Tue - January 24, 2006

The Morning After

A few final thoughts on the election before returning to the usual rants:

- for the cadre of correspondents from south of the 49th who spent yesterday asking me various questions about how Canadian elections work: We now have a "Conservative Minority". Fell free to pester me for details.

- for a lot of people who live in Canada, regular correspondent Mean Gene had the best take on things: "It could be worse." Just keep repeating that ... "it could be worse." You might even eventually believe it.

- for anyone who works in the beef or lumber industry, well, you should probably start buying lottery tickets. Stephen Harper's vision of Canada as a lapdog of the United States means that your livelihood is probably toast.

- for anyone who lives in B.C., well, sorry about the impending rape of your environment by Alaska-based U.S. interests. You might want to move ... I hear that Labrador is still kind of nice.

- you would think that the Tories would have enough money to buy Harper a proper hairpiece. That thing is atrocious.

- it took less than 2 hours for the Bloc to start to try and extort the Tories for some in-house support. I thought we would have been able to measure that particular interval in seconds, not hours. They're slipping.

- Svend Robinson should probably just go away now.

- It could be worse. It could be worse. Keep repeating it. It could be worse.

- Paul Martin's instant resignation makes it rather obvious that the Chretien brigade still controls the Liberal party, and that Uncle Paul had no say whatsoever in how this campaign was run. Connect the dots yourself. One: Under the Martin government, the Canadian economy was booming, the employment rate was at an all-time high, the dollar was strong, and the budget had a nice little surplus. Two: Only a complete moron (or group thereof) would run a campaign that didn't use fact one as the main platform. Three: The Grits did just that. Four: Paul Martin might be a lot of things, but he is certainly not a moron. Five: This was not his campaign. We'll miss ya, Paul ... life was pretty good under your watch. But more power to you for washing your hands and stepping away with some of your dignity intact.

- Harper's eyes. They aren't just cold. They are cold and, well, dead.

- My much-worried-over-vote ended up not mattering at all. We elected the commie candidate in my riding, so our representation will be somewhere between "non-existent" and "laughable".

- Paul Martin was a lot more fun on Rick Mercer than was Stephen Harper.

- It could be worse. It could be worse. It could be worse.

Posted at 10:34 AM     Read More  

Mon - January 23, 2006

Ballot Box

So, yeah, I voted.

Question: Why are we voting with fucking PAPER?

Statement: I feel really unclean ...

Posted at 06:58 PM     Read More  

Election Day

The time has come. Today we elect a new government, and there are some certainties involved:

1 - The new Prime Minister will be a hypocrite, a sleazebag, an asshole, or a combination thereof.

2 - Myron Thompson will inexplicably be returned to the House of Commons yet again.

3 - Jack Layton will claim a great victory for the socialist movement no matter how many seats the NDP scrape together.

4 - Rick Mercer's election night special will be hilarious.

5 - No candidate in any riding will display even a tenuous grasp of tech and/or communications issues.

6 - Peter Mansbridge will be on the air for less that 48 seconds before he utters the first "fascinating".

So get yourself a nap this afternoon and settle in with an extra big bowl of popcorn tonight. Still to come: The results of the Great Local Candidate email extravaganza! Stay tuned!

Posted at 09:32 AM     Read More  

Mon - January 16, 2006


Okay, so I figure that I have already pretty much blown my "no blogging about the election" vow, and I can more or less spew at will now. Here's the deal: I cannot find it in my heart to cast my vote based on the leadership of the big three national parties - the choice between The Slimy Thieving Loser, The Creepy Nazi Loser, and The Completely Hypocritical Loser is not a choice that I care to consciously make. So in the true spirit of the parliamentary style of government, I have dashed off emails to four of my local candidates, asking their opinions on issues that matter to me.

Their responses (or lack thereof) will determine my vote. I'll cast my ballot for the best of the local mopes, regardless of the general ickyness that surrounds the leader that they happened to be attached to.

