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January, 2009:

Being Picky About Technology

I already explained why I won’t buy an iPod Touch until it comes in a 64GB+ flavor, but what about other technology?

The Kindle. Amazon’s attempt to jumpstart the ebook market is pretty neat, I’ll give you that, but there’s one thing I can’t STAND about it.
It’s black and white! No, scratch that. It’s darker grey on light grey. I know monocrome is the only thing e-ink can do right now, but I just can’t let myself take that plunge. I know I’d never use it the way it is now.
My love of physical books not withstanding, the lack of color really turns me off to ebook readers. Sure, a lot of books don’t require color, but some do! I’d love to flip through magazines on something like that, especially with the ability to zoom in… (oh Japanese magazines, I love you, but your print is so small I need a magnifying glass to discern the kanji sometimes). Once I took that step forward into portable electronics with color, I never wanted to go back. The days of monochrome are over!
But technology must advance to the point where price comes down before Amazon will use it.
And on that day, I will seriously consider buying a Kindle. But not until then.

Netbooks. I’ve talked a little about why I’ve thought about buying one, but I still haven’t taken the plunge.
The reason? They’re just not unique enough for me.
I feel like buying one is traveling back in time and picking up the latest model from 2003. Sure, they’re small, and sometimes cute, but what do they really do? Do I really want to spend $400 on a nearly throwaway computer?
Things that would make me swoon and would push me towards buying one:
A swivel touchscreen. This would allow me to use it for fun things like browsing digitized magazines, drawing while bored, or even writing small notes down. Basically, it would be awesome. (This is the main thing that’s keeping me from snapping one up right away! Admittedly I have to do some more in-depth research, but if there was one, I think I would have probably heard about it by now? Vaio P-like proportioned Korea model not included.)
More RAM. On average, netbooks seem to top out at 1GB of RAM (with some only allowing up to 1.5) I can live with the 1.6Ghz processor, but 1GB of RAM seems a little slim for me. 2 would be perfect, though.
Color! I’m so glad that some companies are latching onto the idea that netbooks can really express individuality, but since I’m so picky it’s difficult for me to find ones I really love.
Looooooooong life battery. At least 6 hours, preferably more. My netbook will be my travel companion, and outlets are frequently not found in airports… at least not for travelers. Sure, you say, 6 hours should be plenty for any trip across the US. Oh yeah? Well what if I’m going to Japan? 14 hours of travel and no sleep means 8 hours (at least!) of no netbook use D: Extra batteries are a possibility of course, but it’s yet one more thing to bring around with me.
Screen size. Yes, small is good, but if it’s a tiny computer, you should at least maximize the area where you can see things on the screen! (I’m looking at you, Eee!) This has gotten better with the newer models, but then it just gets weird with the Vaio P. I really hope other manufacturers don’t follow Sony’s example on that one… α~ (ー.ー”)

{ Edit: quick google search showed me the Eee T91 and T101, which I somehow managed to miss in all of the CES coverage?! anyway, will keep an eye out for those babies… (* ・・*) ♪ }

Anime Update

I’ll go back and update my master list eventually, but here’s some more anime I’ve been watching and what I thought:

Shugo Chara!: I tried watching this when it first came out, and wasn’t interested. But now since it’s on Crunchyroll I thought I’d give it a second try. It’s not bad! Clearly aimed at kids (the main characters are 5th graders) but things are a little different than you’d expect so it’s entertaining :D

Toradora!: Have I said that I love this anime yet? Because I do ♥ I want to read the light novels too, but I’m on a spending ban right now… (;o;_;)o

Kannagi: This is over now, and although I liked it, I feel like nothing really happened? I don’t know, none of my questions got answered, and even MORE questions appeared in the last couple episodes. The manga’s on hiatus too so who knows what will happen with this one… (@_@)

Pretty Cure: … don’t laugh! I saw merch for this EVERYWHERE when I was in Japan so I finally gave in to see what the show was all about. Relatively typical magical girl show, but not as good as Sailormoon so far :P I’m not overly fond of it, and it’s not culturally necessary that I watch it so I might stop…

Maria Holic: This has been animated AMAZINGLY (I ♥ SHAFT!) and has a crazy OP. Only 2 episodes in, but I will be watching this one to the end for sure!

