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Coming back soon… October 8, 2015

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Either back here, or on Medium. Or both…

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Twitter widget May 13, 2009

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I have added a twitter widget to this blog as I seem to be doing more twittering than blogging of late (not saying very much, I know), in the vague hope that I may be able to interact with some people over there from over here (not that there are too many people over here anymore, I guess).

Coinciding with a decrease in blogging, I seem to have wondered away from my feedreader as well. I wonder if there is any correlation there.

JSDF cancels exercises due to bad weather January 14, 2008

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Just watching the news on the TV, showing footage of the annual Army JGSDF exercises (held mainly for the benefit of the Defense Minister and other top brass) at Narashino Camp held today. Unlike normal years, this year’s exercises apparently lacked the traditional parachute drop.

Reason: Strong wind…. (admittedly it is very windy and cold today here in Tokyo)

I guess any potential aggressors will be courteous enough to launch an attack only when the weather is accommodating…..

B2B September 2, 2007

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That’s “back to blogging”.

After a self-imposed month long hiatus, I plan to get back on-line and writing. (Whilst I would like to report that I had an idyllic vacation somewhere, unfortunately that was not the case)

One thing I will try to do going forward is to attempt to make my posts a little shorter. No promises though…..

Test your European geography (and more) February 1, 2007

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Found via A:C Euro

This is a cool (and educational) game.

I’ve always been a bit of a geography lover. My doodling as a 7-year old was mostly drawing freehand maps of the world or countries. Other popular targets were pieces of military equipment, but I digress. In the twenty-something years since then, the world has become more segmented and it has a good few dozen more nations and quasi-nations (the PC term escapes me at this time) represented on the map. Then there are those name changes that are cast upon us. I think I need to buy a new atlas….

Clearly I’m a bit rusty because I only scored 41/45 the first time and 44/45 the second time. (The order in which countries appear is randomised which can make the quiz pretty tricky – and those tiny countries like San Marino, Andorra and Monaco are a bitch to place correctly, and landlocked countries are a nightmare unless at least one neighbouring country is already in place)

Geography is one of those subjects which seems to be being marginalised by recent changes in educational curricula. History also, the two subjects are intimately intertwined of course. It seems stupid to harp on about how we need to educate children to be international and global citizens, and then neglect this part of their education. It is surprising how many people would have trouble naming a good portion of the 47 prefectures or 50 states (I was going to say all of them, but maybe that is setting the bar too high? For countires, I’d expect any self-respecting person to be able to name at least 100, if not 150…). I must admit the 92 counties of the UK (including N Ireland) are a bit much for me these days, although I had no problem with them as a child. Probably means I’ve been away from the UK for too long….

(more…)

Looking forward to 2007 January 4, 2007

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Happy new year to all.

2006 ended with me picking up a nasty cold which had me in bed for 3 full days. Last day at work was the 28th, and we had our usual workplace end of year gathering, after which I ended up in a pub. I probably should have gone straight home as I’d been living with a sore throat for the previous few days, no doubt not unrelated to the full blown cold that my partner had been suffering from since the weekend. (Which meant, amongst other things, that Christmas was a non-event, I having been relegated to nursing duty for the weekend and thereafter)

Next morning, the first day of a 6 day break, I woke up with the initial symptoms of a cold. Despite that, I went off to do some shopping, which probably made things worse. [The other half was still feeling poorly, and we were due to take delivery of our new Wii that day so I ventured out to buy some games and accessories for our new toy, which was our Christmas present to ourselves – although it didn’t arrive in time for Christmas]

I ended up in bed until the evening of the 31st, by which time I had probably gotten over the worst of the cold, and I ventured out to my usual annual end-of-year party. New Year’s Day meant my usual pilgrimage to accompany my gran (who was looking as healthy as ever) and the rest of the gaggle which constitute the extended family on my mother’s side to visit and tend to grandfather’s grave. Having spent New Year’s Eve drinking into the early hours, and then getting up at the usual time to make the hour long trip took a toll on my body, and I ended up back in bed for most of the first two days of 2007. So, not much of a New Year holiday to report.

