Bigger Than Rufus

Tech, opinion, and other stuff.

Month: November, 2012

Kindle drops price to match Rakuten Kobo

In an effort to stay competitive in Japan, Amazon has dropped the price for their Kindle Paperwhite to match Rakuten’s e-reader (see Mashable). This is significantly lower than the price in the US. It almost makes me wish I waited until now to get my Kindle…well, maybe that’s not exactly true. I’ve read so many books on my Kindle 4G since I got it last year, that I have to admit, its one of my most used gadgets.

Anyway, I haven’t seen any pre-sales figures for the Kindle Paperwhite in Japan yet (it comes out in December), but they are losing money with each one sold. I hope they can make it up in the bookstore. But can they price titles effectively to entice consumers to start spending there?

Here’s the current top 5 paid books in the store…number two is an English dictionary for $1…hmmm..

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Feel like you’re Indiana Jones

Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m talking about the Traveler’s Notebook and the great joy you can get from journaling. Sure, you can call it keeping a diary if you like, but I prefer the term journal. I get more of a sense of permanence and ruggedness.

And second, this is not a product review. You can find any multitude of those online. Rather, I want to express to you that if you like hand writing your journals, this is one that will feel great in your hands, has a sublime leather scent, and takes well to the scratching of your pen nib as you pour your thoughts onto the page. The leather will become more distressed as you use it and will look even better over time. You’ll even feel a bit like Indy.

Quite simply, the Traveler’s Notebook is just a rectangular piece of leather folded in half, with a couple of pieces of elastic attached to it. I think a lot of people will appreciate that this is definitely not a run of the mill Moleskine (although those are great too). But the Traveler’s Notebook really invites you to customize it and make it your own. Check out Flickr to see what some inventive folk have created. You can easily see that a main benefit to handwritten journals is that they are tangible. You can write out your thoughts and feel the permanence. You can paste in an actual ticket stub to your first concert. You can customize your journal any way you see fit. And you can know that all the great minds of the past also documented their thoughts, pen to paper.

Unfortunately for me, although I love my Traveler’s Notebooks ( I have two), I also fell in love with digital journals. The convenience of being able to write whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, was just too good to pass up. Plus, there’s no need to print out photos I want to attach to a particular entry and I can write as much as I like without it taking up significant physical space. If you prefer a digital journal, please see my other post for Day One, a great mac/iOS app.

However you journal though, I highly recommend you give it a try. If you journal as a way to release pent up thoughts, feelings, or ideas, I think its much cheaper than seeing a therapist.

*Note: Photos are from Midori’s Traveler’s Notebook website. Check it out.

Living in a box

Living in a box

Here’s an interesting article from the Japan Times on housing in the land of the rising sun. My own apartment is rather small, has a northern facing entrance, and a southern facing living area–just as described in the article. Rather utilitarian in nature, but still comfortable. I suppose I am living up many tropes of a typical Japanese worker.

But in the end, I have to say that my lifestyle in the city is quite comfortable, although I do wish my apartment were a bit bigger. In all, I have access to three grocery stores within a five minute walk, two train stations within an 8 minute walk, access to the city center with an 8 minute train ride, and the list goes on….

But most of all, I am grateful for easy access to health care and a generally safe life. That is not to say crime and violence does not occur here (it does), and accidents do happen, but you also don’t have people walking around everywhere with loaded firearms.

So disassociating the concept of a “right” to carry firearms, as that is an entirely separate debate, I am happy to say that although I live in one of the most “dangerous” cities in Japan, its crime rate is still lower than the safest cities in the US (Plano, TX per Exploring Tokyo).

Ok, so…that’s how you go from writing about living in a box-like apartment to crime rates in Plano.

Done and done.

Sony’s Portable Console Dying Ugly in Japan

May not be news to some of you, but the PSP Vita is not doing well. Sad, as I have fond memories of my original PSP.

Check out the linkĀ from Forbes.

A long-winded way to make a point

Check out Mat Honan’s article on why the password system as we know it doesn’t work. Lots of doom and gloom in my opinion. I think he could have made his point much more succinctly.

But my question is what we, as the average user, are supposed to do now. Yes, we can start using stronger passwords (try out 1Password), two way authentication, separate and unique email reset addresses, etc. Or as Mat mentioned, other, more privacy invasive ways to uniquely identify ourselves.

but right now, what can I do to protect myself? He says that the first step is to acknowledge the problem and the second is to fix it. OK, but as a general public, we’re still on step one. How does he propose to move to step two?