Tim Yang’s Weblog


Rockmelt can overcome China censorship

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , — Tim Yang @ 1:07 pm

Like Blackberry, Rockmelt seems to bypass China censorship by behaving like a proxy for its Facebook edges.

Even when I am not on VPN (which is necessary when I want to visit Facebook.com), the edges on Rockmelt constantly update themselves.

So anyone in China can actually update their Facebook status and see the status of their friends as long as they are using Rockmelt.


Google China Music Search review

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , , , — Tim Yang @ 5:08 pm

Nearly two years ago, Google China started a legal music download site to compete with Baidu’s version. The courts sided with Baidu in the lawsuit by the music industry to stop them. So they made an agreement with Google to give them license to give their users (only in China) free downloads to the latest hits.

I started using it yesterday. They don’t have the absolute latest releases, for instance I couldn’t find Taylor Swift’s “Mine” even though the single was released over two months ago.

But they have a very wide selection. And not just Chinese language hits. I managed to download several pieces from Tiesto and Lady Gaga, after just navigating through a simple CAPTCHA puzzle.

The quality is really good. For Lady Gaga’s “Romance”, the size of the file was over 11MB. There was no audible watermarking and it was a normal mp3, playable even after copying to another PC.

I’m not sure what the revenue stream is, but the users in China are getting a really good deal. And it’s legal with the permission of the record companies too.


Google.com is accessible in China

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , — Tim Yang @ 3:22 pm

Google China at http://google.cn is still a flat page with a link to http://google.com.hk.

But since I typically use http://google.com, I found that THAT website is accessible. I can do searches using it.

However http://webcache.googleusercontent.com (ie Google cache) is of course not accessible.

It’s a very strange setup. Do China users know that they can use the original Google.com as normal and that the hullabaloo with Google in China was all just public relations?

Update: On Google Chrome, all searches using http://google.com are redirected to http://google.com.hk, but not when using other browsers like Firefox.


Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are not blocked in China… on Blackberry

Filed under: Howto, Social Networking, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — Tim Yang @ 8:25 am

You cannot browse many websites in China because of the infamous firewall. Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are some of those affected. Gmail and Google Reader on the other hand are fine.

But when you use the Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter mobile apps on Blackberry, you can do stuff as normal. It’s not disabled or banned.

I tried this first on my Blackberry in Beijing on data roaming then on the hotel’s wifi. Both times it worked. I could upload photos and update my status on Facebook. I could also check Twitter feeds and check into Foursquare.

I also managed to get access on the Blackberry mobile browser. I was able to visit all banned sites on the browser (via wifi). I tried imdb.com, isohunt.com and youtube.com. All viewable.

It might be a Blackberry thing because when I tried it on the Android web browser (as well as Opera for Android), facebook.com and youtube.com both timed out. Facebook app on Android didn’t work either.

This might also be a new development because I appear to be the first one to notice it (although there have been thousands of Foursquare checkins in Beijing so far).

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