Circuit City DIVX Sales Training Video

Not to be confused with the DivX video codec, DIVX was a DVD format introduced by Circuit City in 1998.

Aimed squarely at the DVD rental market of the time, the (awful) idea was that consumers would buy a disc for a relatively low price of around $5, but would only be able to watch the video on the disc for a relatively short period of time. The DIVX DVD players, which were required to use the discs, acted as a copy protection mechanism requiring authorization from a remote server in order to enable playback of the disc content.

The format was, thankfully, a disaster that nobody wanted, and was discontinued in 1999. But not before they made awesomely bad internal training videos like this.

Ben Kuchera’s 2013 Impressions of PS4 Controllers: Just Like Touching A Woman’s Breasts

Back in 2013, video game journalist Ben Kuchera was writing for Penny Arcade Report which shut down shortly afterward. All of the articles that were at the Penny Arcade Report have disappeared from the site, including a June 17, 2013 article (mirrored here for reference purposes), The PlayStation 4 controller is just slightly better than the best thing ever.

In the review, Kuchera makes clear that he thinks the overall feel of the controller is very good and likens it to an earlier experience of his.

It felt almost too good, like I was holding something illicit. I was afraid it would be taken away. It felt like the first time I touched a girl’s breast in the backseat of a car with fogged up windows, scared that her parents were going to fling the door open and start yelling at me. I wanted to grab the controller and run. I wanted to nuzzle it against my face and ask it who is a good controller? Who is a good controller?

You’re a good controller, you sexy thing, you.

A number of Kuchera’s critics have referred to this as “creepy,” which I think goes too far. It is certainly not the analogy I would use to describe the feel of a controller, and it helps perpetuate a particular stereotype about videogame players as young, sexually inexperienced men. But it may have been a good way of getting the point across to the Penny Arcade Report audience.

The problem I have with Kuchera’s description is it is exactly the sort of language that Kuchera himself would likely condemn if it was written by anyone else.

Kuchera is part of a prudish backlash against sexual content in video games that insists that the only appropriate sexual content is that which either a) serves some sort of didactic purpose in educating the player, or b) as in this case, is within the accepted norms of the prudes themselves (titillation for me, but not for thee.)

 

VideoLAN Movie Creator

The developers behind the awesome VideoLAN VLC Media Player are working on a free video editing project called VideoLAN Movie Creator. VLMC aims to be a simple, user-friendly video editor, as demonstrated by this YouTube demo.

Unfortunately, the project’s website has been down for awhile and it is a bit unclear what the status of this project is.

The Open Video Alliance

The Open Video Alliance is a group dedicated to creating and promoting open video standards, codecs, players, etc.

The big idea behind the Open Video Alliance is that heading into this future, the tools for creating, manipulating, and sharing video must be available to everyone. And while having community-developed, open source versions of these tools is critical, it’s not the whole story. Open video requires that legal and business structures support the ability of huge numbers of individuals to use video in ways that go beyond just watching.

As someone who spends most of his work day wrangling this or that proprietary format video into usable form, this vision cannot be realized soon enough.