Categories
Japan

William Gibson mis-images Japan

I contributed some thoughts on William Gibson’s Guardian.co.uk article to MeFi. Also found two new cool weblogs…Rumii and Madgrrl.
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Slashdot and MetaFilter cover the Aurora Borealis resulting from the sunspot last week.
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Michael Tchong is an idiot. Not only is he an idiot, he’s blatantly proving it for all to see. This “Back the Net” crusade is so stupid, I had to link to it just so we all know how idiotic it is. Use the net for whatever reason you need to- certainly not for any corporation’s benefit.
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There’s an international image that Japan has in the eyes of the rest of the world which is very different from the Japan that I know. People who just visit Japan only see the stereotypical Japan. Unless you’ve spent an extended amount of time in Japan, and begin to really understand the people and the culture, most will make the same assumptions that William Gibson makes. He clearly does not really understand the Japanese and clearly has only seen the facade of Japan.
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History lesson: 1990 John Perry Barlow EFF musings.

Categories
Japan Sony

Japan’s island mentality

CNN’s Gary Streiker on Japan’s continuing violation of international anti-whaling bans.
Ask me why I think there’s a difference between native peoples hunting whales and Japanese hunting whales and I’d say “scale” and the fact that whale meat and hunting isn’t central (in any way shape or form) to Japanese culture, no matter what Japanese whalemeat lover might tell you.
I feel like this kind of attitude is indicative of the “island mentality”- countries who are a mono-culture (even in this connected age) and more specifically nations which are isolated on islands. It’s embarrasing and tragic at the same time.
Asia’s fascination with shark fin soup is in the same category of ‘foods I will not eat and I will berate people who eat it in my presence,’ (however rude that may seem.)
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$500 and a monthly charge? There’s no way Sony’s eVilla will last the rest of the year. There’s just no good reason to buy an eVilla when a cheap PC is only a tad more expensive and a whole lot more flexible.
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Some lame cheapo webhosting firm steals the layout/design of MetaFilter.com and all hell breaks loose.
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Dan Bricklin reviews Sony’s eMarker. I like the idea of a simple net appliance that uses the web to bring us information we might have had a hard time tracking down previously. I don’t listen to mainstream radio anymore however, (only KCRW.com over the web) so this particular device has no relevance for me.
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Steve’s Digicams has the first user review of the Nikon Coolscan 4000ED which I hope will be my first film scanner.
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Excellent LATimes on musicians challenging the status quo.
How do the guys running these labels get away with a 95% failure rate that would be totally unacceptable in any other type of business?” [Courtney] Love asked. “I’ll tell you how: because they pay artists only a tiny fraction of the billions that their music generates. That’s what allows so many overpaid executives to be so incredibly sloppy in running these public companies.
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TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) – A government panel on Thursday adopted an action plan to put Japan at the forefront of information technology in five years to help revive the long-suffering economy.
Japan should stop “trying” to be a leader in IT in 5 years and start DOING something about the leadership of the nation, of the banks, of the businesses, of the education system.
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As part of its strategic business plan for the 2001/02 year beginning in April, Sony said it would increase the number of its major divisions, internally called “network companies,” to seven from the current five.
Sony’s seven network companies are:
— Digital Telecommunications: mobile phone development, design, and manufacturing.
— Semiconductors: design and manufacturing of integrated circuits.
— Core technologies: electronics devices, recording media, storage devices, flat-panel and conventional displays.
— Displays: finished projectors and computer displays.
— Home: VAIO desktop personal computers and televisions.
— Broadband solutions: home video, home audio, professional broadcast equipment, video and DVD players.
— Mobile network: development and design of VAIO laptop computers, handheld computers, personal audio, car audio, digital video and digital cameras.

That last one is the group that’s most interesting to me. 🙂

Categories
Japan

the death of Sega Dreamcast

Michael Wolff in Forbes ASAP on the cult of technology.
Such cultishness, such unreasonable devotion, such trust in a higher authority, became so widespread and ingrained in the technology culture because it workedĂ›for a while, anyway. It spread the word. It brought people in. It embraced. It reassured. It created a whole new secondary industry (the conference business) dedicated to spreading the word and propagating the faith. It was the antidote to skepticism and to a lack of proof. So many businesses took on a cultish aspect during the ’90s technology boom that people started to believeĂ›for a moment, anywayĂ›that the nature of business itself had been transformed.
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Analog X has a wealth of cool Windows software for free!
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Here’s something anyone running Windows shouldn’t miss.
Take the file found here http://xenoguy.dhs.org/hosts and copy the information into your “hosts” (not hosts.sam) file in your Windows directory. Voila! No web advertising! You’re welcome 🙂
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Interesting FT article on the death of Sega’s Dreamcast business.
Even in the late 1990s, the Japanese insistence on consesus management (which is ingrained into the nature of the people noless) eventually delayed critical decision making to the point that the console was doomed from the start.
How Sega veered off course is not like those tales of Japanese management woe in which engineers overpower financial planners or senior executives bungle negotiations with a foreign partner. Instead, it is the story of a management that debated a project to death‘.
I wonder IF (not when, necessarily) mainstream Japanese business will ever be able to work outside of the current paradigm. Sure there are specific companies and individuals who break the mold, but the vast, vast majority of Japanese business managment processes are too slow and Japanese businesses will continue to suffer in the global marketplace.
If you know of innovative and successful Japanese businesses who are thriving by doing things differently than the norm, please let me know!
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I have never been a fan of the US Forest Service per se, since it’s history has leaned much farther towards corporate rather than conservationist interests. However, that USFS Chief Mike Dombeck is stepping down (NYTimes; free reg req) is a truly sad moment. Dubya wants to change policies to allow road building (paid for by US taxpayers) in 60 million acres of USFS land, so that corporate interests (paper and pulp and lumber companies) can get at our national resources cheaper and easier.
There has been recent talk that for all the pre-election drivel about how both candidates were indistinguishable, it’s clear that Dubya is not anything like Gore or Clinton (on issues surrounding women’s reproductive rights and the environment, not to mention this faith-based-charities nonsense) and we are all much poorer for that.

Categories
Japan

deep house

My friend Ryosuke was asking about house music that I like so I made a list of deep house albums and compilations that I’ve been grooving to in the past year or so. Please send any of your own deep house recommendations to me!
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Uh oh. Gadget lust hits hard. Kyocera Smart Phone marries a CDMA cellphone with a Palm Pilot. If I get that job…maybe I’ll splurge?
Sony’s doing a lot more with the Palm platform than even Palm these days. Check out the new Clie with the 128MB Memory Stick.
I personally use the Palm strictly as a reference device and don’t really see why I’d want to use that same platform for entertainment. I’m much more interested in the marriage between the Palm and cellphones than I am between the Palm and MP3 players. Sure, down the road there’ll be a one-device platform that will do all of this successfully enough, but that’s decades away at this rate.
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My college friends Chris and Lara recently went to Costa Rica for a month and send back some emails about their travels. This would be interesting if you knew them personally or were thinking about a trip to Costa Rica yourself.
Chrs & Lara’s Costa Rica Trip Report: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4

Categories
Internet Japan

Junichiro Hagino

A cool interview with Junichiro Hagino who’s primarily responsible for the IPv6 stacks built into all the best BSDs out there. Also a little bit of info on how Japan is doing vis-a-vis internet development. It seems as if Japan’s moving a lot faster in terms of IPv6 rollout than most other nations…I wonder if that alone will be enough to help them catch up?
I always ask this question of all my friends in the technology space: “What significant/global software products have come out of Japan BESIDES gaming platforms and game software?” I haven’t been given a decent answer yet.