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Archive for the 'Portals' Category
The first Chinese "wiki book," written by an online collective (see this WSJ article on wikibooks), is garnering attention in virtual China. Named “IBM Mafia” (The Memoir of former IBM PCD employees) IBM个人电脑事业部员工回忆录, the wiki book was written on Chinese wiki site hoodong.com’s open source wiki software, HDWiki. It is getting hot on the most popular portals: SINA, QQ.com and Sohu. The book looks to be a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the development of Chinese IT elites, their attitudes toward work, career, and global IT brands, and Chinese global technological ambition from the inside. Rather than a group-edited piece, it’s more like an anthology of former IBM PC Division employees’ experiences.
Imagine if the site grows as an archive and we see hundreds of people’s stories being recorded? I think it will. Many Chinese people are
willing to participate in organized group events, and there’s such a
need for a place to reflect on the social changes of the past 20 years.
This could be a model for other organizational archives: how about a首钢
Capital Iron and Steel wiki book? Or a Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences (CASS) wiki book, with entries from all over the world?
Here’s how the book is described on its homepage:
The Memoir of Former IBM PC Division Employees was written and edited online by over 100 former IBM employees, using the HDWiki system. They were all IT elites from IBM, and the majority were from IBM’s Personal Computer Division. The memoir realistically represents work life at IBM. The work is divided into six sections: Section One, The Old Me, records the studies, work, and daily lives of the employees before they began work at IBM. Section Two, In the Proximity of Giants, introduces how employees entered IBM, what the interview process was like, and how they were trained. Section Three, Personal Transformation, describes how these IBM employees continued to study and grow, changing from green youths to seasoned salespeople, managers, and technicians. Section Four, Work: Bits and Pieces, records scenes and events from each person’s different work experience. Section Five, Acquisition of the Century, records each person’s experience of the acquisition of the century. Section Six, The Road Ahead, describes everyone’s work and life after the acquisition. This book is the first time that nearly 100 IBM PC Division workers have gathered together; this true record, and set of lessons they’ve drawn from their experiences, is vivid learning material that will be hard for young people to find in their careers. The entire division used hoodong’s wiki platform to write together online; 100 IBM employees from around the world used Web 2.0 methods to record their youth.
A new introductory section has been added after the above intro was written, which makes all the others one chapter later in the book. Hopefully the project will develop with time and media attention. There may have been something like 100 IBMers working on it, but some of the sections are pretty light at present. For instance, "The Old Me" section has three entries: two stories ("The Distance from Baoshan to Pudong," "Goodbye Botwave") and an essay ("An IBMer’s Early Life"), each of which look readable and interesting.
One. There’s a mandatory category where you state your country: you can choose between the "People’s Republic of China," or "Other countries and places."
Two. The speckled dots is, I believe, a sign that the image is supposed to prevent spam entries (sort of like the enter-the-code in the warped image tests, technical term: captcha). Are Chinese characters are so hard to parse that only a few dots are needed to throw off the spam bots / automated hackers?
This caught my eye when I was writing that Google post the other day, and I couldn’t resist:
Baidu 少儿, or Baidu Kids, is beautifully done and reflects Baidu’s understanding of the Chinese market. When I was doing fieldwork in Beijing last summer, one of the teachers we interviewed said that some Grade 1 homework assignments involved running internet searches and bringing some results to class. And there is nothing better than a safe search engine for that end. (The only problem would be convincing kids to goto the Kids site.)
The first row of links (the golden paw buttons above) are: Study English, Play Games, Science Knowledge, Child Songs, Cartoons, Parents’ Links. The first link on the top left being "Study English" again reflects an understanding, this time of the parents’ wishes.
I may be reading too much into this though, since it’s only a beta section, and their "understanding" might have come out of luck rather than strategic planning.
P.S. Baidu’s also been up to other things, mainly in the converging mobile and web realms. See China Web 2.0 Review’s post about their new call-in search service (powered by real human operators).
