Monday, February 16, 2015

Screen sharing between Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and Ubuntu Gnome

There are actually a number of posts and video that rank highly in google search results for doing this, but none of them explicitly state all the requirement to make this work. Since I just spent the effort to configure it like I want it, I'll dump it here (mainly for my own benefit since I'll forget what I did).

This is using the screen sharing application in Apple CoreServices. If you are on an unsecure network, don't do this because it requires disabling encryption.

Client: OS X 10.10.2
Sever: Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS

1. Install dconf-tools:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools from the command line
or use that ugly Ubuntu Software Center to search for and install "dconf editor" (why that thing has a white background with lime green text is a mystery to me)

2. Open dconf editor and navigate to org > gnome > desktop > remote-access. Here you will make TWO changes. Most all the posts I saw only mentioned one change.

a. deselect "require-encryption"
b. change authentication-methods from 'none' to 'vnc'.

Do not select "set to default"

While a VNC client can connect with no authentication, mac OS expects a password, and attempts to connect will just hang if you don't set this.

3. from a terminal run vino-preferences and select "Require the user to enter this password:" and type in a password of your choosing.


vino broadcasts a hard-coded user@host name through zeroconf (avahi), meaning that in the mac finder sidebar, you get a separate entry for each service broadcast from the Ubuntu box. This is a rather annoying and old "feature". There's a nice workaround here that disables automatic broadcasting. You then create separate entries for each service using only the host name. This allows all of these to be grouped together under one "computer" icon in the finder sidebar.

sudo nano /etc/avahi/avahi-daemon.conf

find the line:


and change it to:


while remembering to uncomment the line (which I forgot to do the first time).

Next, create a vnc.service file (don't misspell the file name like I did and wonder why it doesn't work).

sudo nano /etc/avahi/services/vnc.service

and paste in the following as is:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone='no'?><!--*-nxml-*-->
<!DOCTYPE service-group SYSTEM "avahi-service.dtd">
<name replace-wildcards="yes">%h</name>

Restart avahi:

sudo /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon restart

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to move your kotoeri Japanese user dictionary to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite

I have been weary of new versions of the Mac OS since 10.7 Lion removed a ton of functionality. I could care less about iOS, and think that merging desktop and mobile OS is, at this point, a bad idea (especially when that desktop is used for work). Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks was a step in the right direction, but I was not at all interested in moving to 10.10 Yosemite.

Then I bought a new mac with it installed. Next, I discovered that "koteri" (ことえり)Apple's Japanese IME had been unceremoniously replaced. I guess that's fine. Kotoeri really wasn't that good. A lot of folks used ATOK.

For kotoeri users, though, there was no clear instructions on how to move your user dictionary. All I could find was this unhelpful page on Apple's site. In fact, an English-language brought me zero solutions. However, the first hit on a Japanese-language search contained the answer.

1. Go to ~/Library/Dictionaries and copy the bundle ユーザ辞書
2. On the Yosemite machine, open system preference, navigate to Keyboard the Input Sources (why it's not in "Language", I do not know), and select Japanese
3. Scroll down to the very bottom to "Specialty dictionaries", and drag and drop the ユーザ辞書 bundle into the input field.

That's all. (If you upgraded a machine to 10.10 and lost the file, just copy it over from your backup. What? You have no backup? You updated an Apple OS without making a backup of the old version?)

The location of the ユーザ辞書 bundle.
Drag and drop the ユーザ辞書 bundle into "Specialty dictionaries".

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

NTT Docomo to remove 3-day 1 GB limit on LTE data

All  of the Japanese carriers, in addition to having a monthly cap on data usage, also implement controls on short-term usage. This is because they lack the infrastructure to support an enormous instantaneous demand. In the past with other carriers, this has caused a tremendous amount of confusion due to inconsistent and improper communication to customers regarding these throttles. (Actually, it was probably because this particular carrier was making things up as it went along.)

To make matters worse, these throttles can be ridiculously implemented, where if you exceed a certain amount of data over a certain period of time, you get throttled, but not immediately. Instead, the throttle goes into effect up to 2 months later. That has nothing to do with network management and is purely punitive. I'll be glad to see these go.

