new Earthsea trailer

Studio Ghibli has posted a new trailer for Gedo Senki online. Ged/Sparrow has a lot more screen time in this one. It’s wierd, but his boat is exactly like I imagined it. I still have no idea whether this is going to be a disaster or a masterpiece – possibly neither – but at least it is going to be pretty.

AICN also reports that a special preview of the film will be held July 7-9 in 17 selected cities. 20,000 fans will get invitations to the screening by lottery.

Caprica

It seems that there will be a prequel TV series to Battlestar Galactica. From what I’ve read of the premise, it doesn’t exactly look that enticing, set entirely on the planet Caprica and following the creation of the Cylons. The emphasis on “corporate intrigue” and “sexual politics” makes it seem less science fiction and more sitcom/drama wanna-be.

Only 50 years prior? Doesn’t that seem like a rather abbreviated timeline? Given that the Colonial society was built upon the Cylon’s labor, and then fought a long and bloody war after the Cylons sought freedom from enslavement, you’d imagine the time frame to be more like 100-200 years.

It’s worth noting that the last two minutes of the season 2 finale are available online – along with a very brief teaser for season 3. In it, the voiceover reveals that the Cylons intend to control humanity for our own good – to show us the Truth. The slave becomes the master. Given how easily the military could have simply taken over in the election between Roslin and Baltar, and Adama’s dedication (scroll down to last Q&A) to democratic ideals, there is a very stark contrast being drawn in ideologies.

full text of the press release for “Caprica” follows: Continue reading “Caprica”

Yahoo Babel Fish

Yahoo is now the host of the classic Babel Fish translation service, formerly hosted by Altavista. It now also supports Japanese!

For example, try: 七国山病院 (the CatBus sign from Totoro, courtesy of Steven). The Babelfish gives us “Seven national mountain illness institutes”. I noticed from Steven’s link that 国山 can be interpreted as “realm” and Steven also mentioned that 病院 (“illness institutes”) is actually hospital, so the sign translates as Seven Realm Hospital. The Babelfish isn’t capable of translating these compound statements and is more of an atomic processor on the individual characters.

Naturally, it also works in reverse: try “Seven Realm Hospital” and you get the output 7 つの王国の病院 which when I feed back into the Babelfish, turns out to be “Hospital of seven kingdoms”. Realm and Kingdom both get translated as 王国. What my point is, I have no idea, other than to probe the assumptions in the Babelfish engine. As a toy for gaikojin otaku like myself, it’s neat 🙂

Plus we must all bow to the universality of Douglas Adams. Just like 42, the Babel Fish has entered the mass lexicon. Have I mentioned that the Guide entry on the Babelfish, as related in the BBC Radio Scripts, is the most hilarious version by far? You just can’t beat the dry delivery of Peter Jones as the Book. It’s like comparing black and white to color television.

so many blogs…

I have been doing a fair bit of technology blogging over at my old blog these past few years. I wonder if this might not be abetter platform for it, however. Anyone have any interest in things like processor chipsets, new wireless and USB standards, hard drive specs, notebook technologies and whatnot? If so I might just move that kind of stuff here instead.

which sci-fi crew

Shamus already has dibs on Wash, so maybe I’d have to be the doctor brother guy:

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

I guess this is a hint that I really should watch the series.

Earthsea synopsis via UKL

via Don, a synopsis of the upcoming anime adaptation of Tales of Earthsea by Studio Ghibli. LeGuin herself was given the synopsis by the director. She writes,

Studio Ghibli and Mr Goro Miyazaki recently sent me the synopsis of their forthcoming film, Gedo Senki (Tales of Ged), which is to be released in Japan in July 2006. I asked if I might post the translation on my website, and was kindly granted permission. Any inquiries should be directed to Studio Ghibli, please, not to me, as I have no further information concerning the film, and of course will not discuss it until I have seen it.

— UKL April 21, 2006.

The film will apparently not be a retelling of how Ged came to be the Lord Archmage, but takes place after he has already become the great wizard of his destiny. There are familiar faces from the early stories, though.

convergence: blogs and forums

My earlier comment about traffic really boils down to the fact that it is hard to police a community of blog commentators. However, if you look across the “pond” to the web-based forum, they often don’t have the same kind of problems. Forums like phpbb offer much tighter and fine-grained control over the userbase.

However, there is a lot of overlap between a forum and a blog. Topics are categories; posts are posts, replies are comments. You can essentially map the two onto each other.

I had posted on this some years ago[1], but others have also been thinking about it. For example, there’s a plugin for phpbb called phpbblog.

UPDATE: There has been substantial interest in creating a plugin for WordPress that uses the WP database for the forum user db. Also, the forum software in use at wordpress.com (bbpress) itself actually boasts complete user integration. But this kind of misses the point – I am talking about a blog and a forum as different “skins” to the same discussion content, not two separate content spheres intersecting solely at the level of the userdb.

[1] my previous posts on this topic below the fold: Continue reading “convergence: blogs and forums”