Wakeless Days

Because I like beautiful girls.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

One volume of Jump, 100 smiling people.

This is a 30 minute translation and I am still a student. Please verify anything you want to cite, this is for interest/convenience only.

Original : http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0326/TKY201103260109.html

And here's a pic of that copy of SHONENJUMP! It has been... on Twitpic

At a Sendai bookstore that can't receive new magazine shipments, one volume of Weekly Shonen Jump as been read by over 100 children. This single precious copy was a gift from a customer. Being able to continue with popular manga has calmed children and brought smiles to their faces.

After the disaster, in the midst of many closed bookstores, the Shiogawa bookstore in Aoba ward near Itsuhashi station on the north-south subway line has reopened after 14 days with only its existing stock. But customers come looking for new magazines and the shopkeeper Mr. Yuuichi Shiogawa (47) has had to tell them "We have none. There are no plans for stock shipments." He mentioned that when he reported that they did not have Shogakuan's "Korokoro Comic" a young child began to cry.

What many people want to read is the popular manga One Piece and other titles serialized in Shueisha's Jump. One male customer that absolutely wanted to read Jump went to the neighboring Yamagata prefecture and returned with one copy he had finished.
"Shonen Jump issue 16 from 3/19 can be read here!! We only have one copy" Shiogawa posted a sign at the shop and the information spread by word of mouth. He says that children have come over 10 km by bike to line up and wait for a chance to read the magazine.

Holding the battered Jump in his hands, Kouki Sawada was relieved, "I went around to many bookstores but not one had it." His friend Takashi Hasegawa (13) read One Piece twice carefully and was overjoyed, "I am at ease now, I'm glad I was able to continue reading it".

Mr Shiogawa said "People don't want to see the miserable images on TV and the number of parents looking for children's books and picture books has grown. Of course we must consider the necessities of life first but I think providing books for children is important too." The next issue comes out on 4/4.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Initial Impressions of Wakemate (sleep gadget)

Today I will deviate a bit from the anime/games theme and touch on another realm of nerdery: gadgets. We love gadgets. We use gadgets all day long. And now even when we sleep.

The WakeMate doesn't come in doll sizes

WakeMate (official website) is a Bluetooth wristband that tracks how you sleep (using actigraphy) and wakes you up at a optimal time within a 20 minute window so you feel better overall. It works with iOS, Blackberry and Android (Windows Phone 7 possibly soon). The product has been in startup hell for a couple years but units started shipping this winter. Since my not-so-trusty iHome is out of commission I thought I'd give it a try. I'd looked at sleep trackers before but they usually cost 100-400$, WakeMate is a bit more affordable at 60$.

Hardware - The physical half of WakeMate is a wristband that connects to your smartphone. The band fits me snugly and has adjusting elastic. I can (barely) fit both hands in it so it should "fit" all but may be tight on some. The WakeMate itself is removable from the fleece band so you can wash it. The visible section is simply a mini USB-B port, a LED indicator, and a plastic switch; everything else is wrapped in plastic. and then inside the wristband.

The actual unit

I was worried about battery life after reading Engadget's review (lots of great pictures) but I got three nights out of it before it warned me I needed to charge it. Considering each night is about 7 hrs (and many people sleep shorter nights) I don't find this unreasonable. If the device does run out of power while you are asleep the fail-safe alarm will sound at the end of the waking window. The unit charges over USB and normally would come with a AC adapter. However they are having problems with the AC adapter overheating the battery and lighting the wristband on fire (seriously) so mine only came with a cable. Supposedly I will be sent an adapter at a later date.

iPhone Software - I use a iPhone 3GS, the same app is also iPod/Pad compatible. Different apps exist for other platforms and they may have different interfaces/features.

The app is clean and easy to use, the WakeMate must be paired once via Bluetooth settings and after that it can be connected to from the app. If the band isn't connected correctly and you try to go to sleep the phone will make a fuss until you fix it.

You must log-in to the free Wakelytics site before you can use the app. The alarm is set to a 20 minute window and that window is calculated and displayed prominently. The software chooses the best time to wake you up before the window is over (see the Experience section). You can set the alarm to one of the supplied tones, iPod music (my choice), phone vibration (the band does not vibrate), or no alarm. The app encourages you to tag nights, it comes with many example tags but you can make your own as well (I made a "roommate" tag for example).

