In Beijing – Love Beijing

If at the time of Olympics, Beijing’s weather is the same as today (I assume it will), and traffic is like today’s noon time (I assume it will), it will be fantastic place for the game. You got what I am saying? Beijing is very beautiful today with high visibility in air, and there is almost no traffic – my car didn’t stop fast running from airport to Tsinghua area for just one minute.

It is said that two months before the Olympics, most of the factories near Beijing will be paused, so the air quality should (pretend to) be better.

Beijing is the place for Internet companies. Lot of resources, and lots of ideas. I met more N (Intuition type in MBTI test) in Beijing – who are optimistic about technology’s future, and more intuition driven.

Shangri-la is a great hotel. They built a new wing. As always, I get two big red apple, and one small green apple, and a written welcome letter by their general manager. The pity is, every time I stay in Shangri-la, I don’t have too much time to sleep. The big bed does not secure enough sleeping time. 1:30 AM now. I think it is the time to go to bed.

I hope Yifan does not wake up at night, so wake Wendy up.

AdSense Color Schema Change

You may notice some very small change to the color of the AdSense on the right side of this blog. (I believe most people even didn’t notice that).

History of AdSense on this Blog

Within one week, I will see AdSense on my blog for 4 years. On Oct 22, 2003, I put up AdSense, inspired by Anders. That was only half year later than Google acquired Applied Semantics, the company created Google AdSense. Then it was launched to the public, and I am among the first bloggers putting up this code.

This is the Third Change of AdSense on my blog

The previous change was adding More AdSense Code on Site. To tell you the result of that change, I didn’t see any significant change at all, so I rolled back to the one ad unit per page design very soon.

This color change is the third major changes I made in the last 4 years.

What is this Change?

To do a A/B test, I kept 50% of ads the same as before, what Google called 120×600 Open Air ad. Then I changed the other 50% of the ad to a new color schema:

Border: #336699

Background: #EAEFF4

Very Round Corner

I call this style: 120×600 336699 EAEFF4 RC

Why do the Change

I do enjoy writing blog, and I also feel that I should do something, at last, to test more ways to show the ads. If the ad is still complimentary to the content and not annoying for my readers, why not try a new color style, and it may generate a little bit more revenue than it did before?

My reader gave me a lot of support in the last two changes. I think for this change, it is still a good one. I mean, as long as it does hurt the reading experience.

Hope this single AdSense tower on the right is OK. I hope…

Yifan’s Recent Photos

Yifan is 4 month and 12 days old today.

Here are his photos – a little, lovelym fatm healthy, and lazy boy.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Yifan and Wendy – what a sweet month-and-son

Babies grow so fast. I even can notice his daily progress. It is so nice to have a child.

Shanghai Photo Viewer

I added a link to all my individual pages tonight. You may notice that at the end of every entry, there are some photos showing related photos of the topic.

Using the Shanghai Photo Viewer, I can easily find latest Shanghai photos, and then find out a good topic to write about. Any keyword search gets a lot of great images from the online community.

If you want to know more about Shanghai and want to see it with your own eyes, you can try using the tool.

Updated November 10, 2007

This is the most frequently asked question about this Shanghai Photo Viewer. I hope it answers most of your questions. If you have unanswered questions, please post in the comment section.

Q: Why My Photo is Here?

A: Because you published your photo to Google Picasa Web. This photo viewer is just a viewer program to use Google Picasa Web Data API to access publicly hosted image of Google Picasa Web. As the major destination blog for visitors of Shanghai, I am using some keywords like Shanghai, or Bund to locate these photos.

Q: What is Google Picasa Web Data API?

A: According to Google:

The Picasa Web Albums Data API allows client applications to view and update Picasa Web Albums content in the form of Google Data API feeds. Your client application can request a list of a user’s albums, photos, comments, or tags, edit or delete content in an existing entry, and query the content in an existing entry.

Currently, there are thousands of applications on the Internet using this API to create rich applications around photos.

