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This Year Makes Five

So I've signed up for yet another health-club. Since I came to Tokyo four years ago, I have been a member of two health-clubs, and two community-run exercise rooms. Let's see, that comes out to one per year. And if I remember correctly, I always start around this time of year. I'm running out of new clubs to join next summer, so I better stick with this one.

To be fair, I'm not as bad at keeping up the regiment as it might sound. I only quit when the club is in an inconvenient location, or the time is inconvenient... or I'm busy.. or tired... or want to paint instead.. or...

The first club was actually the Shinjuku public fitness center in Okubo. That one I stuck with for about 6 months I think. It was great. Not too crowded, only a ten minute bike ride from my apartment, and only cost 200 yen per visit, and you only paid if you went (none of this outrageous monthly fees). I also was getting off of work around 3:30 back then, which left lots of time for working out before dinner.

Then I moved to Nishieifuku, where the nearest public fitness center is an hour bike ride away. I also began working crappy hours.

I joined a gym nearby the office, but found that I always had to decide between working out after work, or making it home at a semi reasonable hour to eat dinner, lest I find myself eating in bed every night just before I turn out the lights. That membership probably lasted about two months.

After about a year of cultivating my flab, I decided to join a club nearby my (new) office, and I would use my lunch hour to work out. This worked quite nicely for about two months, and I even found myself going twice a day sometimes if I got out of work by 6:00.

Then I went on vacation for two weeks, and for other reasons I would not be able to go there the other two weeks of the month. I told them I wanted to suspend my membership for that month since there's not reason I should have to pay if I'm not there. They said no and I said some words the poor receptionist didn't understand. That was the end of that one.

Last year I started visiting Musashino public fitness center. It was a 20 minute jog from work, but I needed a warm up anyway. I also decided I needed a warm down, so I would run the hour back to my apartment too. I kept that up for well over a month. I wonder what ever stopped that? Anyway, I'll just blame it on my brother's wedding.

I have found that I can not keep up going after work. Most days I sit in the office thinking about all the things I have to do that day, none of which have anything to do with work. So when I get out of the office I have only a few hours left to make my day worth anything, and I never allow myself to justify spending two hours "just exercising".

This time however, I am trying something new. I signed up for a morning plan. It's cheap, it's early, and it's about a 45 minute jog in the opposite direction of my office. Unfortunately there are no clubs between my apartment and office that open before 9:30, so I'm stuck going the opposite direction at 6:00 in the morning.

I'm hoping that, assuming I can wake up that early, I won't have anything else to compete with my early morning time... I won't be tired and hungry from staving off boredom during the day. I won't have my head filled with anxiety about not having accomplished anything yet that day. It's perfect. It's also only a five minute walk from Tomoe's apartment, so I'm expecting Freedom toast, and waffles for breakfast on workout days.

Nature Boy

I was getting kind of sick of the whole computer/programming thing again, so Sunday I decided to follow my childhood dream of becomming a nature photographer. (Unlike some of those pros though, my stuff isn't staged.)

Unfortunatly, the baby sparrows swallows were the only nature I could find, and on Monday I was back behind a computer.

There are many more baby sparrows swallows here. TIP: Once in the gallery, if you click on (most of) the large images on the single image page, it becomes even larger. I highly recomend doing so for these photos.

03.07.30 UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that I wrote sparrow everytime I should have written swallow. I'm still investigating the contributing factors to this little mix-up.

Dictionary Bookmarklets II

When I advertised the dictionary bookmarklets on the Japan Bloggers mailing list, Charles from japan-japan.com posted a lnk to rikai.com. Wow, that's a great site. Miles ahead of any google translation page, this displays the page in it's original Japanese, and as you mouse over the words, the dictionary meaning appears. If you can already read Japanese fairly well, but get hung up on a few kanji, there's no longer any excuse for not reading Japanese blogs. (unless they suck).

