On Beijing Cream: Skype In China Might Not Offer Privacy, But Why Would You Expect It To?

I wrote a piece for Beijing Cream about ridiculous accusations, Skype, and how scary it might be:

But this is nothing new. In 2008, activists at Citizen Lab disclosed a similar finding: that TOM, in a joint venture with the then-owner of Skype, eBay, systematically monitors and censors users’ communication. Then, as in 2006, Skype publicly commented that they knew about it, promised that it was only instant messages that were affected, and reassured everyone that Skype-to-Skype (as in, not TOM-Skype) communication was fully encrypted and protected.

Read the whole piece:

Skype In China Might Not Offer Privacy, But Why Would You Expect It To?

On Beijing Cream: Malware In China, Part 2: iOS Users Are Vulnerable, Too

A recent piece I wrote for Beijing Cream about jailbreaking and malware on iOS.

While there are certain advantages to jailbreaking, the downsides can be quite severe. And, to be honest, the non-practical advantages of jailbreaking only really count if you want to tweak the system and know what you’re doing

I came round to not jailbreaking my device after I found that I couldn’t (a long story). At first, I was very wary of actually purchasing applications, especially games. But after that first purchase, I have to admit that it feels good to know that I’m helping to support developers who make interesting content. Also, I now no longer have to worry about strange ways around Apple controls when upgrading: every single application on my iPad will follow me version after version with no work on my part.

Read the whole piece here:

Malware In China, Part 2: iOS Users Are Vulnerable, Too

GitHub Blocked In China Thanks To The Railway Ministry’s Crappy Ticketing Site

Update: GitHub now seems to be partially unblocked.

The Golden Shield Project (aka Great Firewall of China) has decided GitHub no longer conforms with Chinese notions of harmony, as first noticed Monday by GreatFire.org and reported on The Next Web.

The block comes on the heels of the Ministry of Railways’s unsuccessful attempt to convince Chinese browser-makers to stop providing a plugin that helps users purchase train tickets off MOR’s website.

A bit of background before we go any further: GitHub acts as a platform for software developers to share, revise, and track changes to code. This means that people who make those cool apps and websites we use every day use GitHub as a means to communicate with other developers, share their work, and generally make their products (and, thus, our lives) better1.

The rest of the article can be found here:

GitHub Blocked In China Thanks To The Railway Ministry’s Crappy Ticketing Site

Tech Talk on Today Jan 16, 2013

This week, on Today on Beyond Beijing, we discussed

[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/81315943/Tech%20Talk/tech%20talk%200116.mp3]

iPhones For Everyone! Apple Opens Payment Plan Option For China Customers In Push For Market Share

Apple has never been afraid of cannibalizing its products, but I do have to wonder if it will be shooting themselves in the foot with a wider consumer base. Apple products remain a luxury item (and thus give status to those who own them) based on their price. As we saw with the cheaper iPhone rumors, Chinese people were hoping that version would look different, so that “real” iPhones would retain their status symbol and prevent scalpers from taking advantage of the price difference.

Read more:

iPhones For Everyone! Apple Opens Payment Plan Option For China Customers In Push For Market Share

Chinese Tech Companies Have Come A Long Way, But Have Further To Go, If Their Performance At This Year’s CES Is Any Indication

Chinese people can be very quick to pull the “you-don’t-understand-China” card.3 Granted, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding of China, its people, and its companies, but this is no excuse for the Chinese to apply the same intellectual laziness when learning about the outside world.

This is what every single Chinese company has to fight against if they truly want a positive global brand presence. At this point, no one even seems sure how to pronounce Huawei (it’s “hwa-way”).

These companies have shown great prowess and a drive to succeed in their home market, but there still seems to be a lack of understanding of what appeals to Western consumers and how to present your product. The above-mentioned song and dance at the Hisense booth is something you’d probably see at a Chinese trade show (or banquet, or cheap 24-hour dim sum restaurant, or overpriced Chinese bar), but the fact that Hisense chose to do the same at one of the largest consumer tech events in the world shows how much they still have to learn.

Read the full post:

Chinese Tech Companies Have Come A Long Way, But Have Further To Go, If Their Performance At This Year’s CES Is Any Indication

Tech Talk on Today Jan 9, 2013

My weekly tech segment on Today on Beyond Beijing.

[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/81315943/Tech%20Talk/teck%20talk%200109.mp3]

We talked about:

Tech Talk Dec 26, 2012

My weekly tech segment on Today on Beyond Beijing

 

We talked about:

Tech Talk on Beyond Beijing Dec 19, 2012

My weekly tech segment on Today on Beyond Beijing

We talked about:

  • The quiet launch of the iPhone 5 in China
  • Active blocking of VPNs
  • Regulation of apps and app stores

John Artman’s Teck Talk Dec 12, 2012

My weekly segment for Today on Beyond Beijing 

[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/81315943/Tech%20Talk/tech%20talk%201212.mp3]

We talked about:

  • Apple, Microsoft, and Google teaming up to buy Kodak’s digital imaging patents
  • USPTO reviewing the “Steve Jobs patent” and what it means for Apple going forward
  • A new mobile payment and financial planning application from Alipay ( “China’s Paypal”, subsidiary of Alibaba)
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