Tag Archives: china

China’s ‘Straddling Bus’ is Stranger Than Fiction



TEB graphicFrom an American perspective, China can look like a very strange place. While the Asian country has absorbed many Western traits into its culture, China is still different in many ways. I experienced this recently when I came across news of a new public transit vehicle being tested in China. The vehicle’s technically known as the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) and it’s colloquially referred to as the “Straddling Bus,” due to the way it straddles the roads it moves over.

The TEB looks like a quasi-futuristic people mover that actually travels above the road on elevated walls that glide along a predefined track. In reality, the “Straddling Bus” isn’t really a bus at all. It’s more like a train. Whatever you call it, busses and trains aren’t likely to elicit that much excitement in 2016. But the TEB’s appeal comes from the way it moves over traffic, allowing cars to pass underneath. In the right setting, a TEB could be an extremely practical public transit solution, requiring less space (and in turn expense) than subways or elevated railways.

The company that designed and built the first TEB prototype actually took the vehicle out for a short test drive on a public street in Qinhuangdao. The event was attended by a decent-sized crowd, some of whom even got to ride aboard the vehicle.

But over the next few days, reports began to surface that the TEB and the company behind it were nothing more than a scam:

…Several state media outlets have published articles alleging that the company in charge of developing the TEB crowdfunded their project illegally and misled investors.
Despite the hype surrounding the trial run, both domestic and abroad, it seems that the company may have blown the occassion out of proportion. Not only was the test run just 300 meters long and completely failed to mimic real-life traffic conditions, but authorities in Qinhuangdao city also were not aware of it even happening, People’s Daily reports. The firm later verified that it wasn’t a “road test,” but simply part of “internal testing.”

It looks like the Straddling Bus has gone as quickly as it arrived. Perhaps another enterprising transit company will pick up where the first TEB left off. Anything’s possible in China.

 


Need to cross China quickly? There’s a train for that



bigstock-High-Speed-Train-18755

China loves its high-speed rail lines. Now the country is boasting that it is even faster and cheaper to go from one end to the other, with the “longest” high-speed rail line in the world — a staggering 2,298 kilometer stretch of metal that reaches from north to south across the nation.

The new trains move at 186 mph and run between  Beijing in the north and Guangzhou in the south. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the ride will still take eight hours, but that is much faster than the previous twenty that this journey used to entail.

Plus there is an added bonus — the $139 price tag for a ticket to go the distance is considerably cheaper than flying. although it does still take more time than traveling by air. Still, a slightly slower journey at a much-discounted price represents real competition. Now, if only services like this would come to the United States, where our infrastructure is in great need of a serious upgrade.

Image High Speed Train by BigStock


GNC-2011-11-14 #721 CES Ramp Up!



Great to be back in Hawaii and in the Studio. The hard work begins over the next 6 weeks in getting ready for CES 2012. For the first time ever we are going to ask for additional listener / viewer support in helping us for CES 2012. We have produced 1000’s of videos for you and the operation has grown to the point that we want to take care of our support team in a bigger way. I have set a fund raising goal of $5000.00 and hope you will support our endeavor with a $25.00/$50.00/$100.00 donation which will 100% be used to pay our support crew.

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgnc30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgnc99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgnc1hs
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgncwp1
Proximity Beacons for Android Course.

Subscribe Today: Audio | Video | Mobile Video | iTunes | Zune
Download the Show File

Follow me on Google+
Follow @geeknews on Twitter
Geek News Central Facebook Page
Purchase GNC gear from the Ohana Store!
Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Listener Links:
Couple must Give Facebook Password to each Other!
Kindle Fire Review.
Holiday Photo Tips.
NASA Time Lapse Earth!
Intel Announces 4004 Processor 40yrs ago!

Links to articles covered in this Podcast on the GNC Show Notes Page [Click Here]

Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
Mike Baine – Associate Producer


GNC-2011-09-29 #709 Kindle Fire



I want to thank all of our Sponsors this month for helping me keep the lights on, it is greatly appreciated and of course all of you that purchased product from GoDaddy or did a GotoMeeting trial.. I have an action packed show for you with lots of tech news and information. It comes fast and furious, so strap in. If you had trouble downloading the last show please send me an email with your ISP and the area you live in.

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgnc30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgnc99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgnc1hs
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgncwp1
Proximity Beacons for Android Course.

Subscribe Today: Audio | Video (HD) | Mobile Video | iTunes | Zune
Download the Show File

Follow me on Google+
Follow @geeknews on Twitter
Geek News Central Facebook Page
Purchase GNC gear from the Ohana Store!
Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listener Links:
COPPA
Zuckerberg on COPPA
Nissan Contest!
Skype Phone Adapters.
Facebook Editorial – Chicago Tribune.

Links to articles covered in this Podcast on the GNC Show Notes Page [Click Here]

Credits: Jack Ellis – Executive Producer


Fake Apple Store – Not a New Concept



Fake Apple Store - BirdAbroad
Fake Apple Store - BirdAbroad

The band “DaVinci’s Notebook” said it best:

Unless every American does his part – They’ll steal our Cheetos, Birkenstocks and Wal-Marts
And it won’t be very long – ‘Till the pirate version of this song
Tops the radio charts in Mainland China

In the last 48 hours, a blogger (called “BirdAbroad”) broke news of a new store in Kunming, China that was claiming to be an Apple store. It brought up this dilemma that anyone can make a fake store in China and how this is starting to become a major issue. But reality is, this is not the first time a fake store has been fabricated (and I don’t think it’s going to be the last, either). So what can we do to keep our purchases safe?

The Store that calls itself “Apple”

An American woman living in the Kunming China area – Blogging under the name BirdAbroad – discovered this store that claimed to be an “Apple Store”. They went home to verify on Apple’s website, but according to their searches, there were 2 stores in China and this was not one of them.

So they did what any other american would do – post this information on the internet.

Of course, this caused a major disturbance in the Apple force. Since the term “Apple” is a trending topic, People sprung on this story like a Apple fanboy to the Lion OS.

Reuters has been reporting from the stores on how upset customers have been swarming for refunds. They even noted some store employees didn’t know they were part of a big facade. I suppose if they could read english, they might have noticed the big faux-pas in the window that said “Apple Stoer”.

What Apple is Doing about the Fake Store

Nothing that we know of yet. They have been tight-lipped about the whole ordeal. Maybe they’re waiting to see what the outcome is. Maybe they’ll see this area as an important expansion and buy it?

OK, probably not.

There are two types of Apple stores – Apple (which is not called Apple Store) and an authorized Apple retailer. In town here, we have 2 AAR’s. Their store names are not related to any Apple trademark, for they would violate terms of service. But they do say “Authorized Apple Retailer” somewhere on the store.

Of course, this store is neither. Interestingly enough, you would figure (after all the press) this store would be closed up by now. Yet, the employees still come to work and more product gets sold.

Not the First Time

The reality: this is not the first time a fake store has opened up. It’s just the first time an Apple store has been opened.

We’ve heard about the underground knock-off world in the news many time. I can show you a few DVD’s I collected from friends that have been to China (horrible quality, so it’s just for show). I even remember a friend coming back with a fake Rolex watch – showing it off like it was the real thing.

There are some vendors on the streets who also sell the real thing. They get the product through black market or smuggle from other areas. Purses from Coach, dresses from Macy’s and iPhones from Apple.

This isn’t even the first time that has happened in the United States. In years past, people would open storefronts trying to fool customers that they were a brand it wasn’t. Most of the time, they also sold knock-off products. In 2008, police raided China-town and closed 32 vendors.

Be Aware of Fakes

Whether these people bought real iPhones or fake, Apple doesn’t have to honor the devices. That means if you spend $2,000 for a Macbook Pro and it dies within 30 days, you might have a nice paperweight.

Some people buy fakes for the novelty – like my friend I mentioned earlier. He knows that once the watch dies, he throws it away. Then again, it might just live his lifetime…

Even in the US, you cannot always trust a store. If you feel it’s a fake, then don’t buy from it. Do a little research and make sure they are who they say to be.

In the meantime, more fake Apple Stores have popped up in China. We’ll have to wait and see what Apple does to resolve this issue.


US Relays Most Spam



The USA is the worst country in the world for relaying spam, according to Sophos’ latest report on spam.  The US was responsible for 13.1%, followed by Brazil and India at 7.3% and 6.8% respectively, with the UK, Russia and Italy tied in 7th place.  In a further twist, China has completely disappeared from the top 12 and now relays only about 1.9%.

The full hall of shame is below.

1. USA 13.1%
2. India 7.3%
3. Brazil 6.8%
4. S Korea 4.8%
5. Vietnam 3.4%
6. Germany 3.2%
7=. United Kingdom 3.1%
7=. Russia 3.1%
7=. Italy 3.1%
10. France 3.0%
11. Romania 2.5%
12. Poland 2.4%
Others 47.3%

Given the amount of attention that China receives as the “Country of Cybercrime”, the table shows that US and Europe ought to be looking a bit closer to home when it comes to spam.

