Suica & Apple Pay

Just a reminder of how far ahead this combo is in Japan compared to anything in the US:

Suica and Apple Pay is a perfect martini of fast cash and slow credit with the secret dash of always online mobile technology. Apple Pay Suica recharge completely removes the cash recharge docking requirement transforming Suica into a super slick card for transit and store purchases that uses the pokey credit card for occasional financial backing.

The mobile difference that removes the Suica cash recharge docking requirement makes all the difference. Purchasing or riding anything, anywhere, anytime is simply pulling iPhone out and holding it to the reader. It quickly becomes second nature.

From atadistance.net

Remapping Enter to Control?

I don’t know if I buy this as useful, but cool that it’s an option:

That’s actually even better than what I had originally suggested, as here it’s also suggested to use CapsLock with a dual purpose as well – Control when held down and Escape otherwise. I have no idea how this never came to my mind, but it’s truly epic! A crazy productivity boost just got even crazier!

From <a href=”http://emacsredux.com/blog/2017/12/31/a-crazy-productivity-boost-remapping-return-to-control-2017-edition/”>http://emacsredux.com/blog/2017/12/31/a-crazy-productivity-boost-remapping-return-to-control-2017-edition/</a>

New Year’s Eve 2017

Tonight I’m staring down the barrel of 2018 in the same seat I occupied 365 days ago. I’m 13.5 months into my Japan stay. I don’t do resolutions, but I have some notes:

  • I forgot or didn’t realize how much Tokyo empties out over New Year’s. Next year I want to plan a trip to a non-Japan and non-US destination.
  • I still don’t own a bicycle. It’s the perfect example of a Sunday night sudden recollection. I’ve added it to my task list for next week.
  • I want to get back to a destination every weekend. I’ve been content getting all “hygge” lately. That’s fine, but I can get cozy anywhere.
  • I want to add the dimension of traveling outside of Tokyo at least once a month. I intended to in the second half of last year but failed to plan adequately.
  • I’m in a rut as to restaurants, pubs, and haunts. I should set up some SMART goals to mix things up more.

I’m looking forward to starting Japanese classes in January. I get a reset-of-sorts at work which will be interesting. I might even host some of my friends at my house for a get together in January.

There is one thing resolution-ish in my wish list for 2018: I want to do nothing that I will regret.

Steve Purcell

Steve Purcell:

Melpa is a volunteer operation run by Steve Purcell. Everything that happens on Melpa happens because Purcell or one of his helpers spent their time doing it for free … we all owe Purcell thanks for a job well done and for donating his time for this unpaid but very important work …

(Via Emacs – Irreal)

I’m one of the many Emacs users who rely on Melpa for installing and updating packages. Thanks, Steve & volunteers, for your hard work!

Advertising

I would rather live in the world of Japanese commercials than American ads.

Reflection on #Japanese

If I’d studied and committed to memory one Japanese word or phrase each day since I moved here, I would know roughly 300 more words and phrases than I do.

Ambivolence as Empowerment

Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency

A former co-worker and former friend coined that phrase for me. He was fired for exercising that customer support philosophy far too stringently on a day-to-day basis (among many, many other sins). Both his mantra and eventual fate educated me.

Long after his departure, the poem “If” by Kipling stuck home:

“If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”

The opening quote to this post takes on a new meaning if the opening of “If” is included.

Emergency responders, be they Emergency Medical Technicians or police or fire fighters, do what they do to their training. For example, if you find yourself impaled on a piece of rebar your sense of urgency is to remove the rebar. The EMT knows removing the rebar is the wrong thing to do. Maintaining your blood pressure, treating for shock, and many other things are more important.

Case in point: About 10 years ago my team and I were pressed into service performing real life disaster recovery for a business unit that planned for no such disaster. We came in and assessed the situation. We told our customer truths about the current state of affairs they did not want to hear. We required them to make hard choices about which they wanted to dither and debate. We, as part of a larger response team, got them back up and running far faster than they deserved based on their lack of planning.

Ultimately our value was as much in our not being emotionally invested as our ability. They needed a rational actor in what they experienced as a highly irrational environment. My team and I offered independent advice, provided facts, and ultimately used our skills and creative thinking to help our customer get back on line from a catastrophic event.

We could have empathized. We could have offered platitudes. We could have told them everything would be okay, that being strong in the face of adversity would overcome.

Again, our emotional ambivalence offered more value. We didn’t coddle or make people feel good about themselves. We were there to fix things. We needed the business to make decisions based off of uncomfortable and ugly facts. These were hard business choices – short term, medium term, or long term; pick one. Shop floor production or back office support? Payroll or shipping?

Our stark A/B questions caused a number of recalculations. Back office staff could be easily relocated elsewhere, so they were moved off site. Some finishing and shipping could be shifted to another site, too.

Some of the stuff we tried failed. When that happened, we tried something else. Today that’s called agile development.

The catastrophe evolved to an event to a disruption to restored service in 6 days. I don’t presume my team’s approach was the primary catalyst for the speedy resolution of things, but without a doubt it made a positive impact.

This story highlights the value of an emotionally independent or ambivalent actor with their wits about them when yours are completely invested. This is true in an emergency, but also true when yours are too invested in the status quo.