On Bikini and Coffee

I think i just have to write this one.

Earlier, I posted two messages on my Facebook page and also on Twitter.

This fiasco over Bellevue bikini barista is insane. Oh, and suggestion to photograph customer for defamation is illegal

and then

Also, Bellevue’s “Deputy Mayor” Claudia Balducci suggesting breaking a law while she is in office is just plain scary

Though I vaguely heard about this place before, I have not cared much, and never visited this establishment, but after hearing and reading all news about it, perhaps I should go there, just to check it out. They got free advertisements, way to go.
If anyone want take picture of me there, be my guest, but let me have that picture, so I can post it on my Facebook profile. (note, this statement should not be taken that I’m tolerating harassment and character defamation.)
Seriously, it’s just bikinis, it’s not that they are working naked in there. You can find far worse stuff on TV, come on. If you don’t like it, just don’t patronize them. No business can sustain without customers, just basic economy thing.
Like I wrote in the original quotes, it’s just eye opening to see that there is actually an elected official in the office who promotes committing crime. Especially considering customers aren’t doing anything illegal going there, and if she is suggesting “shaming customers” that seems to be clear case of harassment and defamation.
As much as I just don’t get the “idea” of bikini barista I really don’t get people going nuts and screaming about it. We are still few years away from 2012 and the world is not falling apart just yet.

Happening in Japan Japan Microsoft

Using Microsoft Excel as Word Processor? You Bet!

Few weeks ago, Japanese put up an article, titled Americans Surprised in Craze, Japanese Using Excel for Graph Paper. Idea is that a lot of Japanese use Microsoft Excel for doing work seems to be more suitable with word processors, such as Microsoft Word. (I personally like, but that’s not the point here…)
Indeed, I have seen a lot of people writing anything from concept proposal, to design documents (or specifications) on Excel. Luckily, I haven’t had to edit or maintain any of them.
Somehow, Japanese developed obsession to lines on paper — there are many electronic document they are creating consisting of boxes, which you’d see on IRS forms, just they are everywhere in Japanese documents. (In fact, earlier versions of Japanese Microsoft Word had its own special function to make it — now it should be there universally. is slow to adopt some advanced aspects of those features, because this is quite localized requests.)
This maybe due to the fact that Japanese language consists of character in constant size, with no kerning. A lot of Japanese people seem to use spreadsheet applications, for ease of being able to start paragraphs anywhere on the paper.
I haven’t seen anything personally, but apparently, there are people out there who would paste bitmap image on Excel, and send it off to others. (I’ll go nuts if I see that happening!)
I’m strong opponent of using Excel (or any spreadsheet application) for making document. There are some valid reasons to it.

  1. Spreadsheet application can’t define hierarchical structure of the document. Which means the resulting document will not have structured heading, contents, or sub-headings.
  2. Cross referencing is nearly impossible. Mostly, coming from the fact above. If there are no structure, it cannot be defined. If you think you can define it as a position of a cell, read on.
  3. It is nearly impossible to retain structural information without extensive repair, should the document needs to be updated. Any primitive aspect of the document, including line break needs to be adjusted manually. (you could put the contents on one big cell to solve this problem by having line wrap take care of this, but doing this defeats whole purpose of the spreadsheet supporters trying to achieve using spreadsheet to do word processing.)
  4. Printing is nightmare. If you try to print it, especially across different paper sizes, or even different printing environment (fonts, etc.) this will be nightmare.

So what do I recommend? Do it on word processing applications! Well, it is practiced mostly in Japan, so I guess saying this in English wouldn’t help much. Though, there are now a lot of Japanese website that showing strong opposition of using Excel for this purpose, it seems like this is strong trend, and I feel sorry for opponents living in Japan…


How Git is Saving My Project


If you have been following me, I’ve mentioned numerous time about this software called Git.
You’ll find more information about what it is on their web page mentioned above or perhaps, you can checkout its Wikipedia article, if you prefer. Simply put, Git is distributed version control system.
From mid-2008, I have been using Git to manage my work related data. I’m being sole user of the repository I use and manage, but even with that application, I find this very useful.

