Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend/ MOVIES: Want to get out of the sun? Try a hot flick in a cool theater



The blockbuster season is in full swing, with the two big summer Hollywood movies already in wide release--"Terminator Salvation" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

The only other big action movie opening in Japan this summer is "G.I. Joe" (Aug. 7), which has less to do with the iconic military action-figure from the 1960s than with super-hero comics like "The Avengers." It features an international all-star cast and was directed by Stephen Sommers, who was responsible for past computer graphic-enhanced blockbusters like "The Mummy" and "Van Helsing."

Otherwise, there's Liam Neeson's ex-CIA agent killing everything in sight as he tries to save his kidnapped daughter in "Taken" (Aug. 22), and the cockeyed spirituality behind even greater violence (i.e., the end of the world) offered up by the Nicolas Cage vehicle "Knowing" (July 10).

In Japan, family films are a bigger summer draw, as evidenced by the perpetual box office success of seasonal features based on popular TV anime series like "Crayon Shinchan."

Disney has two local releases this summer.

The more popular will be "Bolt" (Aug. 1), which was already nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and is Disney's first animated release since John Lasseter, the man responsible for some of Pixar's best movies, took over as creative head of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Besides being more technically proficient than past Disney computer animation movies, "Bolt" is funnier and more imaginative. A dog is fooled into thinking that the TV show he appears on is actually real life, until he escapes and sees what real life really is.

The other Disney feature, "Race to Witch Mountain" (July 4), is a reworking of a 1970s family science-fiction adventure for a newer audience who demands more action, which in this case means car chases and former pro wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson beating up bad guys.

Two other CG animated movies are opening here. "Monsters vs Aliens" (July 11), a broad parody of classic 1950s "creature features," like "The Blob" and "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," is filled with rapid-fire jokes aimed at adults.

It will be offered at some theaters in a spectacular 3D version, but as with all foreign 3D movies in this country, you should check beforehand to see if screenings are dubbed.

The "Ice Age" crew of wisecracking prehistoric mammals will be around for a third film, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (July 25).

But if you like your animation more old-fashioned and your humor less ironic, you'll probably prefer the latest Wallace and Gromit adventure, "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (July 18), which finds the absent-minded inventor and his resourceful mutt in the bread business and staving off a serial killer who holds a grudge against bakers.

The main all-ages movie of the summer is "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" (July 15), in which everyone's favorite boy wizard develops even stronger romantic attachments while learning about the history of his archrival Voldemort.

Since it's directed by David Yates, we can expect more of the breathless pacing that characterized "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Yates will also direct the final story in the series "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which will be released in two parts.

One of the bigger family hits overseas, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," opens here Aug. 13. Ben Stiller returns as the reluctant museum guard, as do most of the high-priced actors (Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson) who made the first movie amusing with their cameo appearances.

This time the titular Washington D.C. museum gets the CG treatment, not to mention a few local tourist attractions like the Lincoln Memorial.

On a much more serious note, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (Aug. 8) is about the 8-year-old son of a German concentration camp commandant who makes friends with an 8-year-old Jewish boy on the other side of the barbed wire without understanding the real purpose of the camp. The simplicity of the story indicates that younger viewers would probably gain the most from it, though parents may find the subject matter too disturbing for children.

Some of the adult-themed movies that might get trampled in the blockbuster stampede include the indie hit "Sunshine Cleaning" (July 11), about two sisters who start a cleaning business specializing in crime scenes; "3:10 to Yuma" (Aug. 8), a violent remake, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, of a classic 1957 Western; "Coco Chanel" (sometime this summer), a TV biopic with Shirley MacLaine as the legendary imperious French designer; "Cadillac Records" (Aug. 15), a well-acted history of Chess Records, the Chicago blues label that brought the world Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Chuck Berry (Mos Def) and Etta James (Beyonce); Spike Lee's fantastical epic "Miracle at St. Anna" (July 25), about a group of black Americans fighting in Italy during World War II; and "He's Just Not That Into You" (Aug. 1), a talky, all-star romantic comedy.

And for cross-cultural synergy, you've got Richard Gere starring in "Hachiko: A Dog's Story" (Aug. 8), Lasse Hallstrom's re-imagining of the famous true story about a dog's undying devotion that has been shifted from 1920s Tokyo to a small American town in the present. For once, Japanese audiences get to see a major American movie before the Americans do.(IHT/Asahi: June 26,2009)

Who moved my 'Delete' key? Lenovo did. Here's why.


Who moved my 'Delete' key? Lenovo did. Here's why.

Lenovo put nearly a year of research into two design changes that debuted on an updated ThinkPad laptop this week. No, not the thinner, lighter form or the textured touchpad — rather, the extra-large "Delete" and "Escape" keys.

It may seem like a small change, but David Hill, vice president of corporate identity and design at Lenovo, points out, "Any time you start messing around with the keyboard, people get nervous."

Computers get smaller and faster every year, but keyboard design remains largely stuck in the 19th century. When Beijing-based Lenovo, which bought IBM Corp.'s personal-computer business in 2005, looked into improving the keyboard on the new ThinkPad T400s, a $1,600-and-up laptop for businesspeople, it knew it had to proceed with caution.

To understand Lenovo's concern, turn the clock back to the 1800s.

Back then, fast typing would jam typewriters, so a keyboard layout that slowed down flying fingers was devised. The commonly used "A" key, for example, was banished to the spot under the relatively uncoordinated left pinky.

Typewriter technology evolved. Mainframe computing led to function keys and others of uncertain use today. The PC era dawned. Yet many laws of keyboard layout remain sacred, like the 19-millimeter distance between the centers of the letter keys.

Tom Hardy, who designed the original IBM PC of 1981, said companies have tried many times to change the sizes of keys. That first PC had a smaller "Shift" key than IBM's popular Selectric typewriter did, and it was placed in a different spot, in part because the industry didn't think computers would replace typewriters for high-volume typing tasks.

IBM reversed course with the next version to quiet the outcry from skilled touch-typists.

"Customers have responded with a resounding, 'Don't fool with the key unless you can you can improve it,'" said Hardy, now a design strategist based in Atlanta.

PC makers relearned this lesson in the past year, as netbooks — tiny, cheap laptops — have become popular with budget-conscious consumers. Early models boasted screens measuring as little as 7 inches on the diagonal, requiring shrunken keyboards that many people found to be too small. Some even repeated IBM's mistake by cutting the size of the "Shift" key.

The computer makers have largely shifted focus to 10-inch or larger netbooks, so that there'd be room for near-standard keyboards or better.

Push-back from consumers hasn't stopped companies from testing and even manufacturing keyboards with unconventional designs over the years, in some cases demonstrating that people could learn to type faster than on standard QWERTY keyboards, so-called because of the arrangement of the top row of letters. During Hardy's time at IBM, researchers came up with ball-shaped one-handed keyboards that he said were faster than standard ones.

