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Articles on this Page
- 04/27/15--15:55: _Tim Cook: We are on...
- 04/27/15--18:06: _Thousands of angry ...
- 04/27/15--18:10: _Stars from HBO's 'T...
- 04/27/15--20:42: _Here's why Marvel m...
- 04/28/15--05:31: _14 meaningless phra...
- 04/28/15--06:01: _MEET ELIZABETH OLSE...
- 04/28/15--06:06: _I saw 'Lost,' the f...
- 04/28/15--07:25: _There's a new messa...
- 04/28/15--09:24: _Here's how the late...
- 04/28/15--09:55: _Valve CEO: 'Pissing...
- 04/28/15--10:26: _You'll never visit ...
- 04/28/15--11:30: _If you look at Riha...
- 04/28/15--11:44: _This TV star droppe...
- 04/28/15--12:06: _Hilary Duff admits ...
- 04/28/15--12:46: _Stan Lee will have ...
- 04/28/15--13:34: _The 'Goodfellas' wr...
- 04/28/15--14:22: _Singer Joni Mitchel...
- 04/28/15--15:08: _Model Chrissy Teige...
- 04/29/15--05:17: _Hulu just bought al...
- 04/29/15--05:58: _15 movies you shoul...
- 04/27/15--18:10: Stars from HBO's 'The Wire' plead for an end to Baltimore riots
- 04/28/15--12:46: Stan Lee will have a cameo in 'Ant-Man'
- 04/28/15--14:22: Singer Joni Mitchell is reportedly in a coma and unresponsive
- 04/29/15--05:17: Hulu just bought all the 'Seinfeld' reruns
- 04/29/15--05:58: 15 movies you should see this summer
Tim Cook thinks we're on the edge of "major, major changes in media that are going to be really great for consumers" and he expects Apple to be a part of it.
Apple made waves in April when it announced that Apple TV users could buy a $15 subscription to HBO Now to get all of the network's content without needing a cable subscription.
When asked about that move on Apple's Q1 earnings call, Cook hinted that there might be more to come.
Speaking about the company's recent partnership with HBO, he said, "We are marrying their great content, our great product and ecosystem," Cook said. "There is a lot of traction in there, where could it go? I don't want to speculate, but you can speculate...."
He says that the company is focused on giving customers something they want, with Apple's "classic ease of use."
The introduction of HBO Now — as well as the increasing popularity of online TV subscription streaming services like Netflix, Sling TV, and Hulu Plus — spells bad news for traditional TV industry. It could be that Apple wants to throw itself further into the ring.
In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was planning a web-based TV streaming service, which would launch in the fall but be tied to a new Apple TV that the company is believed to be announcing in June.
An overwhelming mountain of criticism, including a petition signed by over 133,000 people, forced two giant game companies to pull a new feature that allowed people to charge for the modifications they made to the PC game "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."
Bethesda Game Studios, the maker of "Skyrim," announced in a short update Monday night that it was removing paid mods from the Steam Workshop.
After discussion with Valve, and listening to our community, paid mods are being removed from Steam Workshop. Even though we had the best intentions, the feedback has been clear – this is not a feature you want. Your support means everything to us, and we hear you.
Valve, which runs the Steam Workshop that lets people share and download player-created content to their PCs, offered up a much longer blog post.
We're going to remove the payment feature from the Skyrim workshop. For anyone who spent money on a mod, we'll be refunding you the complete amount. We talked to the team at Bethesda and they agree.
We've done this because it's clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing. We've been shipping many features over the years aimed at allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards, and in the past, they've been received well. It's obvious now that this case is different.
To help you understand why we thought this was a good idea, our main goals were to allow mod makers the opportunity to work on their mods full time if they wanted to, and to encourage developers to provide better support to their mod communities. We thought this would result in better mods for everyone, both free & paid. We wanted more great mods becoming great products, like Dota, Counter-strike, DayZ, and Killing Floor, and we wanted that to happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it.
But we underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop. We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there's a useful feature somewhere here.
Now that you've backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we'll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know.
The joint venture was announced on Thursday, but an uproar from producers and consumers of 'Skyrim' mods forced Valve CEO Gabe Newell to host an emergency Reddit AMA over the weekend to try and calm the angry masses. He answered many questions, but also had a few comments downvoted by several thousand people.
So what were people angry about? As we previously wrote, 'Skyrim' modders complained about setting their own prices but only getting 25% of the profits, while the remaining 75% would be split between Bethesda and Valve in some undisclosed fashion; mod creators would sometimes include other people's mods in their own works, and it was unclear how to credit those people; the 24-hour return policy for mods many felt wasn't enough time to explore a mod, especially when they were paying for it; and so on.
Paid 'Skyrim' modifications initially sounded like good news — since all 'Skyrim' mods are free by default, this would have offered content creators a regular way to paid for their work instead of relying on donations. And it could have resulted in some really interesting mods thanks to that added incentive. But good on Bethesda and Valve for recognizing how it angered many of their customers, and making a quick decision to change.
Stars from HBO's "The Wire" have joined the ranks of people pleading for the violent riots in Baltimore to come to an end.
