Angry Robot

Can we cure the common hangover?

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Short answer: not yet. However, some interesting details about current hangover science, such as it is.

'Game of Thrones' vs. 'Winds of Winter': George R.R. Martin says 'major events will be the same'

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And the show is definitely gonna get there first. As much as I want the next book sooo baaaad, I’m okay with this. The show is great, and its existence guarantees a (probably satisfactory) end to the story.

CRTC Unveils Cheap Basic Service and Pick-and-Pay

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Mandated $25 “skinny cable” basic package that can be added to channel by channel. Expectations are that people will spend less on their cable (duh) and that some channels will not survive unbundled. Could spell doom for BookTV after all these years…

Peak Cable

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Doesn’t this Horace Dediu article come at an interesting time.

My answer is that disruption is predictable. Users are cutting cords, the “uncabled” or “never-cabled” are a significant portion of the population. 13.5% of broadband households with an adult under 35 have no pay-TV subscriptions. 8.6 million US households have broadband Internet but no pay-TV subscription. That’s 7.3% of households, up from 4.2% in 2010. Another 5.6 million households “are prime to be among the next wave of cord-cutters,” according to Experian. […]

And so it goes. A business dies first slowly then quickly. The exact timing is tricky because of the non-linearity of the phenomenon. It’s also hard to declare end-of-life since business zombies are very common. What is clear however is that the economics will change dramatically and the alliances between talent and distribution will shift to entrants and away from incumbents. The point when we will look back and say that cable was finished will probably come by the end of this decade.

Apple's Haptic Tech Makes Way for tomorrow's Touchable UIs

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I still think Force Touch sounds like something that happens when a Sith sneaks into the Jedi Prom

When the Lights Shut Off: Kendrick Lamar and the Decline of the Black Blues Narrative

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Clearly it’s Kendrick Week here at Angry Robot. Here’s a good essay pre-Butterfly (thanks, y)

The village that fell asleep: mystery illness perplexes Kazakh scientists

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Kendrick Lamar on His New Album and the Weight of Clarity

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Some coverage in the NYT, who also published this review of the new album: “An album that asks questions as big as this one does, and that will be heard by so many, is a huge taunt to Mr. Lamar’s peers — it’s a dare to ride along, a dare to be different, a dare to be great.”

Kindle Cover Disasters

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Authors who self-publish tend not to be that great at Photoshop

The psychology of ‘no': Vancouver transit vote is case study in why it’s so hard to do what makes us happy

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Support Plummets For Harper’s Anti-Terror Bill, New Poll Shows

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Nintendo to start making iPhone games, including first-party IP like Mario

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More stuff about Canadian TV

Let’s follow up about the recent CRTC announcements I linked to last week. Here’s a good article with some more detail and some good analysis. There’s also this (thanks, Xorkaya) that seems to indicate US specialty brands are salivating about how dropping genre protection may mean they can move some channels north. I would point out that unless the CRTC is changing more rules than I’ve heard, those channels would still have to be Canadian-owned and subject to CanCon restrictions (which of course have been eased), so similar to existing branch-plant channels like HBO Canada, History, MTV, Discovery, HGTV, etc. Certainly killing genre protection means we’ll see more American brands up here, but they’re probably still going to have to enlist a Rogers or Bell to do so.

There are further rulings coming Thursday, and it’s likely the CRTC will announce how pick-and-pay for cable channels is going to work.

My opinion? (Not in any way my employer’s opinion!) A lot of this is water under the bridge. The bridge is red and has the word “Netflix” on it. Not that Netflix is the only future, but the future is going to look like a grid of icons with things like “Netflix” on it. Each of them opens up to a grid of shows. (Or perhaps a live feed? The exact thing that opens up is in play now.) Regardless, these things replace channels, and the purpose of these things is to get as many subscribers as possible, so they want to be on as many platforms as possible. They also need content. The Canadian producers / distributors / brands / entities / whatever you want to call them that can either provide content or be the actual icon in the grid, those are the entities that, long term, will survive. It’s similar to the past, but the cultural walls around Canada, if they ever existed, are crumbling. That isn’t scary. We should be thinking about where else in the world we can develop a taste for poutine, maple syrup, good comedy by people who haven’t moved to LA yet, or profoundly terrible hockey teams.

Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly is Out Now

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On iTunes & Spotify. Guests on first track: George Clinton, Thundercat. Thumbs up.

My Mother's (Terrified) Daughter

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CRTC reduces Canadian content rules on television

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They are relaxing CanCon requirements, dropping genre protection (not being enforced anyway), saying no to a Netflix tax and a few other tweaks. The Shomi/Crave thing sounds like a big deal but isn’t (Bell says it is playing by existing rules regarding exclusive shows anyway). Plenty for consumers to like, plenty for BDUs to like, not a lot for Canadian producers to like.

Why The Anti-Terrorism Bill is Really an Anti-Privacy Bill: Bill C-51's Evisceration of Privacy Protection

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“Bill C-51′s information sharing provisions likely represent the most significant reduction in public sector privacy protection in Canadian history.” One of several reasons to oppose this bill.

How Apple Will Make the Wearable Market

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One of the most astute takes on the Watch I’ve yet read.