eSynapse Restructured

Well, it's been some time since I posted here, so here's some news and it isn't good.

eSynapse - the company I joined as CTO just a few months ago - has failed to secure financing, and been forced to slash staff. As my project is still several months from bringing in any revenue, the project has been frozen, and my team let go. I have decided to go with them.

This is a real shame ... the project I lead was to create a multi-level modular CMS with ECommerce and Semantic hooks. It was to be a chance to take the CMS that I had created over several years, and hacked for many clients, and rebuild it from scratch as an ASP service, in a new language, with a team of developers. Unfortunately this was not to be.

So ... what to do next? Of course I'm putting the feelers out, and checking the job sites. But I want to do a little upskilling first - finally move to Eclipse, learn about Mobile Development, Flex and a little Java (eek!). I also have a couple of ideas I'd like to work on, and have started on a mental health-related site project with some friends, so I'm not going to leap back into the job market immediately.

PostgreSQL Conference 2008 and Party

Friday saw Japan's annual PostgreSQL conference held at the Izumi Garden Conference Centre in Roppongi Itchome.  Billed as "Learn everything there is to know about PostgreSQL in one day" - the conference is the main event in the local PostgreSQL community. 

With major organisational backing and sponsorship from SRA OSS Inc., Sun Microsystems, EnterpriseDB, NEC Software and others, the event had a distinctly corporate flavour to it.  Along with the plush Roppongi location, I suppose this matches the image of PostgreSQL as the Oracle of Open Source Databases.

I have recently started as CTO of a company that uses an OSS stack, and PostgreSQL as the DB platform.  With my DB background being MSSQL, Oracle and Sybase, I have some catch up to do, so this was a great opportunity to get some concentrated exposure. 

Morning saw the keynotes, the afternoon was sessions ....


Business Blog and SNS World 2008

I am at Tokyo BigSight right now for Business Blog and SNS World 2008.   The midday session that Andrew and I led went very well.  Despite the terrible weather and a smaller than expected turnout for the event, we had about 120 to 150 people come along to the session.

After the MC's introduction, first up I introduced the session survey.  I put together a simple mobile based survey system for the event, and projected a QRCode onto the screen.  This went pretty well, and about 30 people responded in the first few minutes.  Then I talked about the network event we are running this evening, and launched into the panel discussion.

Andrew was moderator, and the panelists did most of the talking.  45 minutes was soon up, and I presented the real-time survey results.   Although there was Q&A time at the end, no-one had questions.

In the green room

With Andrew Shuttleworth

The Panel

The eSynapse Booth



Brainstorming dinner for Business Blog and SNS World 08 Session

Last month, eSynapse was approached to put together a session for Business Blog and SNS World 08 at BigSight from May 28th to 30th.

With only a few days to settle on the session content, we quickly decided to do a panel discussion on Open Data and Mashups, and how they relate to the event main topic.  The session is on the 29th (Thu) from 12:00 to 12:45.

I pulled together a collection of industry colleagues to participate, and Andrew Shuttleworth from Tokyo2Point0 volunteered to moderate the session.  


Facebook Developer Garage

CA340028I went along to the "Facebook Developer Garage" at an event space in Harajuku.  There was a fairly basic introduction to Facebook Applications given solely in English :( , followed by free wine and snacks, and then a series of talks from local developers of Facebook apps.  I hung around to see Junya Ishihara present his "Kanji-Fandom" application, and Yuki from OnGMap informs me that there were three more demos after that, followed by a bit of networking time.



Presented LIMS Ecommerce Blogging Platform at Tokyo2Point0

On Tuesday night (2008-04-08), I took a couple of colleagues along to Tokyo2Point0 to present eSynapse to the community.  We just got the call at the end of last week, so we did a short introduction and a demonstration of the Blogging Platform.

Andrew Shuttleworth broadcast the event on UStream, and recorded the session.  The videos are below... We start at about 12:00 into the first clip.


Tokyo Bloggers Dinner

On Tuesday I started working in Kojimachi, near the offices of Mozilla Corporation.  Gen Kanai, a friend from Tech Talk Japan chat and Tokyo2Point0, works at Mozilla and we got together for lunch yesterday chatted about various stuff including Mozilla Messaging, portable social networks and upcoming events.  He turned me on to the Tokyo Bloggers Dinner, a monthly get together of some of the local blog scene, where everyone has curry and perhaps a few beers, then gives a quick presentation about what they are doing, or some interesting sites they are using.  He introduced me to the organiser, Kohichi Aoki, and I was on the list.


The first day of the rest of my life...

IMG_2903 Today was my first day as CTO for eSynapse, a start up based in Kojimachi, Tokyo, and creator of all manner of data driven web sites.  Our flagship product - LIMS - is an multi-level ecommerce and blogging platform that combines blog-marketing with online inventory control and sales.  Other services provided are integration and server monitoring.

My role here will cover several functions, for example -

Turn our current technologies into a fully automated, modular and customisable platform

Add geolocation. multilingual and semantic web features to make the shopping experience more "social"

Round out the ecommerce functionality by developing and partnering with other business services that can be delivered to retailers and small businesses over broadband

Localise overseas Web properties for the Japanese market.

After what was an interesting yet ultimately unrewarding two years contracting at Microsoft, it is great to be back in the thick of it.

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Nifty Develops Spam Blog Filter - Finds 40% of Domestic Blogs to be "Spam Blogs"

Nifty Labs, the marketing research group within Nifty Corporation, has developed filtering technology to automate the detection of so-called "Spam Blogs"  - blogs whose sole purpose is to artificially inflate traffic and affiliate commissions.  Japan has been renowned for the number such sites, and it is certainly an issue when trying to gauge the true blogging population and activity level here. 

The survey combined several filtering techniques, and data came from a 100,000 article sample from 5 months of Nifty's Buzz Pulse Blog analysis service.  Nifty says Buzz Pulse indexes 90% of Japan's blogs, including over 450 million articles as of March 2008.  The average level of Spam Blogging was about 40% ...

2007-10 39.3%
2007-11 40.1%
2007-12 39.7%
2008-01 39.9%
2008-02 40.5%


Nifty plans to make this information available
on their BuzzSeeQer site - the online servce for BuzzPulse.


Press Release: (Japanese)

Original Blog: (Japanese)


Visit to Shift, Auckland

It was my last day on vacation in Auckland today, and I took the opportunity to do the rounds a little this morning.  First up I went into town to meet Malcolm Stenersen, ex-colleague of mine from Clearfield days, to discuss his new e-commerce venture.  I can't yet divulge the details, but the concept is great, and am looking forward to seeing it take shape.


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