While I have not been explicitly conscious about mixiGraph until a few days ago when one of my MAIMIKU, Ben, introduced it in his diary at mixi, I would say mixiGraph is such an amazingly powerful tool. It shows the diagram of your MAIMIKU families.

Here is how it works (I prepared this especially for non-native-Japanese MIXI users, with win XP, I think for MAC it is more or less the same.):

Make sure you are logged in to MIXI.

1. Go to http://www.fmp.jp/~sugimoto/mixiGraph/

2. Click mixiGraph.exe underneath Windows版, ダウンロード&インストール

3. Save the program in your PC and run it.

4. The diagram should come up, with yourself centered surrounded by your MAIMIKU members. The arrow connecting any two faces indicates the MAIMIKU relationship.

5. Click, then, one of your MAIMIKU members.

6. Yet another diagram should expand: now you have two diagrams, one for yourself and another for one of your MAIMIKU members, with you and your MAIMIKU obviously connected.

7. This way, you can track MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s..all the way down until your PC screen gets small enough and might find MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s happens to be MAIMIKU of another MAIMIKU. (Note: Ashitao or footprint will not be notified.) When all the diagrams can not be shown in the screen, use right-click and choose [A]全体を表示 to show them all in the screen.

Not surprisingly, there is the dedicated community inside MIXI with 7,154 members. Of course, I have joined it. It seems mixiGraph itself is developed by its community leader, Koji Sugimoto.

wansegu – ワンセグ

About a week ago I was pondering to switch my keitai (cell phone) to either softbank (new Vodafone Japan, the new brand name yet to be known) or au, sometime this year when the number portability will be around. But, yesterday I happened to spot the “wansegu” keitai (ワンセグ in katakana) being on promotion in downtown, Tokyo. Well, after all, I couldn’t resist buying the one from au (model: W41H).

The deal was 0 yen for the equipment and the basic monthly phone bill would be about $26 ($20)for the next 24 months, which is quite cheap (the withdrawal within 24 months would cost about $90 of cancellation charge) . So I signed up for it and now my family owns four keitai units for three of us. Well, you know I still feel the deal was that good.

Here is why:

WANSEGU: Quite simply, “wansegu” or “one seg” is the digital TV broadcast brought to your cell phone ; for now, the content is basically the same with those on analog network broadcast TV but in a much better quality. It claims its picture is stable even “on the go” situation. Yes, that is true: I enjoyed FM J-Wave (81.3FM, Tokyo) on my way to the station and digital TV in the train (but not in the subway) to the office this morning. Both FM and digital TV come at free of charge. In addition to the conventional TV content, it also features text-based weather news and news topics you can browse into the ez-web, which is the au original sort of mobile internet service at some cost of packets to navigate (as shown in the picture below.)

Or, you might also want to watch the TV in a bigger landscape display (2.7-inche wide) at home, at office, at sports game, or even inside the car (below). It says the battery lasts as long as 3.5 hours.


Overall, I felt it very good. Think of it as a game where internet and TV broadcast media compete for our time or attention. Some of us, my wife for one, spend more time with TV; others, me for one, tend to spend more at internet. It’s the occasion-based segmentation. And I think “on the go” is quite an under-developed ocassion.

Plus, it comes with 2(2.1) mega pixels, auto focus camera.

And also with LISMO, an iPOD alike music player (which I will report later).

[Full disclosure] (for fun) : Last night, I had the hanami party with friends including au guy, who does not know about this blog and that I am blogging. He came late and liked that I had this au keitai. I work for ad agency and consult for network broadcast TV, but I don’t think this post is biased in any way.

Update: More on wansegu, PC card and Nintendo DS.

不カンファレンス? (unconference)

I think Dave Winer’s “Unconference” is a brilliant idea.

And, just wondered how I can translate it into Japanese. The easiest way is simply put it all phonetically more or less the same, in katakana, i.e.,”アン・カンファレンス(unkanfarensu),” just like Japanese use “コーヒー (kohhee)” for coffee or “ラジオ (rajio)” for radio. And “カンファレンス (kanfarensu)” for “conference” is a well established expression in Japanese. But アン・カンファレンス (un-kanfarensu) sounds a bit awkward to me.

