My life in a blog

IMBA Chinese Track student at The University of South Carolina, Moore Business School, I'm currently living in Columbia, SC and traveling all over the place

Check out my other blog: My life in pictures or better check out my Flickr account

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Better air, 空气好一点儿

Just wanted to let everyone know again about October 15, the Blog Action Day when all the blogs in the whole world will focus only on Environmental issues. Hope the bloggers voice will be heard...
If you have not done so, add your blog to the participating list and get ready to post something about the environment on the 15th.

Blog Action Day

Recently, the air in Beijing has been a lot better. On a sunny, clear sky day, Beijing feels so much more different.
With pollution in the air, you feel like living in an enclosed bubble and it seems like taking your breath away (not even considering the real health issues that are connected to this).

This picture, taken this morning is a view over The North 4th East Ring Road, with fluid traffic and clear sky.

Recently, at night, I am miraculously able to see some stars, including the moon which was not a privilege a while ago. Few days ago, while walking around at night in Beijing, I realized again how big the sky is and how pretty are the stars at night. It is hard to describe the feeling but it's like anything you take for granted and then you realize you don't have it anymore...


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good old South Carolina

This post really has nothing to do directly with my life, but it reminds me old good old South Carolina girls. Very nice girls by the way. Check it out! Get a map too before watching...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Small discovery, 小发现 xiǎo fāxiàn

If you spend a lot of time conference calling on Skype like I do right now, but sometimes you feel you want to turn off your microphone to sneeze, burp, eat something or maybe just sing for a while, this is the right post for you. In the conference breaks I am able to do some work for my own...

1) Skype has a nice advanced feature to help you put in a short-cut to mute the microphone at any moment.

Tools -> Options -> Advanced Feature (not difficult)

2) Sometimes, after you enable and start using this function you really forget if the mic is on or off. Unfortunately, Skype doesn't come with a build in Always On Top function so you can always check the status of your conference.
Luckily, I ran into a small freeware software that allows you to make any window Always On Top, minimize them to tray, put them as a floating icon on a desktop or changing widows transparency settings.

The name of this nifty software is: DM2, and more information can be found HERE.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Blog Action Day October 15, 2007 - 1st post

What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?
One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

Now, really what would happen if every blog publishes an article that discuss the same theme, on a specific day, all around the world? I don't really know, but I am willing to find that out and SO SHOULD YOU.

What is more important in the world nowadays than our environment? Living in a city like Beijing, really gives you a different view on the environment. It's been weeks, maybe even months... I don't even remember since I last seen a sky filled with starts. Unfortunately, it is something unheard of around here...

A while ago, I've published an article about the terrible Beijing pollution and show you how a polluted day looks like (Beijing problems: air). Nowadays, Beijing municipality is experimenting a trial period where even and odd numbered license plated cars can be used in alternative days. In this way, the government is trying to see the effect of reducing by half the number of cars onto the environment.

I will commit with all my possibilities as a blogger to create awareness among the people who read my blog and see if all together we can make a difference on October 15, 2007 the 1st declared BLOG ACTION DAY.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Internet Earthquake: Skype is down; 上网地动: Skype有问题

For the first time since I can remember, Skype is down. The multi-million dollar company, aquired by E-Bay a few years ago provides free and paid service for millions of subscribers all around the world. So, when the service is down, a part of the world stops revolving.

This little table says it all about the importance of this program (from Wiki):

The repair time announce by the team, 24 hours, seems to be make a lot of people unhappy, as the blog was instantly filled with complains. This issue today brings back once again the idea that internet is not all that safe, nor 100% reliable and companies should always have a backup plan, especially for communicating with customers or suppliers.

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From Beijing to Wuxi, work day 从北京到无锡, 白天工作

As planned, I managed to get a ticket from Beijing to Wuxi to visit my friend David, who works there for his internship. While trying to do this, I managed to come across a very good, but expensive service in Beijing to have tickets delivered to my home for 50 Yuan. Given the information gaps in Beijing’s railway system around our house, having this service handy can be a good opportunity.

