From the Oxford dictionary...

"Standard": 1. A level of quality, especially one that people think is acceptable. 2. A level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation.

So this is a follow up to my post on the iTunes ruckus going around.

Shortly after I posted that, there was a posting on Slashdot.jp about this with headlines saying "Apple claims "Our privacy protection and customer satisfaction level fulfills the highest standards in the industry""....

And with no surprise, the first comment to this posting was...
"Even if it is the highest standard in the industry... if it below the social standard then it doesn't matter!"

Indeed, Apple and many American companies (and unfortunately too many Americans as well) out there need to realize that there is a world outside the U.S. and that if they are going to do business on a global scale that they need to adapt to other countries standards, and not the other way around... (Although this is indeed a sticky issue and after trying to hear out both sides of the debate on censorship in China, I am still not sure what the right answer is... on one side I believe transparent governments, freedom of speech, and no censorship is the right thing and needs to be employed in every country.. but on the other side, if China allowed that then there would be a good chance of a civil war and rebellion.... which would result in deaths, etc... which would not be good either... )

So I won't say anything more on that issue because I can not say for certain what is right or not, etc... But in this case, I can say for certain (at least in my mind) that Apple needs to respect the standards in Japan or else it is going to end up pissing off a lot of people for no good reason...

For those that have lived in Japan for any period of time, you will know that the standards in service are worlds apart from other countries and that by far the service here is probably better anywhere else in the world. (Unless you are working in a 6 star hotel somewhere...)

A little too meticulous sometimes but for the most part high quality service is not a bad thing.

So what Apple meant to say is.. it "fulfills the highest standards....in America!"...

which unfortunately sometimes (as in this time) doesn't even meet the lowest standards here in Japan.

and I think that is the main problem here...

Is this for real?

This month I am losing my main job so I have decided to take the opportunity to take a long 3 month holiday (after 4 straight years of non-stop work in Japan) from my other jobs and fulfill my dreams... to go to Egypt and travel the Middle East!

So first thing next month I will be on a plane to Dubai for a week to visit a friend, then Cairo here I come! I am then going to go with two Australian guys and travel by land up to Jordan, (hopefully Syria and Lebanon), Turkey, and Greece and then fly back... We are going to film every thing along the way and hopefully make it into a documentary... should be good times.

So unfortunately you probably won't hear much from me from April to August..

One thing that struck me as a little bit odd though when I was looking up Syrian embassies (As Syria is the only country that I need a visa for and is especially hard to get for Americans..), is this...

From: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Syria

Is the Syrian Embassy in Cairo really using hotmail???
I highly doubt it... as you can anonymously send in edits apparently and they will post them...
(I don't think anonymous editing for a site that lists information about embassies is the best thing.....) I wonder what kind of emails this guy is receiving....
Although I do give him points for creativity.. as I have yet to see an email address start out with "www."..... hurmmmm.....

Either way, I don't think this is good...


iTunes causing big problems in Japan

I found out about this on the evening news last night.

Apparently there are many Japanese getting billed by iTunes for purchases they did not make.
But what they are really anger over is how Apple is handling the situation... (or more precisely how they are *not* handling the situation.)

At first they tried Apple's rule #1 of what to do when someone claims a fault or problem in Apple's products... the Jedi Mind Trick.. they waved their hands and said "no, there is no problem... you must be mistaken..."

However, the force must be with the Japanese consumers because they didn't fall for that and they are angry and publicly calling out Apple to handle the situation better. They demand that Apple give numbers of fraudulent purchases reported, etc.. which Apple denies citing "privacy issues". They are also mad that Apple only provides email support for this issue and that they should provide phone support as well....

The Japanese get a little bit crazy (from a non-Japanese standpoint) when bad things like this happen and unless people are on their knees crying begging for forgiveness and doing everything they possible can so that it never happens again... no one will rest and will keep bringing up the issue as long as physically possible.
(I am still shocked to see on the news about incidents that happened several years ago and should be history now but people still bring up because too many people felt like the people in charge were not punished enough or post-incident handling was inadequate, etc...)

More about this issue in Japanese.

The Face of a Fraudster

Fraud is by far the easiest, most widespread, and (figuratively speaking) deadliest attack in Japan these days. With a very trusting culture it is not hard to imagine that people have realized that they can abuse that trust and pretty much trick about anyone into believing something that will make them hand over some money...

The types of fraud here have an extensive range of variety that is too big of a topic for me to consider right now...

I just wanted to show a picture that I found of one person who got arrested for fraud.
I have seen many on the news and many are young guys like this guy.. but that is not to say that only young males are involved with these activities...

(I think I just liked this picture and wanted to make an excuse to post it...)
(It says in the top right "DJ committed a "bank transfer scam". "I didn't have enough money to live on...") (bottom says "He called a 32 year old man in Wakayama prefecture and tricked him into transferring money by telling him that he had overdue payments on a adult site membership")


First Arrest of File Uploader to Overseas Site

(This is actually from an arrest from pirating on Share as I could not find any picture for this incident.. but I am sure if I did it would like just like this....)

The very first arrest has been made on a 46 year old guy in Hokkaido for uploading copyrighted music to a file hosting provider and making the links public.
This is noteworthy because until now the only arrests for illegally pirating has been for uploading to Japanese P2P networks or servers in Japan, but this time the server was located outside the country. (Mediafire)

There are some fuzzy things regarding this case as it he was arrested for 1) Uploading the files and 2) Publishing the links to a public forum.

So people are now asking questions like... what would happen if he just uploaded the files? or if someone else posted the links?.. or if he just posted them on a private mailing list and not to the public?



JR Japan East Gets Gumbled.....Again!

More Gumblar attacks...

Apparently JR (Japan Rail) (Japan's largest railway company)'s site got p0ny'ed (or whatever the latest hacker jargon you guys are using these days) by the infamous Gumblar!

Perhaps this lame viruses incredible success is a direct reflection on Japan's lame security. (I have yet to see a company that has stopped using FTP/Telnet, etc..)

What is more lame about this story is that 1. The same site got hit by the exact same virus last December and 2. It took an outsider to point out much after the fact that they got compromised....