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New York

I'm going to be in New York City for a week from Dec 8., then I take the greyhound home to Bay City MI, and late I will be spending a few days in Chicago at my brother's place. I'm looking forward to lots of new things to dig my camera into.

I see lots of photoblogs and what not from New York, anyone know if there is a meetup, or something for photobloggers there? Anything like what we members of Japan Photography mailing llist do each month and get together to take photos, eat drink and be merry?

All I Want for Christmas

My mom has been asking me what Tomoe wants for Christmas. I usually say "Nothing, She/we have too much crap already", but today I had a better idea, after reading this amazing article in Fast Company about Wal-Mart. I told my mom that what Tomoe wants for Christmas, is for my mom to not buy anything at Wal-Mart. Not just not buy Tomoe's present at Wal-Mart, but not buy anything at Wal-Mart, ever.

It gave me a good idea of what I will be giving to everyone for Christmas this year too. While it may sound a little like saying "I want peace on earth and good will toward men", this is what I want from, and will be giving to, other people.

A pledge that:

I'm not sure if people will really appreciate these gifts, but it's what I would want for Christmas.

While some of these require action and may be a pain in the ass, others simply require spending money, something you would be doing if you got me a plastic CD holder, or a lava-lampish gift "for the guy who has it all" filled with some environmentally hazardess materials, and wrapped it all up with more wasteful packaging. Instead, you can just spend the money on organic foods which don't introduce all kinds of hazardess chemicals and hormones into our environment. Not only will I be happy about that, but you will also benefit from eating healthier foods yourselves!

It isn't as hard on the wallet as it seems at first either. If you know me, you know I'm one cheap basitsh. I've found however that paying an extra buck-fifty for a package of organic eggs, or veggies, or and extra 30 yen for each package of paper wrapped natto, instead of the "cheaper" individually plastic-wrapped cups is not making me go broke. (I say cheaper in parentheses because it is only cheaper at the checkout counter. the price you will pay in the long run for landfills and waste disposal is far more than 30 yen) In fact, environmentally minded shopping actually saves me money! Although individual items are often more expensive, it is more than made up for every time I put something I "want" back on the shelf because it is wrapped three times in plastic and foam.

Why, the other day I saved 400 yen by not buying a bunch of half-priced pears which I really wanted.. unfortunately, they were all individually wrapped in plastic, with their very own non-reclyclable styrofoam tray. Why the hell would the store do that? The pears were already passed their prime, which is why they were half price in the first place. Why waste time and money on that packaging?


Anyway, this is a post about gift ideas for my family, not a rant about the incredible thoughtlessness and stupidity I see around me each and every day, which makes me really want to cry sometimes, and smack people around most of the time (like the people in from of me in the store getting a plastic bag for their drink, which they are going to be drinking the second they walk out the doors!). Even the most innocent thing can set me off. This weekend I went to a get-together where the water served was little 16-ounce plastic bottled water! WHY?!?!?!? What's wrong with a couple pitchers of water served in re-usable glasses?!? But I'll save the ranting for some other time.

I guess what I really want, is not for everyone to make some specific pledge, or document any specific deed, but rather to simply start thinking, even the tiniest bit, about what you buy and use. Once you think about something, and think about the consequences of your purchase, it is soooooo much easier to put it back on the shelf, and almost impossible to want whatever you thought you wanted in the first place.

1 Tomoe just taught me this the other day. It seems so obvious when I think about it, but I was staring at beer in cans and beer in bottles, wondering which was better for the environment. The answer is bottles, which can be Re-used, while cans can only be Re-cycled (of course I should have chosen to Re-duce, but...).

2 There is township in Tokyo which recently issued a three-liter garbage bag to each household to illustrate how much garbage each person should be throwing away each day in order to make their current land-fill last only ten years. People complained, but come on people!!! three-liters per day?!!? What could you possibly consume that would result in even three liters per week!? I guess where there's a want there's a way.

3 Only 20% of the population of the world uses toilet paper. What if everyone did?!!? There would be no trees left. The toilet-paper thing may seem trivial, but I add it because it has come to my attention that some members of my family use the most wastefull 100% wood-pulp, bleached (with horrible chemicals) white paper just to wipe their dirty ass! Give me a break!

4 The bread-stores in Japan are one of my biggest peeves. You pick your non-wrapped bread from the shelf, and carry it to the register on a tray, where they put every piece of bread into it's own individual plastic bag! What the hell?!?!

Eyeballs

Not much time recently, so I haven't been taking many photos lately, and even if I had, I sure don't have time to prep them for the site. Luckily I had some photos pre-preped from a week or so ago. I'm sure most people are sick of seeing picutres of Japan anyway, and would much rather see my eyeball.

