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Comment Re:fujitsu scansnap (Score 1) 371

Wow...I thought I was the only one who did this. I follow the exact same method, with the ScanSnap, and have probably scanned in 2000-3000 pages by now. The only annoyances are having to remove staples and scanning in irregularly-shaped receipts (like the 5-page long ones from Radio Shack). I scan in everything that I don't have a digital copy of, and then trash it. As for the digitization, I just throw everything into a .pdf and OCR it using Acrobat Standard (the ClearScan OCR feature works better than anything else I've found, and works with multiple languages). Two full years of hi-res scanned documents take up around 200MB.

Comment Try Japan (Score 1) 240

Softbank over here has absolutely no tethering plans and has no plans to ever enable tethering on the iPhone. I'm surprised that Japanese are so willing to pour money into mobile data devices, as the iPhone is the "second phone" for most people (everyone still keeps their original Japanese flip-phone and data plan because the iPhone lacks nearly all standard Japanese features). Furthermore, Softbank actively disallows all non-Softbank iPhones from being used on the iPhone data plan by keeping track of each unit's IMEI.

On Apple's side, why is it so difficult to switch between countries in the App Store? It can only be done on the PC, and requires me to enter a credit card for each country every single time I switch the iTunes country. This makes keeping Apps updated from the Japan and US stores incredibly difficult.

As soon as the new Android models are released here (or possibly WinMo 7), I'll be switching away from the iPhone mess.

Comment Re:Sanyo Fail (Score 1) 494

The Sanyo Eneloop bike is an exception. Nearly all electric hybrid bikes here in Japan indeed drive through the chain, with pedal assist (no throttle). I've been heavily riding my folding Panasonic hybrid electric bike for over two years now, and it's worked almost flawlessly. I replaced the battery once, which was around $300 (though the old battery still holds a decent charge). One issue with the electric assist bikes here in Japan is the fact that the law prohibits any assistance over 20kph. The assistance fades out over this point. For most city riding, it's fine, but for some open areas, I wanted more speed so I had the rear wheel rebuilt with the SRAM DualDrive internally-geared hub. This simple (or complex!) re-gearing increased the assisted top speed to just under 30kph, which is about as fast as I would want to go with the thing. It's still not as fast as my non-electric Dahon Jetstream XP, but it sure is great for hauling stuff (I have no car, so nearly all shopping is done via bike).

Comment Re:iTunes + Airport Express (Score 1) 438

I've been doing this at home for a couple years, and it works quite well (the audio stream is also lossless, I believe). I want to mention a couple things.

I know the OP wanted to avoid buying separate amps for each room. I use a pair of compact Fostex powered studio monitors in the bedroom that sound great and plug directly into the Airport Express. This might be an option (although each speaker needs to be individually switched on).

One other consideration relates to interference in the 2.4Ghz wireless band. If you have things like cordless phones and microwave ovens operating, the sound can and will cut out occasionally. Therefore, you may want to look into using the 5.0Ghz A/N band for streaming audio to get the most reliability. However, the 5Ghz band doesn't offer the same range as the 2.4Ghz band, so you'll have to make a decision there.

Comment Re:Did Tokyo lose because of this as well? (Score 3, Informative) 1040

Really? I've been living in Japan for two years now (I'm a US citizen), and I absolutely dread going back to the States. Arriving in the US feels like a madhouse by comparison. As a Japanese multiple-exit visa holder (most long-term residents have this), I have a separate line at immigration that usually has no line. There is the fingerprinting and photo (which was a point of contention with the American Chamber of Commerce, I remember), but I've never been asked any background questions on any of my 10+ entries into the country. The entire process takes no more than 5 minutes as opposed to the hour-plus ordeal that I face at any US international entry point. You don't have to remove your shoes, and at least for domestic flights, it's no problem to bring a bottle of liquid (tea, etc.) right through security).

Comment Re:It's because of the compass. (Score 1) 250

Actually, the compass is one of the main reasons I may upgrade to the 3GS from the 3G (the other being the fact that Softbank's pricing is very good and it would cost me hardly more than just keeping the 3G). Here in Tokyo, the streets are hardly arranged in any meaningful fashion, so it's often difficult to figure out which direction you're facing after popping out of a subway exit or going somewhere by bike. If the 3GS weren't cheap, I wouldn't purchase it, but I can think of many times that would have prevented me from walking in the wrong direction for a few blocks.

Comment Re:Why does ad-block have to be on a browser (Score 1) 417

It's certainly possible to make an appliance that does the page modifications on a proxy level, after the requested pages come into the router from the remote server (before getting NAT'ed to the hosts). You could sort the hosts by MAC or IP address to keep track of user settings, and this could be done with no local installation. The proxy-modified page would have controls for ad display permissions and switching it on/off could be done through a web interface. However, I'd guess that most companies would be concerned about circumventing the ads in this way for legal reasons...

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