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Technology

A Little Tip on Yahoo Mail and GMail

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All right, I received this tip from a credit card company, and I think it’s a good one. Sometimes Yahoo Mail will mistakenly put the monthly billing email from someone into junk mail folder. To ensure delivery, add the sender’s email address to your address book, that way it will always put email to your inbox.

Well, until spammers find a way to hack your address book 🙂

Categories
Technology

GMail or Yahoo Mail?

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I started to use web based Yahoo Mail from 1998. It’s not perfect (large amount of spams, sometimes it put legimitate mail to bulk folder), but it works. About 2 years ago I got the GMail account and started using it. GMail has some nice features such as it “groups” same subject emails in one mail; and better previews for photos. But recently it was a bit goofy. One thing I noticed is it did not send out mail to the receivers. I confirmed this with my friends. In both cases, it looked OK for the senders but “not OK” for receivers: the receiver will just get the “quoted” original message. Those kind of problems mainly cause some inconvenience, but it could be more serious. Because I signed up electronic bill for my cell phone using GMail, and I have not received the email (and I did not go to t-mobile site lately), I missed the deadline of bill payment. T-Mobile happily charged $5 late fee. OK, I guess I will give back a portion of the $20 I saved from Google Checkout back to T-Mobile 🙂

Seriously, a while ago I thought about moving my email service from Yahoo to GMail. But I decided to stay with Yahoo for now. Besides the problem mentioned above, GMail is not reliable in China. I guess that’s one reason people in China like Hotmail better. I believe Hotmail is faster compared to Yahoo Mail in China too.

Categories
China Technology

More Patience Needed for Internet Disruption

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Here is what I saw from eBay:

***Asia Internet Connectivity Hit by Taiwan Earthquake – Trading Advice*** 
  
December 28, 2006 | 12:28PM PST/PT
“On December 26, an earthquake off the coast of Taiwan damaged several undersea cables shared by international telecommunications companies. This has disrupted Internet connectivity in many countries in Asia, including Australia.
While repairs are being made, it may take several days for their Internet services to work as normal. If you are involved in an eBay transaction with a member in this area, we encourage you to be patient with them and to keep trying to communicate as their services are restored.”

And from Wang Jianshuo’s blog

Categories
China Technology

China Software Companies II

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A commond question about China software industry is: while China leads India on hardware, manufacturing and many other aspects, why is she behind India on software? After all, Chinese are smart people too. Well, the main reason, I think, is China has domestic demand for software, while India has to compete with the western developed countries (US, UK) for the projects. Or put it in another way, when Chinese companies enjoyed the relatively “easy money” for relatively simple domestic projects, Indian companies are swimming in the ocean, fighting with bigger fish such as IBM to get the food. The result? 20 years later, when Chinese companies are still swimming in the Eastern China sea, their Indian counterparts already landed in New York, LA, and London. This is not to dismiss the effort of Chinese software companies’ growth, which I will talk about later. Let me talk a little about Chinese domestic demand for now.

In the late 80s, there were need for companies and goverment agencies in the accounting area. The companies wanted to use computer to keep track of things. The goverment wanted to standarize things so that their life will be easier (collect tax etc). Two guys (incidentally, both accounting major) started developing the software: Wang Wenjing founded UFSoft in Beijing and Xu Shaochun founded Kingdee in Shenzhen. Later on they both evolved into ERP software vendor. It’s a natural extension from accounting to ERP, because “accounting” covers a great deal of the business: from planning, budgeting, to sales, revenue and cost. Today both companies are leaders among domestic ERP vendors; and UFSoft is bigger than Kingdee. But foreign vendors such as SAP and Orcale are getting the high end of the markets, due to their product strength and better relationship with multinational companies.

We know ERP certainlly is not the only game in the town, but China software companies essentially did start on this application. Some other companies such as Hangzhou’s Sunyard developed software for the banks; Dong Ruan (NeuSoft) started software outsourcing in Shenyang and Dalian. They both grow into big players. Meanwhile, there are many smaller shops which has 20 to 100 people and they develop custom software and provide consulting services for specific industries.            

Categories
China Technology

China Software Companies I

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I thought about this topic for a while; I decided to start it after seeing the recent hypes on E-future stock. E-future claims it is the first Chinese software company listed in the NASDAQ Capital Market. This is correct but it is a bit misleading. There are two markets in NASDAQ: National Market and Capital Market. Capital market is for small capital companies; and most Chinese companies such as Netease and Home Inns (Ru Jia) are listed in the National Market. The reason I mentioned this is there are at least two Chinese software companies in the NASDAQ right now: China.com (CDC Corp) and Ninetowns. You may say many Internet companies such as Baidu, Sina, Netease and Sohu are also developing software, why don’t I categorize them as software companies?

Well, in this discussion I define software companies as the companies that develop software and sell them to the end users (mainly enterprises), by licensing (Microsoft) or sell them as a service (Salesforce); and sometimes they derive majority of revenue from support and service (RedHat). In other words, as much as we like Google and Baidu, and their fantastic technology, they are not considered as enterprise software companies. In addition to companies that develop software (and have intellictual property), I will also discuss some software outsourcing companies in China. Because they also do enterprise software development or customization for companies like Microsoft or Oracle; and they provide consulting services for the end users sometime.

When I talk to people about enterprise software in China, the most frequent word I heard is “ERP”, or enterprise resourcing planning. It seems to many people that ERP is the only thing in enterprise software world. This is obviously not true. But on the other hand, I think it is also the first area computer (software) is used in the Chinese companies. UFSoft (Yong You), one of the largest software company in China, got started in Accounting and ERP software about 15 years ago. Interestingly, about 12 years ago I wrote a foxBase program to manage the cost accounting for my first employer in Shanghai. To be continued…

UFSoft

Categories
Business Technology

Nothing to lose

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Google buying YouTube is a big news for the web 2.0 community. Its effect is felt more than that (I got two emails from friends regarding this :-). Interestingly, I recalled just a few weeks ago, Mark Cuban, the outspoken billionare investor (who made a fortune in the 90s dot com era), said “anyone who buys YouTube is a moron”. Now Google buys it. So according to his comments, and a little bit reasoning, Google is a xxx. Just kidding. When Cuban made this comment, he meant the potential lawsuit fallout because the copyrighted materials are all over the YouTube. And I believe there is some merits to his comments. But Google guys are not crazy either. As matter of fact, they have probablly the smartest people both in business and technology (and laws maybe). There are lots of analysis regarding why/how YouTube thrived amid all these competitions. Or how lucky they are ($1.65 billion payout). But I am not going there. I think they are genius, both with their technology and business model. But they would not accomplish without the “nothing to lose” attitude. Why would I say that?

About 6 months ago I found out YouTube from another web site. It’s a video titled Meat on a stick (lamb kebab, 羊肉串).

 

Categories
Life Technology

Instant Message Scandal

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OK, I will take a break from the stock lesson today. I am going to talk about the TV media here. I bet president Bush doesn’t like what he sees on TV these days, not just daily casualties in Iraq and Afganistan, and the conspiracy theory of lower gas price. Being a president, the president can not be a winner on this gasoline price issue. When the price goes up, people complains; when the gas price goes down, people are suspicious why the price goes down exactly before this congress mid-term election. Of course the biggest headache for him and republican party, is this “Foley” scandal. Yes, it’s not Shanghai had the big scandal lately. These days when you turned on the TV (say, CNN, FOX, or NBC), you will hear and see the Florida congressman Floey’s scandal (criminal investigation is under way). The center of the matter, is Mr. Foley sent instant message to under aged boy who works for congress. So let’s call it “Instant Message Scandal”, or “IM Gate”?

Many people think the instant message does not have any record. And I think that’s one reason people say stupid thing in IM. Wrong. It turns out many IM providers keep copies of conversation on the server. Also the participants can save the conversations on the computer. More specifically, the Google talk (by default) stores the chat content in your Gmail account.

