It shouldn’t be a big shock to anyone, but I’m headed back to Japan in early 2013.
Plane tickets are purchased as of this afternoon and through the miracle of Hipmunk, I have somehow managed to grab the best plane tickets I could have imagined.
Tickets were $1285, round trip, which is bananas. Last year’s were in the $1600 ballpark, IIRC?
Quebec-Toronto-Narita on January 23rd, and Narita-Toronto-Quebec on March 6th.
That means no US layovers; no TSA porno scanners, no crotch pat-downs, and no scary US customs people.1
Toronto layovers are somewhere around 4 hours each, which means I will actually be able to do things at a leisurely pace instead of this year’s layover in Chicago, which was one hour long, and involved going through US immigration and customs, grabbing a train to the US/Canada terminal, and going through security all over again.
No Montreal! I purposefully went with the airport in Quebec because Montreal traffic is completely fucking retarded and the last thing I need when I’m trying to catch a plane. My initial flight searches a few months ago came up with Quebec-Montreal-Vancouver-Tokyo, which honestly, I wouldn’t have minded just because driving to Quebec is sane and driving to Montreal is basically torture, but eliminating Montreal altogether is even better.
And this is just a nerd point, but all flights are Air Canada, so in theory, that means I can use Passbook to get on all my flights. Yay.
Accommodations haven’t been dealt with yet but I have a good idea of where and what I’m going to do; unless anything goes wrong, I’ll be staying around Ichikawacho in Yokohama.
Meetups with various Twitter people! If you’re cool, nudge me and we’ll do something. I can do anything in the Tokyo metro area fairly easily; if you’re from outside of there and you’re super special, maybe I can come out to your hood.
AOU, which apparently is called Japan Amusement Expo now.
Lots of photos.
I’m sorry you thought I was suspicious, Officer, but maybe you should be more tolerant of people who didn’t get enough sleep because they’re super-excited to go to a foreign country they haven’t been to before, whose only business in the US is a layover anyway. ↩
The Nexus 7 exhibited this but few people noticed it because other successful seven-inch tablets tend to run stretched out versions of phone apps… Google appears to be killing off the idea of UI laid out with the tablet form factor in mind.
Honeycomb wasn’t perfect, but one of the smart design things it did was the system bar on the bottom of the screen, which unified the back/home/multitasking buttons on the left with notifications on the right. On the opposite edge of the screen, you had a search field anchored on the left and the Applications button on the right. This made it fairly easy to operate the device when holding it from the sides in landscape.
The Nexus 7’s launcher more or less looked identical to the one on stock Ice Cream Sandwich on phones, which lacked these neat tablet-only touches. There was some research done by a usability firm (I forget which one) regarding whether UI designed for a phone or a tablet is better on a seven-inch tablet, and they concluded that the screen is too small to run full tablet apps adequately and that phone apps stretched out, while goofy, work better in practice. Given Google’s usual data-driven decisions, I assumed they did it for that reason.
But here comes the Nexus 10, with a notification bar on the top, and a soft buttons bar on the bottom with the buttons centered. The search field is centered, so you have to stretch your fingers out from the edges to hit it, and the applications drawer can only be brought up by hitting the apps button in the middle of the dock, which you can’t realistically reach from the edges of the screen in landscape.
If you had a Honeycomb tablet and a split keyboard (SwiftKey X is really good, I would kill for an iOS version of that), you could operate more or less the whole thing from the sides in landscape. You can’t do that anymore.
Lots of people criticize Apple for just taking SpringBoard from the phone, blowing it up, and putting it on the iPad. Apple chose consistency to make the iPad immediately usable to anyone who’s ever seen or used an iPhone.
What made Honeycomb interesting to me was that it experimented with what tablet UI should look like and whether it could be made better by designing for that specific form factor. Google appears be U-turning on that for consistency, but consistency with what? Most Android devices being sold today are running transmogrified versions of the Android experience that have little in common with the stock launcher, so why bother when it’s going to make the experience worse?
Nobody at the US Copyright Office seems to give a shit that when I buy something, I expect that it is mine, and that I should be free to do whatever the hell I want with it, even if it implies reverse-engineering the system. Their presumption seems to be: anyone jailbreaking a device is up to no good and will pirate things, and it doesn’t matter if we allow it for smartphones because smartphone software isn’t real, complex software.