"A lot of those things never passed the business planners and the bean counters because they were concerned about manufacturing something that was just basically an experiment," Hardy said.

Ones that did get made have remained niche.

Paul Bradley, an executive creative director at the global design group Frog Design, said makers of ergonomic keyboards that also improved typing speed were counting on concern over carpal tunnel syndrome during the dot-com boom of the 1990s to drive demand, but the market never materialized.

If ever there were a time to make radical changes to the keyboard, now might be it. As evidence, Bradley noted the high tolerance many younger people show for tapping out cell-phone messages on tiny keypads using only their thumbs.

Lenovo is on a more conservative course. In designing the new ThinkPad, it installed keystroke-tracking software on about 30 employees' computers (They volunteered). On average, they used the "Escape" and "Delete" keys 700 times per week, yet those were the only "outboard" keys, or non-letter keys, that hadn't been enlarged.

Lenovo made those two keys about twice as long in the vertical direction to fit the way people reach up, rather than to the side, and then deliberately whack those keys, said Hill, the Lenovo executive who was at IBM for nearly 20 years before the 2005 sale to Lenovo. The new design cuts down on accidental taps of the "End" and "Insert" keys, too.

The new keyboard isn't perfect. Hill called "Caps Lock" a frustrating hangover from typewriter days, a key that can introduce garble, emulate shouting or foil password entries without the user noticing.

"I think maybe sometime in the future, we should maybe entertain removing it," he said. "It's one of those things you kind of have to approach with caution. There might be some people out there who just really like their `Caps Lock' key for whatever reason."

In this product image released by Lenovo, the Lenovo Thinkpad T400S Laptop keyboard, is shown. (AP Photo/Lenovo)

Google access disrupted in China


Google access disrupted in China

Chinese computer user
China uses the so-called "Great Firewall of China" to control access

Access to Google has been disrupted in some parts of China, amid a row over what Chinese citizens should be allowed to view over the internet.

Users reported they could not access either Google's search engine or its Chinese-language version.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang accused Google of spreading pornography and breaking Chinese law.

The move came as the US called on China to scrap its plan to put net-filtering software on all new computers.

China has demanded that all computers come supplied with software called Green Dam Youth Escort from 1 July, which it says would filter out pornographic content.

Separately, and some of its products, such as its mail service, were not available in China from Wednesday night to Thursday morning Beijing time, according to Chinese portal

Most users were able to connect on Thursday, though it was unclear exactly how widespread the disruption actually was. Google said it was investigating the outage.

'Serious violation'

The disruption to Google's services reported by users in Beijing and Shanghai comes a week after China accused Google of deliberately linking to "pornographic and vulgar" websites and ordered it to stop.

"We have found that Google has spread a lot of pornographic content, which is a serious violation of Chinese laws and regulations," Mr Qin told reporters on Thursday.

He urged the company to abide by local rules, but said he had no specific details on the outage.

ron kirk
Ron Kirk has now objected to several aspects of Chinese trade policy

Meanwhile, the US said China's proposed internet filter would violate China's free trade obligations, weaken computer security and raise serious censorship concerns.

"Mandating technically flawed Green Dam software and denying manufacturers and consumers freedom to select filtering software is an unnecessary and unjustified means to achieve that objective, and poses a serious barrier to trade," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Trade war?

The latest comment raises the concern about a broader trade war between the US and China over everything from computer security to chicken poultry imports.

It came a day after it filed an unfair trade complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over raw material exports.

The US is now complaining that putting such pressure on manufacturers to pre-install or supply the software would violate China's WTO free trade obligations.

Quentin Sommerville
Quentin Sommerville, BBC Beijing correspondent

The software, Green Dam Youth Escort, has been heavily criticised by Chinese internet users, and even parts of the state media.

It appears to have been badly written, and parts of it may have been lifted from a rival US software filter.

Critics says it will put computers at greater risk from hackers.

It works by looking for fleshtones, as well as keywords, but has also been found to block sites which contain lots of the colour pink.

"China is putting companies in an untenable position by requiring them, with virtually no public notice, to pre-install software that appears to have broad-based censorship implications and network security issues," said US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

The Green Dam Youth Escort software was created to stop people looking at "offensive" content such as pornographic or violent websites, China has said.

But China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology later said that use of the software was not compulsory and that it was possible to uninstall the program.

Tests carried out on Green Dam outside China also showed that it left PCs open to many different security risks, including being hijacked.

Petitions calling for Green Dam to be scrapped have circulated widely within China, which has the world's largest net-using population.

Fears for jailed US reporters in N Korea

This is one article I really.....well.....what can I say about it..........I keep on getting reminded about the film Megumi.......


Fears for jailed US reporters in N Korea

By Michael Dobie

BBC News

The news that two US journalists had been arrested in North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of "reform through labour" was greeted with alarm by their families, human rights groups and US officials.

North Korean soldiers patrol near the Yalu river, which separates North Korea from China, on 1 June
The two journalists were arrested on the Chinese-North Korean border

The isolated nation's prison system is widely regarded as one of the harshest in the world, with a shadowy network of labour camps estimated to hold hundreds of thousands of political prisoners and criminals.

Most analysts believe Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, will be held in relatively good conditions, to be used as bargaining chips by Pyongyang to force concessions out of Washington.

But if their worst fears are realised and they are sent to a labour camp to serve their sentences of "reform through labour", they can expect overwork, starvation rations, arbitrary beatings and inadequate shelter, according to former North Korean prisoners who have fled the country.


Many of the camps are located at mines, quarries or factories where the prisoners are forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions, says CK Park, a South Korean researcher who has interviewed former prisoners.

He says the survival rate in some camps is very low, with many prisoners dying in their first three years of imprisonment.

A former guard in the North, Choi Dong-chul says prisoners "are treated not as human beings but as animals by the North Korean government".

The North Korean regime is not interested in having the two journalists report in detail the brutalities that exist in that system when they are finally released
Tim Peters
Works with North Korean refugees

Prisoners are beaten by the guards on a regular basis, he says, for minor violations such as resting without the guards' approval or neglecting to bow before a guard.

But foreigners who have been held in the North have mixed descriptions of their experiences.

Korean-American Evan C Hunziker was accused of spying after swimming the Yalu River between China and North Korea.

He spoke little of his experience, his father said, only to say that he was treated humanely but the food was bad. He reportedly wrote a letter to his mother saying he was moved from a prison to a hotel.

He was freed after 90 days when New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, then a congressman, negotiated his release, but he committed suicide one month after being freed.

Japanese journalist Takashi Sugishima spent two years in what he described as a warm, comfortable cell in a mountain prison facility after he was arrested in Pyongyang in December 1999 and charged with spying.

He said he was kept under constant surveillance, but never tortured and was given three hot meals a day.

"The treatment I received was more humane than I expected," he told Associated Press shortly after his release, but added that he constantly worried the guards might decide to kill him.

Cramped cell

At the other end of the spectrum is the experience of Ali Lamada, a member of Venezuela's Communist Party who said he was invited to North Korea in 1967 to work as a Spanish translator.

Lamada was arrested in September 1967 and accused of spying, he wrote in a 1979 account published by Amnesty International.

He was kept without trial for a year in a cramped, dirty and damp cell in the interior ministry in Pyongyang and was given dirty bread and watery vegetable soup to eat.

Journalists Euna Lee (L) and Laura Ling
Euna Lee (L) and Laura Ling work for California-based Current TV

Lamada was released and then arrested two months later and sentenced to 20 years of labour.

He was taken to a work prison south of Pyongyang and kept in an unheated cell where his feet became frostbitten.

Lamada was finally released in 1974 after Venezuela and Romania intervened on behalf of him and Jacques Sedillot, a French translator who was arrested at the same time as Lamada.

Sedillot, however, died of illnesses contracted in prison before he could leave Pyongyang.

Their experience does not bode well for Ling, who has a stomach ulcer according to her family, or Lee, who is also reportedly ill.

The two were seized by border guards in March while reporting at the Chinese border on the plight of North Korean refugees for California-based Current TV.

A week after their June trial, North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, said Ling and Lee "admitted and accepted" they had been trying to get footage for a "smear campaign" against North Korea over human rights.

'Isolation and depression'

For now they are being held in Pyongyang, where Sweden's ambassador to North Korea, Mats Foyer, has been able to visit them.

The ambassador provided few details of the meeting, but he has been "in constant contact with the North Korean foreign ministry, is constantly pressing them for more information about these two young women," said US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

A North korean soldier patrols along the Yalu river, which separates North Korea from China, on 27 May
The journalists were reporting on the plight of refugees fleeing North Korea

The Swedes in Pyongyang told American officials that the two journalists were being held in a "good place" with decent food and medical care, said California Congresswoman Jane Harman.

And in a rare telephone call recently, Laura Ling described her confinement as "bearable", her husband Iain Clayton said.

She was nervous about the possibility, he added, of being transferred to a labour camp.

Most analysts believe Ling, a Chinese-American, and Lee, a Korean-American, will not receive the same treatment as North Koreans consigned to the camps.

"I seriously doubt that the two journalists would be placed in the bowels of the prison system for the simple reason that the North Korean regime is not interested in having the two journalists report in detail the brutalities that exist in that system when they are finally released," says Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea, a charity that assists North Korean refugees.

"Certainly, though, the isolation and depression that they would experience is a grave consideration."

Web slows after Jackson's death


Web slows after Jackson's death

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Google error page
The sheer number of queries concerned Google

The internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson's death.

Search giant Google confirmed to the BBC that when the news first broke it feared it was under attack.

Millions of people who Googled the star's name were greeted with an error page rather than a list of results.

It warned users "your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application".

"It's true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page," said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker.

It was around this time that the singer was officially pronounced dead.

Google's trends page showed that searches for Michael Jackson had reached such a volume that in its so called "hotness" gauge the topic was rated "volcanic".


Google was not the only company overwhelmed by the public's clamour for information.

The microblogging service Twitter crashed with the sheer volume of people using the service.

Google user graph
Searches for topics related to Michael Jackson peaked at 3PM Pacific

Queries about the star soon rocketed to the top of its updates and searches. But the amount of traffic meant it suffered one of its well-known outages.

Before the company's servers crashed, TweetVolume noted that "Michael Jackson" appeared in more than 66,500 Twitter updates.

According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing "Michael Jackson" totaled more than 100,000 per hour.

That put news of Jackson's death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.

Early reports of Mr Jackson's death and the confusion surrounding it caused a rash of changes and corrections to be made on his Wikipedia page as editors tried to keep up with events and the number of people trying to update the page.

TMZ, the popular celebrity gossip site that broke the story following a tip-off that a paramedic had visited the singers home also crashed.

There was a domino effect as users then fled to other sites. Hollywood gossip writer Perez Hilton's site was among those to flame out.

Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.

Beginning at 2.30PM Pacific "the average speed for downloading news sites doubled from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds," said Shawn White, Keynote's director of external operations.

He told Data Center Knowledge that "during the same period, the average availability of sites on the index dropped from almost 100% to 86%".

Africa cries for Michael Jackson

BBC News

Africa cries for Michael Jackson

Nelson Mandela (left) and Michael Jackson (right)
Nelson Mandela presented the pop king with a lifetime achievement award

News of pop star Michael Jackson's death has been greeted with a mixture of disbelief and sadness across Africa.

In Nigeria, a presenter on Radio Continental broke down live on air and could not continue her programme.

A woman in Ghana burst into tears in the capital, Accra, when told by a BBC reporter about the musician's death.

In 1999, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by South African icon Nelson Mandela at the Kora All Africa Music Awards.

Michael Jackson first visited the continent at the age of 14 as the lead singer of the Jackson Five.

Emerging from the plane in Senegal, he responded to a welcome of drummers and dancers by screaming: ''This is where I come from."

'Spectacular disappointment'

He returned for an African tour 19 years later, when the king of pop was crowned chief of several African villages.

But the trip quickly turned into a public relations nightmare amid allegations that police had beaten the crowds who went to see him and complaints in the local media that the pop star had been seen holding his nose, as if to keep out a bad smell.

It's not true, no it's not true
Ghanaian fan

Ghanaian journalist Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who says she was a huge Jackson Five fan as a girl, covered the visit.

She said he spent most of his time locked away in his plush hotel or hidden in his limousine when out.

When his car window wound down for a brief minute for him to greet fans, she asked him about his trip to Africa, and he replied limply: "Beautiful, I love it."

It was "a spectacular disappointment in many ways", Ms Quist-Arcton told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

But the crowds who lined Abidjan's streets during his visit were testament to his huge popularity across the continent where fans have been expressing their shock at his death.

The BBC's Tom Oladipo in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos said the Radio Continental presenter broke down sobbing live on air and her co-presenter had to take over.

Jackson Five in 1979
The Jackson Five first visited Africa in the 1970s

One of Michael Jackson's brothers, Marlon, is planning to develop a controversial luxury resort, a mixture of a slave history theme park and a museum dedicated to the Jackson Five in Nigeria.

He also had passionate fans in Ghana.

"It's not true, no it's not true," a woman in Accra wailed as her companion accused our correspondent of lying about the news of Jackson's death.