The train from Beijing to Wuxi was not bad. I meet a couple of interesting guys, got involved with some discussions about money and habits of spending them by the Chinese people and soon went to bed.
The next morning in Wuxi felt like a summer vacation, hot, humid, sunny, blue skies, no noise, mild breeze… all these elements made me think of a summer vacation in a sea resort. Very good feeling…

David and I spent the day working on a filed project visiting two Ingersoll Rand facilities (one office in ShangHai and one in SuZhou) doing surveys and preparing future sign replacements.

Even though the jobs were the same, conduct a survey with the company for a future replacement of the signs, the in-city office didn't want too much trouble and left us to do our job.

The Shanghai office of IR covers 3 floors of a high-rise office building and kinda ignored us as we were doing our work. The Thermo-King factory in SuZhou was very happy to have us on site and immediately asked us if we intend to hold a meeting (simple example of the company’s inefficiencies in communication). We were assigned a chief engineer that took us around the factory and did our job in a professionally.

The lunch break was very interesting as we ate at Hooter’s in Shanghai (with Chinese girls of course). Most of Hooter’s customers were foreigners and the only Chinese people there were the ones foreigners would bring in for lunch. The girls try really hard to keep the franchise up to the standards, but they somehow fail to produce the lively environment foreigners are used to back in th US.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Must love the siesta

Very common after lunch, are Chinese long siestas taken on bikes, streets or standing.
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Another funny sign

What does this exactly mean?
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Sex Necessities

China has still many signs that have errors or just look funny. This one was seen in Shanghai and makes me wonder what kind of products are sold inside. Anyone knows? Whats are the ecessities for a good sexual health?
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Monday, August 06, 2007

Beijing Guo'an Vs. FC Barcelona 北京国安队 Vs. 巴塞罗那队

Ever since I know, I had the passion for the real game, for football. Whether it was driven by hanging out with my friends as a kid, or just influenced by my father, the passion is still active and very often hard to describe to people who don't understand the phenomenon.
Like every other kid, I dream of being able to watch my favourite team play and win against another top European football team. I also dream of being able to go to Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabeu in Barcelona, Madrid and watch live what I believe is the most amazing clash in the history of sports (FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid).

I still dream of that moment and I will have to wait a couple of years until try to make it happen. In the meantime, never would I've thought that by coming to China, at least I would be able to see FC Barcelona playing. Even though it was in Beijing, with a local Chinese team, the match drew large media interest and crowds of people to the stadium.

In China, football doesn't benefit of large audiences like basketball does; but for the Olympics, the government is trying to pre-organize a series of events for all kinds of sports in order to test its facilities, capabilities and get people' interest.

Most of the people came to the game to see Ronaldinho (小罗 or little Luo how Chinese people nicknamed him). His brand name in Asia worth more than then whole club put together. Is that the real message FC Barcelona wants to promote in Asia? Real Madrid did the same with Beckham and the story didn't have a happy ending. But, profit comes first, and even though announced as injured, little Luo played the second half, scoring the third goal.

Beijing tried to manage the game as good as they could. The result was unsatisfactory for a city that will manage the 2008 Olympics.
- the entrance to the game was only though one single gate

- security was poor, I was able to sneak in cans of beer
- bathroom was terrible and it became nightmare at half-time, how can you have transparent windows in the first place? - 5 minutes communist speech, communist pictures with the team delayed by 10 minutes the beginning of the game
- the scoreboard was powered by Microsoft Windows' Paint program (no licence)

- the sprinkler system started in the beginning by accident all over the field, pushing players and reporters away
- taxis and public transportation was insufficient once the game was over

Overall though, it was an event that marked 1 more year to go to until the Olympics.

Word of the day: 北京2008年奥林匹克运动会 (běijīng 2008 nián àolínpǐkè yùndònghuì) = Beijing 2008 Olympics