Showing posts from April, 2011

Wireless missunderstandings

Though we bring an iPad to China, we ended up not buying a SIM card for it as we were told we could borrow one. But then the card we borrow was to be returned and we could not cut it down to fit into the iPad. My new Samsung Galaxy S could not accept the card as it was SIM-locked so we ended up using the SIM on our Nokia E71. Thus, iPad could use the GPRS access of the phone thanks to JoikuSpot software.

Unfortunately, the access JoikuSpot provides does not seem to work for the Galaxy S.

Another problem I faced was that the few wireless networks I can access are protected by a captive portal that, once a valid username and password is provided allow clients to access the Internet. My Eye-Fi Geo SD card performs the geo-location for my pictures but only if pictures are downloaded wirelessly to the computer. But Eye-Fi firmware did not support captive portal authentication so I could not use these wireless networks.

Unfortunaltey the Eye-Fi card cannot work with JoikuSpot either. A potent…

The other Great Wall

Being in China for a few days is an eye-opening experience: both the future and the past are mixed together here in a curious combination. There are many good things beyond the food: A taxi driver may return your missing phone and the waiter will patiently wait for you to order. Other things are not so nice: don't expect queues to be respected nor all cars to stop at pedestrian crossings, even if there is a red light.
Internet experience is also special: Many sites just don't work. Others work like if something was wrong under the hood and finally, the rest work like in the rest of the world. It is not a problem of network speed (though some links could use some extra speed) but of the control the government imposes upon what can or cannot be browsed by citizens and visitors of China.
For some visitors like me, showing some pictures on Facebook for family and friends is a common activity when we are abroad. Not being able to even open Facebook or to make a blog entry (like thi…

Chinese language

I am honored to have been invited by Beijing Institute of Technology and I am visiting Beijing in a few weeks and I have no previous knowledge of Chinese language.
Human languages, as many computer languages, are based on the use of an alphabet. But what if, like APL, you are not familiar with that alphabet? That would be the case should I try to learn Persian or Urdu languages.
However, Chinese language does not use an alphabet to build words with its symbols, but each word is represented by a logogram (ideographic or a pictogram or a composition of both). Learning a different alphabet has to be difficult, but learning a language based on ideograms looks a huge endeavor to me.
Of course I'm not claiming "I am learning (mandarin) Chinese", but I'm just looking at some of the basic ideas behind the structure of the language and I get the impression the task is not something easy to achieve for the written language. The spoken word is also challenging, but with the hel…