"He's a legend, he's not supposed to die," a woman in the Kenyan capital told the BBC.

But others expressed concern about his obsession with his appearance.

"He was not proud to a black American, he wasn't, he wanted very much to be white," a man in Nairobi said.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says Michael Jackson's most tangible contribution to Africa came at the peak of his career in the mid-1980s, when he co-wrote the charity song We are the World with Lionel Ritchie.

Sung by a group of leading artists, the single topped charts around the world raising awareness and more than $50m for famine relief in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Anime's Fan Girls

Check it out

June 17, 2009

Girls are gathering online to remake male-oriented Japanese animation videos into romances -- and in the process are picking up skills in film editing, storytelling and feminist literary criticism.

"Boys are more into the fighting aspects of anime," says Elizabeth Birmingham, an associate professor of English at North Dakota State University. "Girls have created this subculture where they cut the animation videos up, mix them around, and create their own stories, often romances."

Birmingham will discuss her research during a 4:30-5:35 p.m. session on Friday, June 19, in room 6 of Wellman Hall at UC Davis. Her presentation is part of Computers & Writing 2009, a four-day conference of about 250 writing researchers and instructors from around the world. The conference is sponsored by the University Writing Program at UC Davis.

One anime video, "Full Metal Alchemist," has inspired some 35,000 fan-girl remakes, says Birmingham, who has found that most fan girls are teenagers. She estimates there are hundreds of thousands of fan-girl videos on YouTube and other sites.

Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan and favors action-filled plots with fantastic or futuristic themes. It is used in comic books, computer games and videos.

Birmingham, who also teaches gender studies, decided to research the fan-girl subculture when she discovered that fan-girl versions of anime stories often involve romances between male characters.

"I'm interested in why straight teenage girls are interested in this sexuality," she says.

One hypothesis: Fan girls choose to identify with male anime characters rather than create female characters because female anime characters often exist only as monster bait.

"By expressing themselves through boy characters, the girls can experience more active roles," Birmingham suggests. "They're dealing with the sexist artifacts of our culture, and deciding 'I'm not going to let them do this to me. I'm going to turn it on its head.'"

A complete schedule of presentations at Computers & Writing 2009 is available at

Media contact(s):

A New Look for Analytics

Hi! Looks like Analytics got a revamp. Check out this post. then check out their site too.


Google Analytics Gets a New Site

Friday, June 19, 2009 | 11:49 AM

We've given the Google Analytics site a refresh! Drawing upon insights from conversations with the Google Analytics community -- both online and in person, and from looking carefully at our own Analytics reports, we've reorganized the site to do a better job of exposing the information you're looking for. And, we've added a dash of visual style in the process.

How did we go about deciding what needed to be changed? The vast majority of visitors come to the site simply to log in to their accounts. After filtering these visits from our analysis, we looked at conversion rates -- new account sign ups-- and what content people looked at. It was clear that much important content, for example relating to training and professional services, was too buried for people to find. Although some visitors used the search box, we were surprised to find relatively few searches for education and professional services. Our guess is that not enough people know about these services, so we decided to create new sections for this content and address site navigation to make it more intuitive.

So, what is the result? Here are a few highlights.

The new updated Product area groups key features to help new and prospective users understand how the parts work together and how Google Analytics fits into the larger ecosystem of Google offerings that includes AdWords and Website Optimizer.

Considerable resources -- both free and fee-based -- are available to organizations using Google Analytics. The Support section provides a single point of access to these resources ranging from online communities to professional services offered by Authorized Consultant companies. You can quickly search our expanding global network for an Authorized Consultant in your region that specializes in the areas you'd like help with, whether that be installation assistance, consulting, customized training, or Urchin Software.

The Education section outlines ongoing opportunities to learn more about how to use Google Analytics more effectively. If you're an individual looking to develop skills for your career or a manager looking for cost effective ways to train your staff, you'll find the latest information you need on the Google Analytics IQ online course and test, Seminars for Success, and helpful videos.

Of course, the site won't be static. While we don't want to fall into the trap of trying to test everything, you may notice subtle site changes going forward as we use Website Optimizer to inform ongoing iterative updates.

We hope you like the new site and find it useful. Feel free to post a comment and let us know what you think. We'll share what we learn going forward. We're going to be working on the blog design and resources as well over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Going Multi Email - ID

Wow!This is one great post.

Really Useful.


Tip: Check and reply from multiple email addresses in Gmail

Friday, June 12, 2009 4:46 PM

It's that time of year when students are graduating, and in many cases getting yet another email address to check — an alumni account — as a graduation present.

Whether you have an alumni address, a work account, or your own domain that you like to use, rather than logging in and out of multiple accounts, you can set yourself up so all your mail ends up in your Gmail inbox. And you can send mail from any of the other addresses you own right from Gmail as well.

There are two steps to make this happen:

1. Set up mail forwarding or fetching

Many email providers offer free auto-forwarding to other accounts. Log into your non-Gmail account and set your Gmail address as the forwarding target. If your other account doesn't offer forwarding but supports POP3 access, you can use Mail Fetcher in Gmail to automatically check your other account for new mail and download it to Gmail.

2. Set up custom "From:"

Gmail's custom "From:" feature lets you send mail with one of your other email addresses listed as the sender in place of your Gmail address. There's a good step-by-step for how to set this up in the Help Center, but the basics are adding the address you want to use and then verifying that it belongs to you. Once you have your custom "From:" set up, you can pick which address you want to reply from in the "From:" address drop down while composing messages.

P.S. If you're a recent grad and want more tips on how to use Google during this transition period, check out the Google for Students Blog, where we'll be posting more tips like this weekly for the next couple months.

Rurutia: Introduction

Here's an introduction about Rurutia- one of my favourite Japanese singers.

From Wikipedia( what an anti-climax)

Rurutia (ルルティア) is a Japanese singer/songwriter. She began her career in 2001 with the release of 'Itoshigo yo' when she was signed to Toshiba-EMI. She is currently signed to Phoerix Records as of mid-2005 and has released a total of 5 regular albums and 10 singles thus far. Rurutia is an intensely private artist; most aspects of her life - such as her age and her real name - are not known to the public. This fact, added to her whispered vocals, creates a unique and mysterious atmosphere around her.

Her pseudonym, Rurutia, is derived from the Tahitian word rorotea meaning 'blissful rain'.




