iPhone apps, Study, and Japanese TV

yamanote_tiltshift

Ahh, what a cute Yamanote train. Taken and (poorly) tilt-shifted on the iPhone.

Been a good day today. Finally updated www.iphoningjapan.com with a re-write of the Tokyo Metro app, now includes my take on using the Augmented Reality function. It’s very cool.

For those of you who don’t know what augmented reality is – it’s what they have in fighter jets and very high-end cars, whereby additional information is somehow projected onto the windshield, so you can keep on looking where you’re going without taking your eyes off the road / sky ahead.

This technology is now available for iPhone users (and on other Japanese handsets) – you hold the phone up and it will use the built in GPS and compass to figure out what you’re looking at, then overlay info from its database (cafes / stations / shops etc). Read more on iPhoning Japan.

There’s another app called Sekai Camera which uses the same technology, but also allows you to add your own ‘airtags’ – for example, I took a photo of a friend and placed it outside a shop in Shibuya (where we were), so from now on whenever you go there, they’ll be floating around. It’s still a kind of game at the moment, but the potential of these apps to majorly impact upon our lives (especially in places like Tokyo) is very exciting.

I’ll be posting about Sekai Camera later this week.

I also blogged about Koetan! – a fantastic voice-recognition Tokyo train route app.

Finally got Anki and iAnki (spaced repetition software for learning ANYTHING!) up and running – very excited about learning Japanese again.

Oh, had a meeting too about a dream like production studio myself and a friend would like to rent. It is a dream though.

Oh oh oh, and I watched TV for an hour too! First time in forever that I’ve done that. Used my dictionary throughout picking out unknown words – very beneficial.

Mind you, Japanese TV is absolutely terrible on the whole, and I can’t believe people actually pay so much for such limited choice, and such drivvle. It’s like paying US$200 (or whatever it is) per year for the privilege of watching 10 of the most mindless YouTube channels on Earth, whilst stabbing yourself in the eyes with red hot needles. I seriously wonder what people are thinking when they come up with some of the extraordinarily bizarre things you see.

Basically, I don’t really want to watch TV as I think it’s a complete waste of time (for me). It strikes me as being like pouring your life down the loo, but I do want to use it in my Japanese studies (thus my asking for recommendations earlier). You know, the average time spent in front of the TV in the UK is about 25 hours per week (and far more in Japan). Yes, I sit in front of my computer, but on the whole that’s productive time. I rarely find myself procrastinating these days as there’s just too much I want to do in the short time I have. I’m grateful in a way that Japanese TV is so awful as it means I’m unlikely to voluntarily indulge, instead only watching one of two things a week that are well-produced and help my studies.

Anyway, best go to bed. Don’t forget that we’re giving away free credit for use on www.hearjapan.com (Japanese music download site aimed at people outside of japan) to all listeners of the latest episode of Japanpodshow.com!

Oyasumi!

Livestreaming the Tokyo Quarter Marathon – Take Your Seats

This event is sponsored by Japan Podshow – launching shortly!

LIVE STREAMING VIDEO PLAYER

If I’m not streaming, the previous live-streamed video will play.

(Go to http://www.qik.com/tamegoeswild to see a live-updated map of exactly where I am. There is also a comments tab – click on that and enter your comment – I will read them all out at the end – when I’m running my Phone will vibrate to tell me you have commented.

iStreamingFinal prep is done. I completely redesigned the iStreaming hat. It’s now rock solid, and doesn’t interfere with my vision at all. It is secured with a length of trouser elastic, multiple safety pins, a Japanese bandana, with a hat over the top). My thanks to Nami for coming up with the basic concept for this new device).

It’s angle will be maintained by an adapted stand that I got with an iPod voice recorder, and no less than three Sponges of Speed, all of which are actually made of paper for added forward momentum. The iPhone itself sits in an elasticated Belkin armband case that has been cannibalised.

I shall be using the iPhone’s built in mic, which what with the iPhone being in the Belkin case will be fairly well sheltered from the wind. I tested it tonight – it works pretty well.
The iPhone will remain connected to a powerful eneloop battery throughout by a cable running under my shirt to my pocket (thanks to Steve for the recommendation).

I will also have a Mophie Juice pack Just In Case.

I will start broadcasting on and off from 7am JST, 11pm BST, 10pm UTC. We should be moving onto the start of the course at around 8am JST – the starting gun will be fired at 09:10am JST. We aim to complete the race in 50 mins max.

What could go wrong?

What I am going to attempt to do is highly dangerous and should not be attempted at home. Any number of things could result in catastrophic disaster:

  • The organisers may confiscate my iPhone due to broadcasting rules
  • The signal may fail. This is actually bound to happen at some point. If the stream is broken, the iPhone will buffer the video, and then continue to stream it from where it left off when it picks up the connection again. This can result in a delay of a few seconds, or even a minute or two.
  • It may rain. I never did get the umbrella hat sorted.

But these are necessary risks if we are to prevail. I face them with a brave heart and legs that are destined to run.

I’d like to thank everyone that has helped me in my effort. Special thanks to my friend and trainer Tom, my teacher Nami, and the army of Twitters / Tokyo friends who have supported me whilst seeing this for what it really is – a big bit of sillyness.

Thanks also to Kamasami Kong of the Tokyo Metpod for following the story, Bhasker at Qik.com for publicising it, and Steve at www.tuaw.com for ensuring that the story reached readers all over the world.

GANBARIMASU!