Monthly Archives: April 2004

Get India Visa in China

After I setup this site, I am often mistakenly regarded as Mr. Know-Everything… I am surely not. I only took the advantage of knowing both Chinese/English languages. :-D

XHJ asked me about how to get India visa for Chinese citizen. I didn’t know that before, but I saw this information may help XHJ to get married with the girl he loves. I read some Chinese website and got the following information:

Visa Type: Business Visa

Valid period: 2 months

Max days to stay: 30 days

Requirement: All passport visa holder

Materials needed: two 2′ photos, photocopy of national ID (both side), passport valid for 9 months.

Source: http://www.china.org.cn/chinese/TR-c/215864.htm

More information on India Visa:

U.S. Paused All Visa Application in China

My friend is in bad mood these days. His visa application to U.S. was rejected so he cannot attend TechEd 2004 in San Diego. This is the second time he missed the chance due to Visa problems.

Visa is one of the biggest barriers for people to go out of the country. I heard it is due to SARS, but it is not confirmed. There is no report on this on major international media, but many of them reported “Illegal US visa call centre closed“.

Maybe due to security concerns, the United States Consulate in Shanghai has replaced the tall gate with tall walls at the interaction of Huai Hai Rd. and Wulumuqi Rd. Now there is only a small gate at Wulumuqi Rd. now.

Sony Ericsson GC75 in Shanghai

Eric kindly lent me his Sony Ericsson GC75 GPRS Wireless Modem.

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Image in courtesy of Sony Ericsson

With this card and my GPRS enabled China Mobile SIM card, I can access Internet at any time. Here is the driver (download from jbhg.com.cn). It has pre-entered all the information needed to connect to China Mobile network.

After downloading, simply open the GC75 Manager and I am connected to the next work in few minutes. Now, I can update my blog from home. It is great!

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Screen short of GC75 Manager

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Speed is good

Hehe. Wireless + Pudong is a great combination.

Dan is Going to Travel Across China

Check this article: Traveling Across China: Need Your Help!. I am excited about Dan Washburn’s plan to travel across China. Dan is my friend I never met. We planned the Kanas trip last year via phone and email, but never met up. My wife and I didn’t go there at last, but Dan managed to go with my other friends, Eric and Simon.

His Plan

His plan to travel across China is so exciting. This is quoted from his plan:

To me, the most interesting stories are found far away from what is considered “famous,” far away from tour busses and tourist sites marked by colorful flags. I want to see the China not often seen … so my readers can see it, too.

There’s a good chance that I might be making this trip alone – and my Chinese language skills are just a little bit better than bu hao. So, wherever I go, it would be great to have a guide or a translator or just someone to have a beer with. Interested? Actually, if you are fluent in Chinese and English, have a sense of adventure – and have some time to kill this summer – maybe you could tag along for part of the trip. And if you happen to be an unemployed documentary filmmaker, all the better. (But you’d need to be able to pay your own way … otherwise, I’ll probably be broke by Beijing).

Help Dan

Since I know my blog has large number of reader in many different places in China, and they know both English and Chinese, I’d like to ask help for Dan. Please visit Dan’s plan and give him suggestions. If Dan happens to be in your city, just invite him for a cup of tea if you have time. That must be valuable memory for both you and Dan.

P.S. This is his plan on his Shanghai Diary.

SARS is Back in China

According to news report, more and more new SARS cases are discovered these days. 4 patients were discovered around the previous SARS patient found in Beijing.

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Image credit: Sina.com.cn

Shanghai

In Shanghai, every protection measures started automatically. The building I am working at start to post the daily disinfected report in all the elevators.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Metro City in Shanghai

Since I don’t take taxi any more, I don’t know what is happening on taxis. Anyway, people here are quite skillful to handle SARS and I am not worried at all.

Sunset at Pudong

In my First Week in Pudong report, I wrote:

After I moved to Pudong, I can see the sun set again. I can see the redish clouds on the west before the sunset. There is a long preriod of time from sunset to completely dark. This recalls the life in my home town in Luoyang. This is so common in most places in the world, but not in downtown in Puxi. It seemed to me that in Puxi, when the Sun sets, it becomes dark very soon. There is no colorful clouds after the sunset. I suspect it may because of the high buildings that blocked the view and the reflection of the remaining sunlight after sunset.

