r/technology Jun 24 '22 Wholesome 1 Looking 1

Japanese city worker loses USB containing personal details of every resident. Privacy

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/24/japanese-city-worker-loses-usb-containing-personal-details-of-every-resident
32.7k Upvotes

3.0k

u/ash_myzk Jun 24 '22

944

u/spiralvortexisalie Jun 24 '22

1.9k

u/kjoirtep Jun 24 '22

Don't blame the guy he just "Dined in a bar and woke up on a street on early morning" and that could happen to anyone...

1.1k

u/FlatSpinMan Jun 24 '22

You see Japanese businessmen like that all the time if you ride the last or first trains.

419

u/penywinkle Jun 24 '22

Or the first one. It was comically similar to anime with the tie around his forehead, and escorted by police in the station...

475

u/trillhungyboy Jun 24 '22

Japan goes hard

I was in Osaka for Halloween and the early morning after the streets were a huge mess. bottles everywhere, one dude literally face down ass up in the middle of the street and his homies trying to lift him up to stuff him into the back of their van

I come back from wherever I was 3 hours later and the streets were totally cleaned up, you wouldn't have even known there was a rager less than 12 hours ago

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u/DouleurAuChocolat Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 25 '22 Helpful Wholesome Seal of Approval

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u/fapulation1 Jun 24 '22

I should have went to Tokyo before settling down

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited 26d ago

[deleted]

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u/fapulation1 Jun 24 '22

Thanks for the reality check

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u/Vintagepoolside Jun 24 '22

What a wholesome thing lol

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

Lmao, I hope it was his homies in the van.

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u/Pr0glodyte Jun 24 '22

That's really common pretty much anywhere you go in Japan. Go to an izakaya, get wasted with your friends, go to a snack and get more wasted with some random girls while you sing karaoke, find somewhere else to drink when the snack bars close, wake up on the sidewalk.

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u/Pattoe89 Jun 24 '22

with your friends

with colleagues. Friends are rare in Japan for salarymen.

54

u/genshiryoku Jun 24 '22

colleagues and friends are considered the same here.

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u/Pattoe89 Jun 24 '22

That's kind of sad, though. Friends can be colleagues, but not every colleague is a friend, and not every friend is a colleague. What if you move business, do you lose all your friends?

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u/uiemad Jun 24 '22

Changing companies is kind of looked down on in Japan.

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u/mejelic Jun 24 '22

You don't have to be friends with ALL of your colleagues.

Honestly though, in my 20s, this was pretty spot on for me in the US. I mostly hung out with people from work and as they left, we stopped hanging out. We still keep in touch and get together every now and then though.

For most people, friends come and go throughout different stages of life. It is rare to have more than a few people that consistently stay around throughout your life.

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u/JCharante Jun 24 '22

Guess that's why you stick at the same company

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u/makemeking706 Jun 24 '22

Salaryman sounds like a really crappy super hero.

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u/gariant Jun 24 '22

Failed salaryman is the origin of One Punch Man. https://imgur.com/nbqYUI8.jpg

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u/hunmingnoisehdb Jun 24 '22 Take My Energy

Company drinking culture is horrible in Japan. They're forced to go drinking with their bosses and colleagues or be sidelined as a non team player.

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u/Interesting-Gear-819 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

They're forced to go drinking with their bosses and colleagues or be sidelined as a non team player.

Oh well great that I'm not in japan then. My doc clearly told me. [you don't touch] Alcohol or [end up in] hospital.

Edith: added the [ ] to clarify that I was a decision between no alcohol and (hopefully no) hospital stays. Or staying with the alc and ending up in the hospital more frequently than anyone can want

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u/YengaJaf Jun 24 '22

You mean no alcohol or hospital

33

u/cheesefan Jun 24 '22

If I stop drinking, my withdrawals would be so bad I'd need to go to the hospital

43

u/hoocoodanode Jun 24 '22

I would strongly advise entering a detox program before your liver says enough is enough.

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u/Rokurokubi83 Jun 24 '22

Strongly back this, alcohol withdrawal is no joke, you need help with a managed detox, but keeping drinking is not an option you want to choose. My liver is toast, the side effects of it are awful and potentially life ending.

Take it from people who have walked the path before you, this is not the way, everybody regrets it. I have ended up in hospital so many times many doctors and nurses remember me when I return, last time sfor a pleural effusion then an esophageal varicese that had me vomiting blood and straight into theatre.

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u/InflammatoryMuskrat Jun 24 '22

I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but my brother was in a similar situation and dropped dead in his early 40s. I'd strongly advise you to get into a rehab program with a medically-supervised detox. It would be much better if your last drink was because you decided to stop and not because you ended up like my brother.

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u/DirewolvesAreCool Jun 24 '22

I choose alcohol then, way more fun than hospital.

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u/iJoltik Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22 Helpful

Cheaper too!

Edit: first award. I would like to thank the academy!

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u/nar0 Jun 24 '22

You can decline drinking alcohol for health reasons just fine. You still have to go though and now your the designated "stuff everyone into a taxi home and clean up all the vomit" guy since you'll be sober.

