Friday, April 29, 2005

Movie Review Finder Bookmarklet

Bad Segue blog has a Movie Review Finder Bookmarklet:
If you’re a movie fan you probably belong to Netflix or some other online movie rental outfit, or browse Amazon.com for movies to buy. These sites typically have their own reviews, usually from other members. This bookmarklet provides a quick way to find relevant reviews from other online sources.

I've installed it, and it works very well.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hooking you up

Livejournal has a huge community, if you can't get enough of that Netflix love. Registration is free.

Star Wars and Netflix goodness

Two of my favorite things, together! Hacking Netflix has found the sexiest Netflix photos I've ever seen: Darth Vader and Storm Troopers holding various Netflix-logo'd items, with Ling Bai, an actress who will be playing a senator in the upcoming film, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).

See more Netflix/Star Wars photos at WireImage.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

GameZnFlix preparing for United Kingdom expansion

The Louisville, KY Business Journal is reporting that GameZnFlix is planning to enter the UK market this year: "'After opening four distribution centers, our software has been put to the test with expansion. We now only need to make modifications to address information for our systems to work in the UK,' President Donald "Chip" Gallent said in the release. 'As long as we have content and titles, our platform should perform seamlessly.'"

This is a company that experienced a net loss of $9.7 million on sales of $288 thousand in 2004. If I'm not mistaken, their stock is trading at less than a penny.

New Netflix price plans for economy users

I'm excited about these new options. Netflix has a couple of economy-priced plans for those of you who don't watch enough DVDs to justify the three-out plan at $17.99. There's a new 2-out plan, unlimited rentals, for a flat monthly fee of $14.99 per month, and a 1-at-a-time plan, unlimited rentals, for $9.99 per month, which I think is the best deal. I experience a two-day turnaround on most of my discs, so I could get two or three per week at that level. They still offer the old 2-out plan, not unlimited (4-per-month), but they've recently lowered the price to $11.99.

Here are the rest of the plan options:


8-at-a-time for $47.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 8 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $47.99.

7-at-a-time for $41.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 7 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $41.99.

6-at-a-time for $35.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 6 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $35.99.

5-at-a-time for $29.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 5 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $29.99.

4-at-a-time for $23.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 4 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $23.99.

3-at-a-time for $17.99
Unlimited rentals - up to 3 movies out at a time for a flat monthly fee of $17.99.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

IBM Names Jeskell IT Solution for Netflix ''Best-in-Class'' Worldwide

When it comes to delivering state-of-the-art solutions, Jeskell focuses on one strategy: the company uses IBM products exclusively to provide services to US businesses, educational institutions and government organizations. To help Netflix (an online movie-rental-service based in California) upgrade its system to achieve its goal of doubling its customer base by the end of 2005, Jeskell implemented an on demand solution that replaced Sun and EMC hardware with IBM eServer pSeries 630 and 650 systems, IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server and IBM fastT Storage. The solution has provided unparalleled availability and performance, minimizing disruption to customers while preparing Netflix to handle rapid year-over-year growth, be more responsive to competitive challenges, and support seasonal and dynamic peak loads on its Web site. Judges named Jeskell the 2005 winner for best IBM pSeries on demand Solution because of its clearly demonstrated commitment to succeeding with IBM, its excellent client ratings, and its demonstrated accomplishments at Netflix. According to the judges, Jeskell is a partner that is doing all the right things.

Hacking Netflix wins blogging award

Fellow Netflix blogger, and my inspiration, Mike K. at , has won a 2005 Business Underblogger Award from ProBlogger blog. It means his blog deserves more readers than it actually has.

Amazon Theater Tribeca Film Festival Short Film Competition

View short films online, and vote on your favorites. Check it out

Back from Riverrun

I have returned from Riverrun. I enjoyed it, but as usual, I regret not being able to see more of the films. Here's a list of the ones I did see. The asterisks indicate my rating for the film on a scale of one to five stars.

National Hollerin' Contest (2004, USA, 6 minutes) **
Barbecue is a Noun (2004, USA, 78 minutes) *****
More Sensitive (2003, Canada, 2 minutes) ****
Snow Walker, The (2003, Canada, 103 minutes) ***
Big Enough (2004, USA, 53 minutes) *****
Prison Lullabies (2004, USA, 54 minutes) ****
Balloon, The (2004, USA, 4 minutes) ***
Letter to True, A (2004, USA, 78 minutes) ***
Brief History of Voting, A (2004, USA, 5 minutes) ***
Gnat and the Lion, The (2004, USA, 4 minutes) **
Harvie Krumpet (2004, Australia, 22 minutes) ****
LOR: Lots of Robots (2004, USA, 14 minutes) **
Oola Oop L'eau De OHH! (2004, USA, 5 minutes) ***
In Vienna They Put You in Jail: The Max Birnbach Story (2004, USA, 52 minutes) *****
Fall, The (2004, USA, 3 minutes) ***
Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (2004, USA, 87 minutes) ****
And the Redman Went Green (2003, UK, 2 minutes) *****
Place to Stay, A (2003, UK, 105 minutes) ***
Ghana is in Africa (2004, Africa, 32 minutes) ***
Heart of the Congo, The (2004, USA, 56 minutes) ****
Joyride (2004, USA, 5 mins.) ****
Fathers and Sons (2004, USA, 100 mins.) ***
By Courier (2000, USA, 13 mins) *****
King of the Corner (2004, USA, 93 mins.) ****

Thursday, April 21, 2005

RiverRun International Film Festival

I'm doing it again. For today, and the next three days, I will be attending the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. I expect I will return to blogging next week. I do not expect to attend any more film festivals for a while. The next one will be Labor Day weekend.

You can blame Netflix for turning me into a hardcore cinephage.

Researching renting online?

If you're new to Netflix, or you are doing research about online DVD rental services to see which one to join, I suggest you read the . It has a brief outline of the Netflix corporate history, lists of competing services, distribution centers, and links to sites which compare services. I think it provides a good overview.

If you have more leisure time, you might want to check out the archives of this blog, especially the first six months of 2004.

Cinetrix was at Full Frame

The Cinetrix, at pullquote blog, reviews some of the films I saw at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC, better than I can. She covers the Martin Scorsese tribute to Vittorio De Seta, which I was able to attend, despite holding nothing but a Film Pass, due to the gracious accommodation of staff member Eric Leary. Among the other ones I saw, which she reviews, are a Phantom of the Operator, A Touch of Greatness, Murderball, and Miles Above.

The films I saw at Full Frame

These are the films I saw at Full Frame, and my rating:

Bouncing Bulldogs (2004, USA, 13 mins.) *****
Gymnast (2005, USA, 83 mins.) *****
Small Town Secrets (2004, USA, 8 mins.) **
In the Shadow of Eden (2004, USA, 22 mins.) *
Hardwood (2004, Canada, 30 mins.) ****
The Last Cowboy (2004, USA, 84 mins.) *****
Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinematheque (2004, 212 mins.) *****
Getting Through To the President (2004, USA, 8 mins.) *
Occupation: Dreamland (2005, USA, 79 mins) ****
Ears, Open, Eyeballs, Click. (2004, USA, 115 mins.) ****
My Beloved Child (2004, Norway, 103 mins.) ****
Ballet Russes (2005, USA, 120 mins.) *****
For A Miracle [Po Cud] (2004, Poland, 18 mins.) ***
Murderball (2004, USA, 86 mins.)*****
Miles Above (2004, USA, 25 mins.) *****
Phantom of the Operator [Le Fantome de L'Operatrice, 2004, Canada, 66 mins.) ***
A Touch of Greatness (2004, USA, 54 mins.)*****

The following short films by Vittorio De Seta of Sicily, Italy, each about 11 minutes, made their American debut, presented by Martin Scorsese:
*Swordfish [Tempu di li pisci spata, Lu] (1954)
*Islands of Fire [Isole di fuoco] (1954)
*Sulphur Mine [Sulfatera] (1955)
*Peasants of the Sea [Contadini del mare] (1955)
*Golden Parable [Parabola d'oro] (1955)
*Fishing Boats [Pesche recci] (1958)
*Easter in Sicily [Pasqua in Sicilia] (1955)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hacking Netflix evaluates new Friends features

Mike and friends at Hacking Netflix have looked at the changes Netflix made to the Friends feature. It reveals more about you, so you might want to withdraw from participation if your movie choices embarrass you :). (I have posted my queue on Listology.com, so you know I have no shame). He has a screenshot, too.