I'm sure it will come up, so I'll mention it first. My eyelashes are long. I know. Usually I wear my glasses so most people don't mention it, but if I go out with contacts, I can count on at least one woman making some remark about them. (funny how men never seem to care).

The first word I learned when I got to Japan was "matsuge" which means "eyelash(es)". People kept looking at me and saying that word, so I ran out to buy a dictionary and find out what kind of terrible things they were saying to me.

Yes, I do curl them.

(no I don't)

Before you wish for them, you should know that they are a major pain in the bastish if you wear glasses. Either I keep my glasses perched on the very tip of my nose, or my eyelashes are constantly rubbing against them, and I am forever looking through dirt leneses.

Fall Colors
Morning Jog
10 Minutes Outside
Thanks... anyone know a good SSH client?

Thanks to everyone for their FTP client suggestions. I'm probably going with cute-ftp. I didn't know that they had a mac version, or I would have downloaded that right away. The biggest deciding factor was that it remembers the last 5 or so directories you have been in, which means that I can move more quickly between directories I am working in.

Once again today I spent hours beating my head against the corner of my desk trying to get done what I wanted to... but this time I wont put any blame on the Mac, in fact, it's the reason I got the Mac instead of a PC in the first place. A week ago I set up my local computer to host versions of all the websites I work on so that I can develop locally in the same environment as the live server. I was happy to have it, until I found that I couldn't see my local sites when I was off-line.

I had my localhost.zone file set up to point to each of my development sites at site1.localhost, site2.localhost, etc... Worked fine when I was online, but I was pulling my hair out today until I stumbled across this article about NetInfo Manager. Now I'm feeling pretty good having just overcome this hurdle to enjoying my Mac.

There are a lot more little "how do I do"s that I am very tempted to just post here after the help I got on BBEdit and the FTP client, but I don't want to wear out any welcome, so I'll save my questions for the real stumpers.

Well... maybe just one more... Does anyone know where I can get an ssh client for mac that displays in Japanese? Today I had to work on a client's server in Japanese. On Windows I used PuttyJp, which was able to display Japanese, but after an hour of searching for a mac client (the mac terminal's shell didn't work for me in Japanese) I wound up switching back to Windows. Or, if anyone knows how to make my iBook's ssh display Japanese, that would suffice.

BBedit Follow up

Since it may seem like I have been hard on BBedit lately, I'd just like to say that despite the problems I was having, I thought they were an awesome company, regardless of whether or not their product fits my needs exactly, simply because they were so fast to respond to my questions, and gave such long in-depth answers. Regarding the issues I have been whining about, this is their latest answer:

If you are working in Japanese, then the Yen symbol and the backslash are interchangeable, and the Japanese Industrial Standard dictates that the character x5C (a backslash) should be rendered as a Yen symbol.

If you got a 'backslash' character when typing the Yen symbol on a Japanese keyboard (or it's equivalent on an English keyboard when a Japanese encoding is selected) then we'd treat that as a bug.

If aren't writing Japanese script (Katakana, Hiragana, Kanji, etc) then you really shouldn't be using a Japanese font or encoding because of exactly these kinds of concerns, but instead using a font which is suitable for the language that you are working in.

For example, if you're coding in English then fonts like Monaco and encodings such as Mac Roman or ISO Latin 1 display the encoding x5C as a backslash, which sounds like what you are looking for.

BBEdit Lite doesn't have encoding switches like BBEdit 7.0.2 and higher have, so the only encodings that will be available are Mac Roman and, if a Japanese font is selected, Shift JIS.

In Mac Roman encoding - the default encoding for BBEdit Lite - the backslash is rendered as an ASCII backslash. In Shift JIS it is a Yen symbol although the encoding is the same. Although you can get BBEdit Lite into Shift JIS by selecting a Japanese font, the editing window doesn't understand double-byte characters and trying to select a character can be difficult. If you're working with Japanese then you will get better results out of BBEdit 7.0.4 or TextWrangler as they are able to support Japanese encodings both in the editing window and thoughout the application including multifile searches and in most of the tools.

Despite the ability to display and (to some degree) edit Japanese in the editing window, BBEdit Lite only uses Mac Roman in the search window's fields (unless you force it to accept Japanese by using the Koteri FEP's inline editor in which case you will get a Yen symbol). That's why in BBEdit Lite you see a backslash even though your editing window is in Shift JIS encoding. If you were searching for Japanese and typed the backslash in the Koteri FEP then you would have seen a Yen symbol instead.

This was a bug which we have fixed in BBEdit 7.

In BBEdit 7.0.4 the search window matches the encoding for the "Search For" and "Replace With" fields to your editing window, so if your editing window is in Shift JIS encoding then typing a '¥' character in the search window will result in it being treated as a backslash.

I'd just like to point out that despite what they say in that last part about the search window, I am not able to use the grep search function with a yen mark instead of a backslash. Fortunatly, after turning off Unicode input, I am able to input a backslash in the search box. However, as Dirk pointed out, if I have '¥d' in my document, and search for '\\d', I get zero results (it should match every instance of '¥d'). So it is still a bit buggy, but I can handle that.

Photos For Mark

Just as Mark, from vudeja, is calling for less whining about the computer, and more photos, I find that top photo in my camera that I think is quite Markesque.

Unfortunately, I haven't been out of the apartment for much longer than twenty minutes a day for the last couple days. Enough for a trip to the super-market. I say "unfortunately", but I'm not feeling bad about it in anyway. It's amazing how fast the days are going by now. I wake up, run to the gym (sometimes), do a leisurely workout, head over to Tomoe's for breakfast, then when she leaves for work I jog back and sit in front of my computer. Most of the time has been spent struggling with the mac as you know too well.

The time seems to be flying by because I'll be out of Japan for December, and still have lots to do. This combined with the inability to work at the speed I had planned on, causes me to really wish that clock would slow down.

Today I actually got a lot of work done on the new toy, and things are looking up. If all goes well, I will be able to take an afternoon off to get some good photos someplace.

Getting Ahold of Myself

Ok, now that Adriaan helped me figure out the backslash issue (althought as Dirk points out, even that is not as perfect.), I was able to get a little more work done.. this time on the Mac. the going is slow, but it may be possible.

I've been making notes of all the things I want to do, and all the features I want on my software (that I used to have on the Windows) and I'm going to start going through it in a calm, controled manner.

Maybe the functions that I can't find in existing apps will lead me to be a builder of Mac apps.

A sneak preview of the list, things that I am sure exist, but I can't seem to find.

1. An ftp client that:

Switching back

After a week of only being able to do non-mission critical work, such as answer some emails, and resize some photos in photoshop, not to mention breaking down into tears at the new 1,500 dollar toy that is destined to sit beside my work computer, used only for email, I have started using the Windows again. Amazingly I knocked off 5 things from my to-do list in a little over an hour.

I've not given up, but this is definitely more difficult that it should be. One things for sure, you wont ever see my smiling face on a Mac commercial even if I should manage the switch. It aint fun, and it aint something that makes me smile.

Now that I have done a little work at least, I don't have to feel so bad about going back and spending more time fighting with the new toy. My task now is to write a script that automatically replaces all yen marks with backslashes every time I save a file in BBEdit.

BBEdit + Japanese + Backslash HTF?!?!

Does anyone know how the heck I can input a backslash into BBEdit on this dang-fangled Mac?

I have tried (almost) every font, various encodings, and still can't directly input a \ into BBedit.

Apparently it has to do with Mac OS X using Unicode. In the good old days, the ¥ (yen symbol) and \ where one and the same char, just displayed differently depending on the system you were using, so using ¥ as an escape character was not a problem. Now however, with the wonders of Unicode, \ and ¥ are different characters. Problem is, the Mac keyboard doesn't have a \.

And Alt+¥ doesn't work... at least not in BBEdit. Instead it gives me a "«". This is a major problem. Huge! Before I was only worried that I had to use a text editor with an interface I didn't like as much as the one I was used to... now I can't even use BBEdit, unless I copy and paste all backslashes from some other application. That's not good.

I hear everyone say good things about BBEdit, which means some of you actually use it right? If so you *must* have come across this right? Pleeeeeassse tell me what you found.

UPDATE:
Thanks to Dirk for pointing out that BBEdit Lite 6.1 *is* backslash compatible. And what's more, it's free. It's missing some of the functionality I really enjoyed in UltraEdit, but it seems to be the best text editor I have seen for Mac OSX so far.

Just for the record, he also downloaded the 7.04 Demo version and proved me correct that it is in fact impossible to input a backslash on the new and improved version.

Fall In Tokyo

More photos of Tokyo in the fall

I'm coming to terms with my new life as a mac user. Don't pay too much attention to my complaints about it. I have added the 512Mb memory, and so far haven't noticed any difference. I have however found that I can be content with the speed of Photoshop so long as I turn off all other applications. Something I'm not used to doing, but will just require a change in usage habits.

I've been reading up on Applescript, hoping that I can do some of my favorite things from Ultraedit with Bbedit / Applescript combos. I've also found some other nifty things to do with Applescript that will make my life happier.

It's amazing how this purchase of a new computer has consumed my life for the past few weeks. It signifies a very scary trend. I don't want to be so dependant on a computer, or on a specific OS or text-editing application. I keep telling myself that I'm going to start spending less time on the computer, but somehow I find myself spending even more.


