Andrew Wickliffe's blog

Want to read? You can't do that at Google anymore

RSS icon

A few months before its eighth birthday–on July 7, 2013–Google will be shutting off its Google Reader service. Reader, for those who don’t use it, aggregates RSS feeds.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Websites use it to announce when they have a new post and users can then subscribe to those announcements (called RSS feeds) to be constantly updated. If you sign up for email announcements for a blog you like, for example, you get constantly notified. Maybe even annoyingly so. But with RSS, you can sign up and get the update when you want (or still have the notification announce itself). They run behind a lot of websites too. Almost every podcast uses RSS to deliver their new episodes.

Google lets users go for a 5TB Drive

Earlier this week, Google introduced Google Drive, a free cloud-storage system for Google users. Users get 5GB storage for free and can buy up to 1TB through monthly subscriptions.

Many years ago, when Gmail started, a Gdrive always seemed imminent. There was even a “g-drive” extension for Firefox, which turned a Gmail account into an online hard drive--except all the files were split into 25MB parts, limiting its usefulness. It also was an independent geek creation, not an official Google product.

Couples collaborating: Farrow and Allen

The Hannah and Her Sisters movie poster

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's incredibly public breakup, which gave tabloids more fodder than they could ever dream from a Hollywood couple, remains in the public consciousness. So much so, it overshadows the many excellent films the two made as a couple--some of Allen's finest films.

For ten years, Farrow starred in all thirteen of Allen's films. The collaboration began in 1982, with A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, with Farrow part of the ensemble. Farrow soon became Allen's romantic interest in films (Zelig or Broadway Danny Rose), but more often she became the lead character. Farrow is the protagonist in films like The Purple Rose of Cairo and September. In three of the films--Alice, Hannah and Her Sisters and Another Woman--Farrow portrays the titular character.

Couples collaborating: Woodward and Newman

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

While many married Hollywood couples collaborate, not many do so with as many films or over as many decades as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward did... and still do.

When Paul Newman retired from acting in 2002, eight years before his death (except for voicing "Doc Hudson" in 2006's Cars), he stayed active in filmmaking. His widow, Joanne Woodward, has just signed on to executive produce a project Newman had been putting together.

84th Academy Award Nominations

A photography of an Academy Award statuette

It's officially Oscar season again and, like every year, there are some suprises and disappointments in the nominations.

Oscar nomination favorites like David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney found themselves shut out (for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, J Edgar and The Ides of March) and the Academy ignored the more popular choices (Bridesmaids, the final Harry Potter and Dragon Tattoo again).

Below is a full list of the major nominations, along with links to the library catalog for the nominees.

Happy Birthday, Archie Leach!

Photograph of Cary Grant

January 18 was the day of Archibald Leach's birth, in 1904, in Bristol, England. Leach, a one-time stilt walker and vaudevillian, would become world famous in the 1930s under a different name... Cary Grant.

Grant originally came to the United States as part of a stage troupe and stayed when everyone else went home. After spending almost a decade in vaudeville and on stage, he went to Hollywood and his new bosses at Paramount pictures renamed him Cary Grant (the initials, C.G., were already popular with moviegoers--Clark Gable and Gary Cooper were two of the biggest movie stars in the world).

It's like Shakespeare... on a plane

A drawing of William Shakespeare

While Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Henry V itself was not a Hollywood production, its critical and commercial success led to a new wave of Shakespeare adaptations.

Franco Zeffirelli's 1990 Hamlet is something of an exception--it completed Zeffirelli's Shakespeare trilogy. He started it in the sixties with Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet.

For the early 1990s, Branagh was the popular face of Shakespeare--he adapted Much Ado About Nothing in 1993 and appeared (but did not direct) in 1995's Othello.

Happy Birthday, Amanda Peet!

a photograph of American actor Amanda Peet

Born on January 11, 1972, native New Yorker Amanda Peet turns 40 today.

Peet's career took time to build, with the actor spending a lot of her time on television and in ensemble pictures before The Whole Nine Yards brought her more prominent attention. She's now starred in over forty films.

Polly Want a Cracker? What about some more pirate movies?

The fourth entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, On Stranger Tides, comes to DVD this week. While the films are very popular, it has been a while since pirate movies were successful. For people who want to see other approaches to high seas adventure, the Library has examples of the best (and worst) in genre.

Pirate movies have been around for over a hundred years now, hitting their peak in popularity between the 1940s and 1960s. Pirate movies helped give movie stars like Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster their start and, eventually, Disney even started making family-minded pirate movies.

Hammer time! Thor's not just a comic book movie (really)

Thor DVD cover

Kenneth Branagh's Thor, coming to DVD this week, is more than just the latest superhero movie from Marvel Studios (tying in to the Iron Man and Hulk movies), it is also (loosely) based on classic Norse mythology. That combination gives those interested a lot to check out....

In 1962, Stan Lee thought it might be "fun" to use the Norse mythology as a starting point for a new character. The result was Thor.

The movie adaptation of the comic book deals with the Viking legend source material, introducing various Norse gods (though these versions are a lot more like their Marvel comics versions than the originals). Kenneth Branagh partially got the job directing because he was familiar with family troubles between classical royalty after his Shakespeare adaptations.

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