Thursday, April 19, 2007

Technology Update

Thought I'd take a break from regular blog style for Japan, partially because I haven't been keeping notes and therefore have no idea what's happened in the past week, but also, change is good as we're always being told in corporate HR seminars. So this entry is a techo-summary. All those without a geek bone in their body, skip, you won't find this interesting!

Anyway, even the most occasional peruser of my blog must have picked up my angst with regard to the so-called laptop I have been carrying around with me. And where better to replace it than Japan?

New Laptop: Sony VGN - SZ48GN
Centrino Duo 2Gig Processors
1Gb RAM (may have to be bumped up by half a gig some time very soon)
160Gb SATA drive
Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 Graphics
DVD burner etc
Fingerprint recognition
Vista Business
Picked up a little Microsoft Optical Notebook mouse to go with it, and a strongish case.

Initial impressions: It's a gorgeous machine, and I can't help stroking it (when no one is looking). The fingerprint recognition is rock solid - no more windows passwords, just pop my finger on the pad and in we go. They also allow you to "register" web sites, so in future one doesn't have to type in passwords to access, for example, online banking - again just a touch of a button does it. Still delights me every time I use it (I know, I am a geek). However, Vista is definitely far from rock-solid. I've had no system-wide problems yet, but plenty of IE and Outlook crashes, and explorer reloading occasionally. This is on an almost fresh OEM build. Not good. Plus the interface.. the amount of prompting for confirmation etc is really quite annoying. Nice little touch - ethernet seems to do auto-crossover.

Proper Camera
Canon EOS 400D
Sigma 10-20mm ultrawide lens

Notes: Need a telephoto - I've dumped my 50mm fixed and 28-300 as they were both broken. Panasonic should cover it for now though (see below). It's a good camera - to be honest most of the time it's on auto-everything, which works just fine. Is useful to be able to tinker in low light conditions though.

Point and Click Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 (Silver)
SD card (Might have gone for a Fujipix but for their ridiculous XD format obsession)
28-280mm zoom lens (yes that's right)

Notes: First impressions good. I need to work out how to use the damn thing at some point, but the zoom is great. Spot metering is a bit iffy at times. And slightly heavy, but that'll be the Leica lens. I dumped the Sony P200 in favour of this because the Sony has dust inside the ccd, and it's going to be a pain to get fixed, even here in Japan. I'm annoyed with Sony for a number of reasons though, the dust being just one. For example why did they drop the mini-USB that they had in previous models for a non-standard connector in the P200? It's bad enough that they have their own card format, which technically isn't great, but to then also put in a proprietary connector **as well** is just plain rude IMHO. So Panasonic it is...

Phone/PDA: Orange SPV M3100 aka HTC Hermes
Samsung 400Ghz chip
2Gb expansion card
Touchscreen, 3G, Wifi b+g, EDGE, qwerty keyboard, 2MP Camera

Notes: I'm not really a fan of these sorts of devices. Why can't Orange release the bl**dy C700?! Anyway, it serves its purpose. Handy having 3G, as it's worked in Japan! Whatever next?!

Other bits and bobs
Bluetooth GPS Device
Battery powered. If I see one of these that charges off USB I may bin this one! Sony sell one… hmmm… then again, being a Sony, it's probably got a dodgy proprietary interface.

160Gb portable 2.5" HD in an icebox case
For backups

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones
New purchase to accompany my iRiver N12 mp3 player. They are nice, the latest version, single AAA battery in the neckstrap. They work best with "droney" noises like trains, planes, but they do take a fair bit of everything out. If you switch on the noise-cancelling when you're not playing music, I'd liken it to dunking your head underwater, or the sensation you get when an aeroplane is descending to land - everything is muted, but still just about there…

New Japanese Technology
Hmmm, well I have noticed that everyone now has TV on their flipphones. They watch it using 3G rather than directly off the airwaves (I think). So watch for this in the UK in a year or two.
The other new thing you see everywhere are little square bar-codes that are coded business cards. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I think you point your mobile at it, take a picture, then your phone reads the info and stores it. So you see them on cards, adverts on the tubes, on brochures etc.
Toilet seats that lift up automatically? Don't think I've seen those before… and check this for a toilet control panel:


Anonymous said...

more afro shots please Sam.

Sam Crawley said...

I may do, if you identify yourself, occasional peruser!