Archive: 2013

TAP TST10 and munin


TAP-TST10 is most cheapest power consumption monitoring device currently in Japan. I’ve evaluated and find some pros and cons.

The Device

SANWA Supply sells valious device around daily consumer computing use in Japan and sells “Watt Checker” series in order to measure power consumption of your digital device such as your laptop computer and in-house servers. You can just see current value using most of devices, can send it out to other computer via USB cable using TAP-TST10 and it costs about $50 in the street in contrast to other devices which costs about $200. So I gonna try to connect them and see some. Some good guy archived linux box to identify TAP-TST10.(link) I’ve written some wrapper script for munin-node and it works fine.


Cheapest power measurement device which have USB output connection among Japan.


Undisclosed protocol for USB connection. There is some failure when you connect.


Most of Japanese devices around power measurement have poor and insufficiently disclosed function and expensive. It needs to be improved.

Japanese comtemporary cafe style curry in Kamogawa city

There is few article write about Japanese contemporary cafe and its style in English. Almost all contemporary cafe resides mid of metropolis and comfortable place for city dweller especially for young. They serves hot chocolate drawn some art above of cup{:target="_blank"}, gentry cooked organic food with smooth texture(try “カフェめし” in google image search), and sweet and yummy cake.

But when I googled about food in Chiba prefecture, I found something interesting place to visit. This place is Cafe So(“うつわや+カフェ 草”){:target="_blank"}. This place is exactly japanese contemporary style cafe, but this shop is not in mid of metroporis but inside of mountains of southern side of Chiba, so I think that this place is worth to visit. Here is the place{:target="_blank"}. It will take a few hours from Tokyo.

There is 2, 3, 4, and 6 seats inside of small house. No sounds but song of bird and wind. Mild sunlight comes from ceiling and warms inside of room. You can order almost one thing, curry rice. Its taste is exactly cafe style smooth and tasty. You’ll enjoy organic coffee and smoothie of spiced tea which cools your tongue down.

Enjoy short trip to different place.

Fedora + XBMC = perfect media player and connected tv

I had used Boxee Box nearly one year and more, and it is so-so for my daily entertainment. I couldn’t enjoy Pandra and Netflix because I live in Japan, but it is acceptable for me. In any way, I feel that Boxee box is not a crap and useful for many person, but I’ll try to write down some reason why I’ve decide to walk away from Boxee box and started to seek alternative for those who seeks good connected media player like me.

1. Unstable web browser

Browser is most part I feel Boxee box needs to improve. When I enjoy 2 hours uStream programme, the browser of Boxee box never came back from the page of programme to home screen. I suspect that Boxee run out of its memory. I had to turn box off and on by hand to get it back to online. As my experience, the web page of Vimeo causes same problem.

The version of flash sometimes old to see some movie in web page. I cannot find how to update it to current version.

2. Not maintained community plug in

Some plugins are not maintained and don’t work with Boxee box. Plugin for Vimeo is one of example, but it is not special. Plugin for TuneIn radio had been able to work and fixed a few months later, but this case is one of fortunate example.

I don’t know why plugin doesn’t work is not maintained and still remains in their repository. I can suspect a few, for example “I had made this plugin but already not maintained for some reason(busy for work).”, “This plugin works well in my environment(sometimes development environment is different from others).”, and so on. Happy plugin sometimes find new maintainer who is different from original author and works it useful for many person, but this is not very common. When original author stops to improve plugin (or some software), it is abandoned in repository or author’s web page in many case…

I have to say again that Boxee box is good and remarkable product in connected TV world where some giant like Apple TV, Google TV, and Roku are playing. Giants have huge number of developer works inside, developer works outside for commercial(and sells their plugin for a few dollars or free). Their development kit is correctly maintained and plugin must go through their authorization process before it comes into market place. This is exact same QA process which they take it for smart phone in order for customer to experience perfect entertainment experience.

Boxee box and other boxee product try completely different environment for developer and consumer. Everyone can write their own plugin using Python and Boxee api. Consumer can add everywhere(URL) as third party repository and can install plugin which made by others. As a result, nobody can guarantee its quality of product.