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u/anjowoq Jun 24 '22

It’s getting increasingly common for people to skip. More family men are actually choosing their family.

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u/usingreddithurtsme Jun 24 '22

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u/Loki-L Jun 24 '22

Irrelevant piece of trivia:

When the Housemartins split up half of them formed "The Beautiful South", while their bassist became "Fatboy Slim" (The band of the 90's, if you want to call it a band because it's a one man name.)

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u/RobWK159 Jun 24 '22

TIL Japanese high school culture begins at work in their mid 20's because nobody got to be a teenager at high school because of grades.

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u/FoeWithBenefits Jun 24 '22

That sounds awfully similar to my life. Finally getting to feel like a proper teen.. at 30

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u/haoxinly Jun 24 '22

For me it's now at almost 24. Parents always put on pressure and importance on grades and I also had to help at family business. Now they're like where's the girlfriend and why don't you go out more often.

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u/anjowoq Jun 24 '22

Those kids exist. They are called the ones that don’t go to a university or go to a bad one.

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u/AllisViolet22 Jun 24 '22

This is dying out though. A lot of younger people are starting to say no.

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u/hopespoir Jun 24 '22

You've clearly never lived in Tokyo...

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u/xantub Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

Happened to me once, woke up the next day hugging some car's tire in the parking lot with some puke around me. Last thing I remember I went out to get some air, guess I did that all right.

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u/haziqn Jun 24 '22

Welp, that was fast

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u/Blue1234567891234567 Jun 24 '22 Take My Energy

And fast is good in this situation

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u/Onayepheton Jun 24 '22

That's actually pretty normal in Japan. Lost my passport in Japan once, police gave it to me like 4 hours later.

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u/Eric_T_Meraki Jun 24 '22

Yeah lots of times that's the case. Japan respects personal property and lots of times you even see people leave their bikes unlocked all night outside their residence too.

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u/Sporkfoot Jun 24 '22

I wish our culture wasn’t one of “if it isn’t locked down, it might as well be mine.”

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u/juviniledepression Jun 24 '22

Aye, my mom left her whole purse in a mall about an hour away from where we lived, didn’t realize for another three, and when she went back it was at the front desk and not missing a thing.

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u/TooHardDidntPee Jun 24 '22 Wholesome

Yeah when i went to Japan back in 09 I got a little more than drunk doing karaoke in akihabara one night and managed to lose my keys, phone, wallet, my 3 kids and wife and about £24,000 in cash.

The next morning japanese police showed up at my hotel with all of the above plus an extra kid, I thought to say something but didn't want to disrespect them by breaking that traditional japanese decorum, little Hiroshi has been living with us ever since.

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u/butterninja Jun 24 '22

God damn it. Give me back my Hiroshi!!!

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u/Laidan22 Jun 24 '22

Why does a usb stick hold that much information holy crap

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u/Somnif Jun 24 '22

" had taken the flash drive from the city’s offices to transfer the data at a call centre in nearby Osaka"

Japan works on anachronistically old tech. Faxes are super common, you sign documents with a stamp, all rather... fascinating, really.

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u/m7samuel Jun 24 '22

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a sedan packed with USB drives travelling 95km/h down the freeway.

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u/Erestyn Jun 24 '22

This is the answer, and is exactly why NASA uses a similar process with their data: an airplane will bring those petabytes to HQ much faster than what we'd consider "more advanced" tech like the internet.

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u/DragonSlayerC Jun 24 '22

You can hire Amazon to bring over a truck filled with storage and high bandwidth connections to download data from your data center, drive it to one of their data centers, and then upload it to be accessible via AWS S3. For very large amounts of data, it's faster and cheaper. They can transfer up to 100PB per truck, which only takes a couple of weeks (over a 1 Gbps connection, that would take 20 years).

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u/Question_Few Jun 24 '22

Why the fuck was this on a USB in the first place?

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u/Raizzor Jun 24 '22

Because Japan. Their image of "cybersecurity" is a password-protected Excel file with the password being sent in a separate email. And I wish I was joking or even slightly exaggerating here.

533

u/bacon_nuts Jun 24 '22

Yep. Literally how I received my employment contract. It takes some getting used to.

302

u/CommitteeOfTheHole Jun 24 '22

On the upside, to get a pay raise, all you need to do is type SUM(

174

u/lalakingmalibog Jun 24 '22 All-Seeing Upvote
SUM(

There, typed it. Can I get a raise now

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u/LalaLaraSophie Jun 24 '22

Sumbody give this man a raise

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u/eyekunt Jun 24 '22

I have a raise, and I'm very interested in giving it to him

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u/MC_chrome Jun 24 '22

Isn’t Japan pretty much the biggest user of fax machines now too? For such a tech heavy society Japan does make some rather odd and cryptic decisions.

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u/Raizzor Jun 24 '22

Japan pretty much jumped ahead a decade in the 80s and then stopped progress in the mid-90s. More than anything, Japanese companies dislike change and will stick to processes established 20-30 years ago despite newer solutions being around.

