January 2007 Archives

oh while we're on about mobile

Funambol Open Source mobile application platform.

Funambol is open source mobile application server software that provides push email, address book and calendar (PIM) data synchronization, application provisioning, and device management for wireless devices and PCs, leveraging standard protocols. For users, this means BlackBerry-like capabilities on commodity handsets.

Java, but hawt. C'mon people, crank something out. ;)

"push" email, my Nokia N80 and a japanese SIM chip

It just works. Un.Believe.Able.

Joi went out of his way on a busy day and got me keitai on his carrier's "friends and family" plan. Domo domo domo arrigato gozaimasta, Joi-sama! ;)

It's a nice piece to be sure; sort of Panasonic's version of the RAZR. Thin, light, slick.

Whatever. It ain't got T9 or my full address book and I don't feel like fumbling through the UI for a week to get used to it.

So, I yanked out the SIM card and put it in my N80. I have connection. Great. I can call, be called, I can send emails, I can... oh right...

Over here, they don't do "SMS". They do real email. In fact, they do "push email". (yeah you know that quasi mythical super magic that everyone thinks only RIM Blackberry can do?)

As I started poking around to see if I could set myself up with something like this (hell how many servers do I have?), on a whim I asked Francis to set up a quick IMAP mailbox on levendis.com.

Entered the account info and... well, my friends. My dear dear friends. The Messenger client on this here N80, which supports IMAP, also seems to support some variant of Push IMAP or IMAP IDLE.

When you configure an IMAP mailbox in the Symbian60 v.3 Messenger, you are given two choices: "Check mail" and "Connect".

I selected Connect. I sent an email to the new account. My phone vibrated. Pure joy.

Caveat: You must keep the Messenger app open. If you quit it, you have to reconnect. Thankfully Jace in Bangalore showed me how to access the "Dock" so I can actually have multiple apps open. And I imagine there might be a way to configure a hotkey or something to open the connection or something like that.

By the way, Dreamhost has IMAP-IDLE ON BY DEFAULT as well. Yes that means that you too can have always-on email pushed to your mobile device.

This is a happy happy day and all it took was a bit of trial. No hack, nothing super exciting actually, just a very happy surprise that, for once, everything just worked. :D

Vive La Internette


On Sunday night I went out to Soft in Shibuya for the "Tokyo Fun Party" "Juliana" night. The pictures recount a bit how crowded, hot and manic things got.

A Sunday night, in a tiny basement space, from 7 till 11pm. "All ages". This is all very deceiving. By about ten the room was completely off the hook with wikkedly mixed hard house hip hop electro clash insanity. "Smack my bitch up" indeed. HARDCUT HOMECUT and Digiki were the highlights as far as I am concerned.

Literally stumbling out at 11, it was hard for me to believe it wasn't 5am and I hadn't been dancing all night... and wishing it was and I had. That was the most concentrated dose of "night-out insanity in 3 hours" in a long time. Hope I'm still around for the next one. :)

Merci Digiki. Good to see you again Patrick. Nice to finally meet you Jean. Surprised to bump into ya Cartsen. No one told me Marxy was there so meh :p

beyond legit

talkin smack

Im going to have to get some klaxons, huh
i was just listenng to some.. not bad... trendy
new rave, here I come!
shudder hmm their cover of justin timberlake is not bad wow. very cool
hehehe dick in a box ?
HMV describes Klaxons as "acid-rave sci-fi punk-funk" sorry what?? acid rave? sounds like fuckign emo to me!
you haven't seen that justin timberlake video?
er... no?
or are you sorry-whatting "acid rave" ? =)
weird how J-Timbl seems to be developing a legitimate musical career
well to be honest... he's not "bad"
right, exactly
it's just that he's in that hyper-marketed vortex he's got that Madonna level legitimacy...
transcend-itimacy :p
what was he part of? new kids? menudo?
um n-sync er, n*sync
n-sync? never heard of them.. they like mili vanili? ;)
better, even!
hahaa so see he does this VERY well
who what now?
he integrates hip-hop with electro and a tinge of indie white boyness
ah yeah
and sells it at mass market
now I have to go download some timbl
hehehehe i think it's legit just don't fess up to it
'scuce me... i gotta go buy a white suit and thin ties
I've been tormenting my coworkers with mid-80's Iron Maiden, I'm just JT will be a step up
Powerslave & Seventh Son are great albums =)
jesus. tiga is such a cheeky bastard.

by attribution

Larry-By-2.5Cleaning up my desktop, dunno where else to put this so it's going up here.

