erik lundegaard


Technology posts

Tuesday May 21, 2024

What is Ang Lee Known For?


Look, I like all these movies. I've seen all these movies. (Wait, not “Lust, Caution.”) He was one of my indie guys in the 1990s. I loved “Wedding Banquet” and “Eat Drink Man Woman” even more, and I loved his Hollywood stuff, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Ice Storm.” And then he broke big with “Crouching Tiger.” But Ang Lee became the first non-white dude to win a directing Oscar, and he did it for a movie that was a cultural phenomenon, and it was called “Brokeback Mountain,” and somehow, via IMDb's algorithms, which supposedly gives weight to things like Oscars, it doesn't make the cut. 

I swear, they're gaslighting the culture.

Posted at 08:04 AM on Tuesday May 21, 2024 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Thursday May 16, 2024

What Is Mia Sara Known For?

Back in the day I had a huge crush on Mia Sara, as did most of my generation, and mostly for playing Sloane in “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.” But IMDb isn't having that shit. 

Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe there's this huge “Timecop” fanbase out there. And when Sara dies, The New York Times, or its equivalent, will let us know, “Mia Sara, 'Timecop' actress ...” etc. etc.

But I'm not wrong.

Posted at 12:20 PM on Thursday May 16, 2024 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Monday April 15, 2024

IMDb Doesn't Make Eastwood's Day

Can IMDb do anything right anymore? In the early days, without Amazon's money, somehow they made it work, but now, with tons of dough, and (I imagine) layers upon layers of Amazonian management, it's just one pratfall after another. There's obviously the algorithm from hell. That's a daily occurence. And then there's stuff like this. 

What is it? That's the bottom portion of Clint Eastwood's acting credits on IMDb, in the usual reverse chronological order. So it's his first acting credits—that early Universal Studios crap he had to do. You know: the sequel to “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Tarantula,” “Kelly's Heroes”...

Wait, what? “Kelly's Heroes”? From 1970? As his screen debut? You don't even need to know movies to know that's wrong. You just need to know how to count. I guess IMDb doesn't know how to count.

I tried to alert IMDb to this glitch two weeks ago but nothing's changed.

UPDATE, APRIL 29: Hey, this is fixed!! I'm proud of ya, IMDb. One down, 10,327 to go. 

Posted at 10:28 AM on Monday April 15, 2024 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Tuesday January 30, 2024

Who Watches Watchmen? Not IMDb

Who exactly is running IMDb into the ground? This was a photo on Cord Jefferson's page:

Jefferson is the writer-director of “American Fiction,” starring Jeffrey Wright, and for the past 10 years he's worked on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” (196 episodes), “Master of None” (10 episodes), and “The Good Place” (25 episodes). All good shows. He also wrote and was executive story editor on “Watchmen,” the great 2019 ur-superhero HBO series that introduced the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre to most Americans. The photo is him accepting a WGA or two for that work.

And what does IMDb credit him for? The shitty 2009 “Watchmen” that Zack Snyder adapted.

I've seen a lot of these types of mistakes recently: wrong title, wrong link. It's like IMDb has shunted half its shit off to AI, and AI doesn't know between “Watchmen” (2009) and "Watchmen (2019). It's just ... try a little, IMDb. You still have a good thing going. Try a little. Before we all find a hell of a good universe next door.

Posted at 06:54 AM on Tuesday January 30, 2024 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Wednesday December 13, 2023

LinkedIn: Our Website Sux

A humblebrag is when you seem to be going “Aw, shucks” and you're not. You're stroking your ego. You're beating your chest.

Do we have a 21st century term for what the following does? It was part of a message I received the other day from LinkedIn:

While they're pushing or promoting their product (the app), they're also dissing their product (the website). Is there a term for that yet? And if not, what would you call it? Promodiss? And is there a pre-Internet precedent? It would have to be a product that has multiple ways of consuming or experiencing it, and that's not most products. Hostess couldn't say TWINKIES ARE BETTER IN THE MOUTH! 

I'm also getting a slight scolding vibe here. LinkedIn is basically telling me “You're doing it wrong. Do it this way. The way we want you to.” Creepy.

