We've secretly replaced your geekdiarist [Dave Farber in Tokyo]

Rohit Khare (rohit@bordeaux.ICS.uci.edu)
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 23:02:11 -0800

[See? I have many respected role models to look up to in the geek-diarist
mode. Of course, I'm not going to be feted in quite the circles Dave is...
yet. But I hope to preserve that taste in geekdevices. The PC Card cellphone
sounds waay cool, btw --RK]

From: Dave Farber <farber@cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: IP: Tokyo Diary #1
Sender: owner-ip-sub-1@majordomo.pobox.com
Precedence: list

As usual the flight to Tokyo was uneventful and also as usual the
immigration lines were long and slow. The ride into Tokyo by Town Car took
close to 2 hours due to traffic (can be done in 1 hour normally by car (if
it is ever normal) and 55 minutes by Narita Express.

I am staying at the Imperial Hotel where the rooms are large and the
service excellent , rates good (group rate is 24000 Yen) and food prices
are murder (but right around the corner are lots of good and more modest
places for breakfast etc).

I strolled over to the Ginza on Sunday and noted a lot less buyers and a
lot more closed (empty) stores than in the past. It gave the strong
impression of an economy that has slowed way down. That was conformed in
discussions with people.

During those discussions I found out a few interesting computer related facts:

Many new Japanese computers use the touch pad to allow the authentication
of users by requiring the users to sign in. A company called Cadix (Tokyo)
supplied bios software that allows the registration of signatures as well
as the tracking of changes to how you sign. Also many of the new touch pads
allow 8 levels of pressure which is also factored into the algorithm. It
works for cursive writing and Chinese/Japanese

ALL NHK video is being recorded from the time of the Princes wedding in

There is now available a stereo LCD TV with a type of lenticular
multi-level screen that displays a decent stereo image . It is sensitive to
angle of viewing and does handle normal TV. I think it is by Sanyo.

The Toshiba Libretto 100 just came on the market. It is 166 mh Pentium and
seems to have sound input and two type 2/ 1 type 3 pcmcia slots.

The new VERY EXPENSIVE laptop that Mashusta(sp)/HP will be selling is just
coming on the market again. Production was halted for a problem and then

I will be going to the Akihabara today and will check up all the above and
a lot of other things which I will report in my Tokyo Diary #2.

I am off for home on Wednesday Tokto time.


From: Dave Farber <farber@cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: IP: Tokyo Diary # 2

Yesterday I went to the Akihabara with Hiro HASHIZUME of NACSIS. So what
was new:

1. The Sony pcg-505 Vaio looked very good. I have a Japanese one that was
given to me by a friend that I will bring home. It looks real good. The
screen is a decent size - nine inch ish . The new ones have a 233 mh
pentium -- the one I have is a 133. I did not want to buy a Japanese
version and will use this one to try it and if I like it wait till the US
version comes out. . I gather one can load it with Windows 98 beta so I
will try that when I get back (with help from an IPer). I will report after
I get a chance to use it.

2. The Libretto 100 looks rather good. The 2-type 2 pcmcia / 1 type 3 and
the infrared port is a big improvement. Again I will wait till the US
version gets released shortly in order to try it.

2. The Fujifilm Finepix 700 looks like a very neat digital camera with a
1.5 megapixel CCD camera and a 2 lcd display. display. It is 80mm x 101 mm
x 33 mm and weights 245 grams. Cost looked like 88,000 Yen street price. I
would have bought one cept for the Japanese display wording etc. Looks like
a real winner

3. The 40 inch Plasma displays are on sale for about 1.2 megaYen !!!! They
are "letterbox type (maybe HDTV format) and looks really great. Reasonably

4. There were a semi infinite number of notebooks of all shape and sizes as

I had lunch at a GREAT noodle place which I strongly will recommend. Cheap
and great , ask if you are going to Japan.

Yesterday was a busy day and ended with a reception at Nikkei which was
great also. Lots of excellent food, and people.

More tomorrow


From: Dave Farber <farber@cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: IP: noodle restaurant in Tokyo

There was so many queries for the name of the place I thought I would post
it. It is a very small place that makes their own stone ground Soba noodles
that are out of this world. The portions are large and inexpensive (lunch ~
800 Yen). The name is Ki An Koishikawa 5-35-11 , tele: (03) 5689 0055.

Among the best I have had and a great simple experience.