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"Letter-Letter 325"
March 28th, 2004
"To Blog or Not to Blog"  by KCM & LHS
"HotMail Doesn't Like 1MB"
"Not Everything, but Certainly Something!"  by LHS & SCW
"Lifestyle"  by APR & LHS
"Marlboro Houses Mystery"  by FTB & LHS
"Foreigners Need Not Apply"
"Power and Commitment"  by KCM & LHS
"Triple-Charging"  by APR & LHS
"Scam/Joke Mail"
"Infrastructure & Holidays"  by CPK & LHS
"Header Mining"
"Fun at the Hospital"  by TJE
"Low Quality Bipeds at the Top"
"Thanks, but No Thanks - March 2004"
"Photos with Mandrake 9.1"  by RWD
"Linux Log"

"Borderlines"     [Top of page]

(2004/03/28 08:56)  I've been contemplating the effect of having grown up in the first period in history to use color film as a matter of course.  As a child, it was simple; current generation photos were in color, and old photos were in black an white.  If it were only the photos, it wouldn't be an issue worth mentioning, but since photos have that connection with reality, it almost seemed as though old things were in black in white not only in the photos, but at the time they were taken in reality.  As an adult, I would occasionally (still do actually) look at a black and white photo and tell myself "This scene was in color when it was taken and at the time everything was as colorful as the reality I'm sitting in now", but still the feeling persisted that old things not only looked old in photos, but must have had that old feel to them even when they were current.

Then, one day, I found myself looking at a clear, sharp, color photo of a man standing in front of a WW-II aircraft (a B-17 I think).  I saw the photo first, thinking it was new, and then did a double-take when I saw the date - 1943 (I think... it might have been 1942 or 1944)!  The guy in the photo wasn't standing in the black and white world that I had unwittingly come to associate with generations before my own, but rather was standing in a world of vibrant color... and the airplane behind him positively gleamed with newness.

"To Blog or Not to Blog"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: JustShowingUp...
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004
From: KCM  [US]

I wanted to suggest that you can get your own blog to self-publish.  I know that seems kind of obvious and also sort of stupid, but there are a number of writers who are starting to earn a little bit by writing for an on-line audience.  ...........  Of course there are drawbacks like no guarantees.  I have no idea who's reading me or how many and I don't particularly care, which is why I don't actively seek out publication by other sources.



When I first heard the term "blog" (Web+Log=Blog), I didn't see what the purpose of the term was, but it's starting to make sense.  The history of my Internet usage is that I began using the Internet in 1996 via a very expensive dial-up connection and with a rather slow computer.  The cost and the time involved to look at websites led me to using the Internet nearly exclusively for e-mail.  I would compose something off-line, get it ready to send, log-on, send, receive, and then hurriedly cut the connection as I watched my money flying out the window.  Now that I'm (finally) paying a flat rate for Internet usage and have a fast connection, finally the world of surfing the Net for news and information has become part of my universe.

I see the light, and while not yet embracing the term "blog" (something about that word still bothers me - I'm not sure what), I do want to start posting things on my own site on the World-Wide-Web.  From there, the wonderful world of linking and horizontal growth will lead to blue skies and a world of clearer vision....

But... I have a problem.  I can't bloody upload anything to the empty site I have from my provider!  I'm going to try to do more with the page I tentatively have at http://www.vlinguist.com/ - and I've got to also get my own page on-line!  One step at a time... when there's time to step.

"HotMail Doesn't Like 1MB"     [Top of page]

I sent out a PDF file (four pages of text and photos) that was just over 1MB, and it seems to have been rejected by all of the HotMail addresses, so I think HotMail is set to reject anything over 1MB.  If you're interested in seeing it still, let me know a non-HotMail address that I can send it to and I'll put it into the wires again.

"Not Everything, but Certainly Something!"     [Top of page]

(2004/04/16)  SCW is living in Singapore - if I remember correctly, and he asked me if I could contribute any information about clubs that could be added to his site.  I hardly have enough money to ride public transportation right now, so spending food money on clubs is quite out of the question, but if anyone reading this has information, let me know.  As SCW says:

Subject: Re: HappyToWriteBut...
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004
From: SCW

........  I know how much things cost there in Japan; nice place to party "IF" you have "THE BIG BUCKS".  So anything  you can send will be of help to the site.  No rush - just when you have the time.  Thanks again.


It would be nice to have a prodigious amount of money in the bank and only need to gauge how much time is required to do things.  Money isn't everything, but it certainly is something!

"Lifestyle"     [Top of page]

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004
From: APR  [Portugal]

From what you write in your letters, my life is not as eventful as yours; in fact I think you would find it very boring.  I live in a small village and it only takes me about six minutes to get to my school where I work as a French teacher.  I spend about twenty hours a week there; come home, and - aside from spending some more time at home for my job - I spend some time at my mother's farm, cook, take care of her a couple of hours a week, and occasionally I go to the swimming pool, visit friends or go to some cultural event.  Sometimes I take a long trip, but only during the school holidays in August or sometimes during Easter.


