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 You can subscribe to the RSS feed

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.

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

Holloways of Ludlow - anglepoise reseller

Rumour has it... Guide to gossip sites and blogs

Developing world demands high-tech handsets - Mobile & Wireless - Breaking Business and Technology News at

instructables : Homemade instant oatmeal

WidSets Beta

Main Page - Fab @ Home

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).

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.

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

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

I was thinking about writing something about the Yahoo! reorganisation the yesterday, but there was so much being written and those that I spoke to on the inside were still looking for information on how it pan out (this will probably take months) that linking to a selection of the pundit comment out there seemed the best approach.

Yahoo's CEO makes big changes at the top - Los Angeles Times

Rules for Using MySpace in Politics | Personal Democracy Forum

Charlene Li's Blog: Dissecting Yahoo's reorg

Japan’s Bloggers Focused on Companies & Brands : Social Media Implications

A Gonzo Journal » Blog Archive » Blogging And Regulation

A New PB&J Sandwich at Yahoo!? [ Motley Fool Take] December 6, 2006

TWiki - Enterprise Collaboration Platform & Wiki

INTERNAL MEMO: Terry Semel: 'friendship will survive forever' - Valleywag

Hooked on Work: the Allure of Extreme Jobs

Alsoft, Inc. Makers of DiskWarrior and MasterJuggler

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.

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

eightysevenfour - Easily open .docx on a Mac

Yahoo!'s Talent Keeps Bailing

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.

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.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Links for 2006-12-02 [My Web 2.0]

Sunday Miscellany

Christmas Cracker ticket

You know when you're part of the the technorati when: you've had your comments login for Valleywag BEFORE they threw the door open to the proletariat.

Whilst everyone at Fortune magazine gets excited that a candid interview with Bill Watkins of Seagate Technology has an admission that consumers use their ever larger hard drive to hold more porn; they manage to gloss over the real telling comments.

The M&A boom: The Valley is no longer "about building a company and a culture. It's about making money for the top guys. If you look back to Intel (Charts) and Fairchild, they set out to build a company that would become massively large. Google (Charts) was another good example. They waited a long time. They wanted to build a big company. People don't think like that now." That includes, Watkins continues, YouTube. "YouTube is like eBay. The founders didn't know what they were doing. The consumers just took hold of it."

The private equity boom: Seagate went private in 2000 - in a $2 billion buyout led by Silver Lake Partners - only to go public again in 2002, giving Watkins insight into the current privatization wave. "It's all about investors getting short-sighted. They've lost their patience. There's nothing these private equity firms do that Fidelity couldn't do. If you're Fidelity, and you own $40 million of my business, and you want a meeting to discuss how my business could be run more efficiently, I'll take the meeting. I'll listen. But that's not the way things work. When you go private, the only thing you think about is going public again."

Silicon Valley is running a risk in losing the key thing that separates it from Bangalore, Cambridge Mass. and Epsoo Finland. The culture. This is what makes engineers work days and nights to code great products and attracts some of the brightest people from around the world.

The short-termism that Watkins goes on about shows how the Valley is no longer seen as separate to mainstream corporate America; but you can't run a technology company in the same way as a biscuit company.

On the way back from Liverpool I managed to read Irresistible! Markets, Models and Meta-Value in Consumer Electronics by Bailey and Wenzek. Given that the book was published by IBM and the authors are business consultants for IBM it was no accident that the future of consumer electronics is powered by cell processors and embedded Linux.

What is interesting is the way Bailey and Wenzek see a blurring of the line between a product and the adjunct services like the iPod and iTunes. They also predict an electronics industry with only 25 per cent of the players that are currently in the marketplace and highlight the needs for localised products for local consumers.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Opera Mini

Exodus: Alright. Movement of Jah people! Oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!....

When Nokia launched their latest version of the Internet browser it looked very promising, having used it extensively on my E61 I have found that that demonstration put lipstick on a usability pig.

My friend Ian Wood has been a long time advocate of the Opera browser. I had previously tried to use it on a Nokia 6111 with no success but gave it a second chance whilst at home in Liverpool since my web withdrawl symptoms were that acute.

Unlike the first time with the 6111, both application packages installed with no hassle at all. The application was easy to configure to get on the web.

So far I have found that pages get rendered much faster and more faithfully than the Nokia browser. The picture above shows how Opera rendered the top of this blog on my E61.

More information here on Opera Mini.

Links for 2006-12-01 [My Web 2.0]

Online Classifieds Marketplace

PSFK: Looking For Contributors

Internet survey tool - Surveyshack online surveys management

Official Google Blog: Google Base turns 1


IAC/Interactive Wins Fans