Monthly Archives: November 2008

I Love JSON

I am deep in my heart a technical person. Although I am thrown into the business world, from time to time, I get back to the technical world to play for a while, and then get back to normal life. To me, it is just like a fever – the passionate fever that will fade out anyway, but when it comes, I am so interested in the topics.

Playing with Solr – the open source search engine on Saturday, I am again interested in a wonderful simple technology called JSON. I realized almost all the Google API, and open source API are now supporting JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). I even created a page that helps me to view the JSON object easier:

JSON Reader

If you are also pretty technical, you will love JSON a lot.

Pudong Airport to JW Marriott

Who gets my help today?

This is my first time travelling in Shanghai. I wanted to know how we can go to JW Marriott Tomorrow Square at Nanjing West Road.

Will it be possible for me to take the Maglev Train to theJW Marriott hotel in Nanjing West Road.

The answer is Yes, you can take Maglev to JW Marriott Tomorrow Square Hotel.

Below is the overview map. You can use the + and – sign to zoom in or out to see details of the map.


Larger Map

Here is the route:

1. Take Maglev at Pudong Airport (here is how).

2. Transit to Metro Line #2 at Long Yang Road Station (here is how)

3. Get off the train at People’s Square Station. You’d better take the Nang West Road Exit.

4. The hotel is immediately at the exit. It is located somewhere in the middle of Nanjing West Road Station, and People’s Square Station of Metro Line #2. You may need to walk about 10 minutes to get to the hotel. However, you can see the hotel immediately when you leave the station – because it is now the tallest building in Puxi area in Shanghai.

If you take taxi, it should be around 140 RMB.

Happy Travelling!

P.S. I am going to visit the JW Marriott Hong Kong tomorrow. When I travels at eBay’s cost center, I stay at this hotel, but now I don’t.

Still Many People Go Abroad

I went to the Shanghai Entrance and Exit Administration Bureau today to have my Hong Kong visa renewed. Here is what I saw:

This was a cold, sunny, and clear Saturday morning. I didn’t expect so many people waiting in line to get a passport or visa. The line of people winds and finally leads to a photo service – they were waiting for their photo taken.

As I observed, the line moved very slowly.

Heading to Hong Kong

I am visiting Hong Kong for two nights to attend the Red Herring Asia summit. Baixing.com was nominated as Red Herring Award, but not sure whether we can enter the finalist list. Let’s just wait and see. There are many uncertainty ahead for any rewards like this. Anyway, the most important award is from the market, not from any organization.

I hate to have to get a visa to visit Hong Kong. It does not make too much sense for a Chinese citizen to get a Visa-like document to visit another part of the country. It is even more frustrating that sometimes it takes longer than a Visa for many countries.

I went there, and was told that if I submit the documents on Saturday, I get the visa on Friday. If I come here on Monday, I get it immediately. So I will had the documents sent and received on Monday.

My Friend Blogroll

Look at this magic code. I just added this piece of code to my home page, and meanwhile, I keep a Google Spreadsheet here. At any time, I add a friend into the speadsheet, the link on my homepage gets updated immediately. You can also help yourself to add you into the list by filling in a form. After I confirm, it will be published.

<dl id=friend><dt>Friends</dt></dl>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

function listEntries(json) {

for (var i = 0; i < json.feed.entry.length; i++) {

var dd = document.createElement(“dd”);

var link = document.createElement(“a”);

link.href= json.feed.entry[i].gsx$url.$t;

link.appendChild(document.createTextNode(json.feed.entry[i].gsx$name.$t));

link.title = json.feed.entry[i].content.$t;

dd.appendChild(link);

document.getElementById(‘friend’).appendChild(dd);

}

}

</script>

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://spreadsheets.google.com/feeds/list/pSOl_srkuwZXvH3XSagMAdA/default/public/values?alt=json-in-script&callback=listEntries”></script>

I have to say, Google Spreadsheet, and Google Docs is far beyond our imagination. I also found out that I can still write code fluently.