Docomo Repeals 1 GB Limit

Docomo's limit was 1 GB over 3 days for Xi LTE data. Exceeding that results in a drastic speed decrease on the following day.
With continued expansion of the Xi coverage area, we can now provide a good user experience even without speed restrictions.
So Docomo will remove the restrictions. Yay! (There's no word on when, however.)

The 366MB 3-day limit on FOMA data will remain.

What about Softbank and KDDI?

Softbank and KDDI have commented that, at the present time, they have no plan to also remove their data limits. So that means they are now scrambling to figure out how to remove their limits, because once one Japanese carrier does something like this, they all have to follow suit or get left behind. I imagine that KDDI will be the first to announce the removal, followed by softbank. When Softbank finally announces, it will be accompanied by a huge amount of noise and BS.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Translation and explanation of revised Japanese SIM lock guidelines

Edit: I forgot to mention the best part. Not only will it be free, it will also be automated, meaning no more painful, time consuming experiences dealing with untrained shop staff. And, that of course means you will be provided with the unlock code.

I've now read the updated SIM unlocking guidelines from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communications (MIC). I've also translated them below.

In short, I'm very pleased with the new guidelines. They are short, concise, specific, and (most importantly) thorough. I was worried that the MIC would focus narrowly just on SIM locks, leaving carriers free to cripple phones by a myriad of other means, such as locking out the APN settings menu on the phone (like Apple typically does).

The guidelines specifically state that any other restrictions added by carriers should be removed. Hopefully this means the end of the Docomo's automatically changing of APN when tethering, which breaks tethering with MVNOs, other SIM cards, and the ISP.

The guidelines also specifically state that carriers can no longer unlock a phone then refuse to provide service using non sequiturs like "because your phone is unlocked we are no longer able to service it." That is as logical as saying the train was a minute late because I put ham in the refrigerator.

Carriers will also be required to specifically disclose which frequency bands a phone supports,  as well as what services will cease to work. Currently, getting this information from docomo is tedious and uncertain.

Phones will still be sold in a locked state, and the guidelines allows for an a short period of time that the phone cannot be unlocked.

It would seem that Juggly was right (as usual). There is no room at all that I can see for carriers to take an opposite approach and cripple unlocked phones.

The guidelines do not go in effect until May 2015. Though there is a clause stating that these guidelines should apply to phones announced before that date, I do not at all expect that to happen. In that sentence, there was a line break that caused me to read over a very important character, 前. The old guidelines will apply to existing phones. Purchase phones that initially go on sale after May 5.

(なお、それ以前に発売された端末については、平成 26 年●月改正 前のガイドラインの趣旨に沿って適切に対応することが適当である。)

For the iPhone, this would mean the next iteration that would presumably become available around October/November 2015.

(Anything in [brackets] is added by me.)

May 2010 (Revised: 2014)


Currently in Japan, handsets provided by MNOs are "SIM Locked," preventing usage on other mobile networks.

Users of these devices have expressed the desire to both use their domestic devices while overseas with locally-obtained SIM cards and to continue using the same phone after porting their number to a different MNO.

Due to problems arising from large differences in specifications [i.e., WCDMA v CDMA-2000], frequencies, and platforms [i.e., carrier mail, etc.], individual MNOs were requested to voluntary abide by the "Guidelines Concerning SIM Locks" in 2010.

However, unlocking by MNOs remains limited at present. In addition, SIM locks have not only hindered users, but have also increased the cost to other MNOs of acquiring new customers, partially leading to the [unreasonably] large cash back offers.

Now, the spread of LTE and smartphones has changed the mobile marketplace, increasing interoperability of specifications and frequencies between MNOs. Therefore, both the basic and specific points of these guidelines should be adjusted accordingly.

Note: The guidelines defined 役務 (service) as electronic communication services concerning mobile phones, including mobile phone access service, 3.9G [LTE] access service, and virtual mobile electronic communication services associated with mobile phones.

Ministry Opinion

Article 29, Paragraph 1, Item 12 of the Telecommunications Business Act of 1984 allows for the invoking of measures to reform telecommunication practices that are unreasonable or unjust and may or do result in unsound industry development or are not in the best interest of the populace.

