ShanghaiExpat Redirected to 114 Page

Mae from ShanghaiExpat need some help. ShanghaiExpat is one of the most popular English website for expats in Shanghai. When their server receives high load, their site is hi-jacked by the China Telecom to their 114 Search Page. They sent the following instruction so I can forward to my readers. If you have problem to access the site, you may find the following instruction helpful. Please also help ShanghaiExpat to spread out the word.

The following content is provided by ShanghaiExpat, used under permission.

If you’ve been having problems accessing our homepage, and being redirected to some random Chinese search engine called 114 then I’m afraid we can only humbly apologise. Due to the unique way that China Telecom works, when our server hits overload most of our traffic gets redirected directly to them.

Unfortunately there is no way for us to correct this problem. We had hoped that the new site and new server would resolve this problem but I’m afraid it hasn’t worked.

If you are experiencing this problem, you will need to do a couple of things to be able to reach us again.

1. Flush the dns on your system. (Don’t ask me what this is, I don’t have a clue. Our I.T team just told me how to do this.)

2. Empty your cache on your web browser.

This should reset something in your computer (and web browser) and allow you to directly access our homepage again.

If you don’t know how to do it (like me) then follow this simple guide that my boss has kindly given me.

Primary Instructions

The following instructions are tested and work on the platforms Vista/ Windows 7. If, after executing the primary instructions the problem still exists, there are additional instructions for resolving this problem.

o Step 1

Click on the start/windows icon to open up the dashboard panel. An example is shown below.

o Step 2

Type ‘cmd’ in the start search box. The first result should come up with a small black icon with the file name ‘

o Step 3

The previous action will open a terminal window. In this terminal window type the following command. ‘ipconfig/flushdns’. After hitting the enter key, you should be greeted with the response……

‘Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache’. It should look like this on your screen.

Close the window, and then clear the ‘cache’ in your browser. Depending on what browser you are using, it is slightly different. But you be able to find the option or settings list somewhere in your browser. This should now resolve the’114 problem’.

In certain cases, this may not work. If so, please follow the secondary instructions below.

Secondary Instructions

The following instructions are for users who are still rerouted to 114 when trying to log onto particular sites.

o Step 1

Right-click on the internet connection sign at the bottom right-hand side of the taskbar. On Vista this should be a monitor with a globe on it. It should like this.

o Step 2

Click the ‘Manage Network Connections’ link in the left hand column. In Windows 7 this may be the ‘Change Adapter Settings’ option.

o Step 3

Right-click the active connection, which will usually be a ‘Wireless Network Connection’ on a laptop and a ‘Local Area Connection’ on a Desktop. Don’t worry about previous semantics; just ensure that you right click the connection with which you are connected to the internet. From the popup menu, select ‘Properties’.

o Step 4

There will be a popup window on whether to allow administrative privileges, just click continue. The properties window will then open. In this window select the ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP /IPv4) list item so it is highlighted and click ‘Properties’.

o Step 5

Insert the actual DNS records necessary to work anywhere near convenient in China. Select ‘Use the following DNS Server addresses and set the preferred DNS server to ‘’. Set the alternate DNS server to ‘’. This action is depicted below. After this is done click ‘OK’ and this window will close. Close the remaining window and repeat the ‘Primary Instructions’ listed at the beginning of the article.

So that’s it. According to our I.T team that’s how you crack the 114 problem. We know it’s a pain and our I.T team is searching for a way round this process. However because the problem is directly related to China Telecom, it is not as easy as to completely fix as we had hoped. I hope the guide has proved helpful and not put you off visiting us.

Boing Boing’s Five Year in Blogging

Just found out Boing Boing’s recent post named “Five Years Worth of Boing Boing Post in one File on Jan 21, 2005.

years since Mark posted the very first post on the Boing Boing blog. In that time, we’ve posted a little more than 17,000 stories and entries here. To celebrate our first half-decade as a blog, we’ve put together a single html file containing 17,000+ posts (every post as of yesterday mid-day) in Movable Type export format. The whole file is released under a Creative Commons license that allows you to noncommerically remix and distribute it in whole or in part — go crazy

Yes. They are crazy! The happiness they got in the last five years well compensated the effort they spent in five years of blogging. They may be happier when more people “use”, “display” their work. Well. I am thinking of doing the same after five years of blogging – I believe it can be either a valuable guide for Shanghai (if everything does not change much) or a complete Shanghai history archive (if everything changed a lot)…

Boing Boing demoed how keep doing the same thing (the right thing) over a very long perioid of time makes a big difference. They aggregated so many interesting things. Many of them made me laugh out loud. Their recent entry on Pillow Fighting is a great example. Maybe we play the game in Shanghai some day?

Boing Boing always share “wonderful” things, often, funny things around the world. It is interesting. It may be a good idea to share more interesting things (instead of serious things) in Shanghai on this blog.