Did you Steal my Photos?

A: Absolutely not. It is still hosted on Google, and I do not store it locally on my server. Also, under each photo (bigger version), I have given credit to the author – as you specified when you sign up Google PicasaWeb.

Can I Remove my Photos from you “viewer”?

A: There are several ways. One is to mark your photo “private” when you upload. This is not just for my viewer, it also prevent other application that leverage the same API to display your photo. If you mark it “public”, you explicitly tell Google to serve the photo whenever an API client application requests it. If you don’t like what Google is doing, you can also choose the second approach – don’t use Google Picasa Web Albums. There are alternatives like (please note that this service also provide similar API). The third approach is to setup a photo album by yourself.

Update December 1, 2007

To address some of the concerns that the photo owner really don’t have their photo shown on this viewer, I have developed a new function to help them.

Automatically Remove my Photos

A) At the top of your Album, you will now see a link with text: “Remove these photos”.

B) Click to this link, and you will see a confirmation dialog to ask you to confirm that you want to delete the photos.

C) If you click YES, your photos will NOT be shown on this Photo Viewer.

Hope this addresses the concerns.

This does not Makes Sense, How should I have my Voice Heard?

A: Easy. Just post a comment below, and I will response. I am happy to accept any good ideas or suggestions.

Here are one example of it:

Updated November 13, 2007

BUG FIX: The cached version of some photos showed the early version of the photo viewer that was still in development and didn’t show credit to the owner of the photos. Now I have cleared all the cache, so to make sure all credit information is attached to each photo (bigger version). Meanwhile, I strengthened the author’s credit information to make it more dominate in any photo attached to it.

I am embarrassed by this bug. I believed that I have attached credit information to every single photo that was taken by somebody else in this blog in the last five years – if you check the 2000+ blog entries in the last five years, I always tried my best to give credit, although 95% of the photos in this blog was taken by myself with my own camera. I tried to follow the same guideline when I created this photo viewer. However, as you know, development takes time, and in early versions, you don’t have everything. When I wrote this blog entry, the development has finished. However, due to cache, it does not reflect the final output of the code. That is the cause of the problem. Now, I believe the problem has been fixed.

I’d like to thank Bruce Flanagan and Ashutosh to point this out for me.

Updated Special Thank You January 4, 2008

During the creation of this blog, one of the Picasa users, Alvar Lopez sent me many emails and gave me a lot of suggestions. He started with a good feedback about proper credit (result of incomplete work), and then became an angry complainer, because of a “remove these photos” function (my bad, again, for the bug). Finally, his suggestion made several important improvement for the photo viewer:

  • Remove of Google AdSense code. This was out of curiosity about how the “imagine only” Google AdSense performs v.s. Text ads. Now the experiment is over, and I have removed the code. Also, I don’t have any plan to add any Google AdSense code for this photo viewer in the future.
  • Remove my photo function. I understand it is very important for the photo owners to have the ability to control where their photos appear. Although by sharing photos on PicasaWeb, and the public Picasa API, it is intention to share the photos publicly, I think it is the right thing to do to give as much control as I can to the photo author. Now anyone (even not the owner) can prevent their photos to be displayed on this photo viewer. Please note: it does not prevent other similiar application from display the photo. The only way to prevent it is not to share the photo on Picasa Web, or make it unlisted when you publish. Alvar Lopez also helped to figure out a bug that in certain situation, it does not work as intended.

Again, thanks Alvar for the patience, and the back-and-forth email communication. It is readers like him to help me create a blog that millions of people are using every year. It turned out that finally, after I corrected all the bugs, we are friends (I believe), and Alvar is even so kind to link to my site. The next time you see something wrong with the site, let me know.

Zhangjiang and Downtown

This morning, I am in Zhangjiang (Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park).

Zhangjiang is a hi-tech area. Although it is still far from any other hi-tech park, it really have the potential. Many hi-tech companies are moving in, especially software, IC, and medical companies.

