Travel Ban Partly Lifted

Today, the national travel administration lifted the travel ban within China. It is very good news for travel agencies. Now, travel in provinces not in the WHO’s travel advisory list is allowed. After Guangzhou and Hongkong was removed from the list, Beijing, Tianjing, Shaanxi, Hebei and Inner Mongolia are still regarded as SARS affected area.

Changes in the vistors of this site

Another change also happens. Before March, lots of visitor comes to my site when search for Pudong airport. My site was listed as #1 in the search result.

In April, seldom can I see anyone is searching for Pudong airport, since most of the trip were canceled. On the contray, most visitors come when searching for “SARS Shanghai” or “SARS Pictures

Now, the good news, the trend to search for Pudong airport raises dramatically again while SARS searcher descreased even faster. It is insteresting that all the metrics are related to each other.

Aerial Picture of Anyplace in US

I love technologies, especially those changing people’s life. Just as ClearType and MovableType, the TerraServer is always my favoriate when I need to show somethinng amazing to my friends. Using TerraServer, you can see anybody’s house like a hawk. It gives you the real photographic picture about any location in U.S.

Sample

If you have any valid U.S. address, you can see the house from the sky. For example, if you know the address of the famous Space Needle in Seattle:

400 Broad St.

Seattle, WA, 91109

You can get the following image free of charge.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

See the UFO-like tower in the middle of the picture?

How to get the sattelite image of any place in U.S.

It is simple two-steps. Step 1, get the precious latitude and longtitude of the location. Step 2, query it in the TarrerServer.

Get the percise location of the place

The easiest way is to use MapPoint. It can convert any location in U.S. to geographic metrics. For example, if we want to find out where Space Needle is, enter the following information in to Mappoint

400 Broad St.

Seattle, WA, 91109

It looks like this. Click Get Map button.

screen-mappoint-address.PNG

As luck would have have it, you will get map of Space Needle as blow:

map-spaceneedle.gif

Put the URL to get the aerial image

Now it is the time for you to copy the URL of page containing the map and paste it into the box blow. Remember to copy all the content in the address box of your browser. Then click the button below to get the aerial picture of location shown in the map. A seperate browser window will pop up.


Does it work?

If you see the map of the location, congratulations! You can even zoom in at MapPoint and you can compare the map and the sattelite picture. Here is the zoomed map for Space Needle.

map-spaceneedle-zoom.in.gif

Compare with the sattelite picture above and you will find it very interesting that they match each other exactly.

If it does not work, there may be some problem with either the URL or my code. Here is the trick behind the code.

You can get the latitude and longtidue directly from MapPoint URL. In our Space Needle case, the URL is

http://mappoint.msn.com/(exncyg550lzl4y551bdeo145)/map.aspx?L=USA&C=47.61963%2c-122.34886&A=7.16667&P=|47.61963%2c-122.34886|1|400+Broad+St%2c+Seattle%2c+WA+98109|L1|

Notice the part in red? It is Latitude and Longtitude of the location (after removing the seperator “%2c”). Using these numbers to query at http://terraserver-usa.com/geographic.aspx and you will get the same result.

One step further

The astonishing thing in this modern world is, you know everything. You can go one step further. You can see may people’s house from a single telephone number. Want to have a try? Here is a sample. The phone number of Space Needle Administration is

(206) 905-2200

You can open a browser, go to http://google.com, paste the number (206) 905-2100 into the search box, and click Search.

Here we go. Here is the information returned as the whitepage feature of Google:

Space Needle, Administrative Office, (206) 905-2200, 203 6th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Now you have the address and you know what to do next.

This trick works for most business and personal phone numbers, but you cannot always find the address from a phone number.

About TerraServer

The images in TerraServer is provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The images are in the public domain, and are freely available for download and re-distribution. The highest resolution is 1 meter for 1 pixel, which means every single pixel of the image represent 1 pixel of the land. So you can recognize cars, houses but not individuals.