Well... I think my life is much less eventful than APR may imagine.  There are are the forays into mega-masses of people, but I could do without that!  If I could experience the lifestyle described above, I think I would like it very much.  At least for a while anyway.  Given my propensity to make political waves in the groups I spend time in, I suppose I'd make someone angry and then have to move to a new town or something!  In any case, a settled and even-keeled lifestyle sounds very good to me at the moment.

"Marlboro Houses Mystery"     [Top of page]

Subject: Marlboro Houses
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 -0500
From: FTB  [New York]

In inquiring about the origins of the name Marlboro Houses, I received (in part) this reply:

"[I spoke with] a former Manager of Marlboro Houses who tried to find out the answer when she was still at the development several years ago.  She recited an interesting bit of trivia, for whatever it is worth.  She had heard that the Duke of Marlboro, an Englishman, had owned a large tract of land that included what is now the Gravesend section of Brooklyn at a time when the rest of what is now Brooklyn was owned by the Dutch.  Marlboro Houses would be in the area that the Duke of Marlboro owned....  But consider that story trivia.  I would doubt that the story was prominent when Marlboro Houses was completed in 1958."

In the US, housing projects are often plagued by crime.  Only because a lot of people cannot afford housing at market rates are there waiting lists to get into housing projects, but people wish they could afford housing outside the projects.


I grew up in the US and always had a negative image for public housing, so I was surprised when I came to Japan and was told that there are long waiting lists of people who would like to get into public housing and that people were - once in - quite happy to stay there.  One of the major reasons for this was rent control, but recently things are a little different in the post-bubble era of falling land prices.  What happened here is that the government went on building new housing projects during the time of insanely high land prices in the late eighties and early nineties, setting rents in line with current prices at the time.  A fixed rent is great when prices are going up, but when rents are high and average rent rates begin to fall, suddenly people in some public housing projects found they were paying more than the going rate on the private market.  The result is that it is no longer difficult to get into public housing, but most of it isn't especially cheap either.

One exception is the system run by the Tokyo government - which is geared specifically towards low income families.  The interesting thing about this low income housing is that people moving into it must have a financially solid "guarantor" who is legally responsible for the family financially in the broad sense that not only any unpaid rent, but also any damage incurred by the family living in the apartment will be billed to the guarantor.  This seems to be an effective way of keeping the apartment blocks from falling into the type of problems many of the low-income ones in the US have.  Granted, a number of responsible low-income people end up not being eligible to move in, but it does seem to be a strong inducement to people to act responsibly when someone they personally know is financially liable for any misdeeds, should they occur.

It's a good thing the country has invested in public housing here, as the system for renting private apartments leaves much to be desired!  Details of that could fill dozens of pages, so I'll leave that for another time.     [Top of page]

"Foreigners Need Not Apply"     [Top of page]

Still looking for work and not having much luck - other than some sporadic freelance work.  The term "chronically unemployed" is starting to ring in my ears....  Absolute refusal of employment based on race is part of the problem - witness the following help wanted ads from the March 29th, 2004 Japan Times newspaper (names changed to protect the guilty, bad English in original):

GLOBAL MARKET RESEARCH AGENCY looking for talented individuals at all levels of the organization.  Japanese nationals only, preferably with at least one year of business experience.  Market research experience required for senior levels.  E-mail resume to Aabbb Ccddd Japan - Ccddd@muckmuck.com Fax: 03-1234-5678

SALESPERSON & CLERK for importers of French & Italian foods.  Applicant must be strong & health, good at calculation, have flexible thinking & interest in food culture, age up to 28 with good driving skill.  Japanese only.  March 2005 UNIVERSITY GRADUATES are also acceptable.  CALL Waruiyatsu: (03) 3333-4444.

PUBLISHING EDITOR:  Work for foreign translators and Japanese customers to make catalogs, pamphlets, manuals, etc.  Japanese.  TOEIC 800 over or foreign university degree.  Send resume to fax 03-1111-2222 or Aaccc Associates, [Somewhere in] Tokyo.

TRAVEL AGENCY seeks English-speaking Japanese travel consultant.  Convenient Akasaka location serving the foreign community.  Previous travel experience required.  TEL: 03-2222-3333.

Parts are funny actually - "Applicant must be strong & health, good at calculation, have flexible thinking & interest in food culture, age up to 28 with good driving skill.  Japanese only." - showcases the company's defective understanding of the English language and is a bit contradictory in saying "have flexible thinking" and "Japanese only" in the same breath!  Have flexible thinking within the confines of a rigidly racist and narrow-minded organization I guess.  Wait a minute - no, it means this: "Be willing and happy to bend over and obey every inane command from our inept and racist management".  You can always tell the bad companies, because they are forever advertising for (disposable) people.  That organization appears to be one such company.

