Tip of the Quill: A Journal
The Sunday News: 2014.08.31.

When I was an undergrad, I enjoyed a Sundays-only subscription to The New York Times. Every Sunday we’d get a massive brick of content that essentially recapped the world’s happenings from the previous week. What if we tried that here, summing up the interesting stuff I’ve been enjoying lately? Let’s begin the experiment!

The New Screens

  • Next for Virtual Reality: Video, Without the Games. “Silicon Valley is figuring out whether it can make this into more than a plot device in a science fiction novel. In April, a team of tech industry veterans from Flipboard, Google and other companies formed a new company called Jaunt that wants to bring what they call ‘cinematic virtual reality’ to life.” via The New York Times.
  • Next for Virtual Reality: Video, Without the Games. “Imagine the possibilities of being able to swivel your head around within a movie, a news broadcast or a football game to see everything around a camera, not just what is in front. These aren’t the static 360-degree images anyone can see on the Street View function of Google Maps, but rather live-action motion pictures, rendered in immersive 3-D on a virtual reality headset. Silicon Valley is figuring out whether it can make this into more than a plot device in a science fiction novel.” via The New York Times.
  • Immersive journalism: What if you could experience a news event in 3D by using an Oculus Rift? “USC fellow and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Peña, for example, is creating immersive experiences that give participants an inside look at a news story, such as the war in Syria, or the military prison in Guantanamo Bay.” via GigaOM.
  • The Future of Oculus Rift, According to the Man Who Invented It. “Looking way, way into the future Palmer [Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR and inventor of the Oculus Rift] sees a very different kind of Rift to the current set up full of wires and straps. ‘In the long run these headsets aren’t even going to be plugging into PCs, they’re going to have dedicated chip sets on the headset itself that are able to render a lot of different experiences. So when you can do that and you can make an easy user experience, you can make content that the average person is interested in, not a first-person shooter… As time goes on it’s not so much that VR is going to expand to other industries, it’s that the games industry is going to expand to do things in other industries. Whether it’s architecture or virtual holidays or film, the people that are making games, or making VR games today, are going to be doing these types of thing in the future’.” via Kotaku.
  • Google Ventures Invests in Cinematic Virtual-Reality Startup Jaunt. “The funding from Google Ventures, the Internet giant’s independent and non-strategic VC arm, is part of a $27.8 million Series B investment round in Jaunt led by Highland Capital Partners. Also participating in the round were previous investors Redpoint Ventures, BSkyB, Dolby Laboratories chairman Peter Gotcher and Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian. The latest investments bring the startup’s total funding to approximately $35 million.” via Variety.
  • Gartner Report Says 3D Printing Not Quite Ready for the Home. “In a report released earlier this week, Gartner suggested that the 3D printing of product models is two years away from its peak usage, while mainstream adoption of 3D printing for medical applications is about two to five years away. Although the technology is advancing and printers are coming down in price, the concept is not quite ready for everyday use in the home.” via ETCentric.
  • Comcast Takes the Netflix Fight to College Campuses. “A new Comcast streaming TV service for college campuses, formally launched Thursday in a handful of schools, holds the promise of reducing schools’ bandwidth costs over time, college officials say. The service, which includes about 80 live channels and a robust on-demand library that can be streamed to tablets, phones and other devices, doesn’t require a physical set top box and is free for students with their room and board fees.” via The Wall Street Journal.
  • Hand Gesture Armband Myo Integrates With Google Glass. “‘The question we’re exploring is: how can we find more natural ways to merge technology and people? We’re hitting the limits of today’s form factors whether they be personal computers, tablets, or smartphones. We believe wearable computing is the next progression in that evolution,’ [cofounder Matthew Bailey] says.” via Forbes.
  • Apple iWatch: tracking the rumors of a Cupertino-designed timekeeper. “There won’t be a single Apple wearable device — or ‘iWatch’ as many observers have decided to call it — but rather multiple models at different price points.” via Verge.
  • Style-Conscious People Can Power Up with Wearable Collection. “Q Designs has launched its flagship product, the QBracelet, a stylish unisex, lightweight accessory that has the ability to charge smartphones and other electronics. … According to Alessandro Libani, Co-founder and COO of Q Designs, ‘We conceptualized the QBracelet based on the idea that every useful object should be a beautiful object, and we believe that merging technology with fashion in smart ways will push the fashion industry forward.'” via PSFK.
  • Netflix Hack Changes Colors of Living Room Lights Based on the Movie You’re Streaming. “A few Netflix engineers integrated the streaming service’s connected TV app with Hue connected light bulbs from Philips to change the colors of your living room light based on the movie you’re watching. This is similar to a recent SyFy experiment with Sharknado, but in Netflix’s implementation, the light color even changes while you navigate through Netflix’s TV app queue.” via GigaOM.
  • Parrot’s new Bebop Drone promises out of body experiences and crystal-clear video. “Like its increasingly popular competitor, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision, the new Parrot flyer hopes to attract filmmakers and photographers with an increasingly high-quality flying camera, built-in GPS to fly programmed waypoints, and the ability to hover and pan the camera. But Parrot may also wind up leapfrogging DJI with unheard-of image stabilization and range — plus the officially-supported ability to use a VR headset while flying around.” via The Verge.
  • Onscreen Text Messages Appear in Chinese Movie Theaters. “Select movie theaters in Chinese cities have begun experimenting with “bullet screens” (or “danmu”) — a new model in which audience members can comment on the film via text messages and have their impressions projected directly onto the screen. The experience is targeting young viewers who often have difficulty being away from their tablets and mobile phones.” via ETCentric.
  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Reflections on the Future of TV. “Within media, I’ve been particularly interested in the evolution of television. The future of TV is being widely discussed in articles and workshops. Once upon a time, the term ‘television’ generally referred to TV sets, the TV programs we watched on those sets, and the TV networks that broadcast those programs to our sets. But, over the past few decades, and especially in the past 5 – 10 years, it’s much less clear what we now mean by the TV industry, let alone what it will encompass by 2025. The TV industry is being massively restructured as its companies keep searching for viable business models.” via Irving’s blog.
  • OcuplusGlass, Guided Tours for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Using Google Glass. “OcuplusGlass is a concept by developer Sander Veenhof in cooperation with interaction designer Klasien van de Zandschulp that uses Google Glass to provide guided tours for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. One user wears the Oculus Rift, which receives a feed of various videos that are coordinated with the physical location, and the guide uses Google Glass to accurately walk the other person through the specific areas with accuracy and added commentary.” via Laughing Squid.
  • Tending to the Internet of Things Like You Would a Thriving Garden. “The systems and devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) wouldn’t seem so special if nobody cared to program and direct them. Better yet, it used to be that only a small group of people with specialized training could communicate with this technology, but many developers are now creating simple programming interfaces, or ‘recipes,’ to extend that language to the rest of us.” via PSFK.

