Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Foot Pee!

November 24, 2011

Foot Pee!

The mind boggles…

How to filter and label all Gmail email from a specific year

January 17, 2011

Gmail filters

To label all emails from a specific year, say 2010, search with the filter:

before:2011/1/1 after:2009/12/31

And then select all the search results, create a new label, and apply it to the selected items.

The umbrella pile grows and grows

January 16, 2011


The pile of discarded umbrellas outside Shin-Kawasaki station has grown quite a lot since May last year.

Replacing the hard disc drive in a Macbook Pro

January 15, 2011

Mac OS booted from external USB drive

I replaced the hard disc in my Macbook Pro (uploaded the photos last year but only got round to writing about it now). The actual replacement of the disc went smoothly, thanks to the detailed instructions on (no direct link to the instructions because they vary per model), however when it came to restoring my system to the new disc, I ran into some problems.

Here are a few tips that, if I had known before, would have made the process a bit easier.

Backup. It goes without saying that before you start, you should make sure you have a complete Time Machine backup on an external drive. I of course did this, but ran into problems because I did not do the following.

Make sure your original OSX installation DVD is in working condition. You will need to boot from it in order to restore from Time Machine to the new hard disc. When it came to this step, I found that my DVD had somehow got damaged and was not readable. I managed to borrow one off a friend, but this cost me a couple of days while I waited to get it.

Clone the installation DVD to an external USB drive. I cloned the DVD onto a partition on the same external drive as the Time Machine backups, which is perhaps not the best thing to do, but works OK so far. I actually did the restore by booting from the cloned image on the external USB – as far as I have read, it is quicker to do that than boot off the DVD.

Get a cheap external USB case. Assuming the original drive is not being replaced due to it not working any more, it’s useful to have an external case handy to put it in and boot from in case you run into problems. I booted and ran my system off the original disc in an external case while I waited to get hold of the OSX installation DVD.

Finally, after finishing the Time Machine restore, you’re still not finished. You still have to:

– Reauthorise iTunes
– Reindex Spotlight (took ˜3 hours for me)
– Re-import all email into Mail
– Run Time Machine backup again

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc is a girl’s drink

January 14, 2011

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

As evidence for this, I offer the fact that bottles of it come with a free Swarovski crystal jewelry stone fingernail decoration.

2010 in review

January 10, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 37 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 236 posts.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 244 views. The most popular post that day was Carnegie Porter 3,5.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for how to write japanese, all japanese characters, japanese kanji, reentry visa japan, and busan south korea.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Carnegie Porter 3,5 April 2009


Importing MPEG files from Sony Handycam to iMovie and iDVD March 2010


How to write Japanese kanji – free instructional videos for the iPhone January 2009


How to get a Japan re-entry visa in Tokyo August 2008


iPhone touch screen and static interference February 2009

Bacon Overload

August 16, 2010


I was in Sweden for a week and ate more bacon than I have in the last year in Japan.

Unidentified Beastie

June 25, 2010


Found this little critter lurking in the stairway of my apartment building.

No idea what it is, but I’m glad I didn’t find it inside the apartment.


June 24, 2010


Some ducks wandering around near my apartment.

Towel Day

May 25, 2010


Today is Towel Day.

On the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.

Importing MPEG files from Sony Handycam to iMovie and iDVD

March 7, 2010

Quicktime error message

The video files created by the Sony DCR-SR72 Handycam are not playable on MacOS if you just copy them from the camera in USB mode. VLC will play them, but they can’t be opened by Quicktime, iMovie or iDVD:

The document "filename.mpg" could not be opened. The movie is not in a format that Quicktime Player understands

The videos can, however, be imported to iMovie if the camera is connected in “Disc Burn” mode. It may also be called “DVD burn” or something similar.

Connect the camera in disc burn mode, then open iMovie and select the “Import Movies…” option. Navigate to the folder on the camera where the MPG files are located, and click the import button. iMovie will then import all the files and save them as MOV files in the event library. This can take quite a long time if you have many movies. Also be aware that the resulting MOV files are larger than the original MPG files, and iMovie creates thumbnail versions which consume quite a lot of disk space. Make sure you have plenty of space available before starting.

Now the files are playable in iMovie and Quicktime, but there is still one more issue to fix. If you have recorded movies in 16:9 format, they will be rendered as 4:3 when you add them to a project in iDVD. To make them work properly you have to export them from iMovie to yet another MOV file.

This whole process is very frustrating. Not only does it take a lot of time and effort, but the double conversion of the files ends up consuming around 3 times more disk space than if the original files could be copied off the camera and used directly.

Apple offers a Quicktime MPEG2 Component which might make the original files playable, but it’s not clear to me if that will remove the need to import/convert them before using in iMovie/iDVD. Also it’s a bit annoying that it costs USD19.99 on the US store, but JPY3400 (almost double!) on the Japanese store.

Android SDK installation error – unable to find base platform with API level

March 6, 2010

Android SDK proxy settings

Installing the Android SDK I kept getting errors like this:

Error: Ignoring add-on 'google_apis-3-r03': Unable to find base platform with API level '3'

The solution is to make sure the settings for the proxy are correct, and then if the problem still persists, check the “Force https://… sources to be fetched using http://…” option.

Could have saved a couple of hours of hair-pulling if I’d figured this out sooner.


January 20, 2010

The Joker Returns - ゴヂガヂ

Saw this T-Shirt in Tesco in the UK. I spent a good few minutes trying to figure out what the Japanese text is supposed to say, before being told that it’s just nonsense.

Carnegie Porter 3,5

April 27, 2009

D. Carnegie Porter 3,5

Found this in the local supermarket at the weekend. Even though it`s only 3,5 ABV it`s not bad. At least compared to the piss that usually passes for beer in Sweden.

O-Hanami in Stockholm

April 26, 2009


It`s a bit easier without all the crowds…

A couple more pictures here.