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Cube vs Cube

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Obviously I’ve had waaaaaaaaaay too much fun with my newly purchased coffee machine today.
Photo’s (and story) below.

Its a match of the titans.

Frog design vs A+P Cahen.

No rolls barred, its Cube vs Cube.

In the left corner, we have the old, the venerable…

G4 Cube

Part frakkin Toaster, part computer, (ex) fishtank, part space heater.


The newcomer with an attitude, he’s shiny, and he isn’t afraid to show it off.

Le Cube

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Note to clients that we will be closed from 13th – 19th February for Chinese New Year.

Urgent issues can be addressed either by sending an email to or calling my mobile number on 13901 802 269.

Have a good vacation, and a great year of the tiger!

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New rules are now in place that restrict applications for Chinese domain names (anything ending in .cn)

CNNIC issued new guidelines for registrars and hosting companies on January 6th / 2010.

Roughly translated, these state:

CNNIC (China’s Internet Domain Government Agency) wishes promote the standard and healthy application of .CN domain names.
CNNIC aims to coordinate with China’s review mechanism for domain name registration information and further crack down on registration of domain names with false information.

What this means in non-government-speak is that from now onward new and .cn domains cannot be registered unless you are an officially licensed entity within China.
Existing domains can be renewed for the meantime though (pending verification of details/validity).

This has been in process since mid December, as individual registrations were the first to get blocked

Chinese domain name supervision organization China Internet Network Information Center announced that starting from 21:00 on December 14, 2009, it closed domain name registrations for individual users who are not purchasing domains on behalf of companies or organizations. Prior to this sudden announcement, China’s central television station criticized domain name registration service providers and agencies for false, inaccurate or incomplete information in the registration process.

More here on that here –

Entities wishing to register domain names for others will need an ICP许可证 (ICP Xu Ke Zheng).
The ICP许可证 is a commercial licence, which is different from an ICP备案 (ICP Bei An).
We will also be subject to new requirements for new domain registrations (China loves paperwork!)

The Notification about further enhancement of auditing domain name registration information

In order to further enhance the authenticity, accuracy, and integrality of the domain name registration information, now notify as following:

1. Domain name applicants need to submit the formal paper based application material when making the online application to the registrar. The application material includes the original application form with business seal, company business license (photocopy), and registrant ID (photocopy).

2. Registrar should carefully review the application material. When application is deemed qualified, registrar need to submit the application material via fax or E-mail to CNNIC, and withhold the original application material.

3. From the day of the submission of online application, if CNNIC does not receive the formal paper based application material within 5 days or the application material auditing is not qualified, the domain name to be applied will be deleted.

4. The above regulations will be executed since 9:00AM (Beijing Time), Dec 14th, 2009.

If you have any question, free to contact us at 86-10-58813000 or email to

Existing ICP Registrations
In addition to these new rules, all existing domain registrations are being scrutinized carefully, and all details are being verified.
As we have been quite proactive in ensuring that all clients have ICP licensing, and keeping our upstream ISP / contacts at Shanghai Telecom advised of anything information they require ahead of time, we expect that this will cause minimal disruption to our services.
If we do need to verify additional information from clients, please be prompt in forwarding them to us if we do request them, to avoid issues.

New ICP Registrations
Due to the above checks, new ICP registrations (which are required for any domain hosted in China) are taking substantially longer than the normal 2-3 days. We are currently seeing delays of up to 2 months for new license applications from the MII (Ministry of Information). We deal with the licensing bureau’s on a daily basis, and are notified quickly in case of issues, but the current checking requirements are just making everything take rather longer than is usual. We ask clients to be patient while their ICP registration is in progress. We are aware that it is not an ideal situation to have to wait for a few weeks, but we are dependent on the government issuing body, who are very very backlogged with work right now. License applications that are currently in process can be checked by clients at the government website here –

Computer Solutions client ICP Registration site is here – New clients can register a user account on our ICP site, and submit an application form from our site.

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Early Monday morning it was bought to our attention that some clients could not receive mail, and others were having difficultly reaching their subdomains.

Investigation of the issue showed that the affected clients were missing DNS records.

Our DNS services are provided by a 3rd party – ServerBeach.
ServerBeach recently got bought out by a larger company Peer1.

The geniuses at Peer1 have managed to lose all our DNS info for over 400 of our domains during a migration from ServerBeach to Peer1 provided services, and now a substantial number of our clients have missing or incomplete DNS records.

They are aware of the issue, and are working on it.

We received an email notice about this this morning (after 7 or 8 hours of their DNS being offline)

Dear ServerBeach Customer,

At approximately 11:30am CST today we encountered an issue with our DNS services being imported into the new ServerBeach portal. This may be causing an interruption for certain domains that are hosted on the GeoDNS servers.

We are currently working diligently to correct this issue and will provide an update when DNS services are fully functional.

All of us at ServerBeach sincerely regret the inconveniences associated with this incident, and will fully stand behind our Service Level Agreement. We apologize for this disruption and thank you for your continued patronage and understanding.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please open an online ticket at or contact our support team at 1-800-741-9939.


