2007 Entries - Tony Silva

December 30, 2007

Another year older, a day or so from the year of the rat, and time for me to remember and reflect on all the rats I've come across in my 54 years. No, no forgiveness for you here, rats. But a happy birthday to me, and thank you Alison for the decadent spread of Kobe beef we'll be enjoying as I clock another year. Ahhh.

Oh, and I conquered Leopard about a week ago, and the new cat is now docile and obedient.

Also, a tip of the hat to Netscape, may it rest in peace once AOL puts it down early next year. Born of Mosaic, it was THE app that brought the internet to the masses. The flame will be carried by our friends at Mozilla.

The best of everything to you and yours in 2008. 来年も、よろしく。Happy New Year!

December 19, 2007

Totally out of the holiday spirit as it may be, I want, or, rather, need to share a devastatingly depressing essay that appeared in the November 2007 issue of Harper’s. It was adapted from Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. Be advised that it paints a very dark picture of the consequences of the privatization of what would normally be government operations, particularly in the aftermath of disasters. This is a PDF file of the article; please download and share.

Worse (yes, sorry), this page will probably push you to join in me in wishing that there was a hell, because that is just what its author deserves.

On a much less serious note, remember this Sunday is Festivus!

December 7

In memory of the day, the events that followed, and those who gave their lives or lost their loved ones.

December 1

Hope the winter isn't too bad yet where you are, and that you're enjoying one of the few benfits of the earth warm-up. A great Thanksgiving behind us, where we scored TWO Thanksgiving dinners with friends here. Very special. Another cultural artifact that's followed us here is the pre-Christmas rush. And so. This is it. Wishing you the best of the holiday season!

Oh, and don't forget Festivus! Meanwhile, check out the secret diary of Steve Jobs. Hilarious.

November 11, 2007

Photographer Maine Dave (aka DC) recently pointed me toward Keith Olbermann, who just hadn't made my radar screen here in Japan. There are a couple of clips on YouTube (Part One and Part Two) that I recommend. Finally someone in the press with the balls to say it like it is. I'd also like to share a rather disturbing piece on the fate of veterans who do make it home.

For the record, not much love for Steve these days...Leopard just didn't like my MacBook, and I've also decided to go back to my Sanwa keyboard. So it goes.

October 26, 2007

Some interesting synchronicity in the Mac universe. October 23, 1999 marked the release of Mac OS 9. More, same day in 2001 is the birthday of the very first iPod. Still more, the postman delivered my copy of 10.5 Leopard this morning, a day on which Kobe College has so very kindly cancelled classes, allowing me to spend the day backing up and prepping for the big install.

October 17, 2007

One year since my Mom passed. Thank you to those of you who remembered.

September 21, 2001

OK, fall is here (never mind Osaka's 95˚ heat and 90% humidity), tomorrow is the Alison's birthday (of course, a new 8GB fatboy Nano is all wrapped up and waiting), and classes crank up next week. This will be it for a while, as it's back to the wormhole for me...clutching my new Apple keyboard. Oh, and don't be shy with those ¥15,000,000 tenured position offers, folks; I'm open to persuasion.

September 14, 2007

ひさしぶり, or long-time-no-see, as they say here. Yes, the semester did finally end. I did submit to a successful makeover of the home office (but no new monster Apple Cinema Display - what's with that?), and I've done my usual Hajj to Chicago, along with a brief, idyllic, two days of nothing but rest and relaxation stopover in Hawaii. And now it's back to work. Finishing up the trial run of an Intercultural Communication textbook that's starting to look pretty slick. It has a nice cover, quite a few graphics and illustrations, and audio support. It will be online soon, but password protected, so let me know if you want a peek or listen.

Very happy to have no news to report - everyone seems hale and hearty back in Chicago, and the wife and I have nary a major complaint regarding health, life, etc. Can't think of anything better. Oh, wait maybe there is...

Have found the near-perfect in-ear isolating earbuds, BTW. Just in time for the resumption of my hellish commutes to universities far and wide in the Kansai area.

PLUS...Japan's right-wing Prime Minister Abe has stepped down in dishonor. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Now if we Americans could also be as lucky as to have Fool George make his own exit.

Finally, added a nice fat 250 GB (yes, 250 GB) hard drive to my MacBook with a duplicate for nightly backups, meaning that now I can carry my entire iTunes stash with me, along with a mirror of my newly upgraded to 20 GB (thank you, Steve) iDisk.

July 31, 2007

No, the semester is NOT over yet. However, a big thank you to the junior high school and high school teachers of Wakayama Prefecture who sacrificed their valuable vacation time and some great weather to hear what I had to say about English language education in Japan, July 30 and 31. Also, a special thanks to Kunio Kisei, Masahiro Misumi, Tadaharu Mukai, and Sadaaki Togowa for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and for their warm Wakayama hospitality. As promised, the link to the presentation slides are here.

June 4, 2007

The measles outbreak here in Japan means two days of canceled classes this week, so it's a great chance to catch up on work. And I've been here so long that I see no contradiction in that.

Also, be sure to enjoy this little bit of history - Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the D5 Conference, available as an audio or video podcast here on iTunes. Free. I also enjoyed upgrading my iTunes purchase to 256 kbps AAC encoding through iTunes Plus, 30 cents a song or 30% the cost of an album. Sweet.

Hurry home from Iraq, Bill and Jack.

May 28, 2007

Memorial Day. Just can't think of anything to say that can make the day itself any more poignant or meaningful.

May 14, 2007

One really has to hand it to Apple service. My MacBook battery was getting a bit wonky - inconsistent charging, low capacity. Stopped in at the Apple Shinsaibashi store and 10 minutes after sitting down at the Genius Bar I was walking out with a new battery in my MacBook. The guy spoke great English and even shook my hand when I was leaving.

April 21, 2007

Again, and I appreciate your help and support - help save internet radio.

March 31, 2007

Into the rabbit hole we go. Or is it through the looking glass? With the beginning of classes here, I can feel myself getting sucked into a vortex of unending work to be done, places to be, and so on. So, while there's a chance for an update over the summer, I myself will be existing in another dimension until the beginning of August. Hopefully, Mac OS X 10.5 (I hate those damn cat names) will be out before then, and it seems the iPhone will be available in the U.S. early in June. We in Japan will need to wait until 2008, I hear.

Another reminder to please help save Internet Radio. Good luck and best wishes to the guys from the hood now finding themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. Come home safe, Bill and Jack. Thanks, all of you, family and friends in Chicago, for being there for me, every time. Thanks to Alison for her patience with me.

Send some bits if you have the time. Otherwise, see you at the other end of the wormhole.

March 25, 2007

I guess I blew the advance notice on this, but today was another KMUG presentation on basic Mac maintenance. You can see the slides on the web (html) or download a PDF.

Also, Happy Spring, and don't forget to help save Internet radio.

March 15, 2007

Ah, well, back in the Japans, bringing cold weather back with me, it seems, and, yes, 36 hours after landing and it's as if I never left. It was an odd trip this time (bad weather & malaise), but had several wonderful evenings and lunches with old friends, good time with my brother, Dave; they always make the 6000 mile trek worth it. Thanks. Not much personal news - working a lot (syllabus planning, textbook writing, etc.), but that's hardly news. Finally persuaded my brother to upgrade his digital life, and he's grateful and ecstatic with a new 20" iMac and Comcast broadband service (getting about 4Mbps down). Made life much nicer for me there, too. Wondering about your speed? Here are some speed test sites in the U.S. and in Japan.

Kudos to hometown girl Patti Smith for her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with whom I share a birthday (she's 7 years older). Her "Horses" was used to great effect in the TV series Millennium in its last season. Quite memorable.

A bit late now, but my old hometown radio station is starting a great tradition - Chicago Day, March 7. Listening to the radio's celebration of the city and its citizens was a great addition to the trip home.

Speaking of radio, it's another critical time for Internet Radio. Nice summary of the problem and what you can do to help on the Radio Paradise site. Please help. At the very least, sign the online petition.

Happy ∏ Day! (3/14)

Finally, with all the stupidity coming out of the mouth of Japan's PM Shinzo Abe, I have to wonder who are more embarrassed by their current leadership, the Americans or the Japanese? Something we can share to bring ourselves closer, I guess.

January 30, 2007

OK, classes almost over, the Bears headed for the Superbowl, reservations being made for the trip back home to Chicago, where it seems they still await global warming. Speaking of Chicago, Rich reminds me it's the 40th anniversary (January 24) of the snowstorm of 1967. Never mind what else that year might mean in our lives' timelines; it's enough we are old enough to remember it.

More local color: English and language teachers (especially North Americans) will enjoy this site that asks some questions about your pronunciation and pinpoints your origins. Pretty interesting. Me? What do you think?

Plenty of Apple news, too: iPhone, stock rising, and still more to come. No doubt you've been iPhoned to death, but there may be a remedy. Gates and Ballmer doing their sorry best at damage control, too, but I'm sure you've seen the gaffes, too.

Innovation. Vision. These words have been overused and usurped to the point where any meaning they might have had has been lost. However, there was a time and place when they meant something, and, no surprise, it was way back in 1987 in Cupertino. Tucked away in the archives at Apple is some promotional material for something called the Knowledge Navigator. We can imagine it now as a contemporary alternative universe browser, but this was years before Mosaic. Voice recognition, touch interface. Be prepared to be impressed. (Download 60 MB.mov file.) And, Happy Birthday Macintosh.

On a completely different note, another small reminder why this Shintaro Ishihara guy enjoys his spot near the top of my list of people whose removal would make this a better world. Move over W., Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Hiroyuki Hata.

January 8, 2007

It's a holiday here in Japan - Coming of Age Day - and that will make it harder than ever to get up for work in the morning. Not that it's been a "vacation," exactly. One of the things filling in the moments is preparing for a KMUG presentation on the fascinating topic of spreadsheets that I got strongarmed into agreeing to put together. Get your geek on and join us - I know you have nothing better to do. January 28, details HERE. Oh, and yes, the Intel MacBook is back from Apple, days early, very clean and white, and very welcome. So, now it's back to work - when I'm not busy thinking about what might get revealed tomorrow at Macworld Expo.

January 5, 2007

Happy New Year. No complaints so far! Temporarily on my old 12" G4 Powerbook while the new MacBook is spending time with Apple getting a facelift - a free replacement of the defective keyboard, trackpad and surrounds whose material was too porous, absorbed oil and dirt, and yellowed over time. Meanwhile, potential buyers of ol' reliable are lining up, and I'm anxiously awaiting whatever goodies will be unveiled next week at MacWorld Expo.