch!

Disney film reel

Disney film reel

Oh Noes! RSS FWD shuts down

Apparently I missed the memo on this, since post is dated Jan. 29, but I was still being sent emails from my RSS feeds so I wasn’t aware of the change: upon heading to RSSFWD.com today to add a new feed (FT Tech Blog), I was re-directed to RSS FWD’s blog (WordPress, our old EOD theme!), which said they were shutting down. Anyone have some cash around willing to perk them back up?? ;-)

More realistically – does anyone know of a similar offering that I can use in its place? (Essentially, creating a list of blogs’ RSS feeds to be pushed to your email inbox?)


The White House launches its new blog!

Today was certainly exciting. And amid all the excitement – and following up on the heels of Obama’s near-flawless digital campaign, including his YouTube weekly addresses which I’ve vowed to watch regularly now! (NY resolution #43925732890!) – the re-vamped Whitehouse.gov site (did anyone visit the White House Web site when Bush was in office? I sure didn’t) launched its new blog!

Change has come to Whitehouse.gov

Heading up the blog is a new name (to me, anyway) – Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House. Macon explains the new Administration’s goals for the blog in one of the first posts.


I find this all very, very cool, as I think I’ve blogged about previously. Can’t wait to see all that comes out of this Presidency and our Government, moving foward.

Would be interested in your feedback on the site – what would you find most valuable from your government on its Web site and blog? Engage!


Also – some fun trivia for the day from Mashable via the CNN/Facebook alignment for inauguration day coverage:

1. There were 200,000+ status updates through the Facebook integration on CNN.com

2. at that time, 3,000 people commented on the Facebook CNN feed per minute

3. Obama’s Facebook Fan Page has more than 4 million fans and in excess of 500,000 wall posts 

Did anyone tune in to this live streaming? I personally watched on the big (old school) screen with the office. Do share thoughts if you tuned in!


Peace! Enjoy your inaug celebrations!

*cough, cough* I can’t come to work today, I have Discomgoogolation

YouGov, an international market research firm, conducted a study in late July which polled 2100 Britons about their Internet dependency and came across some interesting findings.

  • 76% say they cannot live without the Internet
  • 44% say they feel confused and frustrated when they are unable to get online
  • 17% say the longest they’ve been without Internet access is less than one day
  • 47% say the Internet is more important to them than religion
  • 20% say they pay more attention to the Internet than their partners
  • 19% say they would spend more time on the Internet than with their family
  • 17% say they miss the Internet more than their friends

Apparently, the YouGov study, conducted on behalf of UK web-based directory assistance service 118.com, was apparently done through an online survey. This would indicate the results were at least a little skewed, however, I can’t seem to find a link to the actual study in order to verify. Still, the results were shocking enough for YouGov to create a new term to describe the anxiety one feels when unable to connect to the Internet – “Discomgoogolation.” [Via Reuters UK, ShinyShiny]

In searching for a US-based study on roughly the same topic, I came across a WebMD article about Internet addicition.  A US-based survey of 2513 adults conducted via phone found that 14% of adults in the U.S. had a hard time staying offline for 4 days in a row. While I couldn’t find any other comparable stats, it’d be interesting to see how the general US population ranks the importance Internet connectivity in their lives.

Please enjoy this rather fitting description of the hysteria that ensues when people are denied Internet access – compliments of South Park.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The video above is all in good fun, but for sure consumers and news media have become dependent on the Internet as a source of information.


Posted by Cristina

Sweet cellphone tech from Japan, finally?

According to a recent Associated Press article, Japan’s mobile phone companies will finally begin to push their cellphone technology to other countries. Don’t know about you, but I’ve always had phone-envy for those cool multi-tasking gadgets from across the sea. From the article, 3G phones make up 90% of the Japanese cellphone market – remarkable when you keep in mind that the 3G phones are expected to grow to just 31% of the US cellphone market by 2012.

In addition to your typical cellphone functions, here’s a mini list of other cool Japanese features that go above and beyond the average mobile device.

Assuming all this technology gets localized, imagine how different the US cellphone culture could be in a few years time. Fingers crossed we’ll also inherit some quirky cellphone designs, like the Japanese phone that transforms into a mini-robot.

Japanese phone transforms into robot

Robot phone is simultaneously cute AND creepy (Photo cred: Akihabaranews.com)

Posted by Cristina on Tuesday, August 19.

Wi-Fi-enabled digi cameras, for chrissakes!

OK, so many of you heard my tirade for wi-fi-enabled digital cameras. I did some searching after our meeting and found a David Pogue article as far back as Sept 2005 hammering on about the “obvious” pairing of wi-fi sharing and digital cameras. Duh! What’s taking so long, I wonder (as did Pogue, then).

WELL. You will be happy to know that a few cameras do exist with wifi – Kodak, for one. I have a Kodak EasyShare camera that I absolutely LOVE though I had no idea they offered cameras with wifi! (OK, so it was a gift, so I didn’t have much choice in the matter, but still!) I noticed they only offer 4 and 6 MP varieties, so I wonder if that has something to do with the price-point with Wi-Fi, etc. (keeping low enough to still generate demand, perhaps)

I can’t wait to see what comes out of this category. And if you find anything else cool in the category of wi-fi-enabled digital cameras, please let me know!

Like this – completely utilitarian – wi-fi camera UMBRELLA. Ah, the Japanese consumer electronics industry is awesome.

This is totally impractical, but AWESOME

This is totally impractical, but AWESOME