Category Archives: My Hobbies

Audio on Air and Photo to Print

Pacific Time finally broadcasted the second piece of my audio blog in America. Visit this page, check the last link and click Listen (segment) to listen that piece of program. I guess it is the second part, but marked as the third part by some reason.

The previous part was on air on Dec 20, 2004. I guess I need to continue to improve my oral English to pronounce the words more clearly. The next time, I will try to talk as slow as possible. I love the music I recorded on the street. Thanks again for Nina and Amy to make it happen.

A Photo of Me?

Lisa had an interview of me on the new generation of car owners in Shanghai in Nov. I got the letter today asking for a corporate portrait photo to go with the article. It may be published on the April issue of the WIRED magazine. Well. I have about 10000+ photos but very few of them have me on it. Among the few photos, it is not easy to find one. If you have the experience to find one to be published on a book or magazine or corporate intranet, you know the feeling. Which one is better? I really have no idea. So I asked Wendy to help me when she is back from her trip to Beijing.

Xie Fang

Xie Fang let me know his new website at http://www.xiefang.com. Among all my friends, he is so unique. He quitted his job in Microsoft and went to a university to be a teacher.

Got Two Links (Gifts) Today

Checking my referral log, I find two outstanding links-in (among the 1,472 linking sources today).

One is from Isaac Mao, he mentioned sending link as a gift. :-D Thanks. Isaacmao.com has big traffic since 23 people came in right after the post. The idea of link = gift actually came from Scoble.

The other gift is Salon.com‘s article: Little Red Blogs. It is about the blogging status in China. In the article, the author mentioned both Isaac (“like a Chinese Dave Winer or Jason Kottke in terms of the influence he has had on other bloggers”, as in the article) and me. Although getting attention is always exciting (as Scoble said), I am not 100% sure if I am comfortable with what the author described me in last page of the report. I am reported as a guy “who shies away from overt criticism of the government but treads the line rather closely”. I am not the guy who makes living by criticizing the government. The life here is comfortable and the city is good. I love everything here. Sometimes there are blocks and server down, but…. anyway, it is the reality.

I have to respectfully disagree with the tone Mat used (as many western media used). China is complicated and different than western courties. For example, in SARS period, I recorded daily life in Shanghai – western media was very excited about the first hand news. Meanwhile, I wrote Protect China – Not Only Against SARS. Please read the long thread of discussion in that article if you have time.

Besides this part, I find Mat’s article on China blog status is accurate and complete. Muzimei was included, foreign bloggers were included, cnblog was included and so did the shutdown of major blog providers. Those are some major events in blogging world in the last two years. Great summary.

Anyway, a gift is a gift. Attention is good. Salon has a huge readership base and many people come to my site via the links. If you check the article, you are not the alone to click through the commercial by Saved to get a free day pass to read the article. What a clever, but annoying business model. BTW, they spelled my name as Wang Jianshao. At last, I hope this gift does not turn out to be a mail bomb for me.

P.S. Morris also responded to this article.

P.S. I am having back log to respond emails. I am seeing emails like provide more Xiang Yang Market information from India and the late arrival in Pudong Airport (PVG) but early departure in Hongqiao Airport (SHA). There are many other emails requesting information or asking for help. Please be patient since I am busy cutting grass of my garden – just kidding. I will be back with you soon.

Kodak Digital Image Printing Kiosk

Last night, I saw a new Kodak kiosk at the east gate of Metro City. It provides self-service for customers with digital cameras.

Basically, it support almost all media currently available on market. Here is he picture of the IO part of the kiosk.

shanghai-kodak-io.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

As you can see from the picture, it support blue tooth, SM, CF/MD, SD/MMC, XD, Memory Stike/MSPRO, IrDA, 3” Disk and CD. Wow! I would say, the only media that it does not suport is a USD port, that movable hard disk or laptop can output pictures into the magic yellow box.

shanghai-kodak-overview.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

It can print out 6” picture. It provide some basic image processing functions, like rotate, coloring, frame. It can also burn a CDR of all the files on your digital camera media (MemoryStick or CF card).

It may be very good service for backpackers to Shanghai. If they don’t bring laptops with them, and their small MemoryStike or CF card is full, they can insert the card into card area and burn a CD on it. No computer needed.