Recently, on one post, I got some suggestions that I need to post some big events in Shanghai, instead of just daily life. Big events like Shen6 or National Day. I still insist that if it is not something that directly or indirectly affects my life, I may provide in-accurate information because what I am writing is what I “heard” instead of what I see. What I can confirm is a piece of news is on my TV set only, because I cannot confirm the real thing behind the report.

P.S. Talk with Two Interesting People

Today, during a chat with CEO, Zhang Xiang Ning, who successfully launched about 5 years ago (it is the largest domain registration, and SME Internet solution). He now runs NarrowAd (something like Google Adsense) and Enterprise Switchboard – call 95001000 and switch to enterprise phone… A very experienced entrepreneur over the Internet history. He is a very wise guy. I enjoyed his sharing of Internet development very much.

Wang Jian Jun, the Senior VP of Sohu told another story. He reminded me that when Sohu just launched, its name was, a replica of At that time, search was not a big business, so it has to switch to portal. The other one, was a big BBS at the very beginning and now it is a large portal. Finally Netease’s first business is personal homepage, like blogging today, and finally, it was turned to a portal. The conclusion is, web 2.0 application was not popular when users were not ready, but now doing the same thing can be popular. It is very good analysis.

John started the website after his trip back to Shanghai (he was born in Shanghai) after staying in U.S. for six years. (I am not sure whether John from is the same John who won the Top Commentor of the Month award on this site)

John took many pictures in Shanghai and covered almost all major places in Shanghai. You can find pictures of Xujiahui, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Yuyuan, Nanjing Rd., Metro, Buses… almost all aspects of Shanghai. I like the photos he took.

Please visit his Shanghai page. (I knew his site by recommendation of Kathy).

It is Personal Website Age

My Friends Goes .COM, .NET, .Biz…

I found more and more of my friend begin to register their own domain names and begin to host personal website. I owe a “friendly link” to every one of them. It is becoming popular to host personal websites now. I know I have ignored a section of links on my homepage, which can be found in most blogs. Here are some of websites by my friends – listed by order of time I became aware of the existence of their websites. Criteria to be listed in this page are

  • The owner is my good friends in real life
  • I know the owner for at least one year before I know his/her web presence
  • The person has personal website with top level domain name
  • The website is still live and accessible

Most of the sites are in Chinese.

  • Check out the good pictures of Daocheng and Yading. He just came back from the fantastic place.
  • It is a FTP based website. However, I love the simple interface – it is not a bad idea to design a website like this: Simple, easy to navigate. :-)
  • Eddie’s site
  • Run’s website. Just started but with good potential. ;-)

Maybe I have lost many others. I hope I can add more later. Please remind me if you know I have missed anybody meeting the criteria.

My Sites of Two Year Ago

When I registered my domain name three years ago – more preciously, on Sept 6, 2003 (my WHOIS record), I didn’t expect what it will look like three years later. I checked my archive and can still find out my old homepage at the end of year 2000.

I just found the old home page still looks good. I even noticed I begin the practice similar to weblog using the limited functions from FrontPage since 2000. It was the new headlines marked with date.

Archive of the Previous Pages

Internet Archive provides great service for anyone to go back to the history of a website. It brings people to see what looks like in 1996 and what Yahoo! looks like in 1997.

Of cause, it also allow me to go back to the history of my site. At the date this entry is created, 1143 pages were archived by for 14 snapshot of the home page were archived in 2002 and 4 versions in 2003.

So one of the advantages and disadvantages to create a page accessible on Internet is, it will be kept in the history archive – for ever….

Update about Traffic Rules

The new traffic rule in China was approved today. I found I begin to be extremely interested in such kind of news after I got the driver’s license.

According to the new rule, the following big changes happened:

New Driver can Use the Express Ways

New driver can use the express way immediately after they get the driver’s license. The old rule was that new drivers have to wait for one year before they are permitted to enter the express way. This is good news for me since I can use the express way. However, I will be conservative and will not drive onto the highway before I am 100% confident.

The Highest Speed of Expressway is Set to 120 km/hour

It seems driving faster than 120 km/hour in China is forbidden – then why bother make the good cars with highest speed of 200+km/hour?

Human Not Permitted on Express Way

It is obvious. However, the explanation for this rule made me LOL. The reason to keep human out of express way is: “All vehicles with designed highest speed less than 70 km/hour are not permitted on express way, such as human, …..” Haha. Then what is my designed highest speed? – Best Photolog in Beijing

Found a very good photolog today (via Chinese Tea). Sinosplice posted a nice interview with Wen Ling, the owner and photographer of The interview was nice since John asked the questions I wanted to ask and Wen’s answers were to-the-point too.

Credit: Wen Lin from

The unique perspective for the city shows us what the city really looks like. The people, the street scene and the signs – all look so familiar but cannot be found anywhere except in his photolog. He really know how to tell a story with his photos.

Here is the list of his work. Click on to see his fantastic work.