Andre Royo, Wendell Pierce, and show creator David Simon spoke out online against the angry mobs terrorizing the city following the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in city police custody. The critically acclaimed show was filmed almost entirely in Baltimore.
Pierce, who played detective Bunk Moreland; and Royo, who played a junkie named Bubbles, both took to Twitter to vent their sadness and outrage over the looting and destruction.
A display of rage would be demanding the Dept of Justice to take over Baltimore police with a Consent Decree with our demands defining it— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) April 27, 2015
"The anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease. Here was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today," wrote Simon. "But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death."
"If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please."
"The Wire" centered around the Baltimore police's efforts to rid the city of drugs and corruption but also the department's own internal failings and those of other institutions. The gritty five-season drama is considered by many to be the greatest television show of all-time.
Nick Fury was white, but, in a 2002 re-envisioning of the character, comic book writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch made him black. What's more, they made him look like Samuel L. Jackson.
"Ultimates," which offered a modern version of Marvel's Avengers, has been cited as a major influence for the movies by everyone from "Avengers" director Joss Whedon to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. Nowhere is that more clear than in the casting of Jackson.
Millar explained over email why he made the character look like Jackson and how the actor responded years later (emphasis ours):
I wanted an African-American Nick Fury to be director of SHIELD because the closest thing in the real world to this job title was held by Colin Powell at the time. I also thought Nick Fury sounded like one of those great, 1970s Blaxploitation names and so the whole thing coalesced for me into a very specific character, an update of the cool American super-spy Jim Steranko had done in the 70s and based on the Rat Pack, which seemed very nineteen sixties and due for some kind of upgrade. Sam is famously the coolest man alive and both myself an artist Bryan Hitch just liberally used him without asking any kind of permission. You have to remember this was 2001 when we were putting this together. The idea that this might become a movie seemed preposterous as Marvel was just climbing out of bankruptcy at the time.
What we didn’t know was that Sam was an avid comic fan and knew all about it. One of my books was adapted recently as Kingsman: The Secret Service, where Sam played the bad guy, and we finally got to hang out on the set. The first thing I said was I hope you don’t mind me completely exploiting your appearance in my book thirteen years back and he said ‘fuck, no, man. Thanks for the 9 picture deal’. He’s fantastic.
Jackson said in a 2012 interview with LA Times that he contacted Marvel after seeing his likeness in the comic and asked for a part in any eventual movie: "They were kind of like, 'Yeah, we are planning on making movies, and we do hope you’ll be a part of them.'"
Millar's book was pretty explicit about using Jackson as a model. Fury even jokes in one issue that he should be played by Jackson in a hypothetical movie.
In the same comic, characters suggest casting Brad Pitt as Captain America, Johnny Depp as Tony Stark, Matthew McConnaughey as Giant-Man, Lucy Liu as the Wasp, and Steve Buscemi as Bruce Banner (or as he would prefer, Freddie Prinze Jr.).
While Marvel's Avengers movies didn't take Millar's other casting suggestions, they took a lot of plot elements from "Ultimates," including the main villains.
As Millar told New Empress Magazine in 2012: "Kevin Fiege was a big fan of the books and told us it made him realise an Avengers movie could actually be a lot simpler than they’d thought and so they used book one and the ending to book two as the template for the movie, which is enormously flattering."
When Millar took on the project, however, a movie was the last thing on people's minds. He tells BI:
My first book at Marvel was a reboot of the X-Men and it launched at number 1 so they asked me what I wanted to do next. I said I wanted to reboot The Avengers and they winced because the X-Men and Spider-Man titles were their biggest sellers at the time. The Avengers family of characters, they told me, were a waste of my time and they asked me to do a Wolverine book instead. But I was really passionate about this. It was a real labour of love and I had the perfect artist in Bryan Hitch to give this book a very realistic feel that tied together all the characters in a much more natural way I felt mainstream audiences would get.
Marvel at this point had these characters scattered across different studios like New Line, Universal and one or two others so a movie was never in consideration. Their single purpose at the time was getting the comic-division back into the black as things had been quite rough for a couple of years. Anything that happened after is just because the material worked well for the mainstream and was described by readers as cinematic. Of course, we didn’t realise six or seven years later we were going to see all this start to come together as a movie. Marvel weren’t self-financing until 2008.
Millar has had a hand in an insane number of other comic movies, too, creating "Kick-Ass," "Wanted," and "The Secret Service: Kingsman" as part of his Millarworld publishing house, writing the "Civil War" comic that will be the basis of the next "Captain America" movie, as well as overseeing Fox's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When I mentioned that Whedon and Feige have cited his work as an influence on "The Avengers," he offered this comment on his legacy:
It’s nice of them to point it out and we’re proud of the work we did. We didn’t own those characters and we’re very philosophical about what they use in the movies. I left Marvel a few years back to create Millarworld, really just trying to BECOME Marvel I guess and the revamp of The Avengers I did was a wonderful step towards that as it gave me an audience I could bring my own characters like Kick-Ass, Wanted, Kingsman and all the new stuff too. I still have a really good relationship with those guys, but am full time creating my own thing now. We’re on franchise twelve in publishing and just sold franchises eight and nine as movies (Chrononauts to Chris Morgan at Universal and Jupiter’s Legacy to Lorenzo DiBonaventura). Revamping The Avengers was an amazing six years of my life, though. As a fanboy it was kind of a dream. I feel I’ve left my mark on Marvel, which is exciting, but as Stan Lee himself said to me at the time I really had to go out there and create my own stuff.
