Brian is a researcher, technologist, and futurist working in Kyoto, Japan as a programmer, web developer, and software engineer. He has a CS degree from VT in VA plus several years experience and a wide interest in many topics. Oportunities and Interest Always Welcome.
 
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Order of Randomness - Hyperlinks of a Blogged Mind
Words about Japan, Technology, Politics, and Entertainment seldom spelled correctly
Monday, March 31, 2003 permanent link
  Eyebees Swarming. I have not actually tried the software from EyeBees.com. But there is a major reason, I see absolutely no reason too. This site is interesting in the context of the relatively new concepts and thought being developed about swarming, smart mobs, and social networks. Eyebees seems like a bold first(?) attempt to harness these concepts in a visible and understandable way. The website says, "Swarming is a shared Internet experience. You can see where others are going on the Internet and they can see you. After downloading and installing the Swarming software, you enter our Swarming community and... [participate] in a live, moving swarm across the Internet. Upon entering a swarm... undergo the social experience of collective surfing."

This sounds like fun, however I personally don't think this is going to be very popular. I think that the concept is interesting, and I can certainly see how the metadata would be interesting, but I don't see much of what is in it for the swarmer. I already "swarm" with my friends everyday when I send them links through an instant message program of choice. I don't want them to see every page I go to, only the pages I want to discuss with them, or know they will enjoy. I also select different friends for different pages, depending on what I know about each person's interests. Eyebees seems closer to looking over people's shoulder than sharing an experience with them. Its doesn't add any true social interaction to web surfing, it just lets you spy and be spied upon, but without even the thrill of exhibitionism.

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Minako Komukai

Not sure if I got the name correct or who she is. I'm not even sure if I know what this thing is. It seems to be some sort of lifesize cutout of a Japanese idol, that you can use as a clothes hanger? I'll order and ship it to anyone who wants it, for money of course. For the right money, I'll work my best at arranging the actual girl ;-)

comment or discuss

Friday, March 28, 2003 permanent link
  Wacky cool Internet Explorer Tricks
Did you think that a web page can open up your CD drive? There is an explaination.

Click-drag across the images on this page, as if selecting text, to see another trick. If you don't know what I mean by "click-drag", type "Ctrl+A". If you still don't get it, go away. Warning: reveals rated-R images, but nothing obscene.

Thursday, March 27, 2003 permanent link
  The Hussein Game
A fellow foreigner in Japan says, "While flipping through the channels last Saturday night trying to pick up news on the war, I came across a show that was teaching kids about the conflict. It looks like the show (or segment) is called Kodomo Nyusu (Kid's News). They were using toy props and cartoons to show a trio of very glum-looking kids what was happening in Iraq. It was too bizzare to pass up, so I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos."

comment or discuss

Wednesday, March 26, 2003 permanent link
  The 1984 Society.

I have recently had an idea that I think is wonderful: A new educational movement based on one simple concept, distribution of the novel 1984 by George Orwell. This is one of the few books that I have ever read that has profoundly affected me. I believe that the warnings contained in this book for our increasingly surveillance capable society are of biblical proportions. That is why I think it is vital for everyone to read it, and believe that it should be distributed freely like the Gideons distribute bibles. I know that I myself cannot lead this project and would instead like to share my idea in the hopes that other people might be inspired to the task. I believe that just distributing the book however would not be complete. It would be best if there was a way for the newly baptized reader to learn more by having a website that clearly and simply explains to the reader the dangers of losing our privacy and our freedom of speech, and provides a place for discussion and information on what the reader can do to help make sure that the worst never happens. The distributed books could be tracked on the site (with anonymity as an option of course) in a manner similar to BookCrossings.com, so that the effectiveness of the campaign can be measured and the readers can feel like a part of the movement. I have posted this idea to Slashdot because it seems like the perfect forum to generate the types discussion that might get this project started. Lets hope they accept it. I would be so pleased to see this idea take off.

Update: Slashdot rejected the story, those bastards. No matter how many times rejection happens, it still hurts. I really wish I could start a dedicated webpage for this project. I believe some people would have to be interested enough to help, but I just don't have the time. Oh well, I won't give up hope, and I will still try to promote the idea whenever I can.

comment or discuss

Friday, March 21, 2003 permanent link
  Odd "Sports"

Does something seem strange about this picture?
Click here to find out what it is.
The page is in Japanese, but the pictures tell the story.