Linux and some major linux distribution seems keeping good product quality, because they have some maintainer who works at near side of their repository and developer of each software , and finally decides which software should be included or not into their repository. I seem that Boxee lacks this administrative process(, but I don’t know their QA has improved or not now)…

OK. Here is the time to wipe tears and step forward. There is some product which works as media player in linux universe, but XMBC is most useful and highly comfortable as connected TV and media player for your own videos, musics, and sometimes pictures. Fortunately, XMBC is supported in most major linux distributions. I seems that XBMC development team works with Ubuntu distribution, but I decided to deploy XMBC with Fedora bacause I haven’t familiar with Ubuntu. For the Fedora and CentOS, RPMfusion supplies XBMC. So, you can add RPMfusion repository and hit “yum install xbmc”. This is super easy !

You can feel almost same experience with XBMC if you had used Boxee box. You can connect to your nas and play videos, musics, and pictures. You can add some plugins and enjoy network radio, YouTube, Vimeo, and Niconico Doga. If your box has HDMI output, you can connect into your tv in living room(I do.) and enjoy your videos in big screen like home theater.

When you want to see some web site, just launch Firefox or Chromium. It’s really easy. You can enjoy your favorite uStream programme with latest flash player.

You may think about some good remote control for XBMC like me. I’ve tried some remote keyboard and control gadget and uses Logitec K400R. Its weight is light enough and can controll XBMC function perfectly.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Short trip to Shirakawa go and Kenrokuen garden

I’ve taken short trip to Kanazawa pref as my Sunday project. My MCC Smart does good job for this trip. Itinerary: here (Google Maps with KML)

Destination 1: Shirakawa-go historic village

Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people’s social and economic circumstances. Shirakawa-go is one of the most famous world heritage in Japan. ( link for The World Heritage official page )

Destination 2: Kenroku-en garden

Kenroku-en was developed from the 1620s to the 1840s by the Maeda clan, the daimyo who ruled the former Kaga Domain. Kenroku-en (兼六園, Six Attributes Garden), located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan, is an old private garden. Along with Kairaku-en and Koraku-en, Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. In winter, the park is notable for its yukitsuri — ropes attached in a conical array to carefully support tree branches in the desired arrangements, thereby protecting the trees from damage caused by heavy snows. I’ve taken some beautiful photos shows “yukitsuri” and illustrates silence and Japanese aesthetic ideals. (link for Kenroku-en official web page )

Snow tire for MCC Smart

We can enjoy a variety of services about car in Japan. In winter season, you can rent a snow tire in a few days instead of buying them (link, only written in japanese but you can inquery them with English, Spanish, and Chinese). If you are living in heavy snow area, you can rent them in a season (link, only written in japanese). But wait for a second. You can use these services when you have 4 stud style hub between wheel and hub, this configuration is popular among japanese car such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and so on. As you know, MCC Smart have 3 stud hub, so you cannot rent these services. ( You have 5 stud Mercedes ? It’s worth trying to talk with shop guy, I think… )

Anyway, I have to change my tire to snow tire. I’ve purchased snow tire with reasonable price from shop (link). I’ve purchased 4 wheels of Mastersteel’s WINTER+ 175/55R15 77T and it costs about $160 and attached them to my Smart. 175/55R15 sized tire have different size from standard size of Smart, but I feel nothing strange about.

WP_000130 Enjoy your winter.

Fried pork cutlets at Mobara city

Chiba prefecture is nearest countryside from Tokyo, especially east and south district. I’ve taken short trip from my home to experience good meal. Tonkatsu ( fried pork cutlets ) Yuzen (とんかつ優膳) is my friend’s recommendation. “Tonkatsu Yuzen” winned 2 times at japanese fun made gourmet web site Tabelog(食べログ, link) as best restaurant in Chiba pref. It will take about 100km and 2 hours from my home. Here is my itinerary. Here is the exact place ( Google Maps ).

Screenshot_from_2013-01-14 21:47:16

I’ve taken some photos. Organic grown cabbage is extremely soft and I’ve not experienced such a good taste about dressing made from sesame.



Pork is soft, soft, and soft texture. You’ll enjoy soft and sophisticated taste. After the main dish, you can experience in-house made pudding made from black honey and soybean flour. It is also amazing.


Enjoy your short escape.