May 2010

May 30, 2010

Is Google Copying Bing's Homepage Images?

Someone sent me some screenshots that look like Google is trying out a new feature that allows users to customize their homepage background image. (Sites like Bing or Google often try features out with a % of their users before releasing them into general use. Because these trials are somewhat random, it's hard to force it to happen. As a result, I haven't actually seen these features in action and can't categorically state that these are real images, but the source is credible.)

Here you can see the "Change background image" link they added in the bottom-left corner. (n.b. I added the bigger version to make it easier to read.)
Google homepage with "Change background image" link.

If you click the link, you get this dialog box asking if you want to upload from your computer, from Picasa Web, or a public gallery.
HTML dialog box over a dimmed background, asking user to select a background image.

Here's what you see if you click "Public Gallery".
HTML dialog box over a dimmed Google homepage, asking user to select a background image from the public gallery.

Here's the Google homepage with a custom background image. You can see the "Remove background image" link in the bottom-left.Google homepage with a green leaf photo in the background.

Maybe I'm biased because I work on Bing for Microsoft, but I think this looks like a bad copy of our custom homepage images. While I'm sure some users would like to upload their own photos to be the background, I think the best part of the Bing homepage is getting a lovely surprise everyday with interesting questions and links about the image. I wonder if Google is a getting a little spooked by Bing; they seem to copying a lot of our features lately.

Here's the much more attractive (IMHO) Bing homepage for comparison.
Bing homepage image

Posted May 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 23, 2010

I Look Like an American

Categories: China Random junk

I played golf yesterday with a bunch of my teammates. Since we didn't have two full foursomes, two of us were paired with some other Chinese golfers. They were nice enough and soon we got into the typical "where are you from, what do you do" banter. As soon as I said I was American, one guy looked at me and immediately replied, "You look like an American." My buddy Tim asked, "What does that mean?" The other guy replied, "You have skinny legs and a big belly."


My big belly and I went on to kick his skinny butt in golf.

Posted May 23, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2010

The Long Tail of Chinese Cities

Categories: China

Here's a nice infographic of the sixty Chinese cities with populations in excess of 1M. By comparison, Wikipedia states that the Seattle metro area is around 4M with 600,000 in the city. It really sets the massive population of China in perspective when cities most Americans have never heard of (even people who have been to China) are bigger than places like Munich or Amsterdam.

From: Chinfographics

60 Cities with more than 1 Million inhabitants

Posted May 22, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 16, 2010

The Chor Family Village

Categories: China

I noticed a bunch of signs like this lately saying "Zuojiazhuang". The first word "zuo" is my family name ("Chor" was transliterated from Cantonese; the Mandarin pronunciation is "zuo".) The phrase "Zuojianzhuang" means "Chor Family Village". It turns out there's a section in northeast Beijing, between the Second and Third Ring Roads (just north of Sanlitun, if you know Beijing) that is called Zuojiazhuang. My driver thinks there must have been a rich family named Zuo that used to live there a long time ago. I'll have to see what else I can learn about this.

Sign in Chinese and Pinyin saying "Zuojiazhuang Bridge".

You can see the location here in Chinese Bing maps.

Pretty cool.

Posted May 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2010

Carrot and Stick Leadership Styles

Categories: Kids

I've commented before about the differences between Andrew (12) and Michael (9) but this was highlighted very clearly again last night at dinner.

I was talking with Michelle about a problem I was having at work about someone not doing their job well.

  • Andrew jumped in and suggested, "Tell them if they do a good job, you'll give them a copy of Halo Reach." Michael very quickly and bluntly told me, "Tell them if they don't do a good job you'll fire them."

The kids were definitely playing true to form. Andrew is much kinder with his good "carrot" style leadership. Michael, not unexpectedly, is all stick.

Weird how different two brothers can be. Note to future employees -- watch out if Michael is your manager.

Posted May 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 8, 2010

Sigma Spring

Categories: China Photos

We have these lovely blossoms growing in front of my team's building in Beijing (it's called the Sigma Building). Nice that nature found a way to brighten up normally dreary Beijing.


Posted May 8, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 3, 2010

Badminton in Pajamas

Categories: China Photos

Chinese people in China (vs. overseas Chinese) seem to have a love affair with wearing pajamas in public, despite government pressure to stop. Someone once explained to me that only richer people can afford pajamas, so they're kind of a sign of affluence. Anyway, I saw this guy today playing badminton in a hutong (old alley neighborhoods) in his pajamas. Maybe his neighbors think he's cool, but I think he looks silly.

Man playing badminton in his pajamas.

Posted May 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Mysterious Wheel Covers in Beijing

Categories: China Photos

I've regularly seen covers like this protecting wheels on parked cars in Beijing, but I've never known what they were for.
Car tire protected with a wooden board.

Today, my friend Stacy pointed out to me that they're to keep dogs from peeing on the wheels! Sure enough, a high percentage of uncovered wheels looked like this on the street we were on today. Who lets their dog pee on cars? Gross.
Unprotected tire with pee marks.

Posted May 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Confusing Sign

Categories: China Photos

Saw this restaurant sign today in a hutong (traditional alley/neighborhood) in Beijing. I don't think they really serve dog (as a meal), but the sign is a bit confusing. The Chinese words don't shed any additional clues (it just says "Small Love").

One of these things is not like the others...

Shao Ai Bar, Dog Coffe [sic], Tea, Food, WiFi

Posted May 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)