Posted at 05:19 PM     Read More  

Tue - January 10, 2006

More Rampant MacWorld Rumourmongering

Supposedly some plebe saw a 13.5 inch widescreen iBook backstage this morning. Apply your own grains of salt as needed.

Posted at 11:28 AM     Read More  

Book Of The Month - January

The Underdog by Joshua Davis. I bet you didn't even know that there was an "Extreme Sauna" competition, did you?

Posted at 09:46 AM     Read More  

Fri - January 6, 2006

The Time Has Come

For the past couple of years I have been using an application called iBlog to organize and edit the entries in this mess. Like virtually any application anywhere, there are pros and cons to iBlog. The pros are that it is small, fast, simple, and makes clean standard HTML that you can host virtually anywhere. The cons are that there is no PHP support, which means no comments, no trackbacks, no user authentication, no on-line editing, no nuttin'.

Despite these limitations, however, I have stuck with iBlog because migrating to something else was going to be a pain. A few weeks ago I installed WordPress on my server, and while it is every bit as easy, flexible, and robust as advertised it also promised to require a massive migration project that was leaning towards article-by-article hand transfer of data. Not so much fun, there.

But, the same bugs in iBlog that caused the loss of the legacy Smarties and Geekbacks have raised their ugly heads again, and eventually you have to draw the line. So - I am going to try and write a script to scrape all of the junk out of the iBlog html files and import it whole hog into WordPress. Some things may not make the jump, and your RSS feeds will probably go bonkers while everything gets cleaned up and messed around, so please bear with.

On the plus side, the new setup will allow for more reader interaction and - if I get really generous - the ability for some of you mopes to edit or correct my stuff. FSM knows that my drivel is sometimes rough around the edges. On the minus side, you can change the look and feel of WordPress-served pages pretty easily - unless you are a total retard and can't grok CSS you can make changes ad infinitum and bug the crap out of people when the style changes willy-nilly.

Posted at 11:51 AM     Read More  

Mon - December 12, 2005

Bags Of Cheer

Late in the afternoon on Saturday there was actually enough time to sneak in a grocery run, but it turns out that the cops were detaining people trying to enter the store. No, nothing like that ... I'm innocent, I tell ya ... they were trying to rustle up food donations for their Christmas outreach program. So while traversing the aisles of Fortinos I grabbed a few extra things - four cans of soup, two cans of vegetables, 2 packages of pasta, and a jar of peanut butter. Not a lot, but enough to make a difference.

Now - when it came time to check out I rang my donations through separately. I have no idea why, I just did. Grand total - ten dollars and change. I looked around, and the average mope at the cash was getting at least that much in junk food as part of their order. Pizza pockets, chips, whatever. So there is no reason that every person in the store couldn't spend that 10 dollars on canned and dry goods for the food drive. It isn't a lot of money, but if every shopper did it each week the whole food bank thing would be licked.

It's TEN FUCKING DOLLARS, you pricks. It's supposed to be Christmas. Spirit of giving. So knock it off with the junk food and help someone out.

Posted at 04:44 PM     Read More  

Sat - December 10, 2005

Home At Last

The virtual floodwaters have receded, the floors have been mopped, and we are back in our proper digs. Thanks for being patient.

Posted at 11:05 PM     Read More  

Sun - December 4, 2005

Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed that these pages were semi-available for the past couple of days ... and that is a very generous "semi". It seems that the server that normally hosts these august pages is having some sort of mental breakdown, and until that gets squared away we are having to fall back on "Plan B" ... hosting these things locally on a grotty old box in the corner of my basement. As such, the load and delivery speeds (especially for crap like the Band-Aid video) will be less than stellar. Your patience is appreciated.

Posted at 08:26 PM     Read More  

Sat - November 26, 2005

The Money Pit

People keep asking "How could Microsoft possibly have lost 6 billion dollars selling the Xbox?" For starters, the box cost more to manufacture than it sold for, and that was just the cost of parts ... total losses were magnified by everything else from development fees to marketing budgets.