The New Creators + Makers

The New Metrics + Measurement

The New Funding + Business Models

  • Crowdfunding and Venture Funding: More Alike Than You Think. “Where crowds and experts disagreed, crowds were generally more willing to fund projects. Yet projects picked only by the crowd were as likely to deliver on budget — and achieve commercial success and positive critical acclaim — as projects favored by experts. The crowd, in effect, picked strong projects that experts might not have recognized.” via The New York Times.
  • Inkshares Looks to Marry the Old with the New. “Inkshares functions on an ‘all or nothing’ model – a project doesn’t move into publication until it has raised the critical mass of funding, determined by Inkshares, required to cover the costs of editorial, design, and an initial 1,000-copy print run. If a book isn’t funded successfully, contributors are fully reimbursed. The process is also open to bookstores – in April, Inkshares built a feature that allows shops to order titles still in the fund-raising stage in bulk and at a discount, which, like the contributions of one individual, works toward the title reaching its funding goal.” via Publishers Weekly.
  • Made For China. “Nothing quite epitomizes China’s box office power like the greenlighting of Pacific Rim 2, which Universal announced at the end of June. By traditional industry standards, Pacific Rim was one of last year’s flops, costing $190 to produce and earning back just a paltry $101 million in the United States. But then Pacific Rim opened in China. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Pacific Rim ‘crushed’ the Chinese box office, ‘smash[ing] everything in its path’ for week upon week. The movie went on to gross $411 million worldwide, about $111 million in China alone. Without the global box office, Pacific Rim would have lost money for its investors. But with the announcement of Pacific Rim 2, the Chinese audience proved powerful enough to command the production of a sequel from an American studio.” via The New Inquiry.

The New Public Spaces

  • MINI and JustPark Announce Collaboration for the UK Market. “Using the app, JustPark-registered drivers can find, book and navigate to a parking space, choosing from over 100,000 spaces across the UK. Integrating the complete parking process into the vehicle’s navigation system for the first time, the free-to-download JustPark app eliminates the time spent circling the streets looking for a suitable spot, an inconvenience that costs the average driver 106 days of their life.” via Motoringfile.
  • Artists Build Fictional Worlds in Book of Architectural Fairy Tales. “Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells A Story is not your typical book on architecture: it’s a book you would probably enjoy even if you haven’t studied the subject. By inviting designers to let their imaginations loose on fairy tales, Blank Space has created a collection of stories that is gorgeous to look at and makes architecture accessible to everyone.” via PSFK.