If you follow stock-market punditry obsessively like we do, you'll quickly notice something.
A handful of analysts speak English. But the vast majority don't.
Rather, they speak a language unique to the investment business.
This language consists of market phrases that sound intelligent but don't mean anything.
The phrases don't sound like they don't mean anything, of course. On the contrary, they sound like they mean a lot. In fact, they make the speaker sound as wise as Warren Buffett (who, to his great credit, never speaks this way).
Most of these phrases have another key benefit, which is useful in the investment business: They never commit the speaker to any specific recommendation or prediction. In other words, no matter what happens, the analyst can always be "right" and never be "wrong" — because they didn't actually say anything.
So if you want to sound smart about investing without really saying anything, read on.
"The easy money has been made."
When to use it: Any time a market or stock has already gone up a lot.
Why it's smart-sounding: It implies wise, prudent caution. It implies that you bought or recommended the stock a long time ago, before the easy money was made (and are therefore smart). It suggests that there might be further upside, but that there might be future downside, because the stock is "due for a correction" (another smart-sounding meaningless phrase that you can use all the time). It does not commit you to any specific recommendation or prediction. It protects you from all possible outcomes: If the stock drops, you can say, "As I said ... " If the stock goes up, you can say "As I said ... "
Why it's meaningless: It's a statement about the obvious. It's a description of what has happened, not what will happen. It requires no special insight or power of analysis. It tells you nothing that you don't already know. Also, it's not true: The money that has been made was likely in no way "easy." Buying stocks that are rising steadily is a lot "easier" than buying stocks that the market has left for dead (because everyone thinks you're stupid to buy stocks that no one else wants to buy.)
"I'm cautiously optimistic."
A classic. Can be used in almost all circumstances and market conditions.
When to use it: Pretty much anytime.
Why it's smart-sounding: It implies wise, prudent caution, but also a sunny outlook, which most people like. (Nobody likes a bear, especially in a bull market.) It sounds more reasonable than saying, for example, "The stock is a screaming buy and will go straight up from here." It protects the speaker against all possible outcomes. If the market drops, the speaker can say, "As you know, I was cautious ... " If the market goes up, the speaker can say, "As you know, I was optimistic ... "
Why it's meaningless: It's too general to mean anything. It can accurately describe any market outcome in history, merely by adjusting the unspecified time frame. (If you were "cautiously optimistic" in 1929, you were "cautious," which was good, and you were also optimistic, which was also good. Eventually, the market recovered!)
"It's a stockpicker's market."
Another classic. Sounds smart but is completely meaningless.
When to use it: Especially useful in bear markets or flat markets, but can be used anytime.
Why it's smart-sounding: It suggests that the current market environment is different from other market environments and therefore requires special skill to navigate. It implies that the speaker has this skill. It suggests that, if you're talented enough to be a "stockpicker," you can coin money right now — while everyone else drifts sideways or loses their shirts.
Why it's meaningless: If you pick stocks for a living (or for your personal account), all markets are "stockpickers' markets." In all markets, traders are trying to buy winners and sell dogs, and in all markets only half of these traders succeed. (It's a different half each time, of course — and most of the "winnings" of the winners are wiped out by transaction costs and taxes, but that's a different story). It is no easier (or harder) to win the stockpicking game in a flat or bear market than in a bull market, and if you try, you'll almost certainly do worse than if you had just bought an index fund.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Elizabeth Olsen is so much more than "the third Olsen sister."
Two years younger than her child-star twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley, Elizabeth — also known as Lizzie — shied away from the spotlight as a kid. But during the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, the indie darling burst onto the scene and clinched the hearts of critics.
Next month, Olsen joins the superstar cast of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," as the mysterious, reality-bending sorceress Scarlet Witch.
Growing up, Elizabeth Olsen thought her life was totally normal. Her family of five lived in the affluent LA suburb of Sherman Oaks, where she danced ballet, watched movies, and hung out on set of her twin sisters' TV show.
Source: The Guardian
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, two years older than little sister "Lizzie," shared the role of Michelle Tanner on the 90s family sitcom, "Full House." The show aired for eight seasons, and launched the girls into child-stardom.
Olsen's earliest IMDb credits are cameos in her sisters' direct-to-video movies. In this scene from "The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of Thorn Mansion," Mary-Kate and Ashley tell her she's too young to join in their detective work.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Whether you love film, or video games – or both! – your favorite medium is on the precipice of enormous change.
That change is virtual reality.
It's headed to video games first, but that's just the tip of the iceberg for VR. Films are next, and the world's largest VR company is getting in on the ground floor. The company in question is Oculus, which you've likely heard of for a variety of reasons: Its precedent-setting "Rift" headset, or its "boy wonder" founder Palmer Luckey, or its acquisition by Facebook last year for $2 billion. Maybe all three.
Oculus has an entire division dedicated to transforming the future of film: It's called "Story Studio," and it's lead by Saschka Unseld, the director of Pixar short "The Blue Umbrella," which was shown to theater audiences before "Monsters University."
