September 2009


samsungw880Samsung’s 12 megapixel cameraphone is coming, awesome to have the focus controlled by the touchscreen. Via EngadgetMobile:

We might still have debates over whether the SCH-W880 represents a cameraphone or our newly minted category of phonecamera, but there’s no doubt about this: the Samsung AMOLED 12M is now official and coming to (at least) Korea in October. The specs align closely to yesterday’s info, with a 3x optical zoom, 720p video recording, dedicated camera controls, and a 800 x 480 3.3-inch AMOLED display grabbing the headlines. Touch AF makes use of the touchscreen to let you choose focus areas, while image stabilization and Smart Auto modes fill out the software side of the camera. That leaves us with scant little info on the actual phone, but you could probably fill those specs in yourself by now, right?

vagabondbigI added a new manga to my reading list. I picked up the Vizbig edition of Vagabond, a fictionalized account of the life of Musashi Miyamoto. From the Wiki:

Vagabond (バガボンド Bagabondo?) is an ongoing manga by Takehiko Inoue, portraying a fictionalized account of Miyamoto Musashi’s life, on a loose adaptation of Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi.
Growing up in the late 15th century Sengoku era Japan, Shinmen Takezo is shunned by the local villagers as a devil child due to his wild and violent nature. Running away from home with a fellow boy at age 17, Takezo joins the Toyotomi army to fight the Tokugawa clan at the battle of Sekigahara. However, the Tokugawa win a crushing victory, leading to nearly three hundred years of Shogunate rule. Takezo and his friend manage to survive the battle, and afterwards swear to do great things with their lives. But after their paths separate, Takezo becomes a wanted criminal, and must change his name and his nature in order to escape an ignoble death. Based on the book “Musashi” by Eiji Yoshikawa, Vagabond is a fictional retelling of the life of Miyamoto Musashi, often referred to as the “Sword Saint” – perhaps the most famous and successful of Japan’s sword fighters.

I am looking forward to getting more of these volumes. Miyamoto’s life is something I always wanted to know more about, even though this is a fictionalized account of his life, it will quench both a desire for shogun era history and samurai in my manga reading ant the same time.

SeasideBrian over at Gaijinbash is back. My favorite expat Tokyo blogger finally moved to a new place with an internet connection. more photos and stories, he is even in the Tokyofoodcast sake exchange. HDR photos and irreverent cultural wit are always welcome. Especially the HDR photos; more of those are always welcome.

Checkout his Flickr photostream for more of those wonderful HDR photos of Japan scenery.

copyrights to HighRanger on Flickr

copyrights to HighRanger on Flickr

Post apocalypse Australia? Looking for Max Rockantasky driving a MFP pursuit special?

No, its a dust storm in Sydney, Australia. Severe drought and gale force winds picked up huge amounts of soil from Australia’s interior and caused this orange sky. The scene immediately brought to mind the post-apocalyptic ruined city in Mad Max: Beyond Thunder Dome.

After 25 years of development Hell we may finally get another Mad Max movie,  maybe as an animated movie this time around to boot.

Tina Turner’s official video:

wildthingsareI really hope that the movie version of Where the Wild Things Are turns out to be as good as the trailer makes it seem. The book is so short, I guess that a lot depends on what extras they tacked into it and how the story plays out….

HellohatoyamaMixing a controversial political speech onto a girl giving instructions for a group of kids waiting to see Hello Kitty. Our Man in Abiko comes up with something very funny.

21sep09_leafevThe new all electric Nissan Leaf will make a whoosh sound, copied from the Police Spinners from the movie Blade Runner. via EnGadget:

One of the major disadvantages of electric vehicles, for petrolheads at least, is the lack of engine noise. How can you be proud of your beastly motor if it doesn’t roar? There are mundane considerations like pedestrian safety too, but that’s beside the point. Nissan seems to have uncovered an old copy of Blade Runner in its toolshed and decided that, yes, it might be a good idea for the Leaf EV to emit a whooshing sound inspired by the Philip K. Dick adaptation. If implemented, this will raise the car’s price somewhat, but wouldn’t you pay a premium to have your auto sound like a jet taking off? The Leaf is expected to arrive in the US in 2010, replete with its reputed 367 miles per gallon efficiency.

