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Author: Kim Leonard

HBO’s “Silicon Valley”- The Nerdy Version of “Entourage”?

We’ve seen the “Mad Men” of the advertising age, the “Entourage” movie star cadres, and the cultures that build around the wolves of Wall Street. Now HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” takes aim at the relatively untapped comedy and money powerhouses of the tech world where the superstars aren’t actors, but guys who can code. “Silicon Valley,” which launched April 6 from Mike Judge (“Office Space” and “King of the Hill”) and starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, and Martin Starr, is the second HBO series to tackle tech and the Bay Area this year. “Looking,” set 30 miles away in San Francisco also features guys in the tech industry. “Looking,” however, has more drama than comedy and is focused more on relationships as a gay male than on the pursuit of tech stardom. Amazon’s “Betas” (launched last fall and has not been renewed) seems to have had a closer-to-parallel path. Young males starting their own company, with a genius algorithm, looking for investors. Everyone chasing the same digital gold rush. A mixed lot of socially awkward techies, with one just a little sloppier and more socially savvy than the rest. Egomaniacal billionaire investors with their own cults of personality. But I don’t begrudge all the similarities and caricatures. Why? Because they’re all a little bit true. Different than the seemingly polished worlds of Hollywood and 5th Avenue, the tech...

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Melissa McCarthy Elle-vates Women with Curves

She was a traditionally built lady, after all, and she did not have to worry about dress size, unlike those poor, neurotic people who were always looking in mirrors and thinking that they were too big. What was too big, anyway? Who was to tell another person what size they should be? It was a form of dictatorship, by the thin, and she was not having any of it. ― Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls If you haven’t seen the November cover of Elle magazine, you probably also missed the big deal that was made about it – particularly the...

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NBC Sports Network Offers Premier Coverage of Premier League

  For fans of the Barclay’s Premier League watching matches from the US, it has been difficult to feel connected to the real time happenings across the Atlantic. Fox Soccer Channel had the rights to broadcast BPL matches for several years, but cable and satellite providers put that network in a separate pricing tier, requiring additional monthly fees from subscribers to be able to watch. Now, NBC Sports Network, part of the basic channel lineup, has secured the broadcast rights for the BPL and is showing all the matches live. When the season starts as unpredictably as this one has, it’s a pretty big deal for those who actually understand the Offside rule. Meanwhile Fox Soccer Channel has morphed into FXX and is focusing on acquiring syndicated programming. To be fair, soccer is a pretty difficult commodity for any US network to take on. With the exception of half time, there are no natural breaks in the game that allow for advertisers to hawk their relevant wares in the way there are during MLB, NFL or NBA games, which often means a net loss for broadcasters. But in fact, NBC Sports Network’s overhead is relatively low. The network itself is not actually producing the games they broadcast (they are only paying the broadcast licensing fees) and their analysis anchors (all British) are based in Stamford, CT. So far, the...

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Boxee, Samsung and the Future of Smart TV

  Ever heard of Boxee, the near perfect set-top box that offered access to both on-demand streaming and a cloud DVR system? Chances are you haven’t, but with Samsung’s recent purchase of this tiny start-up, you may be hearing a lot more about Avner Ronen’s contribution to the way we watch television. It seems Apple’s most aggressive smartphone competition may now be gearing up for a huge slice of the smart TV pie. Boxee as a concept was very forward thinking. Essentially, it took all the most desired attributes of on-demand viewing and put them in one place. But what really set it apart was the cloud DVR, a feature introduced only last year. Through an internal HD antenna, Boxee subscribers could save as many of their favorite shows as they wanted to the cloud and watch at any time, a competitive option to rival Aereo’s over-the-air (OTA) system. Unfortunately, there were too many roadblocks for Boxee to be a viable competitor in the smart TV race. Creator Ronen was naively optimistic about his product in a “if you build it, they will come” kind of way, which was not really enough to convince many investors. The start-up was only able to come up with $26 million to both engineer and market the device, a fairly paltry sum in the IT industry. The combination of insufficient funds and exclusive...

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The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Says Ben Affleck Will Make Batman “Cool Again”

Many fans of both the Batman movie franchise and the original DC comic were outraged over the recent announcement of a Ben Affleck Batman in the forthcoming sequel to Man of Steel, currently titled Batman vs. Superman. But his Runner Runner costar, Anthony Mackie is behind him 100%. Having just wrapped up his role as the first African-American superhero, Falcon in the upcoming sequel Captain America: Winter Soldier, Mackie  has a little bit of knowledge when it comes to comic book blockbusters. In Batman vs. Superman, Henry Cavill will come back in his eponymous role and will be joined by co-stars Amy Adams and Diane Lane; Zack Snyder will stay on to direct. The second episode in the latest Superman reboot is believed to be part of the build-up to the long-awaited launch of the Justice League franchise. The Batman infused sequel reportedly draws from the original Dark Knight graphic novel, written by Frank Miller nearly 30 years ago, and pits the caped crusader against the younger, more inexperienced Clark Kent alter-ego. In the version of the DC universe depicted by Miller, Superman has essentially been reduced to henchman status on behalf of the United States government and is sent to “deal with the Batman problem” when Gotham becomes the safest city in the country, an embarrassment to the national powers that be. However, at such an early stage...

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