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USA Today Enters the Realm of Virtual, Augmented News

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Whenever a new form of electronic media enters popular culture, it will inevitably face a significant amount of challenges to define itself as something different from other mediums while simultaneously making itself accessible and appealing to as many people as possible. Such is the case of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), both of which use features from established electronic mediums (e.g., video games, digital video, and portable computing) to create new kinds of content.

Of course, creating new kinds of electronic media is one thing; creating new kinds of electronic media as an extension of a pre-existing media platform is something else. The later issue was the main topic of “Designing the Next Generation of News”, a presentation that was held last Thursday evening at the Washington DC office of AARP and was co-sponsored by DC Virtual Reality (DCVR) and USA Today.

“Designing the Next Generation of News” was presented by the Emerging Tech team from USA Today: Ray So…

A Look at Collectible Big Bang Theory Figures

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A few weeks ago, CBS announced that this upcoming season would be the last for the long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory. As a huge fan, I was a bit disappointed to hear this news; on the other hand, the show is still quite good for something that has already been on the air for 11 seasons, so it's probably best for Big Bang to go out on a high note.

That said, this post isn't about The Big Bang Theory as a TV show. Instead, I thought that I would take a look at the show's merchandising--specifically, the collectible figures. Half-hour, live-action TV shows rarely get the collectible figure treatment and even though the nature of Big Bang's comedy lends itself well to collectible figures, it's still pretty amazing to see the kinds of figures this merchandising license has cranked out over the years.

Anyone who knows anything about The Big Bang Theory can tell you that nerd-friendly collectibles are on display in every episode. The main characters' living spac…

Universal Sinks Its Own Creature from the Black Lagoon Legacy Collection Blu-Ray Set (Updated)

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Dammit, Universal. How hard is it for you to re-release one of your classic creature feature box sets on Blu-ray without screwing it up?

Dining with Jaws: An Update on the Found Mechanical Shark from the Florida Universal Jaws Ride (Updated)

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Way back in February, I published a post about the discovery of a mechanical shark that was used in the Jaws ride at the Universal Orlando Resort down in Florida, a ride that was shut down back in 2012. I have received many inquiries about the shark since then, the most recent one from a blogger in Japan who writes about Universal Studios Japan (USJ). You can visit her blog, L.C.A Studios USJ, here; the posts that pertain to the found mechanical shark are here and here. (L.C.A. Studios also has content on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.)

The questions from L.C.A. Studios prompted me to follow up with John Ryan, the lucky Jaws fan who made this remarkable find, to see what else he has learned about the shark and what he has done with it. Here’s what he e-mailed to me:

"It seems we've substantiated that the shark is from the earlier version of the ride. A local county clerk search of the Maryland property where 'Jaws' was sitting showed the home was previously owned by…

Adventures in Amity: Tale from the Jaws Ride Book—on Sale Now!

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When movie fans think of the Jaws franchise, most think of the first film and its three sequels. Yet as many die-hard Jaws “finatics” will tell you (including yours truly), the amusement park rides that are based on Jaws have been just as crucial to the popularity of franchise as the movies. Of the three Jaws rides that have been made, the one at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida was shut down in 2012. Yet for those of you who never experienced the Florida Jaws ride, fear not—Dustin McNeill has got you covered in his new book, Adventures in Amity: Tale from the Jaws Ride.

Here’s a description of the Adventures in Amity from the official press release:

Set sail with author Dustin McNeill as he goes behind the scenes of Captain Jake’s Amity Boat Tours! Adventures in Amity is the ultimate guide to the legendary attraction that once stood at Universal Studios Florida. The book contains over thirty new interviews with the ride’s designers, engineers, and skippers for unprecedented ins…