Oops... I'm complaining again.  "If you can't pay the rent and will soon starve to death, don't worry - be happy."  Think positive, be happy, be happy, be happy....

"Power and Commitment"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: Linux Question
From: KCM  [US]
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004

I'm sorry to hear that the economic situation isn't so good for you right now.  If it makes you feel any better, it's kind of bad in the US too, as our jobs seem to be getting outsourced to China and India.  My sister tells me that the large corporation she works for recently outsourced its accounting department to Thailand.  How they are able to hold them accountable for handling such sensitive information, I don't know.

My job doesn't require a lot of work, at least not on my part.  Or maybe I just work really fast.  I've had people be astonished at my speed in filing, which makes me wonder exactly how long I'm supposed to take.  (I like getting things done.)  I'm also waiting on this position to switch to a permanent status, before I get axed by the monstrous budget cuts.  *sigh*

I recently took a trip with my sisters to Toronto.  Technically, we went to Buffalo, NY and then drove up to Canada.  We wanted to see Niagara Falls and it was gorgeous.  Beautiful, breath-taking and cold.  We were freezing, despite it technically being the first day of spring.

We didn't like Toronto much.  Too much like the worst aspects of San Francisco - dirty streets, careless drivers, homeless people asking for change (maybe I've gotten hard-hearted, but I no longer give them money).  Part of it was that all the interesting sites we could have gone to were closed, and in the absence of that, my sisters decided to go to the Pacific Mall, which is like a giant Asian supermall.  Kind of like a Hong Kong mall plopped in the edge of Toronto.  I love being around my people, too, but we could have done something different.  For some reason, I noticed that we were the only ones conversing in English.  And then people kept staring at us.  In one store I went to, my sister and I were followed around by the manager.  She didn't even bother to hide the obvious - she maintained a one-foot distance the whole time, and made me sorry that I hadn't stolen anything from her.

Restaurant service was abysmal.  In one dim sum restaurant, we had to write down our own orders and then give it to someone to take.  Then we waited for nearly half an hour before our orders arrived.  When we complained to the waiter, he just dismissed us with "It's coming."

The only things I liked were the Korean restaurant we went to on the last day and a bookstore that specialized in comic books.  I bought myself a Pogo book (it's a delightful comic strip by Walt Kelly that was written in the 40s? 50s? (I should check).

And then this past weekend we went to visit our relatives in the cemetery for "ching ming" aka "grave-sweeping day."  I learned that my grandfather spent most of his life in the West in Cuba because of US anti-Chinese policies.  He was able to come when my aunt, his oldest daughter, sponsored him, since she was married and in the US already.  He lived a long life, from 1896 to 1976.  It's fascinating to learn these details, but I wish I knew more.

I've come to the conclusion that girls can get really stupid about love.  One of my girl friends recently decided to commit to a relationship with someone who can't give anything back to her, who doesn't like her like she loves him, and wants her to wait two years for him to graduate from law school before he commits to her.  I know, it's confusing.  She doesn't count him as a real boyfriend because she doesn't believe in long-distance relationships, but she's planning not to see anyone else either.  She's willing to wait two years to find out if he loves her - because she has faith in him.

This girl, otherwise, is not dumb.  She's smart, pretty, ambitious and has a number of guys she could get, but no, she wants the emotionally unavailable one.  I suppose that could describe any number of women, though.

I want to be happy for her, since she's obviously content with her decision, but it's hard to be, especially since even she admits she's not completely satisfied.

Boys are stupid about love, too, but I think in different ways.  I don't know how - I don't know enough guys to assess.  But I've seen lots of women fall for the worst losers and every time you ask them why, they say, "Because he's nice to me" even if they are treated like dirt.


My opinion about people being in relationships that they ought not to be in, is that I think anyone in any sort of a position of power for whatever reason is (unfortunately) likely to take advantage of people less able to do the same.  Not an absolute, but after seeing women in positions of power victimizing men committed to them, I think the situation is position-related and not gender-related.  (Basically that is, not absolutely!)  It's the same thing with racism - and in this I would like to have a talk with Michael Moore, as he has gone simplistic on us with some of his race comments.  It's not that any one race is prone to victimize any other one race, but that people in a position to use other people - unfortunately - often do so.  Certainly I have seen myself in some rather unpleasant situations from time to time over here in Japan as a non-native.  Positions of power have a tendency to corrupt....     [Top of page]

"Triple-Charging"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: LL-324(+Intro)
From: APR  [Portugal]
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004

Commenting on Japanese dentists: Maybe they could do as the Portuguese dentists do; we visit the dentist once and he/she declares we visited him/her three times to the Ministry of Health!  I guess that is not possible in Japan, otherwise they would have already done that.


