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26 Aug 2004: Four Years On



We're going. On September 5, we are riding off into the sunset. Aki and I have got accommodation lined up (photos next month) and we're in the middle of packing everything up. My flat is quite some mess at the moment. No visitors, please!

It's been a tough few months trying to sort everything out. Do all of my electrical goods work in the UK? What's broadband like in England? Can Aki work once she gets off the plane? How do I ship my PC quickly? How can I get rid of that cupboard I built but wobbles a bit too much and I never really liked it? Oh Christ, and then there's taxes...

This month's photos are a bit different. On the left you will find a sequence of previously unpublished pictures that span the four years since my arrival in Japan on January 21, 2000. Consider it the Director's Cut.

Important: From now until mid-September I will not be contactable by e-mail, because my PC will in transit to the UK.

Web Movements

After some hard work, I have rebuilt the Wander web site as Electron Drift, now running on MySQL and PHP rather than a set of static pages. Hello fellow technical people, perhaps you could hop over there and have a look if you have a chance. I will be updating it more frequently from now on. Scout's honour, dude.

Bat Fung is back online, so I've added his site to the Wilco section of the links. I've also swapped the Baghdad Burning link, which is updated infrequently nowadays, for a freelance journalist in Iraq who is always interesting to read: Back to Iraq. Also added ihath whose site has the tagline "Don't shoot!...I have another story to tell you."

I Love Bees

I can't believe I'm starting out with such a poor joke. Something that is generating a lot of buzz online at the moment is the mystery of I Love Bees. It is most certainly a publicity stunt of epic proportions being pulled off by Microsoft-owned Bungie, in advance of the release of the hotly-anticipated Xbox game Halo 2.

It started with pots of honey being sent to members of the online alternate reality gaming community around July 17th. Letters were in the honey, which could be arranged to form "ILOVEBEES". This took them to I Love Bees web site. Just a day or two later, the Halo 2 trailer started hitting the cinemas and Halo fans started to notice the www.xbox.com address at the end of the trailer shimmered briefly revealing www.ilovebees.com.

The site appeared to be the site of a beekeeper called Margaret, hacked by someone with unknown intentions. It was soon noticed that foreign messages were being mixed into the pages; a closer analysis of the corrupted images revealed that messages had been blended into the image data too. The "owner" of the site, Dana, asked for help from her weblog.

This is a game. I'm not going explain the story in the game so far, but I will relate the big event this week. On August 24, players across the US waited near payphones that were identified by GPS coordinates listed on the site, at appointed times. It's all rather sad and geeky I guess, but if you're intrigued like I was, you can always go to the quick start guide.