A gander at the China version of Google Labs reveals several "new" projects:
- Google’s Windows app for pinyin input:
A Life (生活) search, which includes categories such as train tickets, food, work, and housing.
A Navigation (导航) portal, which serves a giant page of text links. Nothing new by any means.
- Within the charts section though, is a banner for a Google-CCTV co-production: "Google and CCTV-2 co-planned "Qing Guo Qing Cheng, A program to present China’s most popular cities to the world".
The Google part of the site seems to be devoted to search results on certain cities and various related photos, charts and graphs.
Note the prominence of Google next to CCTV in the above banner.
Over on the CCTV site for the show (it seems like the city promotion is a TV show), the main banner focuses on CCTV & TsingTao:
With Google + CCTV on a small banner below. And it seems to suggest Google is responsible for its global outreach efforts. Doesn’t seem that impressive after all, huh?
More importantly though, stay tuned this week, for what Baidu’s been up to recently, and you can decide who’s coming out on top
Let’s do a fun little exercise.
Let’s compare profile pictures of MySpace.cn’s China and international users.
Note, however, that we hold the international users classification on MySpace.cn suspect — the one profile link that DID work (for me) in the international profiles section led to a white American woman who’s profile didn’t hint at any interest in China.
First off, let’s take a look at the international lineup:
We’re going to dub these as:
- Vacation Cool,
- Hot Or Not,
- I Have Friends.
Next up, the China lineup:
And we dub these:
- Webcam Candid,
- Photoshop + Webcam Candid.
Granted, I refreshed the page a few times to select ones I found interesting but we can already draw some generalizations about profile pictures:
- Chinese users do not feel compelled to present a "realistic" glamor shot. That is, they have little hesitation in using image manipulation programs to augment their picture. (This augmentation being different from using Photoshop to doctor up an existing picture within the bounds of realism.)
- Chinese users have lower standards for their glamor shot — blurry and what i called candid webcam shots are in.
- Closeups are in in China. Staring at the camera, however, is not.
Record the most real day in your or someone around you’s life. Is your current life busy or leisurely? A riot of color or boring you to death? Full of gratitude or complaints?
Here’s a day in the life of a Han soldier in Tibet, here, at the end of the day, listening to his selection of Yunnanese folksongs.
One of the areas I’m curious about (see previous posts here and here) is the development of practices and laws concerning virtual property in China. China currently has a system of mixed ownership models (private, state, cooperative, joint venture, etc.) and a range of legal protections for different kinds of property (the recent nailhouse events are an example of this). No reason to think that we won’t, therefore, see some unique solutions to the kinds of virtual economy problems that the folks at Terra Nova have been writing about so eloquently for years. Found this on cndig: from the China Youth Daily, "How much are QQ numbers actually worth?" Below is a summary of what I found interesting in the article.
Apparently there was a vigorous debate on the legal status of virtual property at a China Forum on Internet and IPR Criminal Protection that recently took place in Shenzhen. Because the law is unclear about the status of various kinds of virtual assets, it’s hard for officials to know how to define and prosecute virtual asset theft.
Located in Shenzhen, Tencent CEO Ma Huateng in his capacity as a People’s Congress Deputy for Shenzhen recently submitted a report on IP crimes and virtual assets to the Shenzhen Municipal Procuratorate. The report points out that Tencent is often a victim of Internet crimes and that legal mechanisms for addressing these problems are inadequate.
For instance, the Shenzhen police recently cracked a large-scale Internet crime ring at the end of last year that was responsible for stealing 3 million QQ accounts over a two year period.
CNNIC reports that 61% of gamers have had virtual assets stolen and 77% feel that the current online atmosphere is unsafe for virtual assets.
There are two distinct camps in the legal discussion of virtual assets. One side thinks that virtual assets constitute an investment like any other, and are exchangeable with real money, and therefore should be protected under the law like any other asset. The other side thinks that virtual assets are only valuable in the context of the game, and only for gamers. They’re not universally recognized assets with a universally recognized value. They are also only retrievable if the server is available.
