To flex my Japanese, I’m translating Yoshiro’s weblog into English.
Andrew had this great idea this morning for himself, Nigel, Eri and I to drag our hung-over selves to the Preston Market. After a pleasant train journey, we found that Preston Market isn’t very busy on a Sunday – it’s not even open.
We ended up having the most random and interesting day ever. We bought Indian Bhuja Mix and Tapioca Chips, and finished it off by completing a three course meal from a lazy susan on the main street. Yes, all in Preston.
It’s the end of a era. I’ve worked happily at Phillippa’s for the past two and a bit years. I’ve decided to move on, but the experience has been invaluable, and while no mere words could really voice my appreciation for that place, I’ll say that I’ll remember the good times, and take away a lot of things learnt.
Phillippa’s has been good for me on so many levels, so to everyone who has been part of it, THANK-YOU!
I took a few photos today with some staff and regular customers.
The more I use it, the more I’m reminded of it being like one of those things you saw in Beyond 2000 back in the 90′s.
It’s size, clarity, and functioning is so good, that its form is more like a discovery than an invention.
I think it would be able to play video if it had a software update. Have you seen the way it scrolls through photos?
Even my Operating Systems Lecturer was beaming has he started today’s lecture. For the afternoon I forget my stresses, hop into the gym, pick up some Heinekens and cook up a BBQ T Bone for dinner with Andrew and Eri.
With the warmer days, I’ve rediscovered the sport of running outdoors. After months of plodding-mixed-with-bursts-of-frantic-sprints on the conveyor belt in the gym (interval training), I am once again enjoying the sense of movement that my legs have to offer.
Try this: get a good running song going on the iPod, and an adjacent tram on either High St (downhill) or Toorak Rd (uphill), and chase it along the footpath. You’ll not only get an audience from the passengers and driver, but an adrenaline pumping and instant incentive to RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
Leap trumphantly over fire hydrants and park benches when you win.
If you can do this a couple (a few) times you’ll end up more winded than any Tamagotchi conveyor strap ever will.
By request, here are my running songs:
Rippin Kittin (Glove Tension Dub) – by Golden Boy with Miss Kittin
Lola’s Theme (Extended Vocal Mix) – by Shapeshifters
Identity (アイデンティティ）- by 椎名林檎（Shiina Ringo)
KUROI ORUFE – by 椎名林檎
I’ve been looking greedily at the ΣBook (‘Sigma Book’) and the LIBRIé for a while now. The LIBRIé uses eInk technology, just like in this watch. And look what Fujitsu has come up with. Colour, bendable eInk displays. I found a comic on Panasonic’s site that details the development of the ΣBook It offered insight into the validity of eBooks also. Here’s a brief summary.
Back in June of 2001, Mr Hayagawa of Matsushita (We’ll just call it Panasonic, their electrical division) traveled to Taiwan to research an idea of his. He was a man who read many books, 2 a day in fact, whether it be a magazine or short story. He was sick of the clutter that the books caused in his small apartment.
In Taiwan he found a device that enabled readers of Chinese to read all the downloaded text they wanted, all on a lightweight device. From that moment he was inspired to invent something for Panasonic that would allow Japanese readers to do the same.
Back in Japan, he jumped online and found a few websites who sold eBooks. Once of them was the eBook Initiative Japan (EBI).
1. On screens such as in the Taiwanese example, you can’t really see the characters very well. They don’t look nice are are thus difficult to read, and a deterrent to the average reader.
2. Publishing companies are in danger of digital text as readers move away from the printed word, and stop buying books.
3. There’s the problem of copy-write, and of the books proliferating about without bounds.
He also told him why eBooks should be developed.
1. Books made of paper that aren’t sold have to be thrown away.
2. Printing on paper could become a bit of a problem when paper resources become too precious.
Ever since it was invented, ‘The Book’ hasn’t changed at all. Mr Suzuki said that to digitise the culture of book reading, Mr. Hayagawa would have to mimic the experience exactly. What Mr. Suzuki suggested was a high definition paper-like, dual display. Essentially, just a book.
Mr. Matoko Satou came enthusiastically on board later that year to organise some content for the new book. He took it around to some digital and traditional print houses. They asked him some disheartening questions:
1. There’s no search function?
2. It’s not even a touch screen?
3. In this age of mobile phones and color LCDs, this this is going to be just black and white?
4. It costs to produce content, who’s going to shoulder that responsibility?
5. It’s fine for you to just make the device, but what’s in it for us?
All valid points. Mr. Satou however put it down to the fact that they just hadn’t seen a working prototype just yet. His plastic dummy had simply failed to impress the full idea on them.
That november, Mrs. Tomomi Kaga, with her experience in the business of content licensing and distribution, suggested the locking of books downloaded through a user’s PC for reading on the recently named “Sigma Book”.
By January 2003, the project had a lot of momentum, and they decided that the Sigma Book was to be sold in book stores, not electronics stores.
After the release, Suzuki told how NASA had expressed interest in the books for astronauts reading in space – the lightweight and high capacity of the books made them a good candidate for the space program.
Reading this historical comic gave me a general sense of what it must be like for a company develop a technology right from idea through design and production and then finally rolling it out.
I still feel however, that the final design is not quite there. I would like to see something with the following characterists:
1. The ability to read plain text on the device, as well as copy-write proprietary formats (I’m all for protecting writers interests, but there’s just so much useful plain text out there too).
2. Automatic downloading of subscribed materials. The news, for example, each morning.
What I think they’ve done well.
1. Making it as much like a book as possible. Dual screens.
2. Using eInk (in the LIBRIé) Makes for reading like paper with very low energy consumption.
To be perfectly honest I’ve never actually paid for an eBook – the hacker sense in me drives me to seek them through other means. If I had something nice to read them on though, I would buy them, however.