Transmedia Storytelling and Medium Specificity

  • Activision wants its own movie studio to turn games into big-screen blockbusters. “the developer is tentatively planning to launch a studio that would produce movies and TV shows based on its brands. The new outfit would theoretically be a Marvel-style hit factory that produces exactly the titles it wants to see on the big screen, rather than licensing out to third parties that historically botch the job. That certainly makes sense – for every successful adaptation like Resident Evil, there’s a dozen Wing Commanders that tarnish an otherwise fine legacy.” via Engadget, The Information.
  • Rumor: New Star Wars Films Will Integrate With Cartoons, Novels, Comics. “The new trilogy is being plotted out in advance, rather than it being treated like a relay race, with J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasden handing off plot threads to Rian Johnson, and so on. It’s a first for the franchise. More importantly, however, Faraci reports the over-arching story will reach beyond the core movies, weaving through cartoons (at the moment, just Star Wars Rebels), novels and comic books — in his words, ‘making every piece of side story count.’ While audiences won’t have to read every book or watch every animated episode into order to follow the films, they’ll apparently be rewarded if they do.” via Comic Book Resources.
  • Chuck Palahniuk: Bendis, Fraction and DeConnick Ganged Up on Me for Fight Club 2. “If I wrote a novel, it would be compared straight across to the original novel, and it would suffer because of that. If the sequel were a movie, it would be compared to David Fincher’s movie. Can you imagine trying to compare it to Fincher’s movie? But as a graphic novel, it has the greatest chance of being its own thing in the world and not being judged in comparison to another thing. It seemed like a really smart way to do it.” via Paste.
  • From the Digital to the Bookbound. “In Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound, Lori Emerson sets out to demystify the wondrous devices of our digital age by interrogating both the limits and the creative possibilities of a wide range of reading and writing interfaces. For Emerson, interface is an open-ended term – a threshold, a point of interaction between human and hardware, between hardware and software, between reader and writer, and between human-authored writing and the vast corpus of machine-based text relentlessly reading and writing itself behind the surface of the screen.” via The Literary Platform.


  • Alan Moore launches Electricomics. “‘With Electricomics, we are hoping to address the possibilities of comic strips in this exciting new medium, in a way that they have never been addressed before,’ stated Moore in the press release. ‘Rather than simply transferring comic narrative from the page to the screen, we intend to craft stories expressly devised to test the storytelling limits of this unprecedented technology. To this end we are assembling teams of the most cutting edge creators in the industry and then allowing them input into the technical processes in order to create a new capacity for telling comic book stories.'” via Newsarama.


  • A Unified Theory. “Plenty of people can talk about thermodynamics and Shakespeare with equal facility; for that matter, no one has ever explained the second law better than Tom Stoppard in Arcadia (“You cannot stir things apart’). You’re probably comfortable with scientific expressions like ‘litmus test.’ The question now is, can you explain a hash table? A linked list? A bubble sort? Maybe you can write – but can you code?” via The New York Times.
  • Citing Syllabi. “By graduation, my own pack-rat syllabi collection dozens of megabytes in size had gone well beyond topics I’d likely teach to include pretty much any topic I would love to take a course on some day or by profs whose teaching I admired. These are fantastic sources. As Brian put it in a post on showing your work that fits just as well for syllabi, ‘I’ve always believed that pedagogy is simply a fancier name for ‘borrowing and remixing,” and a commenter noted that, thanks to a filing cabinet full of syllabi in the department, they were ‘able to see and modify/adapt/remix assignments from other instructors at various types of institutions.'” via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Approaching balance in an academic life. “The whole issue with balance is that it has to be intentional. Balance is not something that just happens to you, and it’s not something that another person (or an employer, or an employee union, or a government, etc.) can make happen for you. It has to be your idea and your effort or else it will never happen.” via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell.The Bone Clocks — a perfect title for a novelist who’s always close to the soil and orbiting the heavens in the same breath — is a typically maximalist many-storied construction: In one of its manifold secret corners, it sounds as if a sublimely original writer is wondering how much ‘writing’s a pathology’ (as one of his characters puts it) and whether it’s possible to conjure up time-traveling characters and scenes from the distant past and future, yet not believe in magic. No one, clearly, has ever told Mitchell that the novel is dead. He writes with a furious intensity and slapped-awake vitality, with a delight in language and all the rabbit holes of experience, that no new media could begin to rival.” via The New York Times.