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sunshineYeah, someone – OK, Jaquandor – dubbed me with the Sunshine Blogger Award, which is a “get to know the writer better” type of blogging exercise, with a couple of rules attached:

1. Answer all 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

2. Nominate eleven bloggers in return and write eleven (possibly fiendish) questions for them to answer.

As Jaquandor rightly notes:
“I’ve been blogging for so long that I remember when these types of blog-quiz awards were quite common. They’ve really fallen by the wayside with the rise of Facebook and Twitter and the like, but they’re still fun, so I’ll go ahead and answer these, pose my own, and nominate. Here we go!”

1. What do you value more in a story: dialog or plot?
Read the rest of this entry »

Chris is mixing it up! “It’s not really a traditional style ‘Ask Roger Anything’ question, but can you do a post on George Takei?”

To be honest, when you asked the question, I didn’t have all that much to say. Subsequently, there’s been a bit more.

Let me start with the original Star Trek (1966-1969). I was not a big fan, but my father was. Read the rest of this entry »

garry marshallIf Garry Marshall had only co-written 18 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and created the classic The Odd Couple for television with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, I’d have been eternally grateful.
Read the rest of this entry »

Betamax_closeThere was a story late in 2015 that Betamax cassette tapes would be discontinued in March 2016. This surprised me. Sony had discontinued making the RECORDERS more than a dozen years earlier.

Betamax was “a videotape format in competition with VHS (introduced in Japan by JVC in October 1976 and in the United States by RCA in August 1977)…”

According to Sony’s own history webpages, the name came from a double meaning: beta being the Japanese word used to describe the way signals were recorded onto the tape, and from the fact that when the tape ran through the transport, it looked like the Greek letter beta (β). The suffix -max, from the word “maximum”, was added to suggest greatness…

Betamax and VHS competed in a fierce format war, which saw VHS come out on top in most markets. The VHS format’s defeat of the Betamax format became a classic marketing case study. Sony’s attempt to dictate an industry standard backfired when JVC made the tactical decision to forgo Sony’s offer of Betamax in favor of developing its own technology…

It is odd, too, because all the experts, and most of the users, considered Betamax a superior product in terms of recording quality.

By 1980, JVC’s VHS format controlled 60% of the North American market. The large economy of scale allowed VHS units to be introduced to the European market at a far lower cost than the rarer Betamax units. In the United Kingdom, Betamax held a 25% market share in 1981, but by 1986, it was down to 7.5% and continued to decline further. By 1984, 40 companies made VHS format equipment in comparison with Beta’s 12. Sony finally conceded defeat in 1988 when it, too, began producing VHS recorders though it still continued to produce Betamax recorders until 2002.

In Japan, Betamax had more success…, but eventually both Betamax and VHS were supplanted by laser-based technology…

One other major consequence of the Betamax technology’s introduction to the U.S. was the lawsuit Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1984, the “Betamax case”), with the U.S. Supreme Court determining home videotaping to be legal in the United States, wherein home videotape cassette recorders were a legal technology since they had substantial noninfringing uses.

I never owned a Betamax machine. Seeing two incompatible technologies vying in the marketplace, I bought NEITHER machine until it was clear that VHS was going to win out. My first VHS player I didn’t purchase until c. 1985, one of the late adapters.

abcw19klein

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

DiMaggios.Williams
I tell these, not out of boastfulness, but to show how my mind works. It seems to like knowing stuff.

Baseball and WWII

Someone posted this picture on Facebook, with the caption “Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio, 1942.” A response: “Joe was not with the Yankees in 1942. He was wearing Uncle Sam’s uniform.”

I didn’t think the “correction” was right, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I read an old bio. So I checked with Baseball Reference and confirmed it: Read the rest of this entry »

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