Archive | February, 2007

Climbing Mount Hua.

During the chinese new year spring festival, we made a trip to the Huashan mountain. It was a two hour ride from Xi’An. We had to wait over one hour in line, until we finally sat down in a cable car and started going to the top of the mountain. I took my Canon XL1s camera on the trip – this is the result.


Dead Man’s Chest on TV.

Dead Man's Chest on chinese TV

Dead Man's Chest on chinese TV

Dead Man's Chest on chinese TV

I could not believe my eyes when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest during the spring festival – it was shown on “Shaanxi Movie Channel 4”. In english, with a sound that seemed to be from a screener. The image quality was superb, after all, the DVD is out already. The movie was running on regular TV with chinese subtitles, I saw it on the television from my parents in law in Xi’An, Shaanxi province. Look at the pictures, I shot them during the scene in the bar where they are trying to recruit 99 people for that octopus dude. I wonder how much the TV station paid for the screening rights…


‘Hainan Airline’ rocks.

I flew around China with Air China, China Eastern, Southern China – but now I’ve got a new favorite for domestic flights: Hainan Airlines. Why? Because it’s so damn relaxing. At the beginning of the flight, all the flight attendants introduce themselves by saying their name and bowing down. Have you ever experienced that before? Me not. Then, the design of the chairs: On the sheets there are suns, shells and other ‘sunny’ stuff. So nice! Next: The food. They don’t give you a box with everything inside, they let you choose between two dishes. The one you pick you get hot and tasty, and additionally you get a box full of other food! So much too eat, and kinda western style. Incredible, and it tastes really good that stuff. The company people were really nice, it was a great experience flying with them. No, I don’t get paid by them, I just want to recommend this way better flight company. China Eastern might be a little bit cheaper, but has horrible service, stressed people and just seems like a money-making company. Spend the few extra Renminbi and take Hainan Airlines. You wont regret it.


Geeky Valentine’s Day present.

Geeky Valentine's Day present: USB MIDI piano keyboard

Since we have neither the space nor the money to buy a real Piano at the moment, I decided to present my wife a MIDI-USB keyboard that she can use on my PowerBook from Apple. She loves to play but has left her ‘standalone’ keyboard at her home in Xi’An for her mom. So I went out to find one, and let me tell you, that was not easy. First I went to one of the chain stores, ‘Jolo’. After faking to play the piano in front of fifteen employees and repeating the words ‘USB!’ and ‘MIDI!’ they finally understood what I want and told me the famous words ‘mei yo’, don’t have. So I headed to the Hong Kong tower, since there is a huge complex for electronic gadgets. First floor, nothing. Second floor, nothing. Third floor, nothing – but a guy who spoke a bit english told me to go to ‘Jingling Lu’, where there are many music stores. So I went there, and started fighting my way through one shop at a time. Finally, I found a shop, but when they presented me some extreme high-quality USB keyboard for 5.000 Renminbi, so I left the shop laughing. Eventually, I found a much cheaper one from ‘ESI’ with 49 keys called ‘KeyControl 49’ in a smaller shop on the same, long street. What’s the message? You can find anything in Shanghai, but you’ll need a lot of time and good legs. Thank god Valentine’s Day is only once a year. Oh, and my wife loved the present.
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Chinese Skype under attack.

Warning, dear chinese Skype users! There are quite some robots roaming around Skype at the moment, telling you that you have won some huge amount of money or a computer or a dragon, for all I care. They are cheating! The Domains “” and “” look like Skype, but are in fact fake! DO NOT SUBMIT ANYTHING! Just open “” and see for yourself: It says “Directory Listing Denied – This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed”. Do you think a big company like Skype would launch a website without a starting page? Yeah, right. Some clever dude was lucky, got the .cn ending and tries to cheat you right now! Same goes to “”, which is some kind of portal and not related to Skype at all! Don’t fall for their tricks. The only “official” Skype sites are “” and for China, “”. Every other winning URL submitted to you is trying to steal something for you. Ignore these robots, and put them on your blacklist.


Vote the Schmoe!

