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.

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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.

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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.