Sunday, February 6 2011

Spoiling my laptop, and myself

A while back, I upgraded my laptop by replacing the DVD with a 240GB SSD. This has been very, very nice, and gave me just shy of 750GB of disk space, a third of it silly-fast.

So naturally I couldn’t resist replacing the 500GB Seagate hybrid with a Western Digital 750 GB 7200rpm drive, giving me just shy of a Terabyte. And I carry another Terabyte around in the form of a WD hardware-encrypted USB drive.

If this future we live in had flying cars and catgirls, it would be perfect.

Amusingly, despite the fact that this laptop (and its daily backups…) is the center of my electronic universe, I will likely not be taking it to Japan with me at the end of March. My sister and I are only going to be in Kyoto for a week, and time spent in the hotel is time wasted. I’ll take my little Win7 netbook (can VPN to work in an emergency) and my Kindle (v3 has kanji support, and 3G Whispernet works all over Japan), but the bulk of the weight in my carry-on will consist of cameras and lenses.

The Kindle is the reason for several of my seemingly-unrelated recent entries and sidebar links, by the way, including an upcoming discussion of my grand kit-bashing project that mixes Aozora Bunko, MeCab, JMdict, MongoDB, pLaTeX, dviasm, and pdftk, welded together with a few hundred lines of Perl to produce ebooks with personalized levels of furigana and matching per-page vocabulary lists. More on that soon.

In addition to Aozora’s out-of-copyright literature, it’s easy to find much more contemporary work marked up in their format. One should of course only download such things if one is already in legitimate possession of the printed book, but once that hurdle is cleared, my version will be much easier to work through. The scripts can take a complete light novel from raw text to completed PDFs in about 10 seconds, and it only takes a few passes to find all of the unusual vocabulary and definitions, so my reading speed will be improving quite a bit soon.

Which is good, because, as I said, I’m finally going back to Japan!