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Prez Sez -- April 1997

Pat Hughes

My leg continues to improve and my time management is getting a little bit of a work out too! A busy month what with the Reading Japanese review (below) and Saint Patrick's day - or rather "St. Pat's weekend" might be more accurate. I did see a couple of people and I was impressed with Pam who dragged herself from a sick bed to make it Friday night and I'm glad to hear that she enjoyed herself.

I'd like to thank Roger Boisvert for his presentation last month on the current internet situation in Japan and his brief glance into what is coming up. Those who attended now know why your service/access to some sites may slow down at 3 p.m. on a week day (users in the biggest market in the world-the US - are logging in) and how customers in Japan may be getting a deal on price/performance and in fact coming out ahead even when compared with everyone's favourite benchmark - the States!

With such a fast changing field we look forward to welcoming Roger again in the not too distant future to update us and prognosticate (or guess-timate as bets one can) about the quickly approaching future.

Ken Cotton's homepage continues to expand with info related to Japanese and English computing and combinations of the two. Paul's quick preview of this months AJ revealed that my hint to Past President Kevin Ryan paid off and we will have a review next issue from him. I believe that leaves Michael but I don't remember what package he received...(another gentle hint).

Stuart has been released and I understand that he also made the best of his confinement and will tell us about mobile computing in this issue. The big question now is when he will be joining us live for a bite of real food and a drink?

The Internet course that I signed up for has not received any attention from me yet but I hope to change that soon. After all, I am paying for it even if the amount is small. (US$5.00 @ month I think.) Anyone else out there doing any learning over the net? Wave of the future they say and I'd be interested to hear from others who have tried it.

Reading Japanese

You're looking at a Japanese document in Windows and you can read some or all but you're not sure about the pronunciation or meaning of one or more of the characters or words. What do you do? 1) Open a dictionary and look up by stroke count or radical. 2) Use a computer to do the same. 3) Use your Zaurus (or other pen input PDA) to look it up and if you can't write it correctly search by radicals. 4) Cut'n paste the word(s) or whole section into RJ and with one click on the character or word up pops the meaning and pronunciation. Its that simple. I don't need to stop looking at the screen or have dictionaries around, I can continue right along with what I'm doing.

I can also add the word(s) or character(s) to a running list to be opened up and studied later. True, I don't review as much as I should but its there for those who want to build their vocabulary.

For people who's hiragana or katakana is rusty you can have the pronunciation displayed in Romaji instead if you like. Or if you are working in English Windows then you can open a Japanese file in the program (maximum 20 files at one time and max file size is 4 Gigabytes!).

Of course in this Internet age we can't leave out the fact that you can cut and paste text that "appears as gibberish in the web browser" and read it inside RJ. And of course you have the one-click dictionary there to use anytime you need it.

Sometimes I know a word but I can't remember the character. In this case you bring up the "Explain Japanese word" dialog and input the word using romaji from your standard keyboard, press the space bar and up comes your word - or press again for another alternative and so on. The Japanese character and the English translation are displayed so that you can confirm your choice. RJ has its own Input Method Editor so once again, English Windows is fine.

Highlights:

*Runs on any language version of Win 95 or NT

*Displays Japanese with no other utilities required

*Japanese to English dictionary of 172,320

*Kanji dictionary of 6,356 characters

*Easy to make a study list for you to review later - and many more, please check out the site (below).

Did I mention how long it takes to learn how to use the program? About 30 minutes if you go through the very thorough explanation that opens when you start the program. Or 5 minutes if you are like me and read the first couple of paragraphs and then jump right in. You can figure most things out as you go or read the explanation later or use the on-line help file. I really appreciate programs that are this easy to pick up and run with because I'm the type that will only read the documentation when things don't work.

Reading Japanese runs under any language version of WinNT or Win95. Find out more at http://akihabara.basistech.com/rj/. The program can be ordered over the net. There is a free demo version that you can try out but I'll warn you that it only works with the sample text that is included. However, there is a 30 day money back guarantee so how can you go wrong?


© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

April, 1997

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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