Japanese Rice Cookers are Noisy

9 years ago (the last time I bought I rice cooker) I got a middle of the road Panasonic rice cooker. It was silent. The one I bought before that was silent. Every rice cooker I’ve never owned since the 80s was silent. All the ones my friends had when I visited their homes were silent.

So, this time I also just picked a middle of the road Panasonic rice cooker only to find out they are no longer silent.

Apparently nearly all the rice cookers are now IH (Induction Heating) and so they need a fan to circulate the air. Panasonic doesn’t even make any non IH rice cookers in 2016. (more…)

Getting Phished

I just got phished.

I received a suspicious PDF in email. It had a name that made it sound like something I might personally be interested in from someone I met about a year ago. No idea if that was luck or by design. Even scarier if it was by design. (more…)

Yet more AirBnb issues

I know you’re wondering why I keep using AirBnb if there are so many issues

It’s basically because I’m homeless and I need a place to stay. Other than a hostel the cheapest hotels are $100-$150 a night. Go to booking.com and check. Pretty much every city there’s 5 tiers of prices. Bottom teir is hostels. Next tier up is $100-$150 a night. That’s $3k to $4.5k a month which is a lot of money. Yes, I’m finally working on settling back down and renting an apartment at which point I won’t be looking to rent short term apartments. In other words I’ll stop using AirBnB. That said wasn’t going to bring up this latest issue .. until AirBnB called. See below (more…)

All of Shinjuku is being rented on AirBnB

So a friend is trying to rent her apartment out while she’s on vacation for the last 2 weeks in June. Her place is behind Kabukicho, nearest station is Shin Okubo.

I don’t usually look over there because I’d rather stay in other places but I checked just for the hell of it …

I put in $70-$80 a night, June 15-30, entire place. Airbnb claimed 300+ places still available and that those were among the 17% left. That means just in that $10 span of price range there are over 1800 apartments available. And, that was limited to the area between Shinjuku station, the Yamanote line, Okubo Dori, and Meiji Dori. That makes it seem like practically all of Shinjuku is being rented on Airbnb

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AirBnB issues in Nogizaka

I’ve ranted on AirBnb issues before but sadly I keep going back because I don’t have much of a choice since I’m effectively homeless at the moment.

I’ve rented about 22 places in the last 3 years. I think a couple were not AirBnB. I haven’t written a bad review yet even though given the rant linked above you’d expect I would have.

But, this last place I finally wrote a bad review. Maybe it was all the pent up rage of all the previous places. Maybe it was the particular response from this landlord. In any case I left a bad review. I can only hope that’s incentive for the guy to do better.

So what was the issue? (more…)

Why does sharing photos have to be this annoying?

So, … some company in the UK wants to use a photo of mine from flickr.

Some people contemplate their navel...

All my flickr photos are CC-BY-SA so they’re free to do whatever they want pretty much.

But, of course lawyers get involved and now they want to send me a licensing form for me to sign. It doesn’t say anything particularly bad, it’s just half the point of CC-BY is “you don’t need to ask because there’s an official license”.

I get they want to make sure it’s not a stolen image and get an actual signature. It’s more that printing out the form, which will cost a few cents and my time to find a printer or put the form on a USB and walk to the library. Then sign it. Then find a scanner and scan it or take a picture with my phone. Then send it back. Is just more than I want to do really. Given they’re not paying me why do I want to spent even 15 minutes dealing with his form?

Even if I just photoshop my signature in it’s still more work than I really want to deal with. On top of which the one scary part is if they get sued about the pic then they’ll pass that on to me. It’s a nothing special picture of some statues on the Louvre so I have no idea what those rules are.

Sigh…. Why does it have to be this complicated.

The Da Vinci Code for Mormons

So somehow I missed this 2013 New York Times article exposing a bunch of issues in the Mormon Church. It was brought up by this really good episode of Reply All.

I’m an ex-Mormon and this episode really resonated in a lot of ways. In particular I guess personally, even though I’m now 100% atheist I’ve defended the Mormon church in the past. I guess I would say as an atheist I believe all churches and all religions are wrong and so I’ve defended the Mormon church has being no different than any other church. By defending I mean when someone makes fun of the Mormon church for whatever (believing the nearest planet to God’s residence is the planet Kolab) I point out how that is no more a strange belief than any other religion’s beliefs (God lives in some alternate dimension we can’t see until we die).

What I find really fascinating though is that people can continue to want to believe even AFTER accepting the evidence their church is founded on lies. Religion isn’t decided by committee by definition. If it was it would no longer be a religion. So for example, at least according to that podcast, some people asked for priesthood for women in the Mormon church or acceptance of LGBT. Doing either of those makes the church no longer the church. It proves even harder the church was never true to begin with.

Let me make it clear. I’m 100% pro LGBT and women’s rights. That’s not my point and is one of the many reasons I’m atheist. My point is if a church has been saying for for hundreds or thousands of years that X is evil because God says so and then changes that to X is not evil they’ve just proven the previous hundreds or thousands of years were bullshit. At that point there’s no reason for the church to exist. Everyone should just leave. If you want a social club with emotional support fine, organize one. But asking a church to change it’s stance makes zero sense. If you succeed you’ve just proven your church is false.

The Unintended Consequences of Cheap Airlines

This is just a very minor thing I noticed but …

I needed to book a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. I checked and the prices were pretty crazy.

$69 for Tiger (which is rated 1 out of 5 stars) $105 for JetStar (rated like 1.5 out of 5 stars) $520 for Singapore Airlines

That’s it! There’s no sliding scale. The 3rd option is 6x the first option!!! I asked some friends what they would pick. Some said pick Singapore Air because sucky travel experience ruins everything. Others said the flight is only 4hrs so don’t worry about a bad experience as it will be over quick.

I ended up going with Singapore Air mostly because they had a flight time that fit my schedule. I needed to get into Hong Kong with plenty of time to get to the city before it gets dark since I’m going to an AirBnB and not a hotel and it will be harder to find. Too early and I’m stuck with my luggage for several hours. I am cry about the cost but what-cha-gonna do.

Anyway, that’s all beside the point.

The point is, as I was flying from Tokyo to Singapore (different flight) on Singapore Airlines the headphones they gave me were broken. I checked a couple of things and was able to mostly conclude the problem was the headphones, not the entertainment system.

But, … While I was doing that it got me thinking. Because there’s a lower price option I start to feel entitled to better service. If I fly from SG to HK for $520 and something is broken or service is bad I’m likely going to be extremely upset that I paid 6x the price of the cheap airlines and didn’t get flawless service.

Before super cheap airlines when the diff was say 10% it wouldn’t have been a big deal but now ….?

No idea if that will have any real pressure or not on non super budget airlines.