Brian Daffern
Director of Support

We have raised a number of tickets with ServerBeach / Peer1 regarding this, and hope for a speedy resolution to the matter.

As an interim measure I’ve added forwarding records for domains affected, so that mail received on the webservers that host affected domains know to forward mail to the correct mail server.

ServerBeach is updating a forum post regarding this issue here:
(Note that in the second post they incorrectly say it has been resolved. It has not been resolved yet)

If ServerBeach / Peer1 cannot resolve this by this evening, we may have to look at changing to a different DNS provider.
This is a last resort measure though, as DNS server changes take 1-2 days to propagate throughout the internet.

Apologies for any inconvenience, and we hope you can bear with us while we resolve the situation.

If you have any questions, please address them to our support email: support at

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Apparently the new thing in blogging in China is to be eclectic.

While I have been blogging/writing in China for a good few years longer than most of even the longest China blogs out there (I started in 95, beat that haha!), I haven’t really thrown it all into one spot.

Plus mostly it all went into forum postings on long lost sites that I should revive at some point (D.D’s Club and Shanghaiguide I’m looking at you), so there is a vague chance I may get to revive some of it from the depths of bit rot hell, and post select bits in one place.

Too be honest, this is probably going to turn into a rant or pure SEO spammy keyword promo post to get more hits for the blog anyway but…

Apparently I should also mention Puppies, Kittens, that cool dude I totally hung out with last night and partied till dawn with, and the 15 chicks we hooked up with that night, plus god isn’t China a total pit, I mean they don’t even speak English here, what the F!*

*This is an in-joke that no-one else will get but the Jojo, and readers of That’s not Kitto.

Back to being eclectic, shall we, and less of the “in” jokes.

The honest truth is that I’m eclectic enough apparently, although that might also be a slightly schizophrenic way of looking at my diverse random project ideas.

Over the last few months, we’ve done the following interesting projects, some for love, some for money, and some for the hell of it.

Figure out which is which, and see which of them you like.

No.1 on our list is:

Lets face it, once a geek, always a geek.
I discovered twitter, and for a few days was happy playing in a new medium.
I did note that twitter had a limited character span (140 chars) for messages, and it truncated URL’s to save space.
Taking a quick look around I saw plenty of clones oversea’s, but nothing local, so I grabbed my trusty keyboard, and a few hours later and a quick search of what was left in .cn domain space I invented, the first Chinese TinyURL clone.

Its even got its own blog, and twitter feed.

Use is slowly growing, and we’re starting to see an increase in use and awareness of in China and oversea’s. has also started using it for their venue twitter links (5000+ urls).

No. 2 is –

iWantOne started out as an outlet for our badges.

The badges themselves started out from a post on LPCoverLover via a sighting on BoingBoing.

A quick trip to taobao, and we had a badge machine, and lots of idea’s.

These quickly culminated in my staff going nuts over snoopy badges, and my prompting them for cool stuff for foriegners (we’re suckers for cultural revolution related artwork).

We quickly got bored doing that, and moved onto cool phrases.

Coffee at Moganshan lu led to a brainstorming session about cool ways to promote Shanghainese (an under promoted language imho), and a whole set of cool phrases.

Some publicity shots, and some talk about it over here at
(Note that I am also occasionally a contributor to the 56minus1 blog, although I completely avoid talking about stuff we do ourselves).

No 3. Fridge Magnets – is a rather cool unique idea, and something that led on from the badges.

One of our clients asked me why we didn’t put an English translation on the badges as well. Which, to be honest, I’d thought about, but as I’m a pretentious I can speak Chinese better than you so nya nya kind of foreigner, didn’t want to do. Plus it also meant remaking a bunch of badges, and I’m lazy.
*Pick one of the above for the correct answer.

It did lead me to think, well hey, why don’t I make some magnet word sets like you used to see a few years back when Magnet Poetry was all the craze.

An idea was born…

A few days later, we had our first rough draft of the first magnet set we wanted to make “Talking to your Ayi”, and a few agonizing days later teaching my art team how to use illustrator correctly so I didn’t have to spend over 12 hours redoing their alleged “good” version *again*, we had something we could play around with. This also involved some running with scissors, and lots of small pieces of sharp paper, to put the danger, and comic tragedy of it all into perspective.

A quick round or two with friends, roman’s and countrymen, and we had most of the mistakes corrected also.
Interesting factoid – I could point out more mistakes than the native speakers could.

Even more weeks passed and we had a sample set. Even more weeks x2 later, lots of shouting, changes, and scowling (followed by light rain), we actually had a box design that I liked, and all was good.

This was closely followed by lots of my own money changing hands with dodgy factories in outer godknowswhere, a minor whoops at the factory meaning a reprint, and finally a rather large kuaidi delivery to our office later, I actually had a product in my hands, yay!

We’re currently pimping the sets out to anyone that stands still long enough – Smart Shanghai is the first to publish something about us, and expect to have some more publicity and some sales soon.
Plus, its been rather fun making something that people can buy (or I can throw at the kuaidi guy), instead of our usual intangible products – websites, websites, and more websites.