Skip Beat!: I just watched all current 14 episodes today… kind of an overload, but it’s good! Of course it’s good timing right now, to watch a show about a girl trying to break into the entertainment business in Japan… (=^_^=) ヘヘヘ (although her motives are REVENGE oriented)

Looking at the list, aren’t there a lot of anime with ! in the title?
Or am I just collecting them somehow?…

Why 32GB Just Isn’t Enough

(Or: Why, Yes, I Do Need My Whole Music Library)

In my constant search for news on a possible 64GB iPod Touch, I run into forums where about 50% of the people are snubbing even the concept of a 64GB touch, saying that a) it’s impossible to fill up that space!!!11! or b) why do you need so much with you all the time?!?!?
My answers to these cries are a) no, it’s far from impossible. I have 45GB of music, right now, and if you add some videos and apps to that, it’s not so hard to fill up (^ ~) Plus it’s always nice to have room to grow – who wants an MP3 player that JUST fits their music/video collection right now? It’s bound to increase, someday, maybe sooner than you’d think, so why play so close to the edge?
and b) this is a multiple-part answer, and it can be broken down into just 2 simple facts:
1) I am fickle.
2) Music is my lifeblood
The first is pretty simple to understand – my mood changes suddenly, unexpectedly, and even I can’t completely predict it. How am I supposed to know what songs I’ll want to listen to today? What if I want to share some song with someone else, but I haven’t been listening to it lately? What if I’m out of the house for several hours/don’t have time to customize my iPod playlists because I leave? It’s just much easier to have all of my music with me all of the time.
By this point, you might be thinking “You spoiled girl! If you don’t have exactly the music you want, just suck it up and live with it!” and this brings me to my second point:
Without music I am fragile. When I say music is my lifeblood, I don’t mean that I’m an audiophile, because in general, I’m not. I have music ripped at 128kbps and don’t mind that much – I can tell when it’s better quality, sure, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s not so much the quality of the sound, but the heart behind the music, and what it makes me feel. Music calms me down when I’m nervous, allows me to function the way society expects (with the small addition of one headphone covering one ear), keeps me from emotionally exploding, gives me energy, helps keep me moving, propels me forward even when I don’t really want to be going anywhere. It’s like magic, it is magic, the way it affects me. Music has more control over my moods than I do – if you could figure out the exact way, you could probably emotionally control me like a puppet.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “If this is true, why not just listen to whatever music you have with you at the time to move out of your desire for other music?”
There are times when this is okay, but I often get stuck on wanting something in particular. And nothing will move me from this want. Like I said, I’m fickle.

Luckybags Force Change

I’ll admit that reason #1 why I buy (and love) luckybags (福袋) is the bargain. Sure, sometimes the items inside end up only being worth (to me) what I paid for them (and sometimes not even that!) but it’s the lure of the bargain! 40,000yen worth of stuff for 15,000yen? Yes please! In a cute bag? What am I waiting for?!
But that’s not the only reason.
Why else?
Because fukubukuro are a random assortment of items, I get the chance to try out things I wouldn’t normally wear. Sure, this is always the case, but luckybags force this opportunity upon me – I’m faced with the clothing, and the chance to say “hey, let’s see how this looks” without having the option of thinking “am I really going to buy this?” (because I already did XD), only “am I going to sell this?” It’s much more work to get rid of something I already own, so I seriously think about each item before I put it up for sale. This time, I don’t think there will be much I’ll sell, just the coat, probably.
Oh, coats.
I can never fit into Japanese coats for girls because they always assume girls have tiny shoulders, which, I guess, most of them do. But when you’re ~173cm tall, you don’t have narrow shoulders, usually. And I certainly don’t. No matter how skinny I am in the middle, it’s always the shoulders that get me.
Anyway, I will probably take a picture of my current outfit and upload it later. If you know my normal fashion, you might be surprised! (no pink to be found XD)

Technological Appearances

While I was looking at netbooks before, someone asked me, “Why do you put so much emphasis on design?”
They were referring specifically to my wanting a pink netbook, but it’s more than just that.
Why can’t I just deal with electronics in terms of what’s inside?
Why does the color, shape, aesthetics matter?
I am immediately inclined to ask all of you who don’t care, why don’t you?
For laptops, especially, I’m going to be using it all the time. I’ll be staring at the keyboard, the trackpad, the screen border, the cover…. how can I not care? Using the same black/grey bleh scheme makes me want to scream! It’s not me, it’s not how I feel, it isn’t my computer if it doesn’t have the look that I like.
Maybe, in the past, when there was less choice it was okay.
But now! When you can get computers in almost every color you could want, why settle?
But manufacturers still don’t understand. They make pretty notebooks with awful specs. Like they design the case and then go “oh but no one will care what we put inside! they aren’t going to actually use it.”
I hate it especially when electronics are targeted at women, with elaborate, often gaudy outsides, and internal components from five years ago! Why can’t there be high-spec’d items with a cute/stylish outside?! Is there really no market for such things? Is it so hard to have colored casings? (Dell, I’m looking at you! You have a dozen outer colors but your insides are all the same! At least make a white version!)
It’s times like this that I ponder trying to start up a company to make cute/stylish electronics with nice insides… ( > >)
For now, I’ll just keep digging through the thousands of products that all look the same to find my perfect digital companions ♥ *pets her pink WD external hdd*