I tried to insert the MemoryStike of my Sony P8 into the window. The green light above the MemoryStike flashes and I can use the touch screen to perform all the tasks. There was a very helpful guy explaining how the machine works. He predicted that the Credit Card module will be installed very soon, so he don’t have to standby to receive cash. People can completely help themselves to print color pictures or burn picture CDs.

It is on display at the Metro City East Gate (the gate to Metro Tower) for one month. I believe it is a marketing research to test the reaction of the Chinese market. I hope this kind of machine will be popular in Shanghai soon.

BTW, a 6” photo costs 5 RMB and a CD burning operation costs 15 RMB.

P.S. I am uploading this blog entry via Sony Ericsson GC75 at home.

DHL Airwaybill Number

Air Waybill Number Origin Service Area Destination Service Area Status

=====================================

9146444086 Bellevue, WA – USA Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Signed for by: WANG Shipment delivered April 05, 2004 10:03

9146444086 – Detailed Report

Date Time Location Service Area Checkpoint Details

=====================================

March 31, 2004 12:01 Bellevue, WA – USA Shipment picked up

March 31, 2004 19:12 Bellevue, WA – USA Departed from DHL facility in Bellevue – USA

March 31, 2004 19:33 Seattle, WA – USA Arrived at DHL facility in Seattle – USA

March 31, 2004 21:02 Seattle, WA – USA Departed from DHL facility in Seattle – USA

April 01, 2004 12:56 San Francisco Gateway, CA – USA Departed from DHL facility in San Francisco Gateway – USA

April 01, 2004 13:40 San Francisco Gateway, CA – USA Transferred through San Francisco Gateway – USA

April 02, 2004 20:39 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Arrived at DHL facility in Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 02, 2004 20:39 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Clearance processing complete at Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 03, 2004 02:51 Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic Departed from DHL facility in Shanghai – Pu Dong – China, People’s Republic

April 03, 2004 04:38 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Arrived at DHL Facility

April 05, 2004 10:17 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic With delivery courier

April 05, 2004 10:03 Shanghai – China, People’s Republic Shipment delivered

I am a RUBIK Cube (Magic Cube) Solver

Something you may not know about me. I am a Magic Cube Solver at my age of 13. I can turn any one of the 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 magic cube possiblity into the solved status (having a single color on each of its 6 sides). My average speed to solve a Magic Cube is about 2.5 (best situation) to 3.5 (worst situation) minutes.

I have trained many people to master the skill to solve a Rubik’s Cube, especially in middle school when I brought my Cube to school and made it the fasion. I taught one quater of the class to solve it. My proud experience was when I was in Grade 1 of my Junior Middle School, I was so naughty that I “robbed” a girl’s magic cube and run away. She runned after me from the forth floor to the first floor in the school, where I returned the solved cube (with single colors on each side) to her. Haha. I didn’t got any chance to show off the skill after I entered university.

Jian Shuo is In Real Estate Business

My good friend Alex sent me some photos of the advertisements of a property near his home in northeast China. I was so amused by the photos. They have exactly the same name as mine: Jian Shuo (建硕)

shenyang-jianshuo.garden-on.pole.jpg

Photographed by Alex Li. Image in courtesy of the developer and investor of the garden

shenyang-jianshuo.garden-out.mall.jpg

Photographed by Alex Li. Image in courtesy of the developer and investor of the garden

I never saw my name printed in so big font. Friends joked that I have been pushed into the real estate business.

P.S. Many of my friends got spam email from Jianshuo Software Company in Shenzhen these days. They used the same name as mine.

My name is very uncommon and I only found one person with the same name with me in Google.

Free .TK Domain Available

Do you know there is a country called Tokelau on our planet? I didn’t know it either before blogopoly mentioned that I can get free top level domain from this country.

It is small island some where in the world – I still didn’t find a map with its name yet. Some crazy guys from the Dot TK team visited the atolls in September 2003 and presented what the Internet means to such a small country. They met with the Council of Elderly and concluded that they can use Internet to bring foods and medicines to the small country. The idea they thought of is to offer FREE .tk domain to the world.

Of cause, not all domains are free. I tried to register wjs.com and I was told it cost 5000 USD. Free domains only support URL forward and you actually don’t own the domain since the domain is not licensed to you.

Having the story told, let me tell you can get from the island. If you have any fancy idea that you want get started quickly, but don’t want those dynamics domain names, just visit DOT.TK and registered a FREE .TK domain name. For example, I just registered wangjianshuo.tk. Visitors to the domain is redirected to an URL you set.

