Author: Michael Kwan

MediaREADY Aero MP3 players with “eye-popping style”

There’s this feeling I get in my gut when the primary marketing point of a new product is that it sports “eye-popping style and color selection”, and then the press release isn’t even accompanied by any photos. That’s exactly the case with the unveiling of the Aero line of MP3 players from MediaREADY. They say that this new set of players follows on the success of the Glider line before it, but I’ve never heard of that either. Maybe I’m just out of the loop. In any case, the flash-based Aero players come bundled with Tunebite 3.0 trial software,...

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Mini Review: Cooking at the Cookery

Last week, I went to see Cooking at the Cookery with Joseph Planta of The Commentary. Brought to you by the Arts Club Theatre Company, Cooking at the Cookery, despite its name, has nothing to do with fixing up dinner in the kitchen. Instead, it is a “sizzling musical revue” of the life of “legendary African-American songstress Alberta Hunter.” The story of her life — from her humble beginnings in Memphis to her peak, playing a number of top-rated venues in New York, Chicago, and London — is described in this musical play, but the most entertaining part of the show was the singing. The show is essentially a two woman show, starring Jackie Richardson and Janice Lorraine. Janice takes on the role of Alberta Hunter as a young child and Jackie takes over as we get into her later years. Both actresses take on several other personas over the course of the two-and-a-half hour play, like Alberta’s mother, club owners, and head nurses, but of course, the character of Alberta Hunter features most prominently. Personally, I found the storytelling to be a little lacking. Granted, I’m not all too familiar with the 1920s jazz scene (nor am I all that interested in that era), but a well told biopic is always welcome in my books. Sure, it was fun watching little Alberta grow up, aspiring to be a...

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Bear with me and this post, because it’s sole purpose is to get me listed in Technorati. Apparently I have to provide some kind of special link so that I can get indexed properly or something like that. So, uh, yeah. Have a nice weekend! Technorati...

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Cell Phone Signal Booster: Arc Wireless Freedom Antenna

The UPS guy just came by my house a couple of hours ago and dropped off a package. I’m expecting several items (a couple from eBay, a couple for Mobile Magazine), so I wasn’t completely positive what I was unpacking. I signed the handheld device, closed the door, and proceed to tear the box apart. Getting beyond some bubble wrap, I found the Arc Wireless Freedom Antenna, an external cell phone signal booster which is said to give you the best of reception no matter where you are. Whether you’re in a moving vehicle, stuck in a concrete jungle,...

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Free iTunes, iPod-loving stereos, and a Bluetooth MP3 player

As some of you may already know, I also maintain a blog over at the WritingUp website (which you can check out here). It hasn’t gotten that many updates since Beyond the Rhetoric hit the scene, but it still gets the odd post from time to time to keep that side of my audience satisfied if not satiated. I just put up three new entries there in the past couple of days that you might want to check out, including a link for some free iTunes music. The three posts are thus: Samsung YP-T9B DAP plays vids, sports BluetoothApple’s iPod may dominate the mobile music market, but it is far from being the only option. If you’re in love with the slim glossy look of Samsung’s cell phones, then you’ll feel right at home with their new YP-T9B digital audio and video player…. Four new Cambridge stereos love iPodsCambridge may be Creative’s lesser known cousin and their designs seem more retro than the more contemporary-looking Zen, but these new stereos are ushering in a new era of collaboration (sort of) between Apple and Creative. Cambridge SoundWorks is unveiling four new stereos that boast lots of love for the Apple iPod…. Get 50 iTunes songs for freeNow, of course you know that Apple isn’t going to just give stuff away. They know better than that, considering that they own 75%...

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The world’s first RDS FM Transmitter for the iPod

The latest innovation coming down Kensington’s accessory chute is the world’s first RDS FM Transmitter for the iPod. What’s RDS, you may ask? Well, it stands for Radio Data System and is a standard developed in the 1980s that allows not only the audio to be sent over FM radio, but short text messages as well on a sub-frequency. To my knowledge, this is how in-car stereos can tell you the name of the station you’re listening to (sometimes even the song and artist). The Kensington RDS FM Transmitter charges while it is in its dock, features brushed stainless steel accents, and boasts ClearFM technology for “superior sound quality.” MSRP is set at $90. Several non-RDS units were also announced, with prices ranging from $55 to $80....

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Mario Hoops 3-on-3: Initial Review

There’s no denying that the most recognizable face in video games is a pudgy Italian plumber named Mario. He truly revolutionized the video game scene, beginning with jumping over barrels in Donkey Kong, right up to do where he zips past you in a go kart (Mario Kart DS), hits up the links (Mario Golf), and smashes an ace down your throat (Mario Tennis). The latest in the Mario-themed sports trend is Mario Hoops 3-on-3 for the Nintendo DS. Here are my initial impressions: Also known as Mario Basket 3-on-3 in Japan and Mario Slam Basketball in Europe, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 is pretty much what you would expect it to be. This is no ordinary basketball game (if you want realism, look to something from Electronic Arts. Madden is great for football, NBA Live for basketball, and so on). Instead, each basket you make is worth at least 20 coins, but if you perform any number of manuevers, or dribble the ball incessantly on the drifitng question marks on the ground, you can accumulate up to 100 additional coins for that basket. In effect, each time the leather ball goes swish through the twine, you can get up to 120 points… er, coins. The three character team with the most coins at the end of the match wins. As expected, they’ve thrown a bunch of over-the-top twists to the...

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Bolloxed: I never knew testicular pain could be this fun(ny)

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is in full swing for the next week or so, and after my experience with Darren Barefoot’s “Bolloxed” last Thursday, I think I want to catch a few more shows. Getting back to Bolloxed. The basic plot goes as thus: Jack is a Canadian working for an American computer company in Ireland. He is anti-spam software engineer getting used to a new culture, fighting a battle against Nigerian spam sent from Bulgaria, and along the way, he meets a young lass named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fah). Unfortunately, it is around this time that he is faced with an inexplicable pain in his testicles. The story revolves around his issues with ball pain and getting to know someone in a foreign land/culture. The theatre is very intimate, with very little as far as costume changes and props. While the back story is about Jack getting to know Aoife (and vice versa), and their respective pop culture references (it’s all quite sweet), the focus of the play is on Jack’s testicles. If you have a weak stomach, you may not be so interested in Bolloxed, as it does get a little cringe-worthy at several...

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Bolloxed: A Play about Balls

The Vancouver Fringe Festival kicked off tonight and I had the chance to see the Vancouver premiere of Bolloxed, a play by Darren Barefoot. As promised, here is a short review (expect a longer review in the days to come). The one-hour show is held at the Playwrights Theatre at Granville Island. In a nutshell (no pun intended), the play is about balls. More specifically, it’s about the trials and tribulations that revolve around Jack and his unexplained testicular pain. In the meantime, he comes across (and falls in love with) Aoife, an “Irish lass who fancies the Canadian foreigner.” Granted, the story may not be all there, and you get bombarded with toilet humour and sight gags… but it’s well-written toilet humour and well-acted sight gags. Who ever thought that a pair of talking gonads could be so funny? The venue is very intimate, seating maybe 100 people or so. Don’t expect any elaborate stage effects or creative wardrobes; it’s all in the writing and I have to applaud Darren Barefoot and Theatre Tart on this production. Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door, and you must purchase (or have) a $5 Vancouver Fringe Festival membership to attend. The play’s official website is Be sure to have a look at the official Vancouver Fringe Festival website for other creative plays. The Fringe is being held...

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Bolloxed: A Preview

Tomorrow night is the Vancouver opening of Bolloxed, a play by Darren Barefoot. Yes, the same Darren Barefoot that I commented about in my Keep Marketing Away from the Manuals entry. Bolloxed is one of the many plays that is being including in the Vancouver (and Victoria) Fringe Festival(s), and based on the reviews thus far, it should be quite the show. It’s distinctly a comedy, it appears, as the brunt of many of the jokes surrounds the concept of testicular pain. Yes, testicles. Here’s the blurb from the official site:Set in Dublin, Ireland, at the height of the dot-com boom, Canadian computer programmer Jack is struck by love and a God-awful pain in his ‘bollocks’ at precisely the same moment. While he may have found the woman of his dreams, discovering the source of testicle pain is, well, more sensitive. Will a clash of cultures and the nagging feeling that things just aren’t right kill the romance for good? Look for a brief review late tomorrow night with some initial impressions and a full(er) review following maybe a day later. The show is being held at the Playwrights Theatre Centre in Granville Island. There are six performances in all, with the last showing on Sunday, September 17th. [[Digg...

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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.