Hal, please open the pod bay door ….. Hal? Hal?

Disneyland Innoventions exhibit had a few glimpses into future technology, though the pace of change is now so fast that I think they have trouble capturing the “latest, greatest” stuff. Exception was a live show with ASIMO, SONY’s fantastic human sized robot. The walking and stair climbing, which are autonomous actions, were very impressive. You really got the idea you were looking at something we’ll eventually take for granted – robot helpers in the home.

Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard

Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck.
This was Sunday, Monday was Disneyland, and today we spent the morning over at a BIG sound stage built for the film “Semi Pro”. Mostly just sitting around while the director reviewed and set up scenes, but luckily we got placed right behind the basket for some shooting so we might actually be in the picture cheering on “our” team (out in 2008). I’m sworn to secrecy about the score and the shot with 17 seconds left in the game. We had to say we’d not talk about the scenes or take any pictures.

Graumann’s is big and impressive – the hand and foot prints in front
are neat. There’s a tour of Grauman’s Chinese Theater aka Mann Theatres but we did not do that or the Kodak Theatre tour which seemed too expensive at about $15 for a half hour.

As we arrived in Hollywood on Sunday, “Meet The Robinsons” was premiering across the street at the El Capitan but we couldn’t make out any stars as they walked down a red carpet past some media.

It was cool today though to be “close” to Will and Woody as they
filmed for Semi Pro.

Overall I get the idea LA is NOT really very glamorous unless you go eat at the fancy restaurants. Hollywood and Vine is much improved with Kodak Theater and a big shopping mall structure, but Hollywood
Boulevard is still pretty dumpy with Tattoo places and such. Funny
how the big rich stars and the grimy mean streets along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards seem to coexist so comfortably here in the smoggy sun of Southern California.

Doc Searls on Newspaper Survival

This is Doc Searls great prescription for ailing newspapers, which are threatened with extinction as online activity trumps all things offline.

However I’m not holding my breath. It was recently pointed out (can’t remember the source) that almost no innovation comes from within an industry. Rather it is outsiders who bring the innovation and then often eat the lunch of those who generally fail to adopt the new strategies.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Manns Chinese Theatre

Originally uploaded by Jon_W.
Hey, you won’t see us in this picture because I *erased* about 50 pix I took here and along the walk of fame today. Thanks to Jon_W for taking a better pic than mine anyway!

However we really were hanging near Hollywood and Vine today at the Mann Theater complex, where people dressed up as movie characters are walking around.  It’s near the middle of the “Walk of Fame” with hundreds of sidewalk stars for stars of stage, screen, TV, and music.
In the courtyard of Mann’s are the hand and footprints of Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, the cast of Star Trek, and many more.

Across the street is the El Capitan theater. Today was the premier of Disney’s “Meet The Robinsons” and there was a red carpet and a lot of press but we couldn’t recognize any of the people going in, though I’m SURE they were, like, like, so famous!

Google Advertising Rumor

I really appreciate Robert Scoble‘s great insights but I’m skeptical of the party rumor he cited today that suggests this about Google Advertising:

… fewer ads mean less revenue SHORT TERM. But long term the advertising revenue actually goes up. Why? They found their users started trusting the advertising more and were more likely to click on ads.

This is possible but seems unlikely. Heavy users are generally going to want a bunch of ads to quickly scan because Google context matching and user queries are usually not specific enough to come up with the “right” ads.

Revenue per click goes down as you add more ads at lower per click rates so it complicates things as well, but I don’t get the ‘trust’ factor cited by Robert – it just does not make sense to me that Google is effectively training people to click on ads more often by offering fewer ads.

Maybe I’m missing something in this case, but these trends are huge because online advertising is arguably the most significant change in the landscape in decades, and thanks to having accurate conversion measures we are going to see a huge shakeup in the ad world.   That’s a very good thing in an industry that is, to a large extent, based on either misleading people or, at the very least, changing their behavior opportunistically.

The Day … the Music Sales … died

NYT reports that music sales declined very substantially and that this fact may portend serious problems for the music industry.    Makes sense to me.   For some time there have been many silly suggestions from music download enthusiasts that downloading was not going to cut into profits and that revenue alternatives to traditional music sales would present themselves eventually.    Of course they won’t, but it’s all good.   The music industry is driven by superficial mass appeal and good riddance to it.   Thanks to abundant downloading venues, cheap production, and the rise of online promotion tools like Myspace we’ll hopefully see people democratically decide who are the best bands and which deserve their support.   Let the people drive music consumerism for a change rather than media moguls.

Let the Advertising Revolution begin!

Paying *only when you get results* is an advertisers dream, and it’s been largely unattainable because it’s so hard to track the true performance of conventional media. Enter the internet age where you can track performance, and now enter Google, with a huge stable of advertisers who will soon be able to use their amazing analytics and advertising tools to do just that.

NYT Summary of Google’s new gig | TechCrunch on Google’s new gig 

Google’s pay per performance is NOT a new idea, but it will probably be the first globally significant application of that idea.