Posted at 04:53 PM on Wednesday December 13, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Thursday October 26, 2023

Xs on X's Eyes

Here's the Business Insider headline: 

The banks which loaned Elon Musk money to help buy Twitter expect to lose $2 billion on the debt, report says

Key stats:

  • Downloads of the app (once Twitter, now X) fell by almost 30% in just three months
  • A marketing firm says only two of the world's biggest advertisers advertised on Twitter/X last month
  • Fidelity has marked Twitter's valuation down by 2/3

A key graf:

Bankers close to the deal told The Journal that X could be given a junk-bond rating, meaning it is at risk of defaulting on the loans, due to both Musk's controversial management style and a waning ad market.

My farewell post, nearly a year ago:

I've said it before: If you had told me to destroy Twitter without anyone knowing I was destroying Twitter, I wouldn't have been able to come up with half the stuff Musk has done in supposed service to the company. So I guess, in a way, he is a genius.

Posted at 02:19 PM on Thursday October 26, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Saturday July 29, 2023

C'mon, Internet

This is HBO Max, so Warner Bros./Discovery:

They've since changed that heading to read “A Scary Good Time,” because saying “Embrace the Fear' about one of the best comedies of the 1970s makes you look a little stupid. At least they were only stupid for a few weeks. 

Speaking of: This is Google, after a search on ”Bart Starr."

Coach? Starr was a quarterback for 16 years, a coach for eight. As QB, he led the Packers to three NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles, won an MVP (1966), and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 1977. He became legendary. During his years as a coach, the Packers appeared in the postseason once, losing in the second round to the Dallas Cowboys in the expanded 1982 playoffs. He was a little less than legendary.

It's still there, that designation. Google IDs him as a coach. Because Google. Because the whole damn thing is getting worse. 

Embrace the fear.

Posted at 04:01 PM on Saturday July 29, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Friday July 28, 2023

Elon's Brand: Ecch

For a few years during the 1960s, Marvel Comics produced a humor magazine called NOT BRAND ECHH, a title playing off of commercials of the time that pitted a named product (Pepsi-Cola, say) vs. an unnamed product labeled “Brand X.” That was the brand you never wanted: Brand X.

I thought of it again when hearing about Elon's latest supergenius move: rebranding Twitter as X. Apparently that happened on Sunday.

Per the NY Times:

Inside Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, X logos were projected in the cafeteria, while conference rooms were renamed to words with X in them, including “eXposure,” “eXult” and “s3Xy,” according to photos seen by The New York Times. Workers also began removing bird-related paraphernalia, such as a giant blue logo in the cafeteria. Outside the building, workers took off the first six letters of Twitter's name before the San Francisco Police Department stopped them for performing “unauthorized work,” according to an alert sent by the department.

Supposedly this is a first step in making Twitter an everything company like China's WeChat, but it's a stupid, clumsy first step—more of a pratfall, really.

“It's natural to wonder why the world's richest man would spend his time dismantling one of the world's most recognizable social-media brands in favor of an inscrutable super app nobody asked for,” The Atlantic's Charlie Warzel writes midway through his article, “Why Elon Killed the Bird.” Jeff Tiedrich has less patience in his post, “Never Fuck With Your Brand,” writing, “Elon hasn't just fucked with his brand, he's poured gasoline all over his brand and set it the fuck on fire. He's replaced one of the world's most iconic logos with a generic letter of the alphabet—one that thousands of business already use.”

What's a tweet now? An X? Or ex? Or echh?

To coin a phrase: Who says a social media platform has to be good?

Posted at 06:02 AM on Friday July 28, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Sunday July 16, 2023

Before They Were Famous: Kevin Costner in ... What?

I think I got pulled in to the IMDb slideshow because I didn't recognize the actors and thought, “Well, if this is 'Before They Were Famous,' maybe this will help me figure out who among the kids is famous.” Win win.

Sashe Calle, for example. Here she is on the afternoon soap “The Young and the Restless” before she was famous. So why is she famous now? Ah, she's the new Supergirl in the new “The Flash” movie nobody went to see. Got it. And here's Anson Mount wearing flannel on some 1995 TV somethingorother. And now he's ...? Oh right, he's the new square-jawed Capt. Pike on the new “Star Trek.” Or the new old “Star Trek.”

And then I got to the one on Kevin Costner.

Before he was famous.

Kevin Costner.

In “Dances With Wolves.”

