19
Dec 14

A new video style

I’ve been tinkering with new video templates. I have the format and the storyboards down. Now I’m just experimenting with sound.

Don’t mind the bed music, that’s just here to drown out the silence — and the PetSmart people saying “Do you need anything?” In the future, in videos that are more than a test, there will be natural sound and better music. This is, after all, a progressive experiment.


19
Dec 14

70th anniv – My great-grandfather’s war

They’ve been under days of artillery and continuous fighting, and it isn’t stopping. Come along as we revisit Tonice’s time in Europe. He was a combat medic in the 137th Infantry Regiment, but we don’t know which company, or even which battalion. He never really told us much of anything about his experiences so this is only a regimental overview with a glimpse into what his time there was like.

So, then, for Dec. 19:

Frauenberg continued to receive terrific artillery and mortar fire. The enemy fired again and again at the Frauenberg – Habkirchen bridge, but never scored a hit.

The 1st Battalion continued to hold its position on the edge of the Breiterwald Woods and repelled numerous German counterattacks. Several enemy tanks fired on the 1st Battalion from a distance of 1,000 yards and were driven off by Yank artillery.

The 2nd Battalion also improved its positions and placed roadblocks and mine fields on its flanks. The Battalion Command Post was shelled heavily, but no casualties resulted.

The 3rd Battalion remained in Neunkirch and conducted training for its 67 new replacements who had not had much previous infantry training.

View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map
View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map

This information is derived from the unit history, found here and here and from this unit overview. These markers are rough estimates and are meant only to be illustrative. Any errors are mine alone.


18
Dec 14

70th anniv – My great-grandfather’s war

Seven decades ago he was there. Thirteen years ago we got an inkling of where he was and what he did. Two years ago I put this map together. And on this, the 70th anniversary of Tonice’s time in Europe as a combat medic, I’m doing a bit of revisiting of what the 137th Infantry Regiment did. We don’t know which company, or even which battalion, so this is only a regimental overview with some movements down to the company level.

So, then, for Dec. 18:

The 137th was ordered to resume the attack. The enemy was unable to stop the assault of our forces and was driven back to the rear edge of the woods.

The 2nd Battalion of the 134th Infantry, attached to the 137th Infantry, attacked the enemy at the edge of Reinneimerald Woods, on the 137th’s right flank, just south of Bebelsheim.

The Regiment was ordered to stop its attack at 1830 and to consolidate its positions on the most favorable ground. At the conclusion of the day’s operations the 2nd Battalion of the 134th was at the edge of Reinneimerald Woods. The 137th’s 1st Battalion was holding all of the Breiterwald Woods and a small patch of woods near Bannholz. The 2nd Battalion had elements in Bliesmengen and east of the town, while the 3rd Battalion was held in reserve at Neunkirch.

You can click all of the pins in the map below to see more of the unit’s day-by-day notes.

View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map
View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map

This information is derived from the unit history, found here and here and from this unit overview. Any errors are mine alone.


17
Dec 14

There’s money big and small in this post

The view from my run this afternoon:

sun

Today’s pace was 41 seconds faster than Monday’s run. I cut 4:07 of Sunday’s three-miler. Tomorrow I’m going to run at a different place, flatter, but with more boring views. I’m going to run farther, and probably slower.

We went back to Ulta today, the store I just learned about yesterday, because there was something there of a cosmetic nature we did not pick up yesterday.

Technology is great, not only does my phone time and map my runs and give me various breakdowns of the poor splits therein, it also gives me an excuse to stand near the front of the story and just scroll through things. I can give off the disinterested vibe without making anyone feel uncomfortable about their choices.

“Oh, no, not that blush, dear,” he never said to any stranger, “it will never work with your complexion.”

Things to read … because this stuff matches your tones.

The one everyone is talking about, Sony Pictures Cancels Holiday Release of ‘The Interview’ After Threats:

The film’s collapse stirred considerable animosity among Hollywood companies and players. Theater owners were angry that they had been boxed into leading the pullback. Executives at competing studios privately complained that Sony should have acted sooner or avoided making the film altogether. To depict the killing of a sitting world leader, comically or otherwise, is virtually without precedent in major studio movies, film historians say.

