Life in China | Dominik Mayer – Products, Asia, Productivity

In 2008 and 2009 I spent 1.5 years studying Chinese at Tongji University in Shanghai. This is my way to China, these are my experiences in Shanghai.

I arrive in China on page 15.

Chatting With a MacBook

Still trying to find out which laptop to get, I went to a local store and took a look at the macbooks. They didn’t have the newest ones but some mid-2007 machines with Tiger.

The one I tested had the speech recognition application running and so I really talked to the macbook and it answered. I asked for the time, the date and actually a joke. I have to admit that I didn’t get the joke. I might have been expecting too much.


First snow here. Winter’s coming… Hopefully a not too cold one with a white christmas and enough snow (and time) for skiing.


I was about to buy a MacBook when I stumbled upon AppleDefects. Now I think it might be better to get an old ThinkPad rather than a new MacBook…


UAE Tumblr pointed to FreeRice, a site which helps you to learn English vocabulary and donates ten grains of rice for each word you get right.


(Image: FreeRice)

Feel the Time

How should one know when 15 minutes are over if one follows another rule that says:

Don’t have any clocks visible to you

Solid State

A friend thinks that a new MacBook is nonsens and I should rather get an old 12 inch ThinkPad and install a 8 or 16 GB solid state disk. 16 GB… Actually it’s only 14,9 GB as the conversion factor is 1024, not 1000 (1 GB = 1024 MB). That would only be 2,9 % of the available space on my desktop computer.

And there’s no optical drive. Hm. If I wouldn’t go to China I could once again wait for Apple to introduce its ultra-portable what’s now supposed to happen at Macworld Expo in January.

Cocktail Course

I was about to leave university when I heard some some noise and noticed a crowd busy with bottles and glasses. It turned out to be the cocktail course for the upcoming freshmen party. I was offered two free drinks and, as a driver, finally ended up with a tasty nonalcoholic one.

Ice Cube

How can an ice cube get into my closed bottle of lemonade in the fridge and survive in there?

Back From Shanghai

A friend has been working in Wuxi for the last couple of weeks and spent several days in Shanghai. He returned today and brought along some great pictures. I’m really looking forward to going there.

And Tongji finally knows when I have to register: On February 20th or 21st, the semester will start on February 25th.

Here and There

The ground’s frozen and the snow stays. And they’re having T-shirt weather in Shanghai…


Since November 1st you don’t only need a mugshot to apply for a German passport, they also scan your fingerprints…

The fact that Tongji needs the serial number of my passport revealed a minor bug in the passport application software. The number on the screen was not the same as on the print-out and no one knew which of them was correct.

After a while we found out that the field isn’t long enough, the missing characters are just hidden and it’s possible to scroll to the end and show them. So I hope I have all the things they need for the visa.


The first of eight appointments at different doctors brought me two vaccinations and the prospect of a good deal more in a biweekly cycle. After that, I’ll resist everything. ;-)


A Chinese friend helped me practicing Chinese pronunciation via Skype and I completely forgot about the two baguettes in the oven which got some unpleasant color…

No Need to Go?

The cafeteria was overrun with Asian students today. I’ve been studying for three years now but I can’t remember having ever seen that much of them at one place before.


According to I’m worth $2,457,100. puts my remains at $3,710. So I’ll lose $2,453,390 by dropping dead.