TTC (This and That and Computers)
by Kurt Keller
The AJ has got another foreign correspondent, and also this one is living in a (mainly) German speaking country.
As some of you might know, I've left Japan (PINBOARD continues to exist in Japan) in August, moving to Switzerland. Still working in the computer business, of course; now hacking Unix on some big machines.
According to Paul, the AJ has "dry season" again. I still have an article planned about UUCP, but with what I did over the last seven weeks and what is up currently, you'll understand that the in-depth article I have in mind will still need to wait a little bit.
Here some more this-and-that instead.
The TPC has many foreign members. Some of them are in Japan for only a couple of years, moving back to their home country again somewhen. Moving overseas can be quite a headache, especially with a lot of luggage. In my case more than one third was computer stuff. Three desktops, a notebook, and loads of peripherals. Of course I was shopping a little for a forwarder and I found something I REALLY CAN RECOMMEND:
econoship-Davidson Inc. (0120-22 2111 or 03-3705-5595)
Their service is available in English, they provide very good information, are helpful and professional (not like some Japanese companies) and reasonable. Up to now I have only checked about one fourth of my computer equipment, but as far as I can see, there is no damage. Ok, one of the printers smears, but I think that is because of a different reason. No damage to the other stuff either. One of my colleagues moved to the USA about a year ago, using a Japanese forwarder and much of her luggage was broken or even missing, not so with econoship.
If you move to a different country and will be looking for a job there, it does pay off to visit the country some months in advance and enroll with job agencies. You should be able to find some contacts on the internet. Last February I was here and visited three agencies I had made contact with beforehand via internet. Within six weeks of my final return I started working. Sure, there was quite a portion of luck involved too.
But finding a job is not the only thing which has kept me busy. We also bought a house here (no, we don't have so much money, but the bank has some more). Right now we're in the middle of moving, which is why I neither have time for writing the UUCP article, nor checking all my computer stuff.
While in Japan (almost seven years) I exclusively used Japanese and English software. Japanese Windows is quite easy to use, even for people who don't read Japanese, as long as they know the English version of the software. Why? Simply because the shortcuts are the same. CTRL + B for bold, ALT + F for the Files-Menu etc. Even though I'm working with Unix, I have a PC on (no under) my desk at the office, running Win NT 4.0, German edition. And the German edition of Office. Gee, what a crap, these German versions! Most things are translated into German, or at least an attempt was made. Good luck at least the icons are the same, otherwise I'd never find the things I'm looking for. But the worst is, that they also changed all the shortcuts. For wordprocessing, I usually use TSE (The Semware Editor), a great DOS tool; Windows wordprocessors only when I absolutely need formatted text. It's not so hard to use English or Japanese versions, but the German one... While bold on the English systems is simply a CTRL + B key combination away, they were stupid enough to make this CTRL + SHIFT + F (for Fett) over here. CTRL + SHIFT + a letter is simply a horror for any touch typist. Or to open a file it was always so quick to just do a ALT + F O. Not so over here.
Word, being heavy, big and slow, is on my "only-use-when-not-avoidable" list, Wordpad being still a little better. However, I did switch over to word, because it has the autosave feature. My office NT machine works beautifully as long as I switch it on and don't touch it any more, but it crashes very often when I use it. (Me too, I thought Win NT should not give you those blue screens, or even freeze.) I already thought about changing the Pentium 100 machine for a slower one, a 386 maybe. Surprised? It's simple, a slower machine can't crash every five minutes, because it takes 10 minutes at least to boot.
So this months lesson is: Use Windows only on old, slow machines; they can't crash so fast.
Kurt@pinboard.com http://www.pinboard.com/ business http://www.pinboard.com/kurt/ private
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