Alphasdesktop001

What the physical desktop looks like after a major cleaning and reorganizing … Maid Mikuru helped clean and reorg. The virtual desktop is kinda hidden but

I have been using Chrome extensively for a while now and it works solidly for me. I switched because Firefox refused to render a page correctly and I tried Chrome to find it worked. By the weeks end I was using Chrome all the time and have stayed with it since. It renders blazingly fast and works like a charm, the low user/market share means it has not been a target for hackers and there are some nice tweaks in the way it works to help keep it secure. Check out the little FAQ on this page to see what the dev team wanted to accomplish with the Chrome browser. Searching directly from the box sounds so simple it is a wonder why no one did it before.

Gah, I am going to stop before I get to sounding like a Google commercial….

acertimelineHow do you know what tech to spend your budget on? what priorities do you use to decide what gadgets get your budget?

I am at a different point in my life than I was even a few years ago. choosing what gear is best for me no longer has the same answers as then. A short time ago I was much into MMO style gaming and needed a workhorse machine.

But now after a trip to Japan and thinking of another, and going through a new stage in life I find myself wanting something with portability and connectivity and value. My budget is not unlimited right now.

I have been more interested lately in finding a laptop/notebook that can run applications and give me the connectivity for the web and social apps is far more important than horsepower. I want a portable computer that will handle web applications with aplomb, even video and batch photo processing. etc. Taking it with me on travel is far more important than pure computing horsepower.

I am very intrigued by the new Acer Timeline notebooks. up to 8 hours of battery life (yeah yeah; believe it when I see it) and up to a 15.6 inch screen.

Once Win7 comes out or even the Chrome OS from Google a notebook like that should work perfectly for what I need.

Engadget has a nice roundup of Timeline reviews. The overall verdict seems to be that the performance is middling but the extreme battery life is very good. The performance issue is not a killer for me since I am mostly interested in web applications but I do want to be able to do HD video and batch photo processing so it is a factor. Have to keep my eyes peeled.

Nec_VersaPro_VS_7Akihabara News posted a glowing review of the NEC VersaPro VS-7 Netbook . AN really loves this system, hailing it as the true ultimate netbook. Lightweight, compact, portable, and with amazing performance to boot:

Not only is the VersaPro VS-7 is freaking light, slim, and robust, I’m amazed by its performance despite NEC’s choice of integrating an Intel GMA500 Video chipset… We all know GMA500 Netbooks don’t keep pace when it comes to watching high quality video or even HD videofiles… But the VersaPro VS-7 doesn’t care what format we feed it. Once installed with the CCCP Codec, whatever file we gave the VersaPro played them… Even our 720p DivX video played JUST fine in full screen… Something that we never succeed on a Vaio P. Granted the Vaio P is powered by Vista, but once Vista installed on the VersaPro we did the same test with the same results. Flawless 720/30p DivX HD full screen playback.

Ultra compact, ultra light and powerful, the VersaPro for the first time is a computer I love to carry around with me and does exactly what I need when I work on the go. Sure the VersaPro is bit expensive and only available in Japan, but the difference in price is REALLY worth your consideration if you’re looking for a business tool… As for basic Email and Web surfing I even think the Versa-Pro is an amazing Netbook, I’d recommend it to anyone whose thinking of investing in either an iPod Touch or iPhone since it will give you exactly what you need and fits in your pocket.

The only thing missing in all this gushing was the battery life. But I am intrigued I am planning to wait till next Japan trip to get a laptop or notebook in Akihabara so this is a model to watch out for although I am somewhat partial to Acer right now.

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