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May 19, 2008

NYT Launches Olympics Blog, Takes Interesting Approach

Without having read too much about it, I must say that I like the New York Times’ Olympics blog, called Rings. They have split the coverage in three main categories, which certainly feels like a smart way to go when it comes to the situation in China:

Culture
The Times’s culture critics and reporters in China cover the music, architecture, film — all the high culture, the low and everything in between.

Issues
The Times’s foreign correspondents and business reporters cover the international political and economic issues, surrounding the Beijing Games.

Games
The Times’s sports reporters and Sports of the Times columnists cover the athletes’ quest for gold and the competitions of the Games.

This differs quite a lot from the more traditional sporty approach taken by BBC, who incidentally is doing an Olympic countdown.

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May 16, 2008

A BIG Reason to Read a Pet’s Blog

Filed as News with 5 comments

I’ve often taken a snarky approach when it comes to people who set up blogs for their pets. I barely want to read about humans’ mundane lives, let alone issues with litter and pooper scoopers. However, there might be a new reason to subscribe to Lucky, Fido or Buddy’s blog.

Animals’ ability to prognosticate goes far beyond the annual Groundhog Day ritual. Since the beginning of time, many have believed that little furry creatures (and fish!) can tip off humans to imminent natural disasters.

…an earthquake specialist from the US Geological Survey in San Francisco kept a record of the numbers of small ads for lost pets in the local newspaper. He found there was a dramatic upsurge in missing pets weeks before a quake. How animals could forecast earthquakes is not known.

Animals also seem to forecast severe weather. There were many reports of bizarre animal behaviour before the cyclone that devastated Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan), in November 1970. For example, dogs howled endlessly for days, cattle became restless and stopped eating and ants moved to higher positions.

Given the recent disasters in Myanmar (Burma) and China, it might be time to start monitoring the moods of our four-legged companions.

Read more here.

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February 11, 2008

Blogging the Olympic Games

Olympic Games Rings and torchWhen the international Olympic Games begin, everyone has an opinion on who will win, who should have won, and anything and everything Olympic. As the Olympic Games get closer, I thought I’d research some information to help you blog about the upcoming games in China.

There are a lot of stories and angles to be found on the Olympic Games, from historical perspectives and comparisons to personal interest stories such as the impact of the games on the communities in which they are held, and how the infrastructure and changes brought about by the games help or hinder the community years later. If you are looking for Olympic material for your blog, think about local human interest stories such as a community member who was in the Olympics or traveled to see the Olympics and get their inside story. The Olympics impacts everyone everywhere, so there is an Olympic story around every corner.

The official sites for the upcoming Olympic Games include:
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December 24, 2007

Freedom of Speech and Anonymous Blogging

Filed as Features with 3 comments

The holidays are around the corner and some of us will be indulging ourselves in festivities. I thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on freedom within the blogosphere. I live in a relatively peaceful country where I can do or say whatever I want within the boundaries of the law. In the Netherlands the law is pretty keen on freedom of speech which sometimes leads to heated debates but at the same time allows me to speak my mind.

Freedom of speech is something I take for granted. Blogging is also something I take for granted.

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August 29, 2007

“Self-Discipline Pact” The End for Anonymous Blogging in China?

Filed as Features, News with 2 comments

The concept of ending anonymity by requiring bloggers to using their real names is going ahead in China, albeit with the deceptively soft practice of requiring companies to “self-discipline” themselves.

Yahoo and MSN, amongst other Internet companies, have agreed to new government guidelines that are “encouraging” such companies to register real names, addresses, and other personal details for authors of blogs. While it seems like such actions are voluntary, international media watchdogs claim that such “encouragement” will be acted upon as though it were no different than official policy.

Vincent Brossel of Reporters Without Borders cautions that this kind of wording, for example, will ultimately have a chilling effect on the kind of dialogue going on amongst the 30 million bloggers in China. On the other hand, experienced China watchers might say that this kind of activity has already been going on; that is to say, international companies who have wanted to do business in China may have already been censoring blogs as acts of good faith with the Chinese government.

