I came home from work yesterday to find the screen of my laptop fried. I've had a good run -- 4+ years -- and it has been through hell and back. I'll be heading out to pick up a new Macbook tomorrow at Macichiba.
Macichiba is a store in Akiba that my boy Bunshi turned me on to when I was looking to buy my current laptop. They run a great little outfit. Somehow they manage to offer deals such as maxing out the memory for the base price, etc. Currently they don't have the prices for the Macbooks listed, but I specced what I want at the Apple website and it came to about ¥200,000 (including Applecare). Hopefully, the Macichiba boys will be able to offer me some savings or more value for the same price.
In any event, I hope to have a new machine in about 30 hours.
It seems that the rejoicing at my computer's renewed ability to boot up was premature. I've had the use of it back for a while, but it has been slow. I mean really slow. it harkened to my days using the SE 30 I had borrowed from wakanomori to check my email via modem.
I first used disk utility. No change. I then ran disk warrior and it kept hanging up while attempting to read the directory data. Tried that 3 or 4 times. No joy. Today I finally had the bright idea to boot my puter up as a firewire disk and to run DiskWarrior from Misa's IBook.
Voila! No more spinning multi-colored wheel every time I attempt to do anything.
Been cruising around today since my morning class. First a stop at Book First in Shibuya to look (to no avail) for some technical books on sake making for my boy Todd. Couldn't find anything that has more information than the ones that he already has, though. Ended up picking up some other things he should find of interest.
And, of course, picked up a thing or two for myself. Next I headed to the Loft to get some Dr. Bronner's soap -- gotta remember to transfer that stuff to my check-in bag when I get to Narita -- one bottle for me and another one (unscented) to use to clean my workout clothes ala Nate.
After a failed attempt to locate the Apple Store in Shibuya, I walked to Harajuku to look for a tenugui store that I went to a few years back. No joy there either, as my memory isn't what it used to be. Oh well. After some aimless wandering near Aoyama 1-chome, and looking around the cemetery after finding it by accident, I went to the Apple Store in Ginza. I did some emailing and other online stuff there. I am starting to get a handle on how the neighborhoods of eastern Tokyo flow into each other. I'm still a novice, so I decided to take advantage of my vacation mindset and just meander around. I certainly could have picked a better day as it is like Africa hot today, but gotta go with the mood.
Just paid my rent, which I had totally forgotten about until yesterday, and now I'm sitting in The Hub, a chain of British-style pubs, having what passes for fish and chips and trying to figure out what I can do between now and my 6:00 class. I'm thinking about walking to Shinbashi (I'm about halfway there from Ginza already), and seeing if there isn't a store that I can buy some omiyage in.
BTW, I'm listening to "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. It is playing on the jukebox, and I hadn't realized until just now that the song/group had changed since the last one. Having been in a moreorless musical vacuum for the last 5+ years, I have no idea what is passing for pop music these days. Whenever I am somewhere where I can get a peak at what is out these days, I am usually struck by how similar it sounds to stuff I have heard before. I guess I shouldn't expect anything different...
On the rare occasion that I feel the need to listen to something from the last 8 years or so, I listen to one of the online radio stations through ITunes. I haven't had a whole lot of success with this method, but I probably only try it once every 6 months. A little offtrack but...our apartment in New York is supposed to come equipped with both a CD and DVD player, so I looked at cables in the Apple Store so I can attach my IPod. They wanted about $25 for some (seemingly) high-end connectors from Belkin. As if.
OK, it's 3:00 now and I gotta get moving before lethargy takes complete hold of me. Probably post more later as I'm planning to stay up most of the night to make it easier to sleep on the plane tomorrow.
Gotta say that because of my blog I've gotten back in touch with Smitty, Smitty, and Double-O, madesomee-friends, and have discovered some very entertaining writers. Not to mention the fact that I've wiled (sp?) away countless hours reading the likes of Bill Simmons and searching for anything and everything under the sun. I've only been connected -- in the internet sense, not the Sopranos one -- for 3 short years, but can't now imagine not having access at home. Still, as time marches on, and this is in no small part due to my realization that folks who really know the way our current technologies work can wreakhavoc on the unsuspecting, I have become increasingly concerned about privacy issues and our collective lemming-esque rush to make our lives public...and googlable.
I've been puzzled by sites like YouTube and others where the bandwidth usage would suggest huge cash outlays with little obvious revenue. How are sites like that and others, for example the social networking sites that seem to be popping up everywhere, making any money?
Next time you sit down to pay your cable-modem or DSL bill, consider
this: Most Japanese consumers can get an Internet connection that's 16
times faster than the typical American DSL line for a mere $22 per
Across the globe, it's the same story. In France, DSL service
that is 10 times faster than the typical United States connection; 100
TV channels and unlimited telephone service cost only $38 per month. In
South Korea, super-fast connections are common for less than $30 per
month. Nations as diverse as Finland, Canada, and Hong Kong all have
much faster Internet connections at a lower cost than what is available
here. In fact, since 2001, the U.S. has slipped
from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband use per capita. While
other countries are taking advantage of the technological, business and
education opportunities of the broadband era, America remains lost in
After having had a computer (from this century) and broadband for only two scant years, I can't imagine going without it. All three of my siblings own computers, which I guess says a lot for them as 40 somethings, but none has broadband at home. As it is, I sometimes get impatient with my meager 10 Mbps DSL connection, but I can't imagine having DSL with speeds less than that or (heaven forbid) ISDN. To be fair, DSL and cable internet access has come a long way in the 5 years that I have been here. When I arrived in 2001, I only knew a few people with DSL and now pretty much everyone I know has high-speed access at home and many of the apartment buildings here are going fiber optic. I wonder what the problem is in the States. I figure it must have something to do with the relative monopolies enjoyed by both telephone service and cable providers, but it seems to me that the States has the potential to be a connectivity utopia, and I wonder if there is possibly some conspiracy afoot to keep a relatively high cut off for the digital divide.
I have been following the triabulations over at Blurbomat, and if someone with his technical expertise and resources can't get cheap reliable high-speed access, then I hold out little hope for the rest of the country.
Oh, just to give people an idea of what we're talking about in Japan. I pay about USD 50, per month for my connection, VoIP phone, email account, and homepage. This is actually a bit pricey, but I have been too lazy to deal with having them come to upgrade me to 40 Mbps (for the same price).