Here's a brief introduction video the studio created:
What stuck out the most about "Lost" wasn't the shared experience aspect, or the spatial audio, or even the cutesy, "Iron Giant"-esque robot in the film (seen below). No.
What stuck out was that Oculus' film doesn't feel anything like a film. "Lost" feels like a video game.
Rather, it feels like some bizarre mash-up of both mediums.
When "Lost" starts, you're a firefly floating in darkness. A firefly flies up and looks you in the eyes, and you're able to (lightly) interact with it. If you thrust your head toward it, the firefly dodges you. In real life, to your side, another person wearing an Oculus Rift headset is represented as yet another firefly (that's three total, including "you"). The firefly interacting with you flies over to the other viewer and you can watch them interact.
This is the first clue that you're not just watching a film, but – ever-so-slightly – participating in one.
As the lights rise, you realize you're in a dense forest. Looking around, ferns stick out from the ground and trees rise into the hazy sky above. If you lay on the ground, you're on the ground. If you turn around, you face the other direction. You aren't watching a film. You're in a film.
This point is driven home more directly by a handful of scenes that don't play out until you, the viewer, trigger them. "We allow the viewer to activate the story," Oculus Story Studio producer Ed Saatchi told me in an interview after the film demo. "You activated those credits starting; we actually gave you enough time to feel present in that environment. You activated the hand coming up; the hand wouldn't come up if you weren't looking at it."
Saatchi was referencing the credits that showed up not longer after the film began. I had looked in a direction which triggered the film's opening credits. A moment later, I heard an unfamiliar noise in the distance. My brain told me to look to the right, where my eyes saw a piece of an electronic hand moving around (like "Thing" from "The Addams Family").
If I hadn't looked, it wouldn't have moved forward.
The film's progression – its narrative arc – was dependent on my actions. Sounds an awful lot like a video game if you ask me. Story Studio creative director Saschka Unseld largely agrees.
"It's very blurring lines, it's true," he told me. "I see that as different levels of how much you lean in. And I see the way – at least we, right now – explore storytelling in VR is in the middle between film and linear games."
"Lost" very much lives in this middle ground between games and film. It feels like the birth of a new medium, or the evolution of two long-established mediums.
Like so much of VR, it feels like the future.
If you're a "Breaking Bad" fan, you probably remember the wheelchair-bound, DEA-hating character Hector "Tio" Salamanca, best known for his habit of ringing a small bell to communicate — one ding meant yes, two dings meant no.
Well, it turns out that somebody decided to take that idea of bell-based communication and turn it into a mobile app called Dingbel, and they've even recruited Mark Margolis, the actor who played Hector Salamanca in "Breaking Bad," to be the official spokesperson.
At its core, Dingbel is basically a spinoff of other single-button communication apps such as Yo. You can tap and double-tap on a friend in your contacts to send them a single or double ding — one ding means yes, two dings means no.
Like a one-word greeting or tap on the shoulder, people can use Dingbel as both an attention-getter and as a way to receive confirmation. Want to see if a co-worker is ready to grab lunch? Send them a single ring, and if they ring you back once, they're ready to go — twice, and you know that they're still busy.
Obviously there are a ton of possible use cases with Dingbel, but they all boil down to convincing your friends to download yet another messaging app, and I think most will find they'd rather send a quick one-word text or emoji instead.
Dingbel is available on both iPhone and Apple Watch, but the promotional video makes it clear the app is targeting the Apple Watch primarily, a natural choice seeing as the device is built upon the idea of streamlining communication and making notifications feel more personal.
You can download Dingbel for iPhone and Apple Watch over at the App Store.
NOW WATCH: The 15 Best Quotes From 'Breaking Bad'
After Bruce Jenner's bombshell interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday, many watched to see how late night TV hosts would address the news that the Olympian-turned-reality TV star is transitioning into a woman.
While David Letterman avoided the topic completely, Jimmy Kimmel didn't hold back.
Kimmel went straight into the Jenner jokes during his opening monologue:
Kimmel says he thinks Jenner "came off very well," joking that "he went from being kind of a boring man to a very charming woman. I think we may have found our next 'Bachelorette.'"
He continued: "The interview got huge ratings, 17 million people tuned in to watch and it did not disappoint. I have to say the most shocking part to me was when Bruce told Diane that there was only one full-length mirror in the Kardashian house. I find that hard to believe."
Kimmel addressed all of the most talked about points during the interview, like Jenner's admission that he is a Republican:
"Among other things, Bruce Jenner identified himself as a conservative Republican. He said he believes the House and senate leaders, Mitch McConell and John Boehner, will support him and advocate for transgender issues. Oh yeah, of course they will, they're probably having the buttons printed up as we speak. Billboards, banners, maybe some of those foam fingers!"
And what Jenner's new name may be:
"One thing Bruce Jenner did not divulge during the two-hour special is what his new name would be. He said he didn't want to reveal it because the media will go crazy, but I happen to know that the real reason he didn't share his new name with Diane Sawyer is because his new female name is Diane Sawyer. He wanted to let he know privately that they would be sharing a name. One good thing about a new name is that Bruce can finally get things monogrammed — it's tough to do that when your initials are BJ."