The tower of Zhangjiang Maison is a great building. In terms of hardware, it is even better than most office buildings in Puxi. For example, the Zhangjiang Maison is equipped with double layer glasses. Besides that, they even have double outer walls – there is air layer of 10 cm so air con is more effective in this building.

The other world-class building in Zhangjiang is the German Center. The center was managed by a German property management team. There is a nice German restaurant in the tower 1 of the building. That gives me an impression of Germany in China.

This is German Center from the sky:

Most of the parking lot there is free, and the parking in German Center is 3 RMB per hour – which is almost free for me who am used to 10 RMB/hour price.

Then when I drive to Puxi (Xujiahui Area), I feel that I am completely in another city.

Business is Business

The first time I talked about Business was in 2002.

Recently, when I looked back and did some summary of the last few years, I found out business means completely another thing for me.

Business is beautiful – it is not only strategy, not only financial, not only management, there are many other elements in it, that mixed and become a whole part. It is very interesting world.

It became even more interesting when we have a global world, where money and people can easily move from one place to another (like from Korea to another country), or using the resources in one country (like labor in China, tech in U.S, or business expertise in Europe) to create something new. All these are completely another world, with much longer history than technology world. Interesting.

Recently, I am reading two books – the Currency War, and the Great Game. Nice book, and fun to read. Highly recommend.

Currently, I am as interested in the Wall Streets as I am to Silicon Valley.

I even found out those pictures I took when I was Wall Streets three years ago.

New York Stock Exchange

J.P. Morgan site.

Policeman there.

Thirty-first Church

Plan to Go to Beijing

Try some bulletin style writing (invented by Ren Liu) – a style to use only bulletin instead of paragraphs in article.

  • I will be in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday of next week. All my old friends, drop me an email so we can meet.
  • Special Olympics closes today in Shanghai. Big event, but didn’t have any impact on me – I also watch it on TV.
  • Metro Line #8 is almost ready and will open soon. Good news.
  • Attending very late conference call these days, and very tired (even failed to wake up at 6:30 AM). That is the reason of pause in this blog.
  • Autumn comes, and T-Shirt, for the first time, does not work for me.


Wendy’s Wallet was Stolen

Wendy called me this morning, and told me her wallet was stolen at Xujiahui.

This is bad news.

It is just 100 meter from where I dropped her off, and her office, and the pocket picker steal her wallet easily and quietly. Typhoon hit Shanghai, and everywhere is wet and everyone is watching their steps, and this is the best time for those bad guys.

Wendy lost all his bank cards (credit cards and debit cards), Sodex card (for use in restaurants), public transportation card, and card to enter our residential area. She also has her National ID in it, plus small amount of cash.

She spent quite some time to call all the related bank to claim the lost of the cards, and it may take much longer to get a new National ID.

So friends, be careful.

I hate pocket pickers.

Second Thoughts

Not many people can make us more angry than a pocket pickers. I hate them. However, my second thoughts are, there are many more people other than pocket picker who took more money from our pocket and did it more frequently, but we never really noticed. There are thousands of ways to do it – legally or non-legally. I recently read many books on financial and politics. That is the reason this pocket picking even made more alerted of those invisible “robberies”.

Hangzhou to Shanghai D Train Schedule

Today, Wendy and I went to the Shanghai South Railway Station to pickup my parents-in-law. They took train D680 from Hangzhou to Shanghai South Station. I still haven’t try any of D train so far, but from their description, it is a wonderful train.

