Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Safety Check

It was September final exam week. That naturally meant it was also time for the annual company health exam.

Since Ye Olde Academy is a private school owned (along with at least 80% of the city) by the local steel company, we were always bussed to the health center over at the main plant. It was actually kind of fun; we just went from station to station, most of which involved using some kind of automated machine. We'd stick our ID card in a slot, push a button, and get poked, prodded, or scanned. It all went very quickly, and we usually had only the bandage from the blood test to show for it.

(Of course, the angry letter some of us would receive from the doctors a couple of weeks later was quite another story...)

Things were different this year. Instead of bringing us to the health center, they brought the health center to us. Specifically, they had a big van that was a mobile X-ray room. They set up the equipment for the various tests among the conference rooms of the administrative building. Things went more or less the same as before, but we all noticed that many if not most of the tests were shorter and simpler than before. I'm not really complaining about that, but it was definitely weird having a needle jabbed in my arm while sitting in the main meeting room.

Then again, maybe it isn't...

I don't know the results of my blood and urine tests yet, but my blood pressure is nice and low, and my weight is down to boot. That's a hopeful sign...though last time I managed to get my cholesterol back down into the green they suddenly started measuring a different kind of cholesterol, which put me back in the yellow again (and got me another insulting letter from the doctor). I'm sure they'll probably find something else to complain about.


In other news, I'm now fully up and running on a brand-new desktop computer. I'd been tempted to replace my veteran Vaio for months, especially as it had been starting to show signs of its age (I bought it in 2002!) more and more. Finally, while checking out a new shopping mall over in Tsuchiura, I bought a copy of Sonar 8 Producer Edition recording software and decided to get a whole new machine to run it.

A new Besia Electric had opened in my "city" earlier this month, and they were selling computers for really cheap. That provided the perfect opportunity. As it turned out, though, the K's Electric over in a neighboring city apparently retaliated by holding a special sale of their own. They had the same machines for even cheaper. I went ahead and got a machine that was near but not at the low end of the price scale. It's a Gateway. A lot of its low price no doubt came from its simplicity; while offering a lot of hardware features that I really appreciate (Built-in multi-card reader? Nine USB ports?), it had very little software onboard, which I actually consider a plus. It also didn't come with a display, though I already had a good one. I had it up, running, and connected to the internet in a matter of minutes. Transferring my data and preferred software setup has taken longer, but I have definitely developed a healthy respect for external hard drives.

I really liked my old Vaio (which lacked the analness of the Vaio laptop I bought last year to use in my studio), but it's nice to have three times the processor power and about seven times as much RAM. And since I have the option of a free upgrade to Windows 7...


  • You've had better luck with Sony than I have. I am not inclined to get any more computer equipment from them. (Awful external CD-ROM and two defective batteries for my UX)

    I've heard much better things about Windows 7, so I say go for it. It should be an improvement on Vista.

    Congrats on your good health.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 11:59 PM  

  • My health hasn't been so good lately, mostly due my being overweight. I have also had some problems with water retention.

    Take care of your health.

    As far as computers go I would like to upgrade but don't really need to yet. I have been looking at building a system with dual quad processors. The mother board is not all that expensive but to fully stock the memory would run about $2700.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 9:53 AM  

  • Snabudon
    I've bought a total of three Sony Vaio computers. The desktop model I bought in 2002 served me very well with the exception of its Trinitron monitor, which started wigging on me in 2005. I finally replaced it with a large flat-screen display that I like better anyway. It was kind of sad to dismantle its setup and remove it from my computer desk...though it's still living on in a temporary setup at my writing desk. The Vaio laptop I bought in 2003 is still my main work machine. (In fact, it's what I'm using right now.) I boosted its RAM to 1gb last year, more than enough for XP, and it still runs great even despite this unholy array of hubs, cables, and peripherals surrounding it! Unless it suddenly blows chunks, I probably won't replace it for a while. Last (and perhaps least) is the laptop I bought last year to use in my studio. I generally only use three applications on it (Sonar 7 SE, Arturia Minimoog emulator, Finale PrintMusic), and it has done just fine so far. However, the wave-source recording block that Sony stuck into the system means that I can only use the massive sound library on my SonicCell through manual playing (not always reliable) or audio dubbing (sometimes runs into latency issues) rather than just exporting it as is. My soft synths work fine, however, so it's not a serious problem.

    My only other experience with Sony is that their accessories, like their flash drives, are cool looking but don't give you much bang for your buck.

    Good grief! What do you need that much power for, anyway?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 1:21 PM  

  • Its not so much a matter of power as it is maximizing computer life span. OH OK! I just want ten videos at the same time.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 3:04 PM  

  • So what's in these shaming letters from doctors? For the first time ever, the doctor I'd chosen through my work insurance called to schedule my annual checkup. That meant I couldn't duck out another year. Congrats on your new computer. A 2002 Vaio?! Practically ancient history in computer years.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:08 AM  

  • Congrats on your new computer. I hope it exceeds your needs - sounds like it will.

    I also hope your body's hardware keeps you running in good health. Don't trust the doctors to do that for you - they are irreplaceable when something needs repair, but worse than useless in on going maintenance issues. (My humble opinion based on experience). That also means - don't take any crap from them. They are supposed to work for you, not the other way 'round.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 8:46 PM  

  • I got so used to seeing you on FB it feels kind of weird visiting your blog after so long...

    Windows 7 - am looking forward to it. I'd skipped right over Vista, and bought my laptop in 2006 with XP installed. Laptops being what they are (less stable than desktops) mine is also showing signs of age but not as bad at year 3 as my last HP was at the same age.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 6:55 AM  

  • Olivia
    Yeah, I've noticed FB tends to do that. Hence my declining readership...

    The electronics stores still offer XP preinstalls (though not for long, I hear). I actually would've bought one if they'd had one with better than a 1.6 gHz AMD processor! I mean, even the 2003 Vaio laptop I use at work has more oomph than that!

    Despite all the gripes I've heard about Vista, so far so good. I just had to download a few drivers off the internet. Then again, I'm keeping my setup relatively simple on purpose. I have to say it's nice to have Firefox snap open almost the instant I click the icon and all the (few) apps I use do the job in a second rather than making me sit and wait while the hard drive rattles for half a minute.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 6:18 PM  

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