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Saturday, April 30, 2005

12:36 AM - Bunny!


Oh sure, she looks all cute and adorable but get between her and her carrot and she'll rip your throat out, man.

Link  | 

12:36 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Souchaku Henshin Blade King form and Todoroki.
I'm not a fan of the Souchaku Henshin format but these figures look outstanding.

Paper starships. [via]
"Paper starships are foldable models of sci-fi starships. You can download them, print them, cut them out, and assemble them. When you finish a paper model, you'll get a full 3 dimensional physical model of the selected starship."

Translated Katamari Damacy song lyrics.
"Everybody clump together and spurt it alllll out"

Bittorrent crackdown in Hong Kong.
"... a Hong Kong movie industry trade association said it plans to send letters to 100 BitTorrent users through their Internet service providers threatening legal action unless they stop using the software." Home users are easier to bully and intimidate than those triad-connected stall owners selling pirated DVDs.

p2p usage at an all-time high. [via]
Bear in mind, this excludes Bittorrent usage.

Link  | 

Thursday, April 28, 2005

8:43 PM - Elsewhere on the web

A review of Hybrid Style Galaxy Convoy.
Momodani's main complaint is the poorly-designed detent joints of the cannons prevent them from pointing straight forward in flight mode. He's got a suggested fix but it involves taking apart said joints and performing minor surgery.

Microman Magneforce are out. [via]
The pictures linked above clearly show the magnets holding the figures together are pretty strong.

Lost season 1 special torrent released.
What if they came up with a clip show for Lost? What if the clip show had a gravelly-voiced narrator asking uninteresting questions? What if there weren't any new revelations? What if you thought there was nothing special about this special? What if you stopped watching after 20 minutes?

Link  | 

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

9:21 PM - JAM Project rocks

Best Project album cover

Best Project: JAM Project Best Collection album cover.

  1. Ichirou Mizuki
  2. Hironobu Kageyama
  3. Rica Matsumoto
  4. Eizo Sakamoto
  5. Masaaki Endoh
  6. An unidentified boulder.

Link  | 

9:20 PM - Go, lion

Victory Leon

Click on the thumbnail for a photo of Mugenbine's Victory Leon in animal mode.

Link  | 

9:19 PM - Elsewhere on the web

A tribute to the Micronauts. [via]

Street gaming: PSP-style. [via]
Scene I'd like to see: the gamers run over while being completely engrossed in Wipeout Pure.

Malware as game design inspiration.
"Infected will certainly be 'socially communicable' in that victorious players can wirelessly invade their opponents' PSP systems and spread their unique virus literally around the world ... This type of compelling game play is further enhanced by allowing players to check their ranking against other players, as well as see just how far their virus has spread." For a follow-up game, the developers ought to create a PSP game in which the object is to overwhelm their fellow gamers with messages about Nigerian business propositions and penis-enhancement products.

Link  | 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

9:31 PM - Let's JAM!

Ad verbatim transcription of the mostly informative, sometimes peculiar text on the back of the Best of JAM Project CD (LACA-5092):

For children that bear future's destiny . . .
And for the adults that do not forget to dream . . .
"Heroes inside the screen and children in front of the screen are in search for a powerful voice and spirit"
The members of JAM Project executed in the summer of 1999 the first-ever live performance of 1000 songs. Ichirou Mizuki is yet the king, leading the world of animation songs with his heart and soul. Hironobu Kageyama, with Ichirou Mizuki were part of what was called the Big Three who opened the new era of singers. Eizo Sakamoto, known as the true heavy metal "Shouter of Flames", and Masaaki Endoh, the new expectation of the animation song world. This line-up alone proves that JAM Project is one that sincerely cares about the "power of song". Not only that, but the female singer with the most powerful voice, Rica Matsumoto, will be participating! Singing with a strength and sensitivity unique to only women can be heard at JAM Project! For all the children of the world and all adults that keep a burning flame within, these five most incredible singers at times will sing together and at times will compose the best unit ever to create animation songs with the memories of new heroes that will be remembered and sung to the end of time.
With a heart that burns forever, sing animation songs together ... That is JAM Project!