"Turns out after all these years keeping up with the Kardashians, we should have been keeping up with him."
Kimmel, who has previously feuded with Kanye West, also took the opportunity to take a jab at the rapper:
"Bruce also said that so far Kim has been the most accepting of the Kardashians, and the easiest to talk to. He said Kim credited her husband Kanye West with helping her understand how important it is to be true to yourself, which I agree with, but to a point. I think you should be true to yourself... until your self feels like walking on stage during someone else's acceptance speech," referencing West famously interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
"But good for Kanye, it says a lot about a family when Kanye West is the voice of reason."
Jimmy Fallon, on the other hand, kept his Jenner jokes to a minimum:
Fallon opened his monologue by saying that Jenner made a "pretty big announcement" on Friday night, and then showed video footage of Jenner admitting that he’s a Republican.
The "Tonight Show" host then joked: "He declared he’s a woman and a Republican… In others words, the GOP finally found someone who might beat Hillary Clinton," before chanting "Bruce 2016, Bruce 2016!"
After Fallon quoted Jenner as saying "For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman" during the interview, the host joked, "At which point, Joe Biden ran in and gave him a shoulder rub."
Conan O'Brien kept it to just one joke:
During his monologue, O'Brien stated that Jenner was transitioning from male to female, and that he’s also a Republican. O'Brien then joked that Jenner is looking "forward to bashing Obamacare until he’s finished using it."
"Late Late Show" host James Corden, meanwhile, called Jenner's interview "one of the most incredible pieces of TV that I've seen":
In a heartfelt monologue, Corden thanked Jenner for "sharing so openly and so honestly."
“Honestly, I thought it was genuinely one of the most incredible pieces of television that I’ve seen in years. It was amazing. Because I thought I will never know, so many of us will never know, what it is like to go through such a thing, the life that he’s been trapped in. And I thought, the truth is there are people out there for whom the struggle is very real and it’s very hard, and it’s hard for them and it’s hard for their families. Watching it made me think I truly hope after this weekend’s interview, that this world that we live in is a better, more understanding, more educated place for them to live in. We thank you Bruce, we really do, for sharing so openly and so honestly. It was a wonderful thing to watch."
Watch the full clip below:
SEE ALSO: BRUCE JENNER INTERVIEW: 'I am a woman'
Valve and Bethesda decided to kill their four-day-old venture on Monday night, because as profitable as it was meant to be, the companies were losing too much money by angering their own customer bases.
The joint venture was announced last Thursday: Bethesda, the maker of the popular game Skyrim, struck a deal with Valve, which runs the world's most popular store for distributing online PC games. It allowed anyone that makes modifications to the game Skyrim to sell their content at a price of their choosing.
But there were problems: Skyrim modders complained about setting their own prices but getting only 25% of the revenue, for example, and with so many mods including works from other modders, it was unclear how to credit everyone involved.
So four days after it was announced Valve and Bethesda killed their paid Skyrim modifications, promising to refund any customers who paid for them.
So why was the decision made so quickly?
Valve CEO Gabe Newell offered an insightful answer while responding to the consumer backlash over the weekend. He gave this answer to one Reddit user that accused his company of chasing profits:
Let's assume for a second that we are stupidly greedy. So far the paid mods have generated $10K total. That's like 1% of the cost of the incremental email the program has generated for Valve employees (yes, I mean pissing off the Internet costs you a million bucks in just a couple of days). That's not stupidly greedy, that's stupidly stupid. You need a more robust Valve-is-evil hypothesis.
It didn’t make financial sense for Valve to push paid mods — $10,000 in revenue cannot possibly overcompensate for the potential loss of millions of dollars from angry emails and messages, especially when you’re losing your customers’ trust in the process.
Newell publicly acknowledged that Valve’s decision had “pissed off the internet.” He said he personally got 3,500 messages in two days before he decided to host his emergency Reddit AMA over the weekend to calm the masses.
The fact is, Newell isn’t only a businessman; he’s an icon in the gaming industry and a hero to many, having created Valve, which is easily the most popular hub for PC games — it has over 125 million customers worldwide — and producing some of the world's most beloved PC games, including Half-Life and Portal.
It was a simple choice: Valve had too much to lose, and not enough to gain financially, from a paid mods store.
This might be one of the scariest movie trailers ever. "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" director M. Night Shyamalan returns the genre that made him famous with "The Visit." The movie uses the popular "found footage" approach to tell the story of a couple of siblings whose trip to visit their grandparents quickly gets very scary.
Shyamalan took a break from thrillers to take a shot at the action and science-fiction genres with "The Last Airbender" and "After Earth."
Both of those movies bombed with critics, but did serviceable business at the international box office. Now, however, Shyamalan seems ready to get back to what he knows how to do best. For "The Visit," he teamed up with Blumhouse Productions — the red-hot production company behind such hits as "Paranormal Activity," "Insidious" and "The Purge."
If the trailer is any indication, it looks like Shyamalan will finally get back into the good graces of his biggest audience. "The Visit" is due in theaters on September 11, 2015.
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Rihanna has navigated fame and its accompanying controversy with nonchalance since the beginning.