It's nice to see that this proud tradition continues, with the components of the new Xbox 360 checking in at $525. That is 126 bucks in the red for every unit sold, and that is before assembly costs, packaging, and shipping. Add in the start-up and selling costs noted above, subtract the retailers' cut from the $399 purchase price, and you are probably looking at a minimum loss of over 250 dollars for every box sold.

That is a best-case estimate, however, and things could spiral out of control in a hurry. It's worth noting that the original Xbox was assumed to lose about $2 billion, and to start selling at break-even point by 2005. The break-even never happened, the original machine still sells at a loss - moreso now that the price has been slashed to clear inventory to make room for the new box - and the losses have tripled in a mere three years.


Posted at 06:13 AM     Read More  

Mon - November 21, 2005

Videogame Musings - Part 1 of 5

A mere 24 hours from now there will be a pack of shivering mopes camped out in front of your friendly neighbourhood electronics store, waiting through the night to try and purchase an Xbox 360 the moment the place opens on Tuesday.

These people are for the most part sad little lemmings, unable to make decisions without the media and advertisers telling them what to do and think, but in this case they deserve our pity instead of the usual scorn and mockery. This is because most of them will come away empty-handed - they have already been turned into an army of disposable PR dupes and lackeys, doomed to go home disappointed by the machinations of the company that tricked them into being there in the first place.

Here's the deal: A few months ago (as noted in These Very Pages) there was a splashy media event broadcast "live" (oh, ha ha) on MTV to unveil the shiny new Xbox. The results were not quite what Microsoft was hoping for, and they came away with a lot of digital egg on their face, finding themselves generally savaged in the gaming and tech press. In an (at this point, apparently successful) attempt to get their buzz back, they have now manipulated the supply chain for the big launch on Tuesday, creating artificial shortages to try and make the new box seem like A Big Fucking Deal. The clueless mainstream media will dutifully have pictures of the crowds waiting overnight to get the life-changing joy of an Xbox 360, there will be shots of happy gamers giving the big thumbs up to the camera as they totter out of the store laden with gaming hardware, and the suddenly hard-to-obtain box will become the object of much lust and desire.

The upshot of this latest bit of disdain for consumers by the trolls in Redmond is that any stores that took pre-orders for the new Xbox will be receiving fewer consoles than people actually signed up for. Not only will the poor morons who wait in line overnight not get the object of their retail lust, but some of the people who put down a deposit on the damn thing will also walk away empty-handed ... stores have been told to give their restricted supply of the precious silicon to the people who pre-ordered with the most accessories. The poor sap who pre-ordered a machine in August will find that his unit has been handed to someone who might have ordered 2 months later but added 2 games, an extra controller, and dance mat to the mix.

Sucks to be you, kid.

It appears that the only way to get a box will be to head out to a store that doesn't do pre-orders ... a vanishing breed to be sure, since even discount department stores are getting in on that act. Those places will also have an extremely miniscule supply on opening day and they have had to agree, we are told, to "sell out" on the first day regardless of how many people actually show up to plunk down some coin. How that will actually be accomplished and/or enforced is anyone's business ... perhaps a faceless droid from Microsoft will show up halfway through the business day and whisk away any unsold units.

And before you ask, no, there are really no shortages of the new box.

Bits and Pieces 1: It is no secret that the "core" system - lacking the hard drive - will not play any of the titles of the original Xbox. But it has now been revealed that the entry-level machine will also not be able to deal with three of the biggest new titles either. Kameo, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Perfect Dark will not run on the lower-priced system, which should make for some amusing moments in living rooms around the country in a couple of days time.

Bits and Pieces 2: Oddly enough, it now appears that some of the legacy Xbox titles will not run on the new system at all, even if you do get the wildly-expensive deluxe model. One of these titles is Project Gotham Racing, one of the franchises that Microsoft is hanging their hat on as a standard-bearer for their videogame division. Strange, that.