- 01 エレメンツ (Elements)
- 02 知恵の実 (Chie no Mi/A Fruit of Knowledge)
- 03 愛し子よ (Itoshigo yo/My Beloved Child)
- 04 ロスト バタフライ (Lost Butterfly)
- 05 赤いろうそく (Akai Rōsoku/A Red Candle)
- 06 雨の果て (Ame no Hate/The End of the Rain)
- 07 僕の宇宙 君の海 (Boku no Uchū Kimi no Umi/My Universe, Your Ocean)
- 08 僕らの箱庭 (Bokura no Hakoniwa/Our Miniature Garden)
- 09 銀の炎 (Gin no Honoo/Silver Flame)
- 10 ハートダンス (Heart Dance)
- 01 パヴァーヌ (Pavane)
- 02 朱雀の空 (Suzaku no Sora/Sky of Suzaku)
- 03 オール (Oar)
- 04 星のたましい (Hoshi no Tamashii/Star Souls)
- 05 サンクチュアリ (Sanctuary)
- 06 ゆるぎない美しいもの (Yuruginai Utsukushii Mono/Unwavering Beautiful Thing)
- 07 幻惑の風 (Genwaku no Kaze/A Bewitching Wind)
- 08 シャイン (Shine)
- 09 満ちる森 (Michiru Mori/The Forest Full of Sorrow)
- 10 思季 (Shiki/Thinking about the Seasons)
- 01 ハレルヤ (Hallelujah)
- 02 neo
- 03 アラベスク (Arabesque)
- 04 シンシア (Cynthia)
- 05 トロイメライ (Träumerei/Fantasy)
- 06 ジゼル (Giselle)
- 07 流れ星 (Nagareboshi/Shooting Star)
- 08 メリー (Merry)
- 09 GOLA
- 10 月千一夜 (Tsuki Sen'ichiya/One Thousand and One Moonlit Nights)
- 11 maururu roa('thank you very much' in Tahitian)
- 01 Dancing Meme
- 02 tone
- 03 リラが散っても (Rira ga Chitte mo/Even if the Lilacs Drop)
- 04 プライマリー(album ver.)(Primary)
- 05 シグナル (Signal)
- 06 スカーレット (Scarlet)
- 07 セレナイト (Selenite)
- 08 ヒースの楽園 (Heath no Rakuen/Paradise in the Heath)
- 09 青い薔薇 (Aoi Bara/Blue Rose)
- 10 蝶ノ森 (Chō no Mori/Butterfly Forest)
- 11 コバルトの星 (Cobalt no Hoshi/Cobalt Stars)
- 12 Sleeping Meme
- 01 蝶ノ森(オープニングテーマ-cinema track-) (Chō no Mori)
- 02 ハレルヤ (Hallelujah)
- 03 トロイメライ (Träumerei)
- 04 蝶ノ森 (Chō no Mori)
- 05 知恵の実 (Chie no Mi)
- 06 パヴァーヌ (Pavane)
- 07 エレメンツ (Elements)
- 08 満ちる森 (Michiru Mori)
- 09 僕の宇宙 君の海 (Boku no Uchū Kimi no Umi)
- 10 僕らの箱庭 (Bokura no Hakoniwa)
- 11 neo
- 12 コバルトの星 (Cobalt no Hoshi)
- 13 エレメンツ (Elements)
- 14 サンクチュアリ (Sanctuary)
- 15 コバルトの星(エンディングテーマ-cinema track-) (Cobalt no Hoshi)
- 02 玲々テノヒラ (Reirei Tenohira/Midas Touch)
- 03 星に花、灰色の雨 (Album ver) (Hoshi ni Hana, Hai-iro no Ame/Flowers on the Star, and the Grey Rain)
- 04 水景色 星模様 (Mizugeshiki Hoshimoyō/Water Scenery, Star Patterns)
- 05 願いの届く日 (Negai no Todoku Hi/The Day Our Wishes Come True)
- 06 スピネル (Spinel)
- 07 Time Traveler
- 08 パレード (Parade)
- 09 微笑みのマリア (Hohoemi no MARIA/Smiling Virgin Mary)
- 10 マグノリアの情景 (Magnolia no Joukei/The Landscape Of Magnolias)
- 11 ABINTRA (Inst)
- 12 水景色 星模様(Inst) (Mizugeshiki Hoshimoyō)
- 13 願いの届く日 (Inst) (Negai No Todoku Hi)
- 14 スピネル (Inst) (Spinel)
- 15 微笑みのマリア (Inst) (Hohoemi No Maria)
- 01 Opus
- 02 流光 (Ryuukou/Flowing Light)
- 03 水景色 星模様 (Ballade Ver) (Mizugeshiki Hoshimoyō)
- 04 愛し子よ(Ballade Ver) (Itoshigo Yo)
- 05 アラベスク(Ballade Ver) (Arabesque)
- 06 星と羽 (Hoshi to Hane/Stars and Feathers)
- 07 Opus (Music Box) *Bonus Track
- 08 流光 (Music Box) *Bonus Track
- 01 氷鎖 (Hyousa/Frozen Chain)
- 02 無憂歌 (Muyuu Ka/A Song of Fearlessness)
- 03 Opus (Ballad Ver)
- 04 銀の炎 (Balad Ver) (Gin no Honoo)
- 05 星のたましい (Ballad Ver) (Hoshi no Tamashii)
- 06 玲々テノヒラ (Ballad Ver) (Reirei Tenohira)
- 07 氷鎖 (Music Box Ver) *Bonus Track
- 08 無憂歌 (Music Box Ver) *Bonus Track
- 01 Seirios
- 02 サイレントプレイヤー (Silent Prayers)
- 03 Opus
- 04 オーロラ飛行 (Aurora Hikou/Aurora Flight)
- 05 流光 (Ryuukou)
- 06 無憂歌 (Muyuu ka)
- 08 氷鎖 (Hyousa)
- 09 夢蛍 (Yume Hotaru/Dream Firefly)
- 10 VOID
- 11 星と羽 (Hoshi to Hane)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Manga Guide to Statistics: Revisited


Statistics with heart-pounding excitement (well, maybe)

John A. Wass, Ph.D.

Manga Guide to Statistics
This is something new. Not to the world, but to readers of this column. For those of you not into cartoons or comic books, Manga is (are) a genre of Japanese comic books and cartoons. They are usually drawn in black and white format and cover a wide range of subject matter. Wikipedia has some good background information, in case you are interested.

The publishers at No Starch Press saw fit to send me a copy of The Manga Guide to Statistics and, although possibly way under your heads, some of you might find this useful. At first glance, it may appear to be a Dummies Guide to statistics, and it does have a few things to recommend it to those terrified by anything that appears mathematical. This particular volume teaches very basic statistics by weaving the subject matter within the story of a young Japanese girl, Rui.

Rui is smitten by a young market researcher who her father brings home one day, since they work together and were having a drink in the neighborhood. She is immediately infatuated with the handsome young man and begs her father to have him teach her statistics as a ploy to get closer to her love interest. However, instead of coming himself, Mr. Igarashi sends another colleague, Mr. Yamamoto, a seemingly geeky young man. She is crushed but agrees to learn, still hoping to get closer to her love interest.

