The Microsoft vs Apple debate...

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Actor Mako Dies at the age of 72

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Japanese-American actor Mako, who was Oscar-nominated for his supporting role in "The Sand Pebbles" and who co-founded the nation's first Asian-American theater company, died Friday of esophageal cancer at his home in Somis. He was 72.

In the early days of his acting career, when most roles offered to Asian American actors were caricatures or stereotypes, Mako took just such a part and used it to open the doors of Hollywood and Broadway to others.

In the 1966 film "The Sand Pebbles," he played the Chinese character Po-han, who spoke pidgin English, called the white sailors in the movie "master," and treated them as such. But through the power of his acting, Mako transformed Po-han and compelled the audience to empathize and identify with the engine-room "coolie."

The portrayal earned Mako an Academy Award nomination, which he used to continue his push for more and better roles for Asian American actors co-founding the East West Players, the nation's first Asian American theater company in 1965.

In an acting career that spanned more than four decades, Mako was a familiar face in film and television. His TV roles included appearances on "McHale's Navy," "I Spy," "MASH," "Quincy," and "Walker, Texas Ranger." In films, he was a Japanese admiral in "Pearl Harbor" and a Singaporean in "Seven Years in Tibet." He was Akiro the wizard in "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer" with now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mako used the prominence the Oscar nomination gave him to address the dearth of parts for Asian Americans in general. Unless a script specifically called for an Asian American, producers and casting directors rejected them for roles. "Of course, we've been fighting against stereotypes from Day 1 at East West," Mako said in 1986. "That's the reason we formed: to combat that, and to show we are capable of more than just fulfilling the stereotypes - waiter, laundryman, gardener, martial artist, villain."

For more info on Mako visit his IMDB page at imdb.com
and you can find more info on the East West players on the official site at eastwestplayers.org

Ledger To Get The Joker Nod?

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Heath Ledger has apparently been offered the role as The Joker in the next installment of the new Batman franchise. Now, compared to the rest of the people who have been mentioned in the same breath as The Joker (Robin Williams?), it's good to know that at least the casting is headed in the right direction.

It's funny, Ledger has always kinda reminded me of Val Kilmer which makes this news sort of Ironic since Val's entrance into the Batman world sprang the first leak on Joel Schumacher's sinking ship now known as the "SS Sell More Batman Toys".

First pic of Optimus Prime ?!

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This is the supposedly leaked pic of Optimus Prime in vehicle mode as he will appear in next years Transformers movie. The image is currently sweeping across the internet sending fans into fits of rage and disgust posting all over the forums and cursing Michael Bay and Paramount.

At this point after all the hoopla surrounding Bumblebee "the Camaro" and Megatron being changed from a gun to a tank or planet or whatever... I'm just happy that Optimus will still be a truck. And for now I'll just reserve my judgment until the trailers start rolling out...

First PS3s rolling into production

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According to the AFX news service, Taiwan's Commercial Times is reporting the PlayStation 3 has begun production. The report says that Sony will take delivery of the first batch of 200,000 consoles by the end of the month.

In attempting to verfiy the Commercial Times report, AFX contacted Taiwan's Asustek, the firm producing the PS3, which declined to comment on the news. Asustek may be better known to American PC gamers as the motherboard manufacturer Asus. The company has a previously stated policy of not commenting on matters due to confidentiality agreements it has with clients.

According to the report, Sony expects a total of 4 million PS3s from Asustek in its "first consignment," with monthly shipments of 200,000, increasing to 2 million in October. Another company, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., is also expected to begin making PS3s for Sony soon.

Gamers worried about an Xbox 360-esque shortage of systems at the PS3 launch might find the news heartening. Earlier this month, CNN/Money's Chris Morris reported that the Xbox 360 entered production a mere 69 days before first hitting shelves. Currently the PS3 is 114 days away from its November 11 release in Japan, and 120 days from its November 17 launch in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Source: Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot

National Semiconductor wants some payback!

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Laid-off employees at National Semiconductor have been asked to return the iPods given to them last month as part of a company-wide reward. On June 12th, National Semiconductor announced that it was giving each of its 8,500 employees a 30GB fifth-generation iPod for having an exceptionally profitable year. The Star-Telegram now reports: “Last week, the company laid off 35 employees at its Arlington plant. To the surprise of some at the plant, the laid-off workers were asked to give back their high-tech toys… One of the 35 laid-off workers said many employees at the Arlington plant were under the impression that the iPods were theirs to keep. Some had sold them or given them as gifts, according to the caller. Employees who leave the company can return the device or pay ‘fair market value’ for it.” [via CNET News.com]

Sony In the News Again

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A Sony PSP ad promoting the new Ceramic White model of the system in the Netherlands is causing an international stir. Gaming Web sites and message boards have lit up with debate over the ad this week after a picture went up on digitalbattle.com, and now California Assemblyman Leland Yee and the San Jose/Silicon Valley chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have made their feelings on the issue known.

The series of ads show a white woman in all white promoting the system in various ways. But it's one ad in particular that has several calling the campaign racist. In the controversial piece, the white woman is wearing a scowl on her face and holding a black woman in all black by the jaw, and reads "PlayStation Portable White is coming."

