It’s been over a month since I last posted anything to my blog. Posting after so long seems somewhat weird, because so much has happened since July 22. So here’s the short version of events:
July 30-August 4: Visit New Jersey.
August 6: Leave Chicago permanently and return home to Hong Kong.
August 7: Reach Hong Kong.
August 13-18: Go to Singapore to visit my brother and his family. My fiancee flies down from Kolkata, India and joins me in Singapore.
August 18: My fiancee and I fly to Hong Kong for a short visit (she returned on August 28 to Kolkata).
August 25: I fly to Beijing, China to start a 10-month Manadarin course at the Beijing Language & Culture University.
All of these things have kept me very busy, and away from Mozilla/Firefox. In fact, I think I went a whole month without logging into Bugzilla. That must be some sort of a personal record.
Anyway, now I’m located in Beijing for the next ten months or so. My first impressions of Beijing are very positive. China is far more developed than I imagined, and Beijing is a very cosmopolitan city, even more so I think than Chicago, where I spent my last four years.
Technologically speaking, Beijing is light years ahead of the US. Cellphone providers here are deploying 3G networks capable of sending data at 384kbps down/64kbps up, and GPRS is already in widespread use. The hotel I stayed at for a few nights before moving into my permanent place was the unquestionably best hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Everything was computerised, from the TV controls, to the room lights, to the air conditioning, to calling a valet. And it was all accessible from a central control panel next to the bed. It had to be seen to be believed. I haven’t seen anything like it in either the US or Hong Kong.
The only complaints that I have about internet connectivity are that firstly that it is rather slow, and secondly is that it is censored (though not as heavily as I had imagined). For example, sites such as BBC News and Google Cache are completely inaccessible. I’m sure there are more examples.
Thankfully, I still have VPN access to the University of Chicago (at least until February, after which I’ll need a new VPN provider). Since VPN access is not blocked, I have effectively unrestricted internet access by tunneling to uchicago.edu. I’m glad I’m able to use VPN, else having restricted internet would be somewhat of a bummer. My Vonage box also works here, which is nice, because calls between anywhere in the world and the US are far cheaper than between anywhere in the world and China. I had to buy a new phone to use with it, since using my American wireless phone which was not type-approved for China would probably be the quickest way to annoy the police here, since I’d be broadcasting RF on restricted frequencies.
I’m hoping now that I’m somewhat settled into my new place in Beijing and that my net connection is working (albeit slowly) and unrestricted (thanks to VPN) that I’ll be able to spend some time catching up on my Firefox QA stuff.