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Preview: Christopher Kobayashi: Tech Stuffs

Christopher Kobayashi: Tech Stuffs

Last Build Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 18:05:48 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2004 Christopher Kobayashi

Search Engine Relationship Chart

Mon, 02 Feb 2004 15:34:46 GMT

via Gen Kanai's blog post. Very nice Flash piece that maps out the U.S. Search Engine space. Here's a chart that maps out the Japanese Search Engine space.

FeedDemon, TopStyle, and Homesite

Mon, 17 Nov 2003 17:10:06 GMT

After playing w/ a couple of RSS readers I've come to love FeedDemon. This bad boy is developed by Bradsoft, the same company that originally created Homesite. FeedDemon's fast, easy to use, and includes tabbed browsing. It'll eventually be an app that you can purchase, but it's currently available free as a pre-release.
The other readers I've played with include the built in reader in Radio Userland, Feedreader, and AmphetaDesk. Didn't like Radio and Ampheta. Both use your browser to hit against a mini web server app. Feedreader was alright, but craped out alot.

Bradsoft also created TopStyle, which is a CSS editor. I use TopStyle Lite that comes bundled w/ Homesite + or I should say Dreamweaver. Haven't really played with TopStyle too much until this past week. Using CSS-P to layout an Intranet app. NO TABLES. Positioning w/ DIV's is a pain, but NO PAIN NO GAIN. ;)

Homesite is under Macromedia's control now and is packaged together w/ Dreamweaver MX 2004. Dreamweaver seems like Word. Too many features. Slow to start. Feels like it's eating away at my RAM and polluting my hard drive when it starts. I just need a fast text editor that colors my code and helps me reduce typing. I hope Macromedia doesn't kill Homesite. Or hopefully it axes it and the tool gets back into BradSoft's hands.
Another coding tool I recently tried is UltraEdit. Used it for an .asp based project, but haven't touched it since. It seemed very felxible and was a solid app. I missed my code completion ...

It's all Homesite +, TopStyle Lite, and FeedDemon now. All Bradbury originated tools. My tool god! ALL HAIL BradSoft!!

What's in your tool kit?

Tabbed Browsing

Sat, 01 Nov 2003 03:28:18 GMT

Yesterday I noticed how much tabbed-browsing has changed the way I use the web. Before discovering tabs I used to popup windows. Alot of windows. Now tabs have organized my life :-)

This reminds me of how Window$ 95 pops up new windows for double clicking on folders. It gets pretty messy if you need to get 4 folders deep. The default in XP is opening subfolders in the same window.  They probably conducted some usability tests and figured this out. Watch for tabs in the next version of IE.

My flavor of the month is Mozilla 1.5.

Adjusting to Smaller Screen Real Estate

Fri, 24 Oct 2003 16:54:50 GMT

Changed laptops from the desktop replacement monster Dell Latitude C840 to a smaller IBM X31. I was tired of lugging around the DELL. Especially since I gotta fight the crowd on the Chuo, Marunouchi, and Ginza lines. It's main purpose was to plow through people, but since I lost so much weight I go between people now.
The things I miss about the C840 are the SPACE and the awesome NVidia graphics card. 1280x960 is perfect. Was perfect.
The IBM's a solid machine, but it's gonna take some time to get used to 1024x768. I haven't coded nor played games on it yet. Ugh, fearing the claustrophobia already.

Japan's Tech World Wiki

Mon, 29 Sep 2003 01:00:06 GMT

Thinking about starting a Wiki to map out the Japanese Internet/Tech space. I figure this will be a good way for me to study and allow other people w/ similar interests to add on. The areas of interest are: Japanese Internet companies (ie. portals, development houses) and how they are related, investors, software companies, Mobile space, gotta include gaming, blogging/moblog, other Japan specific topics.

We actually started to use a Wiki clone, TWiki, @ the 'Tank a couple of years ago for a short lived game project. We installed it on Windows 2000 Server w/ Apache + Cygwin. It's a wierd combo, but works.
I'm currently using Media Temple's shared Linux ColdFusion MX hosting plan, which allows me to use ColdFusion MX (duh), PHP4, Perl, Flash Remoting, Miva Script, and MySQL to play with. Now my options are to use one of the various engines or build one from scratch ...

WPC Expo 2003

Fri, 26 Sep 2003 16:41:04 GMT

Another expo ... this time the WPC Expo 2003. It's a huge event, but it didn't seem to have any buzz. No goto booth. I did want to see the light keyboard that's on the KoKoRo blog, but it was nowhere to be found.

