A Geek in Japan | Internet
Adventures of a geek living in Japan
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Tohoku Shinkasen Free Wi-Fi

JR is now offering free wi-fi for the passengers of the new Tohoku Shinkansen. We thank JR for its kindness as it is still not easy to find places with open wi-fi networks in Japan. However lately it seems the situation is improving a bit in preparation for the 2020 Olympics.

tohoku

In addition to the free wi-fi in some train lines, stations and airports, you can also get wi-fi in 7-Eleven shops, Dennys restaurants and Starbucks. You will have to register in the service the first time you go online but once you do it you can seamlessly connect at any Starbucks/7-Eleven/Dennys.

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Free Wi-Fi in Tokyo for Tourists During 14 Days

It seems like little by little the people with power to change things are starting to realize that one of the greatest problems that travellers find when they arrive to Japan is how closed and inaccessible the Wi-Fi and 3G ecosystem is (controlled by a few operators that make it very difficult to give you access if you are not a Japan resident). If you live here and pay your contract with one of the operators the experience is wonderful as you have 3G/LTE almost everywhere, but if you are a tourist Internet connectivity is a big issue.

However, from now on if you are coming to Japan as a tourist you will have free Wi-Fi in any NTT hotspot (FLETS) just by showing your passport when you arrive at the airport: here you have the exact spots where they will give you the required access information.

Free Wi-Fi in Tokyo

I think that right now this is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to be connected in Japan during your travel. If you are going to be here more than 14 days 7spot and Frespot are other free options.

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The End of Flickr?

I have been using Flickr for six years, I am a fan! Thanks to its community I have learned a lot about photography. However since a year or two ago I have been noticing how the activity on Flickr has been decreasing. Users are leaving and using other services. It is not something surprising because its development has been completely stagnant; they have failed at developing smartphone apps and at giving the website a more socialmedia-timeline look. It is something I struggle to understand, Flickr was the last hope that Yahoo had to compete as a social network and they are letting it die.

  • In 2007-2008 Flickr was one of the few options available for users that simply wanted to upload “casual photos”. Right now they are using Instagram, Twitter, Hipstamatic or Facebook, where they can have a lot more feedback and an immediate conversation with their social graph. Almost all casual users of Flickr have been inactive during several months, they have forgotten it exists.
  • In 2007-2008, for more professional users Flickr was also one of the few options available. Now they are starting so use other services like Google+ where they can upload BEAUTIFUL galleries or also 500px where you can set up a minisite with your portfolio

In conclusion: within the current social network ecosystem Flickr has stopped being necessary for both casual as well as for professional photographers. I have the feeling that right now we are using Flickr only photographers not really casual but not really professional that paid for their PRO account and we are still using it out of habit.

Before, I was using my Flickr account for almost EVERYTHING: for hosting images of my blog, for personal photos, for artistic photos, for funny pictures, etc. Now for personal photos I use Facebook and Google+, and for more artistic photos I still use Flickr but Google+ as well. For the last 3 months I have been using 500px to see if I find it useful or not.

However, something that still nobody can do better than Flickr is search! My Flickr account is something indespensable when I need a specific photo for a blog post or for my next book; for example if I need photos of toriis&#8230.
Where do you upload your photos? What is your experience with Flickr during the last few years? Any recommendations?

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Covering your body in clothespins to obtain 1,000 retweets

The president of the small Japanese web development company Omocoro challenged one of his employees Mr. Sebuyama to obtain more than 1,000 retweets with his personal Twitter account of 2,000 followers. He just put two conditions: he couldn’t tell his followers that it was an experiment and he couldn’t go home until he obtained 1,000 retweets. The purpose of the experiment was to try to understand better the Twitter ecosystem and to know what kind of tweets are able to obtain more retweets.

Sebuyama on Twitter
Sebuyama starting the experiment.

Sebuyama spent the night at the office experimenting with different tweets and seeing how his followers reacted. One of the tweets that had more retweets (around 50) simply asked his followers to retweet it. After several hours he even uploaded some photos of him naked that barely obtained two or three retweets… it seems like nobody wants to retweet pictures of naked men.

The tweet that changed everything was this one:

For each retweet I will stick a clothespin to my body and I will post a picture.

He felt asleep and after some hours he had 1,815 retweets!

Sebuyama Twitter clothespins

Everybody wanted to see @sebuyama covered in clothespins! More than Twitter, the Internet, new technologies and so on, what he really had to understand was the human psychology. Nobody wanted to see Sebuyama naked, but people wanted to see him naked and covered in clothespins! Why? Are we naturally attracted to see people humilliated in a funny way?

Sebuyama

Sebuyama

Sebuyama

Sebuyama could finally go home and wrote a report explaining to his boss how he had been able to obtain so many retweets (in Japanese, includes pictures of Sebuyama naked).

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Virtual boyfriend

Web-care is a Japanese Internet service that allows you to have a virtual boyfriend. There are tons of similar games in the Japanese market (Marketed for boys and for girls), but Web-care is the newest stuff out there with “Web 2.0″ style and it is being pretty successful. There are already more than 20.000 girls registered using the service. You can select among four boyfriends with different personalities.

novio virtual

novio virtual

novio virtual

novio virtual

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Firefox 3 event

Yesterday I attended the Firefox 3 release in Tokyo. Gen Kanai (Mozilla marketing manager) invited me and Danny to the event. Unfortunately Danny could not attend but Francesco and Peter came with me. We had a great time meeting all kinds of people and eating really good food. Here there is Gen Kanai‘s smile after the launch, I guess he has been working really hard lately and now he is very happy with Firefox 3 success.

firefox

What you can see behind Gen‘s head is a screen showing Firefox 3 downloads all around Japan. I recorded a video that shows how Firefox 3 was released and in seconds people all around the country started downloading it. I specially like the bursts around Tokyo and Osaka area.

firefox

firefox

firefox

firefox

firefox

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