Netflix Intends To Crackdown On Those Bypassing Regional Restrictions (UPDATED)

netflix-logoNow this is worrying news. Netflix, who have recently been pushing their global availability, has announced they will be taking steps to ensure consumers can only access the library for their location.

This means that anyone outside the US will have a smaller selection of content. I, like many other Australians, use a bypass method which allows “region hopping” to maximise my selection.

While it hasn’t been stated, this move would be at the behest of media companies wanting to set up licensing agreements for different countries to maximise profits. Of course, once an area is excluded from certain content then they will find other ways to obtain it.

Consider the most pirated TV show in history, Game of Thrones. It has very few options, and to watch it in Australia requires a very expensive Foxtel subscription. It was briefly available through iTunes and Google Play on an episode by episode basis until Foxtel got super protective and locked them out until after the seasons finish.

The upshot, big leap in piracy of GoT I’m Australia.

The moral is that Netflix has been successful in reducing piracy around the world, even though some are not using it as intended. By forcing Netflix to prevent people from region hopping media companies are taking a backward step with efforts to reduce piracy.

Just be happy people are paying to watch your stuff guys!

UPDATE:  Choice Australia has launched a campaign to keep bypassing the geoblock.

Author
Trevor Holland

Source: Gizmodo Australia
Damn, Netflix Is Cracking Down On VPNs And Proxies

Google Delving Deeper in to Virtual Reality

dsc_0001.jpgNow that I have started dabbling in cheap VR options with Google Cardboard I am very happy to hear that Google is expanding its offerings by launching a dedicated VR division (source Gizmodo Australia)

The apps currently available are gimmicky, fiddly and somewhat buggy so to see Google putting some dedicated work into this area will hopefully mean more accessible and affordable virtual reality applications.

After all, we don’t all have US$600 to hand over for an Oculus Rift (source Gamespot)!

Author

Trevor Holland

 

DAVID BOWIE: STARMAN

david_bowie-starman_s_4

Kristian Fletcher reflects on David Bowie

There’s a starman waiting in the sky

He’d like to come and meet us But he thinks he’d blow our minds

– Starman (1972)

He dared to leave his capsule and impact Earth in a way many others have not dared. His impact on popular culture cannot be denied. In many ways, Bowie was popular culture. The looks, the musical genres, the videos, the kooky performances – both controversial and enthralling. We couldn’t look away. The extraterrestrial vibe of his early work made us question – was Bowie really from outer space? Was he our own Starman?

Whilst today many average artists hide behind an average catchy pop tune, Bowie was an incredible voice, powering through some of the greatest songs ever written, and many of those earlier songs are the epitome of glam rock today.

Bowie said it was ok to be weird, ok to not fit in. A man who stuck by his guns: if he wanted to wear an eye patch, he could. If he wanted to create and kill his own brainchild, the stage persona Ziggy Stardust, he could. He spoke to the outcasts, but also reached the masses who saw a true creative talent with the knack for writing one hell of a catchy song.

Ziggy Stardust (both the character and the album) had an incredible influence on modern music. Bowie was King of the concept album. Whilst Ziggy is the most applauded of Bowie’s personas, it’s easy to overlook the fact his entire career was a series of reinventions; characters if you will. Following the death of Ziggy, Bowie also played such personas as Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke. An interview on Countdown in the mid Seventies saw Molly Meldrum ask him if there were any plans to bring Him back. There was a curious look and a ‘maybe’, but we knew Bowie had other things in mind.

Throughout the late 70s, he provided the best crossover by an artist into uncharted musical genre territory. He brought soul and funk to the UK, and experimental sound to hit singles, helping to pave the way for the sound of the 1980s. This ‘Berlin Era’ saw a haze of drug use and self-discovery, but Bowie still produced some incredible concept albums of different genres and wasn’t too interested in being commercial – hit singles from these albums told otherwise. Not as popular amongst his discography, I beg you to seek out TV15 and Boys Keep Swinging, two underrated examples of his late 70s output. Check out his theatrical performance of the latter song on Saturday Night Live in 1979, or the single’s official video which saw Bowie parade around under a trio of drag personas.

Bowie heralded 1980 with the clown-like art-film look of the Ashes to Ashes video and the equally challenging but popular Scary Monsters and Super Creeps album (1980). His reinvention with Let’s Dance timed perfectly with the boom of MTV in 1983 and the clips for that album were played on heavy rotation.

His iconic role as the Goblin King in the 1986 cult Jim Henson’s film Labyrinth ensured him a following amongst the younger generation. He dueted with everyone from Annie Lennox and Tina Turner, and to Mick Jagger (yes, that Dancing in the Street duet is a real thing!) and Freddie Mercury.

An interview from the mid 2000s saw Bowie scoff at mention of ‘musical chameleon’. That’s because the words to define David Bowie have yet to be invented.


EXTRA NOTE:

If you want to see a fictional retelling of the early glam rock period, check out Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine (1998) which features characters based closely on Iggy Pop, and David & Angie Bowie. (The film even takes its name from the B Side of the Space oddity UK re-release single. Bowie refused to license the song for the film after reading the script and realising it was a blatant rip-off of the Ziggy Stardust character)

Author Kristian Fletcher

Despite Rampant Piracy The Movie Industry Records Record Profits

Pirates Fail to Prevent $38 Billion Box Office Record – TorrentFreak

At the end of 2015 the movie industry has made a rather substantial profit including a record breaking $11 billion profit from the North American box office.  This despite massive efforts combating the scourge of piracy that is apparently destroying the movie industry.

Just think how much bigger that figure would be without all the lobbying, campaigning, legal work etc that the industry forks out for each year despite studies revealing how file sharers are more likely to spend money on entertainment!

There is the argument that the efforts to fight piracy must be working, hence the above result, however the reduction in file sharing has largely been attributed to the growth of services like Spotify and Netflix.

Additionally the increased threat of action against file sharers, along with concerns raised by greater data retention around the world, has seen a huge boost in VPN usage allowing users to mask their identity online.  And of course, if the monitoring companies can’t detect your piracy then the stats will look better for them.

There really seems no easy answer for either side of the argument when it comes to privacy vs piracy, but I feel the increased availability of media at reasonable prices will prove more beneficial for the movie industry and the paying customer than the current heavy handed treatment being used with government and courts around the world.

What are your thoughts?

Trevor

The Rufus Project Joins The VR Revolution… kinda

Check this out, The Rufus Project is now the proud owner of the most low tech VR device on the market!

dsc_0001.jpg
Google Cardboard VR Headset

Yep, this little beauty is a Google Cardboard VR headset, probably the cheapest option available on the burgeoning virtual reality market.

Coming in a flat pack it is easy to assemble and can fit a wide range of phones which act as the screen.  The compatible apps use a straightforward Side By Side (SBS) screen.

The 3D effect is immersive and surprisingly effective since all I splurged was a measly AUD$8.

I can’t say it’s all smooth sailing as the view in some of the apps I’ve tried tends to drift or, in the more graphically intense games, jump to a different view point altogether!

That second issue may be due to not having a beefy enough phone (currently using an Xperia Z2) so I may have to narrow my selection to what my phone can handle.

A fun use is to install a SBS video app meaning any movies you view can be converted for use with the headset.  I tested this with an episode of The Flash and the faux 3D effect worked quite well. However, having a strip of cardboard pressed into my nose for that length of time got a bit uncomfortable.

So if you want to dabble in virtual reality, without forking out some of the big dollars being asked out for the more advanced options, Google Cardboard offers a cheap and effective entry point.  Just don’t expect a seamless experience.

Trevor.

Game Of Thrones Return Date Announced, Piracy Stories To Occur Just After

Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere Date Announced (comicbook.com)

April 24 will see the return of the epic Game of Thrones saga to TV screens around the world for our fantasy fixes!

This of course means come April 25 the media will explode with stories about it breaking download records around the world again.

No news yet regarding if iTunes and Google Play users will need to wait until the series has fully aired before getting access, but given how quickly the ability to download the episodes after airing on these services was shut down the first time it’s unlikely we’ll see any change on that side.

So where do you stand?

Will you be watching on one of the few available services, grabbing a season pass and binging afterwards or finding alternative ways of getting your GoT on?

Comment below.

Trevor

The New Rufus Project Homepage Unofficially Launched

Wow, it’s been a long time coming and (with some additional tweaking) our new home on the web is finally here!

Check out rufusproject.com for the full podcast archive and all the upcoming geek, pop culture and cult movie news that happens to grab our attention.

Also expect regular posts by your podcast hosts Trevor and Kristian about upcoming events and other exciting announcements.

Also if you would like to get in involved then please email us at therufusproject@gmail.com or head to our Twitter or Facebook page.

And don’t worry in you are a fan of the old homepage, we will continue to update it with the new podcasts when season 3 of The Rufus Project podcast gets underway!

All the best

Trevor

The Rufus Project Irredeemable Christmas Special

Download The Rufus Project Irredeemable Christmas Special

Grumpy Cat TV MovieWow, Kristian and Trevor actually made it to the end of the year after making some big changes to the podcast along the way.

What better way to celebrate than to revisit the redeeming features movies for 2015 and discuss the best and worst of a pretty dodgy bunch of films.

We don’t stop there though.  In what may become a Christmas tradition we check out the Lifetime Channel’s Christmas spectacular from 2014, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.  And as a special present to ourselves we don’t bother trying to redeem it!

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever on IMDB

**Fine print**

Opening theme sampled from The Jumpin’ Jive – Van Alexander Orchestra (1939), available under public domain at The Internet Archive

Original lyrics and questionable singing by Trevor Holland

Sleigh Bells – By Connum, available under Creative Commons Licence at http://freesound.org/people/Connum/sounds/23876/

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – Gayla Peevy (written by John Rox) (1953), sampled under fair use

The Night Santa Went Crazy – Weird Al Yankovic (1996), sampled under fair use

The Rufus Project Redeeming Features Cast: Mazes and Monsters (1982)

Download The Rufus Project Redeeming Features Cast: Mazes and Monsters (1982)

2-mazes-and-monstersKristian and Trevor take on the challenge of redeeming Mazes and Monsters from 1982, with special guest Steve Beeston joining in to give us a bit of Dungeons and Dragons expertise.  Between the three of us can we find our way through the maze of plot twists, and a very broad performance by Oscar winner Tom Hanks in his first major movie role, to the find the treasure hidden within?

Do any of the kids in this movie have normal parents?  Does the “dangerous cave system” have more that one big chamber?  Is there only one song on the soundtrack?  Can Tom Hanks shorts be any shorter in the finale?  Is this movie redeemable?

Listen on and find out!

Did we miss any redeeming features?  Do you think we were too generous or unfair?  Do you have a suggestion, or a challenge, for us to take on in the future?  Then get in touch with us by either leaving a comment on the podcast pageFacebook or Twitter, or email us at therufusproject@gmail.com


Find out more about Steve’s stuff at:

Dragon Friends

Smart Enough to Know Better podcast

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Want to know more about Mazes and Monsters?

**Fine print**Opening theme sampled from The Jumpin’ Jive – Van Alexander Orchestra (1939), available under public domain at The Internet ArchiveOriginal lyrics and questionable singing by Trevor HollandFriends In This World – Judith Lander (1982)

The Format War Episode

Download The Format War Episode

Join your guides of geek in the penultimate episode of season 2 as Trevor examines the surprising news about beta-max tapes and Kristian lets you know about the best (and possible worst) movies for your Christmas. We also have more about our next Redeeming Features Cast and a little hint about our own plans for Christmas.

Don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for special features and gameplay videos and don’t forget our uStream channel for live events!  Make sure you follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get regular news, podcast updates and to give us your feedback and suggestions.

Want more? Then subscribe to The Rufus Project via your favourite Podcast app or over at Podomatic, and while there feel free to throw a few dollars our way via the donate button to help us cover hosting costs!  You can also wear our exclusive designs by heading to our shirt store store, or check out stuff we like over at Bandcamp.

Enjoy!

Important places to visit

The Rufus Project Shirt Store

kristianfletcher.com

Do you have a product or service you think may be of interest to The Rufus Project listeners?  Please contact us at therufusproject@gmail.com


*** The fine print ***

Theme song:

Ain’t We Got Fun by Benson Orchestra of Chicago (1921) available under public domain at The Internet Archive

Stoned Moneys by Malter available under Creative Commons at Flashkit.com

News Theme:

Opening Theme Song by Fletcher Henderson (1945) available under public domain at The Internet Archive

Geek Feature Theme:

Press Start by Tuberz McGee from Temporal Duality: A Sonic CD Remix Album available under Creative Commons

Pop Culture Theme:

Red Hot Henry Brown by Georgia Melodians (1925) available under public domain at The Internet Archive

Local Wildlife Theme:

Dino Stomp by Richard E Moore available under creative commons at freesound.org

Small Dog Bark sampled from the cute and fluffy Lucy by Trevor Holland (also available under creative commons for general use… please attribute me if you use it!)

Wrap Up Theme:

Forbes Farewell by US Marine Fife and Drum Corps (1902) available under public domain at The Internet Archive

Closing theme:

Ain’t We Got Fun by Benson Orchestra of Chicago (1921) available under public domain at The Internet Archive