Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Technology, Or Not

I have every intention of catching up on the shenanigans of the last month in writing and photos. In the meantime, my personal computer is in the shop, again, which blocks my access to nearly all of my files and actually organzing them to post, and I've hit another wall (or several) of frustration in my attempts to operate technology in Thailand, especially for teaching it and coordinating my personal files between systems. Trying to jump between four different versions of Windows on school computers, when I myself have Mac, combined with language difficulties, programs being installed in English OR Thai but not both, and machines switched off by circuit breakers...make for lots of headaches.

First, to IT corporations, specifically for dual Thai language/English language support: Kudos to those of you installing linguistic support for all languages. Shame on you for taking so long, and those who DO NOT offer such support, even in beta release.
Second: As long as you continue to ignore specific language demographics in your official code, you are putting yourselves at greater risk for hacking and compromise. You can whine about copyright infringement, violation of International copyright, yada, yada. But when you don't support the local langauges you sell to, you force even the common person's hand to hack the programs to function in that language; especially programs considered international professional standard. I will not single out any one company, because I have found this issue to varying degrees with every program I have sought help for thus far across operating systems. And I will admit a very select few programs have accomplished the Thai/English toggle, and naturally they control the market here. If I spend more hours digging through company help forums and still cannot accomplish my dual language needs, I will simply be purchasing some software hacks myself. For certain programs, it is fairly simple to get a bootleg copy, multi-language ready (so I am told). These programs legally come with Japanese, Korean, Chinese text converter and Arabic automatically - so why is it so difficult to get a plug-in for other characters installed? Did you only pick the richest countries languages to include? Seems likely.

You can argue about lack of respect for your company's code all you want, sit back and blame cultural views on property as you usually do, and even just blame the difficulty of employing people to help translate AND run support code. But it really comes down to language. I wouldn't be surprised if that was more of a hacker's gateway, getting native language to work in computer programs, than pirating entertainment. Yes, people will continue to buy your products even when your support is lacking, so you'll still be making money, because despite the 'choices' in the computer market, each might as well be a monopoly onto itself, and this is supposedly the digital age. I really don't blame people for hacking a program to get their native language to load instead of empty boxes. Maybe that sort of hack doesn't really irk your company. While currently certain companies are taking over English speaking markets by leaps and bounds, and some foreign markets as well, it will be the companies with the sense to support all languages that will eventually overtake and thrive. And aside from the company bottom line, I'd also like to point out the contribution of poor language support in technology to increasing the digital divide between rich and poor nations. Though perhaps a level playing field isn't what you're going for.

Several of the companies that are currently quite buggy do at least have beta releases in the works, and I applaud this. First major critique: assuming everyone is monolingual. What language were people attempting to use before you supported their language? English. So, why can't they use English and another language in your program on the same computer? You've got beta releases for languages; now make it so the same program can run in more than one language mode on a single computer. A few programs do, most don't (at least for my particular language combination). And to the companies with no official support and only hacks you can research on the internet or buy bootleg - get on that.

I will hold my tongue (for now) on computer/internet security, privacy, other forms of piracy, censorship and the country of origin of computer innovation for now; except for this: most countries around the world do not exhibit Net Neutrality. I'm extremely disappointed to see in the news today the United States will now be counted among those who don't defend the free internet, as per the latest FCC ruling. What's worse is most American citizens really have no idea what a policy opposed to Net Neutrality means for their freedom on the internet. Blatant censorship, or covert limiting of data streams as determined by a select few cable companies? It amounts to the same thing, if not worse, just in politically nicer terms. At least blatant censorship is honest (so to speak) about its goals. I have journaled about censorship since I have been here, but have decided it best to keep that from this blog. I like my blog NOT to be censored in my country of residence.

Happy Holidays, New Year, so on and such forth - not sure how long my computer will be out of commission; and finding computer time on a functioning, internet connected, English language enabled computer - well, that can be quite a trick.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny Jenny Jenny, you seem to be railing against the beast, but the beast don’t care. I find we are like a small boat on the ocean, tossed and turned. We make the best out of it, because the ocean neither singles us out, nor cares.
    My Advice, go to a temple light some incense and be thankful for one of Gods simple gifts, a sunrise, flower blossom, smile from a stranger.
    Love Uncle Ed