Saturday, November 18, 2006

Updates - November 17th, 2006

The holiday season volume has started to ramp up, and we're buckling down and getting ready for the onslaught that is only a few days away. Bring in on!


Seriously though, this year the studios are going to use the holidays to clear out inventory more so than any other time in the past, so sellouts and stock limitations will rule the day towards the latter part of December. If you have any critical gift items that you need to pickup then don't chance it, order as early as possible to help us make sure you get everything you need on time.

To encourage some of you would be 'late' shoppers to get your orders in early, we've discounted our entire figure and toy section 15%. In addition to getting a great deal, you'll have first dibs on all of our in stock toys and figures before they start selling out later this month. I'm going to be consolidating a list of all our sales and special offers here on the blog throughout the holidays, and I'm going to be offering some exclusive coupons here later this month, so be sure to check in often to keep up with the latest store happenings, product status reports, and special deals. Here's what we have currently:

You know it's going to be a bad evening when you get home and your broadband connection doesn't work, and that's what I ran into Friday evening. I have a pretty high end business class ADSL connection at home, but I use an older 3-Com 812 ADSL router for the connection.

My network closet at home. No I don't tie up my NIC cables like I'm supposed to. Linksys Wireless-G access point gives me secure wireless for my laptop computer, everything else is hardwired Cat 5e. My 3-Com 812 spare is sitting on top of my regular 812 (mounted to my dumb hub), which turned out to be working pefectly.

I like it better than some of the newer plug and play routers (like a Speed Stream or a D-Link) because it allows you to manually setup just about every setting there is for an IP connection, and it supports VPN and a whole bunch of other features. Last night I came home and my connection was suddenly unavailable, and it took 3 calls, an onsite visit, and about 2 hours of phone time for us to figure out the problem and get it fixed. Our carrier, Frontier, uses PPPoA (PPP over ATM) for the connection, and this requires that an account name and PW authorization be built into the router configuration. Turns out that in my setup, the login domain was changed on their end from to (as part of some network wide upgrade process), and my old router could not be automatically updated remotely. One interesting thing is that since I'm pretty savvy on this sort of stuff, I had to get to a level 2 tech before we were even able to discuss probable cause - all the level 1's just have a check list they go through, most of which I had already done before calling in. The onsite tech that came out told me the router was bad, but I had a hot spare and that didn't work either. The level 2 support guy zero'd in on the problem right away, where it had eluded two level 1 techs. Apparently, they were not aware of their own network changes in progress. Anyway, it's fixed now and thus this post is now up.

Speaking of internet connections, after a 2 month wait Verizon finally hooked up the facilites for our T1 (which is actually though Quest) out at the new office, and we have weaned off a less than optimal WiFi connection we had setup as an inbetweener. The T1 is incredible, speed tests give us rock solid 1.46Mb down-stream and 1.41Mb up-stream. We are running an internal server, VoIP for the phone and fax lines, and VPN out to my house so I can access the office server from home. The VOiP sound quality over it is excellent, and it provides our phone lines for about 40% of the cost of regular business landlines (not to mention it eliminates having a long distance carrier) which paid for the extra cost of the T. Best thing about it is that it's about as close to 100% reliable as you can get, I even picked up a spare Cisco 2524 router with T1/FT1 module for about $30 (those routers were around 2 grand years ago, but can be had for nothing now and still works great for a T). The WiFi connection we had was really terrible. It was a 1mb 'burst' level connection that had a terrible latency and was only up about 91% of the time - which means it would be down off and on about 90 minutes a day. Glad we're off of that!

OK, I'm rambling, back to business... -_^

Peter Paine put up some images on his side blog (that he obtained from this guy) that show some of the real places that can be seen in the Onegai Twins anime. Visiting the real places that are shown in an Anime series is considered a very 'Otaku' thing to do in Japan, but I think it's extremely cool and just had to post a few of the images here for you to see:

Not too much going on in the news this week. We did get the word from Funimation that the new Initial D Box set has been put on indefinite hold, so we've taken it off the site and unfortunately we've had to cancel any pre-orders for it. Hopefully this item will make a reappearance sometime next year. Funimation did finally make the big announcement about the re-issuing of the entire DBZ series (by saga!) in High Def format, with the Vegeta saga being the first set released in February. This announcement also means that Fun will not be repressing any of the original version DBZ DVD's, and we have placed the entire lot on 'stock on hand' status to be safe.

We've been working hard this week to keep the site updated not only with new arrivals (as they hit the dock), but also getting all the great upcoming item announcements built on the site. We've added tons of upcoming titles like Coyote Ragtime Show, Utawarerumono, Tales of Phantasia, Gakuen Heaven, Solty Rei, Best Student Council, and many others. Be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming releases page as we're updating it daily as the announcements come in.

We were a bit surprised, but none-the-less very pleased, to see several December DVD titles arrive this week including Pani Poni Dash! and Bleach. With the holiday rush coming, the sooner the studios get them out the better. We received the elusive 2nd Raid boxed sets and promptly sold out of them, but I was able to call in a few favors and get them restocked, though only a few. We also saw the arrival of the 3rd Tenchi Ryo-Ohki DVD in a beautiful limited edition Tin art box. This box is limited to the first pressing, so I'm sure they will run out quickly. And the Jubei-Chan box came after we had almost given up hope. Bandai had to delay it's release a couple months due to a license renewal, but they are here now and ready for your enjoyment!

We have yet another excellent manga and book update for you including new volumes from Cheeky Angel and Red River, plus a new title called Punch (that Jamie says is excellent!).

We also received a new figure shipment that contained several overdue favorites including the sexy Chitose Nambu, Burst Angel Jo, and the kneeling Kan-u Unchou. Pre orders are shipping now, and we won't have many left once they are processed. And finally we have some new Gundam Seed kits for those of you who like to model. Stay tuned for even more great new items arriving daily!

Ok, enough of my blabber-mouthing, I've gotta get back to work! -_^

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