Posts tagged postaday2011

#Anime Toradora getting Blu-Ray and an OVA!

The Blu-ray box set of the whole TV Anime of Toradora! will be released on December 21st, with an unaired new episode (OVA).

From The Akiba, via Vadim on Google+. One of my favourite series of all time, I'm unashamed ^_^.


Pre-shared games, with @Sebasu_tan

UPDATE: The title should be "pre-owned" games! Don't know why I wrote it as "pre-shared"!

The illustrious Sebastian of A Lonely September and @Sebasu_tan fame has posted an article about pre-shared games which I felt compelled to comment on, aside from the fact the person in question is awesome of course ^^.

The article in question

Titled under New and Pre-owned games… Together, Seb explores the issue of pre-owned games and their potential impact on the gaming industry. He argues (and I hope I'm not mischaracterising his points) that all the profits from pre-owned games are returned to the retailer, with none being rewarded to the original game developer, then goes to discuss the challenges of selling pre-owned games in an era where activation keys are the norm.

I agree with the latter wholeheartedly. To a certain extent with online stores like the iOS App Store, Steam, the iTunes Music Store, the Amazon Kindle store, Audible.com and so forth, media is tied to a particular owner. The idea of the first sale doctrine that exists with physical media is eschewed (gesundheit) in favour of being "licenced", as such I can't "lend" or sell that media to someone else. It's a dangerous slippery slope, and I hope it's challenged in court more often.

Shock of horrors!

In terms of his former point however, I'm inclined to disagree with my friend Seb here for the first time! Well, only partly :)

I don't buy (if you'll pardon the bad pun) the argument that pre-owned games represent a lost sale for new games, which hurts game developers. Industries regularly trot out figures claiming piracy is costing them trillions of dollars for example, but that assumes that a meaningfully large number of people would have bought the media had they not pirated it. For those with hundreds of movies on hard drives that would have cost thousands of dollars to buy on Blu-Ray or DVD, I doubt this very much.

I think the logic is equally dubious for pre-owned games. As Seb pointed out in his post, given the prohibitive cost of new games, it seems doubtful everyone who bought pre-owned games would buy new copies if the pre-owned versions didn't exist. A few might, but not most.

Sebastian may be onto something though. We have no evidence this happened, but its irresistible to speculate that a couple of the large gaming companies leaned on their distributors and asked them to stop selling pre-shared games. "Nice looking store you got here! Gee, it'd be a shame if suddenly we had to raise our wholesale cost if you won't get rid of your pre-owned games sections! Nudge nudge, wink wink!"


Voting for a non-JavaScript Google +1 method

The open feature request is listed as an enhancement which is a bit of a misnomer, but feel free to add your voice and vote on the Google Plus Platform list if you agree.

Throwing my support behind a non-JS solution for accessibility and speed.

A simple, elegant GET request based system would be wonderful, I already use it for Twitter and Delicious, should be trivial for Google engineers to implement.

Of course, it's intuitively obvious why an advertising company doesn't want a JavaScript alternative, but we can still dream. I'd implement it in a heartbeat here if they did.


#QantasLuxury

How to further destroy a brand, show how utterly and bafflingly out of touch you are, and create a subject that generates video parodies in less than 12 hours, within weeks of grounding your entire fleet over a pay dispute after your CEO rewards himself with millions. It's genius.

To enter tell us ‘What is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include #QantasLuxury.TCs http://t.co/WDTO0FKG

Better get Cale Sandle Lands on this one, or whatever that git's name is. Personally, I wouldn't mind some new pajamas, though I don't know how they'd compare to the Singapore Airlines ones. Those are some fluffy garments, let me tell you.

UPDATE: SMH is referring to the incident as a hijacked hashtag. Class.


Free Singapore Civil Defence Force posters!

A news story about lightning strikes in Singapore lead me to the Singapore Civil Defence Force site, which has a ton of super cool posters and handbooks. Naturally, many of these have to be printed ^_^.

The Jakarta Times knows Singapore

First, to the story that sparked this post. Given the wild rain in Sydney again today, this news article from the Jakarta Times of all places seems oddly precedent:

Singapore, The Lightning City
Feng Zengkun & Kezia Toh – Straits Times Indonesia
November 22, 2011

[..] especially as Singapore is one of the lightning capitals of the world.

It also experiences an average of 186 days of lightning per year, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA). This is due to the tropical weather conditions. Each square kilometer of land in Singapore can be struck up to 16 times each year.

That's puts Singapore ahead of the UK in number of strikes on people a year, though far less than the United States. Per capita you've got to think that's awfully high though for a country that's less than 50 kilometres wide!

Treasure trove!

Anyway, the Jakarta Times article mentioned the Singapore Civil Defence Force website had a handbook detailing how to survive lighting storms. Given the rain is pelting us here in Sydney, I figured it could have some advice. Right?

What I didn't expect was an entire site with posters ranging from workplace safety, to fire hazard guides, to earth tremors, to posters detailing emergency procedures and handbooks… it's a veritable treasure trove! All are downloadable in PDFs, and in the English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, the four official languages.

Unfortunately, this one about fire preparadness made me hungry.

We have an A3 printer, which for now has mostly printed anime pictures and scans (cough!) for walls and so on. I think I may have found a new source of posters!


Gruber and Topolsky on Android 4

That Topolsky has no major gripes like this about the Galaxy Nexus makes me think Android 4.0 might really be the first good version of Android. Which in turn makes me think Steve Jobs wasn’t far off at the 2007 iPhone introduction when he claimed the iPhone was five years ahead of the competition. ~ Daring Fireball

Makes sense then why it's taking Microsoft an age to formulate a response with Windows Phone. Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board during the iPhone's development and had access to all that inside information, and it still took Google this long to develop a polished competitor.

Still, if all the reviews of Android 4 are as positive, I might give it a look again. My beloved WebOS seems to be sinking fast, and as much as I'd love to have a MeeGo/Tizen phone or tablet, I don't hold out much hope for that either.


Cause this is my United States of Whatever

Now that Australia is the 51st state of the United States, I'll be expecting my American Amazon account to become active any day now. I'm proud of this post!

The Obama

Firstly, after many aborted attempts to visit us in the land where things are upside down, where kangaroos are the primary form of transport, and where steep Alpine slopes take tourists down a breathtaking ski run to a Germanic cabin where hot chocolate is served, President Barack Obama visited Australia. To minimise the disruption for commuters, he eschewed (gesundheit) the more populated areas in favour of vising the the new regional Amercian capital of Australia in Darwin, and the former one in Canberra.

Speaking in the newly constructed Capitol building in Darwin where a large military base is being assembled, details of the scope of the new occupation force began to emerge. From SBS World News:

Referring to joint plans to base 250 US marines in the Top End next year, rising to 2500 in five years, he said Darwin would write the next chapter in the “proud history of our alliance”.

Marines were chosen over other military personnel for the occupation force, to prevent waves of Australian refugees from fleeing on small boats to Indonesia.

The PRC

Confusingly, while the United States takes on the roll of administering Australia from the largely ineffective minority government led by Alan Jones, China remains the primary supplier of Australian economic aid which has helped former politicians including John Howard and Peter Costello to claim successes for their policies.

Speaking at a conference in Bali to escape the heat in the ACT, Julia Gillard assured the Chinese government that the new administrators weren't a threat to Chinese hegemony, and downplayed the words of the new President. From SBS World News:

“We have in Australia made an announcement with president Obama about the rotational deployment of marines into the Northern Territory for the purpose of exercising [because they’re were getting fat], that having the US engaged in our region is a force for stability, that having those marines training alongside the ADF in Australia enables us to have a strengthened capacity to respond to regional contingencies including things like natural disasters.

While also taking a swipe at the Singapore government's treatment of Australia as a dumping ground for helicopters, Gillard took the opportunity to provide some much needed perspective.

[..] during the last Australian summer of flood and bushfires, Singapore offered use of helicopters to assist in relief operations. That was possible because Singapore has military helicopters on Australian territory for long-term training.

The Convenience

Meanwhile, back on Australian American soil, ZDNet Australia reported on how the annexation of Australia would have long term security benefits.

As part of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Australia, a raft of new accords have been agreed upon to strengthen the national security of the two nations, [..]

Not "theoretically" strengthen, or "allegedly", but straight out strengthen. Certainty is critical in these matters.

[..] including a memorandum that will see US law enforcement agencies score access to the names, aliases, DNA and fingerprint information of suspected criminals and terrorists.

Following in the footsteps of draconian global copyright treaties that would see suspected file sharers have their internet revoked, in this scenario merely being a suspect without conviction would be enough to have your personal details sent to the United States.

While drastically securing everything because they say so, this would allow travelers who have never even been to the US to have their personal information transported there and stored. From a convenience perspective, its a win-win. I'm sure Bruce Schneier would wholeheartedly agree, if someone stuck a gun in his back, or something.

Conclusions

Now that the United States is administering Australia, I am looking foward to having their laws implemented here, which will facilitate me opening Amazon and Apple Store accounts without the messy overseas cards I'm currently using.


#Anime Antec Bakemonogatari PC decorations!

Now this is a fantastic idea, Antec are releasing Bakemonogatari decorative panels for their line of PC cases!