Through 190 or so pages, the tutor instructs her in data types, understanding numerical and categorical data, using histograms to simplify data, measures of central tendency and variability, standardization, probability, correlations and hypothesis tests. He ends up with a chapter on using Excel for many of the calculations illustrated in the previous chapters.

Although logically arranged and interesting in its approach, I don’t see it as meeting the needs of its target audience. In the preface, this is defined as researchers, business analysts, those wishing to know a little bit about statistics, and those wishing to know more. Except for the third group, this is just a bit too simplistic. It would be very suitable as an introduction for grammar school students in middle school.

It would have been wise to stress to an audience at such a level the dangers in the novice use of statistics in Excel! On the plus side, the author does point out that statistics is the branch of mathematics that is “most closely related to everyday life,” and this is a great hook.

Most cartoon sections are followed by an all-too-brief single-page narrative recapping the lesson, and a single worked example. Since the level is elementary and the examples simple, the complete hand calculation is shown, something that I would love to see in all advanced-level texts! Every example, both in the cartoon and at the end of the chapter, uses real-life examples that would be of interest to the average teenager and, thus, makes the text more relevant.

Unfortunately, when we get to something really core, such as the normal distribution, the author (through Mr. Yamamoto) merely advises the student to memorize it since, in the narrative, Rui seems to freak out at the math. As I mentioned, this is something a bit different.

So, if you have any interest in seeing the book, take a look at their Web site, (Editorial Disclosure: Lest the readers think that this editor is down on cartoons, he must admit to a lifelong infatuation with Walt Disney’s Duck clan. He was especially impressed, as a young boy, to see an indefinite integral among the 1+1=2’s on the board in Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s kindergarten class!)

The Manga Guide to Statistics by Shin Takahashi and Trend-pro Co., Ltd. No Starch Press Inc., San Francisco, CA. (November 2008), 224pp. $19.95. ISBN-10 1-59327-189-3, ISBN-13 978-1-59327-189-3.

John Wass is a statistician based in Chicago, IL. He may be reached at

Scientific Computing
Rockaway NJ 07866

The Manga Guide to Physics-New from No Starch Press: An Illustrated, Cartoon Guide to Physics


( - San Francisco, CA, May 28, 2009—Megumi, the heroine of The Manga Guide to Physics ( No Starch Press, May 2009, 248 pp, ISBN 9781593271961 ), is an all-star athlete, but she's a failure when it comes to physics class. And she can't concentrate on her tennis matches when she's worried about the questions she missed on the big test! Luckily for her, she befriends Ryota, a patient physics geek who uses real-world examples to help her understand classical mechanics—the foundation of physics.

Readers of this charming cartoon guide learn alongside Megumi as Ryota explains difficult concepts like momentum and impulse, parabolic motion, and the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration—all while using everyday objects like roller skates, slingshots, braking cars, and tennis balls.

The Manga Guide to Physics teaches readers how to:

Apply Newton's three laws of motion to real-life problems
Determine how objects will move after a collision
Draw vector diagrams and simplify complex problems using trigonometry
Calculate how an object's kinetic energy changes as its potential energy increases
"The Manga Guides prove that readers can grasp difficult scientific and mathematical topics with just a little helping of comics, narrative, and metaphor," said No Starch Press Founder Bill Pollock. "By easing the stress of learning with an interesting story, The Manga Guide to Physics ensures that readers stick with it—they care about Megumi's struggles in both physics and in tennis. The illustrated approach makes certain that readers immediately understand Ryota's examples and literally see how physics works."

Co-published with scientific and technical publisher Ohmsha, Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, The Manga Guide to Physics makes learning about physics fun. Studying physics will never be the same again!

For more information or to request a review copy of The Manga Guide to Physics, contact Travis Peterson at No Starch Press (, +1.415.863.9900, x300 ), or visit

About the Author
Hideo Nitta, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physics at Tokyo Gakugei University. He has had many papers and books published by Japanese and overseas publishers on subjects including quantum dynamics and radiation physics. He also has a strong interest in physics education. He is a member of the International Commission on Physics Education ( ICPE ), which is a commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics ( IUPAP ).

Praise for Other Books in the Manga Guide Series:
"Presents statistics as something fun, and something enlightening."

"The most enjoyable tech book I've ever read."

"A fun and fairly painless lesson on what many consider to be a less-than-thrilling subject."

"A solid book and I wish there were more like it in the IT world."

"Way better than trying to comprehend a bland statistics book."

"A perfect addition to a homeschool curriculum...great for anyone wanting an introduction or a refresher on statistics."

"A light, impressively non-oppressive read, especially considering the technical nature of its subject."

GIRL POWER: A Look at Shoujo Manga in the U.S.


Published in the Nichi Bei Times Weekly May 28-June 3, 2009.

Nichi Bei Times Contributor

Walk into any major chain bookstore these days, and you will most likely find shelves of manga translated into English by any one of a half dozen companies. Where there was once one tiny stack of manga in a corner over near the science fiction and fantasy books, there is now, in many cases, an entire aisle of options. In the past six years, the popularity of manga in the United States has exploded. Bookstores are carrying manga volumes, libraries are starting manga collections, and newsstands are carrying manga anthology magazines.
But what kind of stories, exactly, will you find on these bookshelves and in these magazines? For the most part, manga licensed in the United States has been aimed at a young male market. We’ve been given shounen (boys) manga full of heroic samurai stories, martial arts comedies, serious space operas, and series featuring spiky-haired teens with magical powers blasting demons to bits.

This is all fine and good, but what about female audiences? In the mid-1990s things slowly began to change when San Francisco-based publisher, VIZ Media, LLC ventured into shoujo and josei manga territory.
Shoujo literally means “young girl,” and in Japan there is an entire range of manga created with young girls in mind. Shoujo itself is not a genre, but a target audience that encompasses a wide variety of genres. The stories range from simple idealized school romances, to gothic horror, and include thoughtful and provocative space dramas, as well.

Similarly, josei is manga created for an older female audience — women in their late teens and ‘20s — who are part of the workforce or at home taking care of a family. The stories have more mature themes and content, often taking place in locations such as the home or the office. The plots are realistic, more complex, and generally revolve around work, love, marriage, sex, family and children.

The style of shoujo and josei manga differs from shounen manga both visually and thematically. The art is generally more detailed and delicate. Characters are slim and graceful. Scenes are enhanced with sparkles, flowers, or other stylish effects. Plots are character and relationship driven, and can be intricate, while the settings are as wild and varying as any shounen (boys) manga. From the halls of an average high school to the hills of a far off European country, the world of shoujo and josei manga is vast and surprising. There are comedies, romances, tragedies, sports stories, science-fiction epics, workplace dramas, historical adventures and more.