In a statement titled "Sony stoops to new low with racially charged ad," Yee said he was "deeply disappointed" in the publisher's decision to run the ad, which features a white woman holding a black woman by the jaw in a threatening manner. Sony has said the ad, one in a series that features the white woman promoting the system in a variety of ways, was designed to show the contrast between the colors of the new and old PSPs, and has "no other message or purpose."

"Whether in the US or abroad, using differences in skin color to articulate the fact that your video game console now comes in white can be interpreted as insensitive at best and racist at worst," Yee said.

Today, those who criticized the ad and condemned Sony for running it, commended the publisher. According to a statement from Yee, Sony has pulled the advertising campaign and apologized to anyone offended by it. "I am pleased to see Sony taking responsibility for their racially charged ad and appropriately pulling it from the marketplace," Yee said. "Sony did the right thing by recognizing their insensitive mistake and apologizing for offending many of their customers."

- A Sony representative confirmed that the ads had been pulled, and offered the following statement:

Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP, we recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign.

We further recognize that people have a wide variety of perceptions about such imagery and we wish to apologize to those who perceived the advert differently to that intended. In future, we will apply greater sensitivity in our selection of campaign imagery, and will take due account of the increasingly global reach of such local adverts, and their potential impact in other countries.

According to the Sony representative, the company had only received a single complaint about the ads from within the Netherlands.

Personally, I rather liked the campaign and thought it was a smart well put together campaign. Unfortunatly there are still folks who get super sensitive when it comes to issues of Black and White.

UFC 61: Bitter Rivals

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UFC 61 was the first Professional sports event I have ordered by way of Pay Per View since the long lamented Tyson Holyfield fight (49.95 ouch!). Since then I have not been too eager to throw my hard earned money at a PPV sporting event.

This summer I have become hooked on the reality series "The Ultimate Fighter 3", I think as a former wrestler and a fan of UFC as a teen, the show seemed to rekindle a forgotten love for the sport of mixed martial arts, that and the fact that UF3 was a well produced show. I started watching the show alone and soon my wife (not a sports fan) who originally would only watch bits and pieces of the show was eventually sitting right next to me watching the final episodes in of the season and the big finale.

It was during the finale that we learned UF3 coaches, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock who often displayed a common dislike/hate for each other during the filming of the show would be fighting at UFC 61. Maria my wife, didnt hesitate she said "we should order that"! And so when July 8 came around we did just that.

Overall I am pleased to say I was completely happy with the purchase, the UFC really knows how to put on a show. While the top billed matches "Ortiz vs Shamrock" and "Silva vs Arlovski" were not exactly what I was hoping for, most of the under card matches were still excellent fights and there were plenty of them, Adding value to the event. It almost seems as if the UFC is given a time slot and they literally tried to squeeze as many fights into that time frame as possible. Very unlike boxing where if there are 3 fights scheduled and if they all end quickly it feels like you've gambled and lost.

I am really looking forward to the Ultimate Fighter season 4, and I expect there will be little hesitation about ordering other UFC events in the future.

Sony and Apple form like Voltron and PS3 is the head?

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All week there has been a quiet rumor floating around that on the Official US PlayStation site, the infamous Apple logo flashed over the image of the PS3 for just a second as the site loads. In this instance as odd as it may sound the rumor was true.

But what does this mean? Checking the Official US PlayStation 3 website now reinforces the original idea that this was all just a slip-up. The site no longer flashes the Apple logo, and the smoke that accompanied the image in the background is now gone. Today a video that shows just what's going on behind the scenes of the flash file popped up thanks to the keen use of a flash decompiler program, when contacted about the phantom logo Sony's PR people were apparently just as surprised at the appearance of the logo as the rest of us.

There are theories floating around the inter-web about what happened, everything from viral marketing tactics by Sony and Apple to
thoughts that Sony may have used a trial version of Apple's "Shake" and forgot to remove the watermark, what ever the case it was great hearing some PS3 rumbling going on that weren't negative...

New Bond?

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If you havent seen it I've got another cool teaser for you from the upcoming bond film featuring a new 007. This time around Bond will be played by Daniel Craig who you may know from roles a a variety of films like The Road to Perdition, Tomb Raider 2, Layer Cake and most recently Munich. When i first heard about him being cast I thought it was an odd choice but upon seeing the teaser, it looks like the film has promise.

Check out the teaser here

Happy Birthday America!

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On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Every day thousands leave their homelands to come to the "land of the free and the home of the brave" so they can begin their American Dream.

The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people. Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, fireworks and family gatherings. However you decide to celebrate be sure to make this Independence Day as safe and healthy as possible.

Spiderman and Transformers start teasing!

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So this week marked the launch of the first round of teasers for both Spiderman 3 and the Transformers movies. If the teasers are any indication it looks like the two movies will be very good although you don't really see much in the Transformers teaser you do get a good feel for what could be the mood of the film.

Spiderman 3 on the other hand is just amazing, I really wasnt expecting to see so much in a teaser and it really left me hungry for more. Looks like another big box office score for Sony and Marvel!

Check out the teaser for Transformers the Movie here.

And see the teaser for Spiderman3 here.