Katana fast-draw competition timers, modeled on the sort of devices used in pistol competition.
I particularly like the fact that the scoring rules in the manual give a half-second penalty for splitting open your scabbard or bending your sword, but a two-second penalty for missing the target. Actually cutting yourself is a disqualification, at least, but This Will Not End Well.
Burning question: does anyone else wonder if this device will bring back the obsolete tech-slang term “glass ttys”? Judging from the users I’ve seen accidentally taking pictures and accidentally forwarding things to the wrong contacts, I figure it’s just a matter of time.
Why am I designing an artist’s chop for myself? Because, after assisting my Shinkendo instructor with getting proper seals made for the dojo, I found myself with fonts, templates, whimsy, and a web site that can turn an Illustrator file into a sturdy rubber seal. (they only ship domestically, but by some small coincidence, I’d recently updated my reshipping info at Tenso)
The font is Hakushu Tensho, the text reads 手掛 (“te-gakari” =“clue”), the color is Chinese Red, and the distressed effect is a quick Roughen/Expand/Simplify. The physical seal should be here sometime next week.
Side note: good fonts are pricy. I have a decent collection (read “shovelware CD”) of Japanese fonts from Dynaware, but Hakushu is one of the few foundries that makes a full line of professional old-fashioned fonts, and they charge professional prices. Fortunately, they offer free downloads of fonts containing just the grade-school kanji.
Actually buying their fonts is a bit tricky, because most places only sell them on CD, only take domestic credit cards, and only ship domestically. Amazon Japan does carry them, and if you’re lucky they’ll be in stock, but because font CDs are flagged as software, you have to use a reshipping service like Tenso. The only working source I’ve found for purchasing downloadable fonts is imagenavi; you have to be a bit creative fudging the address fields, but you can sign up for an account and use a non-Japanese credit card to buy things from them.
[Which reminds me: one of the many little adventures I had in Kyoto was helping my sister set up an account with Pizza-La so we could get dinner delivered to our hotel room. Worth the effort; I think we ordered the “Alsace-style Flambeed Onions and Bacon” pie three times. They actually have an English menu, but if you can’t read Japanese, placing an order is still tricky; she made it most of the way through the signup process with Chrome’s auto-translation, but got stuck when it insisted on having her enter her name in katakana.]
…and just as many pervy ones, which shall be left as an exercise for the reader.
The just-announced-at-CES JVC GC-PX100 HD camcorder with full-resolution 1080p recording at up to 600 frames/second, with an f/1.2 lens, for $999.95, available in March.
On my shopping list for Japan is a kiseru pipe and accessories for a friend. I picked up a few of the pipes as souvenirs last trip, one from a flea market and two from the ninja gift shop at Toei Studios, but now somebody actually wants to smoke one, and would prefer something purchased from an actual tobacco shop, along with a supply of the finely-minced kizami tobacco.
Which means I’ve been looking for Actual Tobacco Shops in Kyoto and Osaka, and evaluating their potential usefulness based on their online catalogs. Apparently the primary requirement for a pipe web site in Japan is Convoluted Navigation, so it can take quite a while just to find the store, much less all of its contents.
Which is a long-winded introduction to an item that is full of Fail: the Dangan Pipe.
In the break room just now, someone was trying out the facial-recognition security feature on his new phone. So we took a picture of his face on another phone, and held it up to the camera.
It let us in.
[Update: two problems so far: 1. video codec eventually crashes, requiring a reboot (after a few days). 2. increased power draw in sleep mode, even with wireless and bluetooth off. So, I expect an update soon.]
Well, my Sony Tablet S does now, anyway; my doctor still frowns on gratuitous sugar for me.
Consumer Reports bought a Fisker Karma. Two days later, the dealer had to tow it away on a flatbed, because it refused to go into gear.