12 August, 2007

Moving...again!

This is my third, and hopefully final, move. Blogspot has been blocked in China for a few months now. I've been publishing (not very frequently) via Windows Live Writer. It's been good, but I have to setup an ftp account on blogger for images (can't do - blocked). On top of that, I can't respond to comments.

So, I've got a new domain - mannblogs.com. I'm using Yahoo hosting and Wordpress for my blog. I'm continuing on with manninchina, but manninchina.com will redirect to the new blog location.

So - please visit - www.mannblogs.com/manninchina

1 Million cars...where did they go?

Supposedly, Beijing is removing 1 million cars from the roads between 7 August - 20 August. I'm not surprised by this and completely believe they can and will do this (did something similar last October for the China-Africa Summit). However, I didn't notice any reduction in cars between the 7th - 10th.

Beijing has over 3 million cars on the road today...they add over 1,000 new cars to the roads each day. Why not stop adding? I know it's not that easy...but for a government who can tell 1 million people they can't drive for 2 weeks, why can't they tell potential car buys they can't buy for 1 year? Yes, this has other impacts (car sales, fuel sales, etc...), but there will be just that much more of a demand post Olympics - just start preparing for that.

Much of the city traffic, in my view, is caused by people walking and on bicycles. The "people watchers with flags" really don't do much in the way of stopping people from walking or riding through the intersections when they aren't supposed to.

08 August, 2007

Blue skies

Happy to report that the skies are blue in Beijing today - not one sign of polluted air (other than the stains on all of the buildings).

Today marks the 1 year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but it doesn't seem like there is much celebration going on. Maybe because I'm out in Shangdi, very far from the "cool area" of Beijing at work. But, even at Lenovo - I haven't seen any sign of a celebration...

07 August, 2007

The countdown begins...

Tomorrow (08/08/07) marks the 1 year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It also marks my attempt to get back to regular blogging again and put some more interesting content up to get my following back! We'll see how that goes...

Lot's of talk as to whether China is ready for the 08' Olympics or not. I can't speak to the status of any project in particular, but I can tell you the following...

  • Construction projects - seem to be moving faster & faster. It's unbelievable to see how quick they are moving on the CCTV complex and China World #3 ... both huge, huge projects. But, will all the cranes be out of sight by year's end? ... doubtful.
  • Traffic - sucks...will continue to suck until; 1) They get better driving schools in China; 2)Stop selling new cars; 3)Current drivers get better road manners (patience, for starters).
  • Food - I haven't noticed a problem, but maybe that's because I'm used to it after being here for almost a year.
  • English - taxi drivers aren't even close to being able to take foreigners around without relying heavily on written directions from the passengers (in Chinese) or maps (in Chinese)
  • Air quality - keep forcing it to rain, maybe it will wash it all a way (for a few days). I think this and food are the two biggest concerns for Olympic athletes coming to Beijing.

NY Times has a good article published today too -

"China under fire..."

My recent experience (yesterday) with the traffic situation, which is mentioned in the article, really opened my eyes to how bad these issues may be.  My commute sucks as it is (1 hour in the morning, usually 1.5 hours in the evening). Last night ... 3 hours. Why? Due to the rain. It has been raining here a lot lately, which is very unusual for Beijing. Usually, the rain is "forced" (they seed the clouds with sulfur rockets). Why is this done? People believe mainly to clean up the air when there are important visitors in town. I'm taking a guess that this is why it's been raining so much the last week.

Well, a lot of rain causes problems...flooding. Was this not expected? Last night, 2 days before the 1 year mark, this flooding wreaked havoc on the city (and caused my shoes to be caked in mud). I hope tomorrow (8/8) proves to be a clear and traffic free day! 

09 July, 2007

25 June, 2007

Back in Beijing & can access flickr!

I arrived back in Beijing yesterday afternoon...feels great to be back. I never thought I would call China home, but I do...for now.

I previously reported that flickr was blocked in China. It may have been last week, but can access it now. This is the good news. The bad news is, the pages (and images) in flickr are not loading completely. Pages with photos will load, but the actual photo won't appear. The status bar at the bottom of the page says "done" ... hmm. This may just be a network glitch now, but likely has something to do with the great fire wall.

So, I think I got my hopes up. Sucks to not be able to view images, but at least I can load up my images for those outside of China to view. The saga continues...

20 June, 2007

This is getting old, really old...

Users rage against China's 'Great Firewall'


It seems that since I left Beijing last week for India, flickr.com is the latest casualty of the Great Firewall. It's starting to eat at me. Blogger blocked again and now flickr, where I have all of my photos (OK, not all, since I've been slacking).

I understand why the blocking happens (understand = know the reasons...not agree with), but I'm fed up. What can I do? Find work-arounds. I'm moving back into yahoo hosting for my blogs (have confirmed that it is accessible in China...as of now). As for flickr...not sure yet. I guess I'll just host my pictures on yahoo via my hosting account.

This sucks.

19 June, 2007

Biodome II anyone?

Space pioneers wanted for 520-day Mars experiment


This reminds me of the movie "Biodome." Don't think Pauly Shore is going to make the cut for this one though. Odds of this being turned into a reality TV show? I would say not good, but they should definitely consider it. I can't imagine the doors not being opened before 520 days.