Author: Michael Kwan

iPhonic puts the iPod on a stick

It’s the answer to a question that no one ever asked: What if you could put Apple’s music player on a stick? What would you call it? Luckily for Saitek, the name iPhonic is not taken by Cisco, unlike that other term that we thought was going to be something else. The iPhonic, other than its fairly unique form factor, isn’t all that different than other iPod-centric speaker docks we’ve already seen on the market, but you’ve got to love that hub-like styling. And let’s not forget about the iPod being impaled on the side. It gets its power from a quad of AAA batteries or, alternatively, you can plug into the wall with the optional DC adapter. By the way, the Saitek iPhonic is “also great for mobile phones” boasting an “active stereo speaker with extended bass.” No word on pricing, but you can keep on top of things by checking the official product page. Source:...

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Wii Review Roundup: Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Zelda Twilight Princess

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’ve been the proud owner of a shiny white Nintendo Wii for almost a month now, and while the graphics aren’t all that much better than what the GameCube is capable of, the gameplay is an absolute blast. And isn’t that what video games are about in the first place? Having fun? Well, I’ve gathered up a few reviews for your reading pleasure, and I’ve posted links to them below. Check out Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Before we get to that though, it seems that Wii has brought the stupid out of everyone. You’ve surely heard the horror stories of “Wii Have a Problem”… you know, people flinging their Wii Remotes through their television sets when they unwittingly let go and the strap breaks. Nintendo is offering a voluntary replacement, but it is not a recall. And then someone goes ahead and sets the bloody thing on fire with candles: video here. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… Wii Sports Review: While you won’t be amazed by groundbreaking graphics and earth-shattering sound in Wii Sports, Nintendo has done a good job of jazzing it up with vibrantly-colored backgrounds, fluid animations, and quirky-looking characters. Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of the game is that you can make use of the “Mii” characters you create in the...

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Hot Pot at Sun Tung Kee. Happy birthday Joanie!

Over the weekend, we headed out to celebrate my good friend Joanie’s birthday at Sun Tung Kee Hot Pot Restaurant in Richmond. It’s an all-you-can-eat joint that’ll run about twenty bucks a person for a wide range of seafood, meat, vegetables and other goodies that you cook yourself in a boiling pot of broth in the center of table. This is quite popular in Hong Kong and is a slightly different take on the typical Chinese fare. No fried rice or chow mein here. The best hot pot I’ve ever had would be at Landmark on Cambie (Vancouver). The...

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Making easy money on the net?

Maybe it’s because they’re still in beta. Maybe my blog isn’t getting enough traffic. But for whatever reason, I seem to be having a particularly hard time getting people to sign up under my referral number for AGLOCO. Developed by the same people as AllAdvantage, AGLOCO is basically a toolbar that sits at the bottom of your internet browser, and at the end of the month, you get a check (cheque) from them for the hours you surfed (and the hours your referrals surfed). It’s not spyware, and it’s not a pyramid scheme… in the strictest sense. This is because it costs you absolutely nothing to join, and you have everything to gain. You can check out their Help/FAQ page for more details; I’m not going to bore you with that stuff. Anyways, I’m going to give this one more try. If you do decide to sign up with AGLOCO, please use my referral ID: BBBB6961. Cheers and have a wonderful holiday season. On a side note, I have but one referral and apparently I rank “in the top 10.32% of all members”. That’s pretty fascinating in and of itself. Here’s a screenshot of the AGLOCO...

Read More gets an extreme makeover

This was certainly a long time coming. has been up and running since March 2006 (as has Beyond the Rhetoric), but I’ve never been particularly happy with how I designed the main site (where I promote my freelance writing and editing services… feel free to shoot some business my way by sending me an email). Luckily for me, an acquaintance from a local forum is a professional website designer and she volunteered her services. She was looking to expand her portfolio, so I was more than happy to be her guinea pig. After all, if things didn’t pan out, I could always go back to the way it was. Well, that redesign took longer than I expected, but it has finally happened. re-launched yesterday with a whole new layout, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Of course, it will also be a work in progress, and I will add, remove, and edit the content as time goes on, expanding my portfolio, as well as the services and references pages. I’m looking to change the top banner to something else, but I have yet to reach an epiphany on that front. Other than that, I’d like to jazz it up with a picture or two, but as Edwin Lau from the [ED]ition tells me, minimalism is “in” right now, so I should avoid any kind...

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Where’s the sun? I need a vacation….

It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s miserable outside. No wonder so many people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s around this time of year that I’m just itching for a trip to sunnier climes. Maybe Florida (if only their NFL football teams were doing better these days. I want a vacation. I’ve been the States, sure, but never that far south. I had a brief stopover in Dallas one time, but I never left the airport. Other than that, I’ve been to California, Washington (state), and New York. It would be nice to go to Florida… I guess I’d have to figure out where to find the younger folks and not the ones seriously concered about life insurance. I’d imagine that most of the people down there are reasonably well off, having accumulated a fairly significant nest egg over the years to provide for a super comfortable retirement. The business of selling life insurance in Tampa could be pretty lucrative. You know, just like selling time shares. MetLife (813-887-3522) probably does pretty well for themselves down there. They’d probably sell well in Victoria...

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LG VX9900 enV (Verizon Wireless) – Sample pictures

Cell phones that just do voice calls just aren’t good enough anymore. We need our mobile handsets to do everything from taking pictures to playing videos, cleaning our toilets to doing our taxes. Power users may be more inclined to grab something like a BlackBerry, Palm Treo, or Motorola Q, but for the young hip consumer hell bent on using SMS text messages like there’s no tomorrow, there are devices like the Sidekick (HipTop) and the cell phone I’m going to talk about today, the newly launched LG VX9900 “enV” from Verizon Wireless. I had an initial hands-on experience...

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Got the wintertime blues? Are you suffering from SAD?

I know I am. This time of year is supposed to be a cheerful, happy time. The children are joyously outside playing in the snow. The city is strewn in festive colors. Happy lights twinkle on your neighbours’ houses and the the malls are alive with energy with people shopping for gifts for loved ones. Then, why is it that so many of us feel so lacklustre, so lethargic, so down in the dumps whenever November or December rolls around? After all, the post-holiday credit card bills haven’t showed up in your mailbox yet. The answer, my friends, is SAD. Standing for Seasonal Affective Disorder (thank you Psychology major), it is a very common condition wherein the “sufferer”, so to speak, falls into a sort of depressive state around the same time of year, every year. Typically starting in late fall to early winter and subsiding when the birds re-emerge to sing their spring songs, Seasonal Affective Disorder can strip you of any sort of motivation. Instead of the festive lights and happy times that Christmastime is supposed to bring, you see the world in a dull shade of grey. Why does SAD come about? There are several theories on the matter, but the most prominent is that the days are shorter. What this means is that when you first wake up in the morning, it is dark outside....

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What do Kramer, Nas, and Dhalsim have in common?

I *heart* YouTube very muchie. Before it came along, you had sit around while you downloadeded a video you probably didn’t want to watch anyways, but with such a huge community of “contributors”, YouTube has grown into one of the best entertainment solutions for people with short attention spans (e.g., yours truly). Here are three videos that I came across on my daily journeys, each of which speaks to quite a different issue. Now, I’m sure you’ve already heard about the racist outburst that Michael Richards (better known as Kramer from Seinfeld fame) at the Laugh Factory and how he has gone on the record on several occasions to apologize for using the N-word so freely and so negatively. Well, National Lampoon had their way with several clips and very cleverly pieced them together to form a long lost Seinfeld episode. Very well done and definitely recommended viewing. Next up, we have a hot live performance by Jay-Z and Nas, the latter of which is on the cusp of releasing his highly anticipated new album, Hip Hop is Dead. I’ve always been a big fan of Nas as he is an incredible lyricist, busting out rhymes like none other. He doesn’t need to rap about bitches and ho’s, bling and “popping a cap” to make his sentiments known. In this way, I appreciate him in sort of the same...

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AGLOCO has no spyware

Okay worry warts. Those of you who were concerned that AGLOCO was going to fill your computer with oodles of viruses, trojans, and nasty spyware can now rest easy. Prominent and well-respected Vancouver blogger John Chow had a chat with the people behind AllAdvantage 2.0 AGLOCO and they have confirmed that the toolbar, while displaying ads, will not contain any spyware whatsoever. To quote from his blog: Mavani has assured me that the AGLOCO Viewbar has absolutely no spyware. The Viewbar tracks your Internet surfing and serves advertising based on the web page you’re visiting. Everything the Viewbar tracks will be spelled out in the privacy statement. This is really nothing new. Many other toolbars, like Google’s, already track surfing habits. In addition, the Viewbar will offer privacy and phishing protection and an uninstaller should you wish to remove it for any reasons. It’s been slow for me to get people to sign up for AGLOCO and I started to think that many people think it fishy. Well, there you have it. Unlike AllAdvantage, AGLOCO will not come with any spyware, only providing pretty flowers and happy thoughts. In the beginning, they will be offering stock in the company to ensure that they will have enough funds to go around (and not abruptly go bankrupt like how AllAdvantage did). You’ll receive one share for every hour you surf (to...

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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.


Beyond the Baby Babble: Surviving Life as a Work-at-Home Dad