Bits and Pieces 3: The 360 is a competent system, and does what it is supposed to do in a fine manner indeed. That said, it doesn't really do anything that the original Xbox doesn't do every bit as well. The pictures are a little prettier if you have a progressive scan TV and, er, that's pretty much it. There are no new gaming experiences, nothing that can't be had on other systems, nothing that will change the way that people think about games, and certainly nothing that will make non-gamers want to come into the fold. The three biggest titles on launch day are a knock-off of something else (Kameo), a sequel that adds nothing to the original franchise (Project Gotham Racing 3), and a port of a 5 year-old Nintendo 64 game (Perfect Dark). This is not a huge surprise, since the biggest seller on the original Xbox was a port of a Macintosh game from 1999 - something some Halo fanboys would probably be shocked and dismayed to learn. Indeed, everything old is new again, but don't tell that to the dopes shivering in the dark on Monday night. Their delusions will probably be all that will be keeping them warm.

Posted at 04:31 AM     Read More  

Wed - November 16, 2005

Bend Over

So much for being smug about living north of the border and not having to deal with a complete loss of privacy in the name of "fighting terrorism". The Canadian government introduced legislation yesterday that attempts to force ISPs to put methods into place to spy on you, and to hand over your personal information without a warrant (you have to read between the lines of legalese, but it's there).

Bullshit. Absolute fucking bullshit of the worst kind.

UPDATE: Michael Geist, who so eloquently broke down the flaws in the new telemarketing act, has a to-the-point legal walkthrough of this mess. He also addresses the government's outright lies regarding judicial oversight and claims that the law "isn't really changing".

Posted at 05:41 AM     Read More  

Tue - November 15, 2005

Morons Walk Among Us, Again

The hoo-haw about intelligent (and if ever a word was being used loosely, this is it) design continues to crawl around the news wires, with both sides getting shots in here and there.

The right-wings and bible-thumpers were dancing in the streets of Wichita when the Kansas Education Board officially voted to cast doubt on evolution by mandating that creationism, er, intelligent design be taught in their high schools. One of the odder parts of this story is that they claim that support for I.D. (sorry, but having "intelligent design" appear in every sentence was really hosing the flow of the post) comes from the "fossil evidence" and "molecular biology". This, of course, is akin to saying that photos taken from orbit support the theory that the world is flat. Whatever spurious logic floats your boat, I guess.

On the other side of the coin, voters in Dover, Pennsylvania - apparently of somewhat sounder mind that the hilljacks in Kansas - voted out eight members of their school board after said board decided to add I.D. to the curriculum. The incumbents based their reelection platform on the bizarre message of "forcing kids to learn intelligent design equals 'academic freedom'", and the challengers campaigned on "you guys are a bunch of idiots". The voters obviously agreed with the "idiot" assessment.

Meanwhile, noted scholar Pat Robertson tells the folks in Dover that god will get 'em for this.

Posted at 11:26 AM     Read More  

Fri - November 11, 2005

November 11

When I was younger, I always made a point to get my poppy from an actual veteran of World War I. After a while, that meant going to the armoury or the Legion hall when they would have their open houses, because the vets got too old to stand on the street with their box full of poppies. And then one day there were no more vets of the Great War at the open houses - there were too few of them, too sick, too old, too frail.

For the past few years I have been sure to get my poppy from a World War II veteran - but something tells me that I will soon have to change that standard again, and start to look for one of the survivors of the "forgotten war" in Korea. They all just look so terribly old.

It is believed that there are only four Canadians left who served in WWI. Four people left who saw the gas, and the horror, and the slaughterhouses of mud ... four people for who the words of this week have real meaning. Four people left to remind us all that war isn't embedded reporters and slick briefings and high-tech toys - it's bodies and blood and kids who will never grow up.

