June 2007

No false advertising

Recently, Steven said:

After you've finished watching Misaki Chronicles, what becomes clear is that the story tellers had a really good story to tell, and knew they did -- but didn't think they could sell that story on the merits, either to their studio or to an audience. So they had to hide it, disguise it, attach things to it. Like huge boobs.

In the interests of clarity, I want to say that when it comes to the new manga series HEAVEN, creator Aoi Nanase has not gratuitously added large breasts and panty-flashing in order to market a serious story about the nature of good and evil.


Why I Am Legend might suck

  1. The director of Constantine and Britney Spears Greatest Hits.
  2. The screenwriter of Poseidon (whose next project will be Marvel Comics' Thor).
  3. More a remake of The Omega Man than a straight adaptation of the original story.

Why it might not suck:

  1. Will Smith appears to be acting, not simply mugging for the camera.
  2. Cinematography by the Director of Photography from the Lord of the Rings movies.
  3. Decent trailer.


A very active spammer decided to use a phony return address on munitions.com yesterday. The rejection messages from spam filters (“gosh, thanks, assholes”) were coming in in batches of around a thousand, which was not healthy; the machine was even rejecting SSH connections.

Fortunately, I have two virtual IP addresses with separate CBQ bandwidth queues, and ssh still worked on those. Once in, I was able to shut down the Postfix listener for munitions.com. I’ll leave it down for a few days, and hope that this clown switches phony addresses soon.

And maybe I’ll see about adding that SPF record I haven’t gotten around to…

Evil Twin In A Box

Tokyo Times reports that facial hair is getting popular in Japan, leading wig companies to branch out:


If this catches on, perhaps they’ll add a line of merkins.

Sony says: "we'd rather sell laptops than force Vista on you"

Well, for corporate customers, at least.

It’s no secret that Vista sales have been sluggish, with many people (and most companies) preferring to stick with Windows XP for now. Retail sales are pretty much Vista-only, though, and online dealers have a strong preference for it as well.

At my company, application compatibility has been the main reason to avoid Vista (as opposed to Office 2007, where “user pain” tops our list). If all their apps and peripherals worked, I think most of our users would quickly adapt to Vista, and prefer it over XP.

Until that day comes, we’re sticking with the XP-based models in Sony’s SZ and BX series, which continue to deliver excellent performance and stability (one motherboard failure in 20+ machines, quickly repaired). I’ve been casually keeping an eye on Sony’s lineup, on the assumption that when the existing supply of XP-based VAIOs runs out, it will be Vista time.

Maybe not. Today’s press release from Sony Japan only has assorted versions of Vista on the A, F, and G series, but still offers XP on the brand-new widescreen BX’s. The BX series is still completely absent from sonystyle.com, but now that the new model has been announced in Japan and Europe, it should show up soon here.

Sadly, all recent models in the lightweight SZ series (beloved by our non-Mac-using executives) are Vista-only, but unless we hire a lot more execs soon, we’re in pretty good shape there.

I liked her better the other way...

A historically-accurate Yagyu Jubei isn’t nearly as much fun as the anime version…

Tokimeki stops at the border...

I found G-On Riders amusing, and I’d like to own a legitimate copy. The problem is, it’s not $333 amusing, and that’s five years after release. Even online, Japan just hasn’t caught on to the concept of discount pricing.

The only way to get a good deal is to buy used, and Amazon Japan has plenty of dealers eager to sell used manga and anime… if you live in Japan. I haven’t found any yet that will do international shipping.

I’m still planning to spend two weeks in Japan this fall, so it looks like the thing to do is order a whole bunch of stuff a few days before I leave the US, and have it all shipped to my hotel in Tokyo. After I get there, I can repack it all into a single box and put it on the slow boat to home. The savings on just a few items should cover the shipping costs.

Not all Japanese DVDs are quite as ridiculously packaged or priced as anime, though. Where an anime disc typically has an hour of content for around $50, live-action series do a lot better. A show like 銭湯の娘!? gives you two hours for $32, and Amazon does discount the box set, bringing the total cost down to $261, a merely painful $14 per hour.

…but I could get it for half that price, if I had an address in Japan to ship it to.

Sadly, while buying used products feels better than downloading them for free off the Internet, it’s not really any better at rewarding the creators for their work. Legitimate digital distribution would do a lot to solve that problem, but so would discounts, thinpaks, direct sales, etc.

Gosh, thanks, PC Connection!

I ordered one of these (250GB laptop SATA drive) a few weeks ago, knowing that they weren’t in stock yet. Today, PC Connection says they’re in stock, shipping today, but mine is still marked “back-ordered”, and a call to customer service confirms that it won’t ship until around July 9th.

Why? Because it’s in stock in California, and she said that orders going to California have to ship from a warehouse in another state. So my shiny new drive has to be loaded onto a truck, driven a thousand miles or so, and then overnighted back to California.

And she’s not kidding. If I try to place a new order, it shows as “in stock, shipping today” right up to the moment I try to finish the transaction, at which point it switches to “2+ weeks”.


[7/5 Update: we just got bit by this again, when we ordered a shiny new “in-stock” LED-backlit MacBook Pro for a new hire. It arrived two weeks after he did, shipped from Nashville. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting on my new drive…]

[7/10 Update: still hasn’t shipped, and customer service confirms that they still haven’t managed to ship any from their warehouse in California to their warehouse in Nashville. So, I ordered another one from Other World Computing, who’s had it in stock for weeks for $20 more, and who promises to have it on my desk by 10am tomorrow. I might leave the other order open and expense it at work; we’ve got several laptop users who’d love to have 250GB.]

The best part of installing PCs...

I rebuilt two Shuttles yesterday, and got this charming message when I ejected the driver CD.

Are you sure to Exit?

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”