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That was boring. Here’s a picture of a stoat

I thought I’d stumbled over an interesting story today, but I traced it to the end and it was kind of boring. I’m going to tell it to you anyway.

We’ve been desperate for stuff to watch on TV over the holidays. The BBC has been dire. I haven’t watched any of the popular Netflix serieses (we have – ahem – access). I thought I’d check the reviews on Stranger Things (unrelated: have you watched it? Is it good? No spoilers, pls).

In the Wikipedia article, there was this curious statement: “Netflix did not initially reveal subscriber viewership numbers for their original series, and Symphony Technology Group compiled data for the season based on people using software on their phones that measures television viewing by detecting a program’s sound.”

Wait, what? Phones listening in on what people are watching? Symphony Technology Group is just an investment firm, why wouldn’t they name the actual app, unless it was some other sort of app that covertly snooped on people? Something interesting afoot!

Nope, not very. It was a real app with the sole purpose of tracking your TV habits and people signed up for it on purpose. In 2015, Symphony Advanced Media built an app called VideoPulse. They paid people $5 to $11 a month to let this thing listen in all the time (but not conversations, pinkie-swear).

I guess Nielsen doesn’t track streaming services effectively, and certainly not YouTube. It was a big gap in the data for people who rely on viewership figures. They got at least 15,000 to sign up.

VideoPulse learned some interesting stuff – like millenials aren’t really watching less TV as everyone thought, they’re just watching more YouTubes. Nobody was sure how good their numbers were, though, and they didn’t make money on it, so they dissolved in 2017.

On the other hand, if you follow @STOATBOT on Twitter, you get an adorable stoat in your feed every three hours.


Comment from OldFert
Time: December 27, 2022, 10:14 pm

Stranger things isn’t the best scifi/”horror” program, but it is somewhat entertaining. Enough for me to have watched all seasons so far, usually more than one episode per time watched.
I’ve enjoyed it, and plan on watching series 5 when it comes out sometime next year, but probably not until I can spend some time (again, multiple episodes at one sitting).

Comment from Gromulin
Time: December 28, 2022, 12:47 am

If you…ahem…have access to Amazon prime, The Expanse is some of the best futuristic fiction I’ve ever seen. Won’t call it Sci-Fi. Takes place after we’ve moved out to Mars and the Belt. Hyper realistic space-physics. The weapons are realistic, the ships are realistic…and the only “alien” will scare the crap out of you.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: December 28, 2022, 2:10 am

Get a VPN, load KODI on a jailbroke firestick and Bob’s your uncle.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 28, 2022, 6:49 am

“The Peripheral” on Prime was/is an interesting sci-fi show.
And for those who hate half a story I’ve seen indications Amazon has given part 2 a positive nod.

We just finished watching the Guy Ritchiesque Movie “Bullet Train” on Netflix. Being low class sorts who often prefer light (violent mayhem filled) sorts of movies like Die Hard, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to high minded art movies like Manchester By the Sea, we went against the hoity toity artsy critical reviews and enjoyed it.

Comment from Tim Carlson
Time: December 28, 2022, 12:08 pm

Stranger Things? Season 4 is better than 2 and/or 3. So I’ve heard.

Stuff I’ve been watching (sailing the high seas and all that – after all, I’m in the Philippines):

1923 – Harrison Ford / Helen Mirren – Yellowstone prequel, Ep 1 okay, Ep 2 Meh. Cattlemen vs. sheep ranchers, hunting man-killers (tigers, lions) in Africa, other stories in that time period

Tulsa King – Sylvester Stallone – EXCELLENT. NY mobster moves to Oklahoma and takes over.

Slow Horses – Gary Oldman – EXCELLENT. UK spy stuffs

Yellowstone – Kevin Costner – Season 5 has been very good.

Fleishman Is in Trouble – Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes – about a marriage falling apart, some eps are hilarious, some eps are cringe, some eps are meh

The Peripheral – Chloe Moritz – Virtual reality sci-fi thriller. I bailed after ep 2.

Fire Country – Prisoners become fire jumpers. Characters and dialog sucks. I bailed after ep 1

Dahmer – Dramatized bio of Jeffery Dahmer. I would watch, then quit, then go back, then quit again. Finally quit during ep 6. Extremely creepy. Dahmer was very strange and very evil.

The Expanse – sci-fi, space stuffs – watch out for season 5 – they get extremely woke and weird. Such great potential, augured into the ground.

Andor – Adult Star Wars – the pacing is veeeeeery slow. But the production values are excellent.

House of the Dragon – Fantasy, Game of Thrones prequel, EXCELLENT. This is what Rings Of Power wanted to be, and at probably a 10th of the cost.

Tokyo Vice – EXCELLENT. Tokyo, Japan, Yakuza and newspaper reporters and all that.

Treason – spy stuff. Just started ep 1, but hasn’t fallen on it’s face yet.

George And Tammy – bio about Tammy Wynette and George Jones. Interesting at time, cringe at others. Lots of chemical abuse and the bad behaviors that go with it

Three Pines – Alfred Molina – Crime in a small town, detective goes to solve, stays to solve others, all might be connected? Hard to stay with this one, I watch then quit then watch then . . .

The Terminal List – Chris Pratt – Very Good. Navy Seal investigates the murders of his platoon members.

The Bear – Good – a five-star chef take over his dead brother’s sandwich shop in Chicago.

Jack Ryan – EXCELLENT – a CIA analyst goes into the field to solve various world crises and shoot people, all with a sour face. Actually pretty good.

Is that enough? Of course, Rick & Morty if you like animated (but Season 5 went downhill) – Panhandle is interesting but strange, Wednesday is a YA Goth / Monsters romcommystery thingy, and finally Alice In Borderlands (Korean) a “lets make people play violent games” thing like Squid Game.

Being retired and disabled, and not an easy traveler anymore, I spend a lot of time in the house tinkering with electronics and programming while various junks are playing on a separate system. If it sounds interesting, I stop and watch. If not – it’s just background noise until I find something better.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 28, 2022, 12:34 pm

Tim, Taylor Sheridan is working on something else too. They’re filming US Civil War segments in January just west of Fort Worth, like they did for 1883. We think it’s for Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern, but it may just be some random act of violence sometime around 1862 as it was for Sam Elliott’s big charge in 1883.

Another chance to be immortalized as a member of a background mob on the big screen 😁

Rumor has it it is for a series about Bass Reeves, first black marshal west of the Mississippi so we’ll spend a day forming lines, burning powder and charging around like a disorganized mob to get enough film for 2 seconds of an episode. But it pays good to have fun in the old hobby and they usually put on a great feed!

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 28, 2022, 7:05 pm

If anyone needs film footage for Dust Bowl Days—head for Amarillo. Warm at 58 degrees and windy at 58 miles per hour, gusting into the 60s, today at noon. Not really as bad as the dust bowl during the depression; farming and ranching conservation methods are constantly improving, but wind never changes. Ironically, all the wind-powered energy-generating windmills will be locked down because it’s too dangerous for them to operate in winds like this.

Comment from Tim Carlson
Time: December 29, 2022, 1:46 am

@Durnedyankee, I love the civil war era. My favorite is Ken Burns’ Civil War, I have watched all episodes over and over. I particularly like Shelby Foote, historian with a great accent. Too bad he has passed.

I wonder how long people will be able to tell these stories, this history, unedited and uncensored. Folks are far too sensitive these days.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 29, 2022, 4:19 am

@Tim – I can tell you Civil War reenactments changed a while back. Needless to say various Confederate battle flags are no longer acceptable to even be seen. Pretty much both sides are considered evil, too many white male patriarch-ists.
The high water mark for the hobby was the 135th anniversary because it was shortly after the Gettysburg and Glory movies.

Comment from BJM
Time: December 31, 2022, 6:48 am

@Tim Carlson

We are so hooked on K-dramas. “Money Heist” is my fav so far. “Kingdom” is good too…and Pacinko (a bit of a tear-jerker with Godfather vibes)

So far 1923 is a disappointment. I’m still bummed at 1883’s finale…but Yellowstone is back kicking ass, so there’s that. So many Rip wannabees…those of you who live in cowboy country know what I mean…every male from 6 yrs old to 90 is wearing a Greely Reiner crease…without the band, of course.

I decided to watch all our DVD movies again…started with Bronowski’s “The Ascent of Man”. The scenes shot in Stanford’s computer lab were amazing in 1973. Parkinson interview with Dr. Brownowski in 1974 is worth a squiz.

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