BAD Review of Register.com for Domain Name Services

Anti-Register.com
Beware…

Since AL.ME is a blog, and requires a domain name, I thought I might share some comments for those of you who are also interested in creating your own site to share your stories. If you are looking for a Domain Name register, make sure you AVOID Register.com. (I’m not receiving any compensation from anyone for this article.)

A couple years ago I purchased the domain “S4SpeakingPro.com” because I was developing a site for American English accent lessons and services. When I shopped around for the domain I looked everywhere and found a decent sale at Register. Aside from the fear tactics, misleading warnings, greyed out “next” buttons, etc. I navigated my way to check out. I pointed the domain safely to my host, and that was that. At least I thought that was that… Continue reading BAD Review of Register.com for Domain Name Services

Does your Body Reward you?

fruit
Yumm, breakfast!

One week ago I moved into a house with roommates in Somerville, Massachusetts. In that first week of transition I had a lot on my plate, so I did what most temporarily scattered people would do – eat shitty food. I ate plain ramen, peanut butter bread, cheese on toast, dunkin donuts sandwiches, rotisserie chicken from Shaws… barely any vegetables or fruit. I also exercised very little… maybe a few push-ups and sit-ups. I wasn’t depressed but I felt like I was just… existing.

But today, I feel like a million bucks. Here’s what happened…

Yesterday morning I was having my peanut butter on toast with banana slices when one of my roommates explained why he makes fruit smoothies every morning. “I eat fruit only in the morning.” he said. “It’s actually really good for you and the body breaks it down quickly, which in turn gives you a lot more energy to burn.” Continue reading Does your Body Reward you?

After 8 Years in China, I’m moving to Boston

Me, Benji Ming
Me, Benji Ming

2 years ago I told a troop of Duke University students visiting China that I intended to give my current projects (via Huajie Group) another 2 years to float or sink before returning home. This summer being the 2 year mark, I’ve decided it’s time to move the Benji Ming show back to the USA, for now. It’s not easy to leave a place that has been my 2nd home for such a long time, but I have decided that my real home and family are what matter more than anything. Continue reading After 8 Years in China, I’m moving to Boston

Ben Turns 30 in 2012!

30 years old
Turning 30

Hi everyone. Today I’m turning 30 and I guess I’ve been feeling 30 for a while already. Family and friends have called wishing me a great day on this occasion because I guess it is a milestone. (I’m still alive! Woohoo!) Actually, I have got to say that I’ve really enjoyed spending most of my 20s out in Asia and I would never trade those years for anything. A lifetime of experiences have come from the last 10 years: interesting people, amazing food, unusual arguments, wild adventures, new friends, and near-death experiences… who could ask for more?

Although I’ve spend most of my career as a teacher, I have certainly learned more than if I had chosen to stay local and get a job after graduation. Certainly I would have made more money and kept in better touch with friends, but I’m sure they have also found themselves busier with their own lives as the years have rolled on… And I don’t blame any of them for that – it’s life, and we all must live it in our own way. It is important, though, to remember your roots and find a way to give back to the society that raised you. And that’s why I know I will come back to New England before I’m 40. Continue reading Ben Turns 30 in 2012!

Get over the Great Fire Wall for free Forever

Are you in China and looking for a way to get over internet censorship which blocks you from not only social media, but also productivity tools such as Google Docs? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Just follow the next few steps and you will ALWAYS have a secure internet connection, for FREE, FOREVER!

Step 1: Go to Ninjacloak.com, which allows you to get over the wall anyway… but sadly, you can’t use all of the functions of websites requiring javascript. Most social sites and productivity tools require this, so you’re out of luck by using Ninjacloak alone.

Step 2: On this browser-based service, you have to enter the website which provides the most recent form of FreeGate (by Dynaweb). If you have FreeGate already and it stops working, you’ll have no way to update unless you get to step 3. Continue reading Get over the Great Fire Wall for free Forever

From Chinese Public School to University to Workforce

Teacher Student Time

It’s common for us to praise countries like China, Japan, and Korea on their teaching methods. Of course, their math scores frequently deliver a spanking to American children and the future of American students gets even gloomier from there. The results are in the numbers and the proof is ample, but this educational success doesn’t come without a cost. As we attempt to compete academicaly, and globably, this cost has been (or is still being) experienced by American students with mixed responses from their administrators. At least the few administrator I’ve talked to were not full of praise about their new exam-based system. Continue reading From Chinese Public School to University to Workforce

New Threat! Water Armies All Across China

The Water Army is Coming!

Although they  sound like a new villain from a Hollywood movie, they are less scary in person. They are soldiers of propaganda, using whatever free-speech tools they can muster to win the hearts and minds of a voting public. But this is not a political tale, rather, it is a commercial one; and the votes are cast with Ren Min Bi (Chinese Yuan).

So, where does this “Water Army” come from? In fact, it is a Chinese term which has been causing difficulties for consumer protection around the Chinese Internet.  Imagine you go to a forum online and look for information about insurance, a new car, or even a toaster. Hundreds or thousands of these soldiers are hired for cheap, usually ¥0.7 RMB ($.01) per post, and begin a campaign to sway public opinion toward or against various products. In a country where the average worker makes 20-25RMB ($3) per hour, it is economically feasible for Water Armies to exist. Continue reading New Threat! Water Armies All Across China

Vibrating Mode: Earthquakes Around Asia 2011

Recent Quake Location

It seems every couple days there is another earthquake punching holes in the topography of Asia, and across the world too. Zhuhai, where I’m currently living, also has shaken a few times in the past year. I hadn’t felt a tremor before 2010 and nothing like it had happened in this city since I got here in 2006. It was an unusual wobbling which lasted a few minutes… maybe the kind of nauseating shake that Californians are used to… Across the Pearl River Delta, in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, a 2.8 magnitude jolted the area in November of 2010 [*]. What’s strange is that this area is not considered to be on any kind of fault line.

With friends in Taiwan, The Philippines, and Japan, the recent earthquakes have added worry and frustration to many people I know there. (Keep them in your thoughts and prayers, if you are into that kind of thing.) It could be the media reports have come to my attention more recently, or it could be an increase in plate-shifting, or maybe 2012 as my students suggest… Although we can’t be sure, the consistency of recent earthquakes is a little disturbing. Yesterday, March 24, a 6.8 hit Burma and Thailand; March 22, a 6.1 hit the Philippines and Taiwan in the same day; Japan was hit by a 9.0 on March 11; Myanmar got a 5.4 on March 10; Papua New Guinea got a 6.5 on March 9; Japan got a 7.2 on March 9; a few Pacific island countries got 6.0 or higher in March too [*]… and those were just this past month! February counted over twelve 6.0+ magnitude earthquakes around Asia. Continue reading Vibrating Mode: Earthquakes Around Asia 2011

The Chinese Way to Get Hit by a Cement Truck

Spun!
Spun around!

When someone says “I feel like I got hit by a speeding bus,” I now know what they mean from personal experience. Actually, it was a cement truck and it was attempting to slow down when it hit us. Our driver was caught off guard by a parked van in the lane for the off ramp and hit his breaks just in time… that’s when most people look around and brace for the second impact…. which I discovered was a truck… and its screech was deafening.

With a steely crunch, our taxi was sent spinning 180° and left facing oncoming traffic. Our trunk was smashed into the back seat and glass showered over us. I checked my friend for wounds immediately. Neither of us got injured, thank God, but we were trapped in the back seat for a little while because the doors were pinched shut. We were lucky and I was bizarrely calm while my friend was passing out. I agree with people when they say “it could have been a lot worse.” Continue reading The Chinese Way to Get Hit by a Cement Truck

Ben’s Five Year Plan: 2011-2015

Creating a New World...

The Chinese 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) is being decided upon by the National People’s Congress this month; March 2011. It’s a tradition for centralized, authoritative governments to use this kind of policy making “plan”. Of course, The Party has drifted away from its soviet roots into the protector of the current socialist market economy. We’ll probably keep hearing about these plans in global news media for years to come.

Hearing this news got me starting to think about my FYP. My father often thought about our family plans in 5-10 year increments… especially when moving house. So how would I consider my last fiver years compared to my next five years?

I moved to China in 2005, but found the cozy city of Zhuhai in 2006.  Technically, I’ve been in Zhuhai for 5 years studying Chinese, exploring some website ventures, teaching English, and travelling around Asia. But the next five years are going to look pretty different.
Here are my tasks and goals: Continue reading Ben’s Five Year Plan: 2011-2015