Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bicycling

I'm going to start keeping a more detailed account of my non-work activities from now... for my own record-keeping if nothing else. It may not always be interesting to others - you've been warned!

Today Kasumi and I went bicycling up to Nakamurabashi station, the next major station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Not very far but it was a bit cold. We stopped in a little cafe, called Chez Gon, and had coffee and cake. I had a chocolate roll cake, she had an apple pie. The desserts were good, the coffee so-so.

VBA

I've started doing some VBA work, using Microsoft Access.

So far so good, except that I'm pretty unimpressed with some aspects of it, especially object-orientation.

I found that you can't pass a class instance as a parameter to a method of a different class. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I'll follow-up on this later. In the meantime it is pretty sucky. :(

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Serial terminal on Linux

Here's another guy who's trying to overcome serial port issues on Linux, and provides some good information.

BI-BA-BO: ttyS0 - terminal on serial connection

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bluetooth helps Facebook friends

This looks interesting... there could be lots of potential here for taste-determination.
Bluetooth helps Facebook friends

A team of UK researchers is combining the power of social network Facebook with communications tool Bluetooth to learn more about human interactions.

Bath University scientists have created a tool which can use the unique ID of Bluetooth devices, like a mobile phone, to build new friendship networks.

Users register with the Facebook tool, called Cityware, that tracks encounters in the real world via Bluetooth.

It is part of a wider project backed by Nokia, HP Labs and Vodafone.

Dr Vassilis Kostakos, research associate at the University of Bath, said: "Networks are everywhere - social and digital.

"The really nice thing about Bluetooth is that when you are walking down the street, although you are not talking to anyone, your Bluetooth device can be talking to other devices.

"People with Bluetooth devices are actually creating an ad hoc communications infrastructure where information can flow through the city over time."

He said the project's motivation was in helping people find out more information about "familiar strangers".

'Publicly online'

He said: "Most people you bump into or see regularly have made information about themselves available publicly online.

"But the internet is such a big place that it's difficult to find contextual information about who someone is, where they are etc."

The tool lets users find out if any of the people they bump into regularly is a Cityware user and has a profile of Facebook. If so, they can then choose to add that person to their friends' list.

The tool works in four parts: Facebook account, Cityware application, Bluetooth device and Cityware node.

Users must have a Facebook account, install the Cityware application and register the Bluetooth ID of their mobile phone or laptop with the software.

The researchers have set up a series of nodes around the UK and at locations in the US.

These nodes are computers which constantly scan for Bluetooth-enabled devices in a given area, and send that information back to servers which compare the IDs of the gadgets with any enabled Facebook profiles.

Dr Kostakos said: "The node sits in the environment and records everyone's unique Bluetooth ID. Cityware itself doesn't know your name, or who you are."

Nodes have been set up in Bath, University College London, the University of California in San Diego, with more nodes going online in Sweden, Hong Kong and Sydney.

He added: "When you return to Facebook you will see a list of all the devices you were near and the link to profiles of people who have tagged themselves on Cityware."

The Facebook tool is part of a wider project looking at issues around pervasive computing - connected devices in the environment.

"We are interested in understanding how cities work, how people move around. More recently we have been looking at how viruses spread in cities - biological and digital viruses."

Reinforcing theories

He said analysis of encounters was reinforcing theories that viruses are spread through encounters that "last a long time and are frequent".

"It is also demonstrating that encounters that are short and infrequent help spread innovation and new ideas," he said.

The ambition for the Facebook tool is to have mobile phones alert each other when in the proximity of another Facebook user who shares common interests or common friends.

Dr Kostakos said: "This won't happen in the near future because it is very difficult to write an application that runs on a lot of phones. But it is possible."

The team is also working on an application for virtual world Second Life.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/6949473.stm

Published: 2007/08/16 14:37:06 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

DRM-free music?

Universal sells songs without DRM

Vivendi's Universal Music has said it is to test the digital sale of songs from artists without the customary copy-protection technology.

It will allow the sale of thousands of albums and tracks available in MP3-form without the protection, known as digital rights management (DRM).

Most major recording studios insist music sellers use DRM technology to curb online piracy.

Universal artists include 50 Cent, the Black Eyed Peas, and Amy Winehouse.

Universal said: "The experiment will run from August to January and analyze such factors as consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy in regards to the availability of open MP3s."

Retailers including Google, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.com, will participate in the DRM-free trial, Universal said.

But participants do not include Apple iTunes online music store, the third largest music retailer in the US - although iTunes already offers a selection of music from EMI free of copy protection, albeit for a higher price.