By that point, he'd only starred in “No Way Out,” “The Untouchables” (the fourth-biggest box-office hit of 1987) “Bull Durham” (15th of 1988) and “Field of Dreams” (14th of 1989). I subscribe to, which digitizes and makes searchable hundreds of newspapers from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; and in 1989, among the newspapers this website has contracts with, there were 40,113 references to Kevin Costner. 

Before he was famous. 

Could IMDb get it more wrong? Could IMDb continue to get it more wrong in all of the ways they do? It's like they're gaslighting our cultural history. Costner became more famous after this, sure, and “Dances With Wolves” helped. And so did “The Bodyguard” and Whitney Houston and “I Will Always Love You,” and all that. In 1991, per, he's referenced 80,301 times. So that's twice as famous. He became twice as famous as he was before. But before, he was just one of the most famous actors in Hollywood.

Put another way: It's not like anyone went to “Dances With Wolves” in 1990 and said, “So who's this starring again?” We knew.

IMDb, if you can get a deleted-scene screengrab of him as Alex in “The Big Chill,” yes, that's him before he was famous. You might want to try that.

Posted at 10:37 AM on Sunday July 16, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Monday June 19, 2023

Where's the “Not Ever” Button?

This is increasingly the thing. Corporations are constantly asking you how they're doing but they don't really want to know. It's just data. It's a number, not an explanation. And there's no out. There's just now or later but no never. How are we doing? How are you doing? You were doing OK until you kept asking me how you were doing.

We made a mistake not regulating these assholes.

Posted at 09:26 AM on Monday June 19, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Saturday June 17, 2023

Amazon Bug Report: An Update

The other day I noticed that fixed one of the many glitches on its site: the 1925 Richard Barthelmess movie “Shore Leave” was now listed as 1925 rather than 1969. Good for it! Someone somewhere was actually paying attention. Or maybe it was an AI fix? I'll take it either way. It made me wonder how they were doing with all the other glitches I've flagged recently.

Turns out, meh:

  • Amazon-owned IMDb says you can watch the 1931 George Arliss movie “The Millionaire” on Amazon Prime ... but the link still leads to the 2012 Russian film “The Millionaire.” (First flagged: May 2020)
  • Amazon-owned IMDb says you can watch the 1925 Lon Chaney movie “The Monster” on Amazon Prime ... but the link still leads to the 1975 Joan Collins horror flick “The Monster” (First flagged: February 2021)
  • Hey, another fix! The 1933 Edward G. Robinson comedy “The Little Giant” no longer says it co-stars Ewan McGregor (born 1971). Wait ... No, sorry. They just no longer list actors and directors on the first page. You have to go into the “Details” section, where, again, the movie stars Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, and ... yes, Ewan McGregor (born 1971). Plus in the “Related” section, offering up other films to stream from the principles, they include Astor, supporting players Helen Vinson and Russell Hopton, director Roy Del Ruth, but bupkis on Robinson. (First flagged: August 2021)

I guess one small step for Amazon was just one small step for Amazon.

Posted at 07:27 AM on Saturday June 17, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Thursday March 16, 2023

Check, Please

For years Twitter had a blue checkmark system to verify “name” accounts. Basically it was Twitter telling us that this famous person—Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep—is who they say they are. It's not some parody account or scammer. They're verified. That's why they have a blue checkmark next to their name. 

When Elon Musk took over Twitter, he decided this vertification system smacked of elitism rather than common sense and announced that he was charging for the service. His original offer of $20 per month was lowered (during a hilarious real-time Twitter exchange with Stephen King) to $8 a month, but here's the thing: Anybody could buy itAnybody could be verified. Anybody. Elon's Twitter did zero due diligence on the accounts, just took the money and ran. The checkmark verified nothing. That wasn't the reason I left Twitter but it was happening around the time I left Twitter.

Today, at work, I got the message below from Twitter about our work account.

You've turned off two-factor authentication for [account]
This means you'll no longer have this added protection when you log in to Twitter. Your account will be more vulnerable to compromise. You can turn on two-factor authentication any time in the Account > Security section of your Twitter settings.

I forwarded the message to our social media liasion, who informed me that it relates to the blue checkmark. Now, if you don't pay for the checkmark, you lose this extra layer of security that Twitter's own team put in place (pre-Elon) to protect us all from hackers.