What the hell is going on in this picture?
Click here to find out what it is.

comment or discuss

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 permanent link
  AntiAmerican ExPats

Someone said in an email to a mailing list that I am on: I'm an American but it makes me sick to look at the flag. Happy to be in Japan.

My response: I'm an American also, and I'm happy you are in Japan also. I hope you never return as long as that is your attitude.

I am not for the war. I'm not necessarily against it either. I would say there are good arguments for both sides. Criticism of Bush and the administration is completely fair game. But saying that the flag makes you sick and you don't want to be an American makes me sick. There are plenty of problems with America's government (like most in the world actually), so if you don't like the way it is, then fight to change it. If you feel that it is a sad day for America, that I can understand, but your comment was too much. I am proud to be an American and if I was German I would be proud to be a German, and if I was French, Japanese, etc. A real man works to help his community, not turn his back on it and find happiness in that act. An intelligent person realizes that one moment or act or administration does not define an entire country. If you think that Japan is some sort of ideal country, then you are clearly delusional and there is no reaching you. Finally, if you are not just being shortsighted, and truly dislike America, then by all means be a citizen of whatever other flawed country you think is right for you, and I personally hope to never know you.

PS. An update. I have some questions for all the war protestors. I think there are serious questions to be answered by the Bush administration. I think that it must be held highly accountable during and after the war. But what about the war protestors? What will you say if we do find weapons of mass destruction? What will you say if the Iraqi people are thankful for their liberation? What will you say if the world is a safer place in the end? What do you say to the fact that already soldiers are surrendering and mass defections are expected? What if there is no massive loss of life and in 5 to 10 years Iraq is a 5 to 10 times better place to live? How short is your memory? Will you be willing to march in apology? I hope you are big enough to point the finger at yourself IF you are wrong, because I am sure you will be pointing the finger if you are right.

comment or discuss

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 permanent link
  Here is a very strange English lesson. It made me laugh at the end, but maybe I've been in Japan too long.
Monday, March 17, 2003 permanent link
  USA Citizens, DEMAND that your politicians stop the increasing rate of exporting service industry jobs. The topic is the outsourcing of IT related jobs to overseas companies that use a far cheaper labor force. Read a lot of good comments here on Slashdot about an article on CNN. We are allowing the CEO's to sell out the workers for their own profit. I really agree with this comment and this one and this one. To hell with the Republicans and trickle down economics. I don't mind when factory jobs goes over seas, but when the politicians allow CEO's to start sending the brain work overseas, and leaving us with nothing but clerk jobs, its time to start getting angry.

I don't entirely blame CEO's. They are trapped in a system of competition, which is good when guided by government policies. If all companies are forced by law to behave responsibly for America's future, then the playing field is leveled and companies will have to compete on quality, service, and technology when they can not cut down the labor costs, just as it is suppose to work in a capitalist economy. All the arguments for capitalism that I have ever heard speak of "innovation", not of "outsourcing". Read more about my opinions on this topic on my other site.

comment or discuss

Sunday, March 16, 2003 permanent link
  2 Games Try this block puzzle.

Or this parking puzzle. Not in English, but just click start, and move the car out as the arrow shows.

Friday, March 14, 2003 permanent link
  Blogger/BlogSpot Subdomain Error??? Something strange is going on. I submitted the following report to BlogSpot: I tried to create a new subdomain, but almost every single time I get a page at the end, just a simple white background and black text, not like the other formatted pages, saying that the subdomain is not available. However this happened many many times. I even tried "NoFreeBlogspotSubdomains" and "SubdomainAlreadyInUse" and some other long names. I tried some of these subdomains, like "SubdomainAlreadyInUse.BlogSpot.com" and never was there an existing blog. The only time i could get a subdomain was with a random set of characters like "dfasf". If the system is not broken, then *maybe* all these subdomains are actually taken. If so, then I think someone may be grabbing up all the subdomains and BlogSpot should free up inactive subdomains for real bloggers.

comment or discuss

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This Ain't No Tea Ceremony

A double hit of Japanese drink related wackiness.

