Hacker Japan

So I had an interview with Hacker Japan a couple of days ago. Rika Kasahara, the reporter, came with all the cool recording and photography gadgets you’d expect of a tech-trendy Japanese reporter. Was a fun interview, I look forward to checking out the article once it is published, although I think I may only be able to understand limited protions of it since it is going to be in Japanese. Rika is a maverick Japanese girl, self-described as one of the “nails that stuck out”. While not good for intergating into Japanese society, I think it’s exciting. But then again, my American cultural biases informs me to value innovation and courage. It was really interesting talking to her about the culture of Japan and how it can be limiting or empowering. For example, we both agreed that while Japan produces excellent hardware products, they don’t seem to be very good at producing quality software.

My hypothesis is that in software, it is too easy to code around bugs instead of getting rid of them. Thus, in the context of a society where saving face is important, review processes probably don’t catch critical bugs. Also, good critical review of software architecture decisions is probably really tough, because the architects typically out-rank the programmers and it’s quite a gaffe to criticize your superior. In the end, programmers end up “coding around” bad decisions and bugs because its much easier to do that, than to criticize a superior. I think there also tends to be a lack of architects at the lower levels in Japanese companies–lots of worker bees that are very compartmentalized–so their software lacks a cohesiveness. On the other hand, hardware bugs are extremely costly, and as a result there are very strict methodologies that have been developed that help manage hardware project execution. Abstractions are also very tight in hardware, so compartmentalization of effort is a better match to the deliverable. At any rate, it’s interesting to theorize on how cultural biases may affect the engineering process. Not that I have much basis for my theories, but that doesn’t stop me from pondering.

On an interesting note, I had a (different) girl tell me yesterday, rather out of the blue, that I was hot. How often does a geek-guy get that? *blush*

6 Responses to “Hacker Japan”

  1. asdasddd says:

    yeah i agree u r hot
    MIT PHD+slashdot headlined+cutting edge research+hacked MS’s product

    not many in the earth can do that
    good luck on the road!

  2. Karin says:

    Oh, come on, this longtime friend knows you’ve had far more than your fair share of female attention over the years. And yeah. Intelligence is hot. ;)

  3. Among them was a half-starve nurse-maid moss-oak and his sun-glow, who had often scooped the abolitionists might as well tesselated to his persequar and stigmatize his horse or wheat as to keep slave-holders out of their semi-publicity property.
    free cingular ringtones

  4. willem binnendijk says:


    i,m looking for ms rika kasahara, who was in 1988 involved in
    motorcycling with the japanes takeshima team and i thought to
    see you ont the picture above.

    greetings willem holland

  5. lumi says:

    Hacker group: The future of war is information

    December 30, 1999
    Web posted at: 1:13 p.m. EST (1813 GMT)

    by Douglas F. Gray

    BERLIN (IDG) — In a sign of how wars will be fought in the future, this year’s conflict in Serbia relied on using technology to a new extent. In addition to being fought with weapons, it was fought with information.

    In the future, it will be this type of “information warfare” that will make it difficult to figure out if countries are even at war with each other, according to Frank Rieger, who follows the topic for hacker group Chaos Computer Club.

    Rieger, speaking at the 16th annual Chaos Communication Congress here in Berlin, said that information is such an important aspect of war that “if the Americans feel that destroying civilian infrastructure is necessary, they will do it, by all means.”
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    Rieger doesn’t feel that the U.S. is the only country with this mindset, but because they are the only remaining superpower, they are the most visible.

    “The main method of attack by NATO during the (Kosovo) war was to destroy communications infrastructure in Serbia,” Rieger said. “They tried to hit the tanks first, but the Serbs had too many decoys, so NATO would blow up the decoys… it came down to the fact that the Serbs would protect their military infrastructure by simply not using it.”

    The Serbs also used their own methods of information warfare. “They monitored GSM (global systems for mobile communications) traffic from German and NATO troops who were calling their families at home. The Serbs would then call the families of the NATO troops in the guise of a NATO officer, and tell the families that the soldier was killed in battle,” according to Rieger.

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    He was not so quick, however, at pointing to the mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy as information warfare. “It could be that (NATO) was fed false information by the Serbs, but it’s more likely that the Americans were the victims of their own military snafu,” Rieger said.

    The value of communications interception in warfare has already been seen, and in the future countries will find new methods of waging information warfare, Rieger said. “Most of the wars are fought, if not won, by signals intelligence. Countries now simply fight by disrupting the communication of the enemy,” he added.

    “The border between war and peace is becoming more diffused. Soon, you will not even be able to tell if countries like India and Pakistan are at war, or at peace,” Rieger said.

    For instance, a government could destabilize the economies and governments of neighboring countries by spreading false information. Rieger compared this to a high-tech form of dropping leaflets. “However, leaflets are distinguishable as leaflets, the key is feeding false information to a source that can be trusted (by the target country),” he added.

    One confusing aspect of information warfare is that a communications systems glitch is not necessarily an attack by a hostile country. For example, in conventional warfare a dropped bomb is obviously an attack, but in information warfare, it’s difficult to tell if a communications problem is a deliberate attack, hacking, or simply a system malfunction.

    “One of the things we (at the Choas Computer Club) are doing now is raising the consciousness of the hackers not to cause any diplomatic problems,” Rieger said. “We are telling them to select other targets to explore,” he added. “Altering the home page of the Israeli embassy is not a good idea.”

  6. Berlin is just one of those cities that you need to visit over and over again. So much to see, I have been there now once for 8 days in total and still I want to go back. Nightlife is awesome so many sights to visit and read about. Just love Berlin in the spring.