Dyson

Although this will possibly incur the wrath of a million brand loyal housewives brandishing curtain brush attachments, I must speak my mind: “The vacuum cleaner that doesn’t lose suction” is the worst slogan of a successful company I have heard in recent memory.

  • It is immediately apparent to all that see this tagline that what Dyson is actually trying to convey is that his products “suck harder than a $600 hooker” (which conveniently implies all the other cleaners in this price range are whores as well).
  • By the same logic, Long Dong Silver was “the actor who never lost fuction.”
  • A quick search online shows around a 70% approval rating from Dyson owners. Less than I would have thought from all the hype. Or maybe more, actually.
  • One cool thing about Dyson – I saw on a TV show where he got the idea for a transparent dust reservoir. He was in a product planning meeting and saw one of his team members blow his nose, then look at what he had blown into the tissue before crumpling it up – “see,” he said, “everybody likes looking at what they cleaned up.” That fucking rocks.
  • This middle-of-the-night rant was brought to you courtesy of Justin, “the guy who never scratches when playing pocket pool.”

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Random Keitai Thoughts

This is just wrong.
It was very refreshing to carry around a no-nonsense phone for a couple weeks. No camera, no egg-spaceship styling, no blinky blink LED distractions. I bought the cheapest Nokia with plan for unlimited usage from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and it worked just fine except for the interface, which was from like 1972 or something. It took like five presses of various buttons just to see numbers I received calls from!
The best thing about GSM phones, though, are the size. I remember when my Docomo phones were that small! I’m telling you, I’d choose a non-camera phone in a second if it were a viable option for AU…

In the red corner, the 600lb. gorilla known as Digital

So much for all the camera snobs saying digital cameras would never catch up to film. Nikon is throwing in the cellulose towel.
The title “Nikon prepares to strengthen digital line-up for 2006” is almost ironic. This is somehow sad news, even though I was the earliest convert to digital I knew. Even before then, my idea of a fun camera was a thirty year old Asahi Pentax. Spending money on developing black and white film in Japan has always sucked major balls. None of the preceding sentences were really linked, and yet this is a paragraph.
Goodbye, film.
Interesting fact: My company owns the term, “dejicame.” Pretty cool.
(via Jim O’Connell on the Japan Photography Mailing List)

Quick Reviews 2005/5/23

Monday, oh Monday, thou art an unwelcome punch in the face.
Some quick reviews just for the hell of it:
MUSIC:
– AUDIOSLAVE, Out of Exile: 7.98/10 stars || awesome guitar; chris cornell remains god.
– GORILLAZ, Demon Days : 7.14/10 stars || nice beats but lost some funky cheese?
MOVIES:
– REVENGE OF THE SITH: 5.95/10 stars || reaffirmed that papa vader is, indeed, a big raging asshole.
– HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE: 6.23/10 stars || bonus points for the “twinkie” reference (banana, anyone?) and cameo by the patron saint of bloggers, neil patrick harris
TV:
– THE WEST WING SEASON 4: 8.16/10 stars || even dems hate frogs
– THE SHIELD SEASON 4: 8.79/10 stars || not even halfway through the season but kicking serious ass
MY NEIGHBORS:
– CRAZY OLD LONELY LADY: 6.54/10 stars || makes like ZERO noise next door; makes me worry that she’s dead sometimes, but otherwise seems really nice
– LITTLE SHITS NEXT DOOR: 1.02/10 stars || learn how to say “konnichiwa” back to the nice gaijin already you spoiled little brats

Unknown Hard

If WinXP has an aneurism during re-installation and defaults to the Blue Screen of Death, with the dreaded error 000021a and the mysteriously simple descriptor: “Unknown Hard”, slap the monitor and the keyboard around a few times (I’ll give you hard, bitch!) and kick the minitower around until you smell smoke.
Alternatively, insert the WinXP install CD again and set the boot order in BIOS to optical drive first, hard drive second, then reboot and try, try again.
Bill Gates can be a real asshole sometimes.

