Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beam Me Up, Stevie...

In case anyone wasn't aware just how big of a dork I am, allow me to geek out for a second about Star Trek...

Ever notice how when people "video chatted" in Star Trek, there was never any visible video camera? People actually could look straight into the monitor and have the person on the other side look straight at them.

Instead of how video chats go now, where each person is looking at his/her screen but the video camera is mounted on the top of their monitor, so it looks like the person on the screen is looking intently at your belly button?

Well... It looks like our friends at Apple have been working on a solution for that for quite some time now, according to a recent article on Apple Insider. may be of some interest to recall an earlier patent filing from Apple for an 'integrated sensing display' capable of serving as both a display screen and a digital camera.

The filing, which predates the iPhone's release by nearly three years, describes a new breed of LCD display that could simultaneously take photos while continuing its role as the primary display screen of an electronics device or computer monitor.

So cool!! How would they accomplish such a feat, you ask? Well...

The idea behind the invention is to wedge thousands of microscopic image sensors between the LCD cells that make up the display, where each sensor would be responsible for capturing a piece of the overall photo. Those pieces would then be stitched together by software to recreate the complete image capture.

The rumor site implied that this new innovation might be implemented on the new 3G iPhones that everyone is waiting for later this year. But, personally, I think Apple would more likely apply this technology to their laptop line first.

I suppose time will tell...


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Still Fighting the Uphill Battle

I read an interesting article about Sessue Hayakawa, who was a huge Hollywood star back about 90 years ago. That's right, a Japanese dude was more famous (and playing less stereotyped roles) in Hollywood in 1920 than the grand majority of Asian actors today. But the thing that kind of got me down was the survey of roles Asian people are playing today, as well as the treatment we still get in the media:

In most Hollywood movies, Asian men are invisible. And those are the better Hollywood movies.

Crude comedies feature men with impenetrable accents. Action films feature stoic heroes, who rarely get a kiss. Stereotypes of bespectacled grinds abound. Japanese characters are particularly forgettable, even though their country's own films are often crammed with kinky sex and violence.

"The Japanese businessman, bowing to everyone in 'Lost in Translation,'" says Ryo Nagasawa, the film program officer at the Japan Society. "I don't think the Hollywood image goes beyond that."


Of course Hollywood films stereotype everyone -- whether it's evil executives or absurdly effeminate gay men. Yet Asian males often come in for rougher treatment -- with crude jokes about dog-eating, or Pidgin English -- than other, long-denigrated minorities.

You can see it even in a current movie like "Be Kind Rewind." A goofy parody of bare-bones filmmaking, it features Jack Black mimicking stars like Jessica Tandy. When he finally goes too far -- smearing on dark makeup to portray Fats Waller -- he's rightly greeted with horror, and taken aside for a stern talking-to.

Yet when he tapes back his eyes to mimic Jackie Chan, the racial buffoonery passes without notice.



Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Case Anyone Was Still Wondering...

...George W. Bush is just an embarrassment in almost every way.

Yoshi Tsurumi was one of George W. Bush's professors at Harvard Business School. In an article on, Mary Jacoby talks about Tsurumi's experiences teaching our current Presidunce, Mr. Bush. In it, Tsurumi states:

"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted by something... But I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget.

Heh. We know where this is going...

"...And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite."

Yeah... Pretty much. It gets much better. Want more? Check out the article here.