Still suffering from a chesty cough, but over the worst and am back and hitting the ground running.

The first couple of months of 2007 look like they might be pretty busy work-wise, but there are some exciting things in the pipeline.

For this blog, one theme for 2007 is blogging more about venture capital topics, in particular the Japanese VC scene, and how it differs from other geographies. Otherwise, much of the same.

Here’s hoping that 2007 will be a prosperous year for all of us.

Who or When to visit Japan in the Spring? December 25, 2006

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Oh, it wasn’t a question….

Hu or Wen to visit Japan in the Spring (Asahi Shimbun in English)

But it could have been, given that the future is always uncertain. It would have made for a more entertaining headline….
The headline reminded me of Jim Sherman’s funny-but-you-could-so-image-such-a-scene-with-Dubya-involved “Hu’s on first”, which is of course derived from Abbott & Costello’s baseball themed “Who’s on First?”

No, this post does not contain any insightful commentary on Sino-Japanese relations.

PDP manufacturers cut 07Q1 sales forecasts November 6, 2006

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With LCD display manufacturers becoming more and more competitive in larger form factors, 3 big PDP manufactuers have reduced their sales forecasts by between 8% and 20% for the 07Q1 period. That’s still a year on year increase in boxes being shifted, but they are beginning to feel the squeeze as LCD players ramp up their Gen.8 fabs (Sharp’s Gen8 fab went on-line earlier this year, Samsung/Sony are set to follow next year) which will be churning out larger form factor displays as LCD manufacturers fight the price erosion which is increasing especially at smaller sizes. Gen8 labs will enable manufacturers to churn out more of the 40-50 inch screens which were traditionally the staple of the PDP camp.

Just a couple of years ago, the LCD/PDP boundary was at around the 37V size, but LCD technology has shown it is easier to scale up than PDP to scale down (and price erosion in the 32-inch and below sectors is so intense, it would make little sense for PDP manufacturers in any case).

Sharp recently announced that it intended to make all its large format displays full HD (1080p) capable, in an attempt to secure the higher end of the market and minimise price erosion pressures.

It seems likely that LCD will eventually rule the roost up to at least 50V (Sharp is probably gunning for the markets upto around 65V).

Above that size, I certainly can’t see any reason why RPTV can’t take the bulk of the domestic market (if you have the space to view a 70V screen comfortably, you should have enough space to concede 8-12 inches of floorspace by the wall (yes, new RPTVs are really that thin), and PDP screens are only about half as thick so the difference is insubstantial) which would leave PDP for high brightness, thin form factor commercial usage on the whole. (Will SED be able to survive just on the high end videophile and broadcast monitor markets?)

Also, just compare the power consumption between a PDP and a similar sized RPTV. It seems criminal to use a technology which consumes significantly more power than a competitive alternative. (I’d bet the manufacturing energy costs are also significantly different, based purely on the relative areas of the active display surfaces)

An often overlooked problem with large flat panel displays is that there’s a lot of glass comprising the screen which makes for a high and offset center of gravity which results in a not particularly stable structure. If you live in an earthquake zone (which is like the whole of Japan) or have kids or pets, ensuring that the screen doesn’t fall over is going to be a concern. (And as for those photos of screens hung on a wall, don’t try it unless you have a brick wall or pay for reinforce ments, plasterboard isn’t strong enough to hang a huge sheet of glass and associated electronics from.)

The Economist on Social Networks September 23, 2006

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The Economist had an article in the Sept 14th Edition regarding Social Networking.

It makes a passing mention of Mixi’s IPO. In comparison with Mixi, I feel that the rumoured valuations in the billon dollar range for Facebook seem to be about right, especially as the network structure based on academic institutions makes profiling and targetting high value user groups easier and more accessible for monetization.

Social networking | Hanging with the in-crowd | Economist.com

From the BBC: Browser flaw seen on porn sites (only if you use IE) September 21, 2006

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Another reason to use Firefox or some other alternative browser….

BBC NEWS | Technology | Browser flaw seen on porn sites