While pop stars like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are known for their meticulous attention to detail when it comes to their respective images and personae, Rihanna appears to expend much less effort when setting trends and selling out stadiums.
So it comes as no surprise that her Snapchat account presents a relatively unvarnished look at her life. What is interesting, though, is just how mundane her Snaps are compared to her Instagram posts.
In fact, you might even call some of them boring.
Thanks to Rihanna superfans — who've compiled the star's Snapchat stories on YouTube for posterity — anyone can join in on the fun.
On Snapchat, Rihanna's friends can be heard calling her "Rob," which is short for her first name, Robyn. She and her posse appear to be just like any other group of friends in their late 20s.
They go to destinations weddings (in this case, in Hawaii) and go ziplining after the festivities.
They fight over who has to kill the bug on the ceiling, uploading videos every step of the way.
They even go to convenience stores and crack jokes about the selection, with Rihanna calling one can of food "vintage."
They even poke fun at and ultimately support Rihanna's right to buy as many snacks as she wants.
"You walk into the store, in two minute you've got four snacks," the camerawoman and Rihanna pal says.
"You're judging her," another friend scolds. "Stop judging her."
The grainy videos offer a glimpse into Rihanna's life that her carefully curated Instagram feed doesn't provide. In fact, Rihanna seems reluctant to appear on camera much of the time.
The story on Instagram is completely different:
It's like she's a totally different person, or at least a completely different representation. On Instagram, Rihanna routinely makes headlines by depicting nudity and substance abuse; her account is so controversial, she left the service for six months after Instagram temporarily suspended her account due to some topless photos she posted.
Let me tell you how being true to myself not only saved me, but made me, too.
After high school I applied to the Stockholm School of Economics, one of the premier business schools in Europe.
Each year thousands of people apply and only three hundred are accepted — I was one of them.
I knew I was one of the privileged, but it honestly didn't make me feel accomplished or right.
The Stockholm School of Economics was filled with young men and women, most from good families, all competitive, who dressed up for dinner parties and were destined to be bankers.
At orientation on the first day, J. P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs brought sandwiches into the auditorium and presented a future I really wasn't interested in.
The school was an institution, and as I walked down the marble-clad halls with cathedral ceilings, I felt I didn't have another four and a half years to give until graduation. I wanted to live right then and there, to get out in the sunshine and build something.
The final death to me was in statistics class my first semester, with its auditorium full of formulas and graphs. Everyone had to sit still for hours, taking notes, and all I could do was show up and tune out. I had a hard time sitting still, and to this day I still can't sit still for too long.
I looked out the windows and imagined, What if I could see the Empire State Building outside instead of the summer gardens dying in the crisp fall winds? How would that make me feel? As I was realizing the Stockholm School of Economics wasn't my thing, a friend introduced me to a girl named Maria who had an idea to build an Internet start‑up offering customer relationship-management software.
Internet shopping was still in its infancy and hadn't really caught on with most consumers. Maria wanted to solve the missing human touch by giving online shoppers a virtual assistant, or avatar, to answer questions and help at checkout — Siri before Siri.
Maria needed a go‑getter to help her find seed money. And she didn't have to ask me twice. That summer, Maria and I wrote the business plan in the computer room at my business school and went looking for investors willing to provide financial backing for a startup, a.k.a. "angel investors."
We bought student-discounted airline tickets for fifty dollars and flew to Paris to meet with potential venture capitalist types. We slept on the sofa of Maria's high school friend and came home with $1 million dollars, successfully selling 50 percent of the company before it really existed.
And that's when I decided I wasn't going back to school.
I dropped out and (then) told my parents I was done with studying. My dad asked me to stay, telling me that an education is for life, something that no one could take away from me, ever. I said my life is my life, and no statistics professor can take it away from me, ever.
My classmates thought I was crazy and told me I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I told them they would see, that I was going to prove them wrong. I hugged them goodbye and wished them well on their own journeys.
Big startups were hot, and Sweden was ahead of the curve. Mature, successful guys from the old business world were trying to find ways to climb aboard the new, faster economy. They knew they needed to get a horse in the tech race or be left behind, and they wanted to pair with young, smart tech types on the cutting edge.
My father, a former speechwriter with the Swedish government, gave me the email address of former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt and several powerful, high-profile, and wealthy businessmen.
I sent an email to Mr. Bildt and four or five other major names. I didn't worry if I was important enough. I took action before doubt could rear its ugly head. The email simply said to show up at this address, at this time; we have an interesting Internet startup, and we know you'll want to be a part of it.
Maria and I set up a PowerPoint in a boardroom we'd rented for the day, complete with graphs of how much the company was going to be worth. They all came. Each saw the other familiar faces in the room and realized they couldn't (or shouldn't) say no.
We offered each of them a small piece of the company in exchange for their names, experience, and faces. Attaching these power players, with their fifty or so years of political and business savvy, gave me — the twenty-year-old entrepreneur — huge street cred.
Two years later, we had more than forty employees and everything felt possible. According to the business plan, we were going to become the number one customer-relationship-management software company in the world. Our new company, Humany.com, was going to take on Oracle.
