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NOVEMBER 17, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 45 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK


Montage by Manodh Premaratne.
Chinese War Game
Would-be 'War Gods' hit the Net, cellphones become immortal and kids get jiggy online
Compiled by YASMIN GHAHREMANI

"Wish you could go back in time to command a small Chinese nation to fight against assassins and spies?" asks the maker of Zhanshen.com, China's first free Net game. No? Well at least 610 other people want to. That's how many signed up within the first day of play, Nov. 1. When you join, you get your very own nation, which you can name as you want. The object is to build it up using the philosophies of Confucius and other Chinese scholars, pictured in the montage above. Sounds noble, but don't worry. The game includes all the usual testosterone-infused elements, like attacks, land grabs and big property developments. There are English and Chinese versions, and players' messages to each other will be translated into the appropriate language. A fresh game starts at the beginning of each month. The player with the most points at the end will win a prize — and, more importantly, be named Zhanshen, or "War God."


Asiaweek Pictures.
Online Juvie Jam
Can't get your child to practice his clarinet?
Maybe what he needs is a little music appreciation lesson. Not from a geriatric teacher who smells like lavender and mothballs, but from the hip prehistoric characters at UggaUgga.com. The site has free software tools that allow kids to compose their own synthesized tunes online, or make animated music videos to songs like Technosaurus or Bossa Ugga. They can then send the videos to their friends or submit them to the Kids Rock Challenge for a chance to make the weekly Top Ten List and win prizes. But it looks like Junior's not out of the woods yet. Prizes include an IBM Think Pad and musical instruments — with lessons.


Asiaweek Pictures.
Ha! You Call That Big?
We have seen the future of data storage and it makes today's DVDs look positively laughable. Make way for the Hyper CD-ROM drive, a project in development by Romanian scientist Eugen Pavel. While the typical DVD holds a mere 4.7 gigabytes of digital data, the Hyper CD-ROM can record up to 10 terabytes — or 10,000 gigabytes. That's the equivalent of about 10 million books. The disks are made of 10-millimeter-thick fluorescent photosensitive glass. Unlike conventional CD-ROMs, which store data only on the surface, the glass disks contain more than 10,000 levels that can be written on. Pavel says the drive should be ready for commercial use within a year. Digital packrats are sure to greet the news with glee. You could put every Harlequin Romance ever published on there. Well, almost.



Asiaweek Pictures.

Drop the Chargers
U.S.-based Manhattan Scientifics, Inc. has invented the mobile phone equivalent of a perpetual motion machine — or a working prototype of one anyway. The Power Holster looks just as unstylish as a regular cellphone belt clip. But it houses a tiny collection of fuel cells that continuously charge the phone. The cells use air, along with a mixture of methanol and water, to produce electricity. The only wastes emitted are carbon dioxide and water, better than the toxic chemicals used in regular batteries. Scientists say they successfully powered a Nokia 6190 for one month with the prototype, and it can be easily adapted for any phone brand. That's all very well and good. But why couldn't they have made one that doesn't look like it should be hanging from a carpenter's waistband? Now that will be a real breakthrough.









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