China today cut citizens' access to MS search engine Bing, Flickr, Hotmail, MSN Spaces and Twitter - just two days before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. In a move described by the Times as "hardly a co-incidence", