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Yearly Archives: 2011

Moving house (part 3)

Regular visitors might have noticed that I’ve been in the process of moving house most of this year. Having spent the entire summer and most of the autumn living at temporary addresses, we have — finally!! — moved into the place we wanted. Here’s the new address: 6 Herbert Road, Exeter EX1 2UQ Tel: +44 (0)1392 202673

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OmegaT + Google Translate v2 + Mac OS X

OmegaT is a free, open-source, cross-platform computer-assisted translation tool. One of its useful features is an interface to the Google Translate API that enables it to provide a (somewhat helpful) machine translation of each chunk of text as it is being translated. Earlier this year, Google announced that its free translation API is to be replaced with a paid service, and will stop altogether on 1st December 2011. Providing an API key Recent versions of OmegaT are compatible with the paid service (Google Translate v2), but before you can use it you have to set up an account with Google and give them your credit card details. In return, you’ll get an identification code called an API key that OmegaT will need when interacting with Google. However, the OmegaT developers haven’t yet made it very easy to enter this key. Windows users can provide this information by adding the following line to the OmegaT.l4J.ini configuration file (replacing “xxxx” with your actual API key): -Dgoogle.api.key=xxxx On other operating systems, the API key has to be provided as a command line argument when the OmegaT Java application [More…]

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QR code failure

QR codes are continuing to grow in popularity across Europe and the United States, according to a report by 3G Vision (Global Growth in Mobile Barcode Usage – Q2 / 2011). I’ve been suggesting for a long time that it might be worth adding one when you get your business card translated into Japanese. Well now it seems that you should maybe have one on your English business card already. On a related note, last weekend’s newspaper carried an advert for the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind: It might not look like it, but that yellow blob at the bottom right is a QR code. Unfortunately the designers of this advert have mangled the thing up so much that it’s unlikely anyone will be able to scan it successfully. The inventors of QR codes (a Japanese company called Denso Wave) clearly state in their specifications that codes should be surrounded by a clear margin of at least four dot-widths (or “modules”). Without this margin, your scanner will probably be unable to locate the QR code at all, [More…]

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Moving house (part 2)

We have now arranged the purchase of another house in Exeter. Unfortunately we won’t be able to move in before the end of the temporary lease on the house where we are currently staying. So from Thursday 25th August, we will have another temporary address, which is as follows: 48 Polsloe Road Exeter EX1 2DS If you need to contact me by telephone, please use the mobile number: +44 (0)754 683 1591.

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Inside the Hiroshima Peace Memorial

One of the unmistakable features of the Hiroshima skyline is the shattered remains of the dome structure at the top of what used to be known as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. This building lies almost directly at the hypocentre of the atomic explosion that devastated much of the city 66 years ago yesterday (August 6th 1945). Today, the locals call it the A-bomb dome (原爆ドーム; genbaku dōmu), although it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is officially known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (広島平和記念碑; Hiroshima heiwa kinenhi). The building isn’t normally open to the public, so can only be seen from the outside. However, Google Japan announced on Friday that they had added the site to Google Maps (Google 日本 Blog; Japanese only). So now you can take a virtual walk around the ruins whenever you like.

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The company hosting this website will be updating their network switches later today. As a result, this site will be temporarily offline between 23:15 and 00:45 BST tonight (22:15 and 23:45 GMT). If you’re in Japan, that means the site will be unavailable between 07:15 and 08:45 tomorrow morning (August 3rd). Apologies for any inconvenience.

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Cat’s ears

The latest invention from Japan is a headset that monitors the wearer’s brain activity and moves a pair of furry cat’s ears to reflect what the wearer is thinking. The product is called necomimi, which translates directly as “cat’s ears” (猫耳; ねこみみ). Its developers hope to have it on sale by the end of this year. Their website has all the latest news. I have to admit I thought this was all a hoax when I first heard about it, but a recent news article on the BBC website has another video that shows the product being tried out by ordinary members of the public.

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Moving house

I’ve just sold the house on Hamllin Lane where I was living for the last few years. Hopefully I will be buying another place in Exeter some time soon. In the meantime, I will be renting a property at the following address: 20 Commins Road Exeter EX1 2PZ The phone number has also changed. Assuming Virgin Media are able to hook us up tomorrow as planned, the new number will be +44 (0)1392 678269. (2/Jun/2011: The phone line is now operational.) Please update your address book.

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Exeter Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Appeal

I recently set up a new website for the Exeter Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Appeal, which is a fund-raising effort that will form part of this year’s Exeter Respect festival in Belmont Park over the weekend of 4th-5th June 2011. Preparations are still under way, but there should be something for everyone, including plenty of Japanese food. There will also be a performance by Kagemusha Taiko (Saturday 6:15 – 7 pm). Please come along if you are able. Entry to the park is completely free. Here’s the link: http://aid4japan.wordpress.com/

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On May 26th 2011, a half-baked piece of EU legislation called the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 is going to become part of UK law. This means it will essentially become illegal for a website to set a cookie in your browser without your explicit consent. Unfortunately, the only reliable way for a website to store visitor preferences is by setting a cookie. So if you don’t consent to these cookies, then every time you visit a website that uses them, you will be shown a message asking you to enable cookies in your browser. This message will most likely appear on every single page, and the nagging will not stop unless and until you give permission for the site to set cookies. You may even be completely denied access to some websites until cookies are enabled. The legislators also seem to have overlooked the fact that it’s already possible for users to control the use of cookies within their own web browsers. If you need help with that, click the name of your browser in the list below: Internet Explorer Safari Firefox Google Chrome Opera [More…]

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Header image: Maple leaves and bamboo stems in autumn at Tenryū-ji garden (天龍寺庭園) in Kyoto. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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