Thursday, January 18, 2007

Adventures in Technology - building a computer in Kunming

So here's the deal. :)

Part of
my work is dealing with video & photo/design stuff. Over the course of the last two and a half weeks I've built myself a decent desktop system. Video and Photo are especially demanding so I couldn't just get a Dell system or some such.

Armed with a sense of humor (thank God) and a page with some computer components translated into pinyin and english, I ventured into the sprawling technology area surrounding the minority school! I'll spare you the details, rest assured I bought components from over half a dozen shops and made alot of funny faces and noises in my quest to communicate. Good fun!

What really struck me the most was when I was hunting for a nice big LCD screen...! I saw a couple of screens that I was interested in, and asked some prices.... Then I saw this massive screen! Maybe 21"! Way out of my price range I already knew, but I had to ask anyway.. The lady happily told me the price and talked about the features (look! Laowai! He might actually buy this expensive thing!). Okay, I only understood the price, but I managed to look smart and nod at the appropriate times.
And then she showed me the fancy tea set in a nice gift box that went along with it! What? While perfectly natural here, to the mind of the average guy from New York it seems odd, perhaps even absurd, to bundle a tea-set with a lcd screen! The confusion crossed my face but I tried to quickly replace it with an expression of appreciation for the quality of the tea set.

While I find many things here surprising, and often confounding, I have to make a confession.

I usually like it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Taiwan, Internet, & my apartment

What happened to Richard?
Well, it all started with an earthquake. If you're reading this from inside the U.S., you might not have even heard about it. Taiwan had a pretty big earthquake and one of the results is that most of the underwater internet cables were severely damaged. These cables form the main link from Asia to the U.S..... To make the story short, I (and many others) are now having trouble accessing anything, email and blogger included. Could be worse - I could have been living in Taiwan and had my home & everything I own destroyed!

... One strange thing however. My internet is ADSL through China Telecom (the largest provider). All others here with that same service seem to be sharing the problem of internet connectivity. A friend nearby has broadband service through China Unicom. His service didn't get worse with the there a method to this madness?

Here's the first few long-overdue photo's of my apartment. Two from when I was first moving in, and one taken from the balcony a couple of days ago. When things get cleaned up I might post a couple of the place with furniture in it. :)

(Living Room - it's Huge!)

(My really small kitchen)

(View from my balcony)