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February 28th, 2011
05:57 PM ET

The Oscars should lose it

I will admit the only part of the award show I watched was the opening monologue. And that five minutes and 15 seconds made me feel awkward and uncomfortable.  Why were two not very funny actors hosting the entire ceremony?

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And then it dawned on me: we don't need them. Sure, a controversial comedian like Ricky Gervais is great for the Golden Globes. The pre-Oscars needs all the buzz it can get.

 But the Academy Awards has gotten out of hand. The most important night in Hollywood goes on way too long. Let's  lose the host.

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Filed under: General • Personal musings • Viral Videos
February 24th, 2011
11:06 PM ET

Nintendo 3DS: We've got one!

Nintendo’s long-awaited 3DS makes its worldwide debut in Japan on Saturday, but we’ve managed to get our hands on one in Hong Kong a couple of days early. As the successor to the incredibly popular Nintendo DS it has a lot to live up to, but I’m willing to bet you just want to know one thing about it: Does it work? Does it really deliver 3D without glasses?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Yes, but it can be frustrating.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Technology
February 24th, 2011
01:48 PM ET

Nintendo 3DS: First impressions

As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a gadget geek. And a gaming geek.

So it should come as no surprise that I bought the Nintendo 3DS as soon as it came out - which, for Hong Kong, was two days before the official worldwide debut in Japan on Saturday.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the day off to play with my new toy. So my impressions here will be a little brief.

What you probably want to know is: Does it work? Can you see 3D images without those annoying glasses? The answer is simply, yes. It works.

Sorta.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Personal musings
February 21st, 2011
09:23 PM ET

Dancing with Matt

You probably don't know who Matt Harding is. But I bet you've seen his videos.

Matt's the guy who visits countless countries across the globe to do a little five second dance. I'm actually not entirely sure we can call it a dance; it's a bit more like a jig, or as a nameless colleague said, "he's really just running in place". Judge for yourself by watching here.

Matt's making another video and he swung by Hong Kong. And while he was here, we had to get him on News Stream to tell us his story... and we couldn't resist having him do a little dance with us.

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February 15th, 2011
10:33 AM ET

Twittering with a Newsmaker: Anwar Ibrahim

If you watch the show, you already know the mantra: "News Stream, where news and technology meet."

Among other things, using technology as an approach means keeping our eye on social media. Why? To find out what stories matter to people around the world. And, because newsmakers are increasingly getting social.

Case in point - Google's outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt. Yes, his departure was announced on the company's official blog, but it was his tweet that hinted at his underlying reason for leaving.

And now, the newsmakers we interview on CNN are speaking with us before and after an interview through Twitter.

I interviewed Malaysian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on the implications of Egypt's turmoil for the Muslim world, and whether the revolt would spread to his home country. It was an fascinating discussion

Before the live broadcast, I promoted the interview via Twitter:

 

Anwar Ibrahim retweeted my post, spreading word to his followers:

 

And finally, Twitter users in Malaysia weighed in... asking for a link to the discussion that they missed:

As a journalist, I think this is a fascinating dynamic - engaging newsmakers and audiences simultaneously through social media to drive debate on a history-changing event. I look forward to more such exchanges!

February 11th, 2011
06:54 PM ET

Mubarak Steps Down: What Next for Egypt?

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Here in Hong Kong it’s after 2 am. Even on one of my wilder Friday nights, I’d normally be tucked up in bed by now. But I’m finding it almost impossible to tear my eyes away from the scenes on the streets of Cairo. Egypt’s future is far from secure. But its present is rapturous, unbridled and – ultimately – momentous. No Friday night I have ever experienced equals that which Egyptians are experiencing now.

It’s not difficult to feel invested in these scenes when you’ve spent 18 days writing Egypt’s story – without ever really knowing what the conclusion would be. We don’t know it now – but the unique images we have broadcast on CNN (horses and camels rushing through Tahrir Square, thousands praying as protesters threw rocks behind them, apparent innocents taking bullets to the head, and Mubarak’s none-too-ambiguous podium appearance just last night) are indelible in the minds of viewers around the world.

We have introduced various players (opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, VP Omar Suleiman and protest talisman Wael Ghonim among them), little knowing what their influence might be. Now we watch Egypt come under the guidance of its enigmatic military, and the next chapter will be just as beguiling to behold.

The CNN team in Egypt has done a supreme job in telling this story – and in attempting to represent the views of the entire Egyptian population (anti-Mubarak, pro-Mubarak and neutral alike). And their efforts have been reflected in the words of a man who has influenced developments in an unbelievably News Stream-friendly way. Between Facebook page creation (and subsequent detention), Twitter updates and a compelling interview with CNN’s Ivan Watson, Wael Ghonim has been a worthy human face of this revolution. And his appreciation is humbling:

“You guys have played a great role in saving the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people. CNN did a great job. You guys deserve a great recognition from the Egyptian people and we are not going to forget your role. You guys are heroes as well. You are part of the revolution. You should be proud of yourself.”

Stay with News Stream – and CNN as a whole – as we follow Egypt’s progress to an uncertain (but certainly intriguing) future.

February 11th, 2011
08:30 AM ET

When Nokia ruled the world

It's hard to fathom how a company like Nokia has found itself in the position it now occupies.

It's not just that Nokia is the world's biggest handset maker (it is) or the world's biggest smartphone maker (it is). It's that Nokia used to get everything so right. How did they manage to get it so, so wrong?

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February 11th, 2011
08:11 AM ET

Valentine's Day: Newsworthy or not?

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There are several people in the CNN newsroom and elsewhere who refuse to accept my cynical standpoint on Christmas. I have grudgingly grinned and borne it, despite the following defenses for my dislike:

  • The pressure. What bright spark decided that late December was the time of year when we MUST ENJOY OURSELVES OR ELSE?
  • Busy pubs. Just because everybody has decided it’s the season to be jolly, I must wait longer to get a drink. Tremendous. I’m really jolly now. Thanks.
  • Pan pipe versions of Jingle Bells on loop in stores and stations. As far as I’m aware, reindeer are not native to the Andes and probably don't visit. Which brings me to...
  • Secret Santa. Oh wow, I really, desperately wanted a pair of Bart Simpson boxer shorts. How did you know?!
  • Santa generally. Lying to children is neither big nor clever.

But while Christmas has its plus points (family togetherness and food chief among them), I cannot fathom why anyone would choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’m not the cynical one here. The whole occasion is a cynically conceived and cynically executed exercise in fakery.

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Filed under: General • Personal musings
February 10th, 2011
11:23 PM ET

RIP: Guitar Hero

It started as a cult hit. Then came widespread fame, the lure of a major label, a creative split, accusations of selling out, and finally the break-up.

It's fitting that the story of Guitar Hero sounds like it came straight out of the biography of a rock band. The video game franchise was a rare bright spot for the music industry. But with Activision Blizzard's announcement that it will close the unit that makes Guitar Hero, it feels like the end of an era.

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Filed under: Games • General • Technology
February 8th, 2011
10:31 PM ET

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force

You've probably seen the ad already. If you haven't, stop reading this and watch Volkswagen's Super Bowl commercial right now. Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back.

The ad stars a pint-sized Darth Vader as his attempts to demonstrate the power of the Force. If you don't fall in love with him in the ad, you might during Kristie Lu Stout's interview with the boy behind the mask, Max Page.

Max hasn't seen any of the Star Wars films yet; he's too young. The original film is 34 years old, after all. And yet it remains a cultural phenomenon. Why?

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Filed under: General • Personal musings • Space
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