What do you think

At least I was very astonished to find out that everyone’s house is open for visitors from the sky. I have tried to many locations I received and feel a little bit worried what if someone combine these pictures with a hidden GPS data in your car? They can see your car on the screen as you move. :-(

Resources

Update May 30, 2003

Thanks Li Jingyi for commeting below and refered me to Space Imaging. I have ever seen the Shanghai 2002 photo somewhere else but didn’t realize it comes from Space Imaging.

There are so mucn larger, better and color sattelite images on the site. Here are some most interesting one I saw on the site:

Lishui, Hainan Island, South China Sea

Credit: spaceimaging.com

If someone print it out and it can be the best map possible in the world for that area. I even think treking around the area is also interesting with the help of this “map”.

Humin Elevated Road Construction

As shown in the map above, the elevated road at left bottom conner is under construction. It connects Xujiahui and Xinzhuang. Here are some pictures I took for the construction site.

Below: Taken at Jiangjiang Park Station. The McDonald’s sign before the construction site.

shanghai.xinzhuang-elvelated.highway-mcdonalds.jpg

© 2003 Jian Shuo Wang

Below: Elevator is installing the steel frame to the poles.

shanghai.xinzhuang-elvelated.highway-poles.jpg

© 2003 Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai.xinzhuang-elvelated.highway-two.poles.jpg

© 2003 Jian Shuo Wang

Learn to drive

I passed the traffic rule examination today. Then I will begin my journey to learn to drive. The exam offers 100 questions and you need to answer 90 or more questions correctly to get a pass.

Travel Plan to Kanas Lake, Xinjiang

I love travel. The passion to travel to the most nature places was strengthened during my last visit to Daocheng.

Some readers complained that I didn’t give the Chinese name for the wonderful place. This is the complete address in Chinese

I remember the journey started with a simple note:

I will be away from the Internetized world for the next 8 days. From 6:00 AM tomorrow, I will be on my way to Daocheng, the lost Shangrila in China.

Source: I am on My Trip to Daocheng, the lost Shangrila:

When I wrote the entry, I didn’t realize how amazing the trip would be and the memeraizable journey ahead. After I returned to civilized world eight days later, I brought 200+ ditigal pictures, 100+ traditional film pictures and a long story.

MORE PICTURES…

The passion drives me to plan for my trip to Kanas Lake

Now, I am planning my travel schedule of this Oct holiday again. My eyes focus on the most northwest part of China – Kanas Lake – the “beautiful and misterious” lake, according to the Mongolian name. I marked the location of Kanas in the China map below:

screen-daocheng.kanas.lake-map.png

Credit: Map borrowed from ChinaTour.com

Kanas pictures

My friends Tang sent the following pictures to me via email. It is so beautiful, isn’t it?

hanasi-grass-paint.JPG

hanasi-island-paint.JPG

hanasi-mountain-paint.JPG

hanasi-river-paint.JPG

hanasi-road-paint.JPG

hanasi-tree-paint.JPG

hanasi-village-paint.JPG

Resouces for Kanas

With the help of A tour Guide for China Hikers, I created the draft version of the route map:

screen-kanas.hiking-map.png

Go to Kanas

Here is my draft plan:

  1. Shanghai -> Urumqi via China Eastern Airlines (standard price: 2550 RMB. After discount, it may only need 1650 RMB)

  2. Urumqi -> Burqin via buses (120 RMB)
  3. Burqin -> Jadenyu by renting a car (300 RMB)

If anyone has been there, please advice. Thanks.

Update: July 1, 2003

Detailed Kanas Plan is released.


SARS Update

As always, I will have to update you about the SARS situation in Shanghai. With the eighth imported SARS cases, which is a train attendant from Guangzhou, the city got seriously alerted. Most of the passengers in the same train have been found and quarantined, but there are still two persons missing. Today, 9 new cases were reported all over China. All new cases were found in Beijing.

Update: July 31, 2007

Isaac Mao finally visited Kanas, and took great photos from the lake. He posted his short travelogue: A wonderful view from my Kanas Lake memory.

