Now that we at the start of spring, it’s time to share some interesting posts I found interesting from the past month.
Table of Contents
- Sony’s Acquisition of Crunchyroll in Trouble?
- Uma Musume Mobile Game is Actually Fun
- Remember, Back up your Blog. Datacenters can burn down too.
- We now have a Podcast!
An audio version of this post can be found here.
Sony’s Acquisition of Crunchyroll in Trouble?
As expected, Sony announced in December of last year that they will acquire Crunchyroll from Funimation. This can be a bad thing since Sony will basically own the western anime market with only Sentai Filmworks/Hidive being the only smallest competitor left. Well don’t look now as according to Anime News Network, the United States Justice Department extended its review on Sony’s purchase of Crunchyroll.
If they ultimately block the deal, I think this will be a good thing. After all, it won’t be a good if Sony have almost total control of the market. This means that they can control what titles they will localize, the pricing of streaming services and physical releases among other things. I think healthy competition needs to exist between all legal streaming services so they can continue to provide the best service.
Still, I feel that animation studios need to cut the middleman out and perhaps band together to create their own streaming service. That way, studios can get more of the profit, which they can use to pay animators a living wage.
Uma Musume Mobile Game is Actually Fun
After years of delays, Cygames finally released the Uma Musume Pretty Derby mobile game on iOS, Android, and PC through DMM Games. So far, the game is fun. The game involves training a horse for Ura Finals for a little over a year in a half with each week being a turn. You must train the horse girl’s stats to prepare them for the race. Also, you must reach each goal before they can compete in the Ura Finals. Lastly, you also collect and equip support cards that help aid your horse girl in their training. In a way, it’s like an idol raising game.
As expected, the rarer the horse girl, the harder it is to train them. Believe it or not, it took me several attempts to train Tokai Teio successfully and win the Ura Finals. Sadly, I still can’t do the same with Mejiro McQueen yet. Of course, the easiest ones to train are Haru Urara and Sakura Bakushin O, which are one star horse girls. I suggest training the one- and two-star horse girls as they can inherit stats from other trained horse girls.
After training them, you can use them in Player vs. Player, legend and daily races. While a localized English release is still a long shot, I think it’s worth checking out the Japanese version if you can.
Remember, Back up your Blog. Datacenters can burn down too.
I can’t stress this enough, backups are important. If you are hosting your own WordPress blog and not using WordPress.com, you need to do the backups yourself. If disaster strikes whether a hacker destroys your website or a data center that hosts your blog burns down, you won’t lose your work. As expected, I hear this too much from Anime Bloggers who lose all their work since someone hacked their site and they had to start over. Don’t be that person.
If you haven’t heard in the news, a data center in France that OVH, a large hosting provider in Europe owns had burned down. It’s due to a backup battery overheating, which created a fire. As expected, some users have completely lost their data since they didn’t keep a backup. After all, most of these services are unmanaged, so the users are responsible for the system administration and backups.
As expected, backups are very important since you can recover from any type of disaster and won’t lose everything. Thankfully, backups are cheap on virtual private servers and usually cost around $2 to 5 a month extra. The plus side is that they are automatic, and you can restore to any point in the last 15 days.
Shared hosting providers also have their own backup solution, but you must download them manually or set up automatic downloads. Lastly, the Jetpack plugin allow you to backup for $10 or 8 a month, which is steep. However, it’s easier for those who just want an easy to configure solution.
Regardless of any solution you choose, backups are important. It will be a huge shame if you end up losing years of work because of an unexpected disaster.
We now have a Podcast!
As mentioned in the last few posts regarding the state of the blog, I want to grow my audience and improve engagement on this blog. To reach a wider audience, we decided to create a podcast. This podcast, named Hana Kouen (花公園, Flower Park) will give audio versions of our editorials and reviews that I publish on my blog. This is great for those who prefer listening to our content instead of reading them. After all, our posts can get a bit long.
You might be wondering, how am I accomplishing this? Since I am not good at public speaking and don’t have the time to record a reading of these posts, I am deploying cloud text to speech technology. The quality of the recordings is not like the text to speech from the 90s and 2000s. They now deploy deep learning and artificial intelligence to produce a recording that sound like it’s from a actual human. On the plus side, I don’t have to invest in expensive professional sound equipment to sound good.
So far, I’m testing out Microsoft Azure Speech Studio, which has a free tier. Amazon, Google and IBM have their own cloud text to speech services as well. I download these recordings and edit them on a PowerMac G4 running an older version Garageband or other digital audio workstation software. From there, I add intro and outro music and adjust the voice before I export and upload it to the website.
For now, we are only creating podcast versions of recent editorials and reviews along with a few that are popular. We will eventually have a feed that users can subscribe to very soon. As always, feel free to give feedback on social media on these audio versions of our posts.
With that, feel free to share your thoughts on the topics I shared this month in the comments (please, don’t use the like button on WordPress Reader). As always, we have done these posts since June 2020. These posts come out towards the end of each month or beginning of the next. Feel free to check them out.