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…