Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

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My Life in Japan

I know, it’s ironic that my first post for 2009 is about 2003-2004, but….

I was looking at some old website designs and was reminded that I had created a static HTML website for blogging while I was in Japan. This was called Steve’s Japan Journal and it is not available anywhere online, right now. I have now manually copied these 32 entries into this blog and tagged them with JapanJournal. I stopped using this method of blogging because it took too long to update and it was actually served by my family’s computer in North Vancouver – which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence while I was in Japan.

So what did I use next? Well, everyone else in the Gifu flock were using LiveJournal, so I joined them (reluctantly). I’ve imported the 37 LiveJournal blog entries, as well, and tagged them with LJImport. Most of these entries were also made in Japan. All entries made in Japan, from both sets, are tagged with Japan. After LJ, I moved to a self-hosted WordPress, which is what I’m currently using. I’ve left the Hello World! post in there so it’s obvious when this happened. 🙂

It took much longer than I thought to import all the entries, especially the Japan Journal ones, as I had to edit the timestamp for each and add a bit of formatting. And I found myself reading them again. Interesting how I’ve both changed and stayed the same. =) I found it great listening to music that I listened to at the time, while reading them.

I want to read!

Many of the links and images are broken, because they don’t exist any more, and the formatting may seem a little strange (especially from LJ). I’m not too keen on reformatting everything. That being said, if you’re feeling like a walk down memory lane, you can start (re)-reading about my 11 month Japan experience, from June 2003 to May 2004, right here:

On a Boeing 747 somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

A word of caution, however, it’s quite a bit of reading!! ^_^


My First Computer was an Amiga

My family’s first real computer was an Amiga 500. I was 6 or 7 years old, and already had a healthy interest (or unhealthy obsession) in computers, at this time. I’m sure I was a big reason why my dad chose to get this device for the family, that Christmas. I remember my brother and I opening two gifts at the same time, and they were computer games… maybe Barbarian and The Faery Tale Adventure… but we didn’t have a computer! Anxious, we were led downstairs to a newly set up computer. I was a very happy boy. We later upgraded to an Amiga 2000 HD. That’s HD for Hard Drive. You know, something you can store stuff on, and leave it on the computer? No need for those troublesome floppy disks! Anyone else remember games coming with 12 disks? Online manuals were unheard of, so a meaty manual was usually included. Computer game (and application) boxes were heavy!

This was some parallax scrolling, baby! (image from

I’ve put countless hours into playing games like The Faery Tale Adventure, Barbarian, Shadow of the Beast, Sinbad, Archon, Deluxe Galaga, R3, Turrican II, and Warlords. I purchased super expensive European Amiga magazines and wondered why the Amiga didn’t catch on in North America. And I was endlessly doodling and creating simple animations in Deluxe Paint (2 and 4)…. So it’s understandable that I have a bit of a soft spot for all things Amiga. 🙂 There’s a very interesting article on the History of Amiga at Ars Technica. If you don’t want to read a lot, go to the last page of the third (and final) part: which I found the most interesting. Here’s an interesting quote describing the engineers bringing their prized prototype to a Consumer Electronics Show in 1984:

Amiga, Inc. didn’t have a lot of money left over for shipping its prototype to the show, and the engineers were understandably nervous about putting such a delicate device through the rigors of commercial package transport. Instead, RJ Mical and Dale Luck purchased an extra airline seat between the two of them and wrapped the fledgling Amiga in pillows for extra security. According to airline regulations, the extra “passenger” required a name on the ticket, so the Lorraine became “Joe Pillow,” and the engineers drew a happy face on the front pillowcase and added a tie! They even tried to get an extra meal for Joe, but the flight attendants refused to feed the already-stuffed passenger.


  • One of my favourite pieces of Amiga shareware, R3, is now available for full download! Dual screen deathmatch with ships called The Fart! Good times.
  • Apparently, UAE is a very good emulator and many things can be played on it. Even legally! I tried it on windows a while back, but I should give it a go on Linux.
  • Lemon Amiga (links for most games above)
  • Amiga Music (I LOVE Shadow of the Beast and Turrican II music!!)

Scanning in Linux

After actually using my all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier thing for scanning some photos, I’ve discovered it’s not actually that great as a scanner; Jack of all, master of none, I guess. It has trouble differentiating any dark colour from black, so the resulting scans have an excessive amount of black in them and generally much fewer colours than they should. The device in question is a Brother MFC420-CN, and for most tasks I require, it’s great – just not for producing quality scans of photos. Not sure if there’s some settings on the scanner I can change, but I tried a bunch of stuff in the scanning software to no avail. On that topic, gnomescan will be a much needed improvement over xsane for Linux/GNOME. I tried it out and it mostly worked. 🙂 But the version I was using ( has since been rewritten so if you want to use it, try out the svn (version 0.5+).

What was I scanning, you ask? Some class photos from elementary school for a friend. See if you can find me in my grade 3 class. 🙂

My grade 3 class photo