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Jingtian's Blog


Heavy Snow

Написано Jingtian , 20 Январь 2008 · 732 Просмотров

Recently there have been heavy snow in my hometown. Here are some photos:

Turtle in the road:

Miss Snow White:


Healthy people going to swim in the icy water:

Plum blossoms (China's national flower) in full bloom in the snow:

But I hope that the heavy snow will not last long, as it has caused severe problems for the traffic.

A gas station in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, collapsed, crushing a person to death and injuring another who were seeking shelter from the heavy snow:

By the way, snow is a rarity in Shanghai. I have been in Shanghai for more than 7 years, but haven't seen any heavy snow in Shanghai. Actually it has snowed only three or four times during those years. Therefore the Shanghai people might be very excited about making a snowman or taking part in a snowball fight.


Shanghai Metro

Написано Jingtian , 12 Январь 2008 · 687 Просмотров

Shanghai Metro

7 metro lines have been put to operation in Shanghai, plus a maglev line, connecting the suburbs with the center of the city.

I like traveling by metro. One of the major reasons is that it is punctual, unless there is a breakdown of the train, which can be fixed within a few minutes or a dozen minutes. But be sure not to get up too late, the trains run at longer intervals in off hours.

Another reason is that whatever is outside, be it pouring rain or scorching sun, it is comparatively cozy inside the metro. Sometimes I also take a bus home, but if there is heavy rain or blazing sunshine, I will not consider buses.

Besides, it is a place where many stories happen. Actually quite a few TV series have been made based upon stories that happen on the metro. Sometimes one can meet an old friend who has disappeared for quite a long time and has an interesting chat. Sometimes one can see the busy Shanghai people learning English or other subjects. I once saw a foreigner studying Chinese on the metro. Reading newspapers, playing PSP, listening to music and talking on the mobile phones are commonplace. Do people want to kill time or make good use of every minute? Either is possible, or even both. I, however, like to watch other people on the metro. When I was still living on campus and working for Dow, every morning I met a French lady. We got on the carriage at the same station, we never talked, but whenever I met her, I gave a friendly smile. Maybe she had noticed that, or maybe not. It does not matter, as I do not have a crush on her. But no one would be unhappy about standing beside a graceful lady. Then I moved to another area of Shanghai, and then moved back again, but I never saw her again. Maybe she has moved, too. Who knows?

But as one of the main pitfalls, it is extremely crowded on the train at rush hours. It is said that you cannot move at all on Metro Line 1 in the morning. I seldom take Line 1, but I am familiar with Line 2 and Line 3. Sometimes I cannot get on the metro because there is no room on the metro. Last week, I saw a foreigner taking the photo of the door cannot close because a passenger's bag gets stuck in the door. I do not know the purpose of his doing so, but I did not stop him. Maybe he had not seen so crowded scene on the metro before. Last summer, I was standing beside a foreign man with two kids. It was a bit suffocating in the carriage, one of the kids said, "I cannot breathe." So they got of at the next station. The senior citizens aged above 70 can travel by metro for free, but the question is, who dare? At least I will not do that when I reach 70.

On December 29, Line 6, 8 and 9 were put to operation. It is now even more convenient to travel by metro, because there are more lines available and more transfer stations. I myself have benefited a lot from Line 8, as I can save about 50 minutes every day if I take Line 8. So if you want to have coffee with me, please make an appointment in advance, I will tell you to get off from which stop of Line 8.



Farewell, Netscape

Написано Jingtian , 06 Январь 2008 · 549 Просмотров

Recently I came across the news that the Netscape team has given up their work on the Netscape web browsers, and it turns out to be true. Please click here to view the details.

I have heard about the Netscape browser, but never used it, which is said to be very popular in 1990s. Anyway, they are giving up their efforts. I seldom used computer in the 1990s. When I started to use the computer and have the Internet access, the only web browsers I heard was Internet Explorer (5.0 at that time). Later, as my computer skills grew, I began to switch to browsers with IE kernel, such as Green Browser, MyIE, etc, until I got to know Firefox and Opera. At present, my first choice is Opera or Firefox, MyIE the second, IE7 the third.

A few days ago, I came across a post complaining about difficulties in making his website compatible with Firefox, which said that in order to make his website Firefox-supportable, he had to write much longer code. I don't know about the situation in other countries, but I guess in China, more than 80% of the users only user Internet Explorer, or browsers with IE kernel. Therefore, a lot of web pages cannot be displayed well when viewed with Firefox or Opera. It is a real pain that sometimes I have to use Internet Explorer to log into some site or to view the webpages. It is time that every web developer made the page cross-browser.

Farewell, Netscape! Good luck, Firefox, Opera, Safari!


New Year Resolution

Написано Jingtian , 01 Январь 2008 · 689 Просмотров

1. Change my job
2. Secret :)
3. Improve my English / German / Russian skills
4. Master Adobe Framemaker and Microsoft Visio
5. Help one of my friends find a girlfriend
6. Further enhance my table tennis skills


The Person We Should Thank most in 2007

Написано Jingtian , 24 Декабрь 2007 · 517 Просмотров

It is indeed the holiday season now. As a tradition, we send and receive a large amount of short messages recently. Today I received such a message from an old friend of mine:

The end of the year is drawing close. Who is the person that you should thank most in the year 2007? Who has given you a guide when you are at a loss? Who has ignited your life that would otherwise have been commonplace? Please do not blurt out my name. Be low-profile... Be low-profile...

It is just a witty message and I could have ignored it. But isn't this a time that we reflect on our greatest achievements and biggest failures and those we are most indebted to at the same time?


On the Move again

Написано Jingtian , 09 Ноябрь 2007 · 229 Просмотров

Long before our lease contract became due, the landlord sent me a message: "We are not ready to renew the leasing contract when it expires. You have to look for another house elsewhere."

It is very upsetting to receive such a message, and what's more, the message is presented in such an impolite way. But she is the owner of the house and can do whatever she wants unless it is in accordance with the law.

Last Sunday she and her husband came here with a man, talking about upholstery. She said that if I moved out before the contract expired, she would give back the money for the over-paid period.

Living in a big city has its own pitfalls, a major one among which is housing problems. You will never know where you will move to in half a year. But it is a good aspect, too, as you are free to move anywhere, close to the place where you work so that you spend less time to and from work, or far away from it in order to leave everything behind and enjoy real life.

It is said that rent has been increased by about 30-40% percent in the past few months in Shanghai. I will check it out in the real estate agents tomorrow, and make a decision which area I will move.


New Job

Написано Jingtian , 09 Ноябрь 2007 · 251 Просмотров

"You should also finish the Server Administration Guide by the end of this week."
"And you have to keep in mind who your target audience is, because you will train them in server administration and maintenance."
"But it is difficult for me at the moment."
"Then you have to learn," said the CTO (Chief Technology Officer), patting me on the back.

A year ago, if someone told me that I would go abroad and train the foreign engineers in server-related stuff, I would have thought it was a big joke. But yes, it is true, and I have experienced a lot that my former classmates would not even have thought of. The only type of cat that I had heard about was the Persian cat, now I am working with tomcat.

I have been working for the new company for about two months, but I have not written anything about it. The reason is that I have very complex feelings towards this company.

My colleagues are very helpful and hard-working, and I am impressed by their diligence. One of the developers who writes the most complex programs often sometimes goes to the office at weekends, and he knows that he will not get paid for overtime. Although they complain about the CTO sometimes, they are content with what they do and what they get here.

And there is a ping pong table in the office, therefore we can play after lunch and when we get off work, and at weekends if we want to.

Yesterday CTO had a talk with me. In our company, CTO plays a very import role, he has the final say in recruiting and firing an employee. Since I came, he has fired two employees, both of whom were given short, if any, notice. In a meeting CTO once said that a person cannot survive in a small company if he/she just wants to loaf around.

He asked me how I was getting along with my colleagues. Then he thanked me for making some suggestions to him. Some of them are very good, some are wrong, but he still welcomes my suggestions. Next, to my surprise, he said that I should take the leadership role in the Chinese team. Is it a hint for promotion? I guess not, but it is good that I have won his trust. I chuckled, as I call myself CCO (Chief Cuisine Officer) in the office, for I am the one who orders meals for team members every day. At last, he said that this position brought many good opportunities, as I have the chance of working with the world's leading mobile phone operators. I see, I don't have to worry about the possibility of getting sacked.

Anyway, I would go abroad, in the near future, to train foreign engineers! I am not alone, as I guess my project manager will go with me. He is a real technical guy and knows everything about servers. But I have to learn, if I cannot take up that challenge, at least it would be much easier for me to interpret for him if I really know something about the subject.


12:00 pm - noon or midnight?

Написано Jingtian , 01 Ноябрь 2007 · 781 Просмотров

This is an English teaching entry targeting at Chinese readers.

What does 12:00 pm mean? Most Chinese people will think that 12:00 pm means midnight and 12:00 am means noon. It is wrong.

One of my colleagues got an Email before our CEO:
Please give me a release before 12:00 pm Beijing Time.

She was still working on it at 13:00 when CEO called and asked why she had not given the release. She answered that she thought that 12:00 meant midnight.

What American Heritage Dictionary says about a.m.:

or A.M. Latin. anno mundi (in the year of the world).
also a.m. or A.M.ante meridiem.
Usage Note: By definition, 12 A.M. denotes midnight, and 12 P.M. denotes noon, but there is sufficient confusion over these uses to make it advisable to use 12 noon and 12 midnight where clarity is required.

And what Wikipedia says:

12-hour clock
The 12-hour clock is a timekeeping convention in which the 24 hours of the day are divided, or separated into two periods called ante meridiem (a.m., from Latin, literally "before midday") and post meridiem (p.m., "after midday"). Each period consists of 12 hours numbered 12 (acting as a zero), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. The a.m. period runs from midnight to noon, while the p.m. period runs from noon to midnight. The most common convention is to assign 12 a.m. to midnight and 12 p.m. to noon, defining both half days to have a closed (inclusive) beginning and open (exclusive) end. 12 noon and 12 midnight can more clearly and correctly express these times.

Therefore, generally speaking, 12:00 pm denotes noon and 12:00 am denotes midnight. Using 12 noon and 12 midnight is suggested as it can avoid understanding.


Four Greatest Chinese Legends

Написано Jingtian , 09 Октябрь 2007 · 438 Просмотров

The four greatest Chinese legends are: the Butterfly Lovers, Madame White Snake, the Weaving Maid and the Cowherd, and Mengjiangnu.

1. The Butterfly Lovers
Among these four legends, this one is the most popular.

What Wikipedia says about the Butterfly Lovers:

The story is set in the Eastern Jin Dynasty.

A young woman named Zhu Yingtai from Shangyu, Zhejiang, disguised herself as a man travelling to Hangzhou to study. During her journey, she met and joined Liang Shanbo, a companion schoolmate from Kuaiji (會稽, Kuàijī, now known as Shaoxing) in the same province. They studied together for three years, during which their relationship strengthened. When the two parted, Zhu offered to arrange for Liang to marry her 16 year-old fictitious sister. When Liang travelled to Zhu's home, he discovered her true gender. Although they were devoted and passionate about each other at that point, Zhu was already engaged with Ma Wencai (馬文才, Mǎ Wéncái), a man her parents had arranged for her to be married to. Depressed, Liang died in office as a county magistrate. On the day Zhu was to be married to Ma, whirlwinds prevented the wedding procession from escorting Zhu beyond Liang's tomb. Zhu left the procession to pay her respects for Liang. Liang's tomb split apart, and Zhu dived into it to join him. A pair of butterflies emerged from the tomb and flew away.

This story is regarded as the Chinese Romeo and Juliet. Operas, TV series, motion pictures, etc. have been based on this story. The music is as famous as, if not more famous than, the story itself. The story inspired the production of Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto, or Liang Zhu Violin Concerto as known in Chinese. Then the music is played in all kinds of traditional Chinese instruments. Many foreign artists have also performed the music:

Richard Clayderman plays the Butterfly Lovers on December 27, 2005 (his Romantic Piano 2006 New Year Concert) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China

Kenny G plays the Butterfly Lovers on October 11, 2007 for the closing ceremony of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China

It is said that this music has been played in the space to contact with the aliens. I recall that I have read about this news somewhere before, but I cannot verify the source at the moment.

2. The Legend of the White Snake

The legend of white snake is a beautiful and moving folktale. It tells how the fairy maiden Bai Suzhen struggles against the rascally monk Fa Hai, the representative of the reactionary feudal forces, in her pursuit of freedoms and happiness, reflecting the sharp conflict between the common people and feudal ruling classes. In this story we see the people's yearning for freedom and their ever-defiant stand against the oppressive forces of feudalism.

The story has evolved over a period of about hundreds of years. Textual research indicates that it first appeared in the Song dynast (960-1279) story-tellers' prompt book the Legend of the three Tower by the West Lake.

3.The Weaving Maid and the Cowherd
What China Daily says about the Weaving Maid and the Cowherd:

As the story goes, once there was a cowherd, Niulang, who lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. But she disliked and abused him, and the boy was forced to leave home with only an old cow for company.

  The cow, however, was a former god who had violated imperial rules and was sent to earth in bovine form.

  One day the cow led Niulang to a lake where fairies took a bath on earth. Among them was Zhinu, the most beautiful fairy and a skilled seamstress.

  The two fell in love at first sight and were soon married. They had a son and daughter and their happy life was held up as an example for hundreds of years in China.

  Yet in the eyes of the Jade Emperor, the Supreme Deity in Taoism, marriage between a mortal and fairy was strictly forbidden. He sent the empress to fetch Zhinu.

  Niulang grew desperate when he discovered Zhinu had been taken back to heaven. Driven by Niulang's misery, the cow told him to turn its hide into a pair of shoes after it died.

  The magic shoes whisked Niulang, who carried his two children in baskets strung from a shoulder pole, off on a chase after the empress.

  The pursuit enraged the empress, who took her hairpin and slashed it across the sky creating the Milky Way which separated husband from wife.

  But all was not lost as magpies, moved by their love and devotion, formed a bridge across the Milky Way to reunite the family.

  Even the Jade Emperor was touched, and allowed Niulang and Zhinu to meet once a year on the seventh night of the seventh month.

  This is how Qixi came to be. The festival can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

  Traditionally, people would look up at the sky and find a bright star in the constellation Aquila as well as the star Vega, which are identified as Niulang and Zhinu.

  The two stars shine on opposite sides of the Milky Way.

This is how Qixi, or the Double Seventh Festival, sometimes also called the Chinese Valentine's Day, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, came to be.

4. Mengjianu / Lady Mengjiang
Mengjiangnu lived in the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC). At the night of her wedding, her husband was taken away by the government troops to join in the Great Wall construction. A year later, Mengjiangnu went all the way to take some warm clothes to her husband. When she got to the Great Wall, she was told that her husband had died and had been buried under the Great Wall. Mengjianu started to wail, and the Great Wall began to collapse. At last, he spotted her husband's corpse.

Of all the four legends, I am most uncertain about the details of this one. If you are interesed in this one, you can read this article for more details.


No Title

Написано Jingtian , 08 Октябрь 2007 · 347 Просмотров

No title, as the two pieces of news say it all.

News One: Unilever Becomes 1st Foreign Firm to Plant Trees in Three Gorges Area

Monday, August 14, 2000, updated at 17:11(GMT+8)

Unilever Becomes 1st Foreign Firm to Plant Trees in Three Gorges Area
Hundreds of local villagers in southwest China's Chongqing City braved heavy rains last Saturday to attend a ceremony for the start of a tree-planting progrom funded by Unilever, the world's largest manufacturer of daily necessities from Europe.

Unilever is the first international company to plant trees in the Three Gorges area in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, where the mammoth Three Gorges Hydraulic Project is located.

At the ceremony, Unilever (China) Co., Ltd. donated 100,000 yuan to the local government for planting 20,000 trees covering 40 ha. in Kaixian County, Chongqing.

Chen Zhi, a Chongqing government official in charge of environmental protection along the Yangtze River, spoke highly of Unilever's program and welcomed more foreign companies to follow suit.

According to Unilever sources, the tree-planting project in the Three Gorges is merely a small part of its five-year environmental program launched this June, known as the "Unilever Living Environment Initiative: Clean Water and Green Mountains for China".

In 2000, the first year for the five-year program, Unilever will donate seven million yuan to plant 500,000 trees across the country.

Kaixian, 83 km away from the Yangtze River, will have a big part of its land submerged under water once the Three Gorges Project is completed by 2009. More than 100,000 of local residents will be relocated, accounting for one-tenth of the total to be resettled by the dam project.

Since the launching of the Three Gorges Project in 1993, China's central and local governments have attached great importance to the environmental protection in the Three Gorges area. A series of polices and substantial measures have been adopted to deal with the issue.

Meanwhile, efforts have been made to create greater publicity among local people about the importance of environmental protection.

In Kaixian, many primary school students are familiar with this slogan: Never Forget Environmental Protect While Promoting Cultural and Ethic Progress.

News Two: Pollution by foreign companies comes to attention of China government

Pollution by foreign companies comes to attention of China government

www.chinaview.cn 2007-09-17 15:45:04 Print

BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Unilever China and the China branch of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., the only two foreign-funded companies selected for a random environmental inspection by China earlier this year were found to have discharged wastewater higher than legal limits.

"We are surprised to find both companies had environmental pollution problems since they were the only two foreign companies selected at random for the inspection," said Ren Longjiang, an official with the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

"Environmental pollution caused by some foreign-funded companies has come to the attention of SEPA and we will strengthen our supervision," Ren said.

On May 24, a SEPA inspection team found Unilever China in Hefei, Anhui Province, part of the multinational group that produces of soap, shampoo and other cleaners, had discharged wastewater with a chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of organic pollutants, of 379 mg per litre, higher than the legal limit of 330 mg/L.

The company was fined 100,000 yuan and ordered to reduce its production so as to discharge less wastewater. Unilever has also paid fees of 47,136 yuan for excessive discharges.

It also improved its wastewater treatment and installed the CODdetectors, which are awaiting for final examination by the SEPA's special inspection team.

During the same inspection, the China branch of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., also located in Hefei, was found to have discharged wastewater with PH values -- the measure of acidity of alkalinity content -- exceeding the legal limit.

"Every company is equal before China's environmental protection regulations, and anyone who violates regulations must shoulder their responsibilities," said the SEPA official Ren Longjiang.

Editor: Song Shutao

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