Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Uncategorized
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I love how smart Apple is with its line of iPods, and more important, the content it makes available for iPods. I got a video iPod for Christmas (good thing, since my 40GB 4th generation iPod is filled up with over 11,000 songs), and in addition to putting all my classical music and odds and ends like podcasts on the thing, I’ve been putting videos on it.

The future of journalism, of course, is in the hands of the young journalists and journalism students who are about to enter the profession. That’s why I’m happy (and honored) to be volunteering as one of the professional mentors working with a group of students on AAJALink, the student-run Web site covering the annual convention of the Asian American Journalists Association. The confab is in Minneapolis, a city I’ve never traveled to. So far, I haven't seen much of it except what I’m sure must be the world’s largest Target (a two-story department store a block away from the retailer’s corporate offices, which is also on the downtown Minneapolis Nicollette Mall).

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post yesterday, about a woman in South Korea whose dog pooped on a subway. She refused to clean it up, much to the consternation of other passengers nearby (what the hell is a dog doing in the subway anyway?). One passenger took a digital photo and put it on a citizen journalism Web site, and then all hell broke loose. Everyone started calling her the "Dog Poop Lady" and chattering back and forth online about how awful she is. Bloggers joined in, and the search for her identity began (her face was obscured in the photo).

I saw an A&E program the other day about the Brady Bunch, and how over the decades the story of the archetypal modern family has become an American cultural icon. It was fun to relive the series. I liked watching “The Brady Bunch" when I was a kid, and like everyone my age and younger (since the show has constantly been in syndication since it originally went off the air in the mid-‘70s). But I also have been watching the first-season episodes of “The Partridge Family" on DVD, and having a ball.

I've been a fan of Apple's TV commercials for the iPod since long before I got my own iPod. The instantly recognizable campaign, with the silhouetted figures dancing with their iPods in hand and the "iconic" white earbuds and wire flopping around are just plain cool. A couple of weeks ago, Apple launched its latest TV commercial, which features "pop-lock" dancers doing their robotic, hip-hoppy thing to their 'Pods. Then, I realized that I never see people in real life listening to iPod and moving along to the music like the silhouettes in these commercials.

When Barbie was “born" into the Mattel family of toys in 1959, she wasn’t just a doll. She was the epicenter of a retail revolution. When parents bought their baby-boomer girls a Barbie, they were agreeing to an unspoken but implicit contract with the toy store to return time and again and buy stuff – lots more stuff – for Barbie. That’s how Mattel envisioned her. A kid wouldn’t be happy with just the Barbie and some clothes like any earlier doll would offer. Nope, Mattel created an entire fantasy world, with price tags attached to every damned thing in that world, from friends like Midge and sister Skipper, and of course, the sexless boyfriend Ken (whose irony-drenched advertising slogan was “Ken…. He’s a Doll!") to Barbie houses, Barbie Sports cars, carrying cases, closets, apartments with Barbie-sized furniture, picnic sets and even a tiny Barbie Doll for Barbie to own!

(Note: I worked for DenverPost.com from 2003-2006.) No, don't barf. I know a lot of people -- especially the kind of people who read blogs, who I think are by nature technologically savvy and opinionated -- hate even the concept of AOL and everything the company stands for. But hear me out, because I truly believe that without AOL and its millions of users, the Internet wouldn't have evolved as quickly as it has into an everyday part of our lives. Washington Post technology writer Robert MacMillan wrote today in his "Random Access" column about RSS feeds, and how RSS is too complicated and technical to become mainstream, even though there's a huge buzz about it in the online media. I agree completely with him. RSS is bogged down deeply in geek quotient.