D Trains

D Trains are the best trains in China, and are of the first level in almost all aspects:

  • Hardware is cutting-edge, and most advanced
  • Railway resources are given to D trains with highest priorities. Other trains, like Z, T, K, or those without a letter in their name, all give ways to D trains. It has the right of road most of the time when there is a schedule conflict.
  • Their ticket prices are also the highest among all trains

Hangzhou to Shanghai South D Train Schedule

Train#, Departure, Destination, Departure Time, Arrival Time, Distance

D680 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 18:18 19:36 173

D672 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 20:41 21:59 173

D670 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 14:55 16:18 173

D668 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 13:23 14:41 173

D660 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 11:32 12:50 173

D658 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 09:55 11:13 173

D654 Hangzhou to Shanghai South 07:40 09:03 173

Shanghai South to Hangzhou D Train Schedule

Train#, Departure, Destination, Departure Time, Arrival Time, Distance

D683 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 20:01 21:19 173

D681 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 19:03 20:21 173

D675 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 16:40 17:58 173

D667 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 13:07 14:25 173

D663 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 11:45 13:03 173

D657 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 09:30 10:48 173

D653 Shanghai South to Hangzhou 07:50 09:08 173

Above information was last updated and verified on Oct 7, 2007.

Shanghai Attraction Photos

I have “borrowed” some great photos from Picasaweb’s user community. Using great Google Picasa Web API, I built some sample pages for me, so it is handy for myself to look for certain pictures. Here is a list of Shanghai Attractions (not in particular order, even without a particular criteria to include them) that I have many photos to show you. Hope you enjoy the photos (taken by other photographers)

Key Attractions


People’s Square

Yu Garden

Jingan Temple

Shanghai Museum


Pearl Tower

Jin Mao Tower

Tomorrow Square

Grand Gateway


Nanpu Bridge

Yangpu Bridge

Lupu Bridge



South Railway Station

Shanghai Pudong Airport

Hongqiao Airport


Hong Kou Stadium

Shanghai Stadium

Visited Jinmao with Parents Today

It is nice holiday, and I visited Jinmao with my parents. Unlike most tourists who pay 70 RMB to get to the crowded top (at 88th floor), we visited my favorite cafe at the 56th floor of the tower, which is also called “bottom of the Great Well” by myself.

If you want to see the Great Well, you can check out my blog entry here: The Great Well in Jinmao Tower. (For visitors in China, you need to find out a working proxy to workaround the Great Firewall to see the photos on flickr)

We didn’t take camera with us (maybe intentionally, just to enjoy the time there), and if you want more pictures, maybe you can check out Jin Mao collection of my Photo gallery . (The photos listed were not taking by me. Credit was given to their owners)

Here are two of the many photos:

Photograph by Batya

Photograph by Batya

I am happy to be there with my parents – after thinking about for a long time. My parents are the type of persons who enjoy saving money. The “luxurious” orange juice was a surprise for them, but a pleasant one. I really should show more about my world to my parents, who spent so many years helped me to step into this world and had showed their best part of the world to me in the last 30 years.

Burma and my Ignorance

I understand that I seemed to be living in vacuum, and until now I didn’t really understand what is going on in Burma. I am on holiday from Oct 1 to today – the national holiday, so I am pretty relaxed and didn’t use the Internet the same way as I did. Pardon me about my ignorance, but I didn’t know what happened in Burma until a BBC reporter sent me an email to ask me whether I am happy about China’s reaction to the events in Burma. At that time, I even don’t know the meaning of Burma, and I looked it up in my online dictionary, and know it is the name of the country. I know the Chinese name very well – Miandian, and Burma is just too different from its Chinese pronounciation. Then I started to see threads on this blog discussing it.

OK. The I learned a little bit more about it via blogs, and some twitter updates. However, I still didn’t get a full picture. When I try to find out information on the Internet about Burma, all my Internet connection just consistently cut off. I have ways like VPN, or proxy to work around it, but just because of my vacation mood, and the fact that I am not at computer most of the time, I didn’t take the trouble to do it yet.

So, let me find out more about it when I have more time (instead of moving from one place to another). Meanwhile, I think it makes sense to start the topic so people can start to talk about it. That discussion can be very interesting.

Something I know is, most of the links in a Google News Search results are not accessible, and trigger the Great Firewall. Someone doesn’t want people in China to know what is happening, even though it is out of China.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall is at People’s Square, and it is a must visit place for many travelers. Typically, you should spend a day at Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. Here are the pictures I took before.

