myGengo giving JapanProbe a hand

9 October 2009 | 19:53 | diary | No Comments

In one of the fastest deals I’ve ever closed, myGengo and JapanProbe have partnered up as a first step in the development of some new services we’ll be launching over the next few months. You can view the JapanProbe announcement here.

This is an exciting partnership for myGengo, as it moves us a step closer in a direction we’ve been targeting for a long time. As you surf the web, start keeping an eye out for something like this:

powered by myGengo

and you’ll know myGengo has been helping out. Stay tuned for some more good news!

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myGengo interviewed on Pokya!

4 October 2009 | 22:53 | entrepreneurship, worklife | No Comments

Joseph Tame graciously interviewed Rob and I for a podcast piece on myGengo. I think this is my first podcast interview, evah. We had a lot of fun – those of you who have visited Co-lab know about the nice roof-top terrace, which is where we did the recording.

We discuss everything from doing a startup in Tokyo to some new services we’ll be rolling out over the next few months. If you’re curious about how myGengo go started, the type of jobs currently being translated through myGengo, or what we’ll be launching in the next few weeks, do give the podcast a listen.

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Nomura teaching Harvard grads to serve tea

30 July 2009 | 19:46 | Japan | No Comments

Hot off Gen’s tweet, here’s a quick collection of posts as the ripple begins:

Being most familiar with this exact pair of cultures – American and Japanese – I find this clash fascinating. It’s sad and depressing no doubt, and I don’t have much hope for Nomura management to understand what is so wrong teaching 17th century office practices, but there’s a small part of me that’s thrilled this news is making headlines, in a sort of “I told you so” way.

My bet is that Nomura management will only react to the negative press by retreating and decreasing their diversity quotient.

Most Japanese corporate work environments do not value cultural diversity, and are afraid of what they don’t know. If you’ve ever been exposed to a Western work environment, you will not like working in a Japanese one.

Note, I am not saying one is better than the other. Simply that a Japanese work environment takes a very unique soulless personality to actually enjoy it.

This reminds me of a recent research-study anecdote I heard at a lecture last month.

A Chinese student who was working part-time in a Japanese fast-food kitchen was asked if they felt their experience was transferrable globally. The response was a firm “No.” Turns out, the Chinese student was proud of his dish-washing speed when one evening the Japanese kitchen boss came over and told him to slow down. The student was perplexed, and asked why.

“If you finish too early, you will have nothing to do and that will make me look bad.”

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Intern at myGengo!

20 July 2009 | 15:25 | diary | No Comments

myGengo is hiring Interns! We are looking to hire one or two amazing, multilingual individuals who fit the following.

You are:
• A college student or recent graduate
• Fluent in either Chinese or Japanese
• Punctual, reliable, confident, positive, proactive and organized
• Excited about a career in the web

You have:
• Good attention to detail and a good writing style in Japanese or Chinese
• Good computer skills (but you don’t need to be a programmer)

You’ll do this:
• Help us grow our worldwide team of translators
• Spread the word about myGengo online and in the real world
• Edit and create new website and blog content
• Give amazing customer support

You’ll get:
• Expenses paid (up to Y1000/day)
• A foot in the door at a company that’s going places
• Something on your CV that will be important
• The opportunity to learn a lot – we are interested in helping you too!

You’ll get way more than an internship at a big corporation:
• A sense of achievement as you be a part of myGengo growing
• You’ll do much more interesting work (no photocopying! no coffee runs!)
• You’ll learn a lot more, because you’ll be on the front line
• You don’t need to wear a suit
• You won’t be playing Minesweeper, you’ll be working damn hard

You’ll learn:
The basics of being a brilliant person to work with
(Trust us, if you’re still in college or fresh out, you’ve still got things to learn!)
• Good teamwork
• Communication skills
• Presentation skills

If you’re interested in the design side of things, you’ll get expert coaching from a creative director with 7 years experience in web design and branding.
• UI Design, IA, Graphic Design
• Flash/Actionscript (3.0)
• Branding
• Help & advice with any personal/portfolio projects

Web Development
If you’re more on the technical side, you can be taught by two top developers both with 16 years combined experience building high-end web apps.
• Server Administration, Web-Services Deployment
• Help & advice with any personal/portfolio projects

Research & Support
If you’re more the academic type and your interests are in language, you will be integral to our content creation and translator-support efforts
• Language and cultural research
• Translation Market / Industry research
• Help & advice with career path choices

Tokyo (Ichigaya / Hanzomon station)

Minimum 4 weeks, 3 days per week
If you are available for a longer period, part time, that’s great!

Please fill out our application

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myGengo Talk : Resources on Translation

16 July 2009 | 20:57 | Internet, entrepreneurship, language, web2.0 | No Comments

One of our very talented Interns has been hard at work on both myGengo Talk and the myGengo Blog – a repository of resources for translators, and news summaries on the translation industry, respectively. There is so much valuable and interesting information for polyglots and multicultural personalities alike, it’s fascinating. Research on many levels continues to bring discoveries on how our minds and societies work!

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Safari 2.0 and jQuery

20 May 2009 | 2:45 | geekery | No Comments

Quick tip if you were unsuccessful in convincing a client it’s not worth supporting Safari 2.0, and you want to use jQuery but it’s not working (crashes, etc.): check for any .hide() / .show() in your Javascript code, and replace with .css(’display’,'none’). Particularly if you’re calling hide / show on page load.

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On creating the genius

3 May 2009 | 23:49 | education | No Comments

Rather good op-ed in the NYT on genius, from which the following quote is pulled:

By practicing in this way, performers delay the automatizing process. The mind wants to turn deliberate, newly learned skills into unconscious, automatically performed skills. But the mind is sloppy and will settle for good enough. By practicing slowly, by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating, the strenuous student forces the brain to internalize a better pattern of performance.

The full article has some good examples.

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Asian vs European Regionalism – how do they compare?

24 April 2009 | 13:02 | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

Interesting read I’m posting more for me reference than anything else, but thought it might be of interest to my Asian and European readers :)

Asian regionalism: How does it compare to Europe’s?

(h/t to Gen)

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Look! New!

1 April 2009 | 1:13 | design, diary, geekery | 2 Comments

Most people start their year on the 1st of January. In keeping with Japanese custom, this year I’ve decided to start a fresh look on April 1st. My wonderful girlfriend, business partner, and personal sanity-checker whipped together this new design in an afternoon after being fed-up with the bland previous theme.

I hope to keep the momentum going with a few more tweaks and enhancements over the coming month. Enjoy!

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PHP on CentOS + Plesk VPS

6 March 2009 | 2:53 | Internet, geekery | No Comments

I’m still scratching my a head a bit on this one, but figured I’d at least post my solution to an issue I came across parsing PHP on CentOS 5.2. (If you know the reason for the below, do post in the comments!)

The main problem was that PHP files weren’t being parsed correctly. I confirmed that the PHP module was loaded (/usr/sbin/httpd -M), and my /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf file contained the right directives. This was a stock install of CentOS 5.2 after all. I even tried moving some of the directives around to the domain-specific vhosts.conf file. I also confirmed that *.conf files were being loaded by the httpd.conf with “Include conf.d/*.conf” in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf.

Or so I thought. Turns out, I needed to wrap the contents of php.conf with <VirtualHost _default_:80>…</VirtualHost>. I realized this when I ran /usr/sbin/httpd -S to see what was actually being called – and noticed that some SSL directives were pulled in from ssl.conf, but nothing from php.conf. WTF?

So when different ports are supported (i.e. 80 and 443), directives for each now have to be wrapped? I have another CentOS machine (the only other – I don’t get to make these choices) w/o SSL and the php directives are loaded w/o the <VirtualHost…>.

At any rate, I usually opt for Debian-based distros as the folder structures make more sense to me. And I dislike GUIs that attempt to make server management easier for the layman but in fact barf files all over the system (I’m looking at you, Plesk).

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