There was one time when a friend of a friend asked me if I would give her my insurance number so she could give it to her dentist boyfriend - but knowing how things are in Japan, that would be a very dangerous way to go.  When they decide to look into something, they can be quite Draconian in punishing things like that.  Typically, if there is some financial misdeed, the fine is several times the total amount in dispute.  So... the safe thing is just to have people come back over and over.  You get to waste their time for free, you can legally charge for each visit, and shy of someone calling them on their motives and demanding more efficiency (not bloody likely to happen), they can blithely and legally go on operating that way.  The funny thing is, once they've been doing it for a while "precedent" kicks in and then all they have to say is "Well - that's just the way it's done in Japan".  There's a logic here, but don't expect to get it into words.

"Scam/Joke Mail"     [Top of page]

I received the following scam/joke e-mail - similar to dozens I've received before, although this time the location has been moved from Africa to the Philippines.  I suppose we've all received either this very e-mail or something very similar to it, but I think it should be recorded as an example of early 21st century scam/joke mail, so... here it is (the bad English carried over from the original).

Subject: HELLO
From: "Scam Queen/King"
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 05:11:07 -0500

My husband was recently impeached from office by a backed uprising of mass demonstrators and the Senate.

My husband is presently in jail and facing trial on charges of corruption, embezzlement, and the mysterious charge of plunder which might lead to death sentence. The present government is forcing my husband out of Manila to avoid demonstration by his supporter.

During my husband's regime as president of Philippines, I realized some reasonable amount of money from various deals that I successfully executed. I have plans to invest this money for my children's future on real estate and industrial production. My husband is not aware of this because I wish to do it secretly for now. Before my husband was impeached, I secretly siphoned the sum of 30,000,000 million USD (Thirty million United states dollars) out of Philippines and deposited the money with a security firm that transports valuable goods and consignments through diplomatic means.

I am contacting you because I want you to go to the security company and claim the money on my behalf since I have declared that the consignment belong to my foreign business partner. You shall also be required to assist me in investment in your country. I hope to trust you as a God fearing person who will not sit on this money when you claim it, rather assist me properly, I expect you to declare what percentage of the total money you will take for your assistance. When I receive your positive response I will let you know where the security company is and the payment pin code to claim the money which is very important.

For now, let all our communication is by e-mail because my line are right now connected to the Philippines Telecommunication Network services. Please also send me your telephone and fax number. I will ask my son contact you to give you more details on after i have received a response from you.

Are some people actually taking this sort of thing to be real and foolishly giving out their personal information?  I hope not!     [Top of page]

"Infrastructure & Holidays"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: 25 Meters Down (PDF)
From: CPK  [US]
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2004  -0500

I finally got Acrobat back on this machine and got to look at your museum pictures.  The museum looks just like the museums here, the way the plaques and pictures are arranged on the walls.  Kind of a silly observation I suppose.  I can appreciate being interested in the history and how things work regarding such a vital part of the infrastructure.  Sewage and water treatment are very important and taken for granted by the majority of people.  Too bad it's costing you so much.  Living out here in the country seems to me to be frivolous and costly... but then again, our property taxes are surprisingly cheep, and our water and sewage are free... no, wait.  We did put in that $6,000 well and $4,000 septic system within the past two years.  But, we should be good to go for awhile and it does add to the property value.

It's spring here in Minnesota.  Things are just starting to sprout, but still with a threat of frost.  It was about 55 (Fahrenheit) today which seems balmy to us northerners.  My husband worked on the tractor while I worked in the yard and groomed some horses for their spring shed.  Ahchoo!!!  He gave one of the seven horses a pedicure (no, actually it's called hoof trimming).

Are there any big holiday's there this time of year?


The thing about holidays in Japan is that they are a very confusing mix of original Japanese holidays (with some influence from China) that are celebrated on the wrong dates now since being converted over to the solar calendar from the lunar one; western holidays that are perceived a little differently here, and new holidays, some a little unusual, like "Midori-no-hi" ("Green Day") on April 29th.  I'll try to mention holidays more as they come up....

"Header Mining"     [Top of page]

By having a look at the details normally hidden in the header of a response to a resume I sent a company, I found some interesting computer-generated information.  Looking closely at this, there seems to be a clue regarding the black-list issue we discussed before - note the "Spam-Check-Result: No,  hits=1.2 required=8.0" part.  Now... what exactly does that "1.2" mean?  Is that something based on the address, or on the vocabulary within the message?  Also, does anyone know anything about www.network-box.com?  Any additional info greatly appreciated!  Here's part of the header info:

X-Scanned-By-BigCoJp1: Virus scan performed by network-box (www.network-box.com)
X-Scanned-By-BigCoJp1: Scanner file id is BigCoJp12345678912345678912345
X-Scanned-By-BigCoJp1: No known viruses found in message (received+scanned in 1.881866 secs)
X-Scanned-By-BigCoJp1: Spam-Check-Result: No,  hits=1.2 required=8.0 tests=AWL,HTML_FONTCOLOR_BLUE, HTML_FONT_BIG,HTML_MESSAGE,LOTS_OF_STUFF autolearn=no version=2.60
X-Spam-Status: No

- and then the letter itself.  It's gone from humans copy-pasting names onto the top of refusal letters to 100% non-human machine-only responses!  What's next?  "Humans need not apply - robots only!"?

