An italki story

I was at work, here at italki, when a very good Chinese friend called me. She was the one who has been looking for an apartment for me before I even arrived in China, she helped me to find the room that should become my home for the next year and she guided my first steps in this foreign country.

She said she knows italki. Of course. That’s where we first met. I remeber. Back at the computer, I checked my friends and there she was. And on Saturday, we’ll meet in person.

Give them time

A recent discussion among friends. They think the Chinese government is on a good way. It’s working in the best interest of the country. We have to understand that.

Today, the Golden Shield also blocks Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Live, and Bing.

One of the friends is now “disappointed by the government.”

I feel confirmed. And helped her to set up tor.

We believe

Pandora isn’t allowed to provide its service outside the US:

We believe that you are in China

Using Tor sometimes loads the application without playing the music. And sometimes doesn’t:

We believe you are in Germany

Finally. A gate in the wall

“Tor” is German for gate or short for “The Onion Router”, an anonymity network finally allowing me to access the world outside. VPN hasn’t been working for long. Again. Thanks to a great guide I don’t have to rely on it any longer.

I hate Chinese internet

So VPN works now. Quelle surprise. Maybe because I’m using a neighbor’s Wi-Fi as our cable network gets disconnected every other minute. And I’ve read they’re going to censor more after the end of the Olympic Games. Great prospects. If I’ll be gone for the next four months, you know why.

OpenStreetMap for Beijing

Wow, that was fast. So they came up with a great fourth option. I hope Shanghai will be next.

English maps, Chinese maps, beautiful maps and no maps

Google has been offering a Chinese map of Shanghai for quite some time. Not at but at Ditu, 地图, is the Chinese expression for map.

Now I stumbled upon a new, English one:

It doesn’t only show the public transportation but also restaurants, banks, cinemas, theaters, … Here an example of the area around Nanjing Lu:

But the most beautiful maps of Shanghai come from edushi (E都市, E-City):

Bund, Pudong and Old City

Bund, Pudong and Old City (lower left)

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

Hongkou Stadium and Lu Xun Park

They have already covered many Chinese Cities and seem to want more.

So why Yahoo, why, why, why don’t you make maps, buy maps or allow the use of one of the above mentioned ones in flickr?

The police called

And asked the woman if I use the internet. At least that’s what I understood. Very strange.

Network cable

NULL encryption just worked once. With help of the lrz I’m about to narrow down the problem. Today I bought a new network cable and for now I can use VPN. In case it stops working again, I got three more points on my list. But I hope the best.

NULL encryption

No news from the lrz. They didn’t even bother to reply. Today I played around and checked “Allow using NULL encryption” in the configuration dialog. For the moment, VPN works. I hope it’ll last.

Hurry up, LRZ

Would be great if the lrz could finally fix the problems with their VPN server that I’ve reported over a month ago. The golden shield prevents me from accessing several sites. This blog is one of them.

Third chance

I’ve tried twice but never got beyond two posts. With me being in Shanghai and twitter’s increasing popularity I’m thinking about giving it a third chance. Let’s try it for a few days.


Ubuntu 8.04 brought me Firefox 3 Beta 5 which is not yet supported by one of my crucial add-ons. Chinese Perapera-kun translates Chinese words by hovering over them. Very useful.

Now I have to get along with these:

Golden shield on vacation?

Since yesterday I can reach the German Wikipedia without VPN and now the English one is also “unprotected”.

Coral against the golden shield

When I stumbled upon Coral Content Distribution Network I thought it might help to view blocked pages in China. It does. Not always, but the German Wikipedia - not the English one - can be found as well as this blog.

You just need to append at the end of the URL to load it via Coral. For this site it’s

No Spiegel Online in China?

German news site Spiegel Online seems not to be available without VPN. Probably due to their coverage of the situation in Tibet.

Check this article on The Atlantic for details about Chinese internet censorship. (Thanks to Google Blogoscoped for the link.)


Webware found phrasr, another tool that translates words into pictures.


Beta update

Skype updated its version 2.0 beta for Linux but I still don’t see any profile pictures on my 64-bit system. :-(

Clever use

Hooray, lifehacker shows us how to open a letter with a pen. Who would have thought this was possible? Watch out for the next episodes about how to do it using a key or, highly audacious, a finger.


If you’d create a product, let’s say a website, wouldn’t you at least check the meaning of your name in the top ten languages? Well, doof didn’t.


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

Video in beta

Skype finally released version 2.0 beta for Linux including video support. Two years after it was first introduced in the Windows version and one year after Mac OS got it…

Bad, bad RSS

Techcrunch reports that the Chinese Government has blocked all RSS feeds. Luckily, they still seem to be accessible through Google Reader.

Simpsonize me!

I’ve been trying to simpsonize myself for over a week now but the stupid site won’t let me:

Whoa! As the world is going Simpsons it is getting a little crowded in here.
Come back a little later and try again.

Arg. It worked for a friend: