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ATPM 7.07
July 2001




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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

Where Are The Macintoshes?

To really appreciate the gravity of the above, you must read it like William Shatner as Captain Kirk, with a comma after the first two words. What brings on the statement is, as long time readers know, my annual Showbiz Expo report.

You would think that the company that has brought desktop video editing to the masses (with iMovie and Final Cut Pro) would at least have a booth at the Showbiz Expo. Entertainment as a sector has the highest penetration of Macs as a platform, save education. Most in the industry consider it their platform of choice.

Yet Apple was nowhere to be seen. Sure, there was the random iMac here and there to take point of sale info. The Final Draft and Screenplay Systems booths had mostly Macs although Screenplay hasn’t yet decided whether or not to port their latest and greatest, Story View, to the Mac as of this writing.

Missing were perennial Showbiz Expo favorites, such as PowerProduction Software, the makers of Scriptware, and the WGA. At least I didn’t see them. OK, the Writer’s Guild doesn’t sell software, but I was looking forward to another free copy of Written By magazine. Maybe these companies no longer exist. Or they were simply hiding from me, attempting to avoid almost up-to-date commentary on the state of the Mac in Hollywood. Well, the WGA avoided going on strike, but maybe they felt they would be.

I could go on about how I was convinced that I should shoot my film in Hi Def as opposed to DV, or tell you that I found two more potential investors. However, none of this is really Mac-related…although, if I choose Hi Def, I’d have to change how I’m editing the film. And ultimately, how I broadcast it. That’s why I went to:

The Streaming Media Expo

Continuing the theme of “Where is Apple?,” at least here, they had a black booth with their name on the door. Probably to hold some type of secret meeting, with prospective business contacts. I don’t know—I wasn’t invited in, my Hollywood Guy business card notwithstanding. Now, this does get me into all the finer restaurants, even the ones I need reservations for. I especially like the ones that have the weekly business card drawing for a free lunch. Of course, my ATPM card only has my e-mail and the site address on it—maybe that’s why I haven’t won.

Speaking of free stuff, there was a whole slew of freebies and tchochkes to be handed out here. And because Intelligent Media and Promax were here, Macs were almost better represented than at the Showbiz Expo. No one was giving away a free G4, though.

This Story Just In

The Microsoft ruling was essentially reversed. Who cares, you say, this is a Mac e-zine. Well, I’m sure others in this illustrious rag have an opinion that can fill an entire column. Maybe you’ll see some of those in the upcoming months. Now, I’ll give you mine.

Why is this ruling relevant? Because everywhere I turned at the Expo, it was Microsoft this, and XP that. And apparently, everyone has Windows Media Player installed. I truly wanted a Mac solution for my grandiose plan to stream full length feature films over the Net. I got the impression that everyone believes the technology is there to do it now; however, the other impression I got was that not everyone has the technology to receive a movie such as Jurassic Park III over the Net, or even wants the ability to do so. There was a representative of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment there, but he was conspicuously missing when I walked up to his kiosk. Of course, I was probably only going to hit him up for a job, anyway. Which I still don’t have. Anyone hiring? I’m willing to relocate.

The basic theory behind streaming media is a good one. Not everyone necessarily wants to see the same thing at the same time, and with the advent of new technologies, this is why the TV network model is breaking down. Overall viewership is up, but network ratings are only half of what they were, even ten years ago. Has network TV gotten progressively worse or have people been given more choices?

And what does all this have to do with the Mac, anyway? With almost 40% penetration on the Web, it has a lot to do with the Mac. Simply ignoring the platform doesn’t mean it’s going to go away. A first generation iMac is currently better suited to receive broadcast media over the Web than are most current Wintel boxes. The newest G4 is ideal for this. And with Macworld Expo/NY just on the horizon, we may see something bigger and better. We’re already at a point with the TiBook where we can receive wireless broadcasts. Television anywhere, at anytime, would seem to be the logical next step.

With convergence being the watchword of the new millennium, eventually you’ll be watching television and surfing the Web at the same time, on the same device. I’m reminded of the scene in Back to the Future II, where the 47-year-old Marty McFly walks up to a big screen TV, and vocally turns on six different channels to watch. He interrupts his viewing to take a phone call, swipe a credit card, and receives a fax. In the year 2015, who’s to say that isn’t actually a 60' Apple Cinema Display, hooked up to a G7 processor, with a 3 TB hard drive, and 5 GB of memory, over a high-speed cable modem?

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

e You next time.

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Reader Comments (2)

Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · July 3, 2001 - 22:12 EST #1
The Microsoft antitrust ruling was not reversed at all. The higher court ruled that the judge behaved badly and gave the appearance of being biased against Microsoft (what a surprise after the blatant lies and shenanigans from Microsoft executives throughout the trial). The appeals court kicked the issue back down to a lower court with a new judge. Microsoft immediately said (loudly and often) they had won and that the lower court's rulings were overturned. This is another example of the lies promulgated by Microsoft. The new trial is likely to reach the same conclusions: Microsoft is an OS monopoly that abused its Windows monopoly to hurt competitors developing software for Windows. The new judge may also rule that Microsoft must be broken up into multiple companies. All Microsoft has gained is time, not vindication.
Michael Tsai (ATPM Staff) · July 3, 2001 - 23:35 EST #2
The finding that Microsoft illegally tied the browser to the OS was remanded, and the higher court's changing the rules from per se to the reason seems like a reversal to me. The ruling has all the details. Microsoft has gained time, and with it they can effect changes beyond future remedy.

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