Hurry. Plenty of very good domain names are available.

Pure Geek Happiness

My article Webcam+Windows Media+GPRS+SmartPhone=? was kindly quoted by Scoble on his Scobleizer. Then the page is quoted at SmartPhoneThoughts. David commented “Pure geek happiness”. Exactly! It is pure geek happiness. I saw someone quote it as “High Tech Mirror”. Haha. Come on. Do you think I took all the trouble, configured all the software and paid for GPRS just to use it as a mirror? LOL. Only geeks understand the happiness to such kind of mirror.

Other sites quoting this “high tech mirror”: MS Mobile News

Actually, Phillip is the real geek (via Scobleizer). What he did is really amazing. He had a geek gym with Xbox Live and Tablet PC (WIFI enabled). He has a wireless orb device that will change colors based on data sources on the web. He took as many as 1066 photos in his 21 days trip to Asia – “while i was traveling in Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo, i decided to take a photo of what i was doing, every 30 minutes, for 24 hours, 7 days a week for 21 days in a row. after 3 weeks, i ended up with over 1,066 photos.” He also took 109 photos of every type of creature in the fish market. When he was in Shanghai, he could use any web browser to control his robot in U.S and bring back pictures (several frames per second). This is what I dreamed about for a long time. I just didn’t found a good solution to convert hits on webpage to electronic signals so I can control toys. He has so many eye attracting pictures on his website. Just go ahead to have a look. The Great Firewall went crazy again and his great site is blocked in China too. I can only visit it using the public proxy.

UPC number 036000250015

The Facts

  • Google Weblog is my favorite weblog.
  • I guess it generates huge traffic to Google with its samples.

What Happened?

  • Aaron talked about the UPC code search function and provided a sample search: 036000250015
  • I was curious to see how many people follow that link.

What I Did

I Hope…

  • I hope this page is indexed by Google in the next few days. It should be around January 20, 2004.
  • I hope this page is #1 in the result list. Google likes keywords in title.
  • I hope you also get some idea about how many people clicked the link.

More

  • The actual number should be 300% of the hit counter number. I suppose less than one out of three people will click on my link after checking the genuine result.
  • This is just for fun.
  • Relax. Don’t throw eggs to me.
  • Actual search result is here: Kimberly-Clark’s Kleenex 2-ply 8.6×8.4 in tissue

Super Cool Moving Advertisement

I saw two astronauts under the big ball of Metro City in Xujiahui. It is around 6:30 PM. It is almost dark and the area become very crowded. These two men wear silver clothes and black glasses and was walking around without any emotion on their faces. There is a large LCD display on their back. Of cause, they are very eye catching.

shanghai-astronaut.ad-back.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-astronaut.ad-walking.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-astronaut.side-walking.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

So interesting. I thought they were advertising for LCD. It turned out that they are advertising for the Xuhui Police Office. The characters were so small that I don’t know what they wanted to say. It is said they will appear in Xujiahui from 5:30 to 9:30 PM.

Spring Festival is Coming

Red lanterns hung everywhere in the area.

shanghai-red.lattern-before.pacific.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Newspaper Store

I took some random shot at the Metro Station. Here are the magazines and newspaper at a store. Do you see your favorite magazines there? :-D

shanghai-magzines-window.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

shanghai-magzine-papers.jpg

Cool Stuffs at Amazon

I like companies like Amazon. They always have cool ideas to do traditional business with high-tech ways. Here are some examples.

Search Inside

Amazon is offering the “Search Inside” feature. It allows customers to search every word inside a book. To me, it means more like a feature of “READ inside”. I can quickly search a keyword in a book, and read the sample pages containing the word. I hope one day, when most books offer Search Inside feature, I can simply visit Amazon to search for a word that is in a book on my hand – just the F3 key of my hard copy book.

This service will add more values to both publisher and reader. It generates interest to buy the book. I wanted to buy after I read some sample chapters.

Update More on Search Inside December 31, 2003

Xu asked:

And you just tickled me, I became eager to know how you quickly search a keyword in a book, and read the sample pages containing the word.

Here are the steps.