I have an Antec A300 case for my FreeBSD file/torrent server, do you think it'd be compatible? I'm sure it'd run faster and more efficiently with a gigantic image of the queen of Tsundere on the side. Not that I'm a sucker for marketing or anything, mind.


Penny Wong on marriage equality

Surely Australia has reached a point where we can value relationships by markers such as respect, commitment and love. I have no doubt our laws will one day reflect this.

+1 Penny Wong. Kudos.

One need only replace the label "homosexual" with another such as "White" or "Slave" in arguments against gay marriage to understand just how abhorrent (and I'd argue unconstitutional) the idea of denying these people dignity and rights really are. History doesn't look favourably on those against equality.

(Comments are closed. From past experience these posts attract xenophobic hatred and ad hominum attacks, and I couldn’t be bothered dealing with them).


My shiny new Kindle 4!

My brand new Kindle 4!

After months of mulling (as distinct from mulleting), I finally caved today and decided on a Kindle!

The least you need to know

I used to read obsessively as a kid, but when I started university I tended to read fewer novels. Partly due to a lack of spare time, partly because I was always moving around and didn't have the luggage space to be carting around books on camels like a certain person.

With the iPhone 4 and iBooks though, I started reading more. The convenience of whipping out my phone on a train, when I was waiting for the train, during boring meetings or lectures (you didn't read that) and reading a book was marvelous. The relatively poor phone reception in the Airport and East Hills tunnel (particularly during the morning rush) also lent itself well to consuming pre-downloaded material!

As I started getting more serious though, the deficiencies of using the iPhone as a book reader became more evident. The super high pixel density meant text was ultra sharp and readable, however having to turn the page each time I finished a paragraph started to get old. Using it obsessively as a Twitter client also meant it often didn't have the juice to read a book on the train ride home. In the late evening in bed, even at the lowest brightness the screen still had too much glare to look at.

I could have got an iPad, but the Kindle appealed to me for its eInk display, huge battery life, and the fact I could probably fit it into my pocket… I hoped! My iPhone 4 is already a twittering, internet using machine for the go, all I wanted was something that would let me read.

My brand new Kindle 4!

You didn’t need to read those previous paragraphs

This afternoon I came home with a Kindle 4, the current low end iteration of the ebook readers that have taken the tech world by storm. Which could be dangerous, because lightning bolts could cause serious damage to kindling, and its surrounds.

Firstly, the packaging wasn't quite as elegant as an Apple product (nothing else ever is), but it was nevertheless clever and fun to open. Some people scoff at this, but in many East Asian cultures the wrapping of a present is often just as important as the present itself! Scoff if you must, I don't care :).

Reading the 170g weight in the product specifications did not prepare me for just how light the device is. Feeling it in my hand, it weighed less than my iPhone 4! As an added bonus, not only do they fit into the leg pockets of my tactical pants, but in the regular side pockets as well! I can see myself taking this thing everywhere, which means I'll be reading far more too.

Syncronising was also also a snap. One of my few gripes with Apple hardware since my first iPod in 2003 was the need to use iTunes; the Kindle merely appears on the desktop as a USB device which you use to transfer your files. That's it! I have to admit I was unreasonably happy by this.

The screen is what blew me away the most though, as one would expect. Loading up some P.G. Wodehouse, Bill Bryson, Michael McCollum and picking up right where I left off, the difference in legibility and the extra screen real estate compared to the iPhone was incredible. I adjusted the default font size a point lower, and was charging through pages like nobody's business.

Like the iPad, I think eInk is the kind of technology one has to see for themselves and use to truly appreciate it. It really does just look like a sheet of paper, and save for the small screen refresh flash (which I got used to fairly quickly), holding it in your hand it looks like a real novel. Given I only bought electronic copies of McCollum's works for example, it finally felt as though I had a real version of one of his books, in my hand. It was rather wonderful to say the least :).

My brand new Kindle 4 next to my iPhone 4

Issues

Given I've had this less than 24 hours I was bound to run into n00b problems, but just a few quick ones.

Firstly, I couldn't figure out how to leave the screensaver mode, and searches in the Amazon support centre returned a frustratingly thin list of irrelevant entries when I tried searching. Turns out, to leave the screensaver you press the power button on the bottom of the device.

Secondly, and this is still unresolved, I've been unable to enter the password for our home WiFi connection because I haven't found a way to enter a vertical bar/pipe "|" character on the virtual keyboard. For now its not a concern because I've just been loading books through the USB cable, but it's still a pain.

Anyway, having lots of fun and can't wait to snuggle up in bed with some books that weigh even less than a paperback! No doubt I'll be posting more about it in the future.

If you’re thinking of buying one, feel free to use my referral code to support the site, or go here if you don’t like the idea of referrals. Thanks :)


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