Favorite Movie of the Year: Children of Men

Worst Movie of the Year: Little Man

Best Director of the Year: Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Best Screenplay of the Year: The Prestige

Most Overrated Movie of the Year: Superman Returns

Most Underrated Movie of the Year: The Fountain

Trippiest Movie of the Year: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Comedy of the Year: Borat

Best Horror Movie of the Year: Slither

Best Animated Movie of the Year: Happy Feet

Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year: The Fountain

Best Special Effects of the Year: Pan’s Labyrinth

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: The Da Vinci Code

Biggest Surprise of the Year: The Descent

Best Actor of the Year: Clive Owen (Children of Men)

Best Actress of the Year: Ellen Page (Hard Candy)

Best Supporting Actor of the Year: Jack Nicholson (The Departed)

Best Supporting Actress of the Year: Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)

Breakthrough Performance of the Year: Ellen Page (Hard Candy)

Favorite Celebrity of the Year: Scarlett Johansson

Coolest Character(s) of the Year: Frank Castello (The Departed)

Best Music in a Movie: The Departed

Favorite Movie Poster of the Year: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Trailer of the Year: The Fountain

Best DVD of the Year: Oldboy (3-Disc Edition)

Best Action Sequence of the Year: One-take rescue baby (Children of Men)

Most Memorable Scene in a Movie : One-take rescue baby (Children of Men)

Best T&A of the Year: Kate Beckinsale (Underworld: Evolution)

Best Line of the Year: I’m gonna have a smoke now…

Vote here.


Nobody gives a damn.

So, when I uploaded my Microsoft Vista ad on the Jin Mao tower image to flickr, I was hoping that it would make the round on the internet. I support the free use of images, this is why I give my images almost always a ‘Attribution-ShareAlike‘ license. I like my fifteen minutes of fame now and then, this is why I choose this license – it says ‘You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor’. That means, correct me if I am wrong, add my damn name to it. Or link to my flickr image. Or to my blog. Just do something so the visitors understand who shot the damn image! And what do I see today? My image did make the round, it was even posted on the great site that Gizmodo is. But what do these guys do? They link to Shanghaiist, who found the image in the first place. No link to my original post, no link to my original flickr image, not even my name. Gizmodo even copied the 1$ joke from me. So, my snapshot manages to go onto one of the best gadget guides in the internet, to a website where you’d think they actually give a damn about licenses and internet copyright, but no, nothing. This is not someone crying for being mentioned more often, I am writing this to remind people that ‘free’ content on the net should at least be linked fairly. So please, do give a damn about Creative Commons!


Chinabounder is back.

First of all, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely don’t agree with Chinabounder’s way of dealing with women; I come from a big family, and if I knew that some guy like him was hitting on one of my family members, I’d make sure he would not be able to hit anything ever again. But what I like are people who talk out, people who swim against the stream, as we say in Germany. It’s more then fascinating what kind of waves his ‘Sex and Shanghai / ????‘ blog created. After getting quite famous, a chinese professor named Zhang Jiehai started mobilizing users all around China to ‘find him and to kick him out of China’. A professor of Psychology. That’s like a shrink starting to beat his patients, is it not? He takes on him in his post ‘A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.‘ That post is already quite a few months old, but recently he published the post ‘A new girl‘, where he starts to blame the chinese media of focusing on the absolutely wrong topics. What he writes there has quite some truth, while a lot is exaggerated, a lot also shocks. Give it a read. Looking at the comments, it’s quite obvious that his readers are ‘black & white’ people, they either love him or hate him. People, there are grey zones! You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but you should give him a chance with this post. It’s not about making love to women, it’s about China. I hope to read more political posts from him in the future, as it gives people a different view on things. And giving completely different views on things is always a good thing, no matter if the author is a idiot or a teacher, like in this case.

If you want to read some more opinions about his return, here you go: Shanghaiist, fiLi, Marc van der Chijs, Rattle and Hum 2.0 (in chinese), Danwei, The China Analyst.


Advertising from Microsoft.

Windows Vista on Jin Mao Tower

I could not belive my eyes when we left the “Banana Leaf” restaurant in Shanghai’s Pudong district yesterday – there was a huge advertising on the 421 meter high Jin Mao Tower! On one of the biggest skyscrapers in Asia! Yes, it makes absolutely sense to advertise like that in the country where you can buy a copy of Vista for about one dollar. Whatever Microsoft!

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