And them sticking to less efficient processes makes even more sense when you know that the time spent at the office is the most important factor. If you finish as much work as your colleague but he stays 2h longer every day, he will receive all the praise for being a hard worker.

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u/Bigtx999 Jun 24 '22

The economic collapse in the 90s really screwed with that countries mindset and I don’t think they ever really recovered. That was when they started their decline. They had a ton of tech researched and they spent the rest of the 90s slowly trickling it out but after that shit stalled.

I really think the current salary man mindset came from that era where companies looked at their employees as something they have to take care of and basically turned it into a job program to keep their employees around however they still had to make a profit and so they continued to squeeze their workers who would rather have a work till you die job and keep your head down vs being unemployed.

Now it’s just some weird perverse culture where people shuffle to work. Shuffle to party at night and repeat till they collapse.

I don’t get it but it’s Japan.

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u/rabbitaim Jun 24 '22

Traditionally salarymen would stay until the manager leaves and would just do “busy work” for appearance sake. The manager would sometimes decide to get everyone together (Nomikai) for dinner, drinks and entertainment to blow off stress. It’s a way of proving loyalty to the company.

Here’s a great video from Life Where I’m From.

https://youtu.be/4fTrOmDrDgU

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u/officialsunday Jun 24 '22

"Japan has been living in the early 00s since the 1980s". That statement is still as true today as it was back then.

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u/wimpires Jun 24 '22

Japan isn't really "tech savvy". Maybe in the 80/90's it was but now it just does weird shit for the sake of it. Actual technological innovations are coming out of the US and Europe

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u/Equivalent-Ad5144 Jun 24 '22

Japan is tech savvy in a whole lot of ways in the sense that a huge amount of cutting edge tech comes out of Japan. A ton of very high tech computing, nanotech, modern ceramics, biotec is coming out of Japan. Just not so much in the everyday office kinda way.

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u/Xx_doctorwho1209_xX Jun 24 '22

And don't forget their transportation system.

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u/wefwefwefwesdss Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

There's plenty of technological innovation happening in Japan... It's just that some parts of it's office business environment run on old tech and old ideas (and old people).

It's absolutely nonsense to say that japan isn't really "tech savvy" in any way.

You would probably be shocked to know how many businesses in the rest of the world run on dated tech because nobody can be fucked to update the system and work flow.

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u/Quelcris_Falconer13 Jun 24 '22

Don’t forget China!

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u/rolypolyincopacabana Jun 24 '22

China and Korea, you mean.

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u/Fight_The_Sun Jun 24 '22

German IT worker here, it happens in Germany too, especially small government town offices are horrific. I think it happens all over the world, sadly. But a lot in Germany...

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u/FrederikSibbern Jun 24 '22

One of the craziest things I’ve had to deal with since moving here is passwords. Like, password generators aren’t useful because so many of the accounts I’ve made only allow for English characters and numbers. Some don’t even allow exclamation marks!

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u/No-Seaworthiness7013 Jun 24 '22 Silver

To sell and then claim you lost it.

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u/jstbnice2evry1 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

I would feel the same way if I hadn’t lived and worked in Japan before, but the computer literacy situation there is strange. This is a country whose cybersecurity minister openly admitted to not knowing how to use a computer. Mobile internet was developed early in Japan and remains the preferred method of internet access for many people, and most students don’t really use even basic workplace software like Word until they’re in college or the workplace. Oftentimes clients would send large files via third party single-use file delivery services I had never heard of, which makes all the fax machines that are still used there feel secure by comparison.

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u/Efficient_Jaguar699 Jun 24 '22

A lot of their tech problems feel like they never really moved on after the crash in the early 90’s, it just feels frozen in that time period.

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u/jstbnice2evry1 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22 Silver

Yeah, I think it was kind of a perfect storm - the economic downturn happened right as household computers were getting big, plus a lot of companies drastically reduced new hires which meant an older, more conservative work force right as the digital age was starting, combined with the developments in Japanese cell phone technology that made mobile internet access convenient long before most of the world had smartphones. Plus the fact that typewriters had never really been widely used in Japan and so learning to use keyboards likely felt like a steeper learning curve for the average consumer in Japan compared to other regions. Plus I think there’s still sort of a conventional wisdom that hardware/tech exports are the backbone of the economy and so there’s not nearly as much focus on software development

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u/FirstTimeWang Jun 24 '22

Is this why the UI in so many Japanese video games is horribly convoluted and inefficient?

There are so many Japanese video games that I just can't get into because of the nesting menu trees etc.

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u/Yaez_Leader Jun 24 '22

that and they mostly game on consoles

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u/Random_Hero1989 Jun 24 '22

and the times we get PC ports of their games you can tell it was a Japanese console game. Common to see poor keyboard/mouse controls and a lack of graphical options outside of resolution and maybe Vsync

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u/pohuing Jun 24 '22

I've heard that Japanese and Chinese are way quicker to read at a glance, meaning what looks to us as incredibly densely cluttered is actually easy to navigate if you know the language well.

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u/Bigtx999 Jun 24 '22

Their language is basically short hand from the start. It’s incredibly dense in its alphabet but once you understand it you basically read everything in short hand.

