April 24, 2006 05:07 | Confession / Technology


Some days, I tell ya.

Here's an example of how sometimes, try as I might to do something smartly, I end up in a stupid situation.

On my way back to the lab early this morning, I decide to turn right and not left, and go to Akihabara to hunt for a new 2.5" hard drive and external enclosure. This task has almost become tradition for me since every time I come to Tokyo, 2.5" hard drive capacities increase. (I was hoping to find one of the new Fujitsu 12mm thick 200Gig drives but dammit I couldn't find the nifty deli-style hard drive shop anywhere... nor did I find any enclosures that would fit it if I had.)

This adventure started poorly when I realized I had hopped OFF the Yamanote Line at Ebisu to grab the Hibya line metro up to Akiba... when I simply could have just gotten on the Yamanote in the opposite direction, which would take me there much much quicker and above ground.

At that point I should have taken instead the outbound Hibya to Naka-Meguro, then on home to the lab... had I known... but I didn't, and already I was not thinking straight. Where's my head?

So I arrive in Akihabara seemingly a lifetime later. Hibya is slow as molasses and I had to pee badly.

Electric Town does not open till 10ish. It's 9:30. I duck into a Dutour coffee shop, dutifully order a latté and realize only chain smoking salary men hangout in Dutours. Ack. By the time I have finished the coffee and the Dutour employee has finished cleaning the washroom before letting me in, it's past 10. (Buddy was not happy to see a goddamn gaijin jump into the washroom he just made sparkling for his fellow nihonjin. Tough luck pal. He was waiting for me to get out to redo the job. "I just peed bro... and washed my hands..." Whatever.)

Akihabara has *always* confused the hell out of me. The streets all seem familiar... but then they all look the same too. Like I said, I couldn't find the shop I wanted. I did find one that I did recognize from previous flailing visits and a quick run though their chart of "which hard drives we have fresh today" revealed that the 12mm 200Gig drives were not available yet and if they were they'd be a pretty penny... Fine. The 120Gig 5400rpm Seagate is fine by me. Lemme go look around a bit more.

By noon I am no closer to anything. Inside an Ishimaru (big box electronics store, 3rd floor), I decide to pick up a Buffalo 2.5 120Gig 5200rpm 2.5 disk+enclosure deal for pretty much what it would have cost me to buy the parts separately and assemble it.

Except I already spent three hours of my time on this. I bill high lately so that's not peanuts. In fact it'd have been more cost effective to send someone to get it for me, dammit. :p

Anyways. Whining.

So I buy this thing. The cashier does his best to explain that "the software is japanese only"... whatever pal, I don't need whatever software this thing comes with.

Or do I...

Time to head back. I decide to take the Hibya line again since, even though it is damn slow, it takes me straight to Naka-Meguro where I just quickly transfer to the Toyoko track which goes to Jiyugaoka.

As a bonus, Hibya also stops at Tsukiji. I'll be damned if I am not going to have sashimi lunch in the fish market mecca of the world.

I'm gonna spare you the details. Sure the fish was good but whatever. The fish is good everywhere here. Let's just say I had 2 half lunches in two different places, mainly because the guy behind the counter at the first place was... not having a good day.

$35 later, I'm wandering the backstreet markets. Now THAT was awesome. If I bought my groceries here everyday I'd die happy. For 200 yen (roughly $2) I got one heck of a fish steak which I'll grill up tonight.

Don't ask me what kinda fish. It looks like salmon but darker. And the guy wanted to sell me 6 slabs for 1000 yen. Crazy.

Anyways... an hour later, I'm at the lab. It's 2pm, I have 100 emails that came in overnight...

and dammit this hard drive won't mount.

Crack the case open, remove the interface, swap it with my old trusty FW one. Mounts no problem. I format the thing, name it "Hoppy", then transfer it back to it's original enclosure.

Still no mount.

I peruse the packaging and the instruction leaflet--all in japanese--and realize there is some sort of security software built into the firmware on the board. Since I can't read the directions, I don't know what I need to do to get around it. Worse, I have a bad hunch that by formatting the drive via another interface, i may have screwed up their silly little protection mechanism.

This means I have to go buy an enclosure. Decent ones go for about $30-40. And another 3 hours of my time. :p


The Buffalo stuff should be OSX compatible. Does it have the OS X logo on the side?

Oh, and from now on, just go to a Bic, like the one in Shibuya, which is on the same side of town as the lab, instead of trekking all the way to Akiba on the other side of town.

yeah it does, except it won't mount. Disk Utility saw it once but then choked on it. I just tried it on Joi's macBook and no dice there either.

Also, you'd think I'd go to Yodobashi or Sakura where I already have point cards... noooooo I go to a different bigbox everytime...

I am SO dumb some days. ;)

Yeah no more of this running around unless the value is really there (like I will likely hit Akiba with Jim to build my server...)

If it has the logo and it wont boot, then it's broken. Bring it, the box, and your reciept back to the store with your Mac and show them that it doesnt work.

just try installing the japanese software. it is likely to work.

Men just don't like to ask for directions nor read instructions.


grrr.. directions and packaging are in japanese, my dear. :p

James, there was no included software. And all the documentation that does refer to software indicates that only windows systems need it. All the mac documentations states "it just works"... (I had Joi go over it with me.)

the board is damaged. the disk works fine. time/money wise, my best bet is to go stop by Bic or Yodobashi or some such next time I am near one. :\