"Subject: RE: Resume
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004 09:56:36 +0900
From: "Inai Nanoni" <inai@bigco.co.jp>
To: "Lyle Saxon" <lylehsaxon@yahoo.com>

Dear Lyle Saxon:

Thank you for your application at Japan Times.

We are constantly looking for Japanese/English bilingual, dynamic, highly skilled and experienced IT professionals who would like to work in multi-national companies, and who have a strong desire to succeed in Japan. Your application shall be reviewed and will be kept on file. Should your skills and qualifications suit the position(s) for which you have applied, you can expect to hear from us.

Once again, thank you for your interest in BigCo Corporation. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Note: Due to the high volume of resumes, only those who match the qualifications for this position will be contacted.


Inai Nanoni
Recruiter, Human Resources
BigCo Corp

And then the following line from the header of an auto-generated message from another company.

"X-Autorespond: Resume"

Ah... so a carefully worded and polite response is produced only if it can be written once, and then sent out automatically without wasting so much as a second of anyone's time on the company's end!  Here's the letter:

Subject: Thank you for your resume.
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2004 16:32:34 -0800

Thank you for your interest in DEF's teaching positions for the school year starting April 2004, and thank you for sending us your resume.

After we read your resume, and if we feel that we have a suitable position for you, we will send you information regarding the next stage of the interview process within a few days.

It's possible that you may not be contacted. Please understand that we only have a limited number of positions available. If further positions at DEF become available at a later date, your resume may be reviewed, and you may be contacted by us.

Please be advised that this email message is applicable to those who are sending resume for the first time.

Again, thank you for interest in a teaching position at DEF.     [Top of page]

"Fun at the Hospital"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: LL-324(+Intro)
From: TJE  [US]
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004  -0600 (CST)

Three years ago I had a 30-year-old artificial hip replaced (how's that for mileage?).  On September 29th, 2003, after a year and a half of trying to get back to Houston, Texas to have the 28-year-old other phony hip joint replaced, I finally went downward toward Houston to my granddaughter's home to await October 6th, when I would get evened up.  For three years I had been wearing a built-up shoe that weighed a hefty five pounds, with one and three quarter inches of lift on the shorter leg....

After three days, I was in the ER room of the small local hospital.  Coughing and wheezing... allergy?  In five days I went back and was promptly admitted as a patient suffering from pneumonia... and suffer I did!  I was tested till they ran out of machines... all kinds of invisible ailments were brought to light.  After eight days, I went to my granddaughter's home and over a period of twelve weeks I took potent antibiotics, losing my taste for some things.  I wore a mask at all times because the pine trees were doing their annual thing, which apparently I and one out of three people in that area are allergic to.

At long last, after a fourth rescheduling, I awoke after surgery on Christmas Eve with legs nearly the same length - only needing a small aid inside my left shoe to even me up.  Two days later, my knee began to hurt upon standing (the hip wound never had hurt), the pain was too much after walking for only two minutes.  I was sent to X-ray three times over the next few weeks, each time having to walk and do knee moving exercises.  Agony abounded, but bingo!  The third time, a small fracture appeared on the X-ray film in the femur.  In the meantime, when a well meaning nurse brought me tea water (because the kitchen had failed to put it on the breakfast tray), she accidentally spilled the hot water over my abdomen and leg!  As I had just received an injection, my skin was exposed... I quickly put ice from my drinking water on the burn, but I still ended up with second and third degree burns.  Then they put a silvern salve on the blisters - not knowing my skin is highly allergic to silver.  Thankfully, I always read the brochures and labels, so realized what was happening before the blisters broke, or I might be there yet!

No, I did not sue, but I said light-heartily to my rehab doctor that if this sort of thing keeps up, I might become a depressed old lady.  Wham!  He sends a wandering "shrink" in to talk to me... but in fifteen minutes the shrink is laughing and saying "I'm not worried about your attitude" (I never was either, as I am the gal that gives everyone else the uplifting when they need it).  Still, he claimed 15% of the Medicare money.

So, finally I am home after a full five months.  I was greeted by dripping faucets and a telephone that was shorting out and finally died.  I have developed an irregular heartbeat, and the demise of the light bulb on my ten foot high bathroom ceiling doesn't help.  A gas jet on a heater had to be replaced and it was time for new car inspection license tags.