Anyway, it's still a pain to open rikai.com and input the URL or text that you want "translated". Sooo, I edited the bookmarklets to use it.

rikai Link j2e | rikai Link e2j | rikai Text j2e | rikai Text e2j

To use them:

Point at a dictionary link above.
Click right mouse button and choose "Add to Favorites".

OR

Drag the bookmarklet link into your Favorites (using View >> Explorer Bar). You can also drag the link up to your Favorites menu; when the menu opens, drag to whichever place you prefer.


Clicking on rikai Link j2e/e2j simply opens a new window in rikai.com with the same page you are looking at when you click on the bookmarklet.

To use rikai Text j2e/e2j, first select some text on the page you're viewing, Click on the bookmark, and rikai.com will open with the "translation" of that text. (In order to pass the Japanese text through as EUC, I am doing the conversion on a script on my own site first. Once this is done it will redirect you to rikai.com.)

Awii Loves Me

It has been suggested that I loose the bird in the top corner of the site design. Obviously the person who suggested that doesn't know how close my birds and I really are *

* this windows media movie may not be suitable for small children, the squimish, or fairly consevative folk.**

* *but since I already posted one post tonight that will tick my mom off, I might as well post another

Ohhh I'm so wet!

As much as people (gaijin people) love taking pictures of signs in Japan, I'm supprised that no one has mentioned anything about this poster yet. It has been up for several weeks now...

It's an ad for an amusment park. From left to right, the text reads:

1. (photo of very young girl in bikini with (sexy?) pout) "Student's(heart) Come on Come on. We'll do it cheap..."

2. (on rollor coaster -imagine the girl speaking with an annoying whine that people living in Japan know all to well) "Ohhh.... I'm so wet! (heart)"

3. (In a yukata, which is often worn after the bath and just before bed) "What?! Three times in one day?!!? Ohhh. Please have mercy!"

I'll let you judge what they are talking about, and I'll let you figure out what it has to do with amusement parks...

Dictionary Bookmarklet

Work has been quite slow lately, so I have had more time to play. Today I got sick of always opening a new browser to look up Japanese words I don't know, so I made me some dictionary bookmarklets. They work on Win98/ie 6, don't know about other browsers, but if anyone is interested, go ahead and drag these links into your bookmark list.

English Dictionary | Japanese Dictionary | E2J Dictionary

Later: added by popular demand... E2J English to Japanese

To use it:

Point at a dictionary link above.
Click right mouse button and choose "Add to Favorites".

OR

Drag the bookmarklet link into your Favorites (using View >> Explorer Bar). You can also drag the link up to your Favorites menu; when the menu opens, drag to whichever place you prefer.

Then just highlight a word on the page you are reading, and click on the bookmarklet. A new browser window will open taking you to a dictionary site with the results for that word.

The English dictionary uses Dictionary.com simply because I didn't spend a lot of time looking for the best site. If you know of a better English-English dictionary, let me know.

The Japanese dictionary opens to a program on my site which is actually getting the results from Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Server. The only reason my site is in the middle is because the Japanese text has to be passed to Jim's dictionary as EUC, and I don't know how to convert the Shift-jis to EUC with JavaScript, so I do it server side. If it's possible with JavaScript, let me know.

Blogroll

Some people may or may not have noticed, but I finally got around to fixing up my site so it is viewable in browsers other than IE on Windows. I have a fairy god designer out there who has several complaints still. All are valid, but I will only implement some of them... when I get the time.

One change was that I took that ugly blogroll off the left side. It wasn't really a blog roll anyway, it was just my bookmark list of things I come across and trick myself into thinking I will return to later. I didn't want to loose it totally, because hey, ya never know when I will have a week with absolutely nothing to do... So I am putting it in this post, and I'll just stick the link to this post over in the left side navi.

Continue reading "Blogroll"
Star for a night

I came home from work tonight to find the neighborhood gathered around my next-door neighbor's garage. I was just passing by, but she jumped out of the middle of the crowd, so excited to tell me about the plant they had all been watching. My neighbor had set it up on the garage since the morning, and hasn't left it's side.