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Micro$oft had a HUGE area for Office. Mini-seminar brain-washing techniques in full swing. How much more crap can they put into this monster bloatware. XML this, XML that ... the crowd doesn't even know WTF XML IS!!! I had to include my little anti-M$ rant.
Sony has a kewl little video player hard drive. Kinda like an iPod. KoKoRo blogged about already ... again. Damn, this boy's on it. Well, I guess since I'm like a couple of weeks delayed on some of these postings. Gotta get myself in tuned. Too bad Apple wasn't here, but this is a Pee Cee expo. 2bad. (> <)

Ben Forta @ JCFUG

Wed, 17 Sep 2003 17:16:13 GMT

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Got to meet 'The' ColdFusion evangelist. Ben Forta. The man, the myth, the legend. He's the guy on the right. Not the person in the middle. That's Kentaro of PowerPlant Partners, senpai, great leader, master of my universe ;) Just noticed an interesting connection ... Ken introduced me to ColdFusion for the project in 1999 and was an evangelist in Japan for 3.0. In fact the book that he got signed was what he brought with him and our bible during that 1 week of development. It's funny how things connect.

Ben's presentation was Undocumented ColdFusion 6.1 Stuff ... or something like that. Here are my notes.

Net Toys

Wed, 30 Jul 2003 15:41:06 GMT

Makes you wanna be a kid again. A Remote Control car that you can play with using your browser. The live video and chat functions are using Flash Communication Server. The FlashCom must be interfacing some other technology to send the control signals to the RC cars.
Goto Remote Driver to play with the cars. The cars are in Japan so you probably need to login during Japan Time.

** Thanks KE-TA for the info **

How about a RC Realtime Strategy Game - use the RC mini-tanks that shoot InfraRed. These little tanks detect if they got shot, but not sure how they'll send damage signal back. They do blink, but might be hard to see. Control the tanks using a Remote Driver type app. Need to get wireless mini-cameras for a tank's point of view.
How about Lego Mindstorm net enabled toys ... hmmm.

** UPDATE: checkout this post from Anita **

FOAF and foaf-o-matic

Mon, 28 Jul 2003 09:44:59 GMT

I setup a Friend of a Friend RDF file. Here's the URL:
It's basically a XML document that describes you and your friends. Currently no friends :(
Similar in concept to Friendster except FOAF is based on the RDF standard and is decentralized. Friendster is a centralized web app that holds all your data, and not based on any standards. FOAF RDF file is only the data so there needs to be some app that grabs and manipulates this stuff. Now gotta go find some FOAF apps to play with.

Notes and links:

Wireless Japan 2003 - AU by KDDI

Mon, 28 Jul 2003 06:33:18 GMT

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OK ... last campaign grrrl. Thanks to the overwhelming support (2 comments .. thank u gentlemen), I had to post the final pic.

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AU's phones seem to have a *KEWL* factor. It's the influence I got from the designer phones they had showcased. After touching and feeling the units from so many manufacturers .. u get numb. But the designer ones look sooooo SEXY. The feeling I get when I play around with the new iPods. Designer is Marc Newson. Here are more shots .. site in Japanese.

AU's really pushing GPS. I forgot to pickup their pamphlet's, but the word GPS was plastered everywhere. GPS in the workplace. Find your friends. For moblogging w/ GPS AU's the carrier. Tokyo Tidbits' using AU.

Wireless Japan 2003 - NTT DoCoMo

Thu, 24 Jul 2003 17:30:47 GMT

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The DoCoMo campaign girl .. I know, I know, stop u stalker. Couldn't help it! And I did it for the guys. Help me out here fellas.
DoCoMo's booth was half 505 series demos. The other side was FOMA (3G service), and business solutions.

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Telematics doesn't excite me. It was neat playing with the system making the headlights come out, but SO WHAT. It's probably cause I don't drive in Tokyo. Avoiding traffic, and trying to find parking doesn't even enter my mind. I can imagine if I drove I would love to have a way to get information fed to me audibly. Being able to navigate by voice would be the safest. What kind of standards would this follow? What kind of usability?

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One of the 'killer apps' for the 3G FOMA phones is videoconferencing. The problem with this is that both ends need a FOMA phone. Here's a shot of a service that will make the 3G phones mainstream. See your AIBO's point of view from your FOMA phone. Uh ... yeah. These toys of the near future are definitely KEWL, but how much can you spare for them?
Some 505 series models come w/ QR Code readers built into the keitai camera. Checkout this gadget blog for a brief on QR Code and DoCoMo's strategy. The KoKoRo blog is by a P2P guru in Japan and helps runs Jnutella.

