Lauren In Tokyo

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 takes a long time to deliver

There are plenty of bookstores in Tokyo. However only a handful have extensive foreign language sections. The two most notable are Kinokuniya on the Shinjuku Southern Terrace and Maruzen located in Otemachi's Oazo building. Both, unfortunately are too far out of the way for me as to be inconvenient. Additionally, the prices for foreign books is far higher than cover price.

I found that one of the best ways to save money on books here in Japan is to order them from The convenience is unparalleled and the selection is much better than any bricks and mortar bookshop can provide. The prices are not that special, but with the various discounts that Amazon is always running, books are at least affordable.

My main complaint with them is that it sometimes takes an extraordinarily long time to receive a shipment. For example, I am currently waiting for an order of three books that I ordered about 3 weeks ago. David McCullough's 1776, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and The Intellectual Devotional.

Estimated delivery: 11/11 - 11/26

That's over a month of waiting!

Until the books arrive, I'm back to reading some of my old books. Currently I'm reading the National Geographic Photography Field Guide. When I bought it just a few years ago it was one of my first photography books and I learned a lot about the topic. Now that I am going back over it again in 2006, a lot of the information seems out of date. The authors barely foresaw the massive digital photography revolution and the upheaval amongst the film industry. While the general concepts behind photography haven't changed very much, the tools with which great photographs are made has changed significantly. There is a NatGeo field guide for digital photography, but with the pace of change in the digicam market, I doubt that they can keep up.

Just the other day I saw a pocket Casio Exilim (I never thought in my wildest dreams that Casio would become a major camera maker) that boasted 10.1 megapixels. That was back in April! It makes my 3 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 3100 seem like a relic.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I know that guy!

Yesterday and today I noticed the same guy getting on my train at Gaienmae station. He looks totally familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was until this morning.

I interviewed with him at Microsoft KK back in April. According to my notes, he's Teman Clark-Lindh from the MSKK Mobility solutions group. I believe they were working with some big manufacturers to get Windows CE/Mobile onto DVD players. Back then, it was the perfect fit for me, and even with a higher salary and benefits offer than my current employer, I turned them down. As much as I like WinCE and WinMobile, I really felt like I was getting too focused on one single area of software development and was missing out on the benefits that a broader range of experience could provide.

If I see him again I'll have to say hi.

Until then, here's a video of his presentation at MEDC2006 Tokyo: Developing drivers for Windows CE 6.0