Archive for March, 2006

Mar
12

My latest side project!

Posted by on Sunday, 12 March, 2006

I’d like to present to you my latest side project; the new home page of the Scandinavian Cup golf tournament. Those of you who have seen the old one (still active at http://scancup.groth.hm) will see that it’s a dramatic change, and for the better I hope. Here’s a screenshot if you’re too lazy (or have no interest in it):
Screenshot of Scandinavian Cup Homepage

The short, not-so-technical explanation is that I based the new homepage on WordPress 2, making it very easy to update with news and articles. As I am somewhat of an HTML-dork I’d like to toot my own horn and explain the technical goodness of it too, I warn you: if you do not know what “wordpress” or “css” is, then stop reading now!

I warned you, I shall now dive into the technical details of the homepage… First of all, I set out to make the homepage using WordPress as sort of an experiment, to see how well you could utilize WordPress as a CMS – my conclusion is very well! The structure of the site is pretty much non-bloggy, but more classical news-site style. Nowhere will you see posts lined up after one another in chronological order – all the loops have been altered to act as sort of archives or lists of articles. The main page contains two loops showing the two main categories of posts: news and results. I have categorized all posts by type of post (news, results, etc.) and by which tournament it relates to (it’s a biyearly tournament). The backbone of the results pages are pretty much the same as the earlier page, i.e. it imports an .csv file of results and displays it in a table format. Fairly easy to just export the tournament results to .csv and upload.

It took me a few months to create it, mainly because I’m busy at work and lazy, but also because I was struggling with the CSS design. I changed between many different designs throughout the design period, and finally settled on the current one, which is slightly “Web 2.0” styled, although I hate to fall for design trends like that. Basically, I opted for Arial mainly (it’s a clean font, good for news/blogs I think) instead of Trebuchet or Verdana as I had dabbled with before. The color scheme is so-so, I must admit. I wanted it greenish to reflect the golf-theme, but I can’t say I am completely happy with the result. I consider the design of the site as work-in-progress. If anyone has any design ideas, feel free to contact me about it – I am not professional web designer so I find myself lacking that “magical touch” to make a site look perfect.

Mar
09

On Slowly Becoming Japanese

Posted by on Thursday, 9 March, 2006

Azrael over at Outpost Nine (I’m a Japanese School Teacher) ponders over how he is slowly turning Japanese in that he has been gradually desensitized to the pecularities of Japanese society and no longer thinks anything of it. It’s a hilarous read, especially if you have been here a few years yourself. Check out Az’ I Think I’m Becoming Japanese, here are some outtakes:

— You know, Japan has four seasons. How about your country?

— Everything must be explained in thorough detail. Even if I already know it. Even if it’s something that has been the same since the mud dropped from the spear of the Gods and created the island nation of Japan…it still must be explained. Twice. Then, I must give my impressions about it.

— Monday is a public holiday? Woo-hoo! Two-day weekend!

Reading this editorial I realize that maybe I’m turning Japanese myself… You know, I actually DO enjoy some of those shows on TV were celebrities sit around and talk and eat food! I don’t know about the penis grabbing the the p*rn reading on trains though, Az, but that’s just me I guess… 😉

Mar
06

Softbank to buy Vodafone Japan?

Posted by on Monday, 6 March, 2006

This weekend saw some interesting developments in the Japanese cell phone market; apparently, Vodafone and Softbank are in talks regarding the possible sale of Vodafone’s Japanese operations to Softbank.

This is interesting on many levels, and although I really haven’t thought about it and made up my mind on what this will mean for everyone involved, these are my first thoughts about it:

– Softbank recently was given a new 3G license by the Japanese government to start up their own mobile phone service in Japan. If they now buy one of the original license holders, where does that leave the competitive situation? One of the reasons for giving out new licenses was to increase competion – the net effect of this deal is that we will only get one new major player in this market, not two as orignally planned. Will the government give out a new license to someone else?

– NTT DoCoMo and au (KDDI) should be scared by this news – they have been rather safe in the Japanese market for a while with Vodafone never putting up any serious competition, and personally I do not see eMobile (another new license-holder) being a big threat to the major players. Softbank was always the big threat to the other companies, but especially so for Vodafone who was the smallest in the market. If Softbank and Vodafone joins together, Softbank gets a quick start to its business and can move rapidly ahead with its presumed plans to revolutionize the cell phone market in Japan (at least that’s what everyone is hoping for/worrying about).

– I don’t want to be blunt, but I say this deal is also the beginning of the end to Vodafone (you read it here first, remember that). Whereas I see many positive comments about this in the news, I cannot see anything positive about this in the long run for Vodafone. Basically they are saying “we are not smart enough to be competitive in Japan, so we are quitting” – Japan is the most important cell phone market in the world, for crying out loud! It is a test bed for nearly all major technological innovations within the mobile phone market, and they are simply stepping out. Vodafone has lost its ability to grow organically, and where they find themselves in a bind, they leave (they sold their local company in Sweden too, a while ago). Mark my words, you will not see Vodafone on the cell phone market in a few years.

All in all, it is very interesting news – and I will follow it closely.

UPDATEIt seems that I was not the only one thinking in these terms – the other “new” license-receiver eAccess (eMobile) has apparently announced that they will submit a request to the government to withdraw the 1.7 GHz license from Softbank if they buy out Vodafone. Source: ItMedia (in Japanese)

Mar
04

Photos from Ikegami Baien

Posted by on Saturday, 4 March, 2006

This is taken from Ikegami Baien (Plum Tree Garden) which we visited today. It’s basically just a hill with a lot of plum trees, but it’s kind of nice!


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