1. To your left is an Amino Supli Aminonger. The drink is actually not too bad, and neither are the TV comercials

2. If you don't want something cold, why not try something hot, with your new USB powerd coffee cup below.

comment or discuss

Thursday, March 13, 2003 permanent link
 
Crystals and Bars

Here are some really great pictures of snowflakes. (found on BoingBoing)

We move from the complexity of nature to the deceptive simplicity of the artificial. Bar Code Art may be the perfect symbol for our consumption of the artificial.

discussion or comments

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 permanent link
  Slashdot Whuffie Woo! Hoo! Slashdot has finally accepted one of my story submissions on the main page! (Notice where it says "Bakajin writes"). And it only took 16 tries :-p Now I feel guilty however that I didn't give credit to BoingBoing, where I found the link to the original story about despair in the independent game community. I did give the story the "opportunity" twist however, and BoingBoing has plenty of Whuffie as it is.

discuss or comment on this topic

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 permanent link
  Mobile Status in Japan In reference to an article found on BoingBoing, I have to say that it seems like not having a mobile phone in Japan is either a cause for sympathy or a cause for alarm. Either the person is too poor to have one or they are antisocial or mentally disturbed. Japan is famous for being a society that encourage conformity and places the highest values on being part of a group. If you don't have a phone of comparable quality to all your friends to keep in constant touch (most often through messeging) then you are a social zero. The quality of the phone is also important. Nearly as bad as not having one is having one that is too old, big, or lacking a camera or color screan. Not only do I not think this is bad, I will never be without a cell phone again! It appears as if a person who willingly chooses to not have one either has something to hide or is old fashioned in a very unhip and odd way. Image refusing to get a land line in your house 10 years ago, or still travelling by horse and buggy. Refusing to accept technology demostrates a certain character that many young people find disturbing. This does mean however that you are expected to be instantly contactable at all times, and brings to mind a scary future to mind, when we are telepathically linked by WiFi in our brains and society will be similarly disturbed by people who refuse to participate in the hive mind. Perhaps we are The Borg.

discuss or comment on this topic

Monday, March 10, 2003 permanent link
 
Before doing what you think is right, first think.
Politics of the hive mind. This guy has made a video that expressed very well my opinion about the war protesters. I am not for or against the war because I am not well informed enough to have a strong opinion, and I seriously doubted that many of the protesters were either. My answer to "How much time should the inspectors be given", could be until the US has gotten an administration that is better at diplomacy and untill the world opinion has cooled down a bit. That may require waiting for another president, preferable not a rich coke-head frat boy who's daddy was president. However, my advice to the protesters would be this: before doing what you think is right, make sure that you think. In counterbalance to the ignorance, here are some fast facts about US military spending. I do no think America always acts responsibly, but that doesn't preclude it from taking an active role in the world and trying to act responsibly in the future.

discuss or comment on this topic

Sunday, March 09, 2003 permanent link
  A new milestone has been reached in my blossoming blog. I have found a link to my site from the website of a stranger. There seems to be a lot of interesting people online leading incredibly cool lives, yet they seem very accessible if you had something interesting to say. Side note, just knowing the definition of digerati nearly makes you a member. However using it reference to youself too freely, even if indirectly will make you look like a jerk. (note: was going to hyperlink "jerk" for an example, but link is lost. maybe later).
Thursday, March 06, 2003 permanent link
  Here are two links that seem to say something about life. Paper Sky its cool just on a asthetic basis and interesting music also. In my opinion its title could be related in a someway to "Vanilla Sky", the movie, maybe. Max and Isa is perhaps less sophisticated and has a very cartoonish adult situation, but has a similar theme I think. Neither one is comforting, if you are in the mood for pleasant things.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003 permanent link
  Watch a water balloon BOUNCE in s l o o o w w w  m o t i o o o n n n.
Sunday, March 02, 2003 permanent link
  The time is 03-03-03   3:33 in Japan, roughly. Never mind the date above. That is the date on Blog Spot's server. Well I just had to post something on todays date. I recieved a chain email asking to make today an international day of prayer. Of course the sender more than likely intended that to be Christian prayer. In any case, I'll post some peaceful, even if secular, links. The first is a surprisingly simple yet fun game to make your own "paper" snowflake. It definately brings back the fun innocense of youth. The second link may hopefully help us to realize how shallow race is.
 
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