Rubénerd Show 365: The Osaka episode

Rubénerd Show 365

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:03:56 – Join Ruben as he ventures through the otaku and tech mecca of the Kansai region in Den Den Town, then with Ruben and Clara during the Tenjin Matsuri by the Okawa, intersperced with the sounds of the Osaka subway. Topics include Japanese cicadas, travel, ubiquitous speakers, vending machines, cute mascots, summer festival food, and much more! Recorded Tuesday 25th July 2017. More to come.

Recorded in Osaka, Japan. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released July 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.


Osaka Free WiFi

Wireless security icon from the Gnome Colors project

Osaka’s free WiFi service isn’t everywhere, but it’s in enough places to be really useful. It also works with my personal VPN, which they even encourage:

In order for you to access Internet quickly and conveniently, this service does not use security measure such as WEP key, which one usually needs to configure for client terminals when connecting to a wireless LAN router,. For those who prefer secure connection, we recommend using VPN (Virtual Private Network) or the paid public hotspots services.

If you understand the nature of this service as described above, please click “I agreed” to use this service on your own risk prior to use. You must agree to this statement to use this service.

Many (if not most) WiFi hotspots are glorified data harvesting honeypots, so to have a service warn you like this is interesting, and welcomed.


An Osaka Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Speaking of pointless, self-referential blog posts, this is a quick one coming from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Namba, Osaka!

I grew up going to the Coffee Bean in Singapore, often with my partner in crime Felix Tanjono. Their bottomless morning black coffees single-handedly got us through our year 12 exams. Okay, maybe a stretch, they got us through 98% of it. They’re an institution there and in KL; they were in Southeast Asia before Starbucks.

In the context of Rubénerd though, their outlets hold even more significance. When we lived in KL for a couple of years, our TMNet ADSL was so atrocious I’d often hitch a ride with my dad into KLCC and sit at the Coffee Bean at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers. Their WiFi in the centre of town, and their stimulating beverages, were far superior to home.

I coveted the end power point seat near the back window; once I’d set up there I could type for hours. If you read a blog post from 2006 to 07 about FreeBSD or Suzumiya Haruhi, chances are they were written from that spot.

But it hasn’t been all roses. That KLCC branch is now – of all things – a Harley Davidson clothing store. Elsewhere, the chain has been dropping off the face of the Earth. When Clara and I were in Manhattan we just missed their entire east coast closure. In Hong Kong, the few branches were closed.

Fortunately, they’re still in Japan, and I’m writing this as we speak now. I’d long since moved to black coffee, but I’m having an Ultimate Ice Blended just like we used to as a kid.


Rubénerd Show 364: The Hong Kong episode

Rubénerd Show 364

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

24:21 – Join Ruben and Clara on the tarmac of the old Kai Tak Airport as they discuss their current trip to Hong Kong! Topics include the Kowloon Walled City, comparing Hong Kong to Singapore and New York, the view from Victoria Peak, monsoon rains, lemons, and other topics discussed in the first person. We ran out of time, so the next episode will be from Osaka. 唔該.

Recorded in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released July 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.


The best blog café in the world

View of Hong Kong from the top of Victoria Peak

Most, if not all, of my best blog posts were written at cafés. I don’t know what it is about the atmosphere, the beverages, the calm music; but they have the effect of letting me write, code and think clearer than anywhere else. I’ve had days where I’ve smashed out a week’s worth of work in a day sitting at a Starbucks, or a Coffee Bean.

(I emphasise the need for it to be a chain, despite the coffee not being as good. Indie or hipster coffee shop proprietors will often, and arguably rightly, glare at you when you take out your laptop or tablet).

In this case today though, I’m at a Pacific Coffee with the best view of any cafe in the world. It’s on the top of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island overlooking the entire city. It’s the same vantage point and architectural mix I’d see staring down at my SimCities of yore. It’s muggy and hot, but the rain let up just long enough to see as far as Mongkok in the distance, and the old Kai Tak runway.

Sorry Boat Deck Café in Adelaide, I may have a new favourite! Though arguably the chances to type and think here will be somewhat fewer.


Scott Ludlam

On the same day Australia’s leadership questioned the laws of mathematics, we got the one-two punch announcement that Scott Ludlam was retiring from politics under section 44.

Before we go any further, you have to read about the first point above to believe it. From Chris Duckett and Asha McLean in ZDNet Australia:

“The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that,” he said on Friday. “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”

Icon from the Gnome Colors project

Halfwits. But I digress; Bridie Jabour wrote a great summary for The Guardian:

If he is not the only politician to properly understand metadata, cybersecurity and the internet, he is certainly the one who understands it best. He has fought, at times unsuccessfully, against the slow erosion of civil liberties through data retention laws and campaigned on the importance of net neutrality.

Ludlam thanked Abbott for sending him the “geeks and coders, network engineers and gamers who would never have voted Green in a million years, without the blundering and technologically illiterate assistance of your leadership team”.

You will be missed, Scott. Thanks for being that voice of reason, logic, and compassion. I hope this isn’t the last we hear from you.


Rubénerd Show 363: The everything except episode

Rubénerd Show 363

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

25:22 – Join Ruben as he harkens back to one of the first reboot episodes in 2015, when he was also wandering around an empty house that was once his home. Two years later, and he's moving out of the place he moved away from that earlier place to. This show description had several variants of the word “move” in it. Recorded 3rd of July 2017.

Recorded in Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released July 2017 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.


Citibank Australia and Safari

I got this alert when signing in:

We noticed that you are using a non-Citi certified browser. For the best Citi Online experience, it is recommended that you use a certified browser.

I was using the latest version of Safari, version 10.1.1. So I checked the linked page, emphasis added:

You are recommended to use supported and updated browsers to ensure that your internet banking is secure.

Solid advice. What versions are supported?

Safari 7.0
Safari 8.0

Most firms I’d give the benefit of the doubt, but poor showing for a company this size, folks!

I last mentioned Citibank in 2008, for some sneaky advertising.


Rick’s 10GbE home network

I love seeing homelabs like this, but this especially is the most gorgeous home cable management I’ve seen.


Recycling VHS tapes

Remember VHS tapes? The labels from video rental stores imploring you to rewind after use, the read-write tabs to make sure you couldn’t overwrite them, making sure you had your timestamps listed on labels so you could squeeze another episode of Star Trek Voyager on one. Spoiler: Kes was the best character.

Were those of us in our late 20’s/early 30s the last generation to witness the glory of these terrible things?

I harboured grand ambitions of digitising our collection, but on the weekend the penny dropped that I hadn’t done this for a decade, so it was unlikely I ever would. So I picked a choice few, and decided to dispose of the rest.

But therein lies the rub. Few Sydney councils and recycling centres take tapes. I don’t know why, maybe they were Betamax or Laserdisc fans and find the idea of lowly VHS some sort of aberration. More likely, they’re just too old for people to worth mentioning now.

All I could find was The Hills Council in northern Sydney:

Council has a CD and DVD recycling program available for households in The Hills Shire. The CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes collected are rendered unreadable and recycled into new products. Please help us keep CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes out of landfill and take them to one of the collection point listed below.

They list the Hills Shire Council admin building, and a few libraries, none of which are easily-accessible by train that I can see. Darn.

If you know a VHS tape recycling mob in Sydney, throw me a tweet!