YouTube unveiled its much-anticipated subscription service Thursday with such recognizable entertainment brands as “Sesame Street,” “Jim Henson Family TV” and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The Internet’s dominant online video site, whose content has been free to watch since its inception, added monthly fees to generate a second source of revenue to support its content creators.
The pilot subscription program launched with 30 paid channels spanning the programming gamut, from familiar children’s fare to British TV and documentary films to entertainment offerings targeting specific audiences, such as “Gay Direct” and The Alchemy’s rap battle network.
Monthly fees start at 99 cents, with each channel offering a 14-day initial trial.
“This is really just the beginning,” said Malik Ducard, YouTube’s director of content partnerships. “We’ll also be rolling out more paid channels in the coming weeks.
Pinterest made easier
Don’t worry, Pinterest fans: Your sprawling virtual pegboards of wedding dresses, handmade jewelry, craft projects and food porn haven’t changed dramatically. They’re just easier to manage.
The popular link- and photo-sharing website has rolled out an update, one offering people simpler navigation and new ways to arrange their boards to fit their needs. Although the haphazard spirit of Pinterest remains, the site is much less overwhelming.
I wasn’t a Pinterest user before, so the redesign gave me a chance to take a good look at the site for the first time. Before that, I had refused to be sucked into yet another form of social media. I figured I didn’t have much use for it.
In the months since I started testing out Pinterest’s new look, though, I’ve found the service helpful in organizing and sharing my continually expanding recipe collection. And it’s fun to check what other people around the world are looking at and to see which strangers choose to follow me or respond to what I’m sharing.
Although it is not a replacement for Facebook or Twitter, and doesn’t pretend to be, it is a beautiful and vast world with more than 25 million users around the world.
For those who have never used Pinterest, the free site lets people “pin” pictures from websites they want to share on online peg boards. You can choose to share the boards with just a few close friends or the entire Pinterest world. Others can comment on the boards and pins, “like” them or repin items on their own boards.
‘Blood Dragon’ mayhem
Video games came of age in the 1980s, a decade that was also the heyday of cheesy Hollywood action movies. Thirty years later, you don’t have to look hard to see the influence of one medium on the other. The ultraviolent power fantasies that seem so corny today – movies like “Rambo,” “Commando” and “The Delta Force” – pretty much provided the template for popular games like “Call of Duty” and “Gears of War.”
“Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon” (Ubisoft, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, $15) makes that connection more explicit. It’s an affectionate tribute to a cinematic era in which one guy with a lot of guns could solve all the world’s problems.
The musclehead here is Rex “Power” Colt, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier who’s sent to a remote island to prevent a madman from building an unstoppable army. Rex is voiced by Michael Biehn, a veteran of genuine ’80s classics like “The Terminator” and “Aliens,” and his growly one-liners contribute as much to the atmosphere as the game’s pulsing synth-heavy soundtrack.
The story has everything you could want from the genre, including a painfully awkward sex scene, a montage of Rex training and a flamboyantly over-the-top climax. The plot is laid out in pixelated, minimally animated cut scenes, although most of the action takes place in the fully up-to-date engine Ubisoft created for last year’s “Far Cry 3.”
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