Help Beijing win a #4sqCities Badge!

Foursquare have recently launched  a global competition for international cities to have a City Badge launched for their town. People can submit a list of the best venues from their town, be they restaurants, tourists sites or other unique or interesting destinations. For the winning cities, Foursquare will design a special City badge that users can unlock by visiting several or more places from the list. With this in mind, I have set the ball rolling on creating a list for Beijing, but I need your help.
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How to get your Beijing Motorcycle Driving License

These very useful instructions were written by my friend Ruud a couple of years ago. I just finally passed my Beijing Car Driving License today, and have decided to push on to get my motorcycle license as well. Having just got a new copy of his instructions, I have decided to post them up here in case anyone else finds them useful. Don’t thank me – thank Ruud! Here you go: Continue reading

Bookmarklet to add Torrents to Transmission from your iPhone

I have long been looking for a way to easily add a Torrent file to my Bittorrent client when out and about. Obviously the iPhone is a great solution for this but due to restrictions in Apple’s walled-garden they tend not to approve Bittorrent apps because of piracy concerns. While I concede that their concerns are not entirely unfounded, there are plenty of perfectly legal uses for Bittorrent. Android users have a great app called Transdroid that does exactly what I’m talking about. As a Mac user, I have been long term fan of the now excellent Transmission client. While Transmission has a nice iPhone friendly web interface it is severely lacking when it comes to adding Torrents from your phone. This is what this post addresses. Continue reading

I’m Back!

After a four year absense I have decided to start this thing up again. I’ve given the site a basic refresh and upgraded everything. There are still a lot of bugs to iron out, but it is at least basically working.

Now for something to write about….

Five Online Predictions for 2007 (or, everyone is is writing theirs so why can’t I!)

Well it’s the new year and my blog has certainly suffered from a considerable amount of neglect in the last few months. This in part is because my blogging efforts (not to mention real life efforts) have been swallowed up by this. However, I thought it would be fun to start the year by first, actually writing a new post, and secondly writing the post of the moment which everyone seems to be doing, so without further ado here are my online predictions for 2007:

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By the Skin of our Teeth

Well we have the official word – we are safe (at least for now). They have posted signs around the area stating the building numbers they are going to demolish and thankfully we are not on it.

The plan is to demolish all the building to our north up to our back wall, which does mean that we potentially could have an entrance to our north which would be good, and since they are demolishing to create a green belt we may even be able to make use of the grass on that side. :)

This good news was marred somewhat though by the landlord, clearly under the influence of his overbearing wife, who pitched up asking for more money. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, he can’t do anything since we all signed the contract. Clearly he thought that our debatably improved location should earn him more money…

Balancing on the Razor’s Edge

As many people now know I recently left my job to, among other things, open a restaurant here in Beijing. Things have been progressing in a more or less forward direction until today. We were standing in the shell of the building that will soon be our restaurant overseeing the construction when two men wandered in and announced that they were from the demolition company charged with demolishing the whole area! As you can imagine, this came as something of a surprise, and also meant that our discussions of the interior design minutae were suddenly obsoleted.

Xuduan and Will then went into a phone frenzy trying to dig out the facts from wherever they could find them. Xuduan managed eventually to get hold of someone who told her that the plan was to demolish all buildings thirty meters back from the ring road to our north, to create a lovely grass area next to the road… We then imediately ran outside and up the side street between our hutong and the second ring road armed with a tape measure, and proceeded to measure from the building to our north back towards our place. The result of this proved that the northern most point of our building lies approximately thirty eight meters from the road giving us a supposed eight meter safety net – provided the facts we have are even accurate. Our last attempt to get more informaton was to charge off, scooters throttled to the max, bound for the office of commerce which was unfortunately closed for the weekend by the time we got there which means we have to now wait for monday to learn more…

The conclusion of all this is such that we are either (a) about to be better positioned, right by the second ring road with the potential of a northern entrance across a nice grass lawn, or (b) completely fucked, and about to be rather substantially out of pocket. Hopefully Monday will provide as with a concrete answer either way. I will let you know.

MONDAY UPDATE: The guy who can tell us is in a meeting all day today, so we now have to wait till tommorrow.

Chav Arse Regal

On wednesday evening I went to the Chivas Regal “Milan” party. This was one of those events where the funds put in definitely exceeded the taste of those involved. On arrival, all the guests walked up a red carpet complete with press photographers snapping shots of us towards the entrance to the building which had had Milan cathedral projected on to the fron of it. Inside things we equally strange, including an Opera singer singing (badly!) over the dance music, stylists offering hair and face make overs and an assortment of downright nasty (but at least free) Chivas-based cocktails. You needed only look at the faces of the other guests to realise that everyone there was as bemused as we were. In fact the whole event was firmly planted in the so-bad-it’s-good camp. Enjoy the pics.