Graduation Day

This week was the graduation ceremony for the third years at my main high school. It’s the main event of the school year and all the staff and students try their best to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

As with most ceremonies in Japan it’s a very formal affair with all the teachers and parents dressed as smart as possible. The teachers also make sure that all the kids are behaving themselves and not falling asleep during the ceremony (something they seem able to with alacrity). Continue reading Graduation Day

Moving to Octopress

So the first thing you might notice if you’ve been here before is that the site looks vastly different from before. Previously I was running it on an instance of Ghost 0.4.1. The second thing you might notice is that the site is no longer hosted on kibayanse.com, but rather a vanity URL – terrancebrown.me

So why the change? I love trying out new tech and software and my blogging is no stranger to that. I’d tried out Octopress a month or two back and liked it. It’s simple and yet at the same time gives you a lot of power over customization without sacrificing speed. Since it’s a static site generator it also does all the data grinding before pushing your site up to the internet. This means you won’t have to worry about dealing with a database that might make your site less responsive. Continue reading Moving to Octopress

My Writing Workflow

One of the things I do most frequently on my laptop is to type out notes and documents. Whether it’s a draft blog post or a few paragraphs of fiction, I’ve ended up using a combination of Ulysses III, Byword and Marked for nearly all my documents.

Choosing a text editor or writing software on a Mac can be a daunting task. After all, there are a raft of wonderfully crafted editors each trying to make a name for themselves by addressing a specific need or niche. Scrivener focuses on being a ‘toolshed’ for writers looking to gather all their research and materials together and typing out a fully formed book. On the opposite end of the spectrum is something like Byword that gives you a single window with nothing else and let’s you type out whatever you want using the Markdown syntax. Continue reading My Writing Workflow

PS4 Impressions

With the release of Sony’s PS4 system in Japan on 22 February I decided to pick up a console for myself. Since moving to Japan I’ve moved to Sony’s platform for almost all of my gaming (The Xbox 360 is all but nonexistent here and the Xbox One hasn’t even officially been given a release date yet.) and as I’ve never really bought a console at launch I thought I might as well give it a shot and see what all the fuss is about.

So after managing to place a pre-order with Amazon and a few months wait the day arrived when I could finally unwrap my shiny new console and see if the gamer in me would come away impressed. So without further ado here are my initial thoughts that I scribbled in an email to some friends a day after using the PlayStation 4. Continue reading PS4 Impressions

Thoughts on FastMail

Recently I’ve been looking to move away from Google’s free services to solutions that, while paid, might be a better fit for me as well. There’s also the fact that Google has a tendency to shutter their services. Throw in privacy concerns and the slow influx of ads into their best services like Gmail and there has been no better time than now to look at moving on.

The first step in this plan was for me to start moving away from Gmail and look for alternatives as Gmail is the service I use the most from Google. I’m speaking about paid alternatives rather than just moving over to Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo Mail which would just be the lesser of two evils and would defeat the whole purpose of moving away from Google by merely giving my personal data to another large corporate entity. Continue reading Thoughts on FastMail

Jawellnofine

What a hectic past week it’s been! I’ve just returned from my trip to South Africa and it feels a little bit sad to be back actually. For all it’s crime and poverty, South Africa is still such a beautiful and amazing country that everyone should try to visit at least once in their lives.

I lost count of the number of photos I took of all the sights I visited. Fortunately the weather gods were smiling the week I was there so I was able to visit almost everywhere I wanted and soak in some sun along the way. I even ended up with a bit of a suntan which must seem strange to the Japanese people here since Japan is in the middle of some of the worst snows it has had in ages. Continue reading Jawellnofine

Fond Farewells

As I was walking to the local convenience store this morning it struck me that this weekend will be my last ‘official’ weekend of gaming on my old PS3. After this weekend I’ll be heading to South Africa for a short holiday before coming back to Japan and the weekend that I get back will be when the PS4 releases here in the land of the rising sun. Continue reading Fond Farewells

An Unchanging Life

It’s a few months short of three years that I’ve now being living in Japan and in a week I’ll be traveling home to South Africa for a short holiday. The only problem is that the person who is going back to South Africa is not the same person who left South Africa in 2011.

Living in a foreign country has a strange effect on you as a person. It changes who you are and changes your view of the world in so many ways. Continue reading An Unchanging Life

Saying Goodbye To Google

Leaving Google seems almost the hipster thing to do these days but the more research I’ve done the more it seems as though the power users and geek users out there are opting to move to paid email platforms or open source alternatives rather than relying on the big G as they once used to. Just look at the recent backlash from many Nest users when Google spent $3.2 billion to buy Nest. Many people were turned off by the potential that Google would be gaining even more information about them. Continue reading Saying Goodbye To Google