Author: Michael Kwan

Must Have Nintendo DS Games

With the recent (oh, I guess not that recent anymore) release of the Nintendo DS Lite, Shigeru Miyamoto and crew have found themselves at the forefront of video gaming again, having sat under the shadow of Sony and their PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and — to a lesser extent — PlayStation Portable. The DS Lite brings iPod-like glossy appeal to the video game arena, and when coupled with Nintendo’s innovative dual display set up (one of which is a touchscreen) and incredible gameplay, the DS Lite is quite the winner. Speaking of great games, here are just a handful of titles available for the Nintendo DS that should be a part of every gamer’s library, regardless of genre preferences. Action junkies, RPG lovers, and simulation aficionados should all have a nice long gander at these titles. Mario Kart DS: This is the “killer app” for the Nintendo DS (Lite). It is an absolute must-have title, not only because it brings such a long tradition behind it, but the compilation is an absolute masterpiece. The gameplay mechanics are second to none, the graphics are vibrant and colourful, and who can resist the appeal of hucking a red shell at Donkey Kong as he drifts around the corner on a goofy-looking 150cc go-kart. Veterans of the series will find themselves right at home, as many of the tracks are direct translations of...

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Week in Review: Automotive News

With the car show season just over the horizon (the Paris Motor Show kicks off next month), automotive news is slowly starting to trickle in with some new models, fresh takes on older cars, and some incredibly innovative concepts that may not even have working prototypes yet. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, so here is a short summary of the week for the world of cars, trucks, motorcycles, sport utility vehicles, and a variety of other people-movers. The University of Minnesota has joined forces with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and they’re working on a vehicle that can literally run on water. This technique will mostly be deployed in a fuel cell-powered car to generate hydrogen fuel. The goal is to have a working prototype by 2009. If high-powered, lightweight roadsters are more your foray, then take a look at the R1 from Javan Sports Cars. The British automaker has put together a 1,430 pound car with 220 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, and a 12.2 second quarter mile. By 2015, Ford predicts that we will no longer be able to buy a car with a four speed automatic transmission, finding continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and 6-speed auto gearboxes instead. Ford is also working on a gas cap-less solution for the 2008 model year. We could be the cusp of seeing the official launch of the...

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Time sure flies…

Either I’m getting older or time has accelerated since my younger days, but it sure seems like summer is passing me by. I remember as a kid when the two months we’d get off from school would seem like an eternity, granted it was a very nice eternity filled with the Mario Bros, Metroid, and whatever other games happened to grace my library that summer. But as I type this, it is already the second week of August with the PNE just around the corner, an exhibition that marks the end of the summer and the return to the grind, except in my case, I’ve never really left the grind. I’ve been working full-time for quite a while now, not including the three months I took off between my last co-op term at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and my five month stint at Puti Meditation College These days, I spend my waking hours bashing my fingers on a keyboard and trying to make a decent living (interestingly, I’m making more today than I did putting in 40 hours at Puti). It certainly is a different experience, but I do put in some rather odd hours. I usually don’t get to bed until 2am, but — at the same time — I don’t start working until around 10am the next day. I am grateful I don’t have a half-hour commute to the...

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REVIEW: Telus Mobile Radio, Powered by XM Canada

Telus Mobile Radio is a way for you to receive some of the best XM Satellite Radio programming straight on your high speed-ready cell phone. I had the chance to review the service for Mobile Magazine, and here are my thoughts: XM Satellite Radio isn’t reserved for those standalone units anymore. No longer are you restricted to carrying around an XM-only device to play in your car, while strolling down the street, or even at home… at least if you fall within Telus’ service area in Canada. I had the chance to try out their new Telus Mobile Radio service, powered by XM Canada, and while it was a worthwhile experience, the service isn’t without its faults…. Check out the full review...

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Wii Video: Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I can’t wait for the Nintendo Wii to hit the market later this year, as evidenced by the several posts I’ve written on the matter. While promotional videos are fairly abundant, here is an actual in-game, real-time video (sort of) of one of the launch titles — Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. As you can probably guess, navigating the courses in this downhill skateboarding game is done by tilting and turning the Wii-mote (as it is affectionately known), much in the same way that you’ll be controlling your vehicles in ExciteTruck and Need for Speed: Carbon. Anyways, here’s the vid. The resolution is kind of crappy, but it gives you a good idea of what Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam for the Nintendo Wii is going to look like when it hits shelves in October November sometime in Q4 of this...