I didn’t find a chance to take the red-clouds yet, but here is a picture I took when I drove back home (I took it at a long red light, not during driving.)

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© Jian Shuo Wang

This is what I called “a long preriod of time from sunset to completely dark”.

P.S. Since I don’t have Internet access at my current temp home, this article is created offline and uploaded in a batch when I can access Internet.

Public Market in Beicai

I hope my reader don’t mind too much for irregular update these days. There are some short pause during the updates (two days at most). It is because there is no Internet access in my current rented houes. So I will create the blog offline – using Notepad – and store it. When I can access my site, I will upload them in batch, so it is still at least one post everyday.

Today, I am in very good mood. I wandered in the public market with my camera in Becai, Pudong, Shanghai. Here are some interesting pictures.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

Maglev at Long Yang Station

Curious about the other end of the Maglev, after seeing the pictures at Pudong Airport? Here you are:

The building with curve roof is the Maglev station. The white building behind is the station of Shanghai Metro Line #2. So you can take Metro directly after you get off the Maglev train.

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© Jian Shuo Wang.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

Pudong Party Institute

I don’t know how to translate 中国上海浦东干部学院 to English. Maybe the Pudong Party Institute is the wrong translation, but I didn’t find any English name for it at Google. It is almost completed. It is just about 10 minutes walk from my new apartment in Pudong.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

Experiencing Maglev Shanghai

Thanks to Spanky, who posted the following comment under my article: Maglev – A Failure?. I found the information very valuable and quoted the comment in this seperate post. Of cause all credit goes to Spanky.


I’ve just returned from a 3-days’ trip in Shanghai. As I had heard so much about the Maglev when I was living in this city one year ago, I decided to hop onto one for my transfer from Pudong to town. Following is a brief summary of my encounter:

1330 Hr: Pudong Airport Arrival Hall (1st Floor)

1335 Hr: Found the Maglev schedule on the 3rd Floor – next train @ 1350 Hr

1340 Hr: Bought ticket for the ride (¥50/way on economy class or ¥40 for passenger with air ticket of the same day) and board the train

1345 Hr: Maglev took off from Pudong, 5 minutes before scheduled time

1351 Hr: Arrived at Longyang Station

1400 Hr: Got into a taxi at the fourth attempt. (The previous three drivers claimed that they didn’t know where Tomorrow Square is. One of them even claimed ignorant of People’s Square when I told him that the destination is close to it!)

1430 Hr: Arrived at JW Marriott at Tomorrow Square

This new mode of traveling (Maglev + taxi) reduces the amount of time on the road and costs for transfer from Pudong airport to the hotel in Puxi. My total transfer costs came up to ¥80 (¥40 for Maglev + ¥40 for taxi). However, it will cost more than taxi fare (¥120-150) if there are three or more passengers traveling together. There won’t be much time saving if the passenger misses the connecting Maglev and has to wait about 15-20 minutes for the next one.

I must say that this mode of traveling is also not suitable for passengers with more than a carry-on luggage. This is because there are about five flights of escalators and some walking involved (no trolley available at the tunnel connecting airport to Maglev station and Longyang station).

The Maglev currently runs between Longyang and Pudong from 8.30 am through 5.30 pm at every 20 minutes interval. There are racks above the seats and between cabins for luggage. I do not think it’s necessary to pay twice as much to travel on first class as it is a very short ride and there are few users now (more Maglev tourists than transfer passengers).

I agree that an official website should be set up fast to create more awareness among travelers and encourage higher usage. Some advertisements at the airport will certainly attract arriving passengers to use the service. The overall experience was good and I will still ride on Maglev the next time I go to Shanghai.

Posted by: Spanky on April 20, 2004 11:07 PM


End of quote.

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Maglev – A Failure?

Although the Maglev connecting Pudong Airport and Long Yang Road Station attracted much attention, more and more factors show that it is a failed project.