Now that I have cleared my web of 470 junk mail items and porno propositions, I will sit happily and read my e-mail.  Oh yes, in fooling around, I can only get one channel on my TV.  Fortunately it's the one with my favorite programs and it allows me to access the internet.  Remember to be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

One other glitch - the post office did not daily forward my mail, but my neighbor would jump them and I would receive a large mailer envelop with weeks of mail in it... they did not pay the late charges.

So much for my recovery.

I need dental work but have put it off in case I did not survive the operation.  Why waste money on teeth that would be cremated anyway?  You can see I am a practical old broad and I remain---

TJE in Texas     [Top of page]

"Low Quality Bipeds at the Top"     [Top of page]

(2004/04/17)  I belong to a number of computer news groups, one of which is for OpenOffice.org.  The following letter is something I posted there recently:

Re: "They wanted corporate support - in other words, call a call centre and ask what the problem is, that sort of thing."

Isn't that where StarOffice from Sun would come in?  I read an interview with Scott McNealy once where he told of trying to interest a client in StarOffice back when it was free (before OpenOffice was formed).  The client refused it because it was free!  So - if the coneheads want to deal with one company for the software and for support- buy StarOffice!  Incidentally, I think that's the model that RedHad is following with RedHat for purchase and Fedora for free.  Personally, I think it makes sense - you can get it for free if you like, and you can also buy it from a reputable company who provides support if you want that.

Slight topic drift here, but actually BigCo managers aren't coneheads, but rather cowards.  They want - first and foremost - to look out for themselves, so they want indemnification for bloody everything.  If they get software from a large company, then they have somewhere to point their fingers at if/when there are problems.  Take responsibility for something?  Never!  Their motto?  "Always make sure you have someone to point a finger of blame at for any possible eventuality."

But that's cool.  That's what our horizontal network is all about!  The further up you go, the lower the quality of biped, so the only true quality to be had is in a horizontal direction.  As for the neanderthals - just point them in the direction of a retail outlet where they can buy what they could have had for free.  It's perfect actually!  Money coming in to support Sun is in all of our best interests.

"Thanks, but No Thanks - March 2004"     [Top of page]

I know - these get old quick, but I figure there are few people who have sent out as many resumes as I have over as extended a period of time (the market for foreigners here is - by definition - one of use & discard), so the progression of change in the refusal letters is something that ought to be recorded for anthropological reasons.  Here's a new batch, including further comments of mine in in the middle (bad English in refusal letters faithfully carried over from originals).

Thank you for taking the time to submit your resume and application letter for our open sales position.  We received quite a number of quality applicants for the position and have to regretfully decline to afford an opportunity to interview for the position.

We wish you the best of luck in securing employment in an area interesting to you and with potential for advancement.  Again, thank you for your application and best wishes.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our advertisement for the position of translator at Aabbb Co. Ltd.

We are sorry to inform you that you were not selected for the position, but we wish you all the best in your search for employment.

Thank you very much for your application

This time I have received about 100 applications

Before receiving yours, I chose another person as my instructor.

I hope your stay in Japan would be more fruitful and enjoyable.

Thank you for your application for the position we advertised in The Japan Times.

Mattaku Education Center is a preparatory school for high school students and high school graduates wishing to pass the entrance examinations for universities (mainly medical departments).

While we are impressed with your background, we regret that we cannot offer you any encouragement. This is no reflection on your qualification, but many other highly qualified people also applied for the position, which made the choice a very difficult task.

In any case, we do appreciate your interest in our school.

Dear applicant,

Thank you for your application to Nantoka Inc.  Although you have some very appealing qualities, we have already selected one of the applicants for the position.

Thank you again for your interest in our firm, and we wish you all the best in your job search.  Please contact us again when you need support in public relations efforts in Japan.

I've been taking out the "Dear..." and "Sincerely..." parts, but I thought I should leave at least one of the many "Dear applicant" greetings in.  This has become so common, that I think it is now THE standard greeting to someone applying for a job.  Right in step with this, some places refuse to waste any time discussing details with any individual and instead invite a crowd of them to come in at the same time - as though it were a party or something.  A recent letter I received confirming a time for just such a meetings included this:

"Please save any questions about the job for the information session."

No one has any time for anyone else these days.  I'm part of this of course - when in the middle of a resume publishing session, I do what I can (through automation) to cut down the time spent on sending resumes to companies - especially since most of those resumes get absolutely no response at all.  The situation feeds on itself.  The less attention companies pay to resumes, the more resumes job seekers send out, and the more of them they send out, the more companies are inundated with resumes and don't bother to really look at what they are sent, leading to still more being sent to them.

So, what is the destination we're headed for here?  Is there a point where it levels off and stabilizes, or will resume inflation (remember, you heard it here first) lead to job seekers automating their publishing operations and sending out tens of thousands of resumes before they are able to find a single job offer?  If this continues unchecked, it could come down to a battle between computers, with those weathering the fight between blocking and sending somehow surviving.  Or will the computers all crash and force people back to (gasp!) actually having to visit companies with physical paper resumes in hand?  But that's so... barbaric... uncivilized... non-computerized... so... human!!

Back to the machine responses.

Thank you for sending your resume in response to our advertisement.

Although your background and qualifications are indeed admirable, we regret that we cannot offer you a writing test at this time. We received an unexpectedly large number of resumes from applicants with highly specialized science backgrounds, and we will draw first from that pool of applicants in order to meet our rewriting needs.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to apply to our company. We invite you to apply for other positions that we might advertise in the future.

We have received your resume and inquiry regarding the technical editor position that we listed in The Japan Times.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer you a position at this time.  We appreciate your interest in working for XYZ Corporation and wish you the best in your continued job search.

I would like to thank you for your application for the position of editor at the Society for Learning English. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a position at this time.  I wish you the best of luck with your job search and career in English education in Japan.

Thank you for your interest in Mellow River International School.  We have carefully read your resume but unfortunately it does not meet with our requirements.  We wish you every success in the future.

Thank you for your application for a position at our school. We were very impressed with your experience and qualifications. We received an enormous number of applications and unfortunately at this time are unable to offer you an interview. We would, however, like to keep your details on file and as the school expands contact you for interview at a later date.

We thank you for your application for the above position on the Supersonic English Teaching Programme.  Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you an interview on this occasion.

I am looking for a Japanese Accountant, therefore your qualification - although extraordinary - does not match what I am looking for. I again thank you for your interest and wish you all the best

Thank you for your application. We will begin the screening process shortly.

Due to the large number of applications already received, details of the rewriting positions will be provided only to those applicants shortlisted for interview.

Thank you for expressing interest in employment with Donnamon Corporate Training.  Since it is our desire to provide all job applicants with a prompt response to employment inquiries, please accept this informal note as verification that your resume or application has been received.

We are in the process of reviewing the information you have provided and would like to assure you that you are being considered for current as well as anticipated position.  Please allow one to two weeks for us to complete this process and make a full evaluation.   If your background and qualifications match our requirements, we will contact you within that period to explore potential employment opportunities.  Otherwise we will enter your information into our database for any future opportunities.  Please feel free to update your information with us at any time.

Thank you for your interest in a position for Nanika Japan,

Due to the extremely high calibre of applicants we regret to advise that on this occasion you have been unsuccessful in your application.

Thank you once again for expressed interest in Nanika Japan.

Thank you for your interest in International Financial. I regret to inform you that following careful review of your resume, your experience and qualifications do not seem to be suitable for the position you applied for.

Thank you very much for expressing your interest in joining Overseas Life Insurance Company.

We have thoroughly examined the details of your skills and experience and feel that we are not able to proceed further with your application.

We thank you for your time and interest.  Please all us to wish your further success in your career.     [Top of page]

"Photos with Mandrake 9.1"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: LL-324(+Intro)
From: RWD  [Indonesia]
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004  +0700

A lazy Sunday, I turned on my PC, an old one - AMD K6 500MHz, 64MB RAMs, 20 GB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce video board, dual OS (Mandrake Linux 9.2 and Windows 98SE).  Then I remembered that I hadn't transferred a batch of photos of my cousin's graduation the day before.  I decided to try transferring all the photos from my digital camera (a Kodak CX-4200) to my PC via Mandrake.  So I plug in the USB cable, connect it to the Kodak, wait a few seconds... and after seeing that nothing happens, I realize that I haven't installed the software.  Next I open Install Software > Search for Gtkam > Ok.  As soon as it finishes installing, I run Gtkam > which detects my camera, then a series of 75 photos pops up on the screen automatically.  So simple.

The Mandrake 9.2 download edition is my 5th attempt - not so many attempts as you (remember my story about the crashed Windows partition).  I upgraded it from Mandrake 9.1.  Before that, I used Red Hat 9.0.  I changed it to Mandrake because I found Red Hat was not so... what's the term - peripheral-friendly?  It didn't react automatically to new hardware, specifically USB - I had to type a series of mounting and un-mounting command lines that I think only "computer-freaks" really understand.  Now I never face such difficulties, and am easily able to use USB peripherals like a USB hard drive, memory card readers, digital cameras, scanners, printers, etc.  However, I have had some difficulties using hardware with serial and parallel ports.  I have a Canon 4310 printer with LPT port that was detected as a Canon 4000, but it works well, so I'm not worried much about the detection result, so long as it works and I can use it.

It's 10.00 now, so I better stop before I start talking about Tux.


