December 29, 2008

Wishing you all the best of the holiday season! Things are incredibly busy, so all the news, what there is of it, is on Twitter. Pictures of the trip to Miyajima, and Hiroshima are up. The trip to Koya-san is next. Pics from the iPhone will be on TwitPic first.

BTW, Santa came early with the 10.5.6 upgrade that solved the 4GB RAM problem the MacBook was having. Sweet.

December 7, 2008

Well, the holiday season is upon us, ready or not. I'm not. Oh, well.

And let us all reflect a moment on what happened on this day in 1942.

November 5, 2008


November 4, 2008

A moment in history. On Sunday, Lewis Hamilton was the youngest driver ever to become F1 Wolrd Champion. Also, the first black driver. Tomorrow, the US will elect its first black president. This is a wonderful thing not only for blacks, not only for minorities everywhere, but for white Americans as well. He is a man, a politician, inheriting an inhuman mountain of problems from a morally corrupt and ideologically bankrupt administration. There will be no miracles. Nevertheless, the sigh of relief the nation emits when the election results come in will be audible across the planet. Once again, being an American will feel a lot better. Thank you, America, for doing the right thing. Finally.

For the soundtrack to your election return monitoring, I offer the following, in no particular order:

A Change is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Jackie Brown - John Mellencamp
Little Pink Houses - John Mellencamp
Rain on the Scarecrow - John Mellencamp
With God on Our Side - Neville Brothers
Sister Rosa - Neville Brothers
Masters of War - Bob Dylan
Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan
A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan
Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan
Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen
This Land is Your Land - Woodie Guthrie
Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Trouble Every Day - Frank Zappa
Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer
Six O'Clock News - Kathleen Edwards
Getting Off the Dime - Michael McDermott
Unemployed - Michael McDermott
The American in Me - Michael mcDermott
Beginnings - Chicago

October 12, 2008

Sempai Harry Fassl, Error 404. Rest in peace. Osu.


September 18, 2008

All good things must come to an end, and the semester break/summer vacation is onits last gasp, with classes beginning next week, and me caught between catch-up from Chicago and class prep for what ensues. I do finally have an iPhone (OUCH! ¥¥¥¥¥¥) in my grubby mitts (and a KMUG presentation in which to share my experience), and hopes of a new MacBook before too long to ease the transition to an endeless succession of work weeks. And more I won't bore you with. But a great trip to Chicago it was, with perfect weather, great times with great friends, and on and on. Even got in a Sox game. My anxiety level is in the red, though, with the horrific prospect of another Republican president; please stop the madness.

However...lest this get too depressing, let us remember...tomorrow, September 19, one of the great non-holidays: Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aaaaaargh.

August 31, 2008

Payback. Karma. Since that great flight, it's been mostly jet lag and brother assistance (house chores - painting, etc.). Can't fault the weather, though, as it's been perfect. Hope to get out of the rut tomorrow with a trip to the Dells with Bill & Jerry; will be interesting to see the damage caused by the collapsed river dams. Condolences to Shihan on the loss of his friend, and, earlier this year, his brother. When I get back to Chicago, we should all have news about new Macs, iPods, or both. Watch for big announcements Tuesday 9/2. Sayonara Summer 2008. Happy Labor Day. Vote Obama. And how 'bout dem Cubs? Finally, last word: Twitter.

August 23, 2008

Enjoying my biannual sojourn to Chicago and giving my wife a well-deserved break from my various irritations. For a change, I had an EXCEPTIONALLY WONDERFUL flight. It was so nice, in fact, that I've cobbled a short account of it, but avoid it if you're the type who is put off hearing of the good fortune of others.

August 15, 2008

One of our various anniversaries - this, the fourth of the ceremony in Oregon. Grades done, now just that special catching up time before my bi-annual Chicago hiatus, this time a simple home other travel planned, no major medical or official concerns to worry. Nice. Still no iPhone, though most of my sync issues seem to be slowly getting sorted out - sadly, mosty by eliminating items to be synced. The weather has cooled a bit, the temps barely crawling past 90 yesterday and today. But the Weber will be getting fired up and some friends will be stopping by, and, hey, it's summertime. Pop another beer.

July 31, 2008

The end of the month, the end of the semester...with me thrashing desperately to find tasks that will allow me to postpone starting on those 160 papers that need grading. Helping me with all this is my wonderful wife, who surprised me with a pair of these the other day. Not only did I get to spend some quality time setting them up, searching for optimal placement, and testing the venerable Cambridge Soundworks MicroWorks system for salvageability, but now I get to listen to them for the duration of paper grading hell. Pay no attention to the ambivalent reviews; no, these little guys will not rattle the neighbor’s windows, but their qualities match my priorities perfectly. For me, they are perfect.

Apple continues to embarrass itself and frustrate me with its extended and problem-frought transition to MobileMe. I’m unable to add my tales of woe about the iPhone, but, hey, I can’t find anyone here in Japan to sell me one yet.

And sure, it’s still hot and humid here, but maybe not quite as much so as last week.
Playing more with Twitter and TwitPic, and that provides at least a little digital joy.

OK, OK. Back to work. Or you can Skype me at <tonyinosaka> or find me at iChat using my usual dot-mac email address.

Get well, Dave in Lemont.

July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday my brother Dave.

As if the post-rainy season heat & humidity (81°F when I get up at 5 a.m.) weren’t enough, Apple and Softbank seem to be conspiring to do a Job (not Jobs) number on me by testing my patience to its very limits. With Apple, it's the problem-laden transition to Mobile Me that has managed to hit me with every one of the widely discussed bugs, and even some that aren’t, including mail and other service outages (with oddities still persisting) and access to my iDisk which is either slower that it ever was in its dot-mac incarnation or simply, non-existent.

I am also shaking a kyokushin fist at Apple for its decision on how iPhone sales would be handled here in Japan...that is, exclusively through Softbank outlets and not at all through the Apple Store. And you think you have it bad in the U.S. with AT&T. My four phone calls to Softbank have given me these answers: 1. No, there are no iPhone shortages. 2. Died on hold. 3. You can make a reservation at a Softbank outlet. 4. You can make a reservation at some Softbank outlets. Calls three and four were made from in front of the “Sold Out” sign at the Umeda Yodobashi Softbank counter, the latter in the presence of a salesperson that, in fact, I could not make a reservation to buy an iPhone. Ponder that...a reservation to buy a phone. It seems each store can decide on its own how to mete out the trickle of iPhones coming down the tube. The poor Softbank girl (she was a girl, not being dismissive) withstood my chu-hai-fueled ravings and then calmly explained that what they did at this store, was distribute numbers to those waiting in line each morning when the store opens at 9:30.


Have also learned that to activate the phone, I’d need to sever my ties to the U.S. iTunes store by changing my virtual location to Japan. I assume that the usual hoops can be jumped through again to re-establish myself as a U.S.-based entity, but wonder what that will mean for software updates, purchases through the Application Store.

Yes, that little bubble over my head is a question: Is it worth it?

Now I feel better. Thanks.

July 5, 2008

Happy birthday my country.

The rainy season (tsuyu) draws to and end, and the months-long swelter of the Kansai summer begins. Like Chicago winters and, I’m assuming, childbirth, some defense mechanistic amnesia wipes the experience from memory each year...because if you remembered how bad the last one was, you’d never hang around for the next one. The iPhone is just days away from its debut in Japan, and watch for the locals to go truly nuts over it - and thus frustrating my own irresistible desire for the new toy. Hey, it’s not my fault the new MacBooks aren’t out. Meanwhile, the last months of the Bush debacle spin down, though the damage will take decades to repair, as conditions accelerate their downward spiral.

June 10, 2008

Finally, the iPhone coming to Japan, with extra goodies and a lower price, too. Some changes to the dot Mac srvices, too, soon to be renamed Not sure that's an improvement. Meanwhile the spring semester chugs along, Chicago got slugged with a few nasty twisters. Best of luck to Mark and his wife in the big fight; so far they're winning. I still await news of the new MacBooks. OK, back to work. What do you think about these summer colors?

April 20, 2008

Happy 4/20!

April 9, 2008

My last chance to breathe for a while...and it's no "day off," at that. But I did manage to get the pictures of our trip to Mexico up. Take a look.

April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Apple, Inc. and Happy April Fool's Day. Beware the prankster in your midst.

March 31, 2007

Back in Japan from a nice break in Mexico and Chicago, sunburn and other injuries healing nicely, given a clean bill of health inside and out from real doctors in the U.S. Lots of pictures of the trip to go through, and they'll be posted here. Eventually. Another KMUG presentation down - a Leopard overview that was to include a great screen sharing demo with Gar back in Plainfield, but was foiled by a turtle-slow web connection at the meeting site. A new school year just days from beginning. And with this MacBook approaching its two-year anniversary, I'm getting itchy for a new one. Yankee fan or hater, if you're in New York this summer, be sure to get in a game at Yankee Stadium - this is it's last year. Congrats to the Dave Clark Five on its induction to the R&R Hall of Fame. Kudos to Tom Hanks on the presentation. Thanks to Maine Dave for the heads up.

February 27, 2008

¡Adios Chicago, hola Mexico! ¡Aqui es demasiado frío!

February 14, 2008

Old friends just keep crawling out from under the woodwork. Good to connect with you guys after all the years. Nice! More and more people getting on the iChat/Skype trains, as well, and that's great, too, proving that human interaction is indeed tolerable when buffered with sufficient technology (or other mood enhancers).

Not suffering with the weather that's hitting Chicago, I was able to turn a couple of hours of free time (now that classes are over, grades are done, syllabi made, etc.) into a modest photo-essay of the neighborhood. Click through the thumbnails, and most of the pics have a bit of notation and explanation. Enjoy. I welcome your comments and questions. A not-so-ordinary look at Japan.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thank you, Steve, for the 10.5.2 Leopard update. Got my Dock folders back. Yes!

February 5, 2008

Zoom, another month gone by. Hometown Chicago is having a tough winter, so I guess it's a good year to add a Mexico intermission to my semi-annual visit. Alison and I will be scoping out some potential retirement areas and may even see Pa's hometown - La Barca, Jalisco. Chicago weather notwithstanding, it's always nice to see the family and friends, pig out in Greektown, shop at the Jewel's, and hear English spoken properly.

Before then, though, is a mountain of papers, grades, and paperwork. No complaints, as it easily beats shovelling snow, and there's no rule against having a cold beer next to the keyboard as I slave away.

Stuffed in another presentation for the Wakayama Prefecture Board of Ed, talking about the inevitable culture clashes between the ALTs ((Non-Japanese) Assistant Language Teachers) and the JTE (Japanese Teachers of English). As many of the foreign attendees were very recently OTB (off the boat), I think they got their money's worth.

Laissez les bon temps roulez and a Happy Fat Tuesday to everyone celebrating in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, a big welcome home to friends coming home safely from Iraq and Afghanistan, and best wishes for those still stuck there. Let's get them home soon.