Very Little Traffic

According to this article: Shanghai cuts maglev train ticket prices, “the 440-seat trains carried an average of just 73 passengers per day last month.”

Are you kidding? 73 passengers per day last month? The $1.2 billion train just carry 73 persons per day. That means, there is, the Maglev get 5475 RMB or 670 USD per day as revenue. Even if there is no maintenance cost, the electricity is free and all the staff don’t ask for salary, the whole project is expected to withdraw all the investment in 5,000 years. :-D

Maglev website

It seems I still have to help promote the service via this website better than before. There is no official website for Maglev yet. If you search for “Maglev Shanghai” in Google, my article returns as the first entry in the result. I hope there is an official website that by pass mine and become the first, so they may double the passenger numbers so there is only 2500 years to break-even day for Maglev.

Updated: According to Alexandre, it was a mistake in news. It should be 73 persons/trip.

BlogCon without Wifi

Isaac noted BlogCon Shanghai Meetup. From the post, I got to know there are some problems with the BlogCon’s Wifi AP so Shanghai cannot see the real time broadcast. I am not sure whether it was a problem with the Wifi at Shanghai site or the Harvard site.

I planned to go there but I had to be in B&Q (the building material market) at the same time yesterday, busy working on the colors of the walls in the new house. So I missed it. I hope I can get a chance to meet those bloggers in Shanghai.

Migrating Scripts

This post is the insider information about the scripts used in this website. It is recorded for my future reference and may serve as inspiring tips for others running the same site.

Content of my old /scripts/ folder

[ads] – personal advertisement server so I can serve advertisement in the Featured section of my previous design. I decided not to use this for my new site since Google’s AdSense is a good one. It provides the functionality of Alternative Ad when a google Ad cannot be served. I can point it to my AD page to serve my own ad. Done

[air] – this part was written in ASP to serve China Domestic Flight information. I am planning to migrate it, by the end of April.

[bbs] – this is a BBS for my high school classmates. There is no link on any page of this site but my classmates. It is written in ASP so I have to leave it on the old server. I am redirecting all pages to the old server on CompanyCN. Done

[bill] – Ops. What is this? An empty folder. I forgot why I created it.Done

[commentsubscribe] – Oh. This is great feature for people to subscribe to comment thread. I am going to migrate it this month, so the subscribe this comment thread function will start to work after I put the check box on each page for so long time.

Updated April 20, 2004

Since the CommentSubscribe function has been migrated from PHP to CGI, I installed the CGI version this time. It is good news for me.

[google] – I tired to put all Google AD script code into a JavaScript file in this folder, but it didn’t seem to work. After migrating to SQL database, rebuild is fast so I won’t hesitate to rebuild the whole site now. I don’t need it.

[Hello] – folder for me to test new scripts such as “hello world”.

[links] – This was very important scripts for me to build the Yahoo!-like directory. It stopped working on iPowerWeb host. I am working hard to find out the reason.

[mailer] – Attempted to use this Mailer to send email, but failed. After changing server, sending email is very easy. So I don’t need it.

[mangle] – Mangle is the code name for the China Domestic Flight information project. It is changed to “air” folder so it is no longer useful.

[map] – Wow. This is an important application. The map view of Shanghai map. It attracted half of the visit before. It was written in ASP and I have re-write it in Perl.

[MTcn] – This is another MovableType installation to host pages for Wendy. She used this copy to maintain her blog.

[photo] – I used ImageMagick to create thumb view of all pictures on my computer. Since the new server does not support ImageMagick, I cannot use it any longer. Maybe I can create offline and upload the results.

[php] – Something like Hello, a place for me to learn PHP.

[pmwiki] – an installation of PMWiki. Not sure if I can still install it onto the new server.

[point] – another alias for the air.

[postcard] – scripts to send post card from this server. It is simple but useful. I will try to install it.

[proxy] – Scripts to try proxy.

[sendtofriends] – send a page to friend. Now MovableType support it.

[sms] – Scripts to send SMS to me via website.

[thanksforcomment] – a slash screen to show the big “Thank you for your comment” logo. You may have some impression of it if you follow this blog long enough. I don’t use it now.

