Category Archives: World Domination

Ten years, eight months later, leaving Japan

All my bags are packed I'm ready to go

I'm standin' here outside your door

I arrived in Japan in the spring of '02. Arrogant and unsure, excited and cautious, with just a couple of suitcases and almost no contacts on the ground.

Over a decade later it is now time to end this chapter of my life and begin the next one. Over the years I have laughed and loved, cried and screamed, achieved some of my greatest triumphs, spent days cowering in my bedroom hiding from imaginary monsters. I have made a great many amazing friends who will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I have lost a small number whose absence still haunt my thoughts on cold winter nights. I have achieved a great deal, yet I often thought of myself as a fraud.

And I have learned to love this place. So much it tears at my soul to leave. But leave, I must.

These past few years I have often lamented the lack of leadership in this country, the bleak economic future, the degrading social structure and the lack of good Mexican restaurants. But this is not why I leave. The problem is me, not you.

But the dawn is breakin' it's early morn

The taxi's waitin' he's blowin' his horn

Already I'm so lonesome I could die

More and more I have noticed my weaknesses getting strong, my strengths slipping away as I have lost my direction. I have been comfortable. I found, not what I longed for, but what made me feel comfortable. I was letting fear of the unknown push me around in exchange for safe, clean public transportation and one of the best lifestyles in the world. I left my apartment every day and never feared that a lion might eat me before I made it home that night. Life was just too easy.

Lately I have been looking for a catalyst. Something to take me out of my comfort zone and get me living a forward focused life again. I have been looking for the end of the world. And damn, if I didn't find it.

Oh baby, I hate to go

There's so many times I've let you down

So my apartment has been disassembled, pieces scattered to the winds. I arrived with just a couple of bags and I leave practically in the same condition. Ive traded in all I have for a chance at a new start. And I couldn't be more excited/terrified about it. There are so, so many things I will miss. My comfort spots and my hidden secrets. I'll miss the friends I have made and I'll miss the rich texture of living in one of the most complex and rich cities in the world. I'll miss the world class arts scene and the geek enclave that has been both my home and playground for the last few years. I'll miss the way you can understand what a total stranger is thinking without a look, word, or gesture, but by simply understanding the context of the moment. I'll even miss learning how to be lonely in a city of over 12 million people. Oh, and I'll miss late night combini runs for curry-pan. They are awesome.

Every place I go, I'll think of you

Every song I sing, I'll sing for you

Luckily i am not giving all this up forever. In truth I expect to be back in just a few months. My new job includes a focus on Japan that will bring me back often and keep this country well on my radar. But this is no longer my home. My hat stays on my head or hand. The next time I walk the streets, it will be not as a resident, but once again as a visiting alien, collecting samples and abducting livestock for dark sinister… Err Ok that one got away from me there.

I hope I am making the right decision. The fact that I am so unsure about this move makes me feel that I might finally be getting back on track. For any of my friends who may be surprised by this news, I apologize for keeping this quiet. In truth this was all quite sudden and really only became a real plan a couple of weeks ago. I intend to have my “going away party” but I'm afraid it will have to wait until next year sometime when I can get back for a few days,

So after ten years and eight months this will be my last post as “Steve from Tokyo”. Coming soon (I hope) will be a posts from my new home and life. For these precious years living in one of the most spectacular cities in the world, from the bottom of my heart, “thank you”.

Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane

Don't know when I'll be back again

Oh baby, I hate to go

 

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Studio Steve

Ok, first of all I need to come up with a better name than that.

Some work recently has given me the chance to play around with higher level AV gear and in typical fashion I kinda got a bit carried away. A couple of years ago, comrade Danny Choo convinced me to give live streaming a shot, Ustream had just published their iPhone app and I had great fun running around Akihabara streaming micro tours.

I’ll be honest. Personally I watch very little on Ustream, and I NEVER watch my own stuff. The jarring motion when I move the iPhone around makes me carsick in about three seconds. But I do see a strong value there if things are done well, and simply put, I love the gadgets.

In the world of content, the combination of real time and video is the tip of the sword, and combining valuable content, modern technology, and logistical planning can create a new level of communication never before seen. Yeah, it’s basically cable access tv spliced onto the Internet, but think about it. Cable access tv spliced to the Internet. The potential to waste time in vain pursuits shared equally with the power to topple governments.

But I digress. What I am really talking about is the opportunity for Steve to play with gear. And Steve likey the toys.

Read the rest of this entry

Invention: Here’s my new wireless camera custom tripod (beta ver)

Just put the finishing touches on my new wireless camera platform. It’s still a bit rough and I know there’s a revision on the way, but it came out surprisingly well for a first draft.

The head is a .3 MP CCD camera attached to a 1.2 ghz wireless transmitter. The antenna for the transmitter makes up the right arm and I threw in an LED lamp for a left arm for balance. Loose cables and a monster 6,800 maH LiOn battery fill the backpack.

Range is a bit of a problem. I think it will reliably transmit about 10 meters with Line of sight, maybe further, but indoors through walls that’s about the limit. I need to work on an improved antenna for the receiver to improve that range.

It’s basically just a webcam on a tripod (an old Gorillapod I had lying around) but I wanted to do something fun with it. It’s pretty fun to put it on a table somewhere and have people say “hi”. I guess future versions can add things like a pivot head and facial recognition, as well as a mobile base to turn it into a full robot, but overall not a bad project with some random parts I had lying around and about $10 in pieces for the body.

What do you think? What does the next draft need?

Mobile Office: Power Up Version

Ever hunting for the ultimate mobile setup, I’ve just put the finishing touches on my latest revision of my mobile workstation. This time around, I’m aided with a new MacBook Air 11 inch laptop for a “Pro” configuration.

With the new Sandybridge 1.8ghz i7 chip, this tiny netbook size computer packs some big-boy scale power, enough to let me tether the iPad 2 as a second monitor using the Avatron Air Display app. This way I can run the system as either a dual monitor computer or as two separate machines. I can also add a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless trackpad to the mix to get that full desktop experience.

Throw in the iPhone for video chatting and etc, and I have three powerful computers that can work together and have enough power to run a small TV station or two Japanese nuclear power plants.

The scary part about this is that including the stands and a wireless cellular router for Internet anywhere, the entire setup weighs just over five pounds, or less than a 15 inch MacBook Pro laptop and it all fits inside the smallest laptop bag I own. Of course I expect a few stares if I set the whole thing up in a cafe and start coordinating an orbital launch while munching a scone.

Progress has allowed us to make computers lighter, smaller, more powerful, and even cheaper at a frightening pace. I expect in just a couple of years I’ll look at this setup and scoff at it’s pitiful specs. But I figure this should last a few months or so.

Would you go out in public with a rig like this? Post a comment below and let me know.

A Question?

Today has been a very surreal day. Online, I have been following continued scandals in Media with the #notw, Japan has seen quite a few developments in recovery efforts from the earthquake, food contamination and continued problems with the nuclear reactors, and a major story development with the sentencing of Lindsey Hawker’s killer. Not to mention a major OS upgrade for Apple computers, 2 new models, both in my potential upgrade path.

In the real world, it’s been a normal, very pleasant day. Had lunch with a good friend, met another later on for a quick chat and update. Not to mention phenomenal weather. Starting to feel a split between my real and online persona and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Online I feel tied to a world much larger than myself and follow events that have little to do with me personally, yet when I look at the real world around me, I feel like I could turn it all off and lose nothing.

Or maybe I just need some caffeine