いよいよ – iPhone – 日本へ

In less than 30 minutes the new iPhone 3G will begin selling in Japan. According to the news just now, Japan will be the first country to be able to grab the new iPhone today. I’m sure this is due to time differences.
Today’s post is brought to you buy the word:

新発売
shin hatsu bai
New Product!

shin new

発売 hatsubai release (for sale); offering for sale; put on the market

Hmmm… I wonder if my iPhone can get the software update now since I’m in Japan… Probably not. But I’ll give it a shot.

憧れのKindle Just got (a little) Cheaper

No doubt the recent price drop move by Apple encouraged Amazon to lower their Kindle price, but unfortunately they didn’t lower it much.

Apple $400 -> $200 ($200 lower!)
Amazon $400 -> $359 (not as much lower!)



I am still infatuated with the idea behind Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, but I’m not convinced dropping $40 will make people rush out to grab one.
(if Amazon happens to be listening) how about keeping the Kindle at $400, but throwing in $100 worth of ‘free’* ebook purchasing power?
I don’t know what Amazon’s take is on each e-book sale, but I imagine it is close to 50%.  If that is the case, Amazon’s real-world cost for offering $100 of ‘free’ e-books is only $50.  This is pretty close to current lower price point AND it gives the consumer a much greater real-world value.

That being said, if I had plenty of money AND plenty of reading time I’d snap this up right now.

* “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” – Milton Friedman

Upcoming $5 JLPT 4 kyuu Vocabulary Part II

We are working hard on the second (and final) part of our JLPT vocabulary 4 kyuu $5 download. It should be ready by Monday. This has been the most ambitious of our $5 downloads, but I hope one of the more useful too. We had to split the vocabulary packs into two downloads due to the huge size. Both downloads contain hundreds of words each with an example sentence as an individual MP3 in addition to a PDF with definitions and a flash file for use with your computer.
A little secret: We will probably release this part II (on Monday or Tuesday) for only $2.50. That way those who have bought the first part or those who would like to purchase both then will only be charged $7.50 total. I hope everyone will feel like the downloads are worth a lot more than that! (After all this work, we certainly do!)
Here are two words found in that $5 download pack on the JLPT level 4:

[display_podcast]

たいへんvery
今日はたいへん暑いです。
Today is very hot.

たいへんserious; terrible
それはたいへんですね。
That is terrible.

The kanji for taihen is 大変 which is big (大) and strange or change (変) and it commonly has these two meanings: 1) very and 2) terrible.
In theory, ignoring the strange looks you will surely get, you can say sore wa taihen taihen desu. That is very terrible! (But I wouldn’t recommend it)

Some Very and not so Very Expensive Toys

I’ve decided I need a portable field recorder.
PCM-D1 Sony Professional Portable 24-bit Linear Audio Recorder imageI’ve had my eye on Sony’s 24-bit Linear PCM-D1 Audio Recorder ever since a friend in Tokyo picked one up. After hearing a few samples he recorded, I was amazed at the quality. He sent me a sound file of him recording the ambiance of a Tokyo cafe. A lady was singing and playing guitar while other guests mingled; every detail and feel of a live cafe was there.
The very small problem is—it sells for $2k.
Hence the next item…
PCMD50 Sony Professional Portable 24-bit Linear Audio Recorder imageLast month Sony came out with a baby sister model of the above: The PCMD50. The general specs are identical (up to 24 bit, 96kHz recording; 4 Gigs of Flash onboard memory). The only difference I’ve found from online reviews is it is made of slightly inferior materials. (the line input for example is plastic instead of metal) I’m sure the built in mics aren’t nearly as good, but again after hearing sound files people made of it, I’m impressed beyond impressed.
This little baby is only $500. Not bad and probably within reach, but do I really need this much?!
Recently I’ve realized I usually buy above what I really need. In the past, I’ve rationalized this by thinking I will come up with projects that would require the best of the best, but I rarely do. For my purposes a $300 video camera would be just as good as the $900 one I bought a few years ago. A used Super Nintendo that is falling apart would do just as fine as the Xbox 360 I bought last year… Well, maybe not.