Below is my current friend roll:

Friends

Note: Above shows both pending and confirmed links, and the links on homepage only shows approved links.

Joined WWW2009 Programme Committee

Invited by Cong Yu, I am not a PC (Programme Committee) member of World Wide Web Conference 2009.

Obviously, I am a big fan of the Internet (World Wide Web). It has been part of my life since 1996. I thought about a lot of (not-so-great) ideas about Internet, and am still in this industry.

WWW Conference, as a key event for the WWW society has been well-known. Below is from the WWW2009 website:

On the 20th Anniversary of the Web, Welcome to the 18th International World Wide Web Conference.

The International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee (IW3C2), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and Madrid municipality cordially invite you to participate in the 18th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2009) to be held in Madrid, the charming and cosmopolitan Spain´s capital.

The World Wide Web Conference is the global event that brings together key researchers, innovators, decision-makers, technologists, businesses, and standards bodies working to shape the Web.

Organized by IW3C2 since 1994, the WWW conference is the annual opportunity for the International community to discuss and debate the evolution of the Web. The conference will feature a range of presentations on world-class research, as well as stimulating talks, workshops, tutorials, panels, and late-breaking posters.

WWW2009 seeks original papers describing research in all areas of the Web covering the implications of ubiquitous access to the Web through the “three screens” – computer, phone, and TV – and how such Web access will change the way we live, work, and interact in the future. Accepted refereed papers will appear in the conference proceedings published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Topics of discussion will include Browsers and User Interfaces, Data Mining, Industrial Practice and Experience, Internet Monetization, Mobility, Performance and Scalability, Rich Media, Search, Security and Privacy, Semantic / Data Web, Social Networks and Web 2.0, Web Engineering, XML and Web Data. The conference will also feature plenary speeches by renowned speakers, and tracks devoted to developers and to recent W3C activities that are of interest to the community

I will be on the Deverloper Track Committee. Interestingly enough, this is the first time I participate in a real international event. Previous events are pretty related to China, and United States only.

I will be involved in reviewing the submitted paper. I MAY think about going to Madrid, if I am not extremely busy next April.

Happy Thanksgivings

I never really understand the origin of Thanksgivings, and don’t know what people should do on this day. Meanwhile, at the back end of my mind, I still hesitate a bit to talk about this “western holiday“, confused about the terms of “westernization”, or globalization. To do something without a tradition just because of seeing it on TV, or movie sounds silly, just like people celebrating V-Day without know how to spell it. That is the starting point of my thoughts of Thanksgiving day. P.S. I even don’t know exactly what day is Thanksgivings if Judy hasn’t had written me a note saying: “BTW, today, our dinner is on Thanksgivings Day”.

So, in short, I don’t celebrate Thanksgivings day (no offense to people who think the day is so important. Just keep in mind, that in China, there is no such a holiday).

However, I do want to take the chance to thank a lot of people (as the name of the day implies). It is them who made my life so meaningful and happy. I want to thank many many people. What a hard task to do! The list is so long, that I can hardly put it into this article.

The Death of A Citizen

Yesterday, when I was boarding my flight back to Shanghai, I browsed my Google Reader on my mobile phone, and heard the news that the young man killing 6 policemen was already executed. What a shock news. I feel deep sorrow for him, and feel even more hopeless about the justice of the country.

My friends outside China felt strange to know that I pay sympathy to a man who killed many policemen. It is even more wired that many of my friends feel the same. What’s wrong?

It reminded me of a case described in The Tipping Point. The story was about a man riding subway were approached by some bad guys, and he immediately shoot all of them to death. In a normal situation, what is right and what is wrong is obvious, but in New York at that time, when crime rate is so high, that people got robbed, killed, stolen in the subway, they feel so hopeless, and the man became a hero in many people’s heart, just as a Robinhood. If sense of justice and security was reinforced, the society becomes “normal”.