Executive summary: JAM Project rocks.

Link  | 

9:30 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Takara's majority shareholder, Konami, sells off shares.
Konami cited Takara's poor performance as being a millstone round its neck. But when you get to down to it Konami didn't need Takara to produce toys for its IPs and Takara didn't need Konami's boardroom-level pressure and second-guessing. Anyway, Konami's stake in Takara was bought by mobile phone content distributor Index Corp. so there shouldn't be any problems capital-wise for the toyco. But what does this mean for Takara in terms of future direction? Will Takara maintain its focus on its core toy business or will the Index Corp. tie-up mean Takara is going to diversify to become a total life entertainment business the way the previous CEO intended?

Fan-made Disk Animal-inspired mobile armour. [via]

Six-string oni.
Todoroki ought to be making his appearance on the show soon. I can't wait to see how the creative team pull off his guitar-powered final attack.

Link  | 

Sunday, April 24, 2005

8:11 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman Road Force vehicles.

Mugenbuilder fan modes.
Mugenpolice, Mugenfire and Mugenbuilder combos (1, 2, 3) are over a foot tall.

Spyware is no solution for bad marital relations.
Suspicious spouses used to rely on private eyes; keyloggers are the modern equivalent.

Justice League Unlimited 204 and 205 torrents.
The Suicide Squad episode was terrific.

Promoting better ties by co-producing ... soap operas.

Link  | 

Saturday, April 23, 2005

9:05 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Batman Begins Microman. [via]
The Knight version looks fantastic.

PSP gutted. [via]

Sh15uya Face 02 fansub released.
It's heavy on mystery, atmosphere, style and street culture but disappointingly low on substance. The director, Tazaki Ryuta, also worked on Kamen Rider 555 so this probably shouldn't come as a surprise.

So I married an otaku. [via]
"He never failed to get up at 7:30 on Sunday mornings to watch a cult '70s anime rerun on TV and seriously considered dressing up as Kamen Raidaa (The Masked Rider) for his wedding until his mother wept and begged him not to."

Female comic characters don't fare well. [via]
It's difficult to see this as anything other than a damning indictment of a male-dominated industry.

Indy.TV: streaming independent music. [via]
A collaborative filter streams music according to your preferences. There's a suggestion that it may contain spyware but the FAQ claims this is a false positive.

Link  | 

Thursday, April 21, 2005

8:34 PM - Pay to patch

I thought I was being a smart consumer by waiting until game developers produced a second patch (or a comprehensive first patch) before buying games but sadly, I've been outsmarted by devious game developers.

It shouldn't be surprising to learn the latest game in Creative Assembly's Total War series, Rome: Total War, is buggy. It shouldn't even be surprising it's buggy after two patches. What is surprising is the developers have no intention of producing another patch because the publisher refuses to pay for the QA required for it. The developers even go so far as to suggest that "non-constructive" requests by gamers for another patch might damage the Total War series.

But wait, it gets even more ludicrous.

There's going to be an expansion produced for the game and it will apparently include fixes for the original game. So, instead of getting a free third patch, gamers will have to pay for the expansion to get fixes for the original game.

This does not sit well with me.

There's a petition protesting CA's various boneheaded moves with 1200-plus signatures thus far (including my own). It may not accomplish much but CA deserve some sort of PR black eye for indulging in this kind of customer-screwing.

(Link obtained from the Qt3 forums.)

Link  | 

8:34 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Takara's stock takes a hit.
"Takara, the toy company, fell 6.3 per cent to Y479 after saying its net loss for the last fiscal year would increase because of poor sales abroad and restructuring costs."

Child's play assuages hospital fears.
"In cooperation with toy maker Takara Co., Tanaka has designed a special doll that children can give an injection or an IV."

JAXA envisions robots working alongside humans in space.
The Japanese space agency is called JAXA? They should've gone with something a little more spunky like, I dunno, Gutsy Geoid Guard.

Link  | 

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

10:30 PM - Roma invicta!

I got Rome: Total War last week and thought I'd give my initial impressions of the game in an easy-to-digest Q&A format.

Rome: Total War.

Not to be confused with ...?
Paris: Total Whore.

Box contents?
3 CD-ROMs, an adequate manual and a map with the Roman tech tree on the flip side.

Hard disk space required?
The game folder is about 2.3GB and savegames are pretty small. My early campaign savegames have taken up less than 2MB each.

Is it hard to get into?
It's certainly a complex game but there's a good tutorial campaign for those new to the Total War series and there are plenty of context-sensitive tips provided during the actual campaign itself.

Does it require a knowledge of classical Latin?
No, it turns out everyone in Rome speaks English -- sometimes with a posh accent -- although like some folks today, the ancients would occasionally spout a Latin phrase in a pretentious fashion.

Is it an improvement over Medieval: Total War?
Oh my, yes. It appears Creative Assembly have managed to address all my M:TW complaints. The endgame should be much easier to manage.

How's the AI?
I'm still in the early phases of my campaign but I haven't been impressed with the tactical AI at all. Unless vastly overmatched (or supremely incompetent), you should have no trouble beating the computer opponent. However, the AI is decent enough on the strategic level and will wear your forces down by attrition if you're not particularly careful.

Worth it?
Yes. This is an epic game.

Link  | 

10:30 PM - The kid from Madeira

The Old Trafford faithful have a new chant:

He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy Ronaldo makes Beckham look s****

Link  | 

10:30 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Nice to see Big Guy being remembered.

Gay action figures. [via]
"BALL JOINTED and FLEXIBLE penis." This is Robot Chicken material.

Action figure addiction. [via]
Personally, action figures have always been about aesthetics and playability, and my purchasing decisions invariably hinge on one thing: will I have fun with this?

Bandai Visual releases DVD/UMD combo package. [via]
I'd be interested in the PSP as a movie player if Sony didn't hamstring the device with region-locking.

Fan-created Batmobile replicas. [via]

Bittornado upgraded.
I got the perpetual file hash error at 99.9% for the first time with 0.3.12 so I reverted to 0.3.10.

Link  | 

Monday, April 18, 2005

8:01 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Japanese textbooks cause violent Chinese protests. [via]
Not as widely reported: "The offending books, which are published by a right-wing nationalist group, are used in fewer than 1 per cent of Japan's schools because the vast majority of teachers agree that they distort history." Also not widely reported: "Completely absent from (Chinese) textbooks is China's 1951 invasion and subsequent colonisation of an independent Tibet. Erased too is the 1962 attack on India and the ill-fated 1979 incursion into Vietnam."

Firefox 1.0.3 released.
More fixes.

You can never have too many ninjas.

Link  | 

8:01 PM - Prime time

From The Simpsons 16.15:

The Simpsons 1615

Link  | 

Friday, April 15, 2005

10:13 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Robert Cop 3. [via]
Part man, part machine, all bootleg.

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. [via]
Tips for writing.

Bill Maher's new rules. [via]
"New Rule: Time Magazine has to change its name to God Weekly. This week, Mary is on the cover again. In the last two years, Time has put out: 'The Secrets of the Nativity,' 'The God Gene,' 'Faith, God and the Oval Office,' 'The Bible and the Apocalypse,' 'Who Was Moses?', 'What Jesus Saw,' 'Why Did Jesus Have to Die?', 'Jesus in 2000.' If Jesus gets any more free press, he's going to start thinking he's Paris Hilton. Look, I understand we have a lot of Christians in this nation, but how about a little equal time? 'Vishnu to Ganesh: Drop Dead.' And 'Is There No Pleasing Zeus?'"

Link  | 

Thursday, April 14, 2005

11:07 PM - Elsewhere on the web

How to solve the piracy problem.
Slate focussed on China but the observations and suggestions are applicable elsewhere. The single best point: "... products are not worth what the manufacturers say they are worth but what customers are willing to pay for them. The reason pirated products are so wildly popular is that customers love their value proposition." DVD manufacturers understand this perfectly well but are unlikely to lower prices without pressure from piracy.

