Ged Carroll

3G graduation + more stuff

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3G graduation film

3G graduation sees DoCoMo celebrating 3G wireless services and how they fitted into consumers lives. While DoCoMo has its service running for another couple of years, rival Au has shut down its 3G network this year. The ‘Graduation’ in 3G graduation is used in a similar way to how US technology companies use ‘sunset’ as a euphemism for shutting down a service.

In sectors outside technology like the 3G graduation film, the term graduation is signify an artist leaving an idol group. Japanese Idol groups like AKB48 and Morning Musume mirror the interchangeable team nature of Puerto Rican boy bandma Menudo. Like Japanese idol groups, Menudo appeared in adverts for big brands like Pepsi and McDonalds across Latin and South America (including Portuguese speaking Brazil). They even appeared in a Pepsi ad that ran in the Philippines. They also did two TV specials. Japanese idol groups contain pop stars with the following characteristics:

a type of entertainer marketed for image, attractiveness, and personality in Japanese pop culture. Idols are primarily singers with training in acting, dancing, and modeling. Idols are commercialized through merchandise and endorsements by talent agencies, while maintaining a parasocial relationship with a financially loyal consumer fan base.

Wikipedia: Japanese idol

When members leave the group due to contract violations, ageing out, or wanting to build a career of their own, they ‘graduate’. Like the 3G graduation film idols share an association with school imagery.

Kit-Kat anime advert

Nestlé Kit-Kats are popular in Japan. They are especially popular during exam time. The reason for this is that the Japanese pronunciation of KitKat, “Kitto Katto,” sounds similar to the phrase “Kitto katsu,” which means “I believe you will win/you can do it.” The homophone nature of Kitto Katto meant that Kit-Kats became a good luck charm, with people having them or giving them as gifts for big days such as school entrance exams or even job interviews.

This explains why this anime advert directed by Naoko Yamada is around the theme of “Kikkake wa Kit Kat de,” or “Kit-Kat Creates the Chance,” and has a school related setting.

This is apparently the first of what promises to be a series of adverts being done by Yamada for Kit-Kat.

Modern car mechanical design

For someone who hasn’t bought a car in 25 years, hearing about how unreliable BMWS and Mercedes cars have become is a bit of a shock. I have driven hire cars and am aware that cars are now heavily reliant on computers. What I hadn’t realised was how cheap mechanical parts had become under the hood. The reason why they had been engineered down to a price, was to allow for the price of all the new electronics that make up the car driving experience now.

I started my work life off in a corporate research lab were we were developing a way of making a plastic manifold cover for a small Ford of Europe engine. This engine was destined for the Ford Fiesta and the first Ka if we had managed to get everything to work. The idea was that the engine would be a sealed unit. When it needed to be replaced it would undergo a factory recondition, or would be recycled. This was about reducing environmental impact, without impacting profits. But looking at some of the parts going into these cars now, I am shocked.

More in this video here.

Amazon luxury watch copies

Amazon is a den of iniquity in terms of shoddy products and fakes. German watch YouTuber shows the variety of watches that steal the design language of watches from the likes of:

All of these come in at about $100 price. It is interesting how the Chinese factories turning these watches out have managed to get their way around the brand police. Finally, I am surprised to see Chinese manufacturers relying on a cheap, but reliable Seiko movement for the most part. Which is probably down to the weird deficiencies in Chinese engineering that means that you don’t see Chinese made rollerball pen refills.

The amazing design of the jerry can

Great video by a Scottish YouTuber who covers why the jerry can was such a clever product design and the history of the fuel container. I did not realise that they were tested in the Spanish civil war. More here.

NFTs and Ralph Bakshi’s animated adaptation of The Lord of The Rings

The problems with NFTs. NFTs sprung out of the move to decentralised finance or cryptocurrency. NFT are smart contract linked artefacts. These were seen as a panacea for creatives to make money during COVID. This video is an interesting discussion on NFTs, and uses the analogy of investors buying real estate that drove the 2008 mortgage crisis. The crypto-economy has many of the same drivers.

The guy who made this video also did a really good exhaustive history of Ralph Bakshi‘s The Lord of The Rings film that preceded Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy by a couple of decades, and the BBC’s radio adaptation by a few years. I am a fan of all three, but am in no doubt that Peter Jackson’s film in some places is a shot-for-shot copy of Bakshi’s film and borrows dialogue from both Bakshi and the BBC.