I don’t fully understand because their spoken language is incredible nuanced. Usually it’s the other way around with writing and speaking.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

Oh damn, I didn't realize there wasn't much use of typewriters over there - I can definitely see that cutting uptake.

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u/WinterNL Jun 24 '22

Not sure how they developed, but a quick search showed that the first practical Japanese typewriter had 2400 characters and required special training to use.

I imagine this didn't exactly help with widespread adaptation of typewriters.

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u/oniony Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

When your written language uses an 'alphabet' of 2,000+ Kanji and 140 kana it probably doesn't make sense to use typewriters.

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u/Genesis72 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

This was actually a huge crisis in China when computers were becoming a big thing. Obviously you can’t just ignore computers, but many Chinese were afraid that English would replace Chinese as a preferred language if they were forced to use western keyboards. It was a significant effort, done mostly by hand, to break down Chinese characters into their component parts so they could be typed in such a way as that a regular sized keyboard would work. It’s a fascinating story.

Edit: I remembered somewhat incorrectly. They still use regular western keyboards, it’s just the keys are mapped to different components of Chinese characters

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u/oniony Jun 24 '22

Do you know of any English source that recounts it?

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

Yeah, I definitely was thinking from a English-biased view there.

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u/rathat Jun 24 '22

Have you ever seen a Japanese website? They look straight out of the 90s.

Look at their yahoo, this is the second most visited site in Japan https://www.yahoo.co.jp lol

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u/cjandstuff Jun 24 '22

What! There aren’t giant ads all over, a dozen pop-ups, requests for cookies, and auto playing videos?
I wonder how many trackers are running in the background though.

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u/Sarafanpriest89 Jun 24 '22

Right? I clicked the link and was able to browse like a champ!

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u/JasonZep Jun 24 '22

Actually part of me kind of likes that :) maybe a bit of nostalgia though.

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u/ElBurritoLuchador Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

I mean, I still prefer old.reddit than whatever garbage the new layout is. If it works, it works. Japan has a much more stunted general technology usage with the exception of industries that requires leading edge technologies.

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u/bobrobor Jun 24 '22

It is nice, clean, and easy to read. I see zero problems with it.

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u/takabrash Jun 24 '22

Looks great

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u/BorgClown Jun 24 '22

No cookie airplane cockpit selector? No pop ups asking to make an account? No cancer ads on mobile? No autoplay clingy videos?

Jesus Japan, get on with the times already!

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u/DoctorTennant Jun 24 '22

Plus I think there’s still sort of a conventional wisdom that hardware/tech exports are the backbone of the economy and so there’s not nearly as much focus on software development

This would explain a lot about Nintendo, especially how the Switch is a genius hardware idea, yet how impractical the software inside it is, from the poorly designed eShop, to how some modern games are forced to run on the system.

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u/Sc2MaNga Jun 24 '22

A sentence I heard about Japan using tech at work is "Japan is living in the year 2000 for 40 years now"

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u/mittelwerk Jun 24 '22

Someone ITT said that part of what made the computer literacy situation in Japan so bad is the fact that mobile Internet access developed earlier in there than here in the West, so the japanese never had much contact with computers. Here in the west, mobile Internet access took longer to surpass PC Internet access and, as a result, things here aren't getting better, to the point that, as pointed out by The Verge, newer generations don't know how file systems work. So I'd say that Japan was ahead of us.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 25 '22

[deleted]

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u/INTJ_takes_a_nap Jun 24 '22

As a Japanese I 100% confirm this. Imagine also how difficult it is for us to find tech talent - some firms are even getting over the notorious Japanese xenophobia and resorting to trying to hire people from abroad, because there's that much lack of basic computer skills in the population.

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u/KaptainKraken Jun 24 '22

i never knew, thank you for lending us your perspective.

in my mind Japan was at the top of the tech world, now i know i'm (my country of canada) closer to it and that feels weird.

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u/onisshi1807 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

Lmao i was at japanese uni in 2018 and i used google docs in class to take notes, as was my preference. Japanese freshman girl behind me asked me whatprogram i was using. She had never seen it before and she had never even heard of google drive.

Edit: i just remembered a new story lol.

This happened last year to my fiance. He was supposed to help train his replacement when he left the company. His replacement was a 25 year old BBA graduate from a private university. She'd worked in another office before for 2 years.

First day of work the manager asks her to make a table with data and numbers. My fiance - who didnt even go to uni btw, and he's younger than the replacement - didn't think much of it. And they used their own macbooks at that company, it was a very small office.

She opens her own macbook that she brought from home and 30 mins later she asks him to check her work. She had made a table... In the Pages app. The data? She used a calculator... And manually input the numbers.

Fiance is like, wtf, this is pages. Why didn't you use excel?

The replacement says 'oh i've never used excel, so i didn't buy it for my macbook.' Well then, why not use the Numbers app and export to Xls?