Wireless Japan 2003 - Vodafone

Mon, 21 Jul 2003 01:31:40 GMT

Wireless Japan was an 'eye opener'. Especially the campaign girls. Geeks looking for the newest mobile gadgets, and beautiful women in costume play outfits. What a combo! No sign of the JPhone brand. Vodafone all the way. Ton of money to rebrand themselves. RED RED RED. Booth blocking the entrace to the conference. They out did DoCoMo. The above mobile device is NEC's V-N701 (More info). It's a sexy gadget that's got 'TV Call' function, which is basically videoconferencing. This phone is part of Vodafone's Global Standard Line-Up. 'Global Roaming'. Doesn't work in the US and you can't videoconference with someone without TV Call. Back to the drawing board. More photos here ... site in Japanese. That's right ... control your TV, VCR, and DVD player from your phone. Why!?! Any case it's an awesome phone. Ladies and gentlemen , let me present the J-N51 by NEC (info in Japanese). Japanese only user interface (NOT bilingual .. too bad :(), Java apps (MEANS DOWNLOADABLE GAMES!!!), QR Code reader (advanced form of bar codes), and even a light for the 310,000 pixel built-in camera. Should we call this a mobile phone, digital camera, bar code scanner, PDA, or remote control? That's the equipment manufacturer's next dilema. Stuff it all in one or specialized gadgets. QR Code (Quick Response Code) - it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the m-commerce space. Will Mail order catalogue companies use this technology? How about the consumers? Is it easy enough to use? hmmmm. Vodafone's got two phones with this technology built-in. Docomo also has some phones lined up, will AU be next? The photo is of a mobile phone's screen with a coupon and QR Code. A QR Code scanner can scan the phone's screen. Basically, a person sees an ad in the train or magazine. This ad has a message like for more info email moreinfo@ When the person does this from their keitai, the system auto replies w/ more info and a link to the coupon. The person clicks the link and is sent to the coupon page perhaps with the QR Code, which they can take to a store. A service provided by Maido Coupon (site in Japanese). ** UPDATE: The QR Code could be scanned by the phone, which translate it into a URL or email address. The reason I think there is a scanner at the store is the demo shows the QR Code w/ the coupon as shown in the photo above.** [...]

Dav's Friendster Blogosphere

Fri, 18 Jul 2003 16:55:53 GMT

GeoMagician Dav's got a killer Applet that maps his Friendster network to his blogosphere. Also, checkout the Wired article regarding Friendster.

** Found this info via Gen Kanai's blog. **

Moblog of a Moblog of a Moblog

Thu, 17 Jul 2003 03:38:16 GMT

Tokyo Bloggers Party(was Meetup). It was nice to see the regulars at The Pink Cow and to connect with new dots. Had some pretty interesting talks w/ Mike of Hunkabutta and the gentleman of (Ack ... forgot your name!?!) Antipixel. Something along the lines of the migration of Japanese people and heart that goes into wedding ceremonies.

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Paul and Mie had their creative engines going thinking of new and crazy ideas for MoBlogging. It was kinda neat to see Paul use our keitais to Moblog of a Moblog of a Moblog. Reminded me of that effect you get when you put two opposing mirrors. They're starting some *TOP SECRET* MoBlog project ... gotta get my spy gear out ;)

Tue, 15 Jul 2003 20:35:05 GMT

Finally got an Alpha of the top page for my new personal/work blog + calendar + photo album + etc. It's at I got it XHTML 1.0 Transitional valid, but I'll need to play around a little more to get the CSS to validate. I didn't use any tables for the layout, but coded Div tags and CSS Absolute positioning. It's my first attempt at both XHTML and CSS so please bear with me until I get a decent Beta out.


Next step is to code a RSS reader to grab my Radio blog titles w/ their respective dates .. then recode my moblog, create RSS generator for it, and finally the RSS reader for the moblog to add the most recent photo to the top page.

Macromedia Flash Conference Tokyo 2003

Sun, 06 Jul 2003 07:19:53 GMT

(image) Got to checkout the Tokyo Macromedia Flash Conference on June 20, 2003. It was the first time I visited any Flash conference. Different type of crowd than what I'm used to. The small Microsoft seminars in Hawaii drew the average everyday geeks .. Micro$erf geeks .. and sys admin types. The WWW2002 was all educational, research, scientific, standards worshippers, and programmers .. bleading edge-types .. not entrepreneurial in the sense of this'll sell, but very future minded people. The Flash people are visual creatives ... designers everywhere. Animators, UI, and experience designers. Made me feel like going out and designing stuff. That's the beauty of events .. the ENERGY .. New mantra for myself 'You're a designer' 'ohmmmmmmm' 'ohmmmmmm'

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Left photo is of the Docomo campaign girl .. ooh la la
Right photo is a dude w/ a Segway. There was a Jan-Ken game to ride one and got to the last 10 people, but lost. 2Bad. Here's a Quicktime Movie of him making 8s.

I didn't know how much of a Flash god Yugo Nakamura ( was until this event. Got to see his worshippers.

Other Notes:
A kewl tool coming out is Flash for programmers. Royale. Info from Corfield's blog. No, not 'Royale with cheese' from Kahuna burgers.
Flash Lite on the Docomo iMode 505 series of phones. An interesting question from a developer went something like "As a developer I feel that Flash Lite doesn't work well, are you folks at Macromedia happy with the new Flash Lite?". Flash Lite is scriptable using ActionScript from Flash 4.
Other sessions that I didn't get to attend were on Rich Internet Applications, and working Flash on TV.

iCal, Outlook XP, Web based, and Mobile

Thu, 19 Jun 2003 01:27:39 GMT

Started to play around w/ iCal. Easy to use and really slick UI. Very Mac like. Trying to figure out a good way to have a work and personal calendar .. that has client app pieces on either XP or Jaguar. Needs to be viewable through the web and portable (iPod and JPhone/iMode). Here are some links to stuff that look promising:

  • iCal World - Your Complete iCal Hub
  • iCalShare - Share Your iCalendars!
  • iCalViewer - The aim is to display a user's events in a pleasing, compelling, and useful fashion.
  • Burnout Menu - BurnoutMenu lets you track items in multiple categories at a glance.
  • iCalMaker - iCalMaker is an easy to use program for the rapid creation of vCal diary appointment files for use with iCal and other such applications (screen shots).

Sexy Computer Peripherals

Sun, 15 Jun 2003 19:24:19 GMT

Sometimes you encounter gadgets that are "SEXY". What does that mean .. hmmm. Let's see, the Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium's are "SEXY". DELL laptops aren't. Apple iPods are "SEXY". Creative's Nomad's aren't. Windows NOT, OS X IS. (No debates in the comments section please;) ) Sony's mouse is "SEXY", but Microsoft's isn't.

To me it's a combination of style, color, and feel. When u see it .. u must have it. MUST! Well, that was me today going through Laox at Kichijoji. Laox is kind of like CompUSA + Shirokiya(electronics section) at Ala Moana + Sears (fridge/AC/washer dryer areas), but packed into 4 tiny floors. Easily spent 2 hours in there.

Got's me a shiny new Sony mouse! (image)

The mouse exterior without any cuts into the plastic for left and right buttons was the first thing that got me. Similar to Mac's clear single button mouse, except there are left/right buttons under the shell and the wheel protudes out .. oh so elegantly. And the shape .. must be shaped after a, AHEM. Excuse me. Let me just say it has nice curves. heh!
Onto colour, Metallic red coating was my poison .. do u take the red pill, or the black one, or the silver one .. too many choices! Did I mention the nice black curves?
The clicks are lighter than Micro$ofts mice and sound crisper(yeah, yeah, get a better word). Actually the feel of Bill's mice are pretty nice .. solid is a good word. The thinner and flexible cable on the Sony's adds to a lighter feel.

Sony's Sexy mouse! ** DEBATE: scratch off the logo or not? **

Radio RSS Parser w/ ColdFusion MX

Tue, 10 Jun 2003 19:00:55 GMT

Got around to do some coding ... finally! Couple of weeks ago I decided to setup a development environment on the Mac box in the closet. Basically, it's ColdFusion MX J2EE on JRun4 for the OS X. Suprisingly it wasn't that bad to setup. Now onto funner things like CODING!
I'm thinking about getting a domain with a nice brand spanking new design. On the homepage I'm planning on pulling my Radio blog's title, link, category, and publish date info from the RSS file and dynamically show it. If this works out .. do the same for photo albums, and work related blog.
Here's the code .. in CFML of course! ;) Problem/Bug is getting multiple categories for a single item to show up correctly.

DoCoMo 505i Series and Macromedia Flash Lite

Thu, 24 Apr 2003 16:07:48 GMT

Check out these features for the new 505i series of phones coming out mid-May:

(image) For details goto DoCoMo's official site, mouseover Current Information, click on What's New, click on Apr 17, 2003 Introduction to 505i series terminals now online, and then click on 'Click here for the introduction' link.
Another article on 505i's launch on Wireless Watch Japan.

Sony Ericsson's SO505i model looks wicked (photo borrowed from ZDNet Japan, more photos there). More photos at Mobile Burn. I gotta switch carriers. I'm currently on JPhone, but these 505i phones makes me wanna switch. I've been manipulated by mobile feature envy. I'm not the only one .. checkout the voting results for the new keitais.

Macromedia is pushing Flash as THE NEXT UI: PC Browsers, Mobiles, and Game Consoles (PS2). They're at an advantage, because most content providers already use Flash. Java is the closest competition, but programmers are expensive. Where's Microsoft? In the automobiles ...

Suica (JR East / Sony)

Wed, 09 Apr 2003 16:17:15 GMT

I got myself a Suica card yesterday. Currently the Suica cards are used as passes for JR railways in Tokyo. The Suica card system will eventually be installed in many stores in the stations to pay for various goods/services. Docomo iMode phones will support this system by the end of the year "Docomo Suica". Instead of having an IC card, the technology will be inside the keitais. The technology behind Suica is by Sony and is called Felica. Hong Kong's rail/subway/taxi systems also use the Felica technology.

Here are the multiple ways of paying for the JR fares:

  1. Buy a ticket from a machine. Usually you would look at the rail map above the machines to see where you want to go to check the price.
  2. Get a Teiki, which is a prepaid fixed destination pass (i.e. Teiki between Ogikubo and Yotsuya, you can get on and off anywhere between these points as many times as you want). (1st photo of the light green pass)
  3. IO Cards are prepaid passes, but unlike Teiki the destinations aren't fixed. The fares are the same as buying tickets except the advantage is you don't have to buy tickets everytime you want to go somewhere. (2nd photo)
  4. Suica cards! This is an IC card that can function as both a Teiki and IO. When you travel between your usual set route it knows not to subtract any amount, but when you need to go somewhere else it'll automatically subtract from the IO prepaid amount. (3rd photo)

(click to see larger photos)
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Here's a video taken today of how fast the Suica card is:
- Suica (Windows Media 240x180 stream from Playstream)

Some links to Suica info:


Tue, 08 Apr 2003 15:43:33 GMT

mobile content services.
from Nooper in Japan. Mailing list, mail checker, date reminder, rain alert, website update watcher are some of the services offered free of charge. You only pay for the data/packets...

Just signed-up for this free (well, pay for the data packets) service through my J-Phone. Gonna use Nooper's service to check my work email and have weather info mailed to me. WEATHER info .. never had that in Hawaii! Better watch my phone bill .. check how much it costs to receive email.

LANshock is a full modular LANparty Intranet System

Tue, 18 Mar 2003 05:33:29 GMT

hee hee .. It's a ColdFusion based LAN party app.

Macromedia's Beta 2 Site is now LIVE

Tue, 18 Mar 2003 05:25:05 GMT

Ahhh .. at least they learned that it was too heavy. There's an online report of the Beta 1 site, but it feels like the PR agents heavily filtered through it. Their Server Community Manager is doing his thing on the CFDJ list too.

Cable Saved My Addiction

Mon, 10 Mar 2003 18:02:22 GMT

Finally got Cable TV and broadband Internet from JCom(Japanese). Similar service as Oceanic+Road Runner in Hawaii. Good and bad .. the good is that my Internet connection is 8MB down/2MB up .. the bad is the number of channels available. At least I won't be lagging too bad when I snipe you in SOCOM ;) But, I miss the Food Network(Emeril, Iron Chef[but we're in Japan,  .. ahh Morimoto-san]), HBO(all the specials .. Live from Baghdad), MTV(MTV, MTV2, VH1), and most of all G4.

I don't have wireless from the Airport basestation, no PS2 w/ SOCOM online, and no 300 digital channels, but at least finally got me a BROADBAND 8MB connection and some English TV content. I realized how dependent or hooked I am on being connected .. living without an Internet connection for over a month stressed me out. Also, watching Japanese shows was not doing it for me. It's fun for the first couple of weeks .. but after that it seems like they're all the same.