Why Git is So Cool?

It’s Fast!

I have been using Git to manage anything ranging from 1KB of text data to couple-hundred megabytes of submitted video game build files, and it has been very reliable and fast. Subversion somewhat did this right, but this wasn’t scalable for my use (I will explain about its scalability later), and Mercurial just didn’t work very well when it comes to large file introduced on the repository. (at least on Windows.) Git would allow me to check in any of those files with ease.

It’s Reliable and Scalable!

I started using Git on a single machine, then eventually cloned repository for backup, then I also cloned it for off-site backup. With Git (and many of distributed version control system) one repository is not superior to other repository. If you clone the repository, the entire history of that repository will be copied locally as well. It just involves simple command and securely done over SSH as well. This is real beauty of distributed version control system, crash on any system participating is non-event. If I have to replace, say hard drive on one machine, I’d just replace the hard drive, clone from one of existing machine, and I’m back to to business. Because I work at home as well, I have at least four copies of repositories are available anytime, in which two are acting as “hub” repository, which makes it very reliable. (Not only data on four machines have to be destroyed, all backup of those repository, which is created routinely on each hub repository, need to be destroyed to me to lose data under this system.) Git also provides me high reliability in terms of data integrity. If data contained in repository is corrupted, I will know immediately as any data contained in the repository would be checked against SHA1. This characteristic, just like many version control systems, also helps save bandwidth, as anything that needs to be updated will be transferred.


Because I deal with different kind of data coming in from a lot of different places, I put each of those into its own branch. With this system, anything submitted externally are placed on its own branch, then merged to my personal branch. This way, I can keep healthy separation of my history and others. Since a lot of files are deal are binaries, merging rarely happens with me. But being able to deal with branch very casually (with many of other systems I’ve tried, including Subversion and CVS, branch is very messy process that I didn’t want to deal with…) makes me to organize great deal of information with ease. Today, I dealt with three different branches for example. Gitk program that comes with Git displays really nice and satisfying tree of my project, too. (it displays the graph resembling subway map; it is in the way, the subway map, leading to the same destination — each commit being the station.


Well, so those are my rhetoric to Git, and for any one I’m looking for some solution to version control, I’d highly recommend Git. Even if you’d be sole user of the repository like me, it will be still useful. I have been losing quite a bit of data every time I have had problem and had to reinstall the OS, but since I have started using Git, I lost none of my work data across reconstruction of my working environment. It’s because Git makes checking into other machines (hence making backup) simple and flexible. (Recovery goes very quick, too; even with 5 months of mass data, it’s about 2.8GB — it is also possible to “shallow-copy” the repository, if quick access is needed.)


ORCAcard clarifications

On Saturday, ORCAcard people called me again, clarifying some matters regarding my (apparently) dysfunctional ORCAcard.
They have first explained to me that ORCAcard has 30 days expiration to pending fund. Which means, say, if you charge $10 to the card, and say, for various reasons you do not activate the card (not riding bus for 30 days, or even if you do, but card doesn’t work) that $10 you charged to the card will disappear like it was never charged. At this point, because they do not reverse charge back to your credit card, you will have to call them to reverse that expired charge back into card so it’ll be pending on the card again. (I did not ask if that expired fund taken down from pending status will ever expire — probably not, but I will try to ask that question next time I have to talk to them) Now, word of caution is that this process would still take 24 hours, so this won’t help you in a pinch.
I was informed that when I have pending charge, I have to either 1) tap the card when riding the bus, or 2) tap on the machine located in various place, such as Metro tunnel in Seattle. Now, here’s word of caution, if you choose to do second option; that machine, when you tap your card, will deduct fare from your card. (if you tap it on the bus terminal, it’s $2.50, and $4.75 at the one at the train station.) If you are to tap your card at one of those terminal, make sure you tap again, which then will say it’s canceled. I’ve tried this at bus terminal, and the online log stats that $2.50 is charged, then put back into my card. (For some weird reason, It’s not showing any activity at train station.)
Apparently, second option will reset that 30 days expiration, but I was informed it’ll still expire after 30 days, unless you use it. For example, when you have $5.00 on your card and you ride bus within 30 days, for $2.50, then remaining $2.50 will not expire.
They informed me they will be soon extending that expiration period to 60 days, but they did admit that it’s not complete fix to the problem.
Bottom line: Try to use your card, if you don’t, fund may expire, but if you call them they can put it back on to card.


Getting Angry on the Phone

If you know me enough, you don’t see me get upset so much, well, at least on the way I’d get aggressive. Well, but I guess everything has exception…
I won’t tell who it was at least for now; bottom line is that it’s not someone on my friend list here, but was not a stranger.
It’s just so amazing how people manages to annoy me telling me what to do without even knowing what’s going on. So just a second or so after he completed his sentence, I felt rush of blood going up to my brain, and next thing I notice was that I was pretty much 60% yelling at other person on the phone. It was only 60% because dominant side of myself was still holding “angry myself” back, sort of speak. I do occasionally get angry on the phone, say at tech support representative, but one that I experienced today was just outrageous.
It occured to me, that I guess those people who don’t know when to stop, those people in Japan who are known to “kireru” (キレる) don’t have dominant part of him/herself.
I only hope that this person I was talking over phone won’t make silly statements to me again, because I wouldn’t be 60% next time.


Fun with Anonymous Recipient

GNU Privacy Guard, or GnuPG has interesting feature called anonymous recipient.
If you know OpenPGP message format enough, you know that the message contains user ID of recipient. So when you receive such message and try to decrypt using your own private key, OpenPGP implementations know which key to use.
This also allows traffic analysis, as perpetrator can skim through the message. He or she may not have any idea what’s included in the message, but it is possible to figure out where the message is intended to.
Anonymous recipient basically masks key ID with 0×0000000. Consequently, recipient will have to try to decrypt message using all the key he or she has, and there’s even possibility that the message is not addressed to that person at all! You’d never know.
You can use anonymous recipient with the following command:

gpg -R keyID1 -ea

Make sure you use upper case R option to specify, instead of lower case. You can mix upper case and lower case option so some of them will have their keyIDs included in the message.
This is useful in the case you want accomplish same type of effect like in E-mail’s BCC feature. Only difference is that you cannot hide the fact that the message is addressed to someone else as well, as you can with E-mail BCC. (BCC addressees are hidden in their headers.)
Only problem with this system is that commercial PGP solutions do not this support, and not sure if it’ll be ever supported. (PGP will treat as if the message is addressed to keyID called 0×00000000, you probably wouldn’t have in your keyring…)
There are some message floating around in my note sometimes using this technique. If I know you use OpenPGP, it may or may not be addressed to you…

Facebook Japan mixi Social Networking twitter

Social Network Analytics of Japan

Google Insights for Search reveals rather interesting fact about social network system’s in Japan.

Overall, Japanese social network scene is dominated by mixi, and Google Insights filtered to Japan do show that trend as well. (In world wide trend, mixi is nothing.)

Filtering the result to year to date 2009, it starting to reveal rather interesting fact.
The overall trend shows that mixi’s gradually losing its popularity, while Facebook is increasing, in Tokyo, Facebook already has surpassed mixi early June, and YTD average shows Facebook is already as strong as mixi. (and if this trend continues, by next month, Facebook will become most popular social network system in Tokyo.)

Tokyo’s shift in trend is unique, as even Okinawa, showing strong MySpace support than rest of Japan, although, mixi is still dominating the popularity there. (I speculate presence of US military base for high support of MySpace in Okinawa.) Okinawa’s overall trend has been following somewhat close to rest of Japan, but perhaps with Facebook and MySpace competing for shares.