Let me steal one photo from his blog:

kanas-isaacmao.jpg

Credit: Isaac Mao

Daily Life – SARS Related IV

This is the forth article of a series of article on the daily life in Shanghai. From the changes in MY life, you may get some idea about the real situation in Shanghai.

Taxi

If you read about my previous “Daily Life – SARS Related“, you will know that I pay specially attention to taxis and taxi drivers.

Recently, nothing changed since the new regulations take effect on April 20. The daily disinfection does not stop and the 7 color tags rule is still working.

The taxi drivers still wear masks at work. They will remove it, hanging the masks on one ear for fresh air and put it on when passengers get on to the taxi. It is hard time for them – financial surfer due to lack of passengers and physical surfer due to the annoying masks.

TV

Any crisis will give literature and art a bigger room to grow. It is the case of SARS. I saw some wonderful campaign on SARS on local TV.

The first one was shown from two weeks ago. It featured a little girl waiting for her mother who is a nurse in hospital. The recent one featured “I love Shanghai. I believe in Shanghai” from about 6 General Managers of foreign companies, like Siemens. Here comes the third one. It is about the contribution those people who got quarantined for SARS. Five (maybe five) persons of different occupation repeated the same sentence. “This is what we should do, because I love Shanghai”. I regret that I cannot show it in this webpage for you. It was really well done.

Well. This is what we call the morale building, isn’t it? These campaigns gave the nurses, the foreign invested companies and the people who got quarantined a lot of support by showing understanding and appreciation for their contribution.

City landscape

The city landscape does not change even a little bit because of SARS – if there is any change, it should be the emerging of new buildings. Below is a picture I took from a building near the Bund, facing north.

shanghai-huangpu-from.bund.center.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

In the picture are the lower houses near Fuzhou road. The road on the right is Jiang Xi road and the intersection of the two taller building is Fuzhou Road. Nanjing road is about three blocks further. Shanghai has been cloudy like this for about a week and maybe will continue to be. Nothing affected by SARS, right? But mood of the people inside the houses has been changed greatly. SARS dramatically slowed down the pace of the city.

shanghai-huangpu.right-from.bund.center.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Above is the same scene looking a little bit eastward. You can see a small portion of the Huang Pu river on the right corner.

shanghai-xujiahui.hongqiao-sunset.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Sunsetting in Xujiahui, looking west. More and more new buildings appeared in the Hong Qiao Area. In the scene is the tallest building in Hong Qiao – but I forgot the name. Let me check it out later.

The figure

Today, 8 new cases were reported, among them,

Beijing 5

Shaanxi 1

Inner Mongolia 2

Good number. I was worried when I see the number of 40, 40, 34 in the last three days. Now the number goes down again.

Date – New cases reporeted

May 25 – 16

May 24 – 34

May 23 – 40

May 22 – 40

May 21 – 12

Other news – Earthquake

This afternoon, someone sent email to me if I feel the move of the floor. I didn’t pay attention to it since I think it is joking. Later, I saw this: Strong earthquake shakes Japan – Magnitude 7.0 trembler strikes northeast, felt in Tokyo.

Later someone reported that they feel the earthquake in Shanghai. Really? I didn’t.

Online broadcast

You should see the video between May 26 11:00 PM to May 27 11:00 PM.

Read more:

I Still Know Software – ClearType and SmartTags

This entry is more technical then before since above all, I am still a technical guy in the IT industry. I cannot help mentioning something about the software, so that you still treat me as a person who knows computer. :-)

I have a laptop. Wow. Yes. I have a big, heavy, old-fashioned, less-powerful Dell Latitude CPx H500GT laptop.

To keep the system as quick as possible and as fresh as possible, I reinstall the system every two months. That gives me flexibility to install software without worrying its compatabilty issue. Yes. There are some “bad” software just want to break the system or other application by leaving a lot of things in the system, ovewriting other application’s compontent. Even worst, some spyware keep poping up advertisement and record my activity….

I always keeps a list of software I will install after my fresh installation.

Operating System – Windows XP SR-1

I have been using Windows XP for some time. I especially love the ClearType technology which is one of the top three reasons I install Windows XP. Bad news is, it is not turned on by default. I will always following the below instructions to turn it on.

  • Right click on blank area of the desktop.

  • Switch to appearance tab.
  • Click Effects…
  • Check “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts”
  • Choose ClearType.
  • Click OK.

After that, you will see the change in all fonts – they become smoother, thicker.

Microsoft ClearType Homepage is a very good resource to get more about this tip. My friends are all very surprised when I helped them to turn this feature on. They shouted out, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Well. Why not enable this on LCD by default? Note: There is no difference in the CRT monitor – the TV-like monitor.

My favoriate usability guru Jakob Neilson also thought highly of the technology. He has the same concern as I have – too few people know this great feature.

Productivity Tools – Office 2003

I always install Office XP in my previous reinstall. The killer feature I would say is the SmartTag technology, especially the one appears when I paste something into a document.

screen-smart.tag-word.png

It really improves my productivity.

Recently Office 2003 hit beta and I begin to install this one. No report so far.

Microsoft Money

I will also install Microsoft Money on the computer too. It helps me to track my cash and bank account. Very nice interface.

Appendix

Some funny things. Fan is using Latitude C400 and today, I found an interesting article to help you run Linux on the system. What surprises me is, it can make the wireless card work.

Shanghai Hand-Made Map

Shanghai Map

I used MSPaint.exe to draw a brief Shanghai map and marked some places to live. This map may answer questions from my friends like where to rent a house….

screen-shanghai-apartment.PNG

The blue line in the map is Huangpu River. The black lines are bridge. The brown lines are elevated high way.

Nice weekend in Xinzhuang

It is a nice weekend. I spent the whole day at my friend’s house near Xinzhuang. We had perfect lunch and played XBox for about 2 hours, then we played table-tennis for the rest of the afternoon. The relaxing and meaningful activities are much better than staying at home – especially in the SARS situation when home is always the first chance to kill time at weekend.

Elevated highway

The elevated highway is extending ten more kilometers longer to the southwest part of Shanghai on the Humin road. The massive construction in undergoing, makeing the existing road wining through the construction site. The taxi driver operate the taxi to left and right just like in a computer game.

Below is for my reference only. No particular meaning for anybody else

Week TASKS TQ Actual ATQ

—-

Going Back to Normal Life, Slowly

Fan and I went to Sichuan Garden in Xujiahui for dinner today. It is a decent restaurant with reasonable price. It is located on the Gongchen Road, just behind the Grant Gateway.

Many people there

I still remember when we had dinner half an month ago at the same time in this restaurant, it is half empty. We two even occupied a large table near the door. There are still many empty tables.

Today, the news is good news and bad news. The bad news, people begin to line up to wait for an empty table. It is bad actually since ever Friday day, it is often hard to find a place in good restaurant. It seems the good time has past and we need to struggle to find a place to eat later. The good news is, obviously, the impact of SARS on hositality industry become weaker. People begin to go out of the door and rush to restaurant again.

The even better thing I see is, with the returning of customers, the restaurant strengthened the precaution measurements – the air condition is stopped, instead, it uses the fresh air. Waiters and waitress are still wearing masks.

I can feel the city is waking up and the prosperity and the energy of the city is coming back slowly.

The SARS champions

Opening my TV and I saw a series of SARS related champions. One is about the confidence of foreign investments. About 6 CEOs of major companies in Shanghai, such as Siemens, are repeating the same sentence in Chinese “I love Shanghai. I believe in Shanghai”. It is very impressive.

Shanghai government is always doing good job of buiding its image among citizens. It is seldom seen in cities in China.

WHO lifted travel warning to Hongkong and Guangdong

Effective today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is removing its recommendation that people should postpone all but essential travel to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong province, China.

Source: WHO website

New SARS cases

Yesterday, all the TV station in Shanghai printed rotating subtitle to their program. It reads:

All passengers taking training K48 (Guangzhou to Shanghai) on May 20 are required to register at local CDC. All passengers in the No. 2 train are quired to take quarantine. Tel: 62095600、62750270

It is because the new SARS case is confirmed to be a train attendant on tha train.