I was the CEO and the youngest person in the company, and with Carl Bildt on the board, we landed on the front page of many Swedish magazines and even got a write‑up in the Financial Times. The Internet was now on everyone's agenda.
The new economy was on fire, and the Swedish media made me the IT whiz kid and placed me on the cover of our most popular magazine wearing a big smile and a Hawaiian shirt while standing in front of the former prime minister.
Working that hard, day and night, kept me sharply focused, and my outrageous dream to move to New York tamed. People said I was the perfect entrepreneur.
The press called me a "risk taker," an "aggressive salesman," and a "tough negotiator" with a "strong sense of intuition." At first, I had to sell only an idea, then a company that didn't exist, and finally software that was still being programmed.
By the time our software was finished (and didn't actually work), the Internet bubble was beginning to burst and so was my head.
I was tired and confused. Most of these new startups were falling apart. Ours was, too, and our working relationship unraveled along with it. Maria and I began arguing about everything.
It was the turn of the new millennium, I was twenty-three years old, and it was still many years before Facebook and Twitter were founded. Things in the Internet bubble had to happen so quickly; the pressure to grow and be profitable at the same time was contradictory, and the investors and media pushed us to chase more money — or go bankrupt.
I remember taking a cab home to the apartment Maria and I had bought together, going into my half of it, and crying by myself.
I cried because I was exhausted, and I could see the inevitability of our business's collapse.
I started to feel like a failure. It was too much at once. I had all these peoples' (and their families') futures in my hands, and I had no real experience in a world that was crumbling.
Failure was new to me, and I hadn't yet come to understand that failure is inevitable if you want to be wildly successful (more on that later).
I briefly thought, as many do in similar situations, that there would never be another opportunity for me, that I'd never climb out of the mess I was in.
I've now realized that we are all a combination of failure and success. Like joy and pain, without one, we'd never know the other.
As they say, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, sold my shares in the company I had started just two years earlier, and got out. I made the very complicated decision to be true to my dreams and to leave the company, my family, and Sweden for New York ... by myself.
Reprinted from The Sell by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2015, Fredrik Eklund.
Hilary Duff is swiping left and right on popular dating app Tinder, and tonight she's going on her first date with one of her potential matches.
Stars! They're just like us.
Duff, who is currently divorcing hockey player Mike Comrie, is living in Brooklyn as she films "Younger" for TV Land.
She admits she finds Tinder to be "wildly addicting" and is currently matched with about nine different guys on the app.
She tells E! she's super nervous for her date, but has no idea if the dudes she's chatting with know she's a celebrity.
"I think some people know," she says. "You only have your first name. Some people don't know. I think some people act like they don't know but they do. And a lot of people are like, 'This is a joke, right?'"
Single guys, pay attention; this is what she's looking for. (This applies to most women — cut it out with the shirtless mirror selfies, guys!)
"I think the first thing is obviously looks, which sounds super vain, but that is what you first go for: natural chemistry," the single mom admitted. "Also what they say in their profile has to be funny. I don't want to see a shirtless, mirror selfie. That is instantly a left. I don't know. Someone who looks like they like to do fun things and someone who can make you laugh in their profile. My profile says: Let's eat pizza. I've had a lot of convos because of that."
In a conversation with former president and chairman of Marvel Comics Stan Lee while promoting Avengers-inspired razors by Gillette, Business Insider asked the 92-year-old about his famous cameo roles in the majority of Marvel movies, including "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (opening Friday).
We won’t give away his appearance in the movie (trust us, it’s great), but he did reveal that it won't be his last Marvel movie.
“I’ve since done a cameo for 'Ant-Man,'” he excitedly told Business Insider.
The next film to come out from Marvel Studios on July 17 stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, who is armed with a super suit that gives him the ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength.
“It was the most difficult movie to work on because everyone has to be careful where they’re stepping because they might accidentally crush the leading man,” Lee said jokingly. “But seriously, 'Ant Man' is going to be great. It’s going to be different than any other superhero movie and the fans are going to love it.”
Lee didn't give us any more details about his cameo in "Ant-Man," only promising us, “it’s great!”
A slight failure in communication almost derailed "Goodfellas."
In 1986, Nicholas Pileggi wrote the book "Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family" about Henry Hill and his mob associates. After the book received positive reviews, director Martin Scorsese tried reaching out to Pileggi. However, there was one small problem.
“I never thought it was Marty calling,” Pileggi told a crowd at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Pileggi was still working for "New York Magazine" at this time, and Scorsese kept trying to get a hold of him over the phone.
"I’d get these little pink slips that would say, ‘Call Martin Scorsese.’ I thought it was David Denby, who was the movie critic at "New York Magazine," so I didn’t respond,” Pileggi said.
Pileggi didn't go into detail about whether or not Denby had a history of pulling off elaborate pranks of some sort. But clearly, Denby had nothing to do with this.
Somebody from Scorsese's office finally contacted "Sleepless in Seattle" director Nora Ephron, who was married to Pileggi, and she knocked some sense into him.
"Are you crazy?" Pileggi recalled Ephron asking. "Martin Scorsese is trying to call you and you won't call him back!"
After that, Pileggi finally called him back and work on the project began.
