13, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 40 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK
Point, Shoot and Send
It seems it's not enough that a digital camera will let you
instantly review the pictures you take. For impatient photographers who
feel an urgent need to disseminate their artistic visions right now, not
even the one-hour photo shop will do. Japan's Ricoh has an answer. The company's
RDC-i700 has a flip-up touch screen that lets you connect directly to the
Internet for an e-mail session or just to browse. And oh yeah, it's also
a camera one that can zap your photos, along with appended text,
to friends and colleagues via the Net almost as fast as you can press the
shutter release. No toy, this: the RDC-i700 captures crisp images in resolutions
of up to 2048 x 1536 pixels (3.15 megapixels) and includes a 3x optical
zoom. Connectivity and clarity, however, do not come cheap. The camera costs
a hefty $1,500 and you'll have to add Tokyo airfare to buy one. Ricoh says
the RDC-i700 won't be available outside Japan until next year. Perhaps it
is time you learned patience.
Getting in Toon at NTT
NTT DoCoMo's zanily popular i-mode cellphones already play games and music,
but the handheld frivolity does not end there. A company called FunMail
is testing an animated instant-messaging service on the i-mode system
that sets cartoon characters bobbing across the screen, along with a text
message the caller sends to a recipient via a website (www.funmail.com).
The illustrations are generated by a "text-to-animation" engine that decides
what cartoon to launch based on key words in the message. The app is aimed
at Japanese teens who delight in exchanging e-mail and graphics over the
phone. FunMail's system works with ordinary computers, too.
Music for Masochists
A new website is dedicated to that cultural blight, the Annoying Song.
You know the type. It wafts like skunk-scent over the airwaves, implanting
itself in your brain so you have nowhere to run. Visit www.teamws.
to hear the Annoying Song of the Day in a rendition so appalling it rivals
Gregorian elevator music. There's an archive including Teeny-Bopper Songs
and '80s Retro Songs. Of course, annoyance is in the ear of the beholder.
Many actually like Los Del Rio's Macarena. At least you can vote on the
Song of the Day, and also request a tune be inducted. We're inclined to
nominate the website itself as annoying because it uses MIDI music files
instead of more common streaming formats.
GAMES: Forgot an Important Paper? Soon You Can Phone It in
You're at the client's office when you realize you've forgotten the contract
you just fought so hard to negotiate. Rather than give the customer time
to waver while you hunt down the document, Hewlett-Packard suggests you
use your WAP-enabled phone or PDA to print it out right away. HP Wire
is a pilot program starting in Singapore in November that will let you
retrieve e-mails, Web pages and documents shared through Microsoft Networking
from your desktop computer via a nearby printer or fax machine. The info
never has to be stored on your phone. And your boss never has to know
about your memory lapse.
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November 30, 2000