Below: The Exhibition Hall:

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: This is inside the building, looking up.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Models of the Future

Here are the introduction about the renovation of the Bund – they are going to turn it into boat hub.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

The future expo site:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

The other site of Shanghai Expo:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Pudong International Airport in the future.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photography Technical Details of Night Scenes

I posted some pictures on the Bund (National Holiday 2007 in Shanghai)

© Jian Shuo Wang

Liping asked:

Jianshou, those pictures are fantastic. I had some difficulty to take sharp images of night scene. How do you take those pictures? Did you use any special settings? Did you use tripod? I have Nikon D50, too.

Posted by: Liping on October 2, 2007 10:42 PM

Let me share my tips of taking the photos. Please note that I am by no means a professional photography, and even didn’t have enough time to think about the technical details. Let me just share what I did, and hopefully it helps.

Technical Details

For the photo shown above, here are the key metrics:

Focal Length: 70.0 mm – this is very long length, the longest in my current lens.

Flash: Not Used – it is completely useless for flash to capture night scene.

Aperture: f/25.0 – very small indeed. This is to ensure the sharp image of the picture. The small it is, the sharper the image is.

Exposure bias: -0.67 – this is very key. Since the auto-exposure meter will take the dark sky into consideration, it makes sense to under-exposure a little bit so the color of the building reveals.

Exposure: Program – this is the [P] mode on the D50 camera.

Exposure time: 8.000s – this is maybe the most important thing. I used exposure time of 8 second. That is after you press the shuttle button, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. I know, that is very long. This makes it possible for me to use smaller Aperture to get the sharp image.

The Key Challenge – to Hold the Camera Tight

1/60 second is the threshold for most people to hold the camera tight enough. The key challenge for me to take night scenes is to hold the camera tightly as possible, for as long as 8 seconds!

I don’t want to bring a tripod with me. That is huge, and again, I don’t want to be a professional photographer. Even if I do, I don’t want the burden of a tripod ruin my pleasant travel mood.

I always find something, like the pole near the river, or a bench, or even a solid grand. Then put the camera directly onto the solid supporting surface. Then set the exposure to long enough, so even there are some initial small movement of the camera, it won’t impact the imagine too much.

Hope these tips helps.

More Case Study

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

This one uses:

18.00 mm Focal length

10.000s Exposure time

f/16.0 Aperture

Car Towing at Owner’s Expense?

Every time I travel to different country, I tried hard to understand how the society works. This time, I want to seek for some help to understand “car towing at owner’s expense” terms displayed in many private properties.

Look at these plates (which I took when I visited Cisco).

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

And here (in Creative Labs).

All these notice states that “Unauthorized Vehicles will be towed away at vehicle owner’s expense. This kind of plates are everywhere. So I am curious about it and did some research.

CVC 22658

On these plates, I found the magic number: California Vehicle Code 22658. What is that? Specifically, what is the 22658-a?

A simple search to this number yield the following result:

22658. (a) ( )1 The owner or person in lawful possession of private property, including an association of a common interest development as defined in Section 1351 of the Civil Code, may cause the removal of a vehicle parked on the property to a storage facility that meets the requirements of subdivision (n) under any of the following circumstances:

(1) There is displayed, in plain view at all entrances to the property, a sign not less than 17 inches by 22 inches in size, with lettering not less than one inch in height, prohibiting public parking and indicating that vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense, and containing the telephone number of the local traffic law enforcement agency and the name and telephone number of each towing company that is a party to a written general towing authorization agreement with the owner or person in lawful possession of the property. The sign may also indicate that a citation may also be issued for the violation.

Another Example of Law and Law Enforcement

This is another interesting sign about law and enforcement (FYI, the other one was “The Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”).

Let me try to “guess” how it works, and please tell me if my assumption is not correct.

