Review, anthology and some information for Apps and ecosystem of iPhone from Japan

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sending photos to cellphones

ezPhotoMail price: ¥115($0.99) size: 0.1MB developer: s21G LLC iTunes
Essential e-mail client for Japanese iPhone user is releaced. “ezPhotoMail” is it. Sad to say, iPhone is known well which can't send photos to other cellphone except iPhone. ezPhotoMail solves this situation with following 2 functions.
Resizing image to smaller Subject encoding into ISO 2022-JP
First image resizing function makes iPhone to suit capability for standard cellphone mail system in Japan. All jp-cellphone has small e-mail client (but almost doesn't have MMS) can't handle photos which send from iPhone.
ezPhotoMail resize and rotate image into size such user sets on setting panel.
Second solves subject encoding problem on jp-cellphone. Many jp-cellphone prejudice e-mail subjects are encoded to Japanese limited encoding "ISO 2022-JP", then UTF-8 encoded subject sent from iPhone are broken. ezPhotoMail send subject with encoding to ISO 2022-JP.
These spec are not difficult to implement on iPhone but if iPhone has it, simple interface will gone. Japan is not only country where strange situation in e-mail environment. I've waited 3rd party developer releases mail client supports jp-cellphones but the term iPhone released last July, Apple seems not to allow development e-mail client or other conflict-able apps with Apple. Now those intolerance season finished. In these days, mail client and web browser are released from 3rd party developers.
ezPhotoMail does not solve all problem exits iPhone between jp-cellphones. Before I send photo to my mother, I should ask her to add my gmail address to allow list on junk mail filter because carrier sets only jp-cellphone mail address to white list. And ezPhotoMail can't add text messages to photo. I will send other text mail to her what I take.
But anyway, ezPhotoMail gave me the way to send photos to my old mother's cellphone. Lowest price in shelf of AppStore for ezPhotomail is excellent.

In addition

I found that I should describe why mail client on monster spec jp-cellphone is so poor.
In Japan, e-mail between cellphone is used like as SMS not as your known mail using on Mac or PCs. Huge number of short string message is send from cellphone to cellphone, not for used to read mailbox on normal mail server. You'll wonder why Japanese send short string with mail not SMS? The reason of it is simple but hard to believe.
In Japan, SMS can't be sent between carriers. In other word, user cant send SMS to friend using other cellphone carriers. (But oversea person can send SMS to Japanese cellphone. This is one of 7th mystery of JP-cellphone. ) This situation were born at 1999 when the time i-mode (largest cellphone networking service) started. At that time, there were some cellphone protocol can't communicate with messaging like SMS exist. This is my guess, in this situation force i-mode's messaging system should be built on e-mail not SMS. After started i-mode, e-mail messaging service explode rapidly can't re-build on other system.
Now, monster spec jp-cellphone has poor e-mail client not like as iPhone.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's my URL! ServersMan

ServersMan price: FREE developer: FreeBit Co., Ltd. size: 3.3MB iTunes
How do you use web-server if you can bring to anywhere? ServersMan is tiny web-server hosts web site an WebDAV storage on iPhone.
After activate your account, node name is set as reach-able URL to iPhone... The phrase before is not impressive then I'd want say again “URL on MY iPhone”. At first launch, I've got excited like the time to write first HTML tags.
Activated ServersMan is stand alone web server ( in correct meaning, domain name is solved by developer FreeBit based on IPv6 technology named "Emotion Link"). The public_html directory hosts web contents to Internet after set "Public Web Access" on.
Factory set HTML shows location data, images and audio files which you set to publish. ServersMan have function to host images captured by iPhone's camera on the fly. Setting "Save Same File Name" to on, latest image will shown in same URL as pseudo camera streaming. This interesting function is same with audio file. ServersMan have recording function and save on same file also.
At the same time of launching ServersMan, Web DAV storage server works, and user can mount storage on computer's desktop with logging in. Mounted storage contains following directories. Node named directory contains editable html, images and other files hosted to WWW via ServersMan. You can edit html file on ServersMan application also.
If you want send files to iPhone, it is able to move files to MyStorage directory via WebDAV. Uploaded files appears on ServersMan to edit or preview. Opposite side transfer is able with using ServersMan's "WebGadget" menu. With using WebGadget, iPhone's photo album images and recorded files are able to be hosted to WWW and WebDAV.
Server transportation speed is rely on network where iPhone connected. Wi-Fi gives enough response and 3G network is not too slow.
Current version has wrong path to get user id, sent e-mail from ServersMan expire after application is shut down. Then other computer is necessary in order to read pass-code to enter ServersMan activation text box.
ServersMan has many weak-points. It is the most terrible battery eater ever I know. Even if I charging iPhone, ServersMan will eat battery out in 30 minutes. User interface is not clear. Web engineer can understand how it works but workflow is not streamlined. I think ServersMan's largest weak-point is html set by developer. Poor design html is not worth to publish from iPhone.
ServersMan is not something special at this time, but the things opened by this tiny web server and iPhone seems to bring us harvestfull future, even if ServrsMan is not exist at there.
I'm going to enjoy to think how ServersMan's concept work in future with modifying html on iPhone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

