Box Office Mojo Redesign by IMDb Pro

Box Office Mojo Redesign

It finally happened. Eleven years after Brandon Gray and I sold Box Office Mojo to Amazon/IMDb in 2008, they finally released a complete revamp of the site, updating the design and backend so that it appears to be fully integrated with the IMDb database.

Several features have been moved behind the IMDb Pro paywall, including some genre and franchise movie charts, while some features disappeared altogether including: weekly theater counts, calendar views of box office on movie pages, adjusting any domestic box office chart for ticket price inflation, among others.

The reaction on Twitter and the Hollywood press is resoundingly negative. Many want their old Mojo back. I do hope IMDb takes some of this feedback seriously, not because of the “design” but because of what it says about their editorial focus and understanding of box office.

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Movie: Brad’s Status

Brad's StatusBrad’s Status was a big disappointment. It is a meandering, mostly one-note, one-joke melancholy comedy about a middle-aged man (Ben Stiller) who is dissatisfied with his life. He compares himself to his former college classmates who are seemingly more successful than he is.

The script had a couple of great opportunities to make the theme so much more than it was, and totally struck out. In the end, Brad’s Status, which is meant really as a question posed by Ben Stiller’s character about himself, completely evades the moral question altogether and gives us no answers. My advice: Skip this snore fest.

If the tone and premise of this movie intrigue you, I’d suggest the much more creative Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It touches on some of these themes and has a similar tone, but is thought provoking rather than just plain boring.

Potty Training and Potty Learning

Potty LearningMany have asked about how my wife and I potty trained both of kids around age two. I have been hesitant to offer a full account of what we did because I think it misses the point: The goal is not and cannot be to have your child use the potty on a deadline. A child must learn to use the potty when they are ready to, and it must be THEIR idea, not yours. You cannot have an agenda with regard to learning to use the potty, else it will backfire and become a power struggle between you and your child (which you will lose), rather than a source of pride for them.

What we did is a hybrid of RIE principles and Elimination Communication (EC). Generally I’m a huge advocate of RIE and not a fan of EC because EC misses the point — a parent should spend their time and energy connecting with their child’s mind, not their bowel movements. But many of the techniques are taken from EC, so I want to give proper credit. Continue reading

Should We Avoid Teaching Children About Ownership?

buildcastleOne of the reasons I am drawn to Magda Gerber’s RIE parent/infant philosophy is that it does not advocate forcing children to share. Why? Because sharing by it’s very nature is a voluntary act — to force a child to “share” is much closer to an act of theft than it is an act of generosity (for further discussion, see my article “Sharing Is Not A Virtue“).

But on a deeper level Gerber understood, at least implicitly, Ayn Rand’s idea that knowledge is hierarchical. That means certain concepts are dependent on other, more basic concepts, and one cannot grasp or be expected to grasp an idea that relies on more basic, fundamental knowledge. For example, you cannot grasp the concept of “furniture” without first identifying a few different kinds of furniture, such as tables, chairs, book cases; you cannot understand multiplication until you grasp addition; etc. Continue reading