"Linux Log"     [Top of page]

More stuff that I originally sent to a newsgroup - this time to a Linux newsgroup:

I'm using Linux and therefore I am a Linux User, but I'm not a programmer and so a lot of it seems like black (or maybe blue) magic to me.  I know there are other people out there in my position, so I'll list some of my recent experiences in the (unlikely?) event that something might be of interest to someone.  To the programmers, I apologize for putting into the wires what is no doubt pure garbage to your expert eyes.  I beg you to have pity on a pour soul long tormented by the illegal activities of a certain predatory producer of overpriced and defective mainstream software.  I really really hate that company and want to be free of their tyranny.

SuSE 9.0 Professional

After only experimenting for years, I am now a proud Linux user - on SuSE 9.0.  The main machine I use on the internet was installed all in English though, and the one big frustration I'm experiencing at the moment is that my attempts at starting up Japanese language composing capabilities have not been successful to date.  A second SuSE machine that I installed in Japanese is working great for Japanese, but as I'm still in the learning phase of Linux I really do want to work with English menus.  Pretty much I want the reverse situation from a typical Japanese language computer that has nearly all menus in Japanese, but has no problem with writing English.

Red Hat 8.0

I liked Red Hat well enough, but while I was able to update it regularly for awhile, they changed something on their end and I couldn't continue with the old style of updating it - so, not knowing how to update it in a manual way, I ended up deleting the entire disk and putting in Mandrake (it's a test machine after all).  Right from the start, I don't know how to update Mandrake, but since I'm using the free version, I suspect they've made updating it easiest for paying customers.  (SuSE has been fairly easily updatable so far - I haven't been able to get the auto-update feature to work, but the manual update is working fine).

Mandrake 10.0

A couple of the CDs I pulled off the Internet seem to be short - which no doubt are the cause of several error messages during the install.  Something would come up missing - requiring a hit on the <Enter> key to move ahead, and then the message would pop up again, requiring several hits on the <Enter> key to proceed, so I put a dictionary on the corner <Enter> key and just left it there!  I know - not a good thing to do, but it was a test install after all and I was busy, so....  The result is that the program actually works, but the menus seem a little lonely - I think it's missing a bit of... something.  After playing around with it a little, I came to the conclusion that - for most things - I like SuSE 9.0 Professional better, but I should test a full version of Mandrake before saying much.

Debian 3.0r1

I put Debian in on top of the Mandrake install, and it (thankfully!) seems to have used the partitions and some other things from the much more automated Mandrake install.  The command lines were very informative and the install went well, but... I can't do anything other than log on via command line when the log-on prompt comes up.  I don't know what commands to use to get the machine working for me!  One really stupid mistake on my part is that I ended up downloading the previous version of Debian, and not the most recent release.  Would the most recent release come to life with something graphical after installing?  I suppose it doesn't matter with Debian, which (apparently) is better suited to using as a server than for a desktop or laptop machine.

Fedora Core 1 (Version #?)

One step in the installation of Fedora that is an excellent idea is the media check function that allows you to check if the disks are corrupted or not.  Having been burned with some bad downloads, I'm - as I type this - running a "Media Check" on the three install disks I pulled off the wires today.  The first disk "Passed" and I'm checking the second disk now.  Assuming all three disks are okay, I'll put Fedora in over Debian 3.0r1 - as I have no idea how to use Debian as a desktop machine.  At some point I'll probably try using it as a server though - I did like all the on-screen help during the installation and - so I hear - it's known to be more stable than the versions of Linux that are geared towards desktop machines.  (Any tips on things to watch out for with Fedora Core 1?)

Download Issues

I experienced some odd error messages and sudden interruptions when downloading things at a couple of sites here in Japan.  Then I ended up downloading an old version of Debian from a US university (3.0 r1).  Giving up on nearby and US mirror sites and downloading Debian from Europe solved those problems (it's on a hard drive waiting for seven blank CD-ROMs now), but I have to wonder what is going on when nearby sites are corrupted, a US site was dated, and I had to go to Europe for a download(?)  Have other people in Japan been experiencing nonsensical error messages and interrupted downloads when attempting to pull things off of a local site?

Fedora Core 1 Setup

The test computer is busy putting in Fedora Core as I write this (or I suppose I should say that Fedora Core is busy putting itself into the computer).

After that I got Fedora in, but have been experiencing some difficulties with the update function.  It's working, but not glitch-free.

April 4th, 2004  Well - I think I'll stuff this into the wires and get ready for a job interview later today at... well - I'll detail how it went after the fact!  It's the company that told me "Please save any questions about the job for the information session", so it will be interesting to see what the competition for the job looks like.  Come to think of it - it's not even a job interview really is it? "Information session" the guy calls it... maybe it will be entertaining at least, or maybe even provide enough material for an article about job hunting in Tokyo....

Sore dewa!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon,   Images Through Glass
http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/    LLLetters@yahoo.com
Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo   March 8th 2004
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