February 7th, 2011
01:49 PM ET

CNN's News Stream gets the Taiwan Animation Treatment

It was a dangerous thing to request. But we got it.

It took Taiwan's Next Animation Team just under three hours to create this animated riff on CNN's "News Stream." Their secret? A database of pre-made 3D models.

And thankfully, they were kinder to me than to Snooki.

February 7th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

The man behind Taiwan's hit animators

From the US-China currency war presented as a rap battle... to "Cablegate" portrayed as a throw-down between Uncle Sam and Julian Assange, Taiwan's Next Media Animation team doesn't throw any punches.

Their videos have become a new form of political cartoon for the digital age - provocative, punchy and usually with a hard-hitting point. And even though this animated Assange doesn't look exactly like the real deal, that's OK. The animators are usually fogiven. Since their retelling of Tiger Woods' car crash went viral in late 2009, they've churned out a never-ending stream of video hits.

AFP/Getty Images

It's the brainchild of Next Media, the Hong Kong-based company with wildly popular tabloid papers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Next Animation works out of the same building as the Apple Daily in Taiwan. A staff of some 300 programmers, animators and actors mixing current events with rather creative dramatizations.

At the helm is billionaire entrepreneur Jimmy Lai. He has built a reputation for a paparazzi publishing style... and for being willing to provoke Beijing. I recently spoke to the maverick media tycoon in Hong Kong. He insists Next Media Animation is not just the future of funny news, but conventional news as well since you need "the image to make a news story."


February 7th, 2011
09:42 AM ET

Mossberg talks tech

The thing about being a geek is you pride yourself on knowing more about what you’re passionate about than anyone else. I love technology, I love gadgets, and I think I know more about them than most of the people I meet.

And then I met Walt Mossberg.