About three weeks ago, Joi was preparing for a presentation and had a bunch of slides of Lessig's he was... erm... mashing into his KeyNote.

He wanted to add a very clear CreativeCommons BY attribution license badge and also make it clear that it was Lessig's stuff he was using.

So I made this badge for him quick.

(Sadly, I don't remember where we got the illustration from nor do I know who made it so I can't attribute it properly. Joi?)

Speaking of CreativeCommons, it still weirds me out to see Hugh's face on their homepage... ;)

Jonathan Livingston Frilled Shark

This story about the rare deep water shark found south of Tokyo brings to mind so many things.

- I'm going to soar higher and further than anyone ever has!
- We *must* try to communicate with the outside world!
- Am I dead? Is this heaven? (Imagine, you are elevated to a place with many times less pressure, more warmth and light. You feel light as a feather, warm and everything is glowing white because your eyes are not meant to deal with such brightness. The marine biologists in SCUBA gear seem like angels to you...)

I suppose such a creature, when sick might go against millions of years of genetic engineering and swim towards the surface. If dead marine life floated, it wouldn't be so rare and mysterious now would it? Which is why I am thinking more along the lines of an adventurous soul, thirsty to push the boundaries of their kind, prepared to pay the ultimate price.

Or just a crazy. You know, the "I can fly! I can really fly!" kind...

Talking to machines

or "Flickr introduces tags to the Semantic Web"
or "Folksonomies, meet Folktologies"

Aaron, one of the flickereenos, just announced what they are calling "Machine Tags"

Machine tags are tags that use a special syntax to define extra information
about a tag.

Machine tags have a namespace, a predicate and a value. The namespace defines a class or a facet that a tag belongs to ('geo', 'flickr', etc.) The predicate is name of the property for a namespace ('latitude', 'user', etc.) The value is, well, the value.

Like tags, there are no rules for machine tags beyond the syntax to specify the parts of a machine tag. For example, you could tag a photo with :

* flickr:user=straup

* flora:tree=coniferous

This is of course quietly huge. Flickr is providing a way to store and retrieve namespace:predicate=value strings, which means you can now have (single level) ontologies in your tags, and better, you can get together with your friends (colleagues ;) and agree on namespaces to use and share.

The real power here comes from the fact that Flickr provides a means to query these machine tags and extract just the bits you want. (It's mentioned in the "Ceci n'est pas un FAQ". Scroll down to "# Can I query the various part of a machine tag?")

This means you can have your machine talk to their machine for useful structured data. whirr whirrr whirrrr.

How this is different from Del.icio.us "tag bundles":
- no API to query directly
- no real community tools to gel consensus to generate enough valuable shareable namespaces. this might jump start that though, and Joshua has said they are focusing on adding more community-y features.


or How a four hour flight can take a day (3320.20 km)

Wake up at 6:30am.
- check email
- shower
- dress
- finalize packing
Leave hotel room at 7:30am
- walk up to main street
- hail a cab, drive to Central/Airport Express Terminal

Check-in. (Oh yes, very cool, you can check in from the train station just before you get on the train to the airport. Bonus: you check your luggage too!)

Get on Airport Express, depart at 8:00am

Arrive at Hong Kong Airport at approximately 8:30am
- Immigration
- Security check
- Security check
- Sit at gate for half an hour :p
- Security check (wtf?)

Board plane at 9:35am
Takeoff at 10:05am

Fly fly fly. 3 hour and 20 minute flight. Change +1 time zone.

Arrive Narita, Japan at 2:30pm (gee where'd the time go?)
- Immigration
- Baggage claim
- Customs ("ohhh you speak some japanese?" - " ehhh chotto..." - "Have a good day!" :D

Buy ticket for next Limousine Bus to Shibuya; in ten minutes, 4:10pm (whaaa?? where'd that hour and half go!?)