Blogs used to spread malware. [via]

Tungsten E2 first impressions.
Non-volatile memory, an improved display and better battery life. I almost wish my TE would die so I could justify getting a replacement.

Teacher is a gaijin. [via]
Hilarious and educational. That kancho scene in Macross Zero was just bizarre and I had no idea kids actually did that in real life. And to their teachers as well. Proctology must be a popular profession over there.

Link  | 

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

10:15 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Broadcast/Blaster gets an upgrade.
Shockwave customised as a CD player for Hibiki's Disk Animals.

In-game advertising.
The nVidia ad in Rome: Total War's manual and the "Plays Best on Alienware" logo during the installation were annoying enough. I'd go ballistic if my faction leader, Gaius Julius, started proclaiming it was Miller time after battles.

Bittornado upgraded.
Only minor bug-fixes, though.

Checking for a transparent web proxy.

Link  | 

10:14 PM - I+L+V

Mugenbine fan-mode

Click on the thumbnail for a photo of a Mugenbine fan-mode.

Link  | 

Monday, April 11, 2005

8:53 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Kamen Rider Hibiki episode 11 released.
Unsubbed. Interestingly, I managed to get a green torrent status light with Anarion's tracker for the first time ever.

Free WordPress blog. [via]
Caveat: indeterminate disk space and bandwidth. They claim to welcome busy, popular blogs, though.

Free stock images.

Choose your names carefully.
Here's why.

Time's 100 most influential people of 2005.
Interesting nods to HALO and Bittorrent.

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8:52 PM - Hibiki hottie, too

Kamen Rider Hibiki certainly features extraordinarily beautiful women. The latest knockout to join the cast is Umemiya Masako who plays Hibiki's ex-classmate and colleague.

It's a pity women are woefully underutilised in Kamen Rider shows. It probably doesn't help matters that Kamen Riders are by and large virginal if not outright asexual. All that henshin-ing must be bad for the libido.

Link  | 

Sunday, April 10, 2005

10:03 PM - Mugen links

Here are some Machine Robo Mugenbine links for folks who are curious about the line and what the Japanese fans are doing with it.

There are some delightfully quirky fan-submitted creations on the line's official site.

NMB's gallery.
A massive collection of fan-modes.

Asimo's blog.
Staggering super robot creations combining upwards of 20 Mugenroid.

Prominence image BBS.
An image BBS for fan-modes.

Kajiki's site.
There are only two fan-creations linked on this site but what he lacks in quantity he makes up for with quality.

Whitebear's site.
In-depth looks at most of the ST sets.

Izumi's site.
Reviews of every non-exclusive set as well as a large collection of fan-modes.

Bootleg Mugenbine.

Link  | 

10:03 PM - Elephant gun


A photo of Mugenbine's ZordElephant.

Link  | 

Thursday, April 07, 2005

10:44 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Disposable e-mail addresses.
These fulfill a need but the providers might eventually be blocked by web sites and forums to prevent abuses.

What to expect from a Michael Bay Transformers movie.

Choose your names wisely. [via]
It would horribly fun to go this high-faluting conference and confuse everyone by asking them where you could download the latest episode of Justice League Unlimited.

Link  | 

1:18 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Time to meet the mecha. [via]
The Land Walker doesn't so much walk as shuffle in a geriatric manner but it's a start.

1/1 Scopedog. [via]
Imagine if the guy who made this got together with the folks who made the Land Walker ... a Scopedog that shuffles in a geriatic fashion!

Creative Assembly vs. fans: Total War.
I'm exaggerating but it's evident the game's developers made a bad AI programming decision and unimpressed players by going "it's not a bug, it's a feature."

Link  | 

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

1:06 AM - MagneForce

Takara's latest Microman designer interview promotes the Titans-inspired MagneForce series. The Magnemo-powered assortment comprises of Microman figures Achilles, Theseus and Icarus along with their Acroyear counterparts Atlas, Phobos and Metis.

