Japanese anime song and dance stuck in my head

Thanks to Boing Boing for introducing me to this kind of stuff. It all started with this Haruhi Suzumiya dance, I watched the YouTube clips and sure enough, that was enjoyable. Exactly as predicted by the BB poster, the song stuck in my head for a week.

Then just recently there was this: “Software creates songs, vocals from text“. Woah, cool. You gotta hand it to the Japs!

So I followed the links, listened to the demos, and I was thrilled. Will this “Vocaloid” ever be available in English? I’ll buy it!

Something about the “anime song generator” stuff got to me, I feverishly searched for more demos. Soon, I landed on this YouTube video – a song called “Go My Way”. Yes, the vocals are computer generated!

[update: looks like the YouTube video was taken down because of some effing “terms of use” violation. I was able to find a version minus the video of the cute dance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g5Ezdml3ww]

This was getting better! Although the video quality is terrible, the choreography, the cute anime characters and the CGI camera moves really got my attention. My, what a catchy tune! Little did I know that this song and dance was going to turn me into a crazed file-downloading j-pop-tune-humming maniac over the next two days or so.

Digging around for the source of the video, I came to learn about this Japanese arcade game called “iDOL@MASTER“. The game is about building the career of a cute anime “Japanese Idol” contestant you get to choose at the start. This Wired blog post has details on the gameplay.

So apparently in the game, once you are done with the mini-games and the sim gameplay, you sit back and watch as your precious teen idols take the stage and perform. I’ll probably never have the patience to play the whole game, but the computer generated performances and one particular song and its choreography is what I am currently obsessing about.

The in-game songs are voiced by humans and the YouTube clip above is just a Vocaloid demo. I watched all the YouTube clips of the iDOL@MASTER stage performance routines I could get and this “Go My Way” song was by far the catchiest. And those dance moves! The glorious cel-shaded animation! The smooth, sweeping camera moves and changes! The super-cute anime girls! The hair and costumes! The stage, lighting effects and sets! Wow. Very soon I had found hi-res versions of “Go My Way” and a couple other iDOL@MASTER songs on the net. Awesome.

So have I gone stark raving mad? In my defense, here is a YouTube clip I found of a grown man showing off his mastery over the “Go My Way” dance moves in sync with the video. Heh.

My cousin will be proud of me, he was trying to introduce me to the wonderful world of Japanese anime a while back and I still have those “Naruto” episodes on my hard disk. Maybe I’ll go back and finish watching them all. So much to do, so little time. *sigh*

Now coming full circle, I explored more about Haruhi Suzumiya – intriguing stuff, maybe will watch someday. But allow me to rave about this one particular video clip from the TV series where the main character and her friends play a rock-song live in a high-school event.

Considering that this is animation, the visual accuracy of how the characters are depicted playing the instruments in sync with the music – is to be seen to be believed. I wonder if the animators did something like rotoscoping, but the video captures the mood of a live band and the pent-up emotion of the lead singer amazingly well. The song is called “God Knows”, you can search for hi-res versions on the net.

In time, I’ll probably look back at this blog post and say to myself “what was I thinking?” but this stuff has so gotten under my skin that I simply have to post about it! “Go My Way” is well and truly stuck in my head and is not showing any signs of going away, I suspect because of the additional visual appeal of the dance moves. Oh help.

“Go My Way” is the best pop song EVAR!

I hope to be back to posting on Java soon. Heh.

Microsoft bashing

Funny stuff. First a technical paper by Peter Gutmann titled A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection which simply says under “Executive Executive Summary” the following:

The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history

Now Microsoft comes out with an offcial response which is promptly shredded to bits by the same guy. Here’s one bit I especially liked:

Will Windows Vista content protection features increase CPU resource consumption?

[Microsoft response:] Yes. However, the use of additional CPU cycles is inevitable, as the PC provides consumers with additional functionality.

Note the careful use of the term “additional functionality” rather than “enhanced functionality”. […] Another way of looking at this is to rephrase the question to “Will viruses increase CPU resource consumption?”, to which the answer is also “Yes. However, the use of additional CPU cycles is inevitable, as the PC provides consumers with additional functionality” (like spamming, phishing site hosting, and so on).

You can get more laughs in coverage by The Inquirer.

Microsoft confirms just about every point in the Gutmann piece and tries to spin it as good. It is one of the most amazing piece of PR weaselwork I have seen for years.

Found through Boing Boing. Actually if you search for “vista” in Boing Boing a whole load of stuff turns up, its crazy.

Say no to DRM!.

Take that all ye SOA guys

I think I found this a little late. Anyone who is contemplating working with SOAP or webservices simply has to read this. And if you have been already struggling with the specifications – read this and weep.

The S stands for Simple” by Pete Lacey.

He’s got this interview on InfoQ as a follow-up.

Great timing for me personally, I was just contemplating options for Mylar integration with JTrac. I guess it is a toss-up between XML-RPC or REST now.

Update 2006-12-18: Well, I missed this part – the InfoQ write-up on the original post. Just as I was pondering that if Google uses SOAP for the search API, it can’t be that bad:

Among the many industry luminaries linking to Pete’s post are Nelson Minar, who designed the SOAP-based Google APIs for both Google’s search AdWords and says he’d never choose SOAP and WSDL again…

Wow.

Another Update 2006-12-26:… Google has deprecated the SOAP search API. Hmm. Some nice (admittedly biased) perspective here: The end of SOAP.

Slowly, all over the world, the lights on the SOAP endpoints are going out

Inane patents and other things

Noticed recently that the anti SOA 2.0 petition crossed 400. That reminds me, this is a must see if you haven’t already – an approved US patent “Method of exercising a cat” using a laser pointer. No kidding!

A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.

Wow. Hope I don’t get sued for quoting that :) As someone noted it took two people to come up with that one.

I also have great admiration for whoever Assaf who wrote this piece “SOA integration with Flickr and del.icio.us“. Read it if you haven’t already. Digest it. Memorize every word. This will answer all your questions on SOA, ROI, Web 2.0 and SaaS. Really.

CentOS – how good is it?

The Community ENTerprise Operating System (CentOS) is an Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor. CentOS conforms fully with the upstream vendors redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible. (CentOS mainly changes packages to remove upstream vendor branding and artwork.) The CentOS Project is the organization that builds CentOS

No prizes for guessing who this “prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor” is :)

A (Red) Hat tip to Deepak for pointing me to this hilarious story from the CentOS website: why every city council needs at least one geek.

So is CentOS something worth relying on for running your beloved hardware? Hope we have an answer to that soon, we are experimenting on it at work and it seems to be holding up so far.

In the meantime, when I finally get the chance to dump Windows, I’ll choose Ubuntu. Or to affirm my Java faith should I go for Solaris?

But at least I have my Linux flavor of choice narrowed down to three.

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