:::renaissance chambara:::

Posts on quality, life, culture, the media, news & tech with a twist & a slice of Limey. I moved my blog to http://renaissancehambara.jp in December 2006, go there for the latest content.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Movin' on

After 1,148 postings and almost three years worth of writing I am moving to blog on Wordpress. This means a shiny new domain called renaissancechambara (we put a focus group working on that one for a while) where you can find the same poor standard of posts on similar topics to what you've got used to. I will be leaving my archive of postings here, until I work out how or if I can move my postings over.

Update: my blog has now moved on to renaissancechambara.jp. You can subscribe to the RSS feed

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Saturday, December 09, 2006


The Host

I finally got around to writing a review of The Host (Guimul). A product of the Korean film industry, which seems to be on creative fire at the moment. The Host has been compared to The Royal Tanenbaums and Godzilla or Tremors.

The film also has a subversive tone questioning the relationship that South Korea has with the US and the suppression of citizen interests for the betterment of big business.

The performance walks a tightrope between humour and tragedy without the heavy-handed humour in many Hong Kong films.

Get out and see it if you haven't had a chance already.

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Links for 2006-12-08 [My Web 2.0]

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A special edition of Jargon Watch brought to you in association with Research In Motion: makers of the BlackBerry

BlackBerry Orphan - children who suffer from mental neglect because their parents are continually occupied with their mobile email device

Adult pacifier - mobile email device

Is Jim the most evil man on this planet? One of BlackBerry's biggest defenders, Jim Balsillie, the chairman of Research In Motion, says children should ask themselves, "Would you rather have your parents 20% not there or 100% not there?"

I can't believe that he went on record with that quote.

Thanks to
Wall Street Journal: BlackBerry Orphans by Katherine Rosman (December 8, 2006).

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Friday, December 08, 2006


Game Theory

There's been some interesting things being said about Sony and its inability to get things right with the PS3.

  • Its an impressive, if flawed piece of engineering. It has been said that the PS3 platform is designed to last up to ten years. However, Sony's hand may be forced to refresh much faster by the deeper pockets of rival Microsoft
  • It is a great platform to seed Blu Ray into the marketplace
  • Disaffected customers have been purchasing PS2s and PSP devices - which demonstrates strong brand loyalty, rather than a total rout by rival console makers
  • Sony's ability to run Linux and powerful silicon may open new markets and partners beyond its existing eco-system
  • Sony can't afford to fail, as Bill Gates said during the 1997 turnaround of Apple; a near-death experience can be a great motivator

  • The PS3 has underperformed in the marketplace, Nintendo and Microsoft are hitting target numbers
  • Sony has been outinnovated by Nintendo with the Nunchuk, providing consumers with a new way of interacting with games. In a war of polygons versus playability - playability wins
  • Sony game development is too expensive: the graphics elements of a PS3 game costs 8.6 million USD to develop, and 500,000 units are need to be sold in order to be profitable. This is roughly twice the price as a Nintendo game
  • Sony has ventured into Uncanny Valley with its latest graphics engine. (The dip in postive consumer attitude as the character better mimics human life is the Uncanny Valley.) There is a paradox of realism - after a certain point, the closer to reality that the gaming experience gets in terms of graphics and player experience; the harder it is for the game to seem real. This inability to believe makes it harder for the players to fully engage in the game.


Sony is going to live or die by its software, out of all the consoles Sony's is the most expensive to develop for and has the smallest user base. This is likely to be the case for the next 12 months at least. From a games developers point of view the chance of break even let alone success is least with the PS3 and probably greatest with the Nintendo Wii.

Couple these business factors with Sony's distain for its developer community and you may see an exodus of developers to Nintendo.

Sony's failure will be a breach of trust with large developers and will adversely affect an entire games industry eco-system. Electronic Arts is already taking corrective action; developers run a risk in the rush to get on the Nintendo train that quality slips as they try to get into the Wii market faster with mediocre products that will sit on the shelves.

The less games that sell on the PS3, the greater the loss that Sony suffers on each box. The more fanciful have speculated that massive hardware sales and low games sales could bury Sony. Its sophisticated engineering could be the biggest waste of smarts since the Maginot Line.

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Links for 2006-12-07 [My Web 2.0]

Thursday, December 07, 2006


On heavy rotation

I picked some recordings that were at the popular end of dance music at HMV last Friday:

  • Klaxons - Magick (SMD mix) - A one-sided single by the leaders of the new rave movement that consists of erm the Klaxons. The single is pretty jackin', though I don't know if this single is indicative of their general material
  • Mync Project & Danny Rampling - Strobelight - Better quality material than would expect from Positiva, a good solid house tune in both normal and dub versions
  • Freestylers - In love with you remix - For house heads the one to go with is the DJ Bomba and Senor mix

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Links for 2006-12-06 [My Web 2.0]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Jargon Watch


- Google, Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Yahoo!. VC-speak for the group of companies expected to buy up the creme of Silicon Valley start-ups. Thanks to
CNN Money.

Generation Cash - Generation Content getting paid through sites like citizen journalist photo agency Scoopt, and video sites like Revver, eefoof and Flixya splitting ad revenue. This content for cash game has gone mobile; mobile operator 3 pays video creators per download through its SeeMeTV initative and MyNumo rewards the creators of ringtones, videos and wallpapers through a revenue share approach.

The concept also extends to the black economy trading on eBay and those people operating as part of the Fon wi-fi network and the big cash prizes offered by the likes of Intel and Netflix for customer-generated innovation. It's Alvin Toffler's prosumer concept made good. Thanks to Trendwatching.

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Links for 2006-12-05 [My Web 2.0]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Links for 2006-12-04 [My Web 2.0]


Spanish Hustle

El Lobo (The Wolf) is a film based on the true story of Mikel Lejarza.

was a Spanish Intelligence Service agent who penetrated the Basque separatist movement
ETA at the end of the Franco regime in the early 1970s.

A kind of Spanish
Harry's Game, despite its documentary content the film is a beautifully shot, taunt, well-paced thriller; rich with period detail.

The film deals obliquely with the societal and political changes that were happening in Spain as a whole, this is probably as important a factor on the film as the struggle for Basque independence. The film shows how the state security apparatus moves to get a prime position in preparation for the move towards democracy and repositioning itself away from being an instrument of repression to being antiterrorism specialists.

The acting is first-rate conveying the complex emotions and decisions that the informer and his handlers undergo in fulfilling their duties. It is one of the best films that I've seen this year.

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Monday, December 04, 2006


Links for 2006-12-03 [My Web 2.0]


The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You? Take the Test to Find Out.

Thanks to Cowboy Caleb for the recommendation


Homebrew Media

I was watching a video interview that Guy Kawasaki did with Steve 'Woz' Wozniak. Whilst Steve talked about the early days of the computer industry it reminded me of the way that people are talking about social media.

There are the Altairs and Apples of this world with a plethora of start-ups, a raft of visionaries like Richard Stallman who saw an unbridled future for the PC, its genius engineers like Steve Wozniak and its mercurial Steve Jobs wannabes.

This time the Hewlett-Packard's of today (Google, Microsoft, News International and Yahoo!) are paying attention, taking sides and hunting talent.

It reminded me that much of the BS that is talked like about the death of newspapers is over-hyped and will take much longer to come to pass than the pundits thinks.

Also many of the changes that will make a difference will creep up on my awareness and Bam! I wake up one morning and realise how much my digital life has changed, when I look back at how its happened I won't be able to point to a defining moment.

I think that we are in for intersting and exciting times, I haven't felt this excited about technology since Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

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