Regional comparison for Facebook in major cities in Japan shows that overall popularity volume in Tokyo is much higher than rest of places. (and likewise, comparison with MySpace shows significance of MySpace in Okinawa.

So, it seems like, in Japan, many people are starting to migrate to something other than mixi, perhaps for the fact mixi’s more focus on mobile phone market (and especially, if they use carrier menu to access to mixi from their mobile phone, it won’t show up in Google Insights) as well as more push to Facebook from different sectors (for example, DSi support of photo upload to Facebook.) Somehow, this trend is showing in Tokyo drastically than in different places. This may be mean that there are more international relationship dynamic happening in Tokyo, requires more global communication. (mixi do not allow sign-up without Japanese mobile numbers now)

Android Mobile Device

A Major Defect of the Android Platform

I haven’t bad mouthed too much of the Android platform, because I think I had some expectation that they are probably working on this to fix the problem. It has been some update release and they still haven’t figured out probably the most critical defect of the platform, so I will dump it out here now.

It’s the fact that on memory is constantly full that it causes all kind of nasty problems. Yes, I’m talking about storage space. If you have paying attention to my status, you know I have 8GB of memory. That won’t help me at all. It’s because software can only be installed on the device memory, and not to SD card. Yes you heard it right, even if you have many gigs on your SD, it doesn’t help. You have to rely on your on board storage space of, oh, 128MB or so.

Even if you have software library of 10000s on the market place, well there’s no point of it, because you can’t possibly get more than, perhaps 10 of those apps. Oh, forget about games, they take up too much space. Yeah, so if the big sales point of this device is extensibility by software, that’s big disappointment, because your device simply won’t let you do that.

I heard their side of story on this. It’s because of protected storage for paid apps. They basically have area in internal memory which has “do not let other applications copy this region.” In other word, they are putting this limitation, because if they’d allow installation of apps to SD rather than onboard memory, users will be able to copy softwares otherwise not accessible if they were saved in the protected storage. Hey Google, if that the only way you can implement DRM, I think it’s your time to start firing some of your engineers. You should have smarter people than that.

This not only causes inconvenience, but affects usability, too. Because, when this happens, it stops receiving E-mail, too. (Probably because E-mails are stored in the internal memory, too.) So newest E-mail in my mailbox is now two days old.

For those considering any Android phones, just because of the severity of the problem, at this point, I would recommend to wait until they fix this problem, if ever. I really like the platform and I want them to succeed, but I just had to make some rant on it, as the design is simply retarded.


Online Marketing in Japan?

When I was helping out figuring out what would be the best way to marketing the video game product online in Japan, I was disappointed I could hardly find any options.

I’m talking about something other than those banner ads, but what I’m talking about is thing like Facebook page system. For example, there’s big Japanese SNS mixi, but problem of their system is that their “community” system is nothing more than “group” feature of Facebook (which means, there is no expectation that the community is “official.”)

What people use in Japan to do these marketing? Is it because those are happening all in their mobile realm, that I can’t see them, because I can’t access to them? Or they don’t simply exist? Or perhaps, only way to get on any online media in Japan is to utilize some sort of agencies?

I’d appreciate if anyone with information enlighten me!


My Take on Religions

Since someone asked.

I don’t have any problem with religions. I appreciate all my friendship with people who are religious or not. (And my friends are awesome!)
What I have problem is when people don’t accept the fact there are beliefs outside of their own. (Note I’m not saying I have problems with people who’s not believing in something outside of their beliefs. What people actually believe is not my business, as long as it’s not coming in contact with and conflicting with my life.)

Though, I’m not particularly religious, I am still somewhat spiritual. I think there’s some supernatural causing both good and bad things.

Pretty much, I embrace many of different religious concepts (and this is particulary how many Japanese perceive religion as well), making Unitarian Universalism somewhat close to what my position would be, although I do not officially practice religion there. I don’t have any problems with person just because of difference in beliefs, and I respect their beliefs as much they respect my view.

So, that how I get my Facebook profile is way it is. I thought I just had to write this…