  1. Choose a topic. Since not all books offer Search Inside feature, some topics, like weblogs, are more likely to offre books with Search Inside features than other topics like cooking. Let’s take weblog as the topic.
  2. Search for books with the keyword using the search box on the left of home page.
  3. In search result, look for Search Inside! mark on the book. Here are an example for We Blog.

    screen-we.blog-book.search.inside.jpg

    Image courtesy of Amazon.com

  4. Click on the book for the book details page. You need to continue to click on the book cover with Search Inside! mark for the second time to come to the Book Preview page.
  5. You will see a green box titled Search inside this book,

    screen-search.inside.book-amazon.PNG

    Screen shot courtesy of Amazon.com

  6. Enter a keyword into the box – you can find the keyword you are interested in the Index Page. Then you will see the sample pages – typically 5 pages are shown once.

You will be prompted to enter your credit card if you didn’t do so before. I dont’ know the limit of sample pages I can see – I didn’t reach the limit yet.

Purchase Circles

Amazon can list the best sellers according to many different groups. For example, this is a list of best sellers shipped to China and here is the top books Sun employees buy.

This is how it is made:

We group the items we send to particular zip and postal codes, and the items ordered from each domain name. We then aggregate this anonymous data and apply an algorithm that constructs bestseller lists of items that are more popular with each specific group than with the general population. No personally identifiable information is used to create Purchase Circle lists. The regularity with which a Purchase Circle is updated depends on its size and activity of a Purchase Circle group. Large Purchase Circles are updated weekly; smaller ones are updated monthly. [Source: Purchase Circle FAQ from Amazon.com

Any provider with data is the king…

P.S. Another Blog Award Begins

End of 2003 sees many votes and awards. Year-end is the time to review the year and find out something big to be memorized.

The Asia Weblog Award just ended. The result will come out soon. It is a pity that many good blogs are not nominated under the “anyone can vote but no one takes care of quality and coverage” mechanism. There should be a clear and verifiable way to ensure the quality of result.

Voting itself is not a good way to identify good blog. The review of a reputable committee based on voting results may be better.

Now the Best China English Blog voting started. It is organized by major blog service providers and players. I definitely support it since it is a very good initiative to bring awareness to blog world and identity those good blogs. However, I still didn’t see the logic behind why the blog with most votes is best. I’d like to thank those who worked very hard to make it happen. I know it is not easy.

WilliamW is very kind to vote for me. Thanks for your effort. I really appreciate it.

Wendy Became a Writer

Another interesting thing in life is that I just discovered that Wendy is a good writer. She posted an article named The Era of Post-Growth (Chinese). Very good article. I like it.

Reversationless Conference Call

Conference Calls

Today, I see a new idea about Conference Call – the Reservationlesss Conference Call from MCI. Counting the four years at work, I may have attended 100 conference calls. All of them are in either of the two routines:

1. Use the Conference Function of the PBX in the company.

The Meridian system from Nortel seems good enough for me. The conference call function on the phone set is handy.

  1. Just call party 1
  2. Press Conference botton on the phone set
  3. Call party 2.
  4. When connected, press Conference key again to put Party 2 into the conference.

Easy? However, most new comers to the company don’t know how to conference. Seems the function needs to be simplified. (I am using Meridian 2616)

Image courtesy: Nortel

I see a lot of large companies are using Nortel’s PBX system, like Microsoft (China), Dell (China) and 114 (Yellow Page service) in Shanghai. I am very interested in the expensive big boxes in the data center.

2. Using Meeting Place.

I also used meeting place.

  1. I was given a U.S. meeting place telephone number.
  2. Then enter the meeting ID.
  3. At last, speak my name and get enrolled in the conference.

The problem is, I have set up the reservation and send out the invitation before the conference call. I attend many such conference, but never hosted one.

Reservationless Conference Call

The idea behind the reservationless conference call is simple – they give the subscriber a participation ID and a passcode, something like username and password.

Whenever, yes, at any time, a conference call is needed, the lead of the conference call just call their toll free number and enter the username and password, or in their terms, participation ID and passcode, then the conference call is setup.

The other participatants just need to call the same number and enter the participation ID. They are enrolled into the conference.

The benefit is obvious:

  1. I can arrange last minute conference call – just send out the participation ID and the phone number to my friends via MSN Messenger, Email or just phone call.
  2. There is no time limit – I don’t have to worry about the 1 hour or 2 hour prefined time block.
  3. The ID is simple. The participation ID don’t change once I get it. Others can remember my participation ID just like remembering my extension. Then they can call me. The meeting place meeting ID always changes.

