Saving video gaming’s source code treasures before it’s too late

“In all cases, there is interest internally because a lot of the companies we’ve spoken to have recognized that it sparks fan interest if people are talking about these older products,” Cifaldi said. “A lot of commercial film preservation, remastering movies for Blu-ray or whatever, a lot of that happens because the Library of Congress has the master film reel in its archives… The idea of video game source repositories is to me no different than that.”
“We want to see more books on bookshelves, more documentaries out there, more in-depth study than we’re currently seeing,” Cifaldi said. “Source repositories like this, this is where history books come from.”

Unfortunately not every country has the equivalent of the Library Of Congress. What’s more, the Library Of Congress works wonders for film as film has been dominated by US productions for so long, US output is essentially the main body of cinema’s history. In volume anyway. Gaming is different. The US might still be the single most important market but even US productions are rarely made by predominantly US citizens. Even putting game development in Europe or Asia aside, we need only look towards Canada, the size and the output of game development studios based there.

I agree we need an institution of our own for games. But it won’t be as easy, as far reaching or as sprawling without actual planning and international coordination. And as things stand, we’re still at a point in time where source code that hasn’t be lost is treated as a trade secret. We have a long way to go.

The home of the Sopranos is under siege: Inside the battle for the soul of HBO

If Stankey could convince investors that HBO Max would mirror Netflix’s growth trajectory, he might be able to capture a higher trading multiple for AT&T. This is the holy grail for media companies this decade — convincing Wall Street that streaming growth will make up for the decline of legacy businesses like cable TV and movie theater viewing.

Everything’s about growth nowadays. You can be as profitable as you like, as long as you’re growing too. This mindset is a modern plague.

Wireless service has become a commodity in most markets, with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile all offering similar speeds and pricing plans. HBO Max is meant to help AT&T stand out from the pack and reduce churn while giving the wireless company viewership data for marketing and targeted advertising.

“Let’s create art to make advertising better”. This is one way of trying to distinguish the fires of hope for the prospects an acquisition brings to the table.

In an interview, Kilar told CNBC that killing the decades-old theatrical window, where movies got exclusive runs in theaters before coming to home video platforms, would make customers happy, even if it hurt the movie theater industry.

I feel this is what everyone’s saying these days when they’re trying to pretend it’s not about data and targeted advertising.

“Any chart about gaming usage is up and to the right,” said Kilar. “It’s one of the most impressive trends in U.S. consumer behavior in the last 20 years. When we take a look at the next 5, 10 or 15 years with WarnerMedia, I’m very excited with the role gaming will play in our future.”

Another thing I like. A company that owns a game studio —the same it tried to sell a few months ago— with brands that hold power internationally saying it makes sense keeping it because U.S. gaming usage is up and to the right, one of the most impressive trends in consumer behavior in the last 20 years. Walmart must have run out of international insights and vision.

“Why put the two companies together?” Stephenson said. “The world of distribution and content is converging, and we need to move fast, and if we want to do something truly unique, begin to curate content differently, begin to format content different for these mobile environments — this is all about mobility. Think DirecTV Now, the new product we’re bringing to market. What can you do with Time Warner content really fast and very uniquely for our customers? Can you begin to integrate social into that content? Can you give the capability to…I’m watching content, I want to clip it, I want to send it via social media to my friends. Can we iterate on that quickly, and can we give a unique experience to our customers?”

None of this became a reality. Not one.

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis

This isn’t an easy or a short read but —and I can’t stress this enough— make sure you persevere and get to the end.