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Mortal Kombat Armageddon: Character selection screen

Mortal Kombat Armageddon is meant to draw to a close this chapter of the Mortal Kombat story, wrapping up all the loose ends brought on my all past incarnations of the popular (and bloody) fighting game. In this way, all of the characters you know and love are back, from classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Kano to newer characters like Bo’ Rai Cho, Li Mei, and Mavado. Second perhaps only to the legendary Street Fighter series, Mortal Kombat is probably one of the most popular video game series out there when it comes to the standard one-on-one beat ’em up....

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CityTV’s Taste of the City

Yesterday was CityTV’s Taste of the City, held at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver. To recap, there were 20 some odd local restaurants showcasing their dishes to the eager (and hungry) public, from butter chicken to hamburgers, Filipino desserts to mildly-flavoured water. In exchange for a certain number of tickets (which were being sold at $10 for a sheet of 20, effectively making them 50 cents a piece), the stands would offer a small sample of their food. No dish would cost more than six tickets, so nothing cost you more than three bucks. To some, this may sound an awful lot like the Eat! Vancouver food and kitchen festival held a few months back at BC Place Stadium (ironically, just across the street from the Plaza of Nations), and, well, that’s not all the far away from the truth. The main difference is that Eat! Vancouver had an admission charge (Taste of the City let people in for free). That said, Eat! Vancouver had a number of free samples, whereas anything you decided to stuff into your face at Taste of the City would cost you a pretty penny There were a good variety of bistros and restaurants in attendance, including some finer dining options like Feenie’s, at this, the fourth annual Taste of the City… but there was something that really detracted from the event and...

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Creative way to mow the lawn

Came across this during my daily journeys through the forums and blogosphere. A user on known only as kspec let his lawn go unmowed for a solid four months. The result was an absolute jungle… in his own words, it “turned into a basic jungle…[a] jungle for creative ideas to flow through.” After five hours in the sun, a little imagination and planning, and the help of a digital camera for documentation purposes, he came up with something a little different from the rest of the pack. Without further ado, here is his internet-worthy salute to the world...

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I review the rugged Motorola i580

Writing for Mobile Magazine has got its perks. I already had the chance to review the Archos 104 music player, but for the past week or so, I’ve been toying around with the Motorola i580 iDEN phone from Nextel (also offered as the i570 in Canada, through Telus Mobility). It’s one ultra rugged number with a surprising level of multimedia functionality. Check out my full review here Put briefly, it’s bulky, heavy, and slow, but it’ll withstand the worst of environments and that’s exactly where it belongs. With military-grade resistances to dust, water, and shock (drops, bumps, and bruises), the Motorola i580 mobile phone is one tough cookie. But let’s not fool anybody… it ain’t exactly the prettiest cell phone out there, and for $220 USD with a 2-year contract, I’m quite sure you can find a more attractive handset with an equivalent (or better) feature...

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Best Lesser-Known TV Shows

There’s a lot of garbage on television these days, but there are also a lot of programs out there that don’t get as much media attention as the latest edition of American Idol, for example. In future entries in this blog, I might venture into the more mainstream programs that show up in primetime on some major networks, but for today, I’m showcasing a small handful of shows that I enjoy watching for a variety of reasons. I’ve left reality TV and sitcoms on the backburner for now, as much as I enjoy the latter, but I hope that you’ll like some of these shows. I know I do. And you may not have even heard of some of these. Technical Knockout: Syndicated on CH and Global, Technical Knockout is hosted by Su-Ling Goh and Carey Roberts. Despite what the title may lead you to believe, this is not a show about boxing (although they did mention Mike Tyson in one particular episode). Instead, the focus is on the “technical” part of its title, featuring new technology, vehicles, inventions, and that sort of thing. They seek to demystify the electronics section of your local department store, opening up some new computers and explaining them in layman’s terms. Video game enthusiasts get treated to the odd review or preview, music lovers get introduced to new MP3 players, and trivia aficionados...

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Michael Kwan
Hi, I'm Michael. By day, I'm a freelance writer. By night, I'm still a freelance writer. I'm also a proud father, a voracious foodie, an avid traveler, a gadget geek, and a thinker who thinks he might be thinking too much. Beyond the Rhetoric is a reflection of my eclectic entrepreneurial life.

Read more about me and what I can do for you.