Sophos estimates that 97% of email received to business servers is actually spam and only 3% is legitimate email.  Frankly that’s a both scary and a disgrace.  The level of resources needed to cope and the subsequent cost incurred by business shows that spam ought to be much higher up on the agenda of our lawmakers.

Perhaps they could take a break from the usual “digital rights” arguments and do something that would help everyone. That would get my vote.


Google, GoDaddy, Network Solutions…Who’s Next?



Let me first be clear that I am a fan of Google. I use their web-based email, their search client is my first choice for looking for things, and I am using Google Apps on several websites that I have a hand in. As a technologist working in academics with disabled students, I appreciate Google’s work towards universal access, and as a regular user, I appreciate how effective their search engine is, and generally how careful they are about rolling out new products and services (except for that whole Google Buzz debacle – we won’t go there). So when I heard that they once again are refusing to buckle to the short-sighted demands of China, I was quick to offer a toast.

Now GoDaddy is also pulling out of China, based on new rules put forth by the China Internet Network Information Center, the Chinese government agency that regulates Internet-based activity. Anyone registering a .cn domain in China must not only provide the usual information (name, address, phone) but must also provide a headshot, full identification, and signed registration forms. GoDaddy balked, and so did Network Solutions, who have also stopped registering .cn domain names. Both companies have stated that they believe the information the Chinese government is requesting is intrusive.

I applaud GoDaddy and Network Solutions for making this decision. I am sure now that some of the larger interests are taking this lead, others will likely follow. If China cannot change from the inside, then they will be forced to change from the outside. China wants to be a global economic and manufacturing power, and that doesn’t happen by removing freedoms from its people. Innovation does not happen in closed environments.

These are small steps, I know. But these are big names, and the rest of the world will likely take note. Yahoo and Microsoft, in my opinion, have made a huge mistake in letting the Chinese government de-tooth them in China. We’ll see if that changes in the near future, now that Google has taken a stand.


Google vs China



If you are a business working in a countries whose policy you disagree with, do you follow those policies and try to change them from the inside, or do you leave . If you remain in the country there is no guarantee that you will have any impact on policy, but there is a small chance. If you leave and you are alone in walking out then your impact will be strictly symbolic. That is the problem with Google’s decision to close down their search engine in China. Microsoft and Yahoo have steadfastly followed Chinese guidelines on censorship and there is no indication they are following Google’s lead. In fact both companies, especially Microsoft have been extremely quiet on the subject.

Let’s be clear Google decision alone will have little impact on China in the end. However that doesn’t make it the wrong decision on Google’s part. Someone has to be the first to stand up and say no, when things are not right. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google knows this better then most. He spent his first six years under Soviet rule and is aware how totalitarianism works. An article in the Wall Street Journal confirmed what I had thought, that their decision had a lot to do with his early life in the Soviet Union and how his family was treated. It appears that at least one company Go Daddy is following Google’s lead, announcing today that they are no longer selling cn domain names. They decided this after the Chinese government asked for information about the those who were registering the domains.

Hopefully, more companies will follow Google’s and Go Daddy’s lead. I can’t think of anytime in history, where a company has impacted a country’s policy by remaining in the country. If a company works in a country they are required to follow the lows of that country. However, the boycott of South Africa, protesting apartheid clearly did have an impact overtime. Hopefully other companies will follow Google’s and Go Daddy’s lead in China. Lets face it though Google has enough money that they can afford to make a decision like this, most companies can’t afford to ignore the Chinese market. As long as remaining in China has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line very few companies will follow Google’s or Go Daddy’s lead. Do you think Google and Go Daddy made the right decision or not


Fastest Passenger Train



This might’ve been overlooked during the Christmas / CES / Google v. China period but China launched the world’s fastest passenger train, the Harmony Express, at the end of December.

The trains go 1069 km (664 miles)  from Guangzhou to Wuhan in around three hours with a top speed of 394 km/h (that’s 245 mph).  For the purposes of comparison, Japan’s Shinkansen train manages 300 km/h (186 mph) and France’s TGV 279 km/h (173 mph).  The Acela Express in the USA reaches just 240 km/h (150 mph).

China is in the middle of an ambitious railway building programme with the aim of increasing the network from 86 000 km to 120 000 km.  This particular link cost US$17bn and took only four years to build.  The eventual plan is to link Beijing in the North with Guangzhou in the South and close to Hong Kong with a 2,000 km high-speed line.

For all the gricers out there, you’ve a new one to spot.

There are some photos at the Daily Mail.