News PAPER viewer

Sankei Shinbun price: Free developer: SANKEI DIGITAL INC. size: 0.2MB(initial) iTunes
If you have an iTunes Store Japan account and want to know about something news media company in Japan, this strange free news paper viewer application “Sankei Shinbun” may help.
Sankei Shinbun app is released by Japanese quality opinion news paper company in large mass-media group. Sankei released free “news paper” viewer neither news viewer nor news reader. User can see news paper image published every morning on same style.
After launching, Sankei Shinbun app receives news paper image on each launched day. Data transport is not slow in 3G network, first page appears in several seconds. Flicking to left shows next page when fully page is shown. Page thumbnails are able to be shown with tapping bottom left button.
With pinch-in, image is able to expand into ruby fonts readable resolution with downloading necessary image data partially. Expanding are not make feel slow. Flicking to other part of view scrolls image. After page data is downloaded, scrolling and scaling are convenient.
If this app shows historic document image or fine art masterpiece, application spec is enough, some person says powerful. Engineering is not best but networking, quickness and service deployment are well balanced. From a partial scope, Sankei Shinbun app seems good application. Only and huge fault is terrible combination with news and image viewer. Search, caching (high resolution data is huge) and links or other network access are not supported by this app. Though a few Japanese engineer show high performance in strange directed product and get large success,'s direction doesn't seem bright.
In fact, Sankei Shinbun corp is one of the best Internet familiar news paper company in Japan, though their opinion shouts PATRIOTISM based on PATRIOT'S selected news sources. I don't like their opinion but most clip-able URL is served them in technology scope. Japanese other news sites managed by quality paper company doesn't only allow links to their website, but also each entries are not given permanent URLs and sometime removed like BIG BROTHER in 1984 did.
I'm disgusted the situation that strange Sankei Shinbun Application is the best news paper company's action on iPhone in Japan.
Viewer program is licensed from Yappa corporation which is famous technology company serves JAVA based commercial web-3D viewer. I hope them to release image viewer shows more better arts or documents than boring news with using their technology.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Winding stroke shows your soul

iShodo price: ¥155($0.99) developer: Ubiquitous Entertainment Inc. size: 1.1MB iTunes
Japanese caligraphy “Sho-do” uses soft brush to write infinite style letters. To learn sho-do may hard from many reason like these straighten sitting “Sei-za”, knowledge of writing order of thousands kan-ji letters, spending many papers, etc... Even if you'll get respect from many Japanese people after getting skills and spirits of Sho-do, the road to sho-do seems like Jedi training.
“iShodo” is the easiest way of enjoying sho-do style drawing.
Japanese beauty wearing kimono invite you to iShodo after launching on splash screen.
To start, tapping "Write Now" buton opens white wrinkled Japanese paper (Wa-Shi) where is your sho-do canvas. Flicking screen with your finger puts ink on paper. Quick stroke will draw narrow and slowly or stop moving your finger put wide lines. This width variation expresses huge kind of expression on small number of letters. Below drawn letter is my name... Not so good.
After several stroke, you'll find ink pale down. This is simulation of real brush. In order to fill ink, tap right side to pan ink tray and water bottle area. Scrubing on ink tray fills ink to brush and tapping watter bottle fills a bit of water for smooth drawing.
In fact, user interface of iShodo is not good. Terrible point is, any clear looking button doesn't appear.
This terrible interface will make user confused at first looking though Japanese people can predict iShodo's layout from real sho-do experience and "Instruction" button is prepared on start up screen. I hope developer fix interfaces.
Though some weekness exist, iShodo simmulates sho-do on iPhone with incredible response. I was surprised at the feeling to draw on iShodo reminds me real sho-do drawing even if paper size is too small and important drawing techniques are not able to use. I enjoy it enough drwawing sho-do on iPhone.
I'm not sure developer will release next version but current iShodo is worth to take a look.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just symmetry, it's introduction.

