July 13, 2007

Nintendo's DS Opera browser doesn't quite rock

The Nintendo DS Lite is pretty cool, but the new Opera browser is rather limited. We were hoping to use it to be able to play ClubPenguin, but alas, this browser doesn't read Flash, so no CP. Webkinz might work, but it's rather slow. Essentially the Opera browser is good for checking email, playing very basic games and other minimal things. It's as limited as a lot of web browsers are for cell phones.

Also, it took awhile to figure out how to co
nnect the wifi on the DS to our Airport Express. After checking a few DS boards, I realized that I needed to type in a a rather long number WEP password, and not our regular password, which I changed a couple times in the process, too. Nintendo isn't really helpful on this score, suggesting to call the 800-number. But I hate calling 800-numbers for help. After one night's sleep and another hour or so of fiddling and research, I got it to go and now at least the wifi to the web works fine.

The Opera browser for the DS has been in Europe for at least a year. The Sony PSP has had a browser as part of it fr
om the start. So it seems odd that Nintendo has been slow in the U.S. to get a decent browser going. The ads I read beforehand made me think that it was a full operating browser, but that doesn't mean Flash, or some other things. Several obnoxious posters have noted that around the web; Flash is an add-on they keep saying. But Flash has become an integral part of most of our web experiences. In fact, so many web sites now require us to have Flash just to experience even the basics. So we have come to expect Flash has part of the basic operating experience, like it or not. Unfortunately, the word seems to be that Nintendo was reluctant to pay for Adobe's licensing of Flash.

My quick review is that the Opera browser is probably better for adults using the DS, than for kids.

We recently saw the DVD for Alex Rider: Stormbreaker which featured the DS as a cool spy gadget. We really liked the film and didn't understand the negative reviews in the U.S. It was a fast-paced, intriguing James Bond style film for tweens, teens and their families. Kids as young as 7 would probably like it. But it's not the laugh-fest like Agent Cody Banks. It's a little more like the Spy Kids series, but it has the cool, detached British style and high gloss European editing and cinematography. Some reviewers complained that it wasn't violent enough and there wasn't enough blood and gore. But maybe not all of us want to see that, and maybe it's ok to not have as much in a kids-oriented film. Did reviewers complain about that with the Men in Black series? Sometimes I think reviewers get too jaded. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you like the idea of James Bond for teen-agers.

July 09, 2007

Couric's re-dresses

The Couric drumbeats march on, this time somewhat orchestrated by the anchor herself. New York magazine's cover piece this week doesn't say a lot new that hasn't been covered. What I do like is how some in the cyberspace world are questioning whether a man could slap a female staff member on the arm repeatedly if he were mad at her, as Couric admit having done to a male staffer in a meeting. She's a smart woman, she should know how some are tightly defining sexual harasment these days. It's curious how Couric's problems have been turned into Slapgate already.

Is the
New York magazine article evidence she's Couric falling? No I don't think so. Instead, she's repositioning herself in a public way so she can move on after the 2008 election. She doesn't seem to want the anchor job anyway, according to this piece and others. She doesn't mind blaming her problems on people who can't adjust to change, her huge salary, or her celebrity style. Plus, she needs to defend herself against articles like the recent cover story on National Enquirer. She's using the media in ways reminiscent of Princess Diana, perhaps.

Media Bistro asks a good question: "Did this slapping incident happen after the newscast? If so, that suggests that Couric isn't reading her copy before she goes on air..." The evidence is piling up that she is often just reading off the teleprompter. That's why the plagiarism story slipped through the large holes in the fact-checking seive at the managing editor's news desk (Couric's by the way).

Drudge thinks that if Hillary wins the White House, Couric will want to stay on, or CBS will perceive that women in power are a good thing, part of a trend, etc. I hope that women in power are thought of as just fine, thank you. But that's not a reason to keep Couric beyond the elections.

Finally, I want to comment on Couric's friends complaining about how others are complaining about Couric's clothes (they wouldn't do that for a man, etc.). Sometimes people do complain about men's clothes; Dan Rather's odd sweater vests come to mind, in relation to this case. More importantly, clothes do convey significant messages, unlike what some feminists want to believe. It is probably smart that Couric is rethinking her wardrobe for her role as a serious newscaster. Men's clothes don't vary as much, so there's somewhat less to scrutinize. Women have more options. Consequently, it's harder to dress as a woman. But you still have to try.

And then there's Second Life where I have been spending too much time recently and where it's hard to find clothes that aren't sexy. Curiously, many women dress quite suggestively. Is it because they feel safer? Are they revealing their true selves? Do they forget to change after a night out (because SL clothes don't need cleaning)?