April 2009

akibaatdeep21Akibahabara@deep now up to the third volume but I wanted to post on the second before I get to far behind …

In the second volume Page , Akira and the rest of the @deep company move into the online game world, an MMO in the vien of World of Warcraft or Lineage2, to find Yui the originator of the @deep mascot software. The only problem with going into Aquila is that the MMO game world is owned by Digicap, the corporate enemy of Akihabara@deep. Of course Yui resides deep in the most difficult dungeon in all of Aquila and setting up an almost inevitable confrontation with Page’s nemesis in the corporate world of Digicap. 

The pacing is well done and although some parts of the confrontation are cliche and very predictable it is suspenseful and dramatic. Yui’s fate and the addition of new members to the @deep team who happen to fill much needed roles (corporate lawyer anyone?) really set the tone and I immediately jumped to Amazon and preordered the next volume in the series.

you can get Akihabara@deep volume 2 from Amazon now at this link.

Love and Pop is Hideki Anno’s movie of the novel Topaz 2. It is about 4 teen schoolgirls in Tokyo and the involvelment in the practise of enjo kosai or compensated dating the practise of salarimen in japan to pay young girls to go on dates with them. From the Wiki:

The film follows four Japanese high school girls who engage in enjo kosai, or compensated dating. This is a practice in Japan where older businessmen pay teenage girls more commonly to simply spend time with them, or rarely for prostitution. The movie is also a coming-of-age story. The main character, Hiromi, does not have the direction in life that her friends already have. Hiromi’s friends were going to buy Hiromi a ring, but Hiromi refuses to take all the money because she doesn’t want her friends to be jealous. Hiromi goes on dates by herself to get money for the ring. Soon, she gets in over her head. Hiromi falls too far into the world of enjo-kosai as she tries to hold onto a “friends forever” vision of the past.

Anno (of Neon Genesis Evangelion  fame) uses a digital video camera to get very unusual angles and set the tone. The way the salarimen pop out of the woodwork at the girls is just creepy!!

via Japan Probe:

Comedian Tomonori Jinnai shows us how to get up, eat breakfast, and get ready for work in just five minutes:

via Akihabara News:

Here’s Kohjinsha’s latest Netbook, the MT6WX16AR. Available in both black and white with a 10.1” LCD(1024×576), Atom N270, 1GB of RAM, 160GB of HDD, Intel 945GSE Express and a 1Seg TV Tuner… 49,800 Yen (€370).

10.1 inch screen instead of a micro-sized 8.9 inch, i really like the form factor with the 10.1 screen.

(btw, 1 Seg TV tuner is broadcast digital video service in Japan and Brazil, linkie here)

So here is a very cool idea. Lets make a silly robot that can only move in one direction – forward, lets sheathe it card board with a silly and friendly face, lets put a flag on on the robot’s antenna with the destination that we want the robot to reach, and here is the kicker – we realse said robot into a park in New York and see what happens … does the robot get kicked/beated/mugged/grafiti-fied? does it complete its journey depending only on the help of strangers? 

This was done by a NYU student Kacie Kinzer and the results might be somewhat surprising. From her blog at Tweenbots

Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. Because I built them with minimal technology, I had no way of tracking the Tweenbot’s progress, and so I set out on the first test with a video camera hidden in my purse. I placed the Tweenbot down on the sidewalk, and walked far enough away that I would not be observed as the Tweenbot––a smiling 10-inch tall cardboard missionary––bumped along towards his inevitable fate.

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. 

Wow, color me surprised, people actually helped the little guy get to his destination, even to the point of pointing the little guy on a path out of danger. 

I get why they think these kind of cars are going to be popular in the future as in-town runabouts. Way kewl and all but heaven forbid you hit anything with one of these things. It’ll be a closed casket funeral for sure:

first up is the i-MiEV from Mistubishi. EnGadget:

It isn’t exactly providing a whole lot of details just yet, but Mitsubishi has confirmed at the New York Auto Show today that its i-MiEV electric vehicle will indeed be making its way to the U.S., and sometime “before 2012”.

It hits the roads in Japan this summer but depending on the supply of batteries it might be delayed in its US launch.
Next up is the Peapod from (about to go under) Chrysler:
also via Engadget:

We just got an exclusive first look at the Peapod from Chrysler’s Global Eco Mobility unit. Like its cousin the GEM, Peapod is a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, which means it’s limited by law to 25 mph and can’t go on the highways. Peapod gets about 30 miles on a charge, and adds in all the “car” goodies that GEM was lacking. The vehicle seats four in lightweight Arion-inspired seats, has suicide doors for easy entry, a windowed roof that can be removed for some open-air driving, and even a nice amount of trunk space.

The thing about both of these cars and the Project PUMA from Segway/GM is that running around on the city streets in one of these would scare me to death. Even a low speed crash with someone’s mountain size SUV would not end well for the driver of one of these boxes.

Tarako is a pasta sauce made from cod roe (yes fish eggs!) and mayonaise. As weird as putting that combo on pasta may sound, and I am told its very good, the advertisements are a thing from another world. Mutant Kewpie dolls marching in formation at little children, pure nightmare inducing…  And the advertising dept. has proven to be one VERY prolific bunch. The kewpie dolls and the singing children are becoming an internet meme…

from what I have seen other summations around the ‘net Queen’s Blade anime is a VERY heavy on the fan service. Maybe a little to heavy for me. Shin over at Atarashi Prelude pretty much summed up my feelings. Way to much boobage and fanservice for my tastes. I am an adult and do not mind a little bit here and there but …

ah well, K-ON! is looking good so far, although we are only one episode in. the only fanservice shot in K-ON! was a completely blacked out upskirt shot. Thank goodness. The animation is very good and smooth and the girls are actually realistic although their arms tended to the pointy blobs at times, maybe it was a style brought over from the manga? The girls pretty much fit into roles without being cardboard cutouts usual in anime. They seem to be not meant as drool-over for the perverts but more real than most although Yui’s as the “clumsy girl” can be a bit over the top. She kinda redeemed herself by actually being honest with the club and admitting that she knows nothing about playing guitars. K_ON! will be on my watch list.

via Tokyo Mango:

A Hello Kitty desk fan? The mind boogles. I swear Sanrio has finally gone off the deep end. The world does not need this much Hello Kitty.

via Gizmodo:

We tend to cover the zany antics of theGoogle Street View team quite a bit here at Gizmodo, as you can see. For those of you who hate that, this story is pure Schadenfreude.

Last summer, when the team was busy mapping the streets of London for the recent European Google Maps Street View rollout, one of its speedier drivers was pulled over by Britain’s finest for a traffic violation.

bwahahaha, they kept this part on street view for a while; although it seems to be blacked out currently.

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