Wear your poppy.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Posted at 12:01 AM     Read More  

Sat - November 5, 2005

Hot Coffee

Every year or so a story comes down the pike about some dumbass who burns their mouth on a cup of hot coffee and runs to the nearest ambulance-chaser to try and sue whoever it was that served them the steaming joe in question. And, despite hauling out food experts who testify that coffee really needs to be brewed at 88 degrees celsius and that any lower temperature would be depriving the coffee-loving public the fabulous java taste that they so richly deserve, the defendants often lose these cases, and have to shell out large sums of money to alleviate the so-called pain and suffering. Even those "Look out! Hot Stuff!" warnings that you see on most every cup these days have little effect on the payouts that these morons get.

Why? Because the justice systems in North America are completely part flawed, and seem to have a decided bent for rewarding stupidity.

However, this post is not about that. This post is about the rest of us, who also scald our tongues and the roofs or our sorry mouths, but don't go around litigating and instead just suck it up and suffer in silence. For us there is now the Smart Lid, a sipping lid for take-out cups of doughnut helper. The lid changes colour - if the coffee is going to rip the skin off of your soft palate and blister your tongue the lid turns bright red, as in "Stop, stupid, it's fucking hot!" When the coffee is cool enough to guzzle without cauterizing your face, the lid changes to an inviting "coffee bean brown."

This is technology at work. Kudos.

Posted at 02:11 PM     Read More  

Tue - November 1, 2005

Alas, Poor Jack, I Knew Him Well

A completely unrelated discussion this morning reminded me that a lot of people aren't twigged in as to the best and/or way to discard their dead Jack-O-Lanterns after Halloween. If you can't compost the things, then check your local burg's rules for recycling and yard waste pickup. The chances are about 5:1 that your town will take your burned-out pumpkins in either the blue box or the big brown bags.

Make sure you ask before you send your gourds to the landfill.

Posted at 11:49 AM     Read More  

Fri - October 21, 2005

Blast From The Past - Part The Fourth

Posted at 10:34 AM     Read More  

Thu - October 20, 2005

Blast From The Past - Part The Third

Posted at 12:04 AM     Read More  

Tue - October 18, 2005

Blast From The Past - Part The Second

Posted at 05:34 PM     Read More  

Mon - October 17, 2005

Blast From The Past

I promised something amusing, and here it is. A look back at my first ever blog - a month-long journey into videogame obsession and borderline psychosis from 2002. Four installments, over the next four days. Enjoy.

Posted at 11:54 PM     Read More  

This Is Not A Test.

There will be a slight interruption in your regularly scheduled drivel service this week. Postings will be extremely sparse until Friday. However, I am whipping up a little something to tide the huddle masses over. Stay tuned.

Posted at 09:48 AM     Read More  

Fri - October 14, 2005

Chocolate Covered Bacon

I decided that cramming the Chocolate Covered Bacon recipe in with the 200Gb iPod Nano was pushing the nonsense envelope just a little too far. And there was definitely a non-zero chance that the link to the bacon would be missed by someone whose eyes had already glazed over after reading my self-serving tech babble. The Chocolate Covered Bacon is much to awesome to take such a chance.

In fact, it appears that the entire bacon/candy movement is picking up some serious momentum.

Posted at 02:50 PM     Read More  

Fri - September 30, 2005

Music piracy is destroying the fiber of our nation, or something

A new study supposedly shows that young people are rampant music and movie pirates, and their misbegotten ways are taking money and food right out of the mouths of starving artists. The study also states that these horrid file-downloaders are also chronic cheaters in school and shoplifters. Not too surprisingly, the study was commissioned and paid for by the big record labels - better, it was performed by Pollara, who is a noted industry leader in poll and study results that are carefully shaped to meet the needs of the commissioning client.

No doubt further study of the data will reveal that file-swappers also molest kids, carry guns, and fail to move to the back of the streetcar when asked.

Posted at 12:37 PM     Read More  

Wed - September 28, 2005

Two Little Words

Two little words that are going to be giving traditional newspaper publishers a lot of sleepless nights before the end of the year: Google Classifieds.

Posted at 11:59 AM     Read More  

Sun - September 25, 2005

Moving day

This whole mess is moving to a proper server today. There may be slight interruptions. Your patience is appreciated.

Posted at 12:08 PM     Read More  

Thu - September 22, 2005


I can't say (like many morons are doing) that I "missed hockey" ... because there was tons of hockey during the lockout. For real fans (ie: people outside of Toronto) there was the AHL, the junior leagues, and tons of NCAA hockey on the tube. But I will say that I missed the NHL - big time. Two weeks ago, however, I told myself that I would not be excited about the new season. No matter how badly I missed the game, I would not come back to a bastardization based around a fucking shoot-out. Fix the problems with obstruction, make it so that star players can be stars again, fine and dandy. But the shoot-out has no place in the game, period. Fuck you, Bettman.

Well, you can colour me hypocritical on this one. I realized last week that I am excited about the new NHL season, and I have a minor-league self-hate thing going over it. Shit.

Posted at 02:49 AM     Read More  

Tue - September 20, 2005

Leave The Penguins Alone, Please And Thanks

Brain-dead neo-cons and born-again wankers across the United States have been falling all over themselves to jump on the "intelligent design" bandwagon. If you have been asleep for the past 6 years, suffice to say that (a) "Intelligent Design" is a code name for "Creationism" and (b) George W. Bush is not only a True Believer, but he thinks that the schools should beat this belief into young minds as well. One assumes that this sudden right-wing hysteria is a sign that they feel the need to strike while the iron is hot - realizing that there will never again be a President with such a dangerous combination of innate stupidity, lack of education, and religiously-inspired refusal to acknowledge basic facts. This is their one great chance to corrupt the education system and tilt the scales of learning away from science and back towards their 16th-century mumbo jumbo.

Fine. Play fast and loose with your kids' brains and futures, I don't care. But leave the fucking penguins alone.

The latest tactic from these ass-sucking fuckheads is to try and say that "The March of the Penguins" is some sort of vindication of the creationist belief, as well as some sort of proof that traditional heterosexual family units are "god's way". Really. The leap of tortured logic that one must make to arrive at these conclusions is rather prodigious, and one that I cannot entirely fathom. To anyone capable of rational and independent thought - including, surprisingly enough, George Fucking Will - it is pretty obvious that both the penguins and their behaviour are the product of evolutionary pressures. The makers of the movie, however, made a point to stray away from any mention of the "E" word - that is a sure way to get your film picketed and blacklisted in the bible-belt heartland. It's too bad - while I can understand the basic desire to make some coin from the fruits of your creative labours, it is sad that a documentary can be undermined by a fear of the very facts that shape the movie's basic conceit.

The most annoying part of all of this is that one of the tenets of the whole "intelligent design" school of bullshit is that global warming is all part of "god's plan" and has nothing to do with irresponsible industrial societies fucking up the environment with uncontrolled emissions. You can see why George the Dumbass is a proponent - one convenient way to argue against the Kyoto accord is to claim that it somehow goes against the prevailing religion of the country he purports to represent. That's great - except that the birds that these assholes are championing as great paragons of Christian virtue are currently being pressured to destruction by that self-same global warming trend. Sadly, however, that was another crucial point that the filmmakers decided to avoid in the name of avoiding neo-con backlash. A point that (if you look at it from the penguin's point of view) rather desperately needed to be made.

I like penguins. And dogs. I pretty much hate people, though. Things like this remind me why.

Posted at 01:13 PM     Read More  

Sun - September 18, 2005


Those of you who participated in the tide of complaints about this week's updates - or more specifically, lack thereof - can knock it off with the geek-bashing now. Your regularly scheduled drivel will resume shortly.

In a nutshell, I was at a conference and the location was arranged so that - while I did have email and web - I was unable to use any FTP protocols and therefore unable to update the blog. Of course, this happens in the week where there are items that beg commenting on, like the iTunes Store's release of video podcasting tools and (more urgently) the unveiling of the Revolution's controller at the Tokyo Game Show.