Symmetry price: ¥230($1.99) developer: gravity loves time iTunes
“Symmertry” make symmetric photo as app name says.
After loading photo, symmetry processing starts automatically. Flicking to right (bottom) will move left (top) source image to its direction. It's very simple. Clicking bottom right axis rotating button or flicking vertical (horizontal) quickly changes processing axis.
Tutorial and further information is developer's website "gravity loves time".
Clicking multiply axis button bellow, Symmetry reproduces new process with using latest symmetry image. With using this reproducing process, you can make fantastic image like kaleidoscope.
Simple symmetric photo made by this app may not be charming because duplicaded image tone is even in large part of photo, but strong composition is useful. I suggest re-touching with Photogene, ColorSplash or other your favorite image effect application after saving symmetric photo like below.
Application interface is clear, stable and response is quick. These are important for image processing tool. If I request something for Symmetry, supporting undo, saving session and blured edge composition.
Anyway, ¥230($1.99) is reasonable price for this small nifty application.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Num-Keypad for your Mac

NumberKey price: ¥230($1.99) developer: BALMUDA design LTD. iTunes
NumberKey make your iPhone into your Mac's numeric keypad via Wi-Fi.
Current MacBook has potential to use as main computing machine except numeric keypad. Old iBook and PowerBook has num-lock function but current models and nifty Wireless keyboard don't. Apple seems make us to leave from bore work using Excel. NumberKey make your MacBooks into mobile workstation.
NumberKey should be launched with companion application "NumberKey Connect" witch is able to download from BALMUDA design's support page. NumberKey Connect is small and simple application which connect your iPhone. After you set your iPhone as Default Device, only launching NumberKey Connect and NumberKey on your iPhone is the way to use this solution.
NubmerKey has 4 keypad styles Black, White, Silver and Classic. Each style suites several MacBook, PowerBook and iBooks.
Though usage of NumberKey is not easy without reading tutorial, NumberKey have well designed support web site and works stable well. After some minutes of downloading companion application and making it connect, you'll get how to use NumberKey enough.
NumberKey use motion sensor in order to flipping up side down your iPhone. When your iPhone connected USB cable, you'll find flipping function is very useful.
Beautiful interface, micro mentioned function and stability is my reason to recommend NumberKey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fly me to the Moon with iClouds

iCloudsprice: $0.99/¥115developer: STUDIO-KURAiTunes
Not usable, no help business and time eating healing Apps are popular in AppStore. Needless to say, I love these.
iClouds brings you to beautiful sky where you're in dream.
Launching application starts flight and will continue until you decide to wake up from dream.
Setting panel will appear from right bottom "i" button. iClouds' interactivity is only moving with flick or tilting iPhone in your flight. No departure or arrival exist in iClouds' dream.
iCloud have 3 types of beautiful sky named Daytime, Evening and Night. My favorite sky is Evening flight which brings me to eternal sunset flight.
Differ from king of healing application "Koi Pond", iClouds' polite, quiet and well designed in detail make you feel Japanese micro-mentioned instinct.
Anyway, healing time made by iClouds has worth to pay ¥115 ($0.99).

Translation and user-ability

All controls are translated into English perfect and interface user-ability is well.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Most worthy Japanese Dictionary comes to iPhone

Kojien6 price: ¥8,500 developer: LogoVista Corporation iTunes
Japanese most reliable dictionary "Kojien 6th(広辞苑 第六版)" came to iPhone.
Kojien 6th is latest edition of famous reference Japanese - Japanese dictionary witch is used as most reliable dictionary by Japanese language professionals like novelist, author, writer and so in Japan during this half of century.
All description are well considered and written in tiny though enough informative words by 100 specialists gathered from each fields and proof read by 160 staffs in 7 years.
The price, ¥8,500 ($99) is same with actual paper "Kojien" price seems expensive but I suggest to buy it for person who are going to be an professional of Japanese culture, Kojien helps as reference to Japanese terms.
Dictionary specification
  • 240,000 entries
  • 12,000 Kanji (Chinese character) entries (1,945 Japanese standard Kanji strokes, JIS code, character history, etc...)
  • 2,800 illustration, 5,000 photos and other hundreds multi-media resources
Search method
  • index Forward/Backward match
  • Literal search
  • Idiom search
  • Search from description
  • Full text search
  • Kanji part/strokes search
  • Who's who search
  • Location name search
  • Masterpiece title search
  • Seasonal word search
  • Media type search (images, movies, sounds, table, etc... )
Though all article are written in Japanese, almost application interface are translated into English.

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Taiyo Fujii,
Novel writer, 35th Japan SF award.