Archive for January, 2007

Jan
22

Over-priced chocolatier Noka coming to Japan

Posted by on Monday, 22 January, 2007

Noka Chocolate
On 30th of March this year, new fashionable shopping/business/leisure district Tokyo Midtown opens in Roppongi, Tokyo (it’s situated in the old Self-Defense Force Agency Headquarters location between Roppongi and Akasaka).

I browsed through the list of shops which are to open in the complex, and one of them was, to my big surprise, Noka Chocolate. If you haven’t lived under a rock without Internet-access for the last few months you would know that this is a Texas-based chocolate company who produces ridiculously over-priced chocolates with, if you believe their critics, little to no value added to the original chocolate bars they buy from France.

You can read the whole expose on Noka Chocolate here: Dallas Food expose on Noka Chocolate
and there are various of other sites commenting on this:
Slash Food, Boing Boing, Crunchgear

So, the “the world’s most expensive chocolate” is coming to Japan. It’s been here before, temporarily, as part of various department stores’ Valentine’s Day specials (for instance at Mitsukoshi), but now they are also opening up shop permanently. I did a quick search in Japanese for ノカ チョコレート (Noka Chocolate) and did not get any relevant hits commenting on the recent news, but only links to where you can buy it, and some reviews: Enjoytokyo reviews Noka Chocolate (To sum up this review, the reviewer was impressed by the luxurious packaging, the high price and a deep, dark, bitter taste.)

Unfortunately, I think the Japanese will flock to this new store and happily line up to get a piece of the exclusive goodness which they promise their customers. The brand image is extremely attractive for the Japanese market, it has a definate “high end” and “exclusive” air to it; which Japanese will literally eat up (pun intended). Secondly, the price. The price will probably be ridiculously high, as it is in the US as well. I think they will manage to squeeze out another few 100% mark-up just for the Japanese market – and if there is anything that Japanese consumers are suckers for, it is exclusive brands which are highly priced.
“Price = Quality” in the minds of many Japanese shoppers which plays right into the business plan of Noka…

Of course, I have nothing personally against Noka – if their business works and they make money from it, fine – but I do not approve of shady business practices where companies are not honest about what they do and do not do.

Jan
05

Checking in with AICE again

Posted by on Friday, 5 January, 2007

Well it has been more than a year since the sensational re-cut The Shining trailer hit the Internets, the winner of the 2005 New York AICE Trailer Park competition. It spawned a wave of mashups and re-cut trailers of various quality – most of them never getting close to the high quality of the “original” (although AICE had been doing this stuff for a few years, the general public had not really had noticed it).

I thought it would be interesting to check back with AICE to see what the 2006 Trailer Park competitions have given us. I searched the web which we call the Internet and came up with a few gems. Enjoy.

Detroit Robots

(Robots meets 8 Mile)
Winner of Los Angeles Trailer Park 2006, made by Jeff Jenkins

Caakthal

(Cocktail as Bollywood movie)
Winner of New York Trailer Park 2006, made by Scott Rankin

Enter This Dragon, Bitch!

(Enter The Dragon as a Blaxploitation move)
Runner-up at NY Trailer Park 2006, made by Ian Marks

Jan
02

The Best Stuff I Found on the Internet 2006

Posted by on Tuesday, 2 January, 2007

It’s time to present a list of the greatest things I found on the Internet in 2006. Is it a reocurring column if it is only the second time I do it? Well, I plan to continue doing it, so I guess you can call it that.

  • The Best Blonde Joke Ever
  • Well there is not much more to say about this than click the link and enjoy. A modern classic!

  • Toy Story Meets Requiem For A Dream
  • There were many mashups and re-edited movie trailers surfacing in 2006 after the amazing success of The Shining Redux, but none blew my mind like this one.

  • Line Rider
  • Simple but ingenious game which, if you are not careful, will occupy all your sparetime for the next few days. After playing a while, you might think you are getting good at it, but, think again!

  • SNL Dick in a Box
  • Justin TImberlake guest stars in a recent SNL episode and among other fairly good sketches, he stars in one of the most fabulous SNL productions in a long time (not up to Narnia standard, but close!)

  • The Evolution of Dance
  • Old but gold! You simply cannot watch this enough times… It never gets boring!

  • Pandora
  • Yeah, so this did not launch in 2006, I know, but I didn’t realize it’s amazingness until a bit into the year. It is an Internet-jukebox so to speak, which lets you create custom radio channels based on your favorite songs or artists. Via a wide range of algorithms, it finds similar music that you might enjoy (in most cases it’s pretty good!

  • Newsvine
  • A great mix of mainstream media news and user-submitted news & commentary. The user-submitted stories are fairly USA-centered, but overall makes for a really good news site.

  • Netvibes
  • Netvibes is an AJAX online desktop or startpage, sort of similar to Google’s personal startpage etc. but it offers so much more than the Google/Yahoo variety. I find it handles various types of RSS feeds better than Google, and there are more customization options. What it is lacking is perhaps some of the “gadgets” that are available to Google users.

By the way, here is a link to last year’s list: Best stuff I found on the Internet 2005.