Status Alarm ScreenTag ScreenData Screen

When you wake up the app greets you by name, asks how you feel, and automatically syncs data to the website. Data is not viewable in the app (a shortcut to the website is included). As the system is multi-platorm a unified website is probably easier to maintain but it would be nice to have in-app view as well.

Website (Wakelytics) - Wakelytics is the name of WakeMate's analytics platform. It assumes you don't know anything about sleep cycles (probably true) so everything is explained in fairly simple terms. This is nice for most things but I can't help but wish for an advanced view or even just an encyclopedia page explaining the scientific equivalent of the sleep categories the site uses. Tags can be compared but I don't have enough data to do anything useful with that yet. Oddly you can't compare tags simply to nights without that tag (example, caffeine-tagged nights vs non-caffeine nights), this seems rather basic so its odd its not included. The product is young though so and the WakeMate team has expressed intent to add more to the tagging system.

Wakemate doesn't supply a ton of screen shots (and they seem slightly different than the actual site). Here are a few with my (real) data, click to view (quite large):

Experience - In terms of data, the device seems to be pretty accurate though the number/times of awakenings is the only statistic I can verify with any true confidence. I had been getting similar scores for most of this week but this last night I felt a lot less rested and my score reflected that. I must stress here that I am not a doctor, I don't have any solid knowledge of how this works.

The wake-up feature works as expected. The device will sense when you are in a sleep-stage close to awake and wake you up. In contrast a traditional alarm is completely time based so the sleeper may be in a deep stage when it goes off, causing them feel terrible upon awakening (sleep inertia). I felt pretty groggy this morning when I work up but I also remember slightly before the alarm went off so WakeMate did not call me out of deep sleep (like a traditional alarm could do). One other time it went off at the end of the window and I felt pretty wake but I may have just ran out of time and triggered the fail-safe alarm.

Overall- I was a bit hesitant to order the WakeMate because of numerous production problems and negative initial reviews but I chanced it on the 30-day return window. The device has worked as well as I hoped these first few days and I don't see my self returning it in the future. If you have trouble getting up without 2 or 3 alarms (my old system) WakeMate is definitely worth a try.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Anime Midway Roundup

We are about halfway through the fall season and since I didn't do any first impressions blogging, here is a midway roundup. Here's what I've been watching, in rough order of enjoyment:

OreImo - My Little Sister Can't be This Cute (ANN)

Kyousuke Kosaka's younger sister Kirino is irritatingly perfect. Pretty, popular, and athletic with top grades and even a modeling job, Kirino wants nothing to do with her loser older brother. That is until he finds out her greatest secret, she is an eroge otaku. Surprised that Kyousuke doesn't mock her and tell their parents, Kirino begins to drag him into her hobbies. Despite some major drama and bad security management, OreImo finally began "simulcasting" last week. Despite the title and many jokes, OreImo doesn't seem to want to be a incest series, rather it is a comedy about otaku. The target audience is pretty clear from the plot, general fans may find amusement (and Kyousuke makes the show fairly accessible) but those who have gone through the same experiences as Kirino will find much more to enjoy here. I frequently find my self laughing out loud and talking back at the characters.
If you liked - Genshiken, Nogizaka Haruka's Secret

The World God Only Knows

Keima Katsuragi is a galge otaku happy to ignore reality until a mistake contract with a demon forces him to capture the hearts of real girls. One of the top shows I was looking forward to this season and its lived up to my expectations. Obviously there is a lot to like here if you are into visual novels but the title is also resounding with a larger crowd and is Crunchyroll's top new simulcast.A light-hearted parody and without significant fanservice.
If you liked
- Baka to Test, Haruhi

Maidenly Demon Zakuro (Crunchyroll)

In this alternative history, the Meji government set up a Bureau of Spirit Affairs to deal with Japan's native spirits (Yokai) during the period of westernization. I didn't expect much from Zakuro, the Meiji period setting piqued my curiosity so I watched it and was surprised how much I liked it after 2-3 episodes. Despite being a seinen comic by a yaoi artist, Zakuro has a firm shojo adventure feeling to it. Crunchyroll also provides optional pretty purple subs.
If you liked - Fushigi Yugi, Sakura Wars