I remember a day when I thought that a physical book was better than reading from a screen, now I find that somewhere along the line, my preferences have done a complete turnaround. Unless I'm on the train, I am much more able to focus and concentrate when reading from the screen. I think much of it is a sence that if I am not online, I'm missing something. I can't concentrate on the book because the computer is sitting there telling me "There's more information here.... your missing most of it... don't miss it. Don't miss it... Don't get left behind..." Who can concentrate with someone screaming that in your ear?

Fateful Day in Shinjyuku

The photos above are from last Sunday, when I took that fateful trip to Shinjuku to pick up my new iBook.

I have been struggling to get aquainted with it, and I figured the best way is just to do it. I decided from Monday that I would not use the Windows anymore. From then on my goal was to do all my regular work / play on the iBook. Needless to say, I got very little done. (and I wound up using the Windows to meet deadlines)

For the most part I am satisfied with it. --at least I was until today. Playing with all the new stuff is fun, and having a familiar command line made me happy, so although it was a struggle to get used to not having some of the great little functionality on the Windows I could be content.

I haven't been able to find a suitable text editor yet. BBedit seems to be the best, but still leaves some things to be desired. If I find time I'll make my "text-editor wish-list", in case anyone wants to make a good one for the Mac.

Even then I was relatively happy. I thought it was not near as slow as the Macs at work, and was comparable to my (four-year-old) PC. That was until I tried to use Photoshop. Amaizingly slooooooooowwwwwww. How can it be that my PC from four years ago kicks a brand-new iBooks butt? Don't processor speeds double every six months? It's not like this is a G2... why is it so slow? Since then I have also become annoyed at the slowness of opening menus and right-click dialogs too. Not that it would probably do any good, but I want to turn off the annoying anti-aliased look. Why is it so soft? I don't have time for it to make all my letters look nice, and the corners of all my windows smooth and round. Whose gonna see it anyway? They should just put all their efforts into making the little things better, rather than worrying so much about the design and look of the package.

But, I'll probably get used to it, and I'm sure I'll find some things I like better about it than Windows, so don't pay much attention to my ranting. I'm just cranky because I have four days of un-done work backed up.

Sunny Fall Day in Inokashira Park

My apologies to non broad-band users.

Self Portrait
Not so bad

I got a call from Yodobashi Camera tonight around 9pm telling me that they had my new iBook in the store... if I rush over there before 10 I can still pick it up. I did of course.

My first impression as I opened it up was "oh-no, what have I done?" It was full of wastefull little "extras" such as smooth plastic caps on the ends of all cords, and the plug has some glowing light on it when plugged in... not that these are bad (actually they really are.. I shudder to think of where all those little caps will end up one day. Will it be enough to fill a landfill?), but it bothers me to think how much more affordable it would have been if they didn't waste so much on such superficial things.

I was a bit bummed, afraid that the whole thing would just be about design and have little substance, and every thing that took more than 5 seconds to do really ticked my off. (I know it would take just as long on any other OS also, but I was in an "I'm getting screwed" mood.)

Truth be told though, it's faster than the windows I was using before. much faster than the macs at work.

Now the only major peeve I have is that I can't tab through forms on the Safari browser. Is there some setting I have to change to make the tab button able to select checkboxes, radio buttons, and the submit button?

I'm also a little disapointed that it's heavier than I remember the one in the store. I think they had taken out some parts that weren't needed, and although they had something where the battery was supposed to go,I'm guessing it was an empty case, or worse yet, a case filled with helium filled bubblewrap!

Or so I thought

Well, I thought I would feel less pressured with more time, but here I am at 2am still working on something and thinking about how many other things I "have to" finish up this weekend...

A Different World

The world is a wonderfully different place today. I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with all my new-found time. That's not true... But I am enjoying a chance to take a weekend easy without thinking "I have to do A, B, C, and D because I wont have time to do it during the week."

I should be picking up my new iBook Monday or Tuesday. I'm a little scared still, as one of the Mac users in the office had to use Windows for something the other day and after a few hours, she said "Wow, it's so much easier to use!" Not encouraging, since the biggest weakness I see with Mac is it's un-intuitive interface. But I'm hoping that the new version is better as everyone seems to say, and also that it's not really as un-intuitive as it seems, it's just that I'm not used to it. But I don't want to keep talking about that crap, so I'll try to make this one of my last posts on the topic.

It looks like somebody screwed something up this weekend, and I didn't get many of my emails, Mfop was down as well. Sorry 'bout that as usual.

If you have written anything important to me and I don't reply, I may not have gotten the mail. Please try again.

UPDATE:
Looks like the Stop Design guy just went through the same decision I made regarding switching from Windows to a Mac. It's not encouraging... from what he writes, and from the comments, it looks as though there is little benefit in switching other than the screen looks "cooler".

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