One reason why digital cameras suck

I wanted to take photos this weekend but I somehow managed to lose BOTH chargers for the rechargeable Li-Ion batteries. I invested in a second unit since I thought it would be nice to always have one in the car for trips. How I lost both of them is a complete mystery and makes me want to buy a whole new camera.
Gadgets can be clever and evil, and conspire to either sate you only temporarily or completely consume you; toys beget toys.

Jayzus, my comp just scared the hell out of me…

I’m blogging from a slightly worn but surprisingly comfortable lounge chair I happened upon in the foyer of a wedding hall, located in a once-was-ritzyish hotel in Ibaraki, a lackluster suburb steadily infesting the area between Osaka and Kyoto. I staked my claim on this cluster of chairs and their centerpiece hardwood coffee table about half an hour ago…
As I type, people are staring at me and my baby U3 as they walk by; I can discern the suspicious technophobe-types from those who are just curious by their furtive glances and hurried gait. In all fairness, the ‘phobes are relatively open-minded toward tech, compared to just five or ten years ago. I suspect my open flaunting of it just disturbs them on some primal level; it touches raw nerves to see that the machines are steadily taking over the world.
I believe that the Japanese telecom industry’s advertising efforts to push broadband on the masses – a great percentage of whom are probably not even sure where to affix virtual postage stamps on e-mail – have a marked effect. Like I said, these ‘phobes are relatively in the know. Whereas 10 years ago my comp might conceivably have been derided as a tool of [entity of choice] without even the possibility of identifying it’s particular function, I imagine the unspoken sentiment of the modern day ‘phobes as: Why would you use a computer in public, when the whole purpose of going outside is to interact with real, live, emoting people?
To which I reply:
I gave up on people like you a long time ago.
Now shut up.
I am tweaking my blog again.
In Haiku form:
Waste no time on you,
Dumb ox, shut your gaping maw.
Typeface: Sans-serif.

Oh neighbor, forgive me…

Oh, I took off from work early on Friday because I couldn’t stand the excitement. Rushed home and saw a telephone line crane-truck parked next to my parking lot (on a street close to my house). Got a sick feeling in my stomach because I somehow knew this was used to bring the princess Hikari to my home, and remembered asking for my landlord’s permission a month ago, before going to Thailand. I passed on the explanation I got from the NTT rep, that FTTH installation is not a big deal, and existing holes in the walls are used so that there is a minimum of impact. Well, it was not exactly a lie, as the fiber optic cable enters the house via a hole made for the air conditioning unit hose (fixed in place with white silly putty-like stuff), but the sun glinted off the newly attached mounting plate screwed to the outside wall (used to protect the fiber optic line) as I realized there must have been a five man work crew stringing lines from the power poles, drilling holes in my wall, and annoying the neighbor’s neurotic pomeranian (redundant, I know – i had a Pom). I am so glad my landlord wasn’t there, I’ll have to paint the cables and mounting plate outside to match the house.

happyhappyjoyjoy

First of all, the Hikari works. It rocks. Last night I heard the lonely scream of a 56k on some lame hackeresque TV movie, and it made me cringe. I watched the green LINK lamp on the ONU (FTTH “modem”) flicker as I downloaded files off some puny T1 server in Sweden, and was reminded about the Salaryman post I wrote a few years ago about hacking into the company LAN. About bandwidth: Out of the box, I have measured 23 Mbps in both directions. Average speed for this type of Hikari (B Flets Family 100 plan) is around 17, so I have a decent connection to begin with, which makes me happy. What makes me unhappy is that I have to find all the registry hacks I made to accomodate ADSL on all four of my windoze boxes in order to optimize for FTTH. For 8M ADSL, I managed to bring average speed up double where I started at and at the end, the speed measurement site I was using throughout started claiming I was breaking theoretical speeds, spiking up to 8.1M. Average speed was around 4.5M for DL/750K for UL.

Just Chill, foo!

Twenty-seven full minutes have passed since my last mail update from Nam. What is that girl thinking? I give her the benefit of the doubt and check for new mail actively instead of letting the system update my phone – it’s faster that way and the auto update is spotty in these concrete buidings sometimes. Goddamn it, why do factories have to be so utilitarian? I’d trade the third story metal doors (for moving big equipment directly in by crane) for wide-open (packet-friendly) gaping holes any day.
Thirty-one minutes now. I could really piss her off by calling for an update again, but before I get home she will be there all alone with the Precious so I’d better be a nice little hobittses until I can wring her filthy lying little neckses, Smeagol. (Raving sicko alert!) ………… Can’t wait… Must call… Must have Preeeeeeeeciouuuuuus…
(Doctor’s note: No more cookies for this patient until further notice.)
OK. Must Call. Must Find Out. Stay Tuned.

