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Category: risk

Banks Banned: The Real Intrudes into the Virtual

For a guy who works in the financial services sector, it was an intriguing headline: “Banks Banned in Second Life.” Virtual realities have the appeal of the utopian. We think about virtual worlds as being a better version of our own world. In Second Life, they recently learned that it’s better to have regulated financial institutions. The real world intrudes into the ideal world. After appealing to our collective higher natures, Second Life determined that it was probably better to default to real world regulations. Now you need a real banking charter to do business as a bank in a virtual world.

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Akropolis: Toward a Poor Video, or can YouTube be more?

Looking at a film like “Atonement” with very rich production values brings to mind the work of avant-garde theater director Jerzy Grotowski. His work was the opposite. He developed a concept and a practice called the “Poor Theater.” It’s principles are:

  • Eliminate, not teach something (Via Negativa).
    • This can be described as a basic philosophy for actor training that essentially says the actor’s main task involves not accruing skills so much as eradicating obstacles that get in the way of being true.
  • Enhance that which already exists.
  • Create all that is needed for the play in the actor’s body, with little use of props.
  • Promote rigorous physical and vocal training of actors
  • Avoid the beautiful if it does not foster truth

While it’s true that the cost of video production has plummeted, the cost of putting something truly interesting in front of a camera remains the same. For Grotowski there was a physical cost, a spiritual cost and the high price of artistic discipline. Although perhaps it’s as David Lynch has recently described it, “you think you’ve had an experience watching a movie on a telephone, but you haven’t. It’s such a sadness”Could YouTube live and thrive in the ceremony of the theater? Is there a context where YouTube could be more than a viral joke? The content is already there, but when we view it, do we really see it?

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Kindle: Network Connectivity included in purchase price

Connectivity to the network included in the purchase price of the Kindle. This is the most revolutionary part of the Kindle. It’s a product, a hunk of plastic and electronics that comes in a box with a recharger. The price is a little high for an e-reader, the special sauce is the built in complimentary network connectivity. There’s no meter running.

It’s EVDO, Amazon calls it WhisperNet– but it doesn’t really matter what the technology is or what it’s called. The consumer doesn’t need to think about it. It’s what enables shopping for books and periodicals, and what allows delivery. It will only be noticeable when it’s slow or not working.

I’m not sure how the economics of this work, but if the cost of the network is built in to the cost of the reader and the purchased content, the issue of the price of the network disappears. And with that, a big usability problem and a big uptake issue goes away. The network is assumed. With some mass production, economies of scale and a little time we may get the price down to what a DVD player costs.

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Charting the shores of risk with Pina Bausch

I read about Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal for years before I had the opportunity to see “Palermo Palermo” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. There were moments, images, movements that stay with me to this day. She creates extraordinary stage pictures.

Pina Bausch, Julie Nelken

The key to great performance is risk. If you don’t risk failure, you will never achieve greatness. Pina Bausch is one of those artists that you must see at every opportunity. There’s always a chance of glimpsing greatness.

You might want to do a little background reading about Pina:

She’s bringing her group to Berkeley’s Cal Performances this week. I’ll be attending the Sunday performance of Ten Chi. It’s described as a choreographic travelogue exploring the sights, sounds, joys and paradoxes of modern Japanese culture.

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