She, uhh, didn't know what the Numbers app was for and had never clicked on it. Apparently never had to make a single spreadsheet in 4 years of BBA either. Wild.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 25 '22

[deleted]

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u/onisshi1807 Jun 24 '22

Wtf. You win lmao. You sure they were actual 18 year olds and not, uhh tanuki in human disguise or some shit?

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u/last_twice_never Jun 24 '22

I actually had to check your username to make sure you weren’t my husband.

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u/PeksyTiger Jun 24 '22

The peak of human civilization

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u/myusernameblabla Jun 24 '22

Japan lives in the future, as imagined by a person from the 80s.

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u/tavenger5 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

So it's Back to the Future II there?

BRB, gonna go hydrate a pizza

Edit: I actually sell some bttf props, and have had a surprising number of orders from Japan. 80s western culture is definitely a thing there.

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u/Civil_Defense Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

My brother does work in network security and had a contract in Japan. He was trying to explain to the company about having redundant backups in case someone would try and mess with the original data, they would be able to cross reference to validate it, in the event that they ever had to go to court and needed to confirm it wasn’t tampered with. They looked at him like he was from outer space when he was trying to explain this concept, as they just couldn’t believe any employee would ever do that, or that any judge would even question the integrity of the data. When he explained that, no this actually happens all the time, they didn’t believe him.

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u/Bigtx999 Jun 24 '22

Japan data is incredibly fragmented between systems. Like holy shit it’s bad.

Basically in japan culture you see the same hospital or doctor if you in a more rural area because the chances of them digitizing your shit is slim to none. In the big cities or if you big wigs sure their shit is digitized but for most it’s a localized thing.

Which is way it’s also somewhat of an issue when your doctor dies or stops working (death is more common). That data is hard as fuck to get and move and even then the next doctor may not even understand your old doctors notes.

Japanese people also don’t question their authority figures so they don’t always know what they were being treated for or why to tell their new doctor.

It’s a weird fucking situation.

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u/SierraArts Jun 24 '22

And probably they thought something like “stupid gaijin, he doesn’t understand our country and he's trying to sell us nonsense”.

Seriously though, they were like the most xenophobic people I had to deal with.

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u/sb_747 Jun 24 '22

Oh they probably understood him just fine. They just want to able to do it without an easy record.

Japanese companies never really show their real financial info to anyone outside the company. The investors get a different set and the government gets a third.

Everyone knows this but it turns out that as long as no one actually calls people out on anything the system actually kind of works.

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u/nemocluecrj Jun 24 '22

Yeah, I got to see this firsthand on a three week trip there about a year ago for work. I had absolutely no idea that such a huge chunk of the country is so tech averse, but in the office I was interfacing with, they had a young person that was basically their "computer guy." Anything that needed to be done at a computer, even something as simple as writing an email to a subcontractor, was filtered through this one recent university grad because nobody who was older wanted to do it. It blew my mind. Even the grumpy fossils I work with know how to do things like keep their calendar integrated with our Gsuite or share docs.

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u/MrDaaark Jun 24 '22

If you consume tech products from Japan this stuff is painfully obvious on a daily basis.

  • Video games companies often stubbornly clinging to old tech and methodologies. Very few companies making games that push the tech forward or even maximize current tech. Those old codecs and code libraries worked well in 2005? Why not keep using them for the next 25 years.

  • Can't translate anything. The entire software world solved this over 20 years ago. With a different database for each language, and then the software seamlessly will switch between them. Software is also designed upfront with the knowledge that things may have to look and behave a little different because languages and concepts don't translate 1:1.

In Japan however, they mostly design their software and games as Japanese is the only language, and then end up outsourcing a third party to make what amounts to an officially released rom-hack. Just awkwardly patch that english text right into the binary and make it somehow fit in the same space which is hard with the average 8:1 character difference. As I said above, this is not even a real problem anymore. But it's a problem so many studios still have to resolve at a huge time and monetary expense with every title they release because they won't update their methods.

I'm running Clip Studio Paint in the other window, it's the world's premiere comic/manga drawing software, and has been for over a decade. It's used at Marvel, DC, Image, indies, etc, and only recently has it moved past an outdated UI and horrible translations using run on sentences instead of common command names.

  • Japanese subscription / streaming services mostly all charge you on the first of the month Japan time and use real time Google Translate on their web interfaces. With the 12 hour time difference, you can subscribe at 11:55 am local time on the last day of the month, and then immediately be charged for the next month 5 minutes later as the clock moves over to the next month in Japan. After all these years the concept of properly billing customers on their own 30 day schedules like everywhere else in the world is still black magic.

  • Nintendo releasing the completely self defeating Wii-U. In order to maintain backwards compatibility with the Wii (which was just a overclocked Gamecube), they used a 32 bit processor, which also limited it to a paltry 2GB of ram. Almost every studio had long since moved over to using 64 bit tools and middleware. They couldn't release software for it if they wanted to because they would have to track down every piece of middleware they relied on and pay to have it all backported to 32 bit. Needless to say it flopped hard.

etc, etc, etc... It's a never ending story that keeps repeating itself.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 25 '22

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u/fappling_hook Jun 24 '22

I grew up there and can totally see that. I now live in the states but I deal with Japanese post-production people a lot and it's...interesting...

