The internet here is bad.
When it was first installed it was very fast; seemingly close to the maximum of 12 Mbps in Misa's plan. Over time it's become slower, and worse, the connection sometimes drops. After enjoying the steady-state and high speeds of fiber optic it has been a bitter pill indeed.
Things appear likely to improve before long. I hesitate to be jubilant as we were close before, but Misa has been doggedly assaulting the involved service providers' customer service blockades. It looks like for about ¥300/month I can keep my old email address even after the switch to the building's contractual provider.
So some time in the next month or so, the unstable SKYPE-ing should cease.
For those outside Japan:
Connection speeds are comparatively good here for the cost, but installation/modification of service tends to take a few weeks (at least).
I sometimes experience a problem with Japanese input. I use Camino as my browser and there are times when entering info in to web forms, that I can't see the characters as I'm typing them. It is only after I hit the space bar (twice) to bring up the kanji menu, that I can see whether I've entered the kana correctly. I should also mention that often on these web sites, I can't read the navigation buttons either, which has led me to hit the wrong one thereby erasing the form instead of continuing.
Anybody else encounter this problem?
As of Monday I will finally have a fiber optic connection. A possible 100 Mbps will be quite a step up from the heretofore 10 Mbps. But Digital World Tokyo informs us that my carrier KDDI is about to offer 1 Gbps. An order of magnitude difference? And I'm missing it by two days?
...and need to get out of my newsreader.
Filedropper. Share files of up to 5 GB size for free.
How to burn multiple CDs at the same time with ITunes. (Of course you need multiple burners...)
Eye-Fi wireless memory card. How'd you like to have your pictures sent wirelessly to your computer as you take them. This would be great at house parties.
FuseCal. Online app to sync ICal based calendars. Perfect for finding time to work out with over-scheduled profs. on vacation.
Fontstruct. Create your own fonts.
Most of the above links go to the sites on which I found these neat things. I was to lazy to make a bunch of 'via X' links.
A commentary on Facebook by Cory Doctorow. Excerpts:
Facebook is no paragon of virtue. It bears the hallmarks of the kind of pump-and-dump service that sees us as sticky, monetizable eyeballs in need of pimping. The clue is in the steady stream of emails you get from Facebook: "So-and-so has sent you a message." Yeah, what is it? Facebook isn't telling -- you have to visit Facebook to find out, generate a banner impression, and read and write your messages using the halt-and-lame Facebook interface, which lags even end-of-lifed email clients like Eudora for composing, reading, filtering, archiving and searching. Emails from Facebook aren't helpful messages, they're eyeball bait, intended to send you off to the Facebook site, only to discover that Fred wrote "Hi again!" on your "wall." Like other "social" apps (cough eVite cough), Facebook has all the social graces of a nose-picking, hyperactive six-year-old, standing at the threshold of your attention and chanting, "I know something, I know something, I know something, won't tell you what it is!"
That's why I don't worry about Facebook taking over the net. As more users flock to it, the chances that the person who precipitates your exodus will find you increases. Once that happens, poof, away you go -- and Facebook joins SixDegrees, Friendster and their pals on the scrapheap of net.history.
I received an email from a college friend asking me to check out her Facebook stuff, which I was happy to do. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any of it without signing up. Also, as I returned to her mail (to let her know I'd be unable to do the requested checking out) and continued scrolling I realized that there was also an invitation to me from someone I lost contact with about 5 years ago. How is that possible? I've changed email addresses and whatnot, so it must be that someone has input data on my behalf.
Not remotely amused.
Gotta say that because of my blog I've gotten back in touch with Smitty, Smitty, and Double-O, made some e-friends, and have discovered some very entertaining writers. Not to mention the fact that I've wiled (sp?) away countless hours reading the likes of Bill Simmons and searching for anything and everything under the sun. I've only been connected -- in the internet sense, not the Sopranos one -- for 3 short years, but can't now imagine not having access at home. Still, as time marches on, and this is in no small part due to my realization that folks who really know the way our current technologies work can wreak havoc on the unsuspecting, I have become increasingly concerned about privacy issues and our collective lemming-esque rush to make our lives public...and googlable.
I've been puzzled by sites like YouTube and others where the bandwidth usage would suggest huge cash outlays with little obvious revenue. How are sites like that and others, for example the social networking sites that seem to be popping up everywhere, making any money?
Perhaps the answer is that they aren't. Perhaps there is a bubble growing based on future revenues.
While I don't think that it would have any practical application in the life I lead, besides perhaps, just being made aware of the preponderance of fields in my environment, this is just pretty cool.
Cory Doctorow: This morning's Wired News has a fascinating article on the practice of implanting small, strong rare-earth magnets in one's ring-finger. The result is a kind of "magnet sense" -- people who've had the implant report that they can tell when a wire is live and when they're going through a magnet security-scanner at a store, even when their laptops' hard drives are spinning up.
Quinn Norton of Wired News has had the operation and writes in detail about how it felt, what the problems were, and what she was able to do once it was in place. The most amazing part is that months after the magnet implant fragmented and Quinn lost her "sixth sense," it reassembled itself (magnets tend to draw towards one another) and the sense returned.
What if, seconds before your laptop began stalling, you could feel the hard drive spin up under the load? Or you could tell if an electrical cord was live before you touched it? For the few people who have rare earth magnets implanted in their fingers, these are among the reported effects -- a finger that feels electromagnetic fields along with the normal sense of touch...
According to Huffman, the magnet works by moving very slightly, or with a noticeable oscillation, in response to EM fields. This stimulates the somatosensory receptors in the fingertip, the same nerves that are responsible for perceiving pressure, temperature and pain. Huffman and other recipients found they could locate electric stovetops and motors, and pick out live electrical cables. Appliance cords in the United States give off a 60-Hz field, a sensation with which Huffman has become intimately familiar. "It is a light, rapid buzz," he says.
This seems like it might be pretty cool.
Windows, Mac, Linux: The Grocery List Generator extension for Firefox stores all your favorite recipes and the ingredients needed to make them, and generates a shopping list for your next trip to the supermarket.
Yes, this is a bizarre thing to use your web browser for, but the Grocery List Generator in action works well, especially for those of us who hit up the web for recipe ideas. Enter how many of which dishes you're planning to cook, and print out a well-formatted list broken down by what store stocks what ingredient before you head out the door.
So I'm doing my normal bit of sleuthing in order to find out how tall someone is or to see if Lili Kane's mom on Veronica Mars is the girlfriend of the Jake in Sixteen Candles, and I can't get there. The staple of our Clerks-esque existence has been the ability to say that 'yeah, Janet Ashikaga is responsible for the casting on some of my favorite shows', and our world was made so much easier by imdb. Now, it seems that some of the information beyond the first page, like the recurring cast and special guest stars, now requires registration at imdbpro. While i love useless knowledge as much as the next guy, can't really see paying 12.95/month for it.
I mentioned a while back that there was a Rikai XUL plugin for Firefox that provided for the functionality that some of us were used to over at rikai. Now it seems that even more
cowbell functionality has been added to help people learning kanji.
I'm gonna download them now and try them out.
Here are some things that I am thinking about getting myself some folks for Xmas.
Michael Broadbent's book, Vintage Wine.
External harddrives that look like legos.