All pictures and links courtesy to

Websites About Shanghai

I always feel lucky to live in the city of Shanghai. It is a charming city. It is attractive not because it is perfect. On the contrary, it is definitely not perfect. But the energy and the miracles inside the city have attracted so many people. Many people maintain their website/blog around the life of this city. (was was among the oldest website about Shanghai. It is run by a very nice guy named P. Michael Connolly. He is also my good friend. I met with him in Starbucks, and had phone conversation frequently before he moves to Shenzhen. The website is absolutely the No. 1 website for expats in Shanghai now. Whenever any expat asks about anything in Shanghai that I cannot tell immediately, my answer will be “Why not go to Many people like you are wandering on the forum everyday and maybe than can help”.

Shanghai Soup

Gray is a Shanghai fun. He no longer lives in Shanghai, but he has created very good personal website about the city – He focuses especially on the old styles of Shanghai, like the Zhou Xuan’s page. The background music of this page is the famous song “Shanghai Night” by Zhouxuan.

Other sites,,

Personal sites

Usability Review for

Tim from asked me to critique on his site for usability, since I did it for my own site. “Other people’s eyes see problem’s better than the owner’s eyes.” said Tim.

Well. I am not a usability professional, but I am very interested in this topic. This afternoon, I just improved my site a little bit again with the help of the usability guidelines. is a easy-to-use website already with clear structure and nice visual elements.

Tim is right that other people’s eyes see problems better. The problem is, I check everyday and my eyes are not fresh eyes already. According to usability principals, oppions from fresh eyes are more valuable to correct usability problems. Anyway, I will have a try to analysize the – I believe my comment are very subjective. Just for your (Tim’s and my readers’) information.

Usability theory behind this review

Jakob Neilson is the guru in usability world. In his famous Alertbox, he has specified top 10 guidelines for homepage usability. Let me use his framework for my comment since they are proven guidelines. Thanks Jakob!

PRETTY GOOD: The Tagline and titles

It is good that Tim has a tagline for his site: following Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome around the globe. It is a pretty nice one since it distingurishes his website from other SARS website by stating the site is focused on SARS around the globe – for example, I only cover the situation in Shanghai (sometimes in China). This describes the content very well. However, the format of the tagline emphasized on the wrong word. I think globe is the keyword in this tagline since it reflects the characteristic of the site. How about this one: “Following SARS around the globe” (it is not better one, just an alternative).

It is good that every page on has a proper title – the title appearing on the browser’s window title. This helps search engine like Google to find the site more easily and the search engine result more readable.

GOOD: Contact information

Tim put the contact information right on the homepage on the top-right corner, with email address and the goal of the site:

Find out about the goals of the site, read:

Who Am I and Why SARS Watch Org?

This is the first part people are interested, so it naturally comes first.

PROBLEM: Discussion board

I noticed the discussion board was added about one month ago (correct me if I am wrong). Unfortunately, it may be confusion. According to my personal experience of website designing,

User’s attention is limited resource.

Places on web pages are real estate.

When you put something on to the page, you are placing the road block for the user to complete another task.

So if you want to add something, think about replacing some existing element.

The problem is, the discussion board is too similar with the comment functions for each article. People need to choose to post the question to the discussion forum (BBS) or under an article. They are two similar systems with two interfaces and two locations.

This explains the relatively low volumn of post compared to the huge page view of this site – I believe the traffic for is huge, 10 or 20 times more than my site.

Suggestion: consolidate the two system into one – maybe the comment system.

PROBLEM: Search box

It is good there is a search box (actually, a “find” box) directly on the homepage. The problem I see is, the text box is not wide enough and the background color (gray) is confusing.

Search is an important part of any big website. When users want to search, they typically scan the homepage looking for “the little box where I can type,” so your search should be a box. Make your search box at least 25 characters wide, so it can accommodate multiple words without obscuring parts of the user’s query.

Source: Alertbox

The find box on is only 15 characters in width. It can be wider. The background of the search box is gray. It is not consistent with the search box on other web sites. Usability means easy to use (which implies consistency across all web pages). This will often hurt the appearence of the site, hurt innovation, even hurtfunctions. So we need to balance.

It would to better if the search result page and the individual article page (example) have the same headers as the homepage. This is also about the consistency.

PROBLEM: Navigation bars

On the homepage, there is a navigation bar the at top.

Home  Discuss  Recent Articles  Net Resources  Books  News Headlines  Contributors  Join  Archives 

The first five links are the normal behavior of link – a new page is loaded into the current browser window. The problem is the next four. Try clicking “News Headlines” and I believe few people will find the headline at the first try – at least I was confused and asked “where are the headlines?” before I realized the headliens are at the right part of the page. It is the same for “contributor“, “join” and “archives“. I suggest to remove these since the content is listed at the right already.

I will give you another example of confusing link. Try to click the link below:

I suggest you to read for latest SARS information around the globe.

A surprise? You expect the page to loaded but your mail client appeared. This is also confusing. I didn’t find this kind of error in, but it is common on other sites.


I just roughly reviewed the site and give my comment. It is my “very humble oppion”. Critique is always easier than build. is among the best website emerges on the Internet. My best wishes to this site and thanks Tim for the great effort to provide SARS information for visitors around the globe