Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Myth of the Fourth Screen

Filed under: News,Philosophy — Tom Pittman @ 11:42 am

Someone somewhere sometime said, (and a lot of people have said it since), that

  1. The first screen was the movie screen,
  2. The second screen was the television screen,
  3. The third screen was the computer screen, and
  4. The fourth screen belongs to portable digital devices such as telephones, PDAs and cameras.

Consequently, portable electronic devices are sometimes referred to as the “fourth screen.”

That sounded good to me, then I figured out that the emergence of screens might not have been so straight forward.

According to Wikipedia articles, the movie screen was born in the 1880s. However, “the origins of what would become today’s television system can be traced back to” 1873. Apparently, the television predates movies. Of course television wasn’t any kind of a commercial enterprise in 1873; if it were, then Regis Philbin would have been famous much sooner.

Meanwhile computer screens were in use pretty much parallel with television screens, it’s just that television screens were prominently placed in front of families in their homes, while the computers of the day (and their operators) were kept in back rooms well out of sight of mainstream modern culture. It wasn’t until computers started coming out of the closet (so to speak) that the public at large began to recognize the computer component of the screen age.

I could muddy murky waters more merely mentioning that the fourth screen could arguably be considered the first! Models of Kodak’s Box Brownie camera, as well as other early cameras, had viewer screens roughly the size of the screens of early digital cameras.

So let’s recap:

  • The “first screen” could have actually been the fourth,
  • The “second screen” probably tied with the third,
  • The “third screen” was tied with the second but people didn’t know it, and
  • The “fourth screen” was probably the first.

Is everyone clear on that now? 😉

At any rate, whatever the order of the screens, welcome to the SCREEN AGE.

Speaking of the screen age, when are airlines going to get with the program and replace those “No Smoking” icons in airplanes with icons indicating it is not a time to be using the  electronic devices we’ve brought on board with us?



Sunday, December 17, 2006

But Don’t We Pay Them To Be Jerks?

Filed under: Basketball,NBA — Tom Pittman @ 1:22 am

On the bright side, at least the brawl between the Nuggets and the Knicks has us talking about something other than Iverson.

I’m sure you have probably noticed that the NBA has been diseased for awhile now.

Nuggets Knicks hard foulThe NBA is infected with an increasing number of people whoare so repugnant that most of us would hate to have to deal with their egos and selfishness in our personal, everyday lives, but because we don’t have to, and because their physical gifts help our beloved teams, these goons are instead adored.

To be sure, there still are some classy people in the NBA who are both good players and good men, but like a cancer growing in an otherwise healthy body, the good players who aren’t also good people are weakening the league, and it is beginning to succumb.

I feel for David Stern on this one; it is a hard nut to crack.

Most businesses don’t want to hire arrogant, self-centered jerks and then lean on them to be nice, they would rather just hire nice people. Unfortunately for professional sports, they have to hire these donkeys, and then hire coaches who not only know the game, but who might also know ways to keep these “heroes” from poisoning their own teams.

But just as the cold tablet that makes our sniffles go away for a time does nothing to cure the actual virus making us sick, the symptomatic treatments the NBA has been applying, such as dress codes and cracking down on poor sportsmanship, are not curing the problem.

A Neanderthal with a tie is still a Neanderthal.

These players are not gentlemen. They are not sportsmen. They are not role models. They are in some cases the lesser element of society who we’ve made rich, pampered, and egotistical because they have athletic gifts. It takes desire, determination and diligence to be a good person — just as it does to be a good player. Unfortunately for their spouses, children, and fans, many players put much more work into being a good player than a good person.

Choirboy Steve Nash is verbally abusive to a rookie reporter, but he is okay in our book because he can pass. Dirk Nowitzki slaps towels to the floor out of the hands of ball boys and treats them like worms, but we cheer him because he is a 7 footer that can shoot 3 pointers. And if Carmelo Anthony can lead Team U.S.A. to an Olympic Gold Medal, how many of us Americans are willing to overlook the fact that after the brawling had subsided, Carmelo Anthony broke away to sucker punch Mandy Collins in the face? Hmm… Hey, Melo, whatever happened to “B MORE?!”

As fans, we’ve decided not see what jerks our favorite players are. So long as they play well for us, we’re fine with that. On the other hand, we have also reserved the right be appalled when we can’t help but see what jerks they are. Until then, we will cheer them, pay to see them, and pay to own their jerseys and sneakers, and beat up total strangers in blogs defending them. That being the case, why should they change?

The NBA is rotting from the inside out. We are all witnesses — and accomplices.

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