what started as a tumblr to hold myself accountable for projects and teaching myself new things, is now just an easy thing to post interesting articles. A friend tweeted an article and since then soooo sooo many followers. Fear not the next few weeks will be loaded with projects including more etched glasses, a new closet, nom’s, and more vinyl decals.
Here is a thought worthy article of the day (from Engadget):
Yesterday Netflix did something pretty big: it cut the umbilical cord on its streaming video offerings. What was once a funny little niche offering, a rag-tag collection of canceled TV shows you never watched and ’80s movies you never rented, had grown into something big, something that still wasn’t quite greatbut was legitimately very good. As such, that service deserved its own plan, to stand tall and apart from the red envelopes that made the company famous.
But there’s one problem: after cutting Instant loose, creating a new $7.99 streaming-only plan, Netflix stuck the dagger right in its own side by not re-thinking its disc-based rentals — plans that looked a lot more valuable before than they do now. Netflix has succeeded in making its on-demand offerings so good that those unlimited snail mail samplings can’t quite stand up on their own two feet anymore. At least, they can’t stand up tall enough to support their $7.99 and up prices. Maybe, Netflix, it’s time to go back to the fundamentals.
I won’t fully recount the nearly miraculous growth and development of Netflix from its beginnings as a niche rental service, but here’s a quick overview just to make sure we’re all on the same page. The company’s website went live back in 1998, charging $4 per rental plus $2 shipping on each — an almost laughably high cost that, at the time, was quite comparable with what aging rental stores were asking of their card-carrying members. That only lasted until 2000, w
Since then Netflix has gone on to send nearly every traditional video rental store into bankruptcy, becoming the single largest source of traffic on the internet. The company that once got the US Postal Service all flustered is now a major reason why netizens everywhere are up in arms about network neutrality, and — until yesterday — it looked poised to only go up from there.
Now, though, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. If previously you had the “1 DVD out at-a-time” plan with unlimited streaming, you’d be paying $9.99 monthly. That was, quite simply, an incredibly good deal. A really, really good deal. Under the new scheme that plan drops to $7.99 ($9.99 if you want access to Blu-ray movies), but if you want streaming you’ll have to pay another $7.99. Now you’re looking at $15.98 a month for the pair, which is still a damned fine deal — but there are a few problems.
For one thing, Netflix isn’t adding any new content to go along with this price hike. To say “our service today is worth 50 percent more than it cost yesterday” is awfully brash when that service hasn’t changed a lick over that 24-hour period. Sure, there was that Star Trek deal from a few weeks ago, but the ability to revisit the Kirk vs. Picard vs. Archer vs. Sisko vs. Janeway debate (again) doesn’t make up for such a big hike.
More importantly, the very notion of receiving a disc in the mail suddenly feels a lot more quaint than it did back in 2007, when users got one hour of “Watch Now” streaming for every dollar they spent on disc-based delivery. There was nothing to watch back then, but these days there’s enough for me to spend way more time streaming stuff than spinning discs — enough that I’ll easily go a week or two without peeking to see what’s in the latest crimson Tyvek pouch.
Then the now famous unlimited rentals without due dates program began.
Why is Netflix doing this? Because that streaming content isn’t cheap and, as more people watch, those licensing fees are only going to get higher. And that’s just the beginning: if Netflix is hustling more data than anybody else on the planet, just try and calculate the company’s hosting costs. This extra money coming in will help Netflix to go after more and better content, and to get it earlier — but with this big price hike the company runs a real risk of alienating its subscribers, a sentiment that many of you have shared with us.
For me, as a subscriber myself, it’s decision time. Will I keep my Netflix account? Yes — at least partially. I like Netflix’s streaming options more than what’s on offer from the identically priced Hulu Plus service and, while I think Amazon Prime Instant Video will be a contender in the future, right now the lack of console support makes it a non-starter for me.
I’m going to think long and hard about canceling my disc services, or at least dropping back to the twice-monthly DVD plan. But, I’d really like for Netflix to take a cue from Redbox (and, indeed, from its original pricing scheme) and let me pay per-disc. More and more often I’m happy to wait for the random selection of decidedly non-new releases to pop up on the company’s Instant service before I watch them. It’s only the hot, high-impact, exciting new releases that I really want on disc. You know, the kind of movie you thought about going to see on the theater and totally planned to, but then one of your friends flaked or you got lazy or you called ahead for ticket prices and you decided “Yeah, I’ll just wait for Netflix and put that money toward my college loans.” Those are the movies that I want on disc.
Instead of the minimum $4.99 a month plan for two discs (a buck more for Blu-ray), Netflix should make a new one: $2 monthly to keep the lights on and then $2 for each DVD I rent — $3 per Blu-ray. Subscriber of the streaming plan already? Knock off that $2 monthly fee and just charge me for the individual things that need shipped my way. With that I could still get the odd disc when I’m particularly hot for a new release but not be stuck paying $8 a month for the privilege of having a red envelope sit unopened on my coffee table.
Sure, it’s almost anti-American to want to step away from the fully-inclusive offer, but this new plan would be like having full access to an all-you-can-eat buffet while also selecting an a la carte menu for those particular treats not found beneath a sneeze guard. That’s the best of both worlds, enough to sate a content glutton who has a taste for the finer things, and the kind of exclusive garnish that might keep Netflix looking tastier than its rapidly improving, streaming-only competition.
I was emailed this article several times today and thought about posting it to tumblr, twitter, facebook, gchat status etc, and then stopped. And then I reread the article and the phrase I havent heard popped in my head, “the worst thing a girl can be in America is unattractive,” so here is someone who is hoping the next generation of girls stop expressing their sexuality and start expressing their brilliance.
I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”
But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
Hold that thought for just a moment.
This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.
“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.
“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.
Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.
“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”
Most kids do.
“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”
“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.
“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.
“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”
Purplicious was Maya’s pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.
Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I’m stubborn.
I told her that I’d just written a book, and that I hoped she’d write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we’d read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.
So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.
Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.