Depart on bus toward Shibuya at 4:20pm (bus was late! scandal!)

Arrive at Shibuya Marc City Excel Hotel at 5:30pm (yay downtown traffic!)

Fight Shibuya station congestion to get to Tokyu Toyoko line, board train at 5:45pm.

Arrive at Jyugaoka at about 6:00pm. Stop in for some sushi, get some groceries, walk to Labo.


Year of the ... wait what am I?

So year of the pig (or hedgehog or whatever) coming up in the Chinese zodiac, and I forgot what chinese year I am. Quick search and, oh hey cool I was born in a year of the Tiger.

It kills me how these things are always somehow right on the money. Check this out:

Tiger people are sensitive, given to deep thinking, capable of great sympathy.
Too sensitive and too deep thinking and too much sympathy. So much so that I've had to throttle the sensitivity, cut off the sympathy and drowned the deep thinking for a few years. (that's over though)

They can be extremely short-tempered, however.
Holy shit no kidding. And mostly with people close to me. (That must be the scorpio thing)

Other people have great respect for them, but sometimes tiger people come into conflict with older people or those in authority.
Some people show me altogether way too much respect. It makes me really uncomfortable. Some others, whose respect I yearn for, step on me.
The short-tempered thing comes in with the authority: I feel my eyes bulge and wooop there goes the ultra arrogant silver tongue. :p

Sometimes Tiger people cannot make up their minds, which can result in a poor, hasty decision or a sound decision arrived at too late.
Every. Goddamn. Day.

They are suspicious of others, but they are courageous and powerful.
I trust no one. The scorpio reinforces this too. Powerful, maybe. When I put myself to it. Courageous... eeeee... working on it. I know what the problem is.

Tigers are most compatible with Horses, Dragons, and Dogs
That's just gross. Besides, I hate horses (too big) and dogs (too stupid and smelly).


Dim Sum revelation

Well, I've had Dim Sum in Montreal's Chinatown (multiple locations), New York's, Toronto's, Vancouver's, San Francisco's and now finally Hong Kong... and I can say this:

It tastes pretty much exactly the same everywhere.

Big cheers for consistency, people. Possibly one reason why it is one of my very favorite foods.

(I must also say that "chinese" BBQ duck and pork seems to follow the same standards. Do the Cantonese have the "authenticity" trick down pat? hehehehehe ;)

Contrast this to the fact that I have never had the same vietnamese Phó twice, not even at the same spot!
(and I am not complaining; also greatly enjoy vast variety and surprise... mostly... ;)

... and perhaps I am exaggerating just a bit...


Sadly, no, Shawna's MacBook hasn't been recovered, but Ken left a recommendation for a piece of software called "Undercover" by orbicule.

Reading their "typical recovery story" is a pretty compelling sales pitch...

I remember hearing abut this when it first came out. I guess it's got a proven track record now.

(Only one caveat emptor: a sophisticated MacBook thief will know about this application and simply tape over the iSight and wipe the HD immediately. What am I saying? A sophisticated computer thief simply wipes the drive, period. Anyways.. ;)

pop me a new one

warning: proceed with caution.

"Shenzhen Airlines to transport donated human organs for free"

Shenzhen Airlines, China's largest private carrier, has signed an agreement to transport donated corneas and other human organs for free.

Fantastic. I'm in Hong Kong and I've had diarrhea for the last 6 hours and could really use a new lower intestine and asshole.

you were warned. ;)

what is authenticity?

nothing is real.

Abe Burmeister on "counterfeit" sneakers:

Once it's made, once it's shipped, once it's slipped past customs, once it's settled lightly in some temporary location, then you still need to find it. There are no insider announcements, no camping sessions lining up to buy the goods the second they hit the shop, no fevered eBay auctions for the newest of the new, and there is almost no way of knowing how many were made and how many more will follow. Value and excitement both tend come from the thresholds, and nothing navigates the thresholds of taste and legality like a counterfeit good. These are the real artifacts of the industrial age, the goods with real stories. Goods you can wear both with pride and without fear of harming their secondary market value. More authentic than any brand can hope for, welcome to world of the authentic counterfeit.

Brand is also a marketing trick. So is ego.
And all of them point to the negation of joy, surprise, awe.
Enjoy it ALL.

all together now

How to tell this story without getting into the technical details and revealing by what method I prioritized tasks, and still manage to convey some of the insanity that visited itself upon me today?

Let's just say that the last two days were a storm of almost each and every one of my currently active "clients" contacting me:

- TWO total catastrophes that needed immediate attention (two sites, Smartmobs.com and BlogAfrica.com totally out of commission),

- moderately urgent glitches that were rather annoying (a wayward new plugin causing comments to bounce off of Joi's blog)

- a project for Technorati JP that's in final stages before going live and I forgot to import the most recent posts from the temporary site (oops heh)

- come to think of it GVO's been pretty quiet... except for the fact I have two deadlines looming for February.

Also, an old friend back in Montreal needed to borrow my skis, so I had to hook him up with my house-sitter, who informed me the WiFi was down at the apartment, so I hooked her up with Michael...

Electronic notifications of bills due for payment came in, making me realize I'm pretty damn low on cash myself and need to invoice a few folks too... immediately!

All of this while I am sitting in a windowless office in the basement of the Journalism and Media Studies Center at Hong Kong University, desperately trying to figure out why the blogfarm we are setting up refuses to post embedded videos AND chinese characters (admittedly important things for them, right?) before Rebecca and I give the faculty a crash-course in how to use this stuff.

At one point I just sat back and thought: nowhere to run man; just gotta do 'em one by one.

As of 1:30am, only one of these remains unsolved. Ethan, asap, I swear...

Hong Kong

Arrived in Hong Kong last night. So far so good. Haha. Just a quick note to say so. More later. ;p
Some pics from Rebecca of where I'll be spending the week.

MacBook Pro Theft

Before I left Montreal, I gave my friend Shawna a set of keys to the office for her to use while I am way, to help her set up her media/design company for non-profits/non commercial endeavors.

I just found out that yesterday afternoon, as she quickly went to the washroom down the hall, someone opened the door to the office and stole her MacBook Pro.

(Considering the layout of the floor we're on and how many keys it takes just to get there, this theft is really an enigma, but whatever; not the issue now.)

If anyone comes across any shady second-hand MacBook Pros advertised, please get in touch.
The Macbook Pro in question has a serial number of W86151SDVJ1.

Also would appreciate, if you are Montreal local, if you could mention it on your weblogs and spread the word. Shawna was just getting started with her business, had client work lined up (some started and on the hard drive)... and can't really afford to replace the machine so easily.

Stunned. Cannot figure out how this could happen. :(


Every time I come to Japan, the biggest frustration is getting a mobile phone. This time it's not a phone I need (I have two I could use) as much as just a connection. It seems that will be just as hard, if not harder to pull off.

Besides my keitai from 6 months ago, I also have my Nokia N80 which works on the 3G network here. In fact, I've got signal right now, but it's on roaming via my provider back home. Hello $3 a minute. And remember I disabled data/GPRS. SMS doesn't really exist here. Or rather, you don't really exist here if you can't email from your mobile.

So not only do I not exist here yet to all the people I know (and who are not necessarily IM or PC email contacts), but also all those people have ceased to exist for me... because the Address Book in my keitai was wiped. (The address book is the heart of your social network)

I'm going bat5h17 stir-crazy here. I need a mobile connection. ;)

The big question mark here is: are SIM cards in japanese keitai software-locked to the device they are in? I popped someone's SoftBank SIM into my N80 and it jumped on the network, but stupidly we didn't try to DO anything with it, like place or receive a call. I'm betting setting the device up for email in such a scenario is a P.I.T.A too.

The carriers, and in fact the law, here make it so hard to even just get an account, that no-one has tried this yet, or rather, it is so rare and specialized knowledge, it just isn't available.

So yeah... crazyyyyy...

I just had lunch with Mika who graciously allowed me to try her SIM card in the N80. After asking for her unlock code, the phone immediately jumped on the network. We successfully made a phone call AND, most importantly, I was able to send an email via the 3G. (i.e.: the network's data access point was autodiscovered and added to my available Access Points.)

This means that one solution is to find someone to get me a cheap phone+plan, and pull the SIM card out. ;)