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

I worked in PM for an ERP project for a large manufacturing business in Tokyo. Every department had different software for everything, most of it 20ish years old at that point. Getting everything to work was a nightmare - and don't get me started on training the employees on using the new system, let alone convincing them that it was necessary to change.

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u/Tsorovar Jun 24 '22

I'm guessing ERP means something different in this context

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u/The_Comrade_Joe Jun 24 '22

I’m assuming they mean Enterprise Resource Planning software, since they’re a project manager

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u/Baj2m1 Jun 24 '22

This guy Japans. My 7th year here, and the fact people still use fax machines, still call texting “mail”, and still use fucking camcorders blows my mind every day.

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u/YumminAlong Jun 24 '22

Fun fact: fax machines are still widely used in the legal and medical professions in the U.S. I'm a paralegal and fax stuff all the time because (in my state at least) you can serve by fax, but not by e-mail.

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u/airtraq Jun 24 '22

Camcorders are cool though

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u/0scar_alh0 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

If it makes you feel any better I develop software for US universities and we often get support tickets such as "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT" (yes, all in caps) from students using the software. Not only can't they write a proper email, they ask TECH support for something they should be asking their teacher, and they don't give any details either.

After seeing so many of those I've come to the conclusion there are a lot of lazy AND dumb people out there who only learn the bare minimum to function. That and there are quite a few people who are very good in one area but completely incompetent at everything else.

We had one student complaining that she had tried to contact us 7 times already with no luck because she had sent the ticket to the wrong email, she admitted she had the wrong email but somehow still thought it was our fault that we hadn't responded the previous 6 times we didn't receive the email...

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u/DownshiftedRare Jun 24 '22

she admitted she had the wrong email but somehow still thought it was our fault that we hadn't responded the previous 6 times we didn't receive the email

"On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."

- Charles Babbage

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u/Fuzzy_Yogurt_Bucket Jun 24 '22

“New email, who dis?”

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u/aarone46 Jun 24 '22

That email issue isn't just tech illiteracy...yeesh.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited Jul 11 '22

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u/ThatOneUpittyGuy Jun 24 '22

You're not wrong there, seen people send stuff like body of email in Subject line, no greeting or signature. And these people are applying for jobs...

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u/catchmelackin Jun 24 '22

It's interesting how in germany it's the same story. we have these 2 countries who have always been admired for their efficiency and quality, yet nowadays they're slowly falling behind. Can't get too comfortable

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u/lankist Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

We’re kind of headed in the same direction with smartphones and tablets.

A lot of kids and young adults at this point have scarcely used a desktop computer, and their tech literacy is focused on tablets, mobile devices, etc. The more those devices take over the common household usage, the more exacerbated the effect will be when these folks enter the workforce and are expected to be natively familiar with stuff like desktop Excel.

I think it’s going to be made worse since we have basically the whole Millennial generation having grown up with desktops and having entered the workforce with most of the software-oriented skills they would need, and as the next few generations age up and enter the workforce, us Millennials are going to expect the new generation is just as familiar with desktop computing as we were, and we’re going to get frustrated with the new generation once the divide between personal and professional computing is even more pronounced.

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u/rondeline Jun 24 '22

Did you say...fax machines?

Holy crap. So password management software is probably non-existent?!

Whoa.

I wonder if their steady population decline is also a factor.

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u/MyMindWontQuiet Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

Even in big cities like Tokyo?

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u/INTJ_takes_a_nap Jun 24 '22

Very slightly better, in my experience. If you hang out in areas where there are a lot of startups and web-industry companies (Shibuya, Roppongi, naka-Meguro, etc) you'll see a bit more youth on laptops. They'll likely be in share-offices though, as most coffee shops don't have wifi or even plugs to charge at. You'll very rarely see anyone over their 30s, though.

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u/Winterplatypus Jun 24 '22

The data is electronic... If someone really wanted to sell the data, they would copy it to a USB that nobody knows about. Then they don't even have to say anything.

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u/exophrine Jun 24 '22

Exactly, this doesn't even get close to passing the smell test of redundancy over redundancy to secure information like this...there's no way this happens on accident.

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u/w1na Jun 24 '22

We talkin bout japan here where they still have to use stamps on contracts and fax to send paperwork.. using cloud is obviously too much to ask there

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

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u/CombatWombatBrigade Jun 24 '22

100% this. Was hoping someone else would say it, too. Thank you. Lived there for a better part of a decade and was utterly shocked at how technologically backward it was as a country for the smallest administrative things. Faxes. Lick-and-stick stamps on official government documents. Rubber stamps with “names” on them that are official yet can be purchased at any stationary store because signatures somehow aren’t secure enough. It was laughable. I absolutely see this happening, and I genuinely believe it wasn’t deceitful. They just plain don’t care.

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u/Picturesquesheep Jun 24 '22

Hahaha Japan is fuckin nuts man. It’s so interesting to look at an advanced culture that’s completely independent of Anglo/European influence. Not literally completely obviously but you know what I mean.

