Archive for April, 2007

Peer 2 Peer II: Mobile

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

So, in Japan like I am now, I sometimes pick up on cool things.

Today’s cool thing is …

Peer 2 Peer networking on mobile phones. Exhibit A(has video, but the article is in Japanese)

That might not seem all that cool, but think about it. It is the next step towards whatever it is the future will be. I, as a computer scientist and a person with a little bit of business feeling, look at this and go, “Sweet, all sorts of things could be done with this.”

As near as I can figure, it runs off of BREW which if you follow the link you will realize the coolness of qualcomm’s creation.

But enough geeking out, at least in that way.

This has really interesting implications. The most obvious is for games, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to play, say, a real time strategy game with your highschool buddies on the train home(assuming you are indeed a Japanese highschool student). Or, it could be used for more practical things. Like chatting about girls( or guys for that matter).

Another cool application would be interactive map kind of like google maps along with some drawing application gets you to your friends house from the nearest station.

So, anyway, really cool.


Postal Rate Change: Bad

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Stamp Out the Rate Hike: Stop the Post Office

So, the post office is going to up their rates. That in itself is not all that surprising, or maddening. It happens all the time. The problem is that this time, the rate change affects smaller publications more than larger, making it more difficult for them to survive.

It isn’t surprising that the rule change was largely written by Time Warner, one of the biggest magazine sellers out there. And, given the large amounts of money a company like Time Warner can dish out, it’s not surprising it is getting its way.

Or at least, it is trying to get it. You can fight back by mailing your congress critter, or by using the petition at the left, which does the same thing. We ought to stop this. It is not fair, and it dilutes our democracy by removing many of the small voices.

A lot of people use the internet to find out about current events and the current political climate. Many of the resources available on the ‘net come from and are supported by these small magazines.

let’s give them a hand


Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes.

It recently occurred to me that most of my hero’s are writers. I guess that’s not surprising given my love of books and literature and things. But writers, like all other hero’s, are human. They pass away. Now, am not particularly happy about it, but so it goes.

I sometimes wish I had more time with them, a chance to hear them speak. I saw kurt vonnegut on the daily show. He was not what I expected and precisely how he should be. I would have loved to see him more closely, at an auditorium or something.

Molly Ivins, who recently lost her battle with cancer, has a similar place in my heart. She almost came to my town once to give a talk, but she canceled and I didn’t see her. Then this year I found out she is gone. So it goes.

Hero’s give us hope and inspiration. I hope that I can face death with the determination and just plain guts of those two, my hero’s. But right now I need to live with that determination, to fight against those I oppose and to support those who need it.

So it goes.

Shiga Prison

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

I went to a prison in Shiga(that’s in the countryside-ish for those who don’t live in Japan) and took a tour with my Problems in Modern Japanese History and Politics class, and some other classes by the same professor.

Very interesting.

First of all, the prison we went to is a class A prison. Class A means that it only contains first time offenders of non-capital crimes. They serve there for a max of 8 years and an average around 3.

It wasn’t that bad of a place. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go there, but it was not some dank, dirty dungeon. It was very clean and well ordered.

It seemed like they were prepared for having visitors to the prison. Dr Scott said that mostly university students come but not very often.

There are no weapons on the grounds. The guards are trained in martial arts. Not kung fu or anything, just practical stuff to get people on the ground quickly. In fact guards that hit prisoners are fired, first offense.

In prison in Japan, you work. you work an average work day, 8:30 to 5:30 or so with breaks on things that your entrance exam says you will be good at. Yes, even prisons have entrance exams.

You get free time in the evenings. The prisoners can watch tv, play games and participate in clubs. Like, shodo, Japanese traditional calligraphy.

Religious people come in once a week.

I have a lot more tidbits, but they aren’t properly threaded together so I’ll leave it at that for now. Admittedly this is more notes than a proper blog post, but whatever.

Zen: More Dogen

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Today we talked more about Dogen. You know, the guy who started the soto school of zen, lived around 1200, that guy. Or at least that’s what we were supposed to talk about.
In reality the discussion ranged from power point presentations to a recap on koans from last week. Speaking of which, I like koans.
They seem to have the ability to subtly change my thought patterns, the good ones anyway. Kind of calming.
Kenney wanted to spend the first bit of class discussing koans. So, I guess it really was not that off topic. But, we spent the first half of the class talking about them. Then add to that the fact that our reading for the day is itself ‘genjo koan’ by Dogen. Which, I must admit I haven’t read yet.
One of the interesting things Kenney talked about was the untranslatability of Dogen. Not that you can’t translate him into other languages, just that his words are difficult to rephrase and retain their specialness. There is something about how he lays out his ideas that cannot be restated. It’s like there is something there when you use his words, some underlying current, that is lost when paraphrasing.
Interesting idea.

A Photo Gallery

Saturday, April 7th, 2007


I dropped in one of the one-click programs they offer us here at dreamhost–the gallery
I put up an album of some of my sakura, thats Japanese for cherry blossom, pictures.


Zen: Lin chi, Or Shouts and Strikes

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Lin Chi, Zen Master.
Shouts, sticks and strikes
Oh, his poor students

For Zen class this week we discussed/are discussing about Lin Chi, an early chinese Zen Master. Coincidentally, the kanji his name are read as rinzai (臨在) in Japanese, which happens to be the name of the stricter school of Zen in Japan.
Old Lin was an aggressive teacher, who spoke plainly and struck his students a lot. They probably deserved it.