Apparently, this plant only blooms once in a year. One day (and a little bit yesterday). I can't say I thought it was the most beautiful thing I7d ever seen, but I guess the appeal for her had to do with the fact that she has waited all year for this... and that she is the star of the neighborhood this night.

I also found the king of all wheelbarrows tonight. Boy am I a chipper skipper!

Boy stuff

More boy stuff here

I never set out with a theme in mind, I just take my camera every where I go, and take photos of what I think looks interesting. I suppose it's natural that some themes should develop, such as birds and "Japanese" looking buildings. Some themes though, I don't really understand.

A couple months ago, I was fascinated by park benches. After every walk I would come home with an crazy number of park bench shots. Recently, I seem to be fixated on wheelbarrows and construction sites. I have begun to think maybe I am more macho than I knew.

Although I know I played with tractors and dump-trucks when I was a kid, I'm pretty sure my sister's Barby was in the front seat along side GI-Joe. I sure don't remember having any special fascination with that kind of thing as a boy, it's just what my parents bought for me.

I'm no lover of power-tools, and never understood the whole Tim Allen "arrr arrr arr" thing. Recently we moved offices, and the president has been carrying around an electric drill/screwdriver wherever he goes, looking for any chance to rev it up and drive some screws. Me, I'd just as soon glue the desks together.

Of course this recent fascination with construction sites could be attributed to something else, such as the pretty colors, or the act of creating something, rather than the masculinity of all the huge trucks and tractors, but for once, I'm going to pretend I'm macho. At least until my fascniation turns to lace umbrellas.

I'm not hip

As I wrote yesterday, Tomoe and I went out "clubbing" last night as we were added to the guest list byu a friend. I guess I'm just not a hip cat. It was amazingly interesting, seeing the life I missed out on as a youngster, but by eleven, the volume on the dance floor was taking it's toll, not to mention I was hungry and just plain sleepy like a little baby, so we left before the party even got started, grabed some ramen, and caught the not-even-last train back to Tomoe's.

I tried to take a lot of photos at the club, because the lights were interesting, but unfortunately my camera doesn't do so well in the dark. The next day in Yoyogi Uehara however, I went crazy and was only stopped by a dead battery. I can't tell if it's just a more interesting place than Nishieifuku (where I live and usually take photo-strolls on the weekend) or if it is just that much cooler.

Walking around the neighborhood, we stumbled across the Afghanistan embassy. I wouldn't have believed it if it weren't for the mailbox, but it's just tucked away in a regular old apartment building with a couple of other tenants.

And a final little note of no relation to anything above... this is some of the expensive beef here in Japan. The more marble, the more you pay. In America butchers hide the fat on the bottom so the meat looks lean, but here...

Lots more photos here.

A day late

(This was supposed to be posted Friday night, but for some reason it didn't work...)

I haven't written for a long time, so I am going to just add some random thoughts as they come to me today. This is the clearest picture you'll ever get as to what is going on in my head.

11:15My stomach hurts because I ate too many peanuts.
11:57 Just got an email from Tomoe, looks like I have to meet her at 9:00 tonight because we have some backstage pass for a techno/danceshow at Club Yellow. This will be the fourth night this week I have been "out on the town". That's a new record for a home-body like me.

I wonder if part of the reason my stomach hurts is from partying too much this week... nah, it's probably the peanuts.

12:13Maybe I shouldn't eat the shells...
12:25Boy, when you try to take the peanuts out of the shell first it makes a huge mess! I guess I'll just eat the shells.
12:27Do I have enough time to go back home and return the video that is due tonight before I go to the club? Speaking of that video, I wonder why everyone is so excited about Matrix 2. I just re watched Matrix 1 because I didn't remember anything special about it that would cause such a commotion for the sequel... of course, the first time I watched it was before I was a geek. Now that I work with computers, I thought maybe it would have some new appeal.

It was good, and I enjoyed it, but I can't really say I saw anything exceptional about it... although the idea of a computer geek being the only person who can save the world probably appeals to some other geeks... kind of like how the hero in many cartoons is a child, because it has to appeal to children.