The figures, expected to be released at the end of the month, are 98 per cent done and all that's left is to fine-tune the magnets on the soles.

Designer Abiko Kazutami talked about the MagneForce figures' ability to combine with the accessories to form vehicles. The Microman vehicle, an aircraft reminiscent of the classic Space Knight's vehicle mode, is dubbed MagneGriffon, while the Acroyear equivalent, a ground vehicle, is known as MagneOdyssey. Both look unconvincing but they're bonuses.

Abiko went on to tout the figures' interchangeability (via 3mm, Magnemo-8 and Magnemo-11 joints) and pointed out the new figures will even be compatible with the vintage Titans.

At that point, I was hoping he would announce Takara would be producing replicas of the vintage Titans but that didn't transpire. Abiko did reveal a fondness for the vintage Titans and the Magnemo-powered Jeeg but it appears he's considering producing reimagined versions rather than going with the repro route.

It's a pity. The vintage Titans were some of coolest designs from the original Microman line. Most action figure fans might sneer at them today but I think the Titans have got an endearing retro-cool elegance about them and their Magnemo interchangeability gives them tremendous play value. The only thing that's putting me off getting a vintage Titan is the thought of having to pay upwards of 10,000 yen for a battered and bruised 30-year-old figure with cracked cuffs. I would love it if Takara reproduced these classic designs. The fact they would be compatible with the new figures would give toy fans additional incentive to pick them up.

The second half on the interview concerned the upcoming Road Spartan series. The most interesting tidbit was its development was inspired by the fact Automaster Ryan was a hit with both Microman and Transformers fans. We should get a look at the new vehicle designs next month.

Link  | 

1:06 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Disk Animals, unite!
A creative fan-mode.

WordPress 1.5 theme winners.
I like Wuhan and Zen Minimalist.

Firefox prefetching: a dubious Google decision. [via]

Shaving: an alternative how-to. [via]
"Donít press too hard, since this is the step that causes the most damage to your skin. However, if you're like millions of Americans without a job, in debt, angry about the government and the coarsening of public life, you might want to slash yourself repeatedly, rendering your face a bloody testament to your personal despair."

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

8:13 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Stardock working on freeware MMOG. [via]
"Sims meets Total Annihilation." As I understand it, they're doing this to drive traffic to TotalGaming.net in the hopes it will result in sales for the company's other products.

United draw, Ferguson concedes.
If the Premiership awarded points for hitting the woodwork, United would have won the title by now.

Loony Toon.
It's not unusual to see football players sent for fighting but the Newcastle-Aston Villa match saw two players from the same team dismissed for that offence. Specifically, the teammates were sent off for fighting each other. Bizarre but not unprecedented.

Konami's Specter: another masked rider. [via]
Choseishin Gransazers and Genseishin Justirisers were both aimed at the same young audience as the sentai shows and it would seem Specter is aimed at the same (older) audience as the Kamen Rider shows.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

9:17 PM - V for Victory

V for Victory

A photo of Mugenbine's VictoryLeon.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

10:27 PM - Revelations

South Park 9.4:

The Sony PSP was built by God to determine who on Earth had the best skills to defeat the armies of Satan.

That explains why Ken Kutaragi didn't want anyone criticising the PSP. It would have been blasphemous, you see.

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10:26 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Hibiki's Rider no. 3: Todoroki.
The opening theme, Kagayaki, will undoubtedly be guitar-heavy when he debuts.

GaoGaiGar Final: Grand Glorious Gathering. [via]
With new scenes and dialogue, this will be a nice promotion for Takara's upcoming GGG merchandise.

WordPress.org's dodgy fund-raising.
There are better (and more upfront) ways to raise funds.

Words that sound dirty but aren't. [via]
"Windfucker"? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with ornithologists? On a related note, someone ought to make a list of words that are innocuous in one language but sound dirty in another. For instance, the name of Garfield's teddy bear would elicit giggles in Malaysia while the line "by the hair of my chinny chin chin" would probably crack someone up in Japan.

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