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Entries tagged television

A (Ridiculous?) Acquisition Idea for Twitter

Posted July 29, 2013

Before I explain why, I’m going to say the company: Shazam.

Now, take a moment to think about why this is a good or crazy idea. Sweet, now I’ll tell you what I think.

Like millions of others, I watch television shows with Twitter open, tweeting about what’s hilarious or ridiculous. This is particularly fun when I’m watching a show as it is broadcast live; it truly (and literally, I suppose) brings a new dimension to television. Unfortunately, I only watch about 5% of my television live. In fact, Netflix is producing new and exciting programs that are never broadcast “live”, which presents a problem, nay, opportunity!

I would like to experience my non-live programs like I experience my live ones. Give me an app that shows me tweets about the program I’m watching from any of my friends AND have them appear in my timeline at the same relative time they were tweeted. In other words, if my friend Karen watched the first episode of Orange is the New Black last week and tweeted about an early scene 6 minutes into the episode, I should see this tweet come up when I am watching the same episode and am 6 minutes in.

And now, the reason Twitter would acquire Shazam. If you don’t know, Shazam can listen to an audio sample and determine the song. Lately, they’ve been using the same technology to help advertisers and television networks show you supplemental material on your phone.

Imagine if the Twitter app listened to the noise around you while you tweeted and determined what, if any, program you were watching (something Shazam can do) and recorded the relative timestamp. Then, if a friend watched the same program hours or months later, they’d be able to enjoy the experience as if it was live. It would just mean opening up the Twitter app and letting it determine what show you’re watching. Then tweets could stream in, seemingly real-time. Pretty awesome, no?

Obviously, there are a host of reasons this would fail. Here are two:

  1. Bootstrapping: It’s going to take a long time for enough of your friends to watch that obscure BBC show you love. Of course, this could be solved by only allowing tags for popular shows or augmenting your friends tweets with popular ones. You could also try and filter these time-shifted tweets into your regular stream.

  2. Technology: You’d need the user to be tweeting from an app and not the web to capture the audio. This would mean more fragmentation, but maybe it’d be another way for Twitter to push users toward their app.

Again, this idea is a little ridiculous and I realize that. Still, I want it to exist very badly. If it got good enough, watching awards shows or sports would be just as exciting on a time-shift as it would be live. It could be truly awesome.

Bill Plympton's Simpsons Couch Gag Trumps All

I feel like I watch far more couch gags than actual episodes these days. Fun fact: I recorded the first 8 seasons on VHS tapes using the TV/VCR+ combo in my bedroom. I had several pages listing the start time and tape number for each episode. I lost them one by one in the dorms my freshman year of college.

Bob's Burgers

The newest creation from Loren Bouchard, producer of Home Movies (my favorite animated series) and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, starts a week from today on Fox. The previews look entertaining, but I’m more excited by the cast, which includes H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal.

20100920metamirror.jpg MetaMirror: Another TV Companion

A more fully-featured (and vaporware) television companion concept that would be lovely. In theory, you are watching the show on your television and watching a simulcast on your iPad with modal dialogues over the video (e.g., to buy an album, see some trivia, etc.). I dreamt of this feature 7 years ago and I’d love to see it come to fruition.

ABC Uses iPad to Interact with "My Generation"

I’m all for making the television experience more engaging, but it seems like this app is pretty standard with “polls, trivia and other content timed to be relevant to what is transpiring in the ‘Generation’ storylines.” I won’t judge it until I try it, but I’m much more interested in how it’s displaying information.

The application works by using the iPad’s microphone to pick up on audio cues embedded within the TV episode itself, allowing the application to sync up with what the viewer is watching.

Pretty smart. I hope the content strategists are as smart as the technologists.

Adventure Time on Flickr

Fred Seibert, who (I believe) produces Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, has been uploading production art from the series to flickr. Dan gives some more background and a shows off a few of his favorite pieces.

How to Watch Lost

Posted April 6, 2010

20100406lost.pngIt is Lost day. While most experienced Losties know these tips, I thought I’d share them so I can improve everyone’s life.

  1. On Lost-night, you need to watch it live because…
  2. You want to see the Lost-comics by beatonna and nedroid. They are consistently hilarious. You can click on the example to the right for a larger, prettier view.
  3. Immediately after, head over to Lostpedia and take note at just how quickly these folks get information up. It’s insane. Check out the page for last week’s episode.
  4. In the morning, download the latest Jay & Jack podcast. They provide a good recap and they’re funny.
  5. For a roundup of the best nonsense from around the web, visit It’s by no means a complete look, but we (yes, I contribute) always find good stuff.

That’s it! If you do these things, I promise you’ll enjoy Lost a little more (even if a few of your friends call you crazy).

Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Posted November 16, 2009

Wow, How I Met Your Mother is popular. An hour after tonight's episode, this phrase was the top search. If you're curious, the LvM is a pickup technique in which you litter the internet with dozens of pages about a unique, fake name and subtly encourage a girl to Google your name, where she finds stories about your brilliance and wealth. You can figure out the rest.

I feel like this was a challenge amongst the writers to see how quickly they could hit the top of Google Trends. It also reminds me that the show's audience skews young. It doesn't have the broad appeal of Friends, but that's part of what makes this the Friends of the aughts.

Is 30 Rock in Danger of Becoming Will & Grace?

Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V. Club argues that 30 Rock is primarily about great one-liners and lacks a good storyline, which means we may be in danger of growing weary of the shtick. I hope he's wrong.


Posted March 28, 2009

Seriously, this nearly made me jack and liz at the same time (see the full episode for definitions).

Is 24 Good This Season?

Posted March 26, 2009

20090326twentyfour.jpgI've been watching this show for its entire run and I've finally started to lose interest this year. I've stayed dedicated despite the last two mediocre seasons, but it's been a MacGuffin-filled mess this year and I'm getting bored. My breaking point occurred when Juma, the First Boss, stormed the White House by SWIMMING BELOW IT. Really 24? Really?

Despite my apathy, it seems everyone else thinks the show has returned to its former glory, which I don't understand, but their excitement gives me hope. Can any of you convince me that I'm wrong? What, other than inertia, is keeping you glued to your screens each week?

The Hardest Job in Football: Recording a Game

The Atlantic follows the intricacy of shooting a football game. I love this line, "'There were seven steals!' he says. 'Seven! Five of them resulted in baskets!' The team repeatedly stealing the ball was Kentucky, 'and everybody knew that they always applied a full-court press after a basket! The steals were critical to their success in the game, and the audience didn't even see them!'" [via kottke]

Riding the Shark

Posted January 31, 2009

Tonight, after dinner, we discussed the ridiculousness of Frogurt and other Lost minutiae. The more we talked the more it became clear how close Lost has come to jumping the shark.

The back of my brain turned on briefly — it does that from time to time — and spouted out this gem, "riding the shark". If the graph of a show's quality were to peak right before it went off the deep end, that would be the the shark's dorsal fin and Lost is right on top of it.

To be clear, this is a good thing. Success definitely plays a role, as riding the shark is kind of a fuck you to less successful shows. "What, you don't have a smoke monster or warm-weather polar bears and you're only pulling in 2.3 rating? Watch me move this island, pussies."

Like the rest of the world, I'm nervous they won't be able to keep their balance until the end of season six. Once you commit to life on the back of a shark, getting off means you're in the water with an angry beast with three rows of teeth. You've got to ride that shark all the way home or be prepared to die trying.

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