12:35Dang that Ultraseek documentation! Why is it in such a friggin' huge pdf file? Can't they just put it in HTML? If only it wasn't for this pain-in-my-arse documentation, the little project I am doing now to customize Ultraseek for a client would be great as I finally had a reason to learn Python (mom, that's another programming language).
13:40Getting kind of bored now. I think it's time to go to lunch. Of course I can't eat because of all the peanuts, but being freed from the burden of nourishing myself, I have more time to wander around with my camera.
16:23It's amazing really. My stomach hurts more and more, and yet I keep eating more and more peanuts. What kind of evil magic do they posses?
18:58Wow, I'm glad I brought those movies of Awii loving my hand to work today to edit... that Paul sure has some great timing.
19:04Oh no! I had hoped to get home from work before I had to head off to the disco and return that video.
19:10All work is done, my stomach hurts.

The critics are raving

Lots more random meaningless shots here.

I hate to have this site turn into just a bunch of photos, but I take so many each day, and by the time I get them downloaded, do my computer, sorted through, then uploaded to the site, I have spent all my writing time. There must be a better way.

Anyway, this weekend Tomoe's dad (a professional illustrator) came to Tokyo to teach a seminar on putting the Japanese heart into your watercolors. I packed up my portfolio and took it with me to meet him for lunch in Ropongi hills. He's real great at motivating me to start painting more, the way he compliments my work without saying anything obviously a lie such as "This is amazing!" or "wow that's good". He usually talks in much more artsy, foggy terms, about how he can sense my feelings or what-not in the paintings. And I just thought I was copying a photo, or painting a ragged old baseball cap. No matter how much it sounds like a lot of undeserved praise, it still gives me the urge to throw away the computer and start painting every night again...

More here

Safe Surfing

I'm taking my trusty notebook down for re-install because it is real messed up. I don't know what I downloaded, or from where, but I'm going to be much more careful when I visit the porn sites from now on. When I get done re-installing, hopefully I'll be able to import all me email with no problems, and I don't forget any of my pirated software in the switch. And I really hope I haven't lost my recovery disks.

On the other hand, if everything goes south, it's a great excuse to buy a new computer. If you don't hear from me for a while I'm out shopping.

UPDATE: Before re-installing I decided to download the latest Ad-aware reflist from Lavasoft. I re-ran ad-aware and found there were 186 nasty bad things on my computer. I guess I should be doing this more often, and more importantly, I've deleted the peer to peer software I had installed a while back, just about the time all my troubles began. I guess I've seen my last Simpsons episode for a while.

Simon / End of an era


You may have heard the rumor, and it's true. I am now a member of that sorry bunch of people who tote a mobile phone with them wherever they go. I resisted as much as I could, but my boss looked quite upset, and since the company offered to pay for my new top of the line Imode 3000 (or something like that) my pockets are now a couple grams heavier. Unlike many people, I feel no pain to leave it at home, of course my boss would kill me if he called and I didn't have it.

Anyway, I don't have a moblog, but I had a chance to meet up with Simon Parker of Simon Says last night. Here on business from Wales, simon is one of the first users of Mfop, and was quite patient when it worked even less smoothly than now. I took the new phone along to try out Mfop, moblogging to his site here and here.

I must say that I have no idea what people find enjoyable about the whole activity. It took me twenty minutes to send one post. The second one was so hard that I had to break the work up into intervals with a couple breaks between.

I am always nervous about taking visitors out in Tokyo, especially if it is someone I have never met. I know what I like, and what I would like to see, and so I stick with that, but I also know that most people think I live a sad life devoid of fun because I don't tend to go out to trendy clubs and restaurants. Tonight was no different. His hotel was nearby Tokyo Station, so I forced him to get on the train and find his way to the East Exit police box of Shinjuku station, which apparently caused no problem.

I wanted to show him someplace with character, so we went to Omoide-cho and to a cheap, dirty little izakaya, followed by a tour of Kabuki-cho. Although the whole sex-industry there is part of the charm of the area, I was a little embarrassed that the solicitors seemed a lot more aggressive than the last time I was there, and there were many more of them. It was too difficult to just ignore them while walking through and take in in the sights. I hope he wasn't too put off by that aspect of it. (It should be noted for those of you who don't know Tokyo, although Kabuki-cho does have a sex-industry, it is also a lively play spot for all kinds of activities. It's not a seedy back alley with hookers on every corner. as I usually imagine a "red light district").

More photos here

Distractions

Tomoe is back in Tokyo for the next six months, so if my replies aer a little slower, and there are fewer posts on the blog...

Waiting For You
Rainy Car Ride
1IMC

More

Oh yeah, this too...

On rereading my posts below about the conference, I notice that I forgot to start of by saying that I had a great time, and gained a lot from being there. It was defiantly a job well done by the organizers. My natural instinct is always to look for things that need fixing though, and jumpy to trying to figure out what to do to fix it, so I often forget to praise the good things first. All in all it was a great conference, especially considering it was the first, and tackled a topic that no one really attempted to tackle yet, and no one really knows exactly what it encompasses. Quite an undertaking, and one that is needed to make the 2IMC that much better, (and hopefully easier for the organizers).

I just found Gen Kanai's notes from the conference on Marginwalker. This will help some of my memory failure problems. I wonder why there is no list of the organizwers on the Marginwalker site...

1rst Mobile Micro-content Management Conference

At the conference Saturday, I was frustrated by Molly Wright Steenson's frustration that the panel I was on couldn't answer her question, which I can't remember word for word, but was about future uses and applications for moblogging in a social context. I was frustrated because, in a way, I was there to find the answer to that question for myself. I want to know how people want to use a moblog. What do they want to do more than simply posting to blogs? Whatever it is, when I know, I'll make it.

I commented to her afterword that maybe a part of why the question was not answered that day was that being the first "moblog" conference, people have an image already of what a moblog is, and that idea was evident when much of the talk was about doing the activity of "bloggging" via mobile. Some even went so far as to say that moblogging is all about pictures.

This view of course was contrasted by the fact that people were also presenting projects that did not fit this narrow definition of moblogging. One thing that all of these projects did have in common however, was that they used mobile technology. Maybe it should have been the "1rst Mobile Micro-content Management Conference".

I know people are sick of arguing about names, and what bloggging is and what a website is etc... but the name is so important how can it not be an issue. If the name of the conference did not include "Moblog", the discussion would have been totally different. I can't imagine anyone saying something like "mobile micro-content management is all about pictures".

When I was writing another post earlier, I looked back to a comment I had left on Joi Ito's site back in January about moblogging. I thought "Dang I was smart!".

When all is said and done, if calling it a blog helps get people excited about it and helps bring ideas to fruition, that's great. I don't care about nit-picking and it doesn't bother me either way at all. I just think that a lot of people, including myself, already have some concept of what a blog is, and although it's far from impossible to stretch that definition, starting a discussion about mobile communication technologies / microcontent mangement open standard systems totally free from that box may help stimulate ideas more freely.

I think this is exactly what frustrated Molly so much, and I'm sure others as well.

Mizuko Ito also asked a great question about how this is differs from the wiredness of Japan youth now. I can't comment on her satisfaction with the answer, but I wasn't completely satisfied. The answer as I understood it was basically that the text massaging and email exchanging between friends is one to few, but moblogging is one to world. While this is true if we use the narrow definition of moblogging, it rules out other mobile micro content management systems.

Of course if the name of the conference had not included Moblog, I probably would not have been a panel member, as once you broaden the scope to mobile micro content management systems, there must surely be some more impressive projects out there.

Vertigo
Moblogging thoughts

Kurt Easterwood wrote a great piece about his thoughts on moblogging the night before the big conference. Some of them were lightly touched on during the conference, but I really wish that there would have been time at the conference to explore more of them deeper.

As a developer, I am extremely interested in usage habits of active mobloggers. Kurt talks about burning out on the thrill. Others, such as Mie, and Carsten are very active mobloggers who haven't seemed to burn out yet. Why the difference? While Kurt keeps a regular blog, Carsten is pure moblog, with no regular blog. Mie's looks closer to what we usually consider a regular blog, because she has more commentary, and sometimes returns to the site from her computer to add longer text entries, but a large part of the appeal for her is that it is mobile. (is this part of the appeal for the reader as well I wonder, or is the reader simply interested in what she has to say, regardless of when and where she wrote it?)

Obviously all three have certain things they want to express, but what is the difference? Maybe there should be different tools for different types of mobloggers. Are infrequent mobloggers infrequent only because of the difficulty and time required of moblogging, or does moblogging not allow them to express themselves as they would like? Kurt has proven that he expresses himself extremely well both verbally and visually. If we compare one of Kurt's moblog posts with one of his regular posts, the only difference seems to be one of scale. On his regular blog, we find long, well thought out posts, and great photos. On his moblog, smaller photos, and shorter posts. None-the-less, his moblog images and posts are equally expressive as those in his regular blog.

I, like Kurt, am bothered by the commonly accepted idea that moblogging is about pictures.

One of the things that has bothered me, well before I ever began to actually moblog, was this implication that somehow moblogging meant posting a picture from a cell phone, and maybe text.

Hirata-san told me during a break that of the users of his system, most are Japanese, and most sign up to post text, in fact many didn't even know the photo functionality existed when they signed up. The non-Japanese makeup of my user base (much more well represented at the conference) overwhelmingly posts images with very little text, although I do have some text-only users as well.

I think the obvious reason for few text posters is the difficulty of writing an in-depth post on a cell phone, but I have added some features that I hope (though I have no basis for that hope) might encourage users to start adding more non-image data. One of the big buzz-concepts that pops up all the time with moblogging is meta-data, but there was no discussion of what meta-data would be beneficial (other than GPS lactation). As a developer, this is very frustrating because if I can see a need, I can make a tool to fill it, but without some more concrete discussion, finding the need is left up to my imagination.

I love the connection Kurt makes to moblogging being anti-social.

Anti-social -- Moblogging is for the most part solitary, and it takes time to moblog, time that needs to be carved out of the time one might be spent with others, with friends, loved ones. I feel I can really only moblog when I'm alone, and those times when I've done it in the presence of others I found extremely unsatisfying. If I'm moblogging in the presence of my wife, that's time I'm not spending talking with her. If I moblog when I'm with Kaika, that's time I'm not talking to him, playing with him, getting him to know his father.

With regular blogging from my desktop, there is always the danger of spending all you time in front of it, loosing your physical social interactions if you don't turn it off sometime. However, with regular blogging, there is still some on-line social interaction as we link to and comment on each others sites. Moblogging is currently extremely on-way. And as Kurt points out, when you are moblogging you are also loosing your physical interactions. We may be able to surf through a few moblogs which are viewable on mobile screens, but it's extremely difficult now to link to any of them, so there is really no on-line interaction either. Mfop2 has the ability (though not documented) to ping other blog entries. But I can't imagine people really using this now to any great extent.

I remember leaving a comment on Joi Ito's site on a post about moblogging (long before Mfop was born). To take what he said out of context,

You had to be able to physically get into a nightclub before you could see the news feed for what the club members were doing...

I commented that if I ever walked into a club and found everyone blogging into their cell-phone, I would walk right out the door. If I want on-line (blog-style) interaction, I stay home with my computer. When I crave physical interaction, I go out and leave the computer at home.

There have been people saying things about starting a site that would facilitate discussion of these types of topics, but none have really popped up yet as a definitive source. www.moblogging.org, mastered by Jon Hadley (pictured here moblogging from Tokyo) seems like an obvious choice. Of course he is still in Japan for another week, having come here for the conference (photos). If he refuses, I'll just revoke his Mfop account.

Think-a-thon

Real happy to have a part in Media Diary which succeeded to

...gather a bunch of people located in different parts of the globe, ask them to moblog during 24 hours.