[today] – Post on the same day of last year. Retired.

[usemod] – another Wiki engine. Retired.

[wap] – Use my WAP-enabled mobile to see comments on this site.

[webcam] – scripts to dynamically find out the source IP of my webcam. Retired after I found VICP.NET.

[wiki] – the OpenWiki engine.

Drive-Ins in China

Paul pointed me to this interesting article:

Drive-Ins the Hot, ‘New’ Thing in China

It is so interesting to me, as a new car owner. I admire that the drive-ins are already available in Beijing, but not in Shanghai yet.

Re: Movie

Every time I look back, I am surprised by the high speed of the change in life in China. When I was in my teenager, as described in the article, I did carry my small bench to a large football field to see movies. Workers will dig holes on the ground and setup tall poles, then hang the big screen in between. They have to pull ropes to fix the poles and the screen. The operator will sit besides the old fashioned movie player (very noisy) and show the whole audience (all on the football field with small benches). That was just 15 years ago and now, people still see the movie on the field, but in cars.

“You could say that we Chinese have gone from sitting on a rock to sitting in a car.”, according to Mr. Wang in the article. LOL.

Re: Car

There are definitely more cars in Beijing than in Shanghai, due to the wider road, larger area of the city, and cheap plate fee (around 200RMB). Shanghai has much larger population but smaller areas. A car plate has been 44200 RMB or more, according to the result of yesterday’s bidding, a 1200 RMB rise than last month.

Thanks, Paul, for pointing me to this interesting report. Can anyone tell me why there are fewer driver-ins in U.S?

One Month for My Goudaner (Car)

The same day in the last month, I drove my first car home. I named it Goudaner. Today is its one month birthday. The odometer on the car goes to around 1600 KM already and I used about 3.5 cans of gasoline (140L). It is about 8L/100KM gasoline consumption. It is not bad in the traffic conditions in Shanghai.

In the last month, I was very happy with the car. The only thing is, I didn’t find much time to take care of it. I hate rain in Shanghai. After it rains, the car is covered with dirt and I have to wash it. Maybe it is due to the heavy construction in Shanghai.

This morning, for the first time, the right side of the car was scraped by the wall when I tried to pull the car into the parking lot. I was heart-broken about it. It is not a big matter and can be easily repaired. The dealer promised me to replace the front protection bar for me free of charge. What a coincidence. I have to be more careful to drive it in the future. :-(

Canon WebView Camera VB-C10

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© Canon.com

I returned from the Canon Expo Asia 2004 in the Super Brand Mall in Pudong, near the Pearl Tower.

The most interesting thing in the expo is the WebView Internet Camera. It is simple – just a camera with a 15V DC electricity power line AND a network cable. Plug it into any working network port and people can control the camera to move left/right/up/down and zoom in and out. There are some very interesting demos at their website. This is exactly what I was looking for and what I have tried to create one by myself. However, it is not available in the market in China and it is far to expensive for tech funs and home users. According to the staff in the expo, it is sold at around 100,000 10000 RMB in Japan now.

Working Vertically

There is a huge construction project in Shanghai with goals to add a roof to the old residential buildings. It is called 平改坡 (or roof to slope) project.

In the 1980s, a certain type of residential buildings were built widely all around China. Below is the picture of this type of houses in Changsha in central China. These houses don’t have a sloping roof and look bad.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Ugly houses in Changsha

Unfortunately, most of the houses built in 1980s and early 1990s are the same, which were called matchbox houses.

The good news is, Shanghai government has working very hard to remodel the houses by adding a roofs to them. Below is a picture I took from the top of the Metro Tower. The red roofs of the houses were added in the recent two years.

© Jian Shuo Wang. Houses with roofs in Xujiahui

Working Vertically

Below are the scene of the construction of adding the roof. The house was surrounded by the temp frames so workers can pain the house and add the roof. I took some pictures of the interesting scene. Many works line up vertically along the wall of the house and transfer building materials from top of the house down to the ground, hand by hand.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Workers line up vertically to transfer the building materials down to ground

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© Jian Shuo Wang.

It was so funny.