The tales of Steve Jobs & Japan #01: Mr.Floppy disk

It is well-known that Steve Jobs was a Zen Buddhist and a Japanophile.
Although he was a well-known vegetarian, Sushi always had been the exception.
According to a tweet by Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank groups, the best meal Steve Jobs had in his life was a Sushi dinner in Kyoto.

Despite the massive number of books about Steve Jobs published in English, there are still many tales of him which isn't known to the western world.

I once wrote some of them on
"Steve Jobs and Japan."

But here on my blog, I would like to give a deeper cut into some of those stories.

First in the series of all, I would like to write the tale of Mr. Floppy disk: the friendshop between Steve Jobs and Yasuyuki Hirose, an ex-engineer of floppy disk drive at ALPS Electronics.

I interviewed him for a book I supervised (+I also have written 70% of the articles on it).
The book is called "The Legacy of Steve Jobs" and it is only available in Japanese:

スティーブ・ジョブズは何を遺したのか (日経BPパソコンベストムック)

Steve & Yasu

Hirose brought a picture of him with Steve Jobs. On the back of the picture, it reads "At Rod Holts' house. June, 1977." Hirose was 32 years-old when 24 years-old Steve Jobs approached him and asked to make a floppy disk drive for Apple II.
"She is not in the picture, but Barbara Jasinski was sitting right next to me. At the time, Steve was dating her." recalls Hirose.
All Apple executive team called him "Yasu" and were so warm and friendly to him. They often invited him to home party, etc. And the picture Hirose brought was taken during on of those ocasions. Rod Holt once invited Hirose to his Yacht named "Apple I" and served a beer named after himself.

Hirose says "many people say Steve Jobs is a short-tempered charisma, but he was always kind and even shy to me." Hirose once asked Jobs, if he could give a lecture to factory workers at ALPS and Jobs warmly accepted it.
One of the factory workers asked Jobs what the 'fifth generation computer' is.
'Fifth-generation computer' was an initiative by Japanese government to create Japan-made super computers.
Steve Jobs explained "the fifth generation computers are like super-cars while personal computers are like bicycle."
Jobs also frankly asked many questions to ALPS employees. He was especially interested in their automated factory.
"Steve was particularly interested in manufacturing processes. In 1983, he made a tour of automated factory in Furukawa and asked many questions. Later, he invited me to his new factory in Fremont, California; it was then, that I realized what Steve had always wanted to do." recalls Hirose.

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年02月03日 | Permalink

NFC should have learned from FeliCa

Are you one of the many Mobile World Congress 2013 attendees who are disappointed with NFC gate at the Fira which is generating longer queues than the regular gates?
Or are you disappointed how clumsy Google Pay can be?
Well, I want to tell you it is not the fault of NFC(Near Field Communication) or RFID( radio-frequency identification) technology per se.

As a matter of fact a similar technology called FeliCa have been serving more than MILLIONS of people in Japan since 2006; and it is blazing fast! (0.2 sec. to process, the industrial design of the gate also helps people pass it faster).

Just watch this YouTube in action and you'll see it:

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2013年02月28日 | Permalink

MWC attendees, be careful! You can be the next target!

The clerk at my hotel told me whenever there is a convention, there are more pickpockets in the city of Barcelona. He also told me whenever there is El Classico (i.e. FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid football match), there are more pickpockets.
Well, this week, we have both of them in Barcelona; if you are in Barcelona this week, it's not only the best season for Calçot (a type of green onion ) but also in season for pickpockets and robbery.
if you go into the center of the city, you already are in danger.

You might say 'I will be fine' because you are careful enough. But think again.
They work as a team and they are very systematic; it is really hard to protect your valuables if two or more of them come after you.

I grew up in Ecuador and have been to many dangerous places around the world and I have long believed that I can protect myself but my iPhone was robbed in a matter of a few seconds. I want to explain how it happened, so you will know their trick.

I was sitting on a bench at Plaza Antonio Lopez (right next to Casa Llotja de Mar) to take a look at bigger map on iPad mini. While I am doing it, I sat on my iPhone, so no one can steal it from me.

Plaze Antonio Lopez

Then a guy came to me asking for directions; " a local asking direction to Asian guy on the bench?": he looked so suspicious also because what he was saying was so useless and didn't mean much, perhaps, he thought I won't understand it anyway (but I actually do speak Spanish).
It didn't take a second to realize he is a robber that I stood immediately and ran away from him.

I was relieved to see he, too, has walked away from me; but while it was happening there was someone else approaching me from behind and running away into different direction.
A few seconds later, I've realized my iPhone was gone.