Mfop is helping some of the participants moblog.

What follows is not a rant or attack on anyone, it is an un-thought out, un-edited think-a-thon. I think and I write, and I don't look back... sorry if I offend anyone.

To tell the truth, I can't yet see what this implicates, or means for the world, but I never claimed to be a visionary about how media and blogging would change the world. In fact, if I dare say it on the night before the conference, I have been on the "yeah it's fun and cool, but it's not monumental" side, and tend to dismiss it. It's easy to feel that way when I have no part in it, but now that I have a relatively invisible (and expendable) role in it, I find myself pretty darn proud about that site.

I do see how moblogging could change the world drastically, but to take that stance would mean making some assumptions about how moblog participation would grow in the future... if you do that, you might as well speculate about how people owning cockatiels will change the world, because if everyone owned one, the world would certainly be a different place. (I am pretty sure more people own cockatiels than do moblogging as of today).

That doesn't mean that I am an anti-moblogger of course... in fact, I really love some of the things I see, and I am happy that it changes not the world, but rather individual's lives. This Media-Diary project is really great! The concept kicks arse. Does it change the world? No. does it change some peoples' world? I sure think so.

I posted Another example that I really love, which did not change the world as we usually think of it, but effected some peoples' world a great deal. A father moblogging his newborn child for relatives around the world to see in real time... how great is this moblog thing! It's great on a person to person level.

In the same way, Blogging itself is to me much more valuable for family and friends than as a tool for democracy. I really hope my mom likes reading my site as much as she says she does, and I know I love reading my sister's site... The whole idea of blog shares, and making your blog known is really fun, and I like to look at my access logs, but even if the number of people who saw my site declined, I wouldn't be so upset, so long as the people I was writing for still looked. On the other hand, if they stopped looking, and thousands of people I don't know from around the world found my crap fascinating, I would be happy for that, but I would really wonder about why I even bother if the main target didn't even come.

So, now I forgot what I was saying... but I do remember that I am real happy and proud to have helped Raphael a little to make Media Diary possible, and also that all the participants are able to have fun.

Whew!

A long day of usability test watching, after having made a less-than perfect application live the nigth before did wonders for my diet. My stomach was in knots all day thinking about the moment I get home and open my email to find that everyone who tried to register coudln't get it to work. Watching the users in the usabiltiy test today fumble with some of the weak points in the application they were testing, I saw only visions of everyone trying to moblog, and the confused looks on their faces when it didn't work.

I suppose it should be obvious, but I now realize why it is so much harder for me to make an easy to use moblog application than a web aplication. Basically, with the web interface there are tricks to get the user to input things the way you want them to, and there is javascrpit to alert them if they have entered it wrong. With the moblogging though, the only thing I can do is to accept whatever comes from their phone, and try to make it fit. This means that I have to adjust the program to fit as many variations as possible, instead of leading the user to input how I want it.

Anyway, when I got to the office thie evening, and founf that most of the Mfop2 posts actually worked, I was pretty dang relieved. I still have to get the other people who had trouble, but I'm still at work so...

Moblogging For Other People Too

Well, Rudolf Amman, from Tawawa.org will probably kill me, but I have made Mfop2 live.


Rudolf wrote to me last week telling me (in a nice way) that my site sucked* I've heard that before, but never before has someone said (in a nice way) "Your site sucks*... here's a much better CSS site I made for you that validates and looks great in standards compliant browsers." Not only that, but he also went on to modify the great pigeon logo concept which Kristen made for me a few months ago, to reflect the fact that it's a new Mfop... Mfop2. I'm slightly torn though... I love the new one, and change isn't bad right? but I already miss the original pigeon. This is a battle that will rage inside of me... until...


Why will he kill me? Well, I kind of broke his validating xhtml... (trying to fix it now), and the site still has some errors for sure. Despite its not being perfect as it was when he handed it off to me, I have made it live. I couldn't wait any longer.

The registrations keep coming in to the old site, and that site causes more problems than it's worth. Things will be a little rough for the first week or so with Mfop2, as I try to smooth out bugs which, in a perfect world, would have been fixed before going live. But I'm confident that there will be no more problems than would have occurred if people were still registering for Mfop "Classic".

Please be patient as you all have been so far. If you are already using Mfop Classic with no problems, please continue to do so, and register with Mfop2 if you don't mind helping me iron out bugs. If you are a new user, just go straight to Mfop2. It may not work depending on your mobile, and how experimental you get with the new functionality, but I will be doing my best to fix anything as soon as we notice a problem. Only if it doesn't work should you try to register with Mfop Classic. If that doesn't either forget about Mfop Classic.

I have been staying up till 4am for the past week, trying to get this to a usable state, but I never would have made it without help and nagging of Rudolf.

I would have loved to have put it through another couple hours of testing, but, I was stuck in the usability lab again tonight until 10:30. I'll still be trying to find all the mistakes tonight until I pass out, but I was afraid if I don't put it live first, It would never see the light of day.

There are some new features which are not totally explained, but all the basics are there, and I will be adding more explenation as quickly as I can.

UPDATE/DISCLAIMER: "Sucked" is my word, not his. I later noticed/was notified, that I mention the fact that Kristen helped me with the first logo and design scheme, and also that Rudolf said my site sucked... I would just like to point out that what Rudolf said sucked (my word not his) was the invalid html and css that didn't show up correctly in browsers other than IE. This suckiness had nothing to do with Kristen. It was all my own doing with crappy coding.

Thats all.

What's a deadline anyway

I missed my deadline, but not by much. Thanks to lots of help, and lots of coffee, I am almost ready, and I almost put it up tonight, but I am too tired to make a good judgement if it is ready, so a once over tomorrow after work, and by 3am Friday morning, hopefully I wont be so embarrassed to show up at the conference.

Then maybe I can get back to some Vagabond Poetry. painting, and photos.

If I'm Writing This

If I'm writing this, I'm obviously not as interested in finishing that I said I would when I said I would... Man I'm bad.

Just got back at 9:40 from a day of usability testing and found that Thursday and Friday night will be even later. There goes all the time I had been counting on for making sure I don't look like a fool at the conference. I could just pull some all nighters, but I don't know that I could survive the days sitting in that dark dark room all day watching people click buttons.

Actually though, it's extrememly interesting, and I love watching it. I wonder though if I would find it so interesting if they were testing someone elses work. It's pretty exciting watching and waiting to see if they will click the button I wanted them to. And every comment they make is followed by a big smile of pride, that I predicted correctly when creating the application, or just as often, a cringe, and desire to hide as they say "I didn't understand why XYZ didn't happen... I pushed this button" when OBVIOUSLY that button was not supposed to do XYZ.

Anyway, I had a potentially very helpful conversation with the usability expert. It turns out that they mostly do work on cell phone usability, and as someone who doesn't own a cell phone. I need all the help I can get when it comes to knowing what is acceptible and not in the world of cellphone applications. I say it was potentially useful, because it didn't directly result in any changes, in Mfop yet, but I have a better idea now about this whole cell phone thingamajig.

Fine Wine

Someone told me that my post last night sounded like I was whining. At first I thought it doesn't bother me that people mistake my blathering about what I am thinking without thinking about what I am blathering as whining, but for some reason this has been nagging me all night.

Maybe it's because all of a sudden there are a lot of people I don't know reading my site, and even people I know don't know when I'm joking or serious, or what the heck I'm feeling. So if I sound like I'm whining to someone I know, I must really sound like I'm whining to people I don't know... but this is ok... what nagged me is that it may have sounded like I was whining about money.

Dang. I didn't want to sound like that.

Anyway, I should go to bed now I guess... I have a big day of usability testing to watch tomorrow, nd Thursday, and Friday, so I'll be out of the office and away from my mail during the day for the next three days.

Klee is learning to fly so much better than before. She can turn now, and I'm sure the neighbor is glad that the thumping on the wall has stopped.

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