French Netflix clone

For our European neighbors, glowria is the Netflix clone for residents of France to rent DVDs by mail.

Fondé en 2001 par Mihai Crasneanu, le site glowria.fr est aujourd'hui un des majeurs du marché. "Je vivais à Miami en 2000 et j'avais le privilège d'être abonné à Netflix, un service d'abonnement aux DVD qui proposait presque tous les DVD édités aux États-Unis. Venu en vacances en France, je souhaitais montrer à mes parents Mort à Venise, de Visconti. Où le trouver? Le film existait bien en DVD, mais aucun vidéoclub ne le proposait. J'ai trouvé incroyable qu'il n'existe pas, dans le pays du cinéma et de l'exception culturelle, un service qui offre tous les titres édités en DVD d'une manière simple et commode. J'ai décidé d'adapter en France l'idée de Netflix et c'est ainsi qu'est né glowria.

Greasemonkey Netflix Queue Shuffle

From Clint's blog:

Netflix lets you reorder your movies, but it's a HUGE pain to shuffle them around because you have to do it by hand (remember, I have 50 movies in my queue).

Enter Grease Monkey. The Firefox plugin that lets you write user scripts. I wrote a Grease Monkey script to add a "Shuffle Queue" button to your Netflix Queue.

The script is fairly fragile -- If Netflix decides to change their markup it will probably break. But, it's working well now. Anyways, it's right here if you want it. Just select "Install User Script" from your Tool menu after you install Grease Monkey. Then, head over to your Netflix Queue to check it out.

Feel free to email [Clint] if there are any problems.

Update: It seems that sometimes Netflix responds
'TIP: You don't need to update the priority of every item in your Queue when you want to change the priority of only a few items. Simply change the priority of as many movies as you want and then click the Update Your Queue button — the site will make all the necessary changes.'
after the Queue is shuffled. The Queue is still randomized though. I think it's just a Tip that occasionally displays when a user reorders ALL of their Queue items.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Netflix redesigns Friends feature

The Netflix Friends feature allows you to "See what movies your friends are currently enjoying at home, see what movies your friends have coming next by taking a peek at their Queue, and see what movies your friends just added to their Queue." If you'd like to see what information is shared with your friends, click here.

Listology's Netflix Tracker Data available

Jim at Listology.com is a really nice guy. He sent me the following announcement while I was on vacation:

"Hi folks,

The Netflix Tracker now has about 2,500 complete (shipping and
returning
center recorded, along with the Netflix ship/return dates, and the user
receive/return dates) rentals recorded. This data is now available for
download if you'd like to do your own analysis. Go here:

http://www.listology.com/netflix_tracker_home.cfm

... and click on the RAW DATA arrow.

I'm particularly curious to see if this report of mine is wrong:

http://www.listology.com/netflix_tracker_reports.cfm?report=turnaround_by_throughputNetflix admits that they give lighter users priority over heavier ones
when the two are competing for a title, or for a spot on the day's
outgoing truck, so I'm surprised that isn't more evident in the data.
It's entirely possible I botched the report though.

Jim"

FlixQueue update

The Queue-management utility FlixQueue by 5hyphen has been updated to include some bugfixes, some changes, and at least an option to store your password or not. They are still looking into access via cookie ID.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Two Brothers Netflix vs BB

Blockbuster Online lists all available editions of titles on their Web site, so that you can choose between widescreen, pan & scan, or special editions. Some are available to rent online and purchase, while others are available for purchase only or in their bricks and mortar stores only. Two Brothers is one such movie. Only the pan & scan version is available for online rentals.

Netflix doesn't give you a choice of editions (yet), but they do offer the widescreen version (my preferred format) for online rental.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Realitywood

Wondering where I've been? I went directly from Full Frame to Atlantic Beach, NC for a week of fun in the wind and rain. I was cut off from cyberspace and fully immersed in Real Life. In true female fashion, I spent the week shopping, shelling on the beach, eating out, soaking in the jacuzzi, and visiting museums. I visited Fort Macon and Cape Lookout, where I saw a dolphin jump out of the ocean in front of me :).