Glitter, fake eyelashes

I got my package full of fake eyelashes, tubes of glue and a small eyelash curler while I was away but didn’t bother to open it until today.
That tiny eyelash curler is a godsend! I could never get my eyelashes to curl properly with the ones that go over your whole eye, but doing just the sections? It’s perfect! My eyelashes actually curl, noticeably! It really makes them look so much wider and brighter.
I got about four pairs of false eyelashes to play around with, in various styles. One of them has a silvery glitter strip, which has reminded me how much I love glitter liner. So of course I’ve been browsing online for glitter liners, and Urban Decay has come out with a light pink one! I’m excited :D
I’m planning on trying to add highlights to my hair soon, blondish ones. Maybe that will help.


I am not a patient person. But I am trying to be better about it.
When I want something, I want it now or not at all.
Well, not always.
The kanji progress feels slow sometimes, but I know it’s impossible to learn all 2000 immediately, even if I do know about a quarter of those already.
But I’m still working, and that’s the important part right now.

Kanji update

Just a small entry right now, to update you all on my kanji learning progress. I’ve been using Otona Kanji Renshuu for about a month now, pretty steadily, and my progress is this:

Completed through Level 3
520 Kanji learned out of 2261 total (17%)
11% completion of the entire program (this includes, I assume, the side tests about things like opposites, kanji compounds, etc)

Netbooks, WiFi and Travel

Recently I’ve avoided bringing my laptop with me when I travel. This was originally started because of news about Customs inspections (regarding those only coming back into the United States) confiscating and not returning laptops. { Each of those words has a different link regarding this issue… it was big news last summer. } So I didn’t take my laptop with me on my trip to Japan because I was afraid of losing it on the way home.

I want to make a side note here that I’ve had problems with customs/immigration returning home before, despite holding a valid U.S. Passport and not being a particularly suspicious person. I was questioned extensively upon arriving back in the US after a rather long and exhausting flight (I cannot sleep on planes) and was detained just long enough to miss my connecting flight. This hasn’t kept me from flying overseas again, mind you, but I do know that customs experiences can vary greatly and I value this notebook like my own life. { It’s really quite distressing for me when it stops functioning properly. Despite being able to troubleshoot most problems with calm determination, I break down when it’s my own computer (u_u;) }

Instead of bringing my laptop, I brought just my phone, an AT&T Tilt (a.k.a. HTC TyTN II, HTC Kaiser) which has WiFi capabilities. I thought I would just pick up some WiFi signals somewhere, or use an Ad Hoc connection through a laptop. As of now, I have NEVER been able to get an Ad Hoc connection to communicate internet, anywhere. Not abroad, not at home, not ever. I don’t know why since I’ve looked at numerous solutions and explanations and nothing seems to click. Both laptop to laptop and laptop to phone do not work. I will say that I haven’t be able to fiddle with controls as much as I’d like since in both instances I was relying on someone else’s computer (which they stopped me from doing too much with each time). But I’ll talk more about the potential of Ad Hoc a little later.

To continue with this train of thought, I initially was planning to get a netbook of sorts to bring with me as a minimal tool for checking e-mail, etc, but at the time I’d just purchased my phone a month or two prior at about the same cost as a netbook, so it didn’t seem to make much sense. So I passed on the idea. I brought my laptop with me on the other inside-the-US trips I took, but I wasn’t completely happy with the idea, despite not having to go through customs. This last time I upgraded, I chose a larger laptop that I’d had previously. Sure, it’s only a couple pounds more, but those add up fast. I am not a light traveler, despite my efforts. I am a prepared traveler, which means that I bring everything I think I could possibly need, within a reasonable margin. Not quite a survivalist, but perhaps a tech-oriented survivalist XD So another 6 or 7 pounds is a lot to add on, not to mention the adapter (another pound or two), and maybe a mouse. In addition, I have to adjust how I pack my carry-ons and what I can bring with me. It just feels less and less worth it each time I try.