Zoom H2 ImageFollowing this logic (the earlier logic), I’ve decided on this $188 model-the Zoom H2. At less than half the price of the ‘cheap’ Sony, the H2 seems to have everything I need. I’m having to buy a 4 Gig SD card which adds another $28 to the cost, but that is still half off the Sony.
As with the Sony, it can record anywhere powered by batteries and the sound files (WAV or MP3) can easily be sent to your computer via a USB cable. It records in WAV 96kHz/48kHz/44.1kHz at 16-bit or 24-bit, MP3 to 320kbps and Variable Bit Rate (VBR) data formats.
The worst thing I’ve heard about it is if you push the pre-amp up to maximum gain the hiss is pretty bad. It sounds decent if not darn good at mid-levels, though. I need ‘decent;’ ‘darn good’ would be nice, but not essential.
I’m expecting it to arrive in a week or so. I’ll play with it for a few days and then write a review here. For less than $200, if it delivers, this is something any webmaster who works with sound should have. (podcasting, adding silly audio comments to your blog, doing ‘serious’ interviews with your best friend or your dog, etc)

Super Resource: FireFox & Rikai-chan

Super Resources for Learning Japanese

Very often I get emails asking how to do such and such with Japanese on the computer or where can I buy a keyboard with all 2000 kanji so I can type in Japanese, etc. I just got one (more former than latter) and thought, “You know, I should just write a blog post and be done with it!” So here I am almost done with it.


Rikaichan is a FireFox extension that is simply a must for Japanese learners. I suppose it is the singular reason why I use FireFox most of the time. I still use IE for a few sites that require it and of course for testing how my sites look in both browsers, but having the ability to mouse over any kanji and have its definition and reading appear ‘magically’ is simply awesome—this is exactly what Rikaichan does.

For years, there have been websites that when loaded allowed people to surf the Net with instant lookups, but Rikaichan makes this insanely easy. Jisyo Pop and Rikai (on which this extension is based) were the main ones.

Jim Breen’s Site Anyway, back to Rikaichan. Like 99% of the online dictionaries out there it is based on Professor Jim “the Godfather” Breen’s EDICT project.

Here are the features of Rikaichan as told on its website:

  • Simple to use, just hover the mouse on top of a Japanese word.
  • Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives.
  • Has an optional toolbar that allows you to manually type the word to lookup.
  • Detailed kanji view shows meaning/keyword in English, on/kun readings, and other information.
  • Hiragana, katakana and half-width katakana are treated the same making it possible to lookup stylized/emphasized words.

Installation:

  • FireFox: If you don’t use FireFox, consider trying it out if only just for Rikaichan.
  • Download the Plugin: Go here, scroll down and click below “The main extension“. It should automatically install.
  • Download the Dictionary File: You can choose between J-English, J-French, J-German and J-Russian

That should be it. Now go forth and explore!

Super Resource: FireFox & Rikai-chan

Super Resources for Learning Japanese

Very often I get emails asking how to do such and such with Japanese on the computer or where can I buy a keyboard with all 2000 kanji so I can type in Japanese, etc. I just got one (more former than latter) and thought, “You know, I should just write a blog post and be done with it!” So here I am almost done with it.


Rikaichan is a FireFox extension that is simply a must for Japanese learners. I suppose it is the singular reason why I use FireFox most of the time. I still use IE for a few sites that require it and of course for testing how my sites look in both browsers, but having the ability to mouse over any kanji and have its definition and reading appear ‘magically’ is simply awesome—this is exactly what Rikaichan does.

For years, there have been websites that when loaded allowed people to surf the Net with instant lookups, but Rikaichan makes this insanely easy. Jisyo Pop and Rikai (on which this extension is based) were the main ones.

Jim Breen’s Site Anyway, back to Rikaichan. Like 99% of the online dictionaries out there it is based on Professor Jim “the Godfather” Breen’s EDICT project.

Here are the features of Rikaichan as told on its website:

  • Simple to use, just hover the mouse on top of a Japanese word.
  • Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives.
  • Has an optional toolbar that allows you to manually type the word to lookup.
  • Detailed kanji view shows meaning/keyword in English, on/kun readings, and other information.
  • Hiragana, katakana and half-width katakana are treated the same making it possible to lookup stylized/emphasized words.

Installation:

  • FireFox: If you don’t use FireFox, consider trying it out if only just for Rikaichan.
  • Download the Plugin: Go here, scroll down and click below “The main extension“. It should automatically install.
  • Download the Dictionary File: You can choose between J-English, J-French, J-German and J-Russian

That should be it. Now go forth and explore!