Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

I wrapped up reading Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. The book is about business blogging. It’s written by the popular blogger Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. In the initial chapters, the authors talk about how blogging at M$ and Sun have changed the perception of the companies in the outside world. This has been true in my case. I see a more human M$ after becoming a visitor to Channel 9. Same at Sun, where thousands of employees blog, including Jonathan Schwartz. Apple and Google come out bad in the book, both for not allowing employees to blog about work.

In the later chapters, the book takes on different kinds of people and businesses and discuss how and why blogging might help them. The book is full of anecdotes and pointers to other blogs. Though the anecdotes are interesting, there are too many of them and many are similar, so it gets boring. The book might have carried the same message in half its size.

The book has its own blog and also a list of the links referenced in the book.

Sabrina

Sabrina: Suppose you meet someone on the boat, the first day? A perfect stranger.

Linus: I have a better suppose, Sabrina. Suppose I were ten years younger and you weren’t in love with David. Suppose I asked you to … I suppose I’m just talking nonsense.

Sabrina: I suppose so.

I watched the original B&W version of the movie Sabrina today. Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) is a chauffeur’s daughter who has a huge crush on David (William Holden), the younger brother of Linus (Humphrey Bogart), a business tycoon. David doesn’t care for Sabrina, is a flirt and already has been through 3 marriages. Sabrina goes away to Paris to study cooking and comes back 2 years later with a new mod look. David falls for her and in the process hampers his engagement and a mega business merger between his and his fiancĂ©’s businesses. Linus, the “cold businessman with ice water in his veins and a ticker tape coming from his heart” shrewdly tries to separate them, but ends up falling in love with Sabrina.

This movie was remade in the 90s with Harrison Ford and the lovely Julia Ormond and I liked that version better. The scenes from Paris in that movie were just too lovely! But, this original version has a tighter story and there’s Hepburn. Bogart is (like always) way too old for Hepburn! The dialogues are clever and perky. A good romantic watch.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Why is the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey such an epic? I found out today. The movie is directed by Stanley Kubrick and is based on science fiction stories by Arthur C Clarke. The movie transcends evolution, time and space. There are 4 distinct parts in the movie. In the first one (The Dawn Of Man), primitive apes develop tool wielding cognition after a black monolith appears near their home. The second part is set in 2001, where humans have already moved so ahead in technology that space travel and computers are common. A researcher visits Moon to investigate a black monolith. The third (Jupiter Mission) is 18 months later when a manned mission is sent to Jupiter. In the futuristic spacecraft, some of the humans have been put into hibernation to conserve resources. The spacecraft has a 2 member human crew and is run by a computer named HAL 9000 which can talk and listen to humans. During the mission, a computer error causes a strange problem. In the end (Beyond The Infinite), the last survivor of the mission makes it to Jupiter to experience something unseen and unimaginable.

2001 is a very silent movie. Dialogues are extremely minimal. The special effects are mind blowing. The design of the spacecrafts, rotating gravity simulator (this is my favorite!), spacesuits, space travel, computers, I could go on and on. Even in 2006, I’m amazed at Kubrick’s efforts to make these possible way back in the 60s. The background score (which is now very famous) is what primarily communicates emotions to the viewer, replacing dialogue. The technical details are impeccable. For example, whenever outer space is shown, it is silent ’cause there is no sound in space. The ending is psychedelic and its interpretation is left to the viewer. This movie is no doubt the work of a perfectionist. A must watch! Just be aware that is not your average popcorn movie, but a poetry for the senses and demands a bit of patience.

Eraserhead

I tried to watch David Lynch’s Eraserhead. I say tried to ’cause I gave up halfway through. The movie is so full of interpretations, pauses and strange creatures (anyone seen the baby?). Frankly, I still can’t digest that much artsy stuff. The background sound was really well done though.

Groundhog Day

What would you do if your life had no tomorrow? Everyday you awake and its back to being today again? That’s what happens to a weatherman Phil in the movie Groundhog Day. Cynical Phil travels with his producer Rita and cameraman to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover the Groundhog Day celebrations. He loathes everything and wishes to get out of the place ASAP. However, he finds out next morning, and for every morning ever after, that he is stuck in the same day in the same town. The only problem being that he can remember all his days whereas for everyone else around him it is a fresh new Groundhog Day. Since none of his actions now have any consequence, he goes around flirting women, breaking the law and even attempts successful suicides. He tries to woo Rita but fails. How does he come out of this endless time loop?

This is a romantic comedy with a quaintly different plot. Good acting by Bill Murray. Yet, you cannot help waiting for the end wishing to see how and when Phil breaks the time loop.

Bowling For Columbine

Saw Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine. The documentary explores the reasons for the Columbine High School Massacre and high incidence of gun violence in the USA. There are both supporters and opposers of guns in the USA. Moore tries to talk to people on both sides including the NRA. He also tries to compare USA with Canada (which has a similar guns policy but way lesser gun violence) and other European countries. It is quite unsettling to be able to see that guns and ammunition can be bought over the counter at stores like Wal-Mart or KMart. The film also tries to see if there is a connection between violent video games and music to such acts. The overarching reason turns out to be fear. Americans live in a constant state of fear. They are kept in this state by their media, politicians and the various wars they wage on the new terrorists who are invented just for the public every decade or so. The movie is eye opening, but just like Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 it wallows in disorganized details.

Wondering how the movie title is related to the Columbine massacre? The killer students are supposed to have gone bowling in the morning before their rampage. So, Moore sarcastically argues that in addition to the claimed reasons for their violence like video games and music, bowling also could’ve triggered their hate.