Then I thought if I can assign kanji prefix that represents “un”; I settled for “不” (fu), hence, the translation becomes 不カンファレンス. Not sure if this is the right one… well still equally awkward to me. But, anyway…

Update: Gashu suggested rather  否カンファレンス (hi-kanfarensu), which I agree.  Hence this post under category 否カンファレンス (hikanfarensu) now.
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A proposal for MIXI

Since I started reading Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble (not yet finished, because I am very slow), I have been wondering how a blog can be used as a corporate communication tool, especially as a customer contact center. One of the difficulties with using a blog is, however, that any visitors can be anonymous and the comments can be irresponsible. Yet I’ve seen many corporations hesitate to use direct conversation tools such as BBS, as their way to directly communicate with their customers. Historically the corporations have, then, preferred the dialogue to be offline rather than online, which is often public. The inquiries have been handled by telephone and kept private. But now with the ever growing blogosphere, that will be less and less the case as we’ve observed such claims brought up in the blogosphere and got public and largely visible like in the case for Dell made by Jeff Jarvis last summer. That means the corporations will be more and more required to publicly talk with customers online or the dialogue gets public even/especially when they don’t want to. If that’s hard to accomplish overnight, then why not try the somewhat interim solution?

Then I thought of MIXI, Japan’s orkut, which I believe can be modified for that purpose. For, at MIXI the contents are open only inside MIXI (yet quite high in reach), all the participants become member via invitation and identified to some extent, and less worry about unidentified or irresponsible comments. Therefore, the corporations can be more aggressive and honest in talking with the customers, while maintaining quite a high reach. Note, as of this writing, its cumulative membership is 3,360,970 (including withdrawals), representing, in terms of subscription, about 33% of Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun (=10,082,425 copies). Inside MIXI, fan communities are abundant and run by, of course, volunteers: YouTube (2,596), COACH (fashion accessories, 5,074), Nintendo DS (6,388), SKYPE (10,564), to give you a few example, note: the number inside () is membership.

Suppose if MIXI were to offer the corporate services such that the corporations officially can have the direct contact point with its customers (blog-alike posts and comments, akin to the personal diary it currently offers for conventional users for free of charge), while making posts and communities searchable via its internal search engine. Then, at a premium, it might even offer the service pretty much like Google’s adwords or overture listing ad, with the search results highlighted at the top of the page inside MIXI.

I believe then it, in a way, answers the scale issue of the social networking ad that Jason Calcanis raised (via MIT Advertising Lab)

The problem with event-marketing is, of course, that it is very expensive (think $100-1,000 a person) and you can only reach a small number of people at a time (think 100-1,000 people). Compare that to a TV commercial, radio ad, or Internet ad where you can reach someone for pennies a person–and millions of people at a time. Clearly the future of social networking is making online event marketing scale.


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Update: Thanks Ben for pointing me at the interesting article.

Japan’s NHK blog goes live with its live TV show

The randomness, that sense of never quite knowing who’s going to post when and what, is both the joy of the new site and slightly scary. It’s the lack of control you feel you have at times – and control, I realise, is the one of the hardest things for editors to cede.

CNET Japan reports that NHK, Japan’s BBC, is going to host the weblog for its new Saturday night live* show. The show itself seems to be about blogging, too. I think, at least, it is a bold experiment for the flagship national TV station to run the live show along with its blogging, which would inevitably be live with the trackback, if not the comment, function equipped. Just waiting to see how the things will develop.

* Title: Tsunagaru Terebi @Human, 23:00-24:00 Saturday at NHK Channel 1.

Update 1: 3/21/2006

I’ve found it wierd that its blog warns a viewer, upon the click on the link or trackback link, that the page she or he is being re-directed at is not NHK’s production, as shown below:

For the trackback link, it is still understandable to show this alert even if NHK seems to check the contents before the approval. However, for the link to another external page, which is made by NHK themselves, it is hardly understandable and even resentful; since rather than showing such an alert, they can simply write whatever they think about the contents, to which they are miking a link, and why. I hope they will learn from good predeseesors overseas such as the Guadian’s Georgina Henry (via BuzzMachine), who also expressed her fear of losing the control of the contents.
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