With “Four Shoujo Stories” in 1996, VIZ tested the waters of United States mainstream shoujo acceptance. This volume included the short story, “They Were Eleven,” a gripping science fiction mystery by Hagio Moto, one of the most influential and respected shoujo manga authors in Japan. “Four Shoujo Stories” allowed a glimpse into the more complex, character-driven stories that are the trademark of shoujo and josei manga.
However, because the major outlet for U.S. comic books at the time was the independent comic book shop, VIZ tried to market their manga there, doing everything they could to conform to traditional United States comic book style. Most of the titles they released were shounen series, but for both shounen and shoujo manga, they followed the same strategy, publishing individual manga chapters in single pamphlet-style comics that looked like American comic books, and colorizing some of the black and white pages. Many of VIZ’s early shoujo efforts were packaged together with non-shoujo titles in Animerica Extra, a short-lived anthology magazine.

Unfortunately, male comic fans were mainly frequenting independent comic book shops in America at the time. Finding a female audience there was tricky.

In the late ‘90s Mixx (now Tokyopop) jumped into the fray, starting MixxZine and later Smile magazines, specifically targeting a female teen audience, and this time aiming their efforts at the regular magazine newsstand instead of niche comic shops. Their release of “Sailor Moon,” one of the most popular anime and manga titles in history, opened the world of shoujo manga up to a much wider audience.

While “Sailor Moon” was a great success, it wasn’t until Tokyopop’s release of “Fruits Basket,” a humorous tale of a girl living with a family who can turn into various animals of the Chinese zodiac, that shoujo manga truly gained a foothold in the American market.

A key factor that aided in the success of “Fruits Basket” is that instead of simply being serialized in a manga magazine, it and other titles released around that time were starting to creep into bookstores. The average female reader is more likely to wander into a bookstore than a comic shop, so this made manga much more accessible. “Fruits Basket” was able to attract a strong following, both male and female. This crossover appeal helped the title repeatedly hit BookScan’s Top 20 Graphic Novel list.

In June 2005, VIZ launched Shojo Beat, an anthology magazine collecting several shoujo titles and a few josei titles as well. Some of the titles have a limited run in the magazine, before they are split off and released in collected volume format, making way for new titles. VIZ also launched a “Shojo Beat” manga imprint in which they release many other shoujo series that don’t appear in the magazine.

Suddenly, the United States was a viable market for shoujo titles. Soon both TokyoPop and VIZ were releasing a healthy amount of shoujo along with their usual shounen blockbusters. Other publishers came on board as well, and now we have a steady stream of works from VIZ, Tokyopop, Dark Horse, CMX, Aurora, Del Rey, Vertical, DMP, Go! Comi, Yen Press, and more.

Where should someone interested in exploring the world of shoujo and josei manga start?

It helps to begin with some classics. Many of them are no longer in print, but you can still find these older gems:

“Swan” (by Kyoko Ariyoshi – CMX – January 1, 2005) — one of many female takes on the classic shounen sports manga genre, Swan follows a young and talented girl named Masumi as she struggles to train and succeed as a ballerina. She faces grueling hardships and fierce rivalries while growing as a dancer and finding romance. This series contains beautiful artwork and is a classic example of ‘70s shoujo manga. (Rated: All Ages)

“From Eroica With Love” (by Yasuko Aoike – CMX – November 1, 2004) Welcome to the world of Earl Dorian “Eroica” Red Gloria, a flamboyant, openly gay, international art thief, and Klaus Everbach, a straight-laced German NATO officer. The two play cat and mouse across the globe as Dorian tries to steal beautiful works of art and Klaus doggedly tries to stop him. This series is filled with ridiculous situations, fun Cold War thriller stunts, and playful banter. (Rated: 13+)

For a taste of contemporary school-life stories, I recommend:

“High School Debut” (by Kazune Kawahara – VIZ Media – January 1, 2008) A sweet and adorable look at high school romance. Awkward, fashion-challenged tomboy Haruna has just started high school and is determined to make a fresh start and find a great boyfriend. To accomplish this social miracle, she enlists the reluctant coaching of a popular classmate, Yoh, who agrees to help her on the condition she not fall in love with him. But will he break the rule first? (Rated: T For Teens)

“Boys Over Flowers” (by Yoko Kamio – VIZ Media – August 6, 2003) Makino Tsukushi is a poor girl attending a high school for the rich elite. As a scholarship student, Tsukushi just wants to lead an uneventful high school life until graduation. Unfortunately, once she crosses the path of the F4, a quartet of wealthy guys who rule the school, all bets are off. Can tough-girl Tsukushi shape up these spoiled rich guys? (Rated: T For Teens)

“Honey and Clover” (by Chika Umino – VIZ Media – March 4, 2008) Moving beyond high school this time, “Honey and Clover” is a josei manga about of a group of friends at an art college. Hopes, dreams, and complicated relationships tie the friends together and push them apart. This series will sparkles with original characters and sweet, funny moments. (Rated: T+ For Older Teens)

Tired of this humdrum real world? Explore the realms of fantasy with these titles:

“Red River” (by Chie Shinohara – VIZ Media – June 23, 2004)
An epic story about Yuri, a modern Japanese girl who is transported back to the land of the ancient Hittites in the 14th century B.C. There she is pursued by an evil queen to be a blood sacrifice while at the same time being hailed by the people as the reincarnation of the goddess Ishtar. This is a historical soap opera, and while it may feature some starry, melodramatic romance involving a prince, it also is not afraid of showcasing some of the real dangers of the time as Yuri struggles to make a place for her and find a way home. (Rating: 16+)

“Basara” (by Yumi Tamura – VIZ Media – August 13, 2003) A sweeping romantic war adventure about Sarasa, a girl who assumes the identity of her deceased twin brother who had been prophesied to save the kingdom from the evil Red King. Sarasa works hard to lead her people and gather allies to her side while pretending to be her brother. At the same time, she falls in love with none other than the Red King in disguise, neither party realizing that their loved one is the enemy. Bold artwork and a colorful cast of well-developed supporting characters make this an exciting, entertaining read. (Rated 16+)

Looking for something off the beaten path? These titles are not your average love stories.