Predictions? I think advertisers are going to quickly learn that the advertising emperors have far fewer clothes than they’d thought, and that all but a few great campaigns have positive ROI. Big advertisers have to date been largely incompetent with math, foolishly trusting big agencies who do self serving ROI calculations. This will change, and it’ll be a revolution in advertising.

We’re Going to Hollywood!

I’m going to use this post to collect helpful info for our trip to Southern California. I just ordered Disney Tickets from Ares Travel for a bit less than Disney itself. 3 day passes for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were $127 (each)+15 for overnight. That was a quick $500 for the family but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

I was planning to get tickets to a TV show because that’s a really interesting glimpse into the action of Hollywood, but instead we are going to be *in a movie*! Well, technically we are though it’s just as part of a big crowd watching a basketball game in the new Will Ferrell / Woody Harrelson / Andre Benjamin film “Semi-Pro” about basketballers in the 1970’s. Here’s the website for tickets to many TV shows and also this company handles some films. This looks like a lot of fun and you can’t beat the price = free. NOTE: TV tickets are always free. If you are vacationing in Hollywood and offered TV show tickets for money they are probably bogus.

1000 places to see before you die lists only a few Hollywood items, namely:
Hollywood Hollywood Website
Walt Disney Concert Hall | Disney Concert Hall website
Mann’s Chinese Theatre | Mann’s Theatre Website
Universal Studios Hollywood
Musso & Frank Grill
Spago Beverly Hills
Hotel Bel Air | Hotel Bel Air Website
Hollywood Bowl | Hollywood Bowl

We’ll head to Mann’s Chinese Theatre (formerly Graumann’s Chinese Theatre) to see all the star’s prints in the cement. Hey, here’s the webcam – look for us next week!

Betsy at About.com has this advice for Hollywood Boulevard, which is apparently a lot nicer than the last time I was down there:

Hollywood Boulevard between Vine Street and Fairfax Avenue is the stuff of legends. Attractions here include the Walk of Fame, footprints at Mann’s Theatre and Hollywood at Highland complex.

Parking advice from Answerla website:

Near Hollywood and Vine
There is plenty of parking conveniently located near Hollywood and Vine. Street parking is available on Hollywood and on many side streets to the east of Vine.

Near Hollywood and Highland

You can also park near Hollywood and Highland and walk or take the Metro back to Vine. There are pay lots on most streets between Vine and Highland, just\nnorth\nof Hollywood Blvd. A large lot is on Las Palmas (1 blk east of Highland) just north of Hollywood Blvd.

Parking at Highland is very easy and cheap ($2.00 for 4 hours with validation). There are also pay lots north of Hollywood on Highland. Parking there runs from $5 to $10 for the whole day. After parking at any of those spots, you can walk back to Vine (15 min) or take the Hollywood and Highland Metro one stop east to Hollywood and Vine.

There are open-air pay parking lots south of Hollywood Blvd. near Argyle. More pay lots are on Vine, just north of Hollywood Blvd. Parking runs from $5 to $10 for the whole day.

Several enclosed lots are reasonably priced. The Arclight Cinema lot on Sunset, just west of Vine is only several dollars with validation. The small shopping mall on the northwest corner of Sunset and Vine is also only several dollars with validation from the nearby Borders book store or Baja Fresh. Hollywood and Vine is just two blocks north of both of those lots.

Near Hollywood and Highland

You can also park near Hollywood and Highland and walk or take the Metro back to Vine. There are pay lots on most streets between Vine and Highland, just north of Hollywood Blvd. A large lot is on Las Palmas (1 blk east of Highland) just north of Hollywood Blvd.

Parking in the Highland mall is very easy and cheap ($2.00 for 4 hours with validation). There are also pay lots north of Hollywood on Highland. Parking there runs from $5 to $10 for the whole day. After parking at any of those spots, you can walk back to Vine (15 min) or take the Hollywood and Highland Metro one stop east to Hollywood and Vine. Map of the area around Hollywood and Vine.

Tickets for TV series and game show tapings at many studios, including CBS Studio Center, Culver Studios, and Universal Studios, can be obtained through Audiences Unlimited by calling

818- 506-0067. Paramount Television also tapes a number of hit shows. To obtain tickets, call (323) 956-1777. “The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno” is taped at NBC Television. Call  818-840-3537 to obtain tickets for NBC. Warner Bros. Studios (4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank) offers a two-hour working studio tour, which involves some walking. Reservations are required. Call  818-954-1744 at least one week in advance to reserve a spot. Mann’s Chinese Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) is open to the public and features the famous cement-hand and foot prints. The Hollywood Sign, one of Southern California’s most recognized icons, can clearly be seen throughout most of Hollywood, while the Hollywood Walk of Fame honors show business immortals along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. At the new Hollywood and Highland Complex, you can enjoy shopping, movies, restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and the Kodak Theatrethe new and permanent home of the Academy Awards, concerts, live theatre, and special events. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (333 S. La Cinema Blvd., Beverly Hills) is responsible for the Academy Awards every year. The library is open to the public but space is limited. Call (310) 247-3000 to make reservations. The Museum of Television & Radio (465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills) features a collection of more than 95,000 television and radio programs. Call (310) 786-1000 for details.

Some Disneyland tips