China University of Political Science and Law professor Hou Guoyun sees virtual assets as ill gotten gains and believes that giving them legal protection will not stop virtual asset theft, and will only encourage more young people to enter the world of gaming.
The Internet Crime section of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau says they get roughly ten reports PER DAY of stolen virtual assets, which are hard to know how to prosecute given the current status under law. Should they be classified as robberies? Fraud? A judge in Shanghai says that virtual asset cases often cause vigorous debate inside China’s courts as to whether they should be classified as crimes or not.
Back in Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, legal cases on record have clearly established that 1 Q coin equals 1 RMB, and that Q coins clearly have the attributes of property. Likewise for virtual equipment that can be bought and sold in a market. However, the status of QQ numbers is less clear. Can they be defined as property? Because the value of QQ numbers is hard to estimate, it then becomes hard to define QQ number theft as criminal theft.
Professor and legal expert Zhao Bingzhi points out that because QQ numbers can be exchanged in an online platform this shows that they have an economic value and therefore are no different than other objects which are currently under the category of property theft.
Of interest I found:
- A translation of a Sohu IT post about why Prison Break is so popular in China (Answer = the subtitled version of the show running loose on p2p (I don’t know how this makes Prison Break more popular than other shows though)).
- And a collection of 1979 photographs of China by Eve Arnold:
Jay Dautcher alerted me to the current number one video on Google Video. It’s been seen over 280,000 times, almost 100,000 of those in the last 24 hours. It’s a 77 minute video called The Rape of Nanking (Nightmare in Nanking), originally produced in English by a Dr. Rhawn Joseph and his Brainmind organization, and now voiced over in Mandarin. Dr. Joseph seems to have a fascination with the strange and macabre, and has produced such bizarre "classics" as Hitler’s Diaries, the Face and Pyramids of Mars, Alpha and Omega Antichrist, and a series of Brain Mind lectures. You can find the English version of Nanking Nightmare in several parts on Youtube, where it has been viewed 135,000 times in the last 3 months. The promo for the video has quotes such as this:
We had fun killing Chinese. We
caught some innocent Chinese and either buried them alive, or pushed
them into a fire, or beat them to death with clubs. When they were half
dead we pushed them into ditches and burned them, torturing them to
death. Everyone gets his entertainment this way. Its like killing dogs
and cats." –Asahi Shimbun, Japanese soldier, describing Japanese
atrocities during the Rape of Nanking.
This year is the 70th anniversary of the massacre. A quick Baidu search turns up a groundswell of attention in the last week or so for the film. For instance, China Youth Daily editor Qiu Haiping wrote an impassioned post on his blog on Feb 22, rallying Chinese viewers to see the film and to show it to their children as well. It was immediately reposted at forums, such as here at Tianya on the same day. Some comments on the Tianya repost:
The Americans see Sino-Japanese relations warming up
so they deliberately put out this film. Bush says to Japan,
look, you’ve got so much hatred with China,
China is not going to let it go. Just be good and let me piss on you.
That evil American government, there’s nothing they won’t think of.
The best teacher for Chinese youth’s anti-Japanese education is Japan itself! The Chinese government has actually been suppressing anti-Japanese sentiment inside China. In 2005, the explosion of anti-Japanese demonstrations was led by the Internet’s development in China. Thanks to the Internet, which has allowed us to understand more truths, and led us to throw away those ridiculous fantasies!
Actually, those Chinese who are familiar with the Japanese atrocities all hold a strong desire for revenge, and hope that China will punish Japan for it one day. Many Chinese don’t want to see any more propaganda from Chinese officials about "Sino-Japanese friendship." We are looking for an excuse for the second Sino-Japanese war. The short-sightedness, bullying and shameless nature of the Japanese are an opportunity for Chinese to get revenge!…
Watch this movie not to make us remember hate, not to make us take revenge, but to make us study history, so that both countries can peacefully coexist.
No matter what the U.S. does, they’re still different from Japan because they are still human. The Japanese will always be beasts.