The great thing about Netflix is that I didn't have to worry about due dates, so I brought a DVD player, and all my Netflix discs, for those chilly nights. I managed to squeeze in a few (8) films.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

FlixQueue

I've received the following press release from 5Hyphen Studios. They asked me to check out a new Windows-compatible queue management and interface utility for Netflix. It requires you to have the .Net framework installed. It also requires you to use your Netflix email address and password. It will not function without those. They say that the password goes directly to Netflix, and all they get is your cookie info. Judge for yourselves.

5Hyphen Studios has just released their new Netflix program, FlixQueue.

FlixQueue is a Windows application designed to give you more than just queue management. FlixQueue has drag'n'drop reordering, priority, movie lookup at your fingertips, integrated internet searching, estimated ship dates, and more! You can look through the new releases, Top 100, recommendations, or search for what you want, and add it to your queue without ever leaving the program. Come try the new way to Netflix! FlixQueue is currently in public beta, so download a free trial, evaluate it, and give us your feedback!

Feature request--queue lock

SDC is a Netflix addict who has a minor complaint that keeps them from "total stupid-grin fanboyism". They wish that Netflix would provide the queue feature of allowing us to lock series discs so that we can be sure to receive them in order. All right, Netflix, we've been asking for this for ages. When are you going to do it? Blockbuster, Greencine, and Nicheflix are already doing it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Netflix Buddy

Netflix Buddy is a new, free online discussion forum devoted exclusively to Netflix members of all kinds. Registration is not required to read or browse the site, only to post messages. It's not affiliated with Netflix. They offered the service to Netflix in October 2004 and were ignored. With Netflix Buddy, you have a community of Netflix users where you can compare queues, talk about your experiences with Netflix, read about or review movies, and find other Netflix subscribers for your Friends. The registration process is in three steps, and you have the option of uploading your Netflix shopper id (from the Netflix cookie).

Monday, April 04, 2005

Mary Pickford film clips online

Via PBS.org, you can view online, for free, three short clips of silent films starring Mary Pickford.

Small startups find underserved rental niches

Inside Bay Area claims to review the small online DVD rental companies that are springing up in response to Netflix, Blockbuster, and Walmart. However, they review only two (Peerflix and Greencine), and mention one (EZTakes) that hasn't even started up yet. They say that there is an underserved segment of the market that wants movies Netflix can't provide. That's false. Most of Greencine's subscribers use it for "adult" material. Since when has the porn user been "underserved"?

This is what they say about each of them: "Peerflix in Menlo Park does not have a film library. It depends on subscribers to buy and sell their own DVDs among themselves."

"Massachusetts firm EZTakes, which will roll out later in the spring" will focus on movie downloads.

"San Francisco-based Greencine, in business since 2002, has made its name as a respected player in foreign and independent films" (and porn).

I really hate pointing out the existence of so-called "adult material" to anyone, because there's nothing "adult" about it.

If you would like to read the entire article, it's here.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Media Center Edition Netflix add-in

unmitigatedrisk.com has created an HTML add-in for Windows XP Media Center Edition, so that you can manage your Netflix queue on your Media Center. It's freeware (donations accepted).

Blockbuster To Clarify ''No Late Fees'' Policy

KEYE TV reports that Blockbuster is being forced to clarify their "no late fees" policy, since losing their lawsuit with the states' attorneys general. Thanks to Sarafina1977 for the nudge.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Netflix Fan hospitalized

(PNS press release) GREENSBORO, NC-"Self-described number one fan of Netflix has been hospitalized for severe lack of sleep, malnutrition, and dehydration, resulting from an apparent addiction to online DVD rental services. Neighbors found her collapsed next to her mailbox, arms loaded with DVD mailers. She is under sedation in a private room with no television."

Does Netflix count as TV time?

Marketing people say we watch an average of 272 minutes of TV each day. I spend about that many minutes each day watching Netflix DVDs. Do you include watching DVDs from Netflix when you talk about "watching TV", or do you consider DVDs different from TV?