Pileggi and Scorsese ended up co-writing the script together, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. They collaborated once again on "Casino." "Goodfellas" celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
According to TMZ, "Joni Mitchell is unconscious in a hospital, unable to respond to anyone, with no immediate prospects for getting better."
TMZ reports: "Joni's close friend of 44 years, Leslie Morris, has just filed legal docs to obtain a conservatorship over the legendary singer. Morris says Joni told her she has no close relatives who could assume the role."
The documents add that Mitchell is "so impaired as to be incapable of being assessed."
The 71-year-old "Big Yellow Taxi" singer was previously rushed to the hospital on March 31 after being found unconscious after passing out at her L.A. home.
Earlier this month, Mitchell's website posted the below update on her health:
Joni remains under observation in the hospital and is resting comfortably. We are encouraged by her progress and she continues to improve and get stronger each day. We've created a simple web page to aggregate Facebook and Twitter messages so that Joni can see all the well wishes people are sending her way, check it out!
According to Rolling Stone, "Mitchell has reportedly suffered from a rare condition called Morgellons for the past eight years. In Mitchell's case, she described the disorder as 'fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm.'"
"Morgellons is constantly morphing," Mitchell told The Daily Mail of her symptoms. "There are times when it's directly attacking the nervous system, as if you're being bitten by fleas and lice. It's all in the tissue and it's not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I've been sick all my life."
Most people are accustomed to seeing Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen look flawless in the pages of magazines like this:
But Teigen drew back the beauty curtain a few weeks ago when she posted a photo of herself to Instagram that showed bruises and stretch marks:
"Bruises from bumping kitchen drawer handles for a week. Stretchies say hi!"
The response from Teigen's 2.1 million Instagram followers has been overwhelmingly positive:
During a recent appearance on "The Meredith Vieira Show," Teigen explained why she chose not to alter the "imperfect" images."
I actually am working on a cookbook and I was bumping around in the kitchen and the door handle would just nick me every single time. And I was actually just taking a picture of the bruises and then I saw the stretch marks in there. I have those apps, the Facetune and Photoshopping ones, and I just didn't feel like doing it anymore—and I'm never doing it again, because I think we forgot what normal people look like now."
"I mean, people are nip-tucking [their photos]," Teigen continued. "It's gotten to the point where they're not smoothing their skin anymore, they are actually changing the shape of their body and everybody else. Nobody can compare to that when you're fixing yourself so much."
"It's so unfair," she added. "It started with Botox and everything, of course, but now it's just grown into this Photoshop phenomenon and I've seen these women in person, they are not like that. Please know that. I've shot in barely anything [i.e. half-naked] with them and it's just amazing what people do to tweak themselves."
In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Teigen drove home the point that modeling is smoke and mirrors, even when it comes to the world's most beautiful women:
Things are never, ever as they seem. Even on television I am full of fake hair and covered in body makeup head-to-toe. Those full lashes have been applied meticulously one by one, my teeth have spent more hours in a dentist chair than I ever imagined. We have a team of people whose sole job is to make people appear close-to-perfect. And oh, the retouching. My bathroom mirror on any normal day would laugh hysterically if you told it I was flawless in any way! And that is fine with me.
Teigen is often honest about her image, posting revealing before and after photos to her Instagram:
NOW WATCH: Why supermodels swear by Pilates
The deal is one of biggest digital acquisitions ever for the company, with Variety reporting its value at "just under a million per episode, which translates to a $180 million windfall to be split by distributor Sony TV, Time Warner’s Castle Rock and 'Seinfeld' profit participants, including star/co-creator Jerry Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David."
A person with knowledge of the agreement told the Journal that the deal would mean each episode is valued at approximately $700,000.
Netflix initially expressed interest, but wound up spending about $118 million on another 90's sitcom, "Friends," instead. Amazon and Yahoo were also said to be interested.
Select episodes of "Seinfeld" had been previously available online through Sony's Crackle video platform, but this marks the first time the series will be available digitally in its entireity.
For those who prefer the traditional route, "Seinfeld" will still air in rapid succession on TBS until further notice.
Summer movie season officially kicks off Friday.
While you may have your tickets ready for the "Avengers" sequel, "Age of Ultron" is just the start.
More than 100 movies will be released between Friday and the end of August.
From comedies to big-budget sequels, we've rounded up this summer's biggest movies you should check out.
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron"
Release date: May 1
Why to see it: When Earth's mightiest heroes assemble, you don't need many reasons to head out to theaters. We already know you're planning to see this one. James Spader as a psychotic android uttering the "Pinocchio" theme gives us chills every time we watch this trailer. We're most excited, however, to see Paul Bettany as the mysterious android Vision.
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
Release date: May 15
Why to see it: If you were a fan of George Miller's original 1979 film, Miller is back directing the fourth installment, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. The film has been in the works for over two decades, so anticipation is high. The newest trailer delivers with a barrage of nonstop action and gorgeous visuals that should excite fans of the series.
Release date: May 15
Why to see it: A gorgeously shot, quirky Western featuring Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") as an outlaw guiding a naive lovesick Scottish boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to his beloved. Fassbender narrates the tale, which our own Brett Arnold describes as occasionally violent, often funny, but always a joy.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider