Thursday, 24 April 2014

Acute, Extreme, Perfect

This is a video of actual game-play from the rhythm game Project Diva Arcade F2. The song is Acute, the setting is Extreme, and the score is Perfect(!)

On top of all that, lucky Kaito gets to perform this with both Miku and Luka, the latter again showing her sheer stage 'presence' which is unequalled. The motion is as close to perfection as current technology permits; and if (more likely 'when') the play-only version of this without the game-play appears, there is no doubt in my mind that it will become one of the top Vocaloid demo pieces, raising the bar yet again...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Reading The Signs No. 2 – The Slanted Poll

Ever since Yes, [Prime] Minister we have all learned just how easy it is to structure and present an opinion poll that is likely to deliver the answer that is wanted, and not necessarily the answer that is true...

There are many techniques involved in slanting poll results, though I am not going to explore them in detail here. Just an example or two should suffice. Actually, just one, as the 'Mittens Romney' poll (don't ask!) I also had lined-up for this turns out to be full of so many holes that, on deeper research, it has been difficult to explain just how that one seems to have come about. However, the mere fact that someone commissioned such a poll is in itself indicative of a specific intent.

Anyway, moving on...

Just recently, a local newspaper in my home county ran an online click-on embedded poll on one of its news pages regarding the forthcoming Euro elections. For which party would you vote? was the single question, and one simply clicked on the preferred choice from a bullet list and then clicked Submit. All standard stuff for this kind of thing; and they had taken basic precautions to prevent multiple voting (I always test this in cases such as this).

So, what was the problem? It was that the article talked almost exclusively about UKIP, and the full-width photographs were of the UKIP leader. No other party was thus featured, merely mentioned in passing. You can of course guess the outcome of the poll: a 'resounding' victory for UKIP.

I saw it coming; but cast my own vote anyway, so as not to be able to be accused of 'allowing' that result but not foing anything to help prevent it. Incidentally, the psychology behind this particular slanting, and in particular why it works, is a little more subtle than most. With a little thought, and by realising the somewhat obvious nature of the local rag's readership, it becomes obvious, but isn't so immediately.

The bottom line is that it has no value, and it also shows up the newspaper for its bias – and I for one have learned that lesson and will never trust them with anything again. That trust has been destroyed for ever – and it is entirely their own fault.

For all reading this, the message is stark and clear: be careful and don't be taken in, no matter how authoritatively something is presented and from which source. In reality there are very few of us without a hidden agenda and who always 'play it straight'. ou know one such already (if you've been paying close enough attention over these years I have been blogging!) and I am being pulled toward the conclusion that I might have to do more in the field yet again – though I'd rather not have to, as I now have other, equally engrossing, interests.

It's all enough to drive one up the 'poll'!

Reading The Signs No. 1 – Do Policies Drive Elections?

This is the first in a short series, looking at how we read the various signs and indicators that abound in the political arena. I have covered some of the ground before, so do not intend to go over the same ground in that kind of detail, more to just mention as necessary.

Two columns this past week have prompted this particular post, as they both come from informed sources yet come to completely opposite conclusions. Dan Hodges believes that Ed[ward] Miliband's policy vacuum and mostly lacklustre personal performance mean that Labour cannot realistically win next year's General Election. He has a point – in fact, several very good points. In a sensible world, based on merit, he'd be right.

Sadly for him (and us) the reality is more likely to be what David Herdson – for whom I have considerable regard – carefully explains as the political landscape on which that election will be contested. Idealism gives way to realism, as it so often does in this flawed world,  and David is, no doubt unfortunately, likely to be closer to the truth that May 2015 will reveal.

As we now know, the supposedly 'acceptable face of Conservatism' presided over by Tony Blair turned out in reality to be nothing more than a superficial cover for the eleven-point plan devised by the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism designed expressly for the purpose of destroying a nation and its culture – yet he won three elections in a row with hardly anyone realising 'New' Labour's true agenda. Presentation, rather than the actual policies, secured those election wins; and it is a lesson worth learning and never forgetting!

However, I think that neither view should be taken in isolation, and there is still time to go, so nothing is set in stone. Personally, I have a feeling that the UKIP bubble is about to burst, and that in itself will not only return a number of former Conservative voters back to their roots, but also some of the other now-UKIP supporters might well turn rightward, as a result of having been immersed in an ostensibly tight-wing agenda and finding that they supported it after all, despite where they had been politically before making that switch. It happens to people...

Whether Labour get back into Downing Street next year or not is thus far from a certainty either way. I have made my own plans for either outcome, and for several 'hung' and other variations (no surprise there!) so am as ready as it is possible to be for whatever result transpires.

The one and only advantage of a Labour government, if that should be what we get, is that current generations will learn what that truly means – from personal experience. It is sometimes better to go through all of that just so that people won't make the same mistake again for at least a generation. I wonder whether that will be the real legacy that next year's election will leave?

Meanwhile, keep watching the signs, but with intelligence...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Miku Goes Gaga

The big Vocaloid news yesterday was the announcement that Miku is to be the opening act at sixteen of Lady Gaga's upcoming tour events. Although that is only a quarter of the 67 programmed, it is still a significant turning point in the western world's live music scene.

Of course, it isn't as one-dimensional as it might at first appear. Here is what I wrote on Facebook a few hours ago...

While I have inevitable reservations about this, it was likely (I think almost certain) to happen sooner or later.
For the organisers, promoters and performers, it is probably being seen primarily as a gimmick, to 'up the ante' relative to others' concert tours – but there will be at least some percolation of Miku's performance and general 'aura' into the audience's consciousnesses.
This will have little immediate effect, as those attending will be there for Lady Gaga, first and foremost; but the idea of 'sowing seeds' is a useful one, and during the weeks that follow will, I think, start to pay dividends – especially if one or more complete concerts end up for sale and/or on-line.
I have been saying for a while now that it is my belief that 2014 is going to be the turning point in Vocaloid going global: this series of events looks like being perhaps the single biggest part of that (much broader) transformation.
There are those (and I am aware of at least two, probably three) who will say that this 'going mainstream' will mean the end of life as we know it – or words to that effect. I know that this will not be the case. At this stage, I have no idea what Miku will do: some of her usual material, in Japanese, some new material in English, or one or more Gaga items.

Perhaps there will even be a duet at the end of her (presumably quite short) set, which would make an excellent handover from the support act to the main feature. It would be almost a world first – though SeeU has done this with GLAM several times, and there have been others. The novelty factor with thiese audiences, though, would be quite something, if this were attempted.

Whatever comes out of this, I remain convinced that it will help the Vocaloid concept and sheer quality to seep into the western collective consciousness. The real global future in the genre starts here...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Sing and Smile

It's about time I posted another nice video with good motion, so here's something new: Sing and Smile by Re:nG, featuring an 'all-star' cast of the six Cryptonloids (including the Sakine version of Meiko) along with Teto, Haku Yowane and Neru Akita, all of whom appear in Project DIVA Arcade future tone, from which this derives.

The motion is really good, and Rin's outfit in her initial appearance in the video – starting at 1 minute in – though simple in design is particularly appealing, I thought.

By the way: I have been spending so much time on social media and domestic matters that I haven't been able to keep up with other matters (in case anyone was wondering) – though I have been monitoring a lot of things going on, especially in the local and national political spheres. I shall no doubt comment on at least one or two of those in due course, but for now let's stay with the lighter and more enjoyable world of Vocaloid/Utau...