Archive for August, 2005

Aug
23

Time for Warm Biz!

Posted by on Tuesday, 23 August, 2005

A while ago, I wrote about Cool Biz and what a crap idea I think it is. Well, now it’s time for Warm Biz to battle unnecessary use of heaters during the fall and winter…

First I thought it was a joke, because this certainly could not be true! The government actually saying “wear a coat and hat inside” !! Geez, but after a little searching I found an official announcement here. Indeed, the heater in the offices around Japan should be set at 20 degrees and no higher during the cold months of the year. Seeing as how Japanese office ladies cover themselves in blankets and whine when the air conditioner is set to lower than 25 degrees, I have a hard time imagining how this will play out in reality. As with Cool Biz, this is merely a Government recommendation, but I think all Government offices have to follow it strictly.

Aug
23

ISP & Music Provider – Playlouder or Paylouder?

Posted by on Tuesday, 23 August, 2005

Boing Boing and a whole lot of other news outlets and blogs are writing about the “stupendously” good news which is the announcement of the Playlouder MSP service, which in short is a UK ISP which has entered into a unique deal with Sony/BMG so that all subscribers to their broadband service will be able to legally share music by Sony/BMG artists.

Most people who comment this news seems to think that it’s God’s gift to filesharers or something, and to a certain degree I must agree. As Nicklas Lundblad comments:

Det här är dock det första listiga draget från rättighetsindustrin på länge. Sedan om det är bra eller ej…ja, vad tycker vi egentligen? Jag tänker fortfarande.
Translated to English:
This is, however, the first clever move by the intellectual property rights’ industry in a long time. As for it being a good move or not, well, what do we really think? I’m still contemplating.

What Lundblad points out as a possible negative implication of this idea, is the risk of walling up Internet into many separate, exclusive networks. Because if Playlouder can be forced by Sony/BMG to filter and block sharing of their artists’ work to non-Playlouder customers, then what is to say that such blocking can’t be expanded to include various other files. Further, if another music publisher decides to join the game and signs up, a different ISP and then in returns blocks access to e.g. Playlouder we have gotten ourselves into a virtual hostile situation where one publisher is fighting another one by using an ISP as a proxy. Is this desirable? Lundblad calls this, the omnious, possible future of such an Internet, a “walled garden.”

More negative comments to this comes from one of Sweden’s most famous anti-copyright-activists, Rasmus Fleischer who thinks the whole thing is a non-event and is just another overhyped Internet-fad. The filters installed by Sony/BMG will of course never be able to block “un-authorized” sharing, i.e. non-Sony artists. Furthermore, it’s unreasonable to think that the blocking software that will prevent “authorized” sharing to external networks is not going to be circumvented easily.

So are these negative comments and fears viable? Or are we Swedes just a cranky old bunch of copyright-fighters? I guess we like our personal freedoms and privacy less diluted with corporate control than for example the Americans.

Aug
22

Japanese-American Friendship Festival

Posted by on Monday, 22 August, 2005

This past weekend it was time for the annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival over at Yokota Air Base near Hachioji, to west of of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Actually, for me it was news – I hadn’t heard about it before, even though it’s been going on for I don’t know how many years.

It was a blistering hot day yesterday when we went out there. I think it was already about 33 degrees when we arrived at the base around 11 AM. And it didn’t get better after that. The part of the base which was open to the public is virtually all concrete and offers little to no places of shade. So we walked for what seemed to be miles along the airstrip looking at cool military planes kindly loaned from the 374th Airlift Wing (correct me if I’m wrong here!). The planes ranged from F-whatchamacallit to the sleek F-somenumberhere. Yep, I don’t know diddly-squat about military airplanes, but I’m sure there were some good stuff displayed. I think the one we got to board was the C-5 Galaxy, but I’m not sure. (I will put some pictures up later). Oh and I think they displayed some kind of stealth-plane to, I’ll put a picture up of that too, so someone may identify it.

Anyway, apart from looking at aircrafts, one could wander around in the concrete desert eating a variety of Japanese and American snacks. There was for example a hamburger-tent which manufactured American burgers with military efficiency – the burgers were not so good, but they all looked exactly the same and I think they could fry 50 burgers at once! Further they had a lot of places selling Shaved ice, or Kakigoori as it’s called here in Japan. A strange feeling for us “outsiders” (i.e. people not living on the base) was the fact that they accepted USD as payment. All prices were written in both USD and JPY (to a good exchange-rate too, I might add!) which gave a surreal feeling to the experience. It felt as we weren’t in Japan for few hours.

The Yokota Air Base has been in operation for 60 years (since September 5, 1945 so there’s an anniversary coming up). Yokota is the closest to Tokyo of all the bases here in Japan.

Aug
22

Piracy education…

Posted by on Monday, 22 August, 2005

Just doing a bit of community service; educating the general population of the ways of movie piracy. (Only speaking of things I’ve heard about of course, nothing that I’m personally involved in!)

Steal This Post (it’s my comment there, if you didn’t get that.)

By the way, if you are interested in learning a little bit more of, umm…, the ‘liberation’ of digital arts, then I suggest you go over and take a look at www.slyck.com which is a good starting place for anyone interested in the subject. It’s nowhere near a holy bible of piracy (of course, there is no such thing as a holy bible of piracy) but it’s got some generally good information. There are darker and more sinister places out there but I’m NOT going to link to them, so don’t even ask.

Aug
19

New blog!

Posted by on Friday, 19 August, 2005

Well, I finally decided to throw Grey Matter out the window and install something a little bit advanced and useful. Yep, I upgraded to WordPress 1.5.2 ! It was slightly troublesome to import all the posts, but I managed to do it thanks to some great help files over at the wordpress site.

Anyway, I will re-design the templates next, although it’s got a good look straight out of the box, but it doesn’t make the look of the rest of my site – so I’ll have to do some thinking; should I re-design the blog or the rest of the site?

[EDIT] Aaarrgh…. I managed to delete all the images from the old blog. I thought that WordPress would automatically copy them too, but nooooo….. Gotta re-upload the ones I still have left… :sigh: