What’s Next for Movie Theaters?

movie_audienceIn this article from The Next Web, Paul Sawers takes a look at “The Future of Cinemas” from a global perspective, investigating the question of just how much an impact streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon are having on their brick and mortar counterpart, the movie theater. He compares the introduction of VHS and DVDs to the introduction of streaming services, which have actually served to uphold the theater as a popular and preferred movie-watching method.

I appreciate Sawers global look at movie going, noting that in most countries theater ticket sales are on the rise, including here in the U.S. He writes that perhaps the biggest threat to the silver screen is the advancement of home entertainment technology combined with more affordable price tags. Add this to the fact that most home entertainment companies are finding ways to integrate streaming services into their systems (Boku, Apple TV, etc, “smart TVs”).

Sawer then goes on to ponder the “connected cinema,” which seems to be the final refuge in our networked lives. But for how much longer? On the flipside of this debate consider theater chain Cinemark, which has created an app that rewards customers with concession goodies when they turn their phones to “CineMode” (dims screen, turns on vibrate). It seems inevitable that our mobile, connected lives will enter the theater in more obvious and deliberate ways in the future, but how much will this impact the cinematic experience? The way Hollywood features are made, distributed, and/or marketed?

Storify: Simplified

Storify is a social media platform with the goal of telling stories or narratives through other social media posts. With a layout that’s a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest, this platform is quickly gaining an audience with social media “storytellers”. Storify is probably most commonly used in articles to report on events that are heavily discussed or covered through social media. By using direct links to specific tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, YouTube videos, Instagram or Flickr photos, and other outside sources, Storify restructures and condenses these posts into a congruent newsfeed that then tells a story.

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Each post requires a title and description, but the body of the story is up to you. In the sidebar, choose the social media tab you wish to pull posts from, and then you can either search by a keyword or user to find what you’re looking for. To input specific posts, use the link tab and paste the direct link of the specific post you’re looking for, the posts will be generated in the sidebar. Drag-and-drop posts from the sidebar and simply click between posts in the story feed to slip titles or captions into the narrative.

One flaw that I found was in importing posts from Facebook. I wanted to add comments from a post on a Facebook page. Every time I pasted the link, the post didn’t generate correctly and the body of the post didn’t even show up. By reaching out to Storify on Twitter (@storifyhelp), I figured out that I had to download the Storify extension on my Chrome browser. This allowed me to right click on the comment and say “Add to Storify” and the post showed up in My Collection under the Storify tab in the sidebar.

Overall, Storify is a brilliant site that bridges the gaps between social media platforms and helps us tell our stories through the new, digital short form that is today’s writing.

Behance: A Creative Portfolio Site

Behance.net

“Take creative control,” says the About page on Behance.net. There is a disconnect between creative individuals and the employers that seek their talent. Part of the Adobe family, Behance is an innovative site utilized by creative professionals that aims to not only help construct their portfolios, but also to showcase their work for employers. When the site formed in 2006, their goal was to create a platform that doesn’t mask talent or hinder opportunity but that connects companies and creative minds globally. The site is also connected to other online gallery websites so that portfolios reach the widest audience possible. If you’re a budding designer or looking to hire one, make sure to check out Behance. Don’t let bureaucracy keep you from your creative potential.

Also, if you’re a graduating this year, there’s a six-month paid internship position available with the Behance team in New York. Check out the details here.

10 Free Infographic Tools

Source: Creative Bloq

Source: Creative Bloq

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage have premade templates, themes, and icons to choose from. If you’re looking to share and connect with other designers, Visual.ly would be your best bet. If you’re a Windows user, Get About allows you to track and record social media activity and creates infographics with the results. From visualize.me’s revolutionary infographic resumes to Piktochart’s easily customizable infographic templates, there’s a free alternative for any infographic project you can dream up. Explore your options at Creative Bloq.

Hack, a new programming language by Facebook

Hacklang.org

Hacklang.org

Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its latest achievement, Hack, a new programming language. When Facebook was created ten years ago, it was coded entirely in PHP. However, as Facebook became bigger, the language became harder to manage and developers were more susceptible to making mistakes. The manager of Facebook’s Hack team, Bryan O’Sullivan, helped eliminate those errors by creating Hack. The website has moved almost all of its code over to Hack in the last year. The company released an open-source version of the language for the public last week.

As an open-source programming language, Hack was designed to allow developers to write bug-free code fast. By keeping some elements of PHP and combining the structure of other programming languages, Hack was born. In order to debug code more efficiently, instead of checking while the program is running, which is what PHP does, Hack will check for errors ahead of time, which is called static typing. The language itself is most similar to PHP; O’Sullivan encourages programmers that want to use Hack to only convert the parts of their code that are the most important, as it is not necessary to redo everything. This blending of both static and dynamic typing forms a method called “gradual typing” which has been shown to provide swift feedback and incredible accuracy.

Read more about this new language at ReadWrite.

Books Without the Burden

Books are expensive; textbooks are outrageously expensive. And heavy. So even if you’re a die-hard print lover, this list of free books available online can ease your burden (both financially and physically).

The first and most obvious is the heavy hitter: Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg runs off of donations and impressively manages to provide over 42,000 high quality free e-books, and most are available in multiple file formats.

For textbooks, we have textbookrevolution.org. The site can be a bit annoying to navigate – broken links scattered through the navigation become frustrating quickly. On the bright side though, textbookrevolution has over 1000 free textbooks available on a variety of subjects. There’s also en.wikibooks.org, an open source/open collection of informational books that utilizes the familiar wiki structure to crowdsource the content.

Finally, if you’re looking for a beach read to throw on your kindle, there’s publicbookshelf.com. Public Bookshelf has a community built around romance novels, and as such some of their top hits include Sense and Sensibility, Princess Zara, and a fictional biography of Jane Austen.

The full list at justenglish has 103 entries separated into even more categories, like foreign language novels, poetry, and even illustrated children’s books.

Social Media Afterlife

Source: themarysue.com

Source: themarysue.com

As the age of technology grows older, more of us face the question: what do we do with a person’s social media accounts when they’ve passed away? Many families and friends choose to continue to post pictures and memories on the person’s wall in order to help keep their memory alive. However, Facebook has made it possible for people to request to memorialize an account so it is impossible to login. As a form of closure, the person’s Facebook wall becomes a sort of memorial, collecting all the thoughts of friends and family. Although it’s a bit morbid and slightly haunting, DeadSocial allows one to create a message or a series of messages through various social media sites that will only become published after they’ve passed away. The site states that its purpose is to allow people “to say goodbye in their own time and their own unique way.” Although this may be jarring in the wake of mourning, it’s also quite startling when a dead friend or family member starts liking pages on Facebook. However, this is just a sad reminder of how little control we have over our social network data. Companies will continue to use our information to make money even after we die. To learn more about social media in the Afterlife, check out Readwrite’s article here.