Akemi's Anime World

Akemi’s Anime Blog AAW Blog

Site Redesign and Content Changes

I haven’t thus far commented much on the workings of AAW itself here, but to change that:  If you think there’s nothing going on with the rest of the site, you’re right in terms of what’s been publicly posted in the last long-while, but wrong in terms of what I have in the pipeline.

In particular, I’ve been working on an entirely new and drastically improved layout for about the past year (first draft was in Feb 20 of ’09, looking back reveals—wow that’s a long time), and it has just hit the final-candidate stage at which the design is pretty much finalized and the work switches to implementing said design in a manner that works in a reasonable variety of browsers (Internet Explorer, how I hate thee: Let me count the ways… but at least IE5 is functionally dead, a different state of affairs from the last major redesign). Then comes the even more daunting task of making sure the roughly 300 official reviews and 100+ reader reviews, hundred-or-so other pages, dozens of supplemental pages, this blog, and the forums all get transitioned properly into it.


This may take a while (there are still things that haven’t been converted into the last redesign, which I intend to remedy), and while the bad news is you won’t see any of it until I’m actually finished, the good news is the site should be significantly improved for it. I’ve learned quite a bit about design, coding, backend structure, and most importantly believe I’ve come to a better understanding of how to best serve the people who actually read stuff here. I intend to apply all of this, along with every optimization trick I’ve picked up in the past four years, to give AAW as good of a foundation as I’m able, and one that should carry it through a nice long while before I start to get bugged by how much better I could do with new tools and techniques. I’ve also, I think, come up with a somewhat more coherent, and more fun, overall site concept that I intend to do something more major with in the mid-distant future when other life circumstances permit.

Bottom line is the site will be faster, easier to read, prettier, more coherent, more fun, and have less loose ends and mistakes than currently. I’m also planning on having some fun with new and more creative contests once everything eventually goes live—got a whole shelf full of not-entirely-crappy prizes lined up.

In terms of, you know, content, I’ve not been lax on writing reviews, I just take a (very) long time to prune and polish them—there are about a dozen in the pipeline, with a half dozen all but ready to post. I’ve also got a bunch of Japanese lesson stuff in the works for a little farther out, but I’m making some layout changes so am holding off on that until the new look is done so I’m not doing the formatting twice.

I’ll probably wax technical once things are more finished, for those who care at all about such things (being a geek, I do, so even if that audience consists entirely of me, I’m still going to), but in the mean time wish me luck if you’re so inclined.

Sony’s Dancing Music Player “Rolly”

Sony has just started a buzz-generating campaign for a product that appears to be the mutant spawn of a Walkman and an Aibo (Sony’s now-discontinued robot dog).

The palm-sized, pill-shaped Rolly is a portable music device that will “dance” to the tunes it’s playing by flapping little round “arms” on its ends, rolling to and fro, and flashing various colored lights.

The device measures 6.5cm (2.5″) in diameter, 10.4cm (4″) long, weighs in at about 300g (2/3 lb) and contains 1GB of flash memory, a battery, hardware to analyze the tunes so it can dance along with them, and the motors to make it go. Music-wise, there’s a speaker on each end under the moving wings, and it will play MP3, ATRAC, and AAC (!) files. Data is transferred to it via built-in Bluetooth wireless.

Interestingly, it has no display, but Sony claims the interface is intuitive with a minimum of buttons. When it’s on a table, volume is adjusted by rotating it around in a circle. Alternately, if you hold it in one hand, it will only use the top speaker; twisting the top ring will switch songs, while the bottom ring will adjust volume.

Sony is apparently aiming for some of the same hobbyist crowd as the Aibo—its dance moves can be left to the device, automatically generated by their software running on a PC, or the user can manually program dance moves. There will, of course, be an online place for owners to share their dance programs.

It’s scheduled to go on sale in Japan on the 29th of this month for around 40,000 yen (about US$350). How many people will be willing to pay that much for a lively little pill remains to be seen, but I don’t get the feeling it’ll be outselling any iPods this holiday season. Then again, the Japanese have been known to go wild over some pretty wacky products, so who knows.

Their initial promo video:

Sony’s Sweet New Battery

Sony just announced an interesting development: An advanced form of the classic potato-powered battery. These “bio-battery” cells can essentially convert sugars into useable electricity. It’s still a long way from recharging your iPod by adding some soda, but Sony did demonstrate running a fan from a splash of sports drink, and one of their portable music players from cells filled with grape juice.

TBS News (J) has a short video of the two demos, or there’s a much longer version on YouTube, if you prefer.

The story’s all over the international media; here’s a Reuters link to read a bit more, if you’re interested.