What an absolute shithead this guy is. What a turd. First, he makes the verification system useless while simultaneously charging for it. Then, when not enough people jump, he says if you don't pay for my now-useless verification system we'll make your account “more vulnerable to compromise.” It's penny-ante extortion is what it is. The dude is just begging to be regulated. I hope it happens soon. I hope it leads more people to jump—off the platform. Permanently.

For what it's worth, you can find me on these platforms:

I'm a little bored with both, to be honest, since not enough people I know are on them. It feels like I arrived too early to a party and I'm just standing there with a drink wondering what the fuck. But at least I don't have to deal with the whims of that little turd anymore.

Posted at 06:59 PM on Thursday March 16, 2023 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Sunday December 18, 2022

Shore Leave, 1969

In my internet wanderings I came across this film on Amazon Prime. And then I noticed something off. Can you spot it?

Doesn't the poster look like it's from the silent era rather than—as stated—1969? And isn't Richard Barthelmess an actor from the '20s and '30s? Of course he is. Of course it's a silent film. It's from 1925, not 1969.

Here's the fun part. I've spent the last week trying to get Amazon to correct this error. There's a “feedback” link on each page, so every day for the past week I sent them a note. Some version of: “The year for the movie 'Shore Leave' is incorrectly listed as 1969. It's a silent movie from 1925. Both the director and its director were dead by 1969.” Sometimes I included the link to the page in case they couldn't figure out what I was talking about. They've corrected nothing. Like all of the other mistakes they won't correct. Poor Jeff Bezos must be rolling over in his grave.

UPDATE, JAN. 5, 2023: Still not fixed. And yes, adding the year is indicative of my confidence in Amazon's QA.

UPDATE, JUNE 15, 2023: Fixed!! How about that? 

Posted at 09:52 AM on Sunday December 18, 2022 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Sunday December 11, 2022

What is Domenick Lombardozzi 'Known For'?

IMDb has a new website design but not a new “Known For” algorithm. They fixed what wasn't broken and kind of broke it. The broken thing they didn't bother with.

Do you know Domenick Lombardozzi? I'll always think of him as Herc in “The Wire” because that's where I saw him most often and most memorably. I was about to say it's where I first saw him but based on his CV that's not true. But it's where I began to go, “Hey, that guy.” It's where I began to know his name. 

Not everybody has the trajectory I do, of course. I remember an old girlfriend viewed Ed Hermann differently. I was eight years older, so I saw him and went “Hey, FDR!” (“Eleanor and Frankllin,” 1976-77). She saw him and went “Hey, Head Vampire!” (“The Lost Boys,” 1987). What someone is known for to us often depends on when and in what manner we jumped on board. 

That said, I can't imagine many people see Domenick Lombardozzi and go, “Hey, it's the tow-truck driver from 'For Love of the Game'!”

No “Wire,” no “Boardwalk Empire, no ”Rosewood." I know IMDb's algorithm underplays TV series but maybe it should count the number of episodes someone was on? Feels like it might be relevant.

Anyway, thanks for the new shitty website design, guys. 

Posted at 10:23 AM on Sunday December 11, 2022 in category Technology   |   Permalink  

Thursday December 08, 2022

What Kinda Stinks about Mastodon

From David Chen's SubStack piece “How Every Twitter Alternative Kinda Stinks (So Far)”:

The number one thing that stinks about Mastodon is that you have to choose a server to sign up for the service and the process of doing so right now is hopelessly broken. When you go to the page to choose a server, many of them force you to apply for an account and barely any of them seem like they align with general interests. (There are 2 servers for “Furries” but 0 servers for “Film” or “TV”). For this reason alone, I don't think Mastodon will ever be adopted by the masses unless/until a large institutional or corporate backer comes in to bring order to this chaos.

The highlighted is exactly what I found confusing and frustrating when I set up my Mastodon account last month. No film, no baseball, no ... whatevs. What server did I wind up with? I forget. (It wasn't “Furries.”) In fact, I thought I begged off at the last moment, but, no, I do have an email from Mastodon so ...

That's right, it's the CIM one. Or C.IM. Creation Innovation Masturbation or something.

Anyway, I'm there, at this name, if anyone's interested.

Posted at 05:51 PM on Thursday December 08, 2022 in category Technology   |   Permalink  
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