On The Wii News Channel

I've spent half an hour before dinner catching up on the news in one of the most simple, elegant ways possible, and found myself literally wiishing for more.

Yes, the Wii News Channel is working now, and you can update your Wii to enjoy its elegance and simplicity. Like the weather channel before it, it uses the globe to very good effect, and you can zoom in to, say, Central Europe and click on specific cities to read local news - in English, and from the Associated Press.

It is simple, effortless, and fun, and with neat little touches like words rearranging themselves as text is re-flowed after a zoom operation. News items can include images, can be tied to a specific location or merely to a category, and text is remarkably readable on my standard TV.

Like many other folk, I am constantly reminded of Hiro Protagonist's "Earth" program in Snow Crash, and finding myself wishing that the Wii could do two things:

  • Display the full range of Google Earth data (come on, guys, if a cellphone can do it easily over GPRS, the Wii ought to be amazing at it)
  • Merge RSS feeds with the AP data. Even if the rendering options might be a bit limited (I don't think I'm looking at straight HTML), the usability of the UI and the speed you can go through the news would make it worthwhile.

I know that the Internet Channel's Opera browser is pretty good at rendering RSS, but the thought of hacking together an HTTP proxy to intercept whatever data the AP sends back and sneaking in my own news is awfully appealing, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one mulling this notion.

Anyone out there want to give it a shot and build some sort of proxy+plugins to do this? Extra brownie points (and whatever free time for coding I manage to divert from studying Mandarin and resting) if you'll do it in Python.

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