So this time, I didn’t bring it, and I’m glad I didn’t, for only four days it made absolutely no sense. But it was still frustrating to not have my unlimited data plan (since PR is US-but-not-US for data usage) or a flash-capable machine of my own (Poupée Girl uses flash). The hotel had wireless, but it was only really functional down by the pool. Each room had just one ethernet cable. A possible solution would be, of course, to bring some sort of wifi adapter to broadcast out into the room, but this only solves half of the problem. And so my mind returns to the idea of a netbook.

I’m not especially proficient in hardware tech specs, but I know what’s okay, what’s good, and what’s better. Obviously a netbook can’t compare in specs to my 15.4″ Sony Vaio, and it shouldn’t. There’s a good chance that it will surpass the specs of my old 14.1″ Sony Vaio, bought in 2004, which is just as it should be. That machine was good when I got it, but sustained a lot of abuse and now would require a new battery to function as a mobile computer, at the very least. There’s a trade-off of size for weight of course, and if I can live with the Tilt’s screen I can probably live with anything in the 1024x### range for a short duration of time. There’s no reason to have a high-powered processor if you run XP, and lower power consumption means longer battery life. RAM can also be skimped on a little, since my old Vaio only has 512MB and it runs pretty decently XD Appearance is probably more important to me than it might be to others, but since it’s a small, halfway-between-cellphone-and-laptop machine, why not make it cute?

And so, we come to my current conclusion of needing the Acer Aspire One, in Pink, of course. It’s cheap, cute, decent quality and will help me have internet access when I travel :D

Vacation over: Welcome to 2009!

Originally, I wanted my New Year’s Resolution for this blog to be one entry, no matter how small, everyday. But my year started off with a vacation, and I tend not to bring my laptop with me on trips anymore { it’s bigger than my last one, and the extra weight + size pushes me over the edge. for a 4 day trip, it was not worth it. } and I can’t really blog to here from my phone so I’m a little late in starting!
{ Maybe I’ll make five extra entries here or there to make up for it… XD }
So today! January 6th. Macworld keynote. The last Macworld ever, I think, since Apple is pulling out. Am I sad? No, not really. It isn’t as though Apple is going under, or disappearing. Just not planning to announce things in such a dramatic fashion anymore, and to be honest, what I’m waiting for will likely not be announced this month anyway. I’m also not an Apple fangirl, just a recent equal opportunist. After working with Macs in a multimedia computer lab setting, I became more comfortable with the interface, something I had previously completely objected to using. But all computers and operating systems have their flaws, not to mention individual applications.
The only Apple products I’ve ever owned have been iPods – the 4th gen photo after it was announced, and the 5th gen video, a year or so later. The reasons I didn’t look into iPods earlier were fairly simple:

– no color screen. I hate monochromatic screens, and this is the big reason I am not jumping on the kindle. I love to read, but I don’t want to be held back by black & white.

– battery issues. For a non-user-replaceable battery, it previously had a pretty bad track record for holding charge and overall play time.

– I was unclear as to how you could sort through thousands of songs on such a small interface, and this was due to my own disinterest to do research XD My first interactions with mp3 players (back in 1996/7 or so) had prepared me for a system that only allowed for less than 10 songs (usually) which meant sorting and organization was unnecessary. Even minidisc players (yes, I had those!) worked under the same principle, although you could easily swap out media for more choices. How could I deal with my entire music collection on one device? And why would I even want that?

Once I had it, I never wanted to go back. Playlists are fairly simple, and I’ve only recently discovered the ease of smart playlists. Genius playlists aren’t that useful for me, since it only really works well for songs that are in some iTunes store (international is okay, but other than that). I have around 45GBs of music currently, and this has kept me from upgrading to an iPod touch, despite the lure of apps. I’m not excited about a touch-only screen, I prefer buttons (reason #1 why I don’t own an iPhone), but in the end, apps win out over moving laterally to the Classic.

So I’m waiting. I have serious doubts that Apple will announce a 64GB iPod touch at this keynote. It wasn’t announced last year, just suddenly appeared for sale at the beginning of February. This is probably because it wasn’t a great technical step forward on Apple’s front – they just found a supplier of properly sized 16GB flash chips (the touch uses two flash slots while the iPhone only uses one, halving its storage capacity). I believe 32GB flash is just around the corner (if they aren’t already here!) so I’m holding off, patiently. I can’t wait until 64GB flash exists, however, so once the 64GB iPod Touch comes out, I’m buying it XD

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