I blame it all on Portishead

I placed a down payment on a theremin yesterday. I have no idea what it will end up looking like, but this is for the best, I feel. For this particular instrument (which I have never played before BTW), not knowing how it will turn out creates a certain excitement I could never attain by simply ordering online or through a music catalog. This was only made possible by hiring an otaku to do the job. Kasama-san is a nice guy, a most skilled bassist, Taro’s business partner (they sell antique condensers, specialized mic shields, and other maniac music shit), and one of the most functional denki-otakus I have ever met.
When I found a loose circuit board connection to input RCA connector jacks inside my 500 watt amp, I used what tricks I could to keep it working temporarily. Unwilling to be without decent sound in my car for even a short time, I never even considered having it fixed at a professional shop since they generally take forever just to tell you (approximately) how badly you will get raped for repairs. I looked around for a decent replacement instead, but couldn’t find a good deal before the connection got a lot worse and basically made my amp unuseable. So I turned to Kasama-san, who I knew at the time as a tinkerer of guitar amps, and he replaced the part I needed on the board for a pittance – so I tipped him well. The skills he possesses are very special in our modern world of cheap throwaway electronics. Like some of the engineers at work, he can read the circuits on a PCB like a roadmap, and tell you where you can find shortcuts, bypasses, and hidden paths, among other things. This is a very valuable skill.
Anyways. Theremin of unknown specification and design will be mine in a couple of weeks, and I take great comfort in knowing that the creator has spent countless hours worrying about each subcomponent, optimizing it as a whole system, and tweaking it to perfection with the cold twisted love of electronica.

BB King

Look at what they’re finally confirming:

Japan Offers by Far Fastest, Cheapest Broadband Services: OECD
April 21, 2004 (PARIS) — Japanese firms are offering by far the cheapest and fastest broadband services of companies operating in 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to the first such report compiled by the international organization.
The survey, which was conducted in October 2003, shows Japanese companies leading the pack with KDDI Corp, NTT East Corp. and usen Corp offering throughput of over 100Mbps with their fiber-optic networks.

This really trickles my bits. My pal and I talked about this happening over three years ago, when Korea was still the place to be for broadband, and I was paying about 18,000 yen per month for dual channel ISDN (including both ISP and telco charges) service out here on Awaji Island. Since then my upgrade path went from 1.5 Mbps ADSL to 8Mbps ADSL, and finally to what I use now, 100Mbps FTTH. I am really sad because now there is nowhere to move up from here (maybe I can hope for that laser-based transmission technology next). In fact, I am planning on moving down, as far down as I can possibly go: dial-up. That’s right, the shrill screeching of analog modem handshakes will keep me company once again. I wrote about it in this post around when I started this blog, and Thailand still has no viable plans for broadband in sight. Things move slower there.
This passage was very interesting:

It has been difficult to conduct a comparison of telecom services offered in various countries, since there is no fixed worldwide definition for broadband. The OECD report defines a broadband service as one offering round-the-clock Internet connectivity and a download speed of at least 250kbps.

If this 250kbps standard was adopted worldwide, I think a lot of people in the US would be angry that the ADSL service they pay for isn’t even considered broadband. I was really shocked by the number of regular computer users in the states who say they don’t need broadband or can’t afford it. That’s a crying shame. It really should be made a lot cheaper and a hell of a lot faster than it is now.
Then again, why am I worried about you guys back home? When I’m checking line polarity before jacking in somewhere along the Mekong in a year or so, I will envy all of you. I do not relish the thought of reverting from the instant gratification of always-connected mode to a dial-up frame of mind: No downloads. No multiplayer games. No mindless clickfests. Oh, well. I guess I’ll spend my time finding other things to do. Maybe I’ll get my laughs by training an army of pocket monkeys to fling feces at passing water buffalo riders, or something.
Gecko racing, anyone?

Apple IIc

I recall the scrolling text adventures from my childhood with much fondness. My dad bought an Apple IIc for us when I was ten or so (without the standard 8-inch monitor luckily) and I basically wore out the keys typing in-game commands like “go west”, “kill goblin”, and “get dagger of fire”. The key action, by the way, was used as a selling point by the egghead at the store, but more on this later.
That IIc was way ahead of its time – I consider it the first truly portable Apple because of its relatively compact size for the time and the fact that it came with a padded carrying case. It had an optional LCD, but I carried that box all over because it had a video

1MB/second

1MBsec20040321.jpg
My Hikari rocks. This is the fastest browser download I have ever experienced.
Question: Why does IE express download speed in bytes/second? According to numion:

In data communications only the Metric definition of a kilobyte (1000 bytes per kilobyte) is correct. The binary definition of a kilobyte (1024 bytes per kilobyte) is used in areas such as data storage (harddisk, memory), but not for expressing bandwidth and throughput.

So is this usage in IE correct or not? Somehow, I think it is not. Anyhow, this speed of 1.00 MBps is also equivalent to:
8000000 bps (bits per second)
1000000 Bps (bytes per second)
8000 kbps (kilobits per second)
1000 KBps (kilobytes per second)
8 mbps (megabits per second)
It is near the maximum speed of a 10Base-T LAN (10 mbps). The speed tests that I sometimes use show that my max download (and upload) speed on an average day is actually more than three times this, but I have never connected to an HTTP server that could keep up with this during actual net use, even in Japan. It’s like buying a Ferrari – 99% unused potential, and you just know the girls be all over my ride (Can you take me for a ride on your fiber, baby?). Smokin!