It would be polite understatement to say that most of my friends do not understand my affection for such things as anime and Morning Musume. Yea, though I walk through the hallway in the shadow of Chacarron, I shall fear no evil, for kawaii art with me; Mini Strawberry Pie and fan-service comedies, they comfort me.
That said, I think this goes too far. Click on the streaming audio of track number 3.
I always knew that American music agencies were rank amateurs at creating pop idols compared to the Japanese (c.f. Tiffany vs Hello! Project), but I hadn’t realized how much the fanbase contributes to this.
Case in point: last month, some paparazzi pictures were published of 18-year-old Kago Ai, an extremely popular idol singer, and they may have ended her career.
Now, if you’re used to Hollywood scandals and the all-too-common meltdown of former child stars, you’re probably thinking in terms of cocaine, public sex, car wrecks, shoplifting, armed robbery, drunken partying, and incredibly poor taste in boyfriends.
Don’t ask me why…
…but if you must know. [update: changed the link to a site with better romanization and translation]
Gizmodo links to a review of the new Sony NW-E507 that they think is an honest-to-gosh iPod Shuffle killer. Features: “easy, one-handed controls”, “estimated 50 hour battery life”, and “integrated FM tuner” (still waiting for an explanation of why you want radio on a device that can hold anything you ever want to listen to). For only $50 more than a Shuffle, what a deal!
Choice quotes from the actual review:
The mirror-like Champaign gold fascia looks plain, but there is an OLED display hiding behind it.
The bundled ear buds that come in the box sound muted and muffled, while the cable is also a bit too short.
Sony claims 50 hours continuous playback, although that’s when playing ATRAC3 at 105kbps.
At the base of the NW-E507 is a plastic cover that hides the mini-USB port.
I found the clip to be less than confidence inspiring – twice I tried to attach it to my belt, and twice the player fell off while I was walking.
Software wise, you get SonicStage version 3.0, which is a definite improvement over previous versions, but still nowhere near as good as MusicMatch or iTunes.
So, it might have significantly better battery life, although the difference between 12 hours and 50 hours doesn’t impress me, since both units have to be plugged into a computer to charge or update, and the difference between charging it overnight and charging it every few days isn’t that significant in ordinary use. With the Sony, though, you have to carry around a mini-USB to USB cable; the Shuffle just plugs into any standard USB port.
The bundled accessories sound pretty weak, too; bad earbuds, bad belt clip, lame software. Sure, the Shuffle’s quick-detach neck strap screams “snatch-and-grab”, but at least it never just falls off. And I defy anyone to read the detailed description of the “easy, one-handed controls” without giggling. Press, press and hold, twist back and forth, and pull out one click or two, with buttons on front, back, top, and sides.
Conspicuously missing from the review is any mention of using it as a standard USB flash drive. The Sony site hints that you can store data on it, but doesn’t say how.
And, of course, the software is Windows-only.
M-Audio has announced this custom controller for it, with matching faux-wood paneling.
I’d love to see the market numbers that drove this decision. Macs have always been big in the creative market, but making custom hardware for an application that comes free with the OS? Hmm…
So, yesterday afternoon I went in for some quick outpatient surgery. Nothing major (or ahem life-altering), just some quick drainage work, and then I’d be able to drive myself home. I figured I’d stop at Costco on the way back and pick up some steaks to grill.
That was 1:30PM. At 2PM, the surgeon finished looking at my “right axillary abscess” and said he wanted to take me across the street to the O.R. and do the (still simple, still minor) procedure under general anaesthesia. Not having spent much time under the knife, I didn’t immediately translate this to “you ain’t driving home, son”.
After getting me into one of those silly gowns and inserting an IV, the nurse asked who was going to pick me up. I explained that everyone on my list of possibles was at least 70 miles away and stuck at work for several hours, and found myself being admitted for the night.
Then they told me it’d be at least 5:30PM before they started. Then 6:30PM. At 8:15PM, I was finally knocked out with a clever assortment of chemicals, and woke up at 8:45PM with a well-packed bandage under my right arm. I got about an hour’s sleep last night, and finally got out of there around 10:30AM this morning.
The point of this story? When I left the house to start this little adventure, I stuffed my iPod Shuffle into a jacket pocket, figuring I might need some entertainment for half an hour or so while I waited for the surgeon. It saved my sanity. Except for the relatively short time that I was otherwise occupied, I was able to stay entertained with an assortment of music and Japanese talk radio.
Being partially color-blind, I couldn’t decipher the red/orange/green LED that signals remaining battery life, but it never ran dry. It warded me from the chatter in the hospital hallways, the burbling of my roommate’s oxygen supply, the dreadful basic-cable offerings on TV, and the small stack of relentlessly defeatist newsweeklies that passed for reading material.
And since the Shuffle correctly syncs play count with iTunes, I knew which talk-radio shows to delete when I got home this morning, making room for more.
Oh, and everyone I ran into wanted one. Most of them found the price as attractive as the product.
This one has been following me around since junior high school Health class, and for some unknown reason it once again popped into my brain. Google seems to have no record of it, so I might be the only one in the world who remembers this little ditty:
I got those V, VD blues,
careless love, what ya got to lose?
I got high, on two-bit booze,
careless love, loser's blues, VD blues.
(note that for full effect, one must picture a bad country-western singer, backed up by a banjo (if I recall correctly), serving as the title song for a Sex-Ed video made in the 1970s. And I can still sing it. These are the brain cells I wouldn’t mind losing as I get older.)