FTTH Bandwidth

Nam (the, no The GF) sent e-mail to my batphone (did I mention it can output a map of my surroundings using GPS?) saying they are installing the fiber optic cable RIGHT NOW. How many hours till I’m free? If all goes well, the thingamabob they set in my home will report dutifully back to spook central at NTT, confirming ALL SYSTEMS GO, OKIE-DOKIE, WE-ARE-INVINCIBLE@100MBPS-IN-YOUR-FACENESS. Then I can cancel my measly 8Mbps ADSL tonight and tell my provider, Asahi-net to give me a B-Flets (NTT-provided FTTH) account and cancel the A-Flets (ADSL) one. Shame, shame. For one night, I will have a cumulative theoretical bandwidth of:
B-Flets FTTH: 100 Mbps
A-Flets ADSL: 8 Mbps
Air ‘H Card: 128 Kbps
POTS (Pudgy ‘Ol Telephone System) Dial-Up: 56 Kbps
au cellphone dial-up (non-enhanced): 14.4 Kbps (actually times 2 if you count Nam’s, but no, this is mine, ALL MINE!)
Total: 108 dullards and 20.24 centsicles
I’M ON TOP OF THE WORLD!
UNIMAGINABLE BANDWIDTH! RAW POWER! TWISTED-PAIR KILLER! I WILL YOU MY EXCESS LATENCY, YOU UNDERPRIVILEGED SNAIL-TURTLE-SLOWTHINGS!
MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
[Sometime later]
Sorry, I kind of lost it up there. Everybody was staring at me as I wrote “MUWAHAHA…” cause I was glaring at the screen and typing in an exaggerated hunt & peck, where my fingers were death rays and the keys were snail-turtle-slowthings. As if they know what it’s like getting wired with Hikari. Uninspired corporate slothmongers. Have fun dialing up to check mail tonight, australopitheces! (austalopithecuses?)
Did I tell you this tech fetish is temporary and I will soon forsake all things digital?
Until then,
THE BANDWIDTH LORD HATH SPOKEN

Weaned off the Packet Teat

During spring break I proved to myself that continuous netfeed is in fact NOT necessary for survival. My entire Internet useover 10 whole days consisted of a single e-mail written in 5 minutes at a net cafe in Phuket. Additional “unconnected” computer time was comprised entirely of loading images from the Nikon 4500 to Baby (Vaio U3) via Compact Flash cards and a PC card adapter, plus a single one-hour Counter-Strike sesh (with my bro, Adam) in a gaming lab on the 4th floor of MBK center in Bangkok. It was an unfulfilling sesh (session) because the comps were slow compared to my own so I had to adjust for graphic bottlenecks, plus the tops of the movement keys (W, S, A, D) had been worn out from use. There were holes on the top of the keys, and my fingers touched down on the plastic ribs that crisscross the inside of the keys directly over the pluger thingy that actually initiates output of a character (if you can describe this any better, or even just understand what the hell I just wrote, please contact me). The tactile effect was equivalent to tapping your fingers on the tip of a blunt-tipped ballpoint pen (Bic, maybe?).

Wishful Thinking

Thinking about posting here while on vacation. But I didn’t have time to buy an (gasp) analog modem for my Vaio U3 (PCMCIA). Ah, visions of the future… I will be going from 100Mbps LAN at home and 128Kbps wireless PHS card to ANAfuckingLOG MODEMS. But that’s the whole purpose. By next month, I will have technology which in combination with my gadgets and black sorcery, will provide me with a tech level I can piss on 99.9999% of the world’s heads from – for at least 5 years. My intention is to give it all up after a year, move to the Thai countryside, and purge my life of EMR for a while. Does it make me sick? Sometimes I feel so. If it allows me to ignore the urge to urinate for eight hours and stare into a pulsing electron gun while exercising only my fingers, it’s probably less than healthy.
Why the HELL am I writing this now? Must pack…

Thai Text Workaround

Missed the haircut because i spent a while trying to figure out a way to send Nam an e-mail her brother sent in Thai script. A challenge since Nam only had her phone (au) on her. I took a screen shot in WinXP after formatting the text to cellphone screen size in the OE compose window. Then I optimized in Fireworks and tested the 1.65K gif (and then png) by sending to my phone, also an au (albeit newer and way cooler – it’s got image conversion and editing capabilities and video – more on this later) but the attached files were not viewable. The error message displayed claimed size limitation errors, but I think it had to do with image subformat. Well, that was all a colossal waste of time.
I got a sudden inspiration and just took a pic with my phone after setting typeface of the Thai script to bold for screen legibility. This unbelievably crude hack worked better than I could have imagined. I swore I would never use a camera-equipped phone for taking snapshots (got me a pinhole camera, yes sirree!), but I found an honest to god practical use today. It was like finding out that those tits on the hog actually produce milk. Yippee!
In related news, the other day on our way back to this island (Awajishima), we made a pit stop at a highway rest area. I came out of the john and saw that Nam was waiting for me in front of the impressively lit vending area. She motioned for me to come over and was gesturing toward something on the ground in front of the Asahi vending machine. I jogged over and saw one of the coolest moths I have ever seen! It was shaped and colored just like a gingko leaf! It was so strange looking, I would not have been surprised to find it on the fifth moon of Endor, let alone at a highway rest stop. But there it was. Links are forthcoming, but impossible while my ISP is screwing around with my account. Actually, these smug bastards are in line for a class action suit from the state of Florida, so I better clear my crap off their servers, um, like, soon.