And some Sony employees and producers, many of whom have had personal information published for the world to see, bitterly complained that they had been jeopardized to protect the creative prerogatives of Mr. Rogen and Mr. Goldberg.

[...]

The multiplex operators made their decision in the face of pressure from malls, which worried that a terror threat could affect the end of the holiday shopping season.

That movie cost $44 million to make, but the losses directly stemming from Sony’s entire cyber nightmare are piling up much higher. Sony’s Very, Very Expensive Hack:

(T)he corporate hack seems likely to be among the most expensive of all time – up there with the 2014 Target breach (price tag: about $110 million), TJX’s 2007 hack (about $250 million), and Sony’s 2011 Playstation hack (about $170 million).

It’s still too early to know just how badly the hack might hurt Sony’s bottom line, especially given that the hackers keep on putting out new leaks and new threats. But some early estimates of the corporate damage have started to trickle out. And $150 or $300 million does not seem like a bad guess at the moment, meaning the hack might wipe out half of the Sony pictures unit’s 2013 profits.

Big federal money coming into UAB … UAB’s annual NIH funding up 20 percent:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham received $225 million in federal research funding from the National Institutes of Health during the 2014 fiscal year, which places the school 10th in NIH funding among public universities.

That total is up 20 percent from last year when UAB secured $188 million in NIH funding.

And smaller amounts, too … Meet the 5-year-old Ohio boy who sent his $1 allowance to try to save UAB football.

Rouble turmoil leads to Apple halting online sales in Russia:

The company stopped sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in the country after a day in which the currency went into free-fall.

The rouble has lost more than 20% this week, despite a dramatic decision to raise interest rates from 10.5% to 17%.

By afternoon trade the rouble was flat with one dollar buying 68 roubles.

Its all time low, set on Wednesday, saw one dollar buying as many as 79 roubles.

Apple last month increased its prices in Russia by 20% after the weakening rouble left products in the country cheaper than in the rest of Europe.

That’s some serious volatility.

The amounts at play here are interesting. NowThis Media Raises Another $6M To Deliver Video News Stories In Less Than A Minute:

(T)he startup has become focused on “being a distributed media company and finding audiences where they live.” In other words, it’s less focused on drawing audiences to the NowThis mobile app and website, and more on finding viewers on social media.

Apparently the strategy is paying off — Mills said the company was seeing 1 million monthly video views as recently as early summer of this year, but it was up to 40 million monthly views in November. NowThis has also launched NowThis Studio, a division focused on branded content, and it acquired another startup, Cliptamatic.

That acquisition provided the foundation for a new platform called Switchboard, which is scheduled to launch early in 2015.

NowThis seems to work better in the app than in the browser, a good first step for social reach. I just watched four videos on it. Things move fast there. You get context, but not a complete story. There’s a fine idea there, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it matures.


17
Dec 14

70th anniv – My great-grandfather’s war

World War II, Europe, the Battle of the Bulge and, today, the anniversary of the massacre at Malmedy, when Germans opened fire on 170 prisoners, killing more than 70 Americans.

Just over 100 miles to the south my great-grandfather was, probably, shivering. Tonice was a combat medic, but he never really told his family about his experiences. We learned at his funeral how he took off his field jacket one day in the coldest winter Europe could recall and gave it to another soldier. It could have been this day for all we know. It could have been every day. He was in the 137th Infantry Regiment, but we don’t know which company, or even which battalion, so this is only a regimental overview with some movements down to the company level.

So, then, for Dec. 17:

The 2nd Battalion was to drive to Bliesmengen and Bliesbalchen, and the 3rd Battalion was to continue on into the woods. 137th Infantry elements were fighting under the heaviest artillery fire they had ever experienced in France or Germany.

Elements of the 2nd Battalion fighting in Bliesmengen were faced by direct enemy tank fire, and other elements were pinned down all day. The enemy continued to shell the Regimental area regularly during the period. Frauenberg was hit very heavily again and again during the day.

Late at night the 3rd Battalion was relieved by the 1st Battalion.

View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map
View Tonice in the Bulge in a larger map

This information is derived from the unit history, found here and here and from this unit overview. These markers are rough estimates and are meant only to be illustrative. Any errors are mine alone.