Tagged: computer

Japanese Don’t Need a Home PC

I’ve lost count. I’ve bought either six or seven Japanese home PCs since coming to Japan and would be lost without my beloved computer. My wife often jokes that I love my PC more than her because I spend more time in my home office than I do in the living room. I solved that problem by setting up Skype on her laptop so she can call me from downstairs!

Mami rarely uses her laptop. In fact, she struggles to find her way around the Windows desktop. In all honesty, it was a waste of money because she really doesn’t need it. As a housewife, she has no need for Microsoft Office and she can email her friends and browse the web from her cell phone. Now, her laptop is just a clunky piece of furniture she rests her coffee cup on.

Japanese cell phones do everything!Cell phones replace the Japanese home PC 

My wife is just an example of many Japanese who have stopped using home computers. Few Japanese bring their work home, and use their cell phones for everything from email and internet, to photos, music and video. These days, you can bypass computers altogether by sending your cell phone’s photos, music and video directly to your printer, home stereo or television.

ContraCostaTimes.com reports that in Japan, flat-screen TVs, iPods, cameras and video game machines are higher on the priority list than a home PC. So, could this be the end of the Japanese home PC market?

Overall PC shipments in Japan have fallen for five consecutive quarters, the first ever drawn-out decline in PC sales in a key market, according to IDC. The trend shows no signs of letting up: In the second quarter of 2007, desktops fell 4.8 percent and laptops 3.1 percent.

Japan is the first major PC market to shrink after 25 years of solid growth. Do you think we will see the same decline in other major markets? Will the home PC once again be a toy reserved for computer geeks?

Inspired by the article, PC market running out of steam in tech-savvy Japan.

My new Vista computer!

My new Windows Vista Ultimate computerThe day Windows Vista was launched, I went on the internet and ordered my dream computer (well, as close to it as I could afford!) That was nearly two weeks ago and it finally arrived on my doorstep on Thursday morning.

There are few purchases in life that get me really excited. You could probably list a car, a house, and a vacation on some tropical island among the most exciting, and I wouldn’t disagree, but I’d definitely add getting a brand spanking new, jaw-dropping, show-stopping, fully loaded, high-end Windows Vista Ultimate PC to that list.

I won’t go into technical details except to say that this has a dual Intel Core CPU, with both processors clocking in at 2.4 GHz. It’s got 2 gigabytes of RAM, and a GeForce 7600 GT graphics card.

So what does this mean in terms of performance? Well, Vista can measure how good your machine is with its “Windows Experience Index” score. My computer got 5.3, which is pretty good according to the help file.

A computer with a base score of 4 or 5 is able to run all new features of Windows Vista with full functionality, and it is able to support high-end, graphics-intensive experiences, such as multiplayer and 3‑D gaming and recording and playback of HDTV content. Computers with a base score of 5 were the highest performing computers available when Windows Vista was released.

My two computer (screen)sWindows Aero, which produces the flashy glass-like graphics you might have seen in screenshots is really nice, and my old Windows XP machine, which I’ve got networked to my new computer, looks really tired and dated beside it.

Thom Holwerda compared the usefulness of Aero’s visual effects to the night view cameras on the new Mercedes S class:

The S class has two night vision cameras on the front of the car, which will, at night (obviously) display its images on a screen right behind the steering wheel, greatly enhancing what you can see on the road, making it much easier and safer to drive at night. Now, this is typically one of those features which many people will claim are pointless, but at the same time, all the people who actually used it, will say they never want to go back to a car without this extra safety precaution. Vista’s Aero effects fall into the same category.

Perhaps the only complaint I have of Vista is the constant barrage of “Are you really, really, really sure you want to do this?” security messages. I’m sure it’s just because I’m still installing stuff, and they’ll become less frequent over time, but it seems like overkill.

A note to people who buy a Vista machine in Japan: If you get a Mouse Computer, as I did, you’ll find McAfee Security Center pre-installed. If you want to get rid of it, as I did, take my advice and just re-install Vista. I wasted two days trying to remove McAfee, and even when I gave up and thought I’d use it… it didn’t work! Seriously, Vista took like 20 minutes to automatically re-install and picked up most of the drivers itself – easiest Windows installation ever!

Before I wrap this up, and it was never meant to be a review (Mike kept hassling me for photos!), I’ll just add that with Vista Ultimate you can install a language pack so the whole operating system runs in your chosen language – this is a huge, huge reason to get Vista if you’re buying a machine in Japan and can’t read Japanese. Note: Office 2007 still functions in Japanese, although there might be an Office language pack available, too.

Me and my computer