I like: Bluedot BTV-410 personal digital television | 我喜欢: Bluedot BTV-410 个人数字电视

Japan has been a pioneer in the roll-out of digital television. The Bluedot set is a portable digital TV; as you’d expect its a small but high quality television set with a 4-inch screen. Digital television in Japan is based on the ISDB standard which is used in some Latin American markets and some Asian markets outside Japan; notably the Philippines and Thailand – so the device is of academic interest to me.
bluedot digital TV
But I did like the idea of a divergent device that wasn’t built into a smartphone or tablet but would slip effortlessly into ones pocket. And I loved the apparent retro design of the device. It looks like it came from an alternative past where Dieter Rams had designed a mini-transistor radio for Sony sometime in the late 1960s. It had the kind of clean lines one would expect from Rams and a muted colour scheme that evoked the form and function of earlier decades rather than techno-flash that seems to preoccupy the consumer electronics sector. More information here.

Throwback gadget: the tape pack

Back in the day many audio books and language course used to come in a book sized molded plastic sleeve lined with four or six cassette tapes. There would be a sleeve that would take a cover on the outside like a DVD film case (or a VHS film case before it). The boxes were pretty flimsy but they did better than the brittle plastic that went into cassette and CD album ‘jewel cases’.
tape pack
From the early 1990s through to the early noughties tape packs took on a new cultural significance.

Organisers of nightclub events quickly realised that consumers who couldn’t afford to attend every event could still be sold the evenings sound track on a series of tapes. Also people who had been often wanted to relive the night listening to the tapes on their Walkman, at home on the stereo or as was usually the case on the car stereo. In the same way that I bought records by certain artists, remixers and record labels; club goers would by tape packs by their favourite DJs; given that a big name could play four sets on a Saturday night, they maybe chasing down £60 of tapes for that week.

The boxes acted as a bill board for the club with flyer art on the front that parodied famous brands, were surreal or had fantastic themes with boasts of five or eight kilo-watt audio systems by TurboSound alongside details of the number of smoke machines and lasers in the club.

DAT machines started appearing in the DJ booth. Even a wine bar that I played garage sets in on a Wednesday night had a HHb professional DAT recorder (that would have been at home in a recording studio as a tape machine for mastering albums) underneath the counter of the DJ booth.

Tape packs were big money for club promoters and the independent record shops that supported the dance music scene at the time. tape packs jostled for shelf space behind the counter with racks of records. I am partly convinced that the C-90 cassette format was responsible for DJ’s working 90-minute slots at a club.  The tape pack started a long slow decline. The writing was on the wall with the rise of the super-club who looked to have a record label, alongside their fashion brand and club nights. DMC had shown the way with Mixmag Live – the first legal mix series.

With the notable exception of the Ministry of Sound; the focus moved from the club franchise to the DJ; and DJ’s got their own production record deals with the dance imprints of major labels.

Secondly, since recording a CD at first meant going into a studio, big name DJs used technologies like Digidesign’s Sound Tools and Pro Tools audio editing and production software to clean up their mixes, mould them and sound a lot better than they really were. These mixes has more in common with studio megamixes like Mirage’s Jack Mix series or and edit mixes a la Chris ‘Steinski’ Stein and Danny Krivits than DJing; but their superior flawless quality was more popular with consumers.

The reason why this decline was slow was partly due to market forces; whilst the Discman replaced the Walkman as the personal stereo of choice; CD production took a long time to come down in costs to tape duplication and in-car audio still had a large installed base of cassette head units.

In addition, early car CD units jumped and skipped tracks with every bump in the road and the cartridge units that held the CDs often scratched them. Fragmentation of dance music into different genres (and socio-economic classes of audiences if we’re honest about it) and in particular the reliance of happy hardcore and drum & bass relying on borrowing and shared sounds meant that tape packs lasted longest supporting these genres of music.

Now these recordings are remastered by consumers into digital formats and shared or sold online.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

The Real Story of How Dick Costolo Kicked Investors Off Twitter’s Board | PandoDaily

FOSS Patents: German appeals court upholds Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction — but on different legal basis than Apple’s design right

EUROPA – Press Releases – Antitrust: Commission opens proceedings against Samsung

Why Has Andreessen Horowitz Raised $2.7B in 3 Years? // ben’s blog

Korean consumers seek guidance and stress removal: Cheil – Campaign Asia-Pacific – reduced individualism and search for authorative guides to aid decision-making

OPINION: Wikiwars? PR pros seek editing rights from Wikipedia – Campaign Asia-Pacific – interesting, but not likely to happen without legal intervention

Google clashes with British MPs over takedown policy | FT.com – MPs look ignorant and retarded: so many things make so much sense now

RSS Update: Not Dead, But On The Watch List | John Battelle’s Search Blog – and much of the problem is Google’s Feedburner and Google Reader | Google+ integration

A fashion revolution? | FT.com – transparent fashion business

Festivals go mainstream | The Next Great Generation

The End Of Cheap China, Part III. How YOU Must Prepare For It. : China Law Blog

Feature Phones Now More Profitable Than Mid-tier Smartphones – Forbes

MasterCard reveals roadmap for our electronic payment future: EMV in, magnetic strips out — Engadget

Labor ministry releases definition of ‘power harassment’ ‹ Japan Today

Japan’s population to shrink two thirds by 2110 ‹ Japan Today

DOCOMO, LAWSON and Radishbo-ya Agree on Business and Capital Alliances | NTT DOCOMO – interesting move into retail services by NTT

Rebuilding America: Proposals emerge to fix ‘dysfunctional’ R&D tax credit

Samsung’s Marketing Chief Aims to Stir Passion for Korea’s Electronics – Ina Fried – Mobile – AllThingsD

DARPA summons researchers to reinvent computing | ExtremeTech

Bobbi Brown Launches Facebook Campaign to Revive Discontinued Cosmetics

Bayern Munich tricks fans into ‘liking’ the club on Facebook | Econsultancy

DoCoMo demands Google’s help with signalling storm – Rethink Wireless

In Europe, Some Lovers of the BlackBerry Now Seek A New Flavor – NYTimes.com

Dublin Airport artifact from the knowledge economy circa 2004 | 爱尔兰机场和过时的软件

I would have thought that Dublin Airport Authority would have been enriched by the current situation in Ireland with expensive EU funded financial whizz-kids flying into the country to ‘help out’ and an exodus of young under-employed professionals leaving to make a life somewhere else. So I was surprised that the company had mobile assets that would have been current circa 2004/5. More here.
Dublin Airport
PocketPC (not even Windows Mobile) and PalmOS were supported – no Symbian (Series 60 and 90 devices would have been out at the time), let alone Android or iOS.

Sina.com weibo co-creation for iPhone application

Developing for iPhone limits ideas like A|B testing in refining the development process. Sina.com has taken an obvious, but interesting approach to development by having Weibo users vote on which UI concepts that they like, getting them involved as co-creators. More here.