It is the same case in China. When the young man was mistreated by policemen, and he tried everything to seek for justice, and the current society doesn’t give any justice. Feeling hopeless and angry, Yang takes a step that people don’t take in most normal society – using violence to solve the problem. From what I read, and some people I talked with, there is a Yang in themselves, and the only difference is, they are not angry enough or “brave” enough to take their knives yet. That is why the whole story is so sad.

I am not saying Yang should not be punished, but punish without restore of justice encourages more cases like this. There was a golden opportunity to restore the justice Yang was seeking for before he dies, but the situation turned out to be, we are much far away from justice by even more violently protecting the bad guys. Now, Yang is dead. Even though there is no bad guys as Yang claimed, there is no chance for the rest of us to know, and that is a pity in the history of this nation.

I believe this case will remain in history for a long time, when people look back and study the abnormal society we ever lived in. We cannot really understand what an event means only after few years. I believe this is such an important event. It happens yesterday.

In Beijing Airport, Back to Shanghai

I am at gate 31 of Beijing Airport, heading to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai. The two day Beijing trip was full of fun and inspiration. Among my trip, talk with Kooxoo.com founder Chen Hua, and talk in Baidu were highlight.

When I left Beijing, I just feel if you ask me about the landscape of cities in China, and in US, I would even say the current Beijing is more westernized (or modernized).

Ops. Blured

Look at these buildings:

This is the area where Sina, Baidu‘s headquarters are located. Qunar is also here.

I am at the Gate 31 of T3 of Beijing Airport. This is what is before me now:

As any airport, advertisement is everywhere.

Byebye Beijing. I will be back soon.

P.S. I always wanted to get a Beijing Public Transportaiton Card when I arrive in Beijing and take metro. I feel I am more closer to this city when I have a transportation card – I believe the next time, I will definitely get one.

A Well Planned Trip to Huangshan?

Got another reader email. Here you go (after removing names and other private information)

Dear Jianshuo,

Pardon me for taking the liberty to write to you direct but my googling/research for my family’s trip keeps finding itself to your blog! I wonder if you would be so kind to give me some assistance?

I’m planning a trip with my husband and 3yr-old son. My husband doesn’t speak mandarin so the main job of research lies with me. We are planning to arrive in Shanghai on the 26th Dec and somehow make our way to Suzhou then Hangzhou then Huangshan. I would like to know what is the best way to travel from place to place that would be cheapest and safest with consideration of travelling with a toddler.

My husband took a look at the map and found that the distance was drivable but foreigners can’t drive in China! What a shame!

I was hoping to maybe travel by boat at some point if possible. But I find myself landing in some US websites that charge exorbitant rates in US dollars rather than RMB.

Ideally, we just make our way around, as we go along, in a romantic laid back manner but with a little boy, I really need everything to be booked up in advance.

Could you please help? I really apologise for being so bold but the tips I’ve learned on your blog have been so good!

I’d like to answer it on this blog, since Shanghai – Suzhou – Huangshan trip is so popular route for people visiting Shanghai. Let me start with planning philosophy.

Well Planned China Trip?

The idea to plan everything well, and book everything well in China is still not an easy job to do.

No matter how advanced the hardware is in China, don’t forget that China just stepped back to the track of development and opening up just 30 years ago. The software of te country (like booking, and business ethics) still need some time to recover to what is before the Culture Revolution.

It is pretty hard to book things. You have to be open and ready to handle “not booked” travel. Train ticket for example, is not easy to book online in advance. You have to go with a travel agent who can help you do it, not directly from the Railway Company – which is state owned.

Best Way to Travel is Train

The best way to travel between Shangai – Suzhou, and Huangshan is by train. It is especially so for Suzhou to Huangshan trip.

However, since you have a 3 year old, and Shangai and Suzhou is not far away – just one hour drive, I would suggest you to hire a car. You can either call a taxi from taxi company (like Dazhong) or hire a private car. You can look at my taxi category for more information about how to book, and which number to call. The alternative is to go to my classified site:

http://shanghai.baixing.com/gerenzuche/

There are many people offering one day rental at pretty good price. It is a Chinese site though. (Disclaimer: I am CEO of the company, Baixing.com. I have pretty good confidence in the car listing, because all the drivers either have government issued license, or deposit 1000 RMB for service quality guarantee to customers).

A car will make your trip to Suzhou very comfortable, especially when you have a kid with you.

To Huangshan? Car travel is not as safe and comfortable as train, and I suggest you to take train. Check out my train category.

Boat? Maybe Not on This Route

I don’t see there is any chance that you can take boat on this route. Just train and car.

Good luck to your trip. I have a son of 1 and half year old, and I do feel the happiness to travel with the little kid. Would love to hear how your trip is going on…

In Beijing, Again

I am in Beijing. Sometimes I feel like a clock – swinging between Beijing and Shanghai.

At Hong Qiao Airport, I found things changes quietly, but dramatically. Once a while that you do not visit the airport, you will find many surprises.

Taxi Lanes

The taxi lanes for picking up passengers at Hong Qiao Airport finally increased to 8 lanes, with 2 lanes coming from the parking lot to the pick up area. It is said that it decreased average waiting time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. Good move.

Book Stores

In Hong Qiao airport, there are many Virgin bookstores – yes, exactly the logo of Virgin airlines. The books? Still the same as most bookstores. I saw Jack Ma speaking on the TV – a promotion to a DVD series featuring Jack Ma.

On Flight

I slept a little bit on the flight – feel good. Now I easily fall asleep. It is good to have a snap on my 27A seat.

I am in Beijing, and hi from Beijing.

Beautiful Thoughts with Beautiful Scene

Hello. Shanghai is so beautiful in early Winter. I don’t like very cold winter, or very hot summer. The feeling is so deeply left in my impression of the city, especially when you get into your car in winter – cooold, and in summer – hoooott.

But if you have to ask me Winter or Summer, which do you love better in Shanghai? I still may say, I love Winter better, at least Shanghai is relatively more elegent, more decent in winter.

Look at this picture I took inside the gate of the Shanghai Jiaotong University. See the leaves? See the trees? The color? The sunshine?

Photo by Jian Shuo Wang, uploaded from Nokia N78 via Shozu

A Break?

I am thinking about a break during my crazy days. In my current terms, a break means maybe two hours that I can sit under the sunshine inside a warm room with big glasses, and feel the warms of the Sun. It is so nice to be living in this lovely city, with a wife who I really appreciate, and a cute small boy just started to learn to walk (did I told you that Ayi told me that Yifan started to learn a very compliciated sentence “Don’t talk” 不要说话, after he was only able to say baba, and mama for many months?)

Friends

Didn’t have the weekend gathering of my friends for a long time – few years? Work and Yifan took most of the time. Sometimes, I just glance at friends’ blog, and know they are travelling or changing job (not too much in recent months before the financial winter comes). I am fine with the current status. People change a lot when they get a baby (something attractive to him/her suddenly become not attractive any more, just like meat to a monk…)

The winter is beautiful. and my thoughts also become beautiful…

Yifan is Growing Up

Wendy and I felt the urgency to spend more time with Yifan these days. Yifan is growing up so quickly. Before we ever realized, Yifan started to walk, to talk (a little bit), and understand almost everything you say.

Yifan Walks

When was Yifan still not able to walk? He used to crawl from a room to another carefully, but not so quickly. For a day, all of a sudden, he stand up and started to walk by himself. Where I was at that time? I remember I am in my US trip at that time. I just thought: “What? How does it mean that the little boy can get to anywhere he wants (in the house) without my help?” Maybe the next question is, when the boy can go very very far away for work without even letting me know…

Yifan Talks

Yifan’s favorite word is “mama”, and “baba”. He looks like you and say “baba”, and “mama” so loudly, as if he wants everyone including neighbors to hear. He points to many things, like dustbin, street lights, and cats – anything he recognized and invites me to checkout the same thing. He feels very happy when I tell him the name of the objects.

Yifan Knows Many Things

Most of the things that you don’t expect him to understand, he understand. Now we can talk with him pretty similiar to talk with an adult.

One word he masters is “Hao” (means OK). With this word, suddenly it becomes a two way communication. He don’t know how to say “Bu Hao”, (No) yet, but that is good enough.

We ask him: “Let’s go to shopping mall, OK?” He says: “Hao”.

We ask: “Let’s buy a small yellow duck for you, OK?” He says: “Hao”.

We ask: “Let me put yourself in the shopping mall, and we go back home for dinner, OK?” He don’t know how to say “No”, but he knows he won’t say “Hao”. If he does not say “Hao”, that means no.

We are master of paraphrasing now. We just tried to turn almost everything into a yes or no question, and many of them, Yifan can understand.

Photo by Wendy Fan, in Xishan of Suzhou

More Time with Yifan? I Promise

I promise that I will grasp every minute with Yifan that I can spend. Most of the times, it may not always interesting, but happiness between a father and son happens during those “little moment”, and small things. A gesture, and a laughter will last for a long time in memory. I need to spend more time with Yifan, to watch him grow up, to watch him learn new things, and take care of him better. Yifan is such a adorable boy, and I need to be with him.

Summary of First Half of November

Since Oct, we are working six days a week, and after about one month. The result is wonderful. We finally reached breakeven point. This is not my first breakeven I have experienced, but it is such an important milestone, especially in this winter. I am happy that the team will feel very warm in the cold days ahead.

Personally, I didn’t have too much time on this blog. It is understandable, isn’t it? I don’t have too much touch with the city – I just feel I started a business trip in Shanghai. I mean I get disconnected from the city, and don’t feel that I am a citizen in this city.

I am still taking bus to work in the morning. I am taking taxi, or drive car back home.

The physical winter is also coming to Shanghai. The leaf of trees flys out of the tree, and you can see the streets of Shanghai are covered by yellow leaf. You know the winter is coming.

Yifan is doing great. He is now a cute boy, who can understand almost everything you say. I just regret that I don’t have enough time to spend with him. Many times, when I go back home, he is already asleep. Sweet sleep.

Life is a story. Everyone has different way to tell. Some times, when I read my friends’ blog, like Eric, Swing, Elfe… They are enjoying their travel, their hobby, and relaxed life. It is just different… I am happy that in my last 6 years of blogging, I have enough diversity in the life style I had experienced.

The best is yet to come…

CnBloggerCon in Guangzhou

This time, the China Blogger Conference is held in Guangzhou. Unlike the previous few conferences, i didn’t participate. One reason is Guangzhou is a little bit too far for me to get there, and to put it into my business schedule (especially weekends), the other reason is, it is not as attractive as it appeared to be.

The two factor combined, I am not going. Hope bloggers there have a nice party there.

Mayfair (Paris Spring) is on Sale

Mayfair is a brand-shopping mall in Shanghai. With it first store at Xiangyang Road, and Huaihai Road, it started to open many stores in Shanghai these years, after the first store opened 10 years ago.

It is on sale today – only one day – on a Friday.

Most things are 50% off.

It is like crazy. I went there with Wendy, and took some pictures.

I went to BreakTalk and want to get some bread for dinner, only saw this:

All bread was gone.

There are people mountain and people sea… and everyone lines up at cashier’s counter for payment.

Guess what they are doing?

They were waiting for buy shoes. The shoes are not cheap – 100 USD or more for men’s shoes.

It is said in US, many shopping malls are on sale, but still not many consumer buy. In Shanghai, the economy is surposed to go down, and the consumer power is still there, especially at big sales like today.

P.S. The traffic is completely a mass, and all the roads 3 km around the shopping mall were fully jammed.

Quintet Shanghai is Nice

My friend Fay opens a five room hotel on Changle Road!

Fay is the Fay of Fay’s Rooman apartment sharing service in Shanghai. She shifted focus from apartment sharing to own a real bed & breakfast hotel at the heart of Shanghai. I visited their hotel, and feel the need to write about it. Before I talk about this special hotel, you can check out their website: http://www.quintet-shanghai.com/.

Fay

Fay is from Taiwan. We worked closely together before, and then she quitted her great Fortune 500 job, and pursut her dream. She started with sharing her aparmtent with backpackers, and then managed few friend’s property, and that is where the Fay’s Room come from.

Quintet Shanghai Hotel

I visited the hotel on a Wednesday night. The hotel is located in a lane house that was built in the old 1930s – 1940s.


View Larger Map

That is the area of what I called “The True Shanghai”. The areas along the Huashan Road is the heart of Shanghai, in my oppinion. It is the area I will pick my home if that is possible. The hotel is rented from a lady who own the house before the Communist China was setup. In the house, you feel what a middle-class’ life look like, before the “New China”.

The Room

When I visited the hotel, all the five rooms were booked, and there are guests living in it. One of the guest agreed to let me see the room, and that room looks like below:

Photograph provided by Fay

I didn’t take picture in courtesy of the guest, but the room looks exatly like shown on the picture.

They have a nice exclusive restroom with the room.

They have other 4 nice rooms, but I wasn’t able to see. Hope I can visit and stay in one of the rooms later.

Photograph provided by Fay. I didn’t see this room

The Closed Door Restaurant

At the first floor is a nice Italian Restaurant, called Closed Door.

Photograph provided by Fay

It is a very decent restaurant, and maybe the crowded western restaurant I have been. It is not big, just the size of two hotel rooms plus a garden, and since it is fully booked almost everyday, the tables are very tightly layed together.

The food is wonderful. I said to Wendy: it completely changed my view of western food. It is delicious…

On the cost side, not cheap, but definitely not expensive in the same range. The interesting thing is, you have to make a reservation first. The name “closed door” is not a random name. Its door is closed, and you have to press the door bell, and tell the waiter that you have a reservation to get in. From outside, no one knows it is a restaurant. Shanghaiist has a review for it also.

The Roof

They have a nice roof garden that see the Chang Le Road. Very nice place.

Photograph provided by Fay

The Hotel

Just opened two months ago, the hotel has already been rated as the top hotel in B&B category in TripAdvisor (Its TripAdvisor page), and was rated 4.5 out of 5. In the review, you can easily find Fay’s name was mentioned many times.

Having a Hote?

Having a hotel in downtown Shanghai is Wendy’s dream, and Wendy enjoys her visit to the hotel a lot. It is a very nice one and I would recommend it to my r

Nice Day for My Business

Today is a pretty nice day. Very happy, and very excited. Huge breakthrough in many metrics. Xiaopai said the number has reached 300 one hour before end of today.

I am going to try my first week in the Shanghai Jiaotong University Hotel tonight. Hope hard work can bring good result.

Met Mike and Luoying today. Nice chat, and learnt that everyone has something to pursue. It is nice for everyone.

Chatted with Elfe on MSN. Elfe continues to show her talent and free soul with a nice Germany trip.

There are breakthrough on the product side also. Many things to do, but stay focused is the key. As I told many people, there is only one thing we need to do – maintain the listing quality of classified site. That is all everyone needs to accomplish.

Pretty late. Go back to home.

P.S. Some bad news today is, Chen Hua left Kuxun.cn. What a surprise for me. I have great respect to the Kuxun team, and feel a pity when I hear another entreprenue left the company he/she founded.

Thanks Matt Isler!

I got a small post card from my YLF friend Matt Isler.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Chinese character written by Matt.

What a great friend I have! Thanks Matt, and Mei Lan!

What is the last time I send a postcard to my friend? I tend to use electronic version, or the Internet more…

Written by Jian Shuo

So I drawed a sentence on a piece of paper, and take a photo of it, and post it on this web page:

Matt is maybe my only friend in US military. We chatted a lot about how military worked (especially how to balance “obey” and freedom of soldiers), and his first hand experience in Iraq. It is so true that nothing is more useful to foster communication between two countries than having a good friend in another country.