I remember Warren Buffett once said : when he was not sure about doing something in business, he will use the criteria “can this be put on the front page of local newspaper”. He certainly meant put be on the paper as a good story. Ironically, Mr. Foley’s story did show up in a lot newspaper’s front page, in a totally different tone.

Categories
Business Technology

Make money using Google AdSense

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I am not going to explain how to make money using Google AdSense. Here I just put a real world example: a successful web enterprenur got a check from Google. Guess how big is the check: almost 1 million Canadian dollars. And here is the link. The nice thing about his web site is that he runs it by himself. So after he paid the web-hosting, and other service fees, he can put the money into his own pocket (after paying tax). Certainlly this is a very rare case. Also don’t think he built the web site and the business overnight, as a matter of fact, I believe he has done this for more than 3 years.

Not everybody can be as good or as lucky as him, but I think Google AdSense does provide a new revenue stream for many start-ups.   

Categories
China Fun Technology

Douban mipang and hnlhousing

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Shortky after I wrote the web 2.0 article, I got comment from Andy and he mentioned his new site hnlhousing.com. I checked it out and it was cool. As I said when I first saw the housingmaps.com about a year ago, I thought it was a very useful tool. Basically it combines the listings on Craigslist with the Google map, and list the house/apartment by date or price. That’s the mashup. Interestingly after two maps, St. Louis was not on either of them. So I guess there is still some value to create one map for St. Louis.

Just kidding. The web 2.0 thing is really heating up, especially on the other side of the ocean, you know it’s China. I came across douban a while ago and I registered it lately. Douban is a web site which lets people review books, movies and music, and more importantly, it connects people with similar interest by “group” or “neighbours”. If you are curious, here is one article from do news which talked about its founder Yang Bo. But I think the real impressive thing is its clean user interface, unlike its big brother sina, sohu, netease, its web page is simple and easier to use. There are links for “buying books” or “compare prices” (I believe that’s where their revenue comes from), but it’s not annoying. Anyway, the web site claims 190,000 registered users as of lately, and is getting a lot attention from the news media and competitors (sina and mop).

I also checked out another web site called “mipang” (米胖)   which means “pop rice” in Chinese. It lets people share about their hometown or places they have been, by words or pictures. It’s at a much earlier stage than the douban 豆瓣, but I think it’s equally fascinating (if not more) because there is Chinese proverb “learn more travelling 1000 miles instead of readinging 10 thousands books”.

Here is an article from China Web 2.0 Riview.          

Categories
Business Technology

Bill call quits

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Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, the richest man on the world (12 years in a row), announced his semi-retirement from his Microsoft day to day operations job last week. As we know Bill Gates is the icon of technology industry in last 20+ years, I think his quits at this time is very interesting.

First I want to say I have great respect for Bill Gates. I know a lot people don’t like or even hate him for various reasons. But think about this: this is the man who pushed PC to the office and home, and the ways we work or entertain: Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP, Word, Excel, Power Point; Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, the Solitaire game and so on. He only took 6 days vacations from 1978 to 1984. Before that he quit from Havard Univ. and started the company when the other co-founder Paul Allen told him “you are going to quit, this thing (the PC revolution) is happening without us”. The rest is history.

Secondly, I think the time of his retirement is interesting. This is a difficult time for Microsoft, its stock MSFT has been stagnant for years and has been down sharply recently since the 2006 Q1 earning announcement. Besides the Vista delay, Xbox supply glitch, missed boat on “online music” (vs. iPod), the biggest problem is that it seems like they lost the “Web Search” and rapid-growth online adversing to Google. On the top of that, it appears as we enter into web 2.0 era, the Windows OS and Office suite seems more and more irrelevant. As people spend more time on Browser, for leisure or for work, it does not matter which OS, or browser they are using. Microsoft needs some fresh ideas in this new era. As much talented as Bill is, at age of 50 and a 30 years veteran in software industry, he may not be the best person for this change.

Finally, I think Bill deserve this retirement because he has done so much to the industry. Now he is going to use his experience and chrisma to help the world, I believe he will be successful and wish him do well.