Our Fridge Lingo Magnet sets are available now at select venues around town, or via the website.

Direct link to the Magnet sets here.
They are honestly quite cool, and I’m extremely happy to be a father to my first live baby project.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough, and to be honest, I’m a lot more eclectic on Twitter.

This is Lawrence signing out, and I hope you enjoyed the ride.

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A man with a dream.

Chen Zhao Rong (陈昭荣) dreamed of flying.

Despite not being able to read English, and with only a primary school education, Chen scoured through foreign flying websites, checking out pictures and schematics, before finally starting to build his helicopter.


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We experienced an outage this morning when one of our mail server hard drives failed, causing mail to stop.

The hard drives will need to be replaced in order to ensure data is protected.   As replacement will necessitate some downtime while spare drives are being installed, and existing ones replaced, I have scheduled this for later tonight, or early tomorrow morning.

The new drives have been ordered, and we are waiting on their arrival.

Replacement will be done out of normal office hours in order to minimize further inconvenience to clients.

We expect the server to be down for 20 minutes when we first add the new drive, then for a further 20 minutes  2-3 hours later once online backups have been copied over to the new drive.   We will update the blog with expected outage times once we have further details.


Seems the drive failure(s) are due to a firmware bug in the hard drives..

We’ve replaced drives in 2 servers so far (I replace drives yearly as a matter of principle), and still need to change another 2.
Unfortunately as one of our other servers drives decided to crap out in sympathy, the 2 drives I had for replacements had to be used immediately in different machines (thank you very much Seagate for ruining my day) and have both been replaced with Western Digital drives and both need to be replaced still.  This will get done as soon as I can arrange additional units this week (26th Jan+-). and are not using Seagate drives, so don’t need to be changed thankfully!

We have also replaced the fan’s in all the servers while we were doing maintenance.
Please bear with us while we complete our replacements.

Last time we buy Seagate…

Further reading –

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Shanghai Telecom is experiencing routing issues in some area’s to some of our servers.
This is not/not a problem with our servers or service, but a routing issue at the telecom side (essentially some area’s don’t know how to talk to other area’s)

Shanghai Telecom are working on it, and we will update when we have more information. [Resolved as of 9th Jan for all area’s]

Affected clients are not able to access all of our servers from their location.
Jing An, and Putuo area seem unaffected – no issues reported from those area’s.

People in affected area’s will have to wait until Shanghai Telecom resolves their core router issues.

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How to get a Motorbike licence in Shanghai (from Scratch)

Go to the motorbike test place, and get the application forms. (see graphic below with address and chinese instructions).

Motorbike Licence PlaceMotorbike Licence Instructions

They will charge +-200RMB and send you to do the paperwork trail around Shanghai (mostly Minhang, with bits of Pudong depending on where you are living)

Go to the driving licence office –
Shanghai Drivers License Building:
Gate 3, 179 Qing Chun Road , Xin Zhuang (Near Chun Shen Road / Hu Min Road ). The tel. no. is 021-64987070 x 54280 or 54279

Take Passport, Drivers licence (I have a Chinese Car drivers licence), proof of Address. Residence/Work Permit (Z Visa), Photo’s
Have multiple photocopies of everything with you.  Tell them you are applying for a motorbike licence, they will give you a piece of paper with your name address, and chop it.  Off to the medical (close by).

If its more than 1 year since you did your last driving licence test, you’ll need to redo it.  This will need to be booked.
The only place in Shanghai that conducts tests in english is in Minhang.  I did my first test in Chinese, as they didn’t have foreign tests back then!

Questions / Answers are in the graphic below.

Get a medical checkup.  They will give you a chopped piece of paper, don’t lose it, or neglect to get it.
Medical Checkup is done on the 3rd floor of the Dong Ming lu / Minhang
1st floor, application – 60RMB
2nd floor – photo’s and fill in the forms. (photo’s included in the price)
3rd floor – get the medical (takes about 2 minutes for all the windows, the ladies are very nice and helpful).

Back to the motorbike test place with all the paperwork, and give them the forms so far, and your passport.  They will go do the rest of the application, and give you a call in a few days to collect passport.  They will keep the rest of the forms until the licence is completed.
Currently its 750RMB to apply for motorbike lessons/ licence.   If you need to rent a motorbike at the test centre, that will cost an additional 450RMB

You’ll need at least 5 hours of lessons at the motorbike test place, possibly less if you know how to drive a motorbike already.

Once lessons are completed, you will book a road test, hopefully pass, then back to the Drivers Licence Building for a reissue of your new E licence!

My Bike is below

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As I’m currently in South Africa visiting my family, I bought a DVD player as a prezzie for mom.

LG DV340 Region free hack for the model I bought at Game is below:

1, power on the player with no disk in the drive
2, pres pause on the remote
3, enter “314159” on the remote
4, enter “0” on the remote (0 = all regions, 1 = region 1 etc)
5, press pause on the remote
6, power the player off and then back.

Hopefully this helps someone else!

Apparently it also works for most other LG players, eg the DV440 DNU889 (as confirmed in the comments)

(Info from