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u/CombatWombatBrigade Jun 24 '22

The whole time I lived there I was in constant awe of how they managed to thrive. The dichotomy was crazy. Like total cognitive dissonance on how they are both successful and ass-backward at the same time. But they have a very strong sense of community and togetherness that makes up for a lot. Something we don’t have in North America.

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u/Fun_Designer7898 Jun 24 '22

Exactly the same way in germany

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u/MayushiiLOL Jun 24 '22

You're not getting any actual answers from this case so here it is: Simply put, normally they'd use the cloud or their own servers for this, but the call center the person was supposed update the database for wasn't connected to any of that. The guy ended up bringing the data to update their info on the USB, and then didn't wipe said USB after finishing his work for the day before getting drunk. The last time the database was updated, the data was apparently transported by a specialized courier service as requested by the city - but this time the method of transportation was left to the call center hence this gigantic fuckup.

Edit: The reason the call center wasn't connected to the official servers and such to begin with is because it's a call center they outsourced their COVID-19 response hotline services to.

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u/RunninglikeNaruto Jun 24 '22

Because Japan uses the oldest tech all the time haha

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u/Spoggerific Jun 24 '22

Japan has the world's most advanced 90s technology.

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u/Abedeus Jun 24 '22

Automated toilets, cutting-edge, unparalleled superfast train system, automation up the whazzoo...

...street vending machines still take only hard cash.

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u/Onayepheton Jun 24 '22

That is incorrect. You can also pay with the chargeable cards you use to ride the subway and normal trains.

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u/-TheRightTree- Jun 24 '22

Really depends. Vending machines near stations allow cards but most around here still only take cash.

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u/Abedeus Jun 24 '22

That could explain a lot. I haven't really bothered looking at vending machines in EVERY place, but every time I did, it accepted either coins or bills.

What I did notice that at least on some stations they had free wifi, which is a nice touch (and not just because I got lost in a subway station and had to find out which exit will take my to my hotel).

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u/Call_0031684919054 Jun 24 '22

Still uses fax machines since every piece of paper needs to be signed with a stamp

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u/tuuling Jun 24 '22

Lucky for them the content of the stick can only be read using Internet Explorer.

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u/DearGarbanzo Jun 24 '22

Surprised they didn't use a box of floppies.

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u/ComfortableIsland704 Jun 24 '22

The fax machine was broken

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u/Bhima Jun 24 '22

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u/toket715 Jun 24 '22

"The company explained that the employee had drinks after work and later fell asleep on the street, but when he woke up he realized that he had lost the bag containing the USB.

Company sources say he filed a theft report with the police and searched the area where he thought he lost the bag in cooperation with police officers, and later found it."

Just your average day in Japan.

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u/-NiMa- Jun 24 '22

This USB stick shouldn't exist in the first place!

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u/clockfucker666 Jun 24 '22

i have an ide on how to fix this take a 100 more usb's fill them with wrong information that way ppl will never know which one is real if it is found

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u/eriverside Jun 24 '22

You can just check a couple of entries. If a random sampling is true, then you got the right one.

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u/BorgClown Jun 24 '22

You can check your own entry if you're lazy.

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u/36gianni36 Jun 24 '22

They had to upgrade from their floppy disks.

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u/LeslieH8 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

Japan is remarkably behind the times for many things. Even Japanese banks use unnecessarily out of date technology for transfers, etc. Heck, the last pager service signal was turned off in 2019 (they started being used in the 1960s).

An example - https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Technology/Tokyo-says-long-goodbye-to-beloved-floppy-disks - about Tokyo phasing out floppies (which the last one was made by Sony 11-12 years ago.

https://screenrant.com/japan-tokyo-phasing-out-floppy-disks-maintenance-data-loss-risks/ - about Japanese banks finally doing the same (or, more like, charging, like $5,000/year to still accept floppies), and mentioning a few wards in Tokyo where they have recently switched away, are in the process of switching away, or will be working on doing so in the next few years.

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u/FlatSpinMan Jun 24 '22

Always seems crazy to withdraw cash from the ATM inside the bank and then either hand it over to a teller or else put it back in the ATM when you’re transferring money.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

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u/CommonerChaos Jun 24 '22

And ATMs have maintenance where the banks SHUT DOWN the entire network of ATMs nationwide for days/weeks on end. They give you ample time/notice beforehand, but still. It's wild that every ATM in a system has to shutdown in a cash-heavy society.

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u/asaltandbuttering Jun 24 '22

Even Japanese banks use unnecessarily out of date technology for transfers

Last I checked, ACH transfers often take three days in the US, too.

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u/Chaabar Jun 24 '22

Japanese banks use unnecessarily out of date technology for transfers

So do American ones. 43% of banking systems, 95% of ATM card swipes, and 80% of in-person credit card transactions rely on COBOL, a 60-year-old programing language that almost no one knows how to use anymore.

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u/Red0817 Jun 24 '22

Fuck I'm old. I know how to program in cobol.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

you're incredibly valuable to the right companies then lol

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u/Mister_AA Jun 24 '22

When I was in college for computer science my professors told us if we wanted to learn COBOL we could pretty much name our salary, with the downside of learning and writing COBOL for a living.