Read more about Reservationless Conference Call from MCI (or as they would call it: Instant Meeting) at their website.

BTW, they even have a web based tool to control the participants. I didn’t try it yet, but I will find some time to give it a try and share my real experience.

Shanghai is still hot

Shanghai is still hot. I attempted to go to the near by Xujiahui Park after work but it was too hot outside even around 8:00 PM. So I returned to the Metro Tower to find some film. To my surprise, there is only one film in all the four world class theater – Matrix Reloaded. The price for a ticket is 60 RMB (about 7USD). Still expensive for me and for most of people in Shanghai.

In good theaters like the Kodak Theater in Metro Tower, the original film in English (with Chinese subtitle) has more audience than the interrupted one. People in Shanghai has got used to the English film. I believe, most of them, including me, still have problem to understand the English without the help of the Chinese subtitle, but the sound effects of the original film is still attractive.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Any one can tell me how to pronounce this word? Dr. Donald Dossey claimed that when you can pronounce the word your fear to Friday the 13th is cured.

Paraskevidekatriaphodia means the fear for Friday, the thirteenth. Today is the special day.

FRIDAY

13

Long word

I just wonder why there are such a long word Paraskevidekatriaphobia? I did spend some time to memorize this word. I told my friends about this word and they are all very surprised. 275 items were returned by Google for this term at the time when this article is written.

Joy of memorize long terms

When I was young, I was passionate to memorize Pi. I was marching toward 200 digits but now, I can only clearly recite the first 80 digits of Pi.

Pi = 3.1415926 535 8979 323 8462643 38327950 2884 19716 93993 7510 5820974 9445923 0781640 6286208 9986280

Longer Pi

According to this page, they have longer Pi:

Pi = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679

8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196

4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273

7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094

3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912

9833673362 4406566430 8602139494 6395224737 1907021798 6094370277 0539217176 2931767523 8467481846 7669405132

0005681271 4526356082 7785771342 7577896091 7363717872 1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235

4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113 4999999837 2978049951 0597317328 1609631859

5024459455 3469083026 4252230825 3344685035 2619311881 7101000313 7838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303

5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532 1712268066 1300192787 6611195909 2164201989

3809525720 1065485863 2788659361 5338182796 8230301952 0353018529 6899577362 2599413891 2497217752 8347913151

5574857242 4541506959 5082953311 6861727855 8890750983 8175463746 4939319255 0604009277 0167113900 9848824012

8583616035 6370766010 4710181942 9555961989 4676783744 9448255379 7747268471 0404753464 6208046684 2590694912

9331367702 8989152104 7521620569 6602405803 8150193511 2533824300 3558764024 7496473263 9141992726 0426992279

6782354781 6360093417 2164121992 4586315030 2861829745 5570674983 8505494588 5869269956 9092721079 7509302955

3211653449 8720275596 0236480665 4991198818 3479775356 6369807426 5425278625 5181841757 4672890977 7727938000

8164706001 6145249192 1732172147 7235014144 1973568548 1613611573 5255213347 5741849468 4385233239 0739414333

4547762416 8625189835 6948556209 9219222184 2725502542 5688767179 0494601653 4668049886 2723279178 6085784383

8279679766 8145410095 3883786360 9506800642 2512520511 7392984896 0841284886 2694560424 1965285022 2106611863

0674427862 2039194945 0471237137 8696095636 4371917287 4677646575 7396241389 0865832645 9958133904 7802759009

9465764078 9512694683 9835259570 9825822620 5224894077 2671947826 8482601476 9909026401 3639443745 5305068203

4962524517 4939965143 1429809190 6592509372 2169646151 5709858387 4105978859 5977297549 8930161753 9284681382

6868386894 2774155991 8559252459 5395943104 9972524680 8459872736 4469584865 3836736222 6260991246 0805124388

4390451244 1365497627 8079771569 1435997700 1296160894 4169486855 5848406353 4220722258 2848864815 8456028506

0168427394 5226746767 8895252138 5225499546 6672782398 6456596116 3548862305 7745649803 5593634568 1743241125

They have 400 million digits of Pi…. I don’t think anyone want to memerize so many digits…

Travel by Bicycle, Fly w/o ID, etc

Travel by Bicycle

After decided to hike to Kanas, I found I was hopelessly passionate for hiking – even if I cannot hike in mountains, walking in Shanghai also seems fun. I began to walk to any places in the city as long as time permitted. For example, after taking the driver’s license written exam, I walked from Xinzhuang back home covering 14 KM in 2.5 hours. I also started to walk to the place I work and back home. It is about 3 KM and costs me 50 minutes.

Tenback.org really inspired me about traveling by bicycle. They southern China on bicycle. I am so impressed that they even made it without knowing any Chinese.

What a nice idea it is. So don’t be surprised if one day I do tell you I have travelled by bicycle to someplace.

Interesting to know: How to Fly without an ID

I read an article telling people how to fly without an ID (via Jeremy Zawodny’s blog). I was so surprised to know that an ID is not required by law of U.S to get on board a U.S. plane. It means, if you insist not to show the ID, the agent has no right to stop you from going onboard. Very interesting.

Blogshares

I checked BlogShares today about the market value of my blog. I didn’t check it for a long time since I claimed the ownership in March. To my surprise, I found my blog worth $4,777.33 (of cause it is fake money).

Above is the share valuation trend. I don’t know why there is a sharp increase in the market value. What happened during the increase period?

From the recent buys and sells table, I found someone are interested in my blog and bought my blog stock.

Type Player Quantity When

Sell todd 1250 15:04 01 Jun 2003

Buy midnite lily 200 18:27 30 May 2003

Buy todd 1250 13:02 30 May 2003

Buy midnite lily 1250 10:05 30 May 2003

Sell Carlo 2500 10:20 22 May 2003

Buy Kenneth 50 01:12 22 May 2003

Buy Carlo 1250 21:09 21 May 2003

Buy Carlo 1250 20:38 21 May 2003

Buy Kenneth 1250 03:55 16 May 2003

Buy Jian Shuo Wang 1000 16:01 01 May 2003

Obviously Carlo has gain a lot of money during the buy and sell – actually, Carlo is the 18th richest person in Blogshares world.

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”.

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.

ODP – Not As Good as Zeal.com

… or my experience of becoming an ODP (Open Directory Project) editor.

Inspired by andersja’s Optimizing Movable Type (part 3) – get more readers , I sent my blog site to DMOZ.org.

While you’re there – consider signing up as an editor: it’s easy to sign up, there are lots of tools available for you to do your editing, and loads of support to be had from other editors. — andersja

This is a cool idea, so I signed up today to be an editor of http://dmoz.org/Regional/Asia/China/Provinces_and_Regions/Henan/Luoyang/ catalog. This is the city I was born and I’d like to help to build up the portal. It is strange that there is only two sites listed under this category.

I am interested in usability analysis recently and tend to review the usibility of all web site I come across. This is no exception this time – I found it easy to locate the link of “Become an editor”. However, it is confusing that the notice of “This category needs an editor” are seperate from the Adverstisement of “Become an editor”. Why not merge them together by simply say “This category needs an editor. Apply now.” with hyper link of application form?

For the application form, it seems normal, like thousands of similar pages. However, I am quite confused by the section to submit 2 or 3 URLs. This is the road-block to submit my review form. What I am going to do is to submit a review form so I can continue to contribute to the community, but the form designer may thing I must have prepared everything and be ready for this question. To continue, I have to grasp some sites very quickly and submitted it. To be honest, I think the quality shown by these three samples are not the quality I will contribute. It is much lower, since I was not concentrated on that.

How to improve?

There should be seperated into two steps. The first step, you register a user name and password, so you can become a candidate in the database immediately. Later, in order to get reviewed to become an editor, you have plenty of time to come back to complete the sample URL question. This makes more sense.

Zeal.com is doing a better job

Zeal.com is doing the same thing as DMOZ.org. Zeal obviously knows better about community then its competitors. Zeal.com does not only judge whether you are qualified to become a contributor or editor, it also help you to learn and become qualified. The Zeal.com provide guidelines to educate community members to write good descriptions and put sites into the right categories. It also setup the mechanism for peer-to-peer review. The quality quotient reflect the qualify of a contributor, which helps to improve the overall quality of the dictionary.

“Listing may take anything from 2 weeks to several months, so once you’ve submitted, just try to forget about the whole thing… ;-)” andersja said

I cannot agree with you more on that. Submission for free or volunteer based communities should never be too serious. Just submit and forget. It will make life much easier.