“Nodame Cantabile” (by Tomoko Ninomiya – Del Rey – April 26, 2005) A music college is the setting for this whimsical and funny tale of Shinichi Chiaki, a talented and arrogant music student who dreams of becoming a world-class conductor, and his next-door neighbor, the free-spirit pianist Megumi Noda (“Nodame”). Shinichi’s perfectionism and secret quest to become a conductor clashes with Nodame’s cheerful lack of ambition. However, each character grows and learns from the other. (Rated 16+ Older Teen)

“Skip Beat” (by Yoshiko Nakamura – VIZ Media – July 5, 2006) A hilarious story of love and vengeance. After being cruelly dumped by Shotaro, her rising-star musician boyfriend, Kyoko vows revenge. Her method? Enter the entertainment industry and become an even bigger star! As she fights her way through the fierce and competitive Japanese show business world, she discovers a lot about herself, including a natural talent for acting, and a burning desire to succeed that has nothing to do with revenge. (Rating: T For Teens)

“Kitchen Princess” (by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi – Del Rey – January 30, 2007) A delightful blend of romance and mystery, this is the cute story of an orphaned girl with a remarkable talent for cooking who searches for her “prince,” a boy who helped her when she was a child. Her quest leads her to a prestigious school, where she faces many challenges, yet remains true to herself and uses her skill in cooking to spread warmth and happiness to others. (Rating 13+)

“Walkin’ Butterfly” (by Chihiro Tamaki – Aurora Publishing – August 22, 2007) A striking, raw, art style perfectly captures the story of Michiko, a gangly girl who, after years of being teased about her height, feels uncomfortable in her own skin. After a chance encounter with a fashion designer who rejects her after recognizing her inner weakness and insecurity, a fire is lit in Michiko’s heart, and a new dream is born — to conquer her feelings inadequacy over her self-image by becoming a world-class fashion model. (Rated 16+ Older Teen)

What does the future hold for shoujo manga in the United States? The outlook is uncertain. With the recent economic downturn, U.S. manga companies are pulling back on the number of titles they license, sticking to sure-bets and already-popular mainstream series. Unfortunately for shoujo fans, this means that tried-and-true shounen series will be the ones to survive, with less-profitable shoujo manga being shelved first.

In May 2009, VIZ announced that their Shojo Beat magazine is closing shop, with the final issue hitting shelves in July. In August, subscribers will receive a free issue of Shonen Jump magazine, along with information about what their refund and subscription options are. Fortunately, the Shojo Beat manga imprint will survive, but we are now left without a primarily shoujo-focused magazine. However, shoujo manga has faced obstacles in the past and still survived, so hopefully shoujo fans will continue to support the industry by buying shoujo manga and helping it to survive until economic winds change for the better.

Contact Lenses that make you look like an Anime Character


anime eyes contact lenses make you look like an anime character

So if you’re one of these guys (or girls, don’t want to leave anyone out) who’s into anime and you wish your significant other looked like your favorite character, your dreams may have come true.

A Korean company makes these GEO Lens contact lenses that are bigger than normal contacts and colored in a way that makes the iris and pupil of your eye look a lot bigger. The lenses come in several different styles and colors, even ones with wild patterns and bright colors that you’d wear at haloween, or if you just want people to look at you really strange.

Since I’m not an anime otaku by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve never really devoted much time to looking at cartoon characters, but the girl in the picture above wearing the GEO Lens contacts is damn cute.

[Shopping Times via TheFrisky]

Top 5 most overrated anime


As Japan has been producing anime for many years, there is an amazing variety of movies and series available to the current consumer. However, in a conversation about anime, some names always come up over and over, and have an amazing following. But, sometimes, those followings are nearly incomprehensible, so I've compiled a list of the top five most overrated anime of all time. These are series that are either so bad, juvenile, or confusing that it begs the question how these series ever gained a following to begin with.

1) Dragonball Z

Dragonball Z is not quite the worst series out there, but not by much. The storytelling is so slow-paced and bloated that it takes over ten half-hour episodes for the protagonist to complete his finishing move on his opponent. Sadly, this is fairly typical of the series, and what is supposed to be a fast-paced action series always feels like a chore to watch. Couple that with a cast of characters that nearly rivals The Simpsons and several deaths and resurrections every season, Dragonball Z starts to get very tiring very fast.

2) Neon Genesis Evangelion

It should tell you something about a series when three separate DVDs have been put out to further clarify it, as well as a heavily edited director's version. Neon Genesis Evangelion starts out with a very interesting premise, but it soon devolves into ludicrousness and confusion, leaving viewers at the end wondering exactly what they've just seen, and how it reconciled with the first few episodes.

3) Sailor Moon

Adored by 11-year-old girls and 40-year-old perverts the world over, Sailor Moon proved naysayers wrong when they said that shoujo anime (Japanese for "anime for girls") had no audience outside of Japan. Unfortunately, the series is so formulaic and repetitive, and depends so heavily on "monsters of the week" to drive the series that from season to season, it's impossible not to feel a certain sense of deja vu.

4) Akira

Akira is called the "definitive classic of anime". It's hard to imagine why, as the attempt to cram an unfinished manga (comic) into a compact film left the plot of Akira confusing and only partially explained. Pair that with the graphic violence and dark themes, and the film turns into an exercise of sadomasochism with the viewer sitting through just over two hours of horror with little explanation as to why.

5) Gundam Wing

This installment of the ongoing space opera of the Gundam series was a bit of a departure from the rest of the series. Unfortunately, instead of coming up with a fresh, original storyline, the creators decided to repackage their old settings and plotline with new names, old characters were given pretty boy facelifts, and the twists and turns that are characteristic of the rest of the Gundam series were twisted so hard that the show became extremely difficult to follow, with very little payoff to the end. It's shocking that, nearly fifteen years after the series first aired, Gundam Wing still has a thriving fan base.

Author: Katrina Rue
Katrina Rue is an Examiner from Chicago. You can see Katrina's articles on Katrina's Home Page.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Translator Once Again

If I remember correctly, this is the second post on Google Translator. So happy reading.

from Google Blog

Translating the world's information with Google Translator Toolkit

6/09/2009 09:00:00 AM
At Google, we consider translation a key part of making information universally accessible to everyone around the world. While we think Google Translate, our automatic translation system, is pretty neat, sometimes machine translation could use a human touch. Yesterday, we launched Google Translator Toolkit, a powerful but easy-to-use editor that enables translators to bring that human touch to machine translation.

For example, if an Arabic-speaking reader wants to translate a Wikipedia™ article into Arabic, she loads the article into Translator Toolkit, corrects the automatic translation, and clicks publish. By using Translator Toolkit's bag of tools — translation search, bilingual dictionaries, and ratings, she translates and publishes the article faster and better into Arabic. The Translator Toolkit is integrated with Wikipedia, making it easy to publish translated articles. Best of all, our automatic translation system "learns" from her corrections, creating a virtuous cycle that can help translate content into 47 languages, or over 98% of the world's Internet population.

Besides Wikipedia, we've also integrated with Knol, and we support common document types including Word and HTML. For translation professionals, we provide advanced features such as terminology and translation memory management.

For more information, check out our introductory video below. And if you're a professional translator or just a linguaphile, try Google Translator Toolkit for easier and faster translations. Be sure and let us know what you think.

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