All properties in U.S has an owner. Either individual/family, or company, organizations, or government (all kinds of government).

All private properties are protected by law. The property owner (like the companies in this case) has the right on this land to remove any violating vehicle. There are also some commercial service, like Pro-star Towing in the first plate, who are willing to help property owners to enforce their right.

If it is allowed by a law (like CVC 22658), the tower company can directly tow the vehicle to a location that complies to the law (there are other terms in 22658), and the owner of the vehicle has to pay for that fee.

So the property owner is happy since they enjoy their rights (no one can park illegally there), and the towing company is happy (making money!). Only the owner of the car is unhappy – paying money, and take all the trouble to bring it back, so they will avoid it.

Is that correct?

Thought about China’s Law System

The reason I thought about this was about the parking in Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Parking is a problem there. It is chaos I would say. There are illegal parking everywhere, some were even creative enough to park it in the middle of a road or corner of a road, thus no other cars are able to leave.

The security guards worked very hard to prevent it from happening, but how can they possibly enforce that with such a big campus and just 10s of people?

So they put all kinds of stuff to the key locations on campus – signs, chairs, stones, ropes, flags – almost everything to pre-occupy those locations so it is hard for cars to park there. That makes the whole campus a mess. As you can imagine, that does not work. They put a chair at the road side, wishing drivers see the chair and park somewhere else, but cars just park side by side with the chair – making the road narrower.

Of cause, the most useless thing is a “No Parking” sign.

Police Enforcement, or Owner Enforcement

Police does not work so well. First, there is no law or even custom to say the land is owned by someone. In technical terms, no one in this country owns any land, so they don’t have any rights. Secondly, if you want to remove some vehecle, call a police. This may turn police into a big towing company (using tax payer’s money).

I think the California way works well even in China’s environment.

Your Thoughts or Experience?

I clearly understand as a visitor, there are still a lot for me to explorer. If you happen to be a lawyer and know more about it, would you please share more thoughts about it? I am also interested in knowing anyone had the experience to be towed, or has enforced such towing before.

Is there any side effect (or negative effect) of this law?

P.S. Toys for Happy Holiday

Let me share the toys Wendy and I liked a lot 2 years ago. We put them into hidden place to avoid Yifan. :-) Yifan has his own toys.

© Jian Shuo Wang

National Holiday 2007 in Shanghai

Below. The World Financial Center is with Jin Mao Tower side by side. It is significantly higher than Jin Mao, but from this angle, they looks of the same heights. The two towers raise just into the cloud, so the tops are not so clear.

Below: The first picture of the Bund.

Below: the Bund was well lit up at night.

Below: Laser lights shot into sky.

Below: The “Most Magnificent Building in Fareast” – the current Pudong Development Bank building and the Custom Building on the right.

Visiting the Bund (the Pudong side) is the must have activity for us. Every time, it still looks breath taking for me (after visiting 20+ times).

Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro

To prepare for a video conference call tomorrow morning (early in the morning), I started to use another WebCam. I don’t remember how many webcam I started to use and abondoned (lose them, broke them, or simply lost drivers so they didn’t work).

They have a nice 12″ Desktop Stand for use when not on the go!

They have a carrying case too. I don’t know where should I put it yet. I am pretty sure that the fate for this case is getting lost soon.

Sign. I used a New WebCam, Again!

There are two things I don’t enjoy. First, to get a new pair of glasses. Most of the time, my glasses are thicker than the last time. This is typically un-recoverable.

The second thing is to open the package of a new web cam. I don’t know how many webcam I have. 10? 20? or more, but I don’t have one that always travel with me, and more importantly, I didn’t use them so often. The famous saying or the infamous saying is: “Cannot find something in your home? To buy something is always quicker than looking for it”. I am in this bad habit.

P.S. I was asked to use NetMeeting. OMG! Is there anyone still using this application? It is the first time I know that NetMeeting uses H.233 protocol and can directly connect to hardware equipment like Polycom…