Rest assured, there will be much typed about all of this. Soon. Really. I promise.

Posted at 09:35 AM     Read More  

Wed - August 31, 2005

Lawsuit fun

A couple of people have mailed to complain that there is no way to post comments here.

Now you know why.

Posted at 05:14 PM     Read More  

Right-wing Nutbars 'R Us

Is it something in the water, or what? Over the past few days the right-wing freakazoids in the U.S. of A. have gone from being "annoying jerks" to "raving fucking assholes". First we had our boy Pat Robertson and his assassination comments. FIne - everyone knows he is a twit, and is safely ignorable. But then the bible-thumping bozos decided to raise the ante by showing up at a FUCKING FUNERAL to claim that the American kids dying in Iraq are a result of god's punishment ... punishment for the fact that the United States allows gay citizens. No fucking lie.

And now, just to prove that any situation - no matter how tragic - can be exploited for dumb-ass holier-than-thou tirades, these buttlicks have sent out "scientific proof" that god is using hurricanes to punish the U.S. for abortions. Really. While they haven't had the brains to update their own stupid web site with the info yet, they sent out a news release overnight with the breathless information that a satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina looks just like a 6-week old fetus. You can see their stupid photos here (note: to enter Salon and read the articles you have to watch an advertisement first) - although the "6-week old fetus" picture looks pretty much exactly like the 16-week old fetus picture that was in a CNN-Online story a few weeks ago. And the hurricane photo looks a lot more like John Ashcroft than a fetus. Whatever.

Posted at 07:43 AM     Read More  

Thu - August 25, 2005

Flashing Minis

Today's rampant rumour: Apple is supposedly trying to buy half of all of the available flash memory that Samsung makes so they can offer the next generation of iPod Minis as solid state units instead of with hard drives. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted at 08:15 PM     Read More  

Still waiting ...

There are a grillion rumours flying around that Moto will finally unveil the iTunes phone at the big Virgin event this weekend.

Keep your pants on - the rumours are not true.

Posted at 05:15 AM     Read More  

Tue - August 23, 2005

Book of the Month - August

There is a belief in the western world that Japan is some sort of mythical haven for geek gadgets - a sort of surreal warp-speed incubator for everything that is handheld and/or digital.

The reality is that "warp-speed" would be a hideous understatement.

The poor gajin on this side of the pond haven't got a clue as to the depth and pervasiveness of mobile electronics in the Land of the Neon Chrysanthemum. The entire culture is shaped, driven, and mutated by the all-powerful keitai - Japanese for cell phone - and it's mobile offspring. Even the name gives a hint at the alien-to-us perception of cell phones in that country - keitai means "something you carry with you". The name doesn't refer to the function, it refers to the addiction to the device.

All of this can verge on the unfathomable for us occidental mopes - case in point: while North Americans lust after smaller and smaller phones, the Japanese prefer larger models for easier text messaging and (I kid you not) more room for stickers. But there is a fascinating and tantalizing peek behind the curtain of mystery in Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life ... a collection of essays and studies from the crucible of personal communication technology. Everything from teenage girls arranging "compensation dates" with salarymen, to the historical precedents of folk characters from the 18th century, to pre-paying for lunch from a vending machine as you ride the elevator to the cafeteria is explored and investigated in this collection.

You will never look at your thumbpad in the same way again. Highest recommendation.

Posted at 02:21 PM     Read More  

Tue - August 16, 2005

DS price drop confirmed!

Nintendo did indeed announce this morning that the retail price of the delightful DS will drop 13%, effective August 21 . Enjoy.

Posted at 10:24 AM     Read More  

Mon - August 15, 2005

New DS pricing this week?

Over at Cheap-ass Gamer they are reporting on updated price sheets that have been sent to retailers, suggesting that the price of the Nintendo DS will drop next week, by as much as 15 percent. Not coincidentally, that is the same week as the release of the potential cross-over hit Nintendogs in North America. Stay tuned.

Posted at 11:22 PM     Read More