Squid Girl (Crunchyroll)

Squid Girl has risen from the ocean to conquer humanity! Filling this seasons wacky humor quota is Squid Girl, each episode features three separate skits about this moe invader. The humor is nonsensical and sometimes gross but never exceedingly cruel. SG is a family-friendly feel-good show with heart that has proved quite popular; only my personal preferences rank it this low on the list.
If you liked - Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu, Azumanga Daioh

Fortune Arterial (Crunchyroll)

I had high hopes for this one and it could still make a comeback but right now it is exceedingly bland school harem except for two points: Kouhei is not the usual loser character, instead he is exceedingly irritatingly perfect, and the main heroine is a vampire....who goes to school and doesn't really do anything vampire like at all. If you like calm slice of life harems you may enjoy FA but the average viewer will have better luck elsewhere. I will see it to the end in hopes the plot improves but if you haven't started it yet don't bother.
If you liked - Shuffle!, Negima!

Blood of the Sinful Hound ~Bloody Curs~ - Togainu no Chi ~Bloody Curs~ (ANN)

In a apocalyptic future, Akira is falsely accused of murder and is offered the chance to free himself by fighting in a tournament to topple a druglord. Bishonen and blood, Togainu is the fangirl fodder of the season. I started it because its based on a BL eroge by Nitro+CHIRAL but so far it hasn't shaped into much. Due to Aniplex/ANN/Oreimo drama, this one started late so I've only seen four episodes so far and its entertaining but hollow.
If you liked - Uraboku, Kizuna

Detective Opera Milky Holmes (Crunchyroll)

Milky Holmes is the most successful team of detectives at Holmes Detective Academy until they lose their toys (magical powers) at a battle with their rivals "The Gentlemen Thief Empire". They must struggle to gain back their toys and their place is society. The main quartet is a bunch of whiny loli has-beens, accustomed to a life of luxury thanks to their natural talents. While it is somewhat satisfying to watch the selfish brats deal with being normal people, the writers so clearly wants you to root for them that the plot ends up an awkward mess. The first episode follows a wierd time continuity just so it can open with sleeping loli fanservice, yet other episodes have awkward male nudity. I watched a few episodes just to figure out if it was supposed to be a magical girl parody or not. If it is, the show fails miserably. If not, it is the most hollow pathetic excuse for moe I have seen.
If you liked - UltraManic, Precure

Friday, July 30, 2010

Too many nendoroids...

Nendoroid Nagato Yuki Disappearance Ver. (PVC Figure) Good Smile Company The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Nendoroid

Another beauty on preorder. Is it really a surprise since I loved Shoshitsu so much?

I didn't get the original Nagato nendoroid though so I don't feel very guilty about this one (this will be my first non-trading Haruhi figure). Besides the obvious wardrobe additions, this version seems to differ from the original Nagato nendoroid by having more hair highlights. I hope someone does a side by side comparison.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Princess Waltz: Now with less DRM!

Princess Waltz package ver. DRM removed

This isn't really news-worthy because it is simply a company doing exactly what they promised too. However that seems to be a rarer and rarer thing nowadays.

When Princess Waltz was released (my review here) both the download and packaged edition came with the Software Defender DRM system. This was JAST USA/Peach Princess/G-Collections first release with this system and a departure from their previous policy of selling physical copies without DRM.

I do not dislike Software Defender. It is extremely invisible and does what it is supposed to. Each code gets 5 installs so I can lend/share a game within reasonable limitations (lending/sharing itself is a interesting moral quandary but that's another post). That being said, I certainly don't care for it and would prefer to not have to deal with it. Many people agree with me so part of JAST's new policy was that a patch would be released for packaged editions after a certain length of time (1-2 years) and that would allow people to remove the DRM. Not perfect as you still have to use your serial code to fetch the drm-free patch but still a reasonable compromise.

The first of these patches came out today (for Princess Waltz) and amid smart phone cases on the deepwater horizon, one company kept their promise to their customers. Quiet, simple, accountability. Today I am happy to be an eroge customer.

So go buy it already