High-containment laboratories have a whispered history of near misses. Scientists are people, and people have clumsy moments and poke themselves and get bitten by the enraged animals they are trying to nasally inoculate. Machines can create invisible aerosols, and cell solutions can become contaminated. Waste systems don’t always work properly. Things can go wrong in a hundred different ways.
Hold that human fallibility in your mind. And then consider the cautious words of Alina Chan, a scientist who works at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “There is a reasonable chance that what we are dealing with is the result of a lab accident,” Chan told me in July of last year. There was also, she added, a reasonable chance that the disease had evolved naturally — both were scientific possibilities. “I don’t know if we will ever find a smoking gun, especially if it was a lab accident. The stakes are so high now. It would be terrifying to be blamed for millions of cases of COVID-19 and possibly up to a million deaths by year end, if the pandemic continues to grow out of control. The Chinese government has also restricted their own scholars and scientists from looking into the origins of SARS-CoV-2. At this rate, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 may just be buried by the passage of time.”
The new disease, as soon as it appeared, was intercepted — stolen and politicized by people with ulterior motives. The basic and extremely interesting scientific question of what happened was sucked up into an ideological sharknado.

We still don’t know how we got here, what’s the exact origin of this virus. That uncertainty was left unchecked, became fuel for political conflict and created the environment that essentially blocks the scientific community’s effort to understand exactly what happened. This is a loss for everyone.

A lawyer’s perspective on the industry’s abuse problem

“While support needs to be provided to the complainant, being accused of sexual harassment can also have significant impact on the alleged perpetrator,” Meadows adds. “Therefore, those accused need to be dealt with in a sensitive way and no presumption of guilt should be made. Consistency is the key here.”

Consistency is the key here. But elusive.

Can Twitter Legally Bar Trump? The First Amendment Says Yes

“As a result,” Mr. Jaffer said, “the president can’t block people from his social media accounts based on their political views, but Twitter can ban people from its platform for pretty much whatever reasons it wants to. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Twitter was right to ban Trump, but there’s no question it was legally entitled to do it.”

Note how the law is considered binding but not perpetually perfect. That’s a very important point for any legal evolution and it helps to keep that in mind.

Internet platforms should voluntarily embrace First Amendment values, he said, and generally allow citizens to assess the statements of politicians for themselves. But there are limits, he said, and incitement to violence is among them.

Yes. Also notice the recommendation for companies to move closer to the consitution, despite not being legally obligated to in all matters.

In 2017, for instance, the court considered the constitutionality of a North Carolina law that barred registered sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and similar services in Packingham v. North Carolina. When the case was argued, the justices discussed just how thoroughly social media had transformed American civic discourse.
In the end, the court unanimously struck down the law, though the justices could not agree on a rationale. Writing for the majority in his characteristically cryptic manner, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who retired in 2018, said the internet was poised to transform First Amendment jurisprudence.
“While we now may be coming to the realization that the cyberage is a revolution of historic proportions, we cannot appreciate yet its full dimensions and vast potential to alter how we think, express ourselves and define who we want to be,” he wrote. “The forces and directions of the internet are so new, so protean and so far-reaching that courts must be conscious that what they say today might be obsolete tomorrow.”

I agree with the end result but I also applaud the underlying osmosis going on among members of the judiciary. It’s vital. And we have yet to make the law work for a social media laden international society.

In Pulling Trump’s Megaphone, Twitter Shows Where Power Now Lies

“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now,” Kate Ruane, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a statement on Friday. “But it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”

As I keep saying, one can agree with Trump’s fall from social media and be wary of who decides on what for whom and when.

No serious thinker believes that Twitter and Facebook, as private companies, are obligated to give any user a platform, just as no one doubts that a restaurant owner can boot an unruly diner for causing a scene. But there are legitimate questions about whether a small handful of unelected tech executives, accountable only to their boards and shareholders (and, in Mr. Zuckerberg’s case, to neither) should wield such enormous power. These actions also raise longer-term questions, such as whether the business models of social media companies are fundamentally compatible with a healthy democracy, or whether a generation of Twitter-addicted politicians can ever be untaught the lesson that racking up retweets is a surer path to power than governing responsibly.

I acknowledge that last sentence about governing responsible is a bit naive, as PR has worked wonders in politics since antiquity but I do agree there are longer-term questions, questions of jurisdiction, accountability, precedence of law and more. It’s best that we engage with the questions before we need to engage with the answers that may be provided for us.