Government guidelines of “encouragement” and “self-discipline” merely codify this practice.

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July 16, 2007

Ni Hao! The Blog Herald China Launches!

We here at the Blog Herald always look for ways to reach out to more people. Last March we launched the Blog Herald Japan. Considering that English may not exactly be the most prevalent language in the blogosphere today, I think it was a good move. According to Technorati, Japanese language blogs account for 37% of posts, while English comes at a close second at 36%.

Our sister site, 901am, also launched its own Japanese edition based on the same premise. What’s great is that both Japanese versions are humanly translated, so the context is not lost in machine-translation, which tends to be too literal.

But what about the other 27%? We thought it was worth our while to expand into even more markets. Third biggest in terms of language is Chinese, at about 8% (I think the Chinese market is potentially bigger than the 8% estimated by Technorati, though). So the next logical move would be to open an edition in Chinese.

With this we are proud to announce the launch of the Blog Herald China Edition.

Similar to Blog Herald Japan, the China edition is humanly translated into Mandarin. We hand-picked featured columns for translation to be sure we reach the intended market with content that is relevant to them, and that is timeless. These include tips and tutorials on better blogging, blog monetization, and taking advantage of social media, among others.

We started translated our archives dating back to Splashpress Media’s acquisition of the Blog Herald, and translation into Mandarin by our in-house translator is an ongoing activity. The China edition uses the same theme as the English, but modified a bit given the difference how Chinese characters appear onscreen. We are still doing some tweaks and optimizations and are yet uploading some of the more recent articles, so please bear with us. We target to catch up with current posting soon.

With this development, we are also considering creating original content in Mandarin. We have already started posting China-specific articles, care of a contributor based in mainland China, and we intend to keep this up, perhaps taking in other contributors to help out.

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April 19, 2007

Chinese Political Prisoner To Yahoo!: Do You Hate Me Now?

A long, long time ago on a blog post far away Yahoo! decided to expose its users to the wrath of the red dragon lest it get burned in China’s backyard.

Well, apparently they are now beginning to reap what they have sown, as one of the prisoner’s family has filed a not too friendly lawsuit against the search engine prince (as Google is King).
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March 26, 2007

The Hardest Nail in China

Filed as Features with 6 comments

Over the past few days, a single post at Sina.com resulted in 7000 comments. Then, it was abruptly taken off the site. What was the post about, and how did it garner so many comments? Well, they were the thoughts of a man behind a human interest story that has gripped most of China, battling a classic David-and-Goliath fight that has received little international attention.

Here’s his story.

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March 20, 2007

Dell enters Chinese blogosphere

Filed as General with 4 comments

Dell announced the launch of Direct2Dell Chinese, becoming the first computer systems company to open a corporate blog in Chinese. The new blog was announced on the eve of Michael Dell’s latest visit to China.

“By listening directly to Chinese customers through digital-community tools and networks, Dell can deliver better, more customized products and a superior experience,” said Michael Dell. About one-fifth of the world’s population speaks Chinese.

At Direct2Dell Chinese, bloggers from Dell management, engineering, customer care and sales will blog about products and services, discuss IT trends, share work and life experiences, and listen to customers’ feedback. Readers are encouraged to suggest topics and leave comments to interact with Dell bloggers.

We can only hope that all these blogging can resurrect Dell to where it used to be. read more

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February 28, 2007

The Story Behind One of China’s Largest Blogging Communities

Filed as Features with 6 comments

Not everyone in China knows Bullog, but anyone who knows Bullog clicks it everyday. When I first time clicked the site half a year ago, I said: “Wow! I can get access to almost every China’s famous blogger’s posts. With only one website!” Since the first time I opened it, I fell in love with this site.

And this is its story.

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