Also in these days

There are some interesting things these days. I am tracking all these events everyday.

CCTV broadcast China expedition team atop Everest

It was an exciting moment when I see the real time broadcast of Everest from CCTV-1 the day before yesterday. It is so beautiful, man! The camera sent back the picture form the top of Everest to my home – it is really an exciting moment. The hundreds of snow covered mountains are below the feet of the camera man.

“Everest, Mount,” Microsoft?Encarta?Online Encyclopedia 2003

http://encarta.msn.com ?1997-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Office website and news

There is even a flash showing the routines of the Everest.

Red Restaurant

Shanghai is a place with great restaurants and great people. I joined Willie to a wonderful restaurant named Red (website) on quiet Anfu road. The road is famous because the Shanghai Drama Center is located there. I visited the center frequently before SARS hit the city. (In case you want to know what happened to the center later, let me tell you, the performance was paused till now). It is the place mixed with the best environment and the finest culture.

shanghai-red.logo.gif

The restaurant Red is a very unique. It occupies the whole 3-story house before the large grassland. If I can record the sound for you, you will hear the music and laughter from the second floor.

shanghai-red.restraunant.jpg

I had Pineapple Fried Rice there. It is very delicious. You can find it at the bottom of the decent menu.

shanghai-pineapple.rice-red.jpg

I was surprised that even it is Thursday (not Friday), there are many people there. Most of them are expats in Shanghai. It was called mysterious night. I don’t know what will happen there because I left before the program begin at 10:00 PM. It may be a good place to go if you just come to Shanghai and want to meet new friends. I am very happy to meet Annie, Robert and Tina there.

My New Sony DSC-P8 Camera?

The pictures were taken by the new Sony P8 camera. I still don’t have time to bring it out to take day-light photos since when I go out of the office, it is already dark. So I can only take the twilight photo. So far, so good. It is not a serious camara. Small, cute and very good capatibility with Windows XP are among the top reasons I choose this model.

SARS update in Shanghai

Lynne wondered why there is no SARS news from this web site. Well. It is my fault. I thought people just don’t care about SARS now so I am changing my topic. I will change back. So here you go.

Currently, there are eight confirmed SARS cases in Shanghai. The eighth is confirmed today to be a train attendant from Guangzhou. Among them, two died. No.

Annie reported that according SCMP.com, Shanghai government is considering relax the quaratine rules in Shanghai. Maybe people returning Shanghai will not required to take the 14 days in house quarantine. Note: This piece of news is not personally verified by me yet.

Coming back to my normal life, slowly

To be honest, I am relax recently and begin to meet people and go to restaunants recently, partly because the number of SARS is not increasing, partly because the strict measures already in place – I am having my temperature taken every morning, and every noon (if I leave the building). The number read from the therometer is strange – from 33.2 degree C to 36.5 degrees. Do they really think the 3 degree variation is reasonable? :-)

Metro (subway)

I took metro today since I need to met Willie on time and metro is definitely the fastest transportation tool in rush hours. I think it should be OK now. Actually, I havn’t took metro for about two months since end of March – can you imagine it? I did take metro in the last TWO months. I always walk or take taxi to avoid crowded place. I thought metro should be safer now. So I happily choosed to take metro.

But I was really scared when I enter the metro station. So many people are still wearing masks. On the contary, only few people in the street wear masks. In the train I took, 7 out of the 12 persons seated there wore masks. I must look stupid to have my nose and mouth exposed to the dangerous air.

After I get out of the train and return to the Nanjing Xi road, masks disappeared again.

My Starbucks trip

I took the photo of Starbucks at Shi Men Yi Lu metro station. Here is the logo. But I don’t think I have visited this store since this photo is not qualified as a unique photo for this Starbuck shop. I believe I will use some weekends to walk from one to the other until I touch all the 26 stores. Then I will take photos. The standard I set for the photo is, you can recognize the location of the store from the photo if you have visited the store.

shanghai-starbucks-shenmeiyilu.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang