Thursday, February 15, 2007


***I have gotten a couple of technology-like questions recently, so I will attempt to answer them:
Russians aren't very big on technology. I would say that it is a very safe bet that the majority of Russians have never used a microwave.
So when it comes to computers, you can guess that there isn't a lot of experience there either.
Some students have asked whether it is worthwhile to bring a laptop to Russia. I am under the impression that the American students who have brought computers only use them for playing DVDs or music. Though, that can be nice.
I don't have a computer, and I can't say that I miss out by not having one. It really only serves entertainment purposes here.
You can buy Internet dial-up phone cards. They are cheaper than the internet cafes. The internet cafes run nearly $2.5 an hour.

. There is no wireless, anywhere.
You can buy computers/computer parts here... Though they are a great deal more expensive than what the average Russian can afford.
Entertainment in Russia is less computer/TV centered than in the US.
Russians (at least historically) were really into reading/literature... though I feel that that is being replaced by the TV.
Russians go to movies. We have two theaters in Vladimir. Movies cost about $1.5-2 for a matinee, and about $6 for evening showings. Due to the cost, movies are also not too terribly popular.
Cell phones are very popular. Everyone has a cellphone.
Cell phones also act as a status symbol. Russians spend a considerable amount of money on cell phones. In the 7 minute walk from here (the Internet cafe) to my house, I will pass atleast 6 places that sell cellphones.
All of the cellphones are imported... I would estimate that Nokia (a Finnish firm) is the most popular. The cheapest cellphones go for about $45 (that's the one I got). And calling plans seem less popular than pay-as-you-go. Beeline is the best firm in Vladimir (also the one I got).
They also charge you to call a cellphone from a house phone.
To call another cellphone is about $.28 for the first minute.... So calling is not as popular as SMS (text messaging) that cost around $.05. My cellphone (like most of them) can type in Latin letters or Cyrillic (Russian) letters.
If you are coming to Russia to study, I would suggest that it is better to buy your cellphone in Russia, than in the US. First, not all (most) US phones will not work in Russia. Secondly, having a phone that types in Russian is very important.
My phone's settings (and all Russian phones' settings) can be switched between Russian and English.
A lot of people are hesitant to give out their house numbers, so cellphones typically act as the basis of communication.
So, I hope that clarifies some of technology in Russia!

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