I'm really curious to see how this is going to work out... is piracy going to run rampant? It is not clear to me why it won't.

Sending Japanese Mail from Perl

Watch this space...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Long time no see

For the past couple of years I have been posting a lot on various discussion forums, mostly of a politics / debate nature.

I have gotten pretty sick of it, and it is not contributing to my life or career in any way because it is all anonymous. I want to start posting here again more, since this blog is under my real name and viewed by people who know me in real life.

Hell, I even have a photo up, you lucky son-of-a-gun.

Information overload

What with my variety of projects going on at the moment, I find I am having to study some bizarrely disparate topics all at the same time.

Here is what I have on my reading list at the moment:

Web development
  • Movable Type
  • Web services / REST
  • AJAX

Robotics
  • MATLAB / Simulink / Real-Time Workshop
  • Gentoo Linux (very bare-bones OS)
  • Linux kernel / drivers
  • Real-time OS concepts
  • Serial port communications (yep... are we suddenly back in 1990 or what?)

... and not to mention, a heapload of proprietary technologies of my client(s).

I tell ya, I'm gonna deserve another degree for all this.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Google Mail Adwords

I was very highly impressed by Google Mail a moment ago.

A relative sent me a mail informing me of a FedEx package he delivered to my parents' house in Ottawa. In the mail he included the following line:

The FedEx tracking number is xxx and its details can be found on the net (http://www.fedex.com/Tracking)

Of course the real number was in place of the xxx. There was more to the mail, besides this line, both before and after it. It was all of a personal nature and didn't talk about the FedEx delivery.

However, Google's Adwords seemed to have parsed the text of the mail so well that it detected the tracking number and the fact that it was a FedEx tracking number. It then provided me with an unobtrusive ad message and link saying "Would you like to track FedEx package xxx". I clicked on the link and it took me to the relevant tracking page on the FedEx site, with all the tracking details.

I thought it was pretty amazing. At the same time, I'm not sure I am crazy about my mails being parsed and analyzed to that extent.

New office space

Finally, I'm moving to an office!

I will be sharing a space starting this month with my friends who are running a web design company, located in the chic Miyamasuzaka area, between Shibuya and Omotesando.

I think there will be a great deal of stimulation in that area... hopefully it can fire up some creative juices.

But damn, I'm excited!

Pics will be forthcoming :)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Easy Street in China

Now this blog post over at kotaku.com is just too funny.

I am aware of the brutal hours in the game development business. It is one of those few fields where Americans work as ridiculous hours as do the Japanese. I also know of the appropriately-named Insomniac. They make excellent games, like Ratchet and Crank.

I did not know, however, that China was such a "quality of life" place. If anything I thought it would be the absolute opposite.

So much for stereotypes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The trouble with men

I really hate the way in a lot of small public bathrooms where there is only a toilet and no urinal, well... you have to watch where you step.

To put it bluntly, some guys just don't know how to aim their wang.

There is piss on the edge of the toilet, on the floor, and god knows where else.

If you have this problem it is so easy just to pull down the seat and sit down and do it. If it feels girly to do so, well, isn't that preferable to being such a slob?

I simply can't comprehend that level of being inconsiderate. Maybe we do collective deserve the scorn women heap on us.

The only saving grace is that guys like that tend to keep the seat up, so consequently it is not affected by, erm, the problem.

New blogger template

This is a really cool template. Leave it to those Google folks to come up with the darndest stuff!

Very AJAX-y, what with the collapsable list that doesn't do a page refresh. I look forward to get aquainted with this interface.

Installing LAMP

Linux
Gawd, where to even begin?

If you are fairly non-techie like myself (lol, this blog is deceptive!) I would strongly recommend you go with one of the following distros.
http://www.ubuntu.com
http://www.xandros.com


Apache
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/apache2
make
make install


MySQL
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/mysql
make
make install
groupadd mysql
useradd -g mysql mysql
cp support-files/my-medium.cnf /etc/my.cnf
cd /usr/local/mysql
bin/mysql_install_db --user=mysql
chown -R root .
chown -R mysql var
chgrp -R mysql .


PHP
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/php5 \
--with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs \
--with-mysqli=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config \
--enable-debug \
--enable-maintainer-zts
make
make install

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Dad not well

I am in Canada for a fair length of time... my father is not keeping very well. My mother is running around, back and forth to the hospital.

This has been a slight worry I have had for a long time, my living in Japan and my parents getting older. The day seems to have arrived.

What can we do?