SIM locks constitute an inconvenience that prevents receiving service with existing handsets upon switching MNOs, as well as usage of a locally-obtained SIM card while overseas. SIM Locks further increase the cost incurred by MNOs in recruiting new customers and are the cause of differentiation in service fees and content [between new and existing customers], hindering competition. SIM locks are also the root of the large cash back offers used to acquire new customers that are promoting an unfair situation between longterm users and those who frequently change MNO.

However, MNOs have expressed the following concerns regarding not implementing SIM locking. 1) Lack of full support by other MNOs for unlocked handsets may cause confusion for users. 2) Compared to a market with locked handsets, promotional costs will increase, likely resulting in retail prices above current. 3) Loss of incentive to develop original brands and services.

Regarding 1), it is appropriate to leave the decision to users after sufficient explanation. Regarding 2), it is not likely to cause a large problem considering the typical user situation in which an amount equivalent to the handset cost is discounted monthly from the service cost. Furthermore, the cash back amounts at the time of purchase have become excessive, creating an unfair situation between longterm customers and frequent switchers and becoming a problem for fair competition. The removal of SIM locks is expected to result in restraint regarding these promotions. Regarding strategies for original branding (3), rather than using SIM locks to forcibly retain customers, it is preferable to develop and provide services that take maximum advantage of a handset's appeal.

Thus, the above concerns do not constitute proper and reasonable grounds to continue SIM locking. Finally, the traditional problem for unlocking (incompatible frequencies, standards, and specifications) continues to be lesser and lesser of a problem.

Considering the above, MNO's users (including those who have already cancelled service) have called for unlocking handsets, and in the lack of valid justification to the contrary from MNOs, it is necessary to invoke measures to reform current practices under Article 29, Paragraph 1, Item 12 of the Telecommunications Business Act to protect the interest of users and foster sound industry development.

Specifics for SIM unlocking

  1. Eligible handsets
    1. Carriers should in principle remove SIM locks from all handsets.
    2. Refusal to remove SIM locks is limited to cases that would result in unfair competition or excessive hinderance to usage with other carriers. (This applies to specialized devices that pose technical issues, i.e., nonstandard mobile specifications or frequencies and does not include general usage devices such as those commonly known as feature phones, smartphones, tablets, mobile routers, and USB modems)
  2. Unlocking process
    1. Carriers should whenever possible quickly and simply conduct unlocking through the internet or over the phone at no additional cost. (Alternate means for unlocking at no cost does not preclude the levying of a service charge if in-store unlocking is performed at the customer's request. A service charge may also be levied against customers with no active service contract for in-store unlocking.)
    2. Carriers may make exceptions and add a limited no-unlock period to prevent improper use of unlocked phone and mitigate the risk of loss of subsidized phones
  3. Unlocking process should be set in advance and publicly disclosed

Points to note during SIM unlocking

  1. Explanation to Users
    At the time of handset sale, SIM unlocking, or conclusion of a service contract, MNOs should make reasonable effort through means such as in-store explanation, pamphlets, or websites to ensure that the user understand the following points in particular.
    1. At time of purchase
      1. Whether the handset is eligible for unlocking
      2. The conditions and process of unlocking
      3. Which mobile services, applications, etc. will be partially or fully inoperable with another MNO SIM card
      4. The frequency bands supported by the handset
    2. At time of unlocking
      1. The conditions and process of unlocking
      2. Which mobile services, applications, etc. will be partially or fully inoperable with another MNO SIM card
      3. How to obtain service or repair for the unlocked handset
    3. At time of contract conclusion
      Which mobile services, applications, etc. will be partially or fully inoperable with another MNO SIM card
  2. Clarification of means for inquiry by users of unlocked handsets
    MNOs should consult with handset makers to prepare and clarify a means to perform service on unlocked handsets.
  3. Confirmation of proper technical certification
    MNOs should make efforts to confirm that uncertified phones are not used on their network.


Because it is desirable that unlocked handsets are as fully functional as possible, appropriate effort should be made to remove together with the SIM lock any additional restrictions on functionality that were set by the MNO.

Implementation of these guidelines

  1. These guidelines will be applied to new devices brought to market after May 5, 2015. It is further appropriate to suitably apply the pre-2014 guidelines to previously announced handsets.
  2. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will reevaluate these guidelines as necessary following based on the situation following implementation.