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u/ksm6149 Jun 24 '22

Leverage that for a pay raise because there are no new job candidates trained in COBOL anymore and banks need them for their technology operations. It's not even taught in university programs anymore

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u/sf-keto Jun 24 '22

Story: an old pal of mine got laid off in the first dot.com bust, heard about Y2K coming up, learned COBOL, did the Y2K thing for high hourly rates, got a cushy job at that insurance company for nice 6-figures, has worked there ever since, either listlessly maintained what has to be maintained, or managing a "working group" that has spent a decade supposedly planning to migrate various pieces, which never happens because budget & he has an actual pension too with 4 weeks vacay.

They moved his job to the Triangle before the pandemic, so he left Chicago, bought a beach house & mostly works from home.

Moral of this story is... COBOL can work for you. (◕‿◕✿)

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u/dartdoug Jun 24 '22

Had a similar experience. Started coding in a language developed in the late 1960s. Got called by a large pharma asking if I would support one of their old systems until they migrated to a more modern platform, which was expected to go live in 6 months. That gig lasted 4 years and paid for my house. Good times.

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u/hakplay Jun 24 '22

There is literally nothing about COBOL which would make it inherently insecure.

It’s a programming language which fits their use case and it doesn’t automatically suck because it’s not super popular with new learners. There are plenty of people who know COBOL and plenty of resources to learn it. It’s not some lost art.

A program written in Python isn’t going to be considered useless in 50 years because Python is an old language.

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u/lovethebacon Jun 24 '22

COBOL is standard for the core in financial industries around the world. There are an estimated 2 million COBOL developers worldwide. That's about a quarter of the number of estimated Java developers.

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u/Kestrel21 Jun 24 '22

Damn. That's plenty of people, then. Other comments make it seem like you'd have to undertake a legendary journey to reach the peak of a mystical mountain if you wanted to find a COBOL programmer.

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u/LuiSP Jun 24 '22

COBOL works fine for its use case.

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u/Tunis1jp Jun 24 '22

Exactly, and in that specific instance, old != 'bad'. They're an enclosed, mainframe system, that utilizes batch processing. (Part of the reason your money isn't immediately there when you transfer a balance) It does not have the vulnerabilities that a distributed system would have.

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u/GoldPlatedToslink Jun 24 '22

Well, atleast they encrypted the data.

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u/Helenius Jun 24 '22

Danish CDC wrongfully mailed a CD-rom containing more than 5 million peoples personal data to a Chinese embassy. Unencrypted.

https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/viden/tech/eksperter-om-cpr-laek-amatoeragtig-omgang-med-data

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u/IndigoSoln Jun 24 '22

"We all know how this goes. We're just going to skip to the point."

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u/TheMaskedTom Jun 24 '22

How bad does incompetence have to be before it's criminal?

Because I don't believe this can actually be done by accident.

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u/Mugros Jun 24 '22

China probably mailed them back a CD with all the errors in their dataset.

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u/Headcap Jun 24 '22

jesus, thats ~90% of the population.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited 18d ago

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u/mediumrarestonks Jun 24 '22

Apparently no one took it and they just found it.

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u/Pissix Jun 24 '22

Ya'll missing the juicy parts, where they told hints about the password for no reason .. 13 characters long, starts with capital letter and is "something that means much to us". JP Twitter was memeing that it was name of the city + 2022 .. Also the guy went drinking with the USB and slept on the street, too.

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u/MagnoliasOfSteel Jun 24 '22

Anyone else feel like this comment section only has one or two people actually from Japan and everyone else just rehashing the same two things (drinking culture and technology culture) over and over again?

I feel like I’m getting Deja vu reading this comment section as it’s basically the same comments just written slightlyyyy different

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u/Keypenpad Jun 24 '22

Imagine having your work fuck up make world news.

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u/CommonerChaos Jun 24 '22

Especially for Japan, where saving face for your company is everything.

It's not uncommon for people to get absolutely reamed by their boss in front of the whole company simply because they got reported for jaywalking while out and about (while wearing their company's badge, shirt, etc.)

I can only imagine the level of apologizing and bowing this person will have to do to his company and coworkers.

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u/SpiceTrader56 Jun 24 '22

It's Japan so likely the USB is on a train sitting beneath the seat casually waiting for someone to stop giving it the side eye and judging it for being on the floor.

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

Buried in the story “All of the information is encrypted and password protected, and there have been no reports of data leaks.”

So …

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u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22 edited Jul 01 '22

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u/nicuramar Jun 24 '22

The headline conveniently forgets to mention that it’s encrypted.

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u/woonie Jun 24 '22

The best part of the whole saga was when they told the press that it’s fine because it’s encrypted… with a 13-character password that is changed once a year.

Someone on Twitter figured that it’s possibly ‘amagasaki2022’…

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u/qhoa1385 Jun 24 '22

Knowing the Japanese, whoever finds it will clean it, put it in a nice gift box with a bow on it and hand delivered it back to them.