The Real Problem With Hooking Up

Freitas convincingly demonstrates how Sex and The City, despite its flaws, depicted sex as fun, exciting, and pleasurable, while Girls equates sex with misery and boredom.

There’s only 8 years separating Sex and The City’s series finale (let’s discount the movies) and Girls’s pilot. Staggering.

A Superman for All Seasons

Latter-day attempts at “relevance”—which have seen Superman tackling issues like world hunger and racism—backfired because Superman functions on a higher symbolic level. It is a hard-won lesson of comics: Showing a guy in blue tights and red cape weeping over the body of an abused child doesn’t bridge the distance between his world and ours, it brings the yawning gulf between them into sharp relief

Interesting overview by Glen Weldon of Superman’s lockstep with American culture over the decades, especially for a guy like me who’s never been able to muster any interest in the character. I don’t get the appeal. If he’s supposed to represent some ideal for us to strive for—“truth, justice, and the American way!”—then we’ve been set up for failure. Superman gets to be who he is precisely because he lacks the humanity that makes the rest of us so falible. We’re unable, as a species, to be so stoically selfless. That’s why I prefer his portrayal in Smallville and Superman Returns as someone who struggles, despite his incredible powers, with the same issues and doubts we all face and who’s morals and convictions are actually challenged from time to time. Ratner’s Kal-El might be out-of character by Weldon’s standards, but I think it’s the relatable Superman that’s inspriational beyond mere symbolism.

The Visual Effects of Oblivion

Visual effects caught on camera will always be more captivating than digital ones processed after the fact, so it’s always reassuring to see young filmmakers who appreciate that difference. And compared to others, it seems like working on the set of Oblivion lives up to the promises of Hollywood movie magic. It also just looks damn fun.

The editing for this clip however is not as impressive. More than once, a talking head/voiceover sequence praising XYZ is followed by another talking head/voiceover extolling verbatim about the same subject, revealing how rehearsed and insincere these behind the scenes looks can be.

It’s Not a Web App. It’s an App You Install From the Web.

Odd blog post by the team behind Forecast, the excellent new weather app that’s attracting attention both for its quality and the medium used to create it.

So why does it feel as if the average native app is so much better than the average web app?

The line of questioning is what nags me. The interesting part of the web vs native debate isn’t about which technology feels better (a question which they’re convincing enough in demonstrating is immaterial anyways) but about why app developers overwhelmingly choose to work on native platforms. What I would’ve like to see is an argument for why developers should prefer web solutions over native ones. Some reasons are obvious: cross platform compatibility, over-the-air updates, and a dynamic and adaptable programming foundation in HTML. What’s tricky is convincing developers those things are worth leaving the advantages native apps provide, especially where it involves justifying a web app’s absence from the one place the majority of people shop for and discover new software. Technologies asides, native apps get a head-start from the visibility, added security, ease of use, and built-in marketing app stores provide. The reality the web advocates have to overcome is one where we’ve built an economy and marketplace around native solutions. The funny historical twist is that if web apps were as capable 6 years ago as they are today1, I can’t start to imagine what kind of conversation we’d be having instead.

  1. In comparison, the iPhone really was a tough space for web developers in 2007. App-wise, where did one start? There was little precedent to take inspiration from. Neither could they benefit from all the legwork Apple would save native app developers from with the iOS SDK in 2008. Other factors were altogether out of their control. Even until the 3GS, iPhones didn’t have the computing, or networking, power to be able to render web performance comparable to native apps.