As I am sort of an expert on anything Apple, I launched "Find my iPhone" app on my iPad mini within a couple of minutes only to find out that my iPhone has been turned off immediately after the robbery.

"Find my iPhone" is very useful service, but it is already too well-known to the world and it is useless while the iPhone is switched off.

But I still do recommend you to use the service as soon as you are being robbed (sooner the better); you can use the feature from or from "Find my iPhone" app on unstolen iOS devices. Once you logged in on to iCloud or the app, you should turn your iPhone to "lost mode." So the service will keep an eye on your iPhone and let you know whenever it has been turned on.
'Lost mode' will also make you set a passcode to use your iPhone, so the information on your iPhone will be safe from the eyes of the robber.

Those robber might keep you iPhone 'off' most of the time, but it is very likely that they turn it back on either by mistake or to steal information from there or simply to refresh (=erase) all data on your phone to resell it.

If they try to break into your iPhone (to steal data), they will be exposed to the GPS info and will be easily spotted.

You will get e-mail notification each time it is being spotted with detail map of the area as shown below(the map will be in your primary language):

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2013年02月25日 | Permalink



In the year 2011, east-Japan, Egypt( and other middle-easter countries), North Korea, New Zealand, Greece, London and Wall-street and many other places around the world and their people have experienced gaps bigger than what lies between December 31st and January 1st.

We are living in a very important junction of history where everything changes.

We need to redesign our energy, our economical system, our government, transportation, food, houses, communication infrastructures, etc., etc.

And we should not do that looking at one-year term.
I believe this is the very moment in our history where we have to think in terms of decades or even centuries.

These though might have come as an influence of the book titled "Clock of the Long Now" by Stewart Brand; the person who originally said "Stay hungry, stay foolish" and influenced the young Steve Jobs.

I'd like to greet you all for the new beginning as a good old tradition.
At the same time, I hope this will be a beginning of not just a new year but a happy and hopeful new era!

Genbi-kyo in snow

Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World's Slowest Computer
Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World's Slowest ComputerStewart Brand

Basic Books 2000-04-06

by G-Tools


Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World's Slowest Computer
Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World's Slowest ComputerStewart Brand

Basic Books 2008-08-01

See details at Amazon
by G-Tools

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2012年01月01日 | Permalink

The Second Coming of Ukigawa's

In this digital age, we exchange our intimate feelings, emotion and ground breaking news all in same 'fonts.' And because we feel it is too inorganic and emotionless, we decorate them with emoticon, etc. :-(

Back in your school days, I bet you had the experience of more expressively drawing each letters. With pens, you could make some characters bigger, bolder, thinner, taller, shorter, rounder all at your will. Of course, you can emulate that by changing the fonts and sizes of your digital text, but still digital text won't show the 'you-ness.' -- i.e. they are not the characters that are unique to you.

In some way, analog text has more power of expression than digital.

Let's say you have typed "do it by tomorrow!" in 48 pt Helvetica Bold and printed it; I think that sheet of paper is less demanding than your hand-drawn text.

Of course, it is also true that today, we cannot form our lives without the convenience of digital text.

So why not combine both?

That is exactly what '7notes', the latest iPhone/iPad app by MetaMoji is trying to do; best of both world.

On '7notes' you can write text and convert them in to digital text using MetaMoji's accurate character recognition technology.
But this is only half of what '7notes' does.

On '7notes', you can also write the text in ink, choose portion of the handwritten text and insert space between letters, make some letters bigger or change colors of them, etc. just like digital text.
What's even more interesting is you can mix and match the analog and digital text, and send that mixed text message via e-mail; you can also tweet them or post them on your Facebook wall.

I think '7notes' would be an important step toward the renaissance of humanity and would be a one interesting app to keep an eye on.

Unfortunately, MetaMoji is not communicating this vision or bigger objectives behind the product because they are not sure if that helps the sales of the product or because the product hasn't yet satisfied the strict level of perfection Mr. Ukigawa demands. But I believe these are the real value of '7notes' and I want them to succeed.

now a little plug:
MetaMoji Press briefing: 3pm, Sept. 8 at FCCJ, Yurakucho, Tokyo
If you are based in Tokyo or if you have a correspondent in Tokyo, please come to Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan at 3pm on September 8, 2011 (that is this coming Thursday). Mr. & Mrs. Ukigawa, the legendary IT entrepreneur in Japan and the founders of MetaMoji will be holding a press conference to talk about '7notes' and its future direction.

I call '7notes', the Second Coming of Ukigawa's.
You might ask what's the First coming. I will explain you below:

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2011年09月06日 | Permalink