Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, originally Decorations Day, a day for the dead from both sides of the Civil War.

Thanks to my brother, who runs Geographic Travels, I know I have ancestors who died on both sides. The Virginian died the day after the Battle of Seven Pines. At the same time, the history of the town where our direct male line lived during the Civil War records numerous deaths in my family from the fighting.

The Civil War killed more Americans than any more in American history. Following the end of major combat operations and the subsequent military occupation and guerrilla war, the situation was similar to before it began: broad home rule for the South, and Union control of foreign and military policy. Slavery was ended, though “slave-like” conditions persisted, and civil rights would not be enforced in the South until the 1950s, then a far less bloody method was found.

May our leaders have the wisdom to know when to fight, and how to fight, and what the costs will be.

Internet-Centric Entertainment (an example)

Yesterday I talked about how most of my video entertainment now comes from the internet. The on-demand and interactive nature of internet video builds on itself. Here is a specific example of that.

Using Youtube on Xbox One, a bit ago I watched this trailer for Godzilla:

That led me to Red Letter Media’s review, which I watched on my Surface Pro connected to my tv:

That review stated that while the new Godzilla was better than the 1990s version, both were inferior to the current directory’s previous film, Monsters. Monsters is a post-9/11 style movie, portraying life several years after the dramatic events of a Monster movie. I watched Monsters on Amazon Prime, thru its Xbox One app.

There’s still a few ‘killer apps’ for TV. Some sports, Game of Thrones, and 24 hours news streaming would still be painful to lose. But that seems just a matter of time.

(Inadvertently and almost) cutting the cord

ervice and getting their entertainment exclusively thru the internet. I almost loved television too muh for that — the news is interesting, and there are so many great shows — but I recently realized my weekly “TV” viewing time was probably down to 2 or 3 hours per week.

The reason wasn’t austerity or puritanism. Rather, there are so many on demand options on my Xbox One it’s hard to justify cable as a separate purchases.

Youtube on Xbox One has many great news channels that my wife and I “subscribe” to for free, such as Vice News, New York Times, CNN, and The Verge. From the same source there are entertainment sources such as Jimmy Kimmel, College Humor, GoPro, and Cyanide or Happiness which provide a pleasant welcome to each new day.

vice news

We are living in a golden age of television, however, so it’s great so much of it is available without cable tv. Most every show are available for purchase from either Xbox Video or Amazon Video. Similarly, movies can be purchased from Xbox or Amazon, or watched from either the Amazon or Netflix streaming services.

Even sports is moving to a cable-also format, with great apps from the NFL and Major League Baseball. There’s also the woman’s football (which streams live games) and computer games on watch Twitch.

As of now, there are only two things absolutely missing. There’s no easily watchable 24 hours streaming news channel, and HBO shows aren’t available for either download or purchase without a traditional cable tv plan. Hopefully, HBO’s eroding market share will make them reconsider this move.

We’re not in a post-cable-tv world yet, but that world is rapidly coming. It’s harder and harder to justify having a cable TV plan at all,.

Watching Twitch

$GOOG paid a billion dollars for twitch, a video streaming service. Unlike Youtube (which focuses on general audiences and miscellaneous niches), vimeo (which focuse on gorgeous cinematographic videos), or Daily motion (which focuses on being second place to Youtube), Twitch’s niche is gamers.

twitch_logo

Twitch is focused around games (live events) and channels (feeds of live events by specific gamers or groups). Yesterday, my wife and I watched navigated Twitch on Xbox One. Broadly, the two main types of games & channels appear to be competitive games and social games. Exmaples of competitive games include League of Legends (the most popular game in the world) and Starcraft II, while an example of a social game is Grand Theft Auto V.

twitch gsl announcers

Competitive games are organized like minor sports, such as women’s football, women’s basketball, or mixed martial arts. Not only are many of the trappings of major spots there (commentators, slick graphics, various functionaries) but minor spots have two elements major sports can lack: a sense of exclusivity and a proof of passion. Unlike major sports, identifying with a minor sport means identifying with a subculture to which you belong. And unlike major sports, few millionaires are made in minor sports, so a player is more likely to be following a calling as opposed to buying a beach house.

twitch xmoonliterose

My wife and I, however. enjoyed watching social games more. Many of these players/hosts were female, and combined competent gameplay with the personality of an effective radio disk jockey. Any flirting was PG, and you quickly felt that you were in the company of friends. For a fantasy game like Grand Theft Auto V, where play is self-directed and often absurd, watching someone play with friends can be even more relaxing than playing yourself (where the question of “what is to be done?” looms as large as in real life).

twitch creature talk

Twitch is a community — a billion dollar community — I was largely ignorant of a few days ago.

The world is vast, and there are such people in it…