Debian CN99 is back!

The fastest debian mirror site in China has just come back online. The once long standing debian.cn99.com went offline a few months ago without any notice or explanation from its administrators. Many Chinese debianers had been guessing when it would come back or if it ever would.

Today, to my great delight the the debian mirror server resurrected. Not only does it have debian mirrors, but also stores other popular distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, gentto and Archlinux.

The header.txt file in the root directory of Debian CN99 indicates the mirror server is now taken care of by one of the biggest Internet portal site in China: netease.com, which is also known as 163.com. The header.txt says:

Welcome to Open source projects Archive on 163(aka netease.com)
Mirror access is available at
http://mirrors.163.com/
Please email to mirror@service.netease.com for suggestions and/or questions.

This means debianers now can use http://mirrors.163.com/ as an alternative address to do apt-get.

With a giant Internet cooperation — 163.com — sponsoring the mirror server, I am reasonably expecting it to serve the community in a long period of time to come.

AVG Free 8.0 and NOD32 3.0, which one uses less resources?

I don’t want to argue which one is better. For me, AVG Free is trustworthy, and it does detect viruses better than another free AV — AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic. For Nod32, well, it is not free, and keeping it in ‘free’ mode for a long period requires a lot of extra work. Kaspersky’s invincible key file is annoying, and so is Nod32’s usename/password mechanism. Yes, you can find the ‘free’ Kaspersky keys, or subscribe to a daily feed of Nod32’s login information or use a trial time stopper. But why do that when you have AVG free which does a very respectable job in virus-detection?

Right now I am using a AMD Tbird 1300 MHz CPU and 512MB memory, a configuration which makes the responsiveness of the system my main concern. I noticed an older version of AVG Free used more system resources than it should, so I decided to give ESS (ESET Smart Security) a try yesterday. But it blocked my Internet connection even after I completely disabled its firewall. It was kicked out of my system within an hour.

Reminiscing of the good old Nod32 version 2.7, I am thinking giving Nod32 antivirus 3.0 a try again. But the question is: is the already famous Nod32 uses less resource than AVG Free? If the answer is yes, it is certainly a big plus for me to make the switch. If not, I will stay with the latest version of AVG Free, which I have the obnoxious link scanner disabled. Both are good antivirus software, and both are well-know for its very small system footprint (AVG uses less than 30MB of memory). The question is, which one is even more efficient?

Can’t tell you the result now, but if you know the answer, please give your informed opinion. When I get the time to test and compare both programs, I will post the result here. So far, it seems AVG Free will stay. I am lazy and I don’t want to employ the tricks to make Nod32 free.

Update: Nod32 3.0 does use less resources compared to AVG Free 8.0 in my recent user experience. But AVG is free and powerful, so it is up to you to decide which one to use.

Changing your MAC address with smac

How to change your MAC address? It is easy under Linux: just use ifconfig command.
Under Windows, there is a handy tool called SMAC which can spoof the hardware address of your NIC, including that of the wireless card. This useful when you are using Relakks service and want to register again by changing your MAC address.

Update:K-mac is also capable of change the MAC address of the wireless interface and it is free.

NYT: Reading and Comments about the Olympic Torch Relay in Paris

I read and commented on an article by the New York Times, for the language learning purposes.

And in China, a different sort of backlash has been taking shape — against the companies from countries that seem to be putting pressure on China. French companies like Carrefour are a particular target because of the mayhem during the Paris leg of the torch relay and because the French president has said he may skip the opening ceremony in Beijing over China’s human rights record.

Backlash: a strong and adverse reaction by a large number of people. Mayhem: disorder, chaos

“I think boycotting Carrefour is a peaceful and polite way to express our anger, our Chinese feelings got deeply hurt by France,” said Li Meng, a 25-year-old mechanic who is selling T-shirts in support of the boycott movement in the city of Yantai, in eastern China. “France humiliated China during the torch relay and keeps making trouble for the Olympics.”

Nay. Don’t mix the country with the people. It is better put in this way: “Some French” humiliated China. CCTV reported that Chinese journalists hadn’t received the treatment they expected in Paris. A journalist in a television interview said that the French Authority didn’t give the the Chinese journalists sufficient leeway and good camera positions to cover the torch relay. I am not sure what happened. Maybe those journalists were used to the preferential treatments at home, and they didn’t adjust their mentality well in abroad?

Some photos available on the Internet showed that the French police force had no mercy towards the trouble-makers on the scene and arrested lots of them.

American brands like McDonald’s and KFC have also been named as targets of a boycott because some American politicians seem to be supporting the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing blames for instigating violence in Tibet to disrupt plans for the Olympics.

It is a false alarm. I haven’t heard anything about boycotting these two fast food companies at the moment. What happened in Tibet was violent riots. There is no doubt about it. Many western media, while reports the number of deaths in the violence, failed to admit the rioters were guilty of killing innocent people. This made me realize how prejudiced the western media was in the matter.

No one knows whether there is widespread support for the boycotts, but the opposition comes at a time when many of the world’s biggest brands — including Coke — are expanding aggressively in China and planning huge sales and marketing campaigns to coincide with the Olympics.

No boycott at all for American companies as far as I know of this time. When the Chinese embassy was bombed in Yugoslavia, many Chinese boycotted these two companies, but I don’t think those people never went to McDonald’s afterwards.

Coca-Cola’s most recent quarterly results suggest the extent of its reliance on the Chinese market. During the first quarter, Coke’s unit case volume sales in China were up 20 percent in the quarter, one of the highest figures from any country. Over all, the company’s net income rose 19 percent in the quarter, to $1.5 billion, from $1.26 billion a year ago.

This sentence and the one above really explains it all. Coke is profiting handsomely in the Chinese market and will continue to do so, and only a fool will ruin this good business. Unit case volume sales: what is it? Anyone knows?

Neither Coca-Cola nor any of the other Olympic sponsors has flinched in its public support for the games, but the groups that are protesting China’s policies in Tibet and Darfur are vowing to step up their pressure. This could lead to showdowns, or even to a possible whipsaw for the companies if Chinese youths start protesting en masse in the other direction.

Flinch (its support): make a quick, nervous movement as an instinctive reaction to fear or pain. Whipsaw: a saw with a narrow blade and a handle at both ends, used typically by two people.

Ms. Tethong added, “You have influence, and you know you have influence. Please don’t hide behind a spin.”

Spin: when an idea or situation is expressed or described in a clever way that makes it seem better than it really is, especially in politics, e.g “They have tried to put a positive spin on the situation.” Source URL

The Most Popular Instant Messenger in China


Although I don’t like QQ and use it only on rare occasions, I have to admit it is the most popular instant messenger program in China. Especially for teens and twenty somethings, this program is a must-have.

QQ was known earlier as OICQ. It changed the name into QQ in 2001 because of its copyright infringement on AOL’s ICQ.

The discussion group and the resumable file transfer are the two distinctive features of QQ. The users can create and join discussion groups if they have a high user rank or pay some fee. QQ is also capable of transferring large files at a very high speed. If the file transfer is interrupted, it can be resumed upon reconnection.

Many critics of QQ, including myself, think it has grown cumbersome and resource hogging over the years. Even the most loyal QQ users are annoyed by its incessant flashy advertisements.

Some people began to modify QQ and released many so-called “optimized QQ”. Among the hacked versions of QQ, CoralQQ is the best known and the most popular. It is ad free, less resource hungry, and capable of showing the IP address and the location of the chat buddy.

In August 2007, the author of CorealQQ by the name of “Soff” was arrested on charge of violating the copyright of Tencent, the owner of QQ. A poll held by a Chinese portal site, however, shows that the predominant netizens are supportive of Soff rather than Tencent (96.3% vs 3.7%).

An Anti-CNN website?

Some Chinese netizens have launched a site called “anti-cnn.com” to vent their anger toward CNN.

In a CNN report on the turmoil in Tibet dated on March 15, an accompanying picture of the report showed two army trucks on the street in Lhasa. Some Chinese netizens found the original picture from AFP, and condemned CNN for cropping the picture to screen out the rioters stoning the trucks. On the Anti-CNN site, several other western media are also criticized for using the pictures of the Nepalese protests to report what happened in Tibet.

The link to the inflammatory report at CNN.com, which has over 1300 diggs, has been replaced by CNN with the original picture and a different story.

Anti CNN: the original photo

You may want to read the following links to further investigate what is going on and form your own opinion.

1. Anti-CNN.com. Screenshots of some foreign media reports are posted and annotated to “expose the lies and distorted facts in the western media”.

2. ESWN. An analysis of the pictures posted on Anti-CNN and the author’s own opinion: “It won’t do to tell them [Chinese netizens]: Since the your media are rotten, we are surely entitled to suck (but not as much)! “.

3. Xinhua News Agency. A spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to questions about the Anti-CNN website, saying “What the Tibetan incident leaves us is a mirror which tells us the true colours of some in the international community”. This site also posted a commentary saying “Now a word for these Western media: watch out for your credibility crisis.”

4. Danwei. A source of this site reports that CNN was not invited on the journalist junket to Tibet in the aftermath of the Tibetan riots. A post on this site says the anger of the Chinese netizens toward the CNN correspondent in Beijing is “misdirected”.