I don't plan on flooding your mailbox with a daily update. Once we're underway, I suspect one or two a week is all I'll be able to manage. However, since I'm "idling" right now awaiting the arrival of the rest of the Globriders on 08 May, I'm practicing the creation and upload of these BLOGs in the shortest possible editing and on-line time. Several of you have asked what tools I'm using to do these, so first, a rambling "tech talk", then, an explanation of the bizzarre title of this update. If the BLOG process and tools are of no interest to you, scroll down to the start of the images - you'll get a kick out of the first one at any rate:
- To take the pictures, I'm using a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera, many of them taken using the wide-angle adapter designed for the series. The 990 has WAY more features than I know how to use, so I mainly use it in "full-auto" mode
becuase I forgot the operating manual at home. OK - actually, I remembered to bring it, but couldn't find it before I left ;<( These are transferred to my notebook PC using a Kingston Technologies 128MB PC Card flash memory card and adapter which jacks right into the notebook's Type II PC Card slot.
- In order to keep from bloating the server these BLOG images are stored on, I "downsize" the 2048 x 1536 images the Nikon captures to a smaller 330 x 248 size recommended by the host site using an ancient but legal copy of LVPro View 1/2B (image editing software). To show what a Luddite I am, this software was originally written for 386 PC's running under Windows(R) 3.1 becuase I'm too lazy and cheap to learn and purchase PhotoShop(R).
- In order to minimize my on-line time, I "compose" the text in another venerable piece of software - Microsoft(R) Notepad! The BLOG software that the images and text will ultimately be uploaded to likes super dumbed-down text, and Notepad is about as "raw" a text editor as you can find. Please note that Notepad doesn't have a spell-checker, and I'm also too lazy to transfer the text in and out of Word, so, my failure to win spelling bees when in elementary will manifest itself at times.
- The notebook PC I'm using is a Fujitsu Lifebook S-Series with an Intel(R) Pentium(R) III running at 800MHz, 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard disk, and dual batteries. It weighs in at just 3 lbs. and has a magnesium case, both important features in my "buy" decision. The PC is running Windows XP which has been rock-solid stable since installation.
- My link to the world is Roam International, a global ISP that has points of presence (dial-up, local access numbers) in around 155 countries provided via iPass and the iPass dialer utility. They had dial-up numbers for China, Russia, and Slovenia which were the "acid test" for this trip. So far, it has worked everyplace I've been, virtually the first time. I can't recommend them highly enough!
- Finally, with the images sized, text completed, and connection established, I upload the images and text into the Movable Type(R) 1.0 BLOG (weB LOGging) software hosted on the Horizons Unlimited BLOG site. Grant and Susan Johnson provide this service free of charge! The software allows me to generate a mail list, upload and edit the new update, then automatically send a notification to all members of the list. The result is what you're reading right now. Cool stuff! Once everything is ready, it takes about 15 minutes of on-line time to upload and do a final preview and edit of the update (well, on a good day anyway).
OK - enough of that, what's with the "Mao Are You?" title? I believe the image below will answer that question most eloquently:
[I'm sure a giant, stern bust in cast bronze was what he would have hoped for, but, he should rest assured that these little jewels generate far wider exposure. The "Waiving Hello Chairman Mao" watches were sold in dozens of small tourist
traps that we passed in Shanghai. If you look carefully at the image, you might be able to discern The Chairman's raised hand is in a slightly different position on each watch - Chairman Mao waving once a second for eternity on hundreds of wrists throughout the world - who could ask for anything more?]
And, I couldn't help myself. Although the skies have been overcast since my arrival, the following two images capture the"looking backward and looking forward" nature of Shanghai today. Both pictures were taken down in The Bund area on the HuangPu River:
[The Present and Future Shanghai on the HuangPu River.]
And by virutally pivoting 180 degrees, the other face of Shanghai:
[The historically significant and preserved skyline of The Bund. But, that tower in the middle, Burger King Shanghai's corporate headquaters or what?]
These two ladies, Mei Mei on the left, and Ying Fang on the right, were amazing in their ability to negotiate the price of almost any purchase, tried on at least 300 pairs of shoes when we toured the shopping district, and, I'm in Ying Fang's eternal debt for her insuring we ordered Schezuan-Style Braised Fish with Spring Onions and Chiles instead of Steamed Silkworm Larvae in Oyster Sauce (the latter actually on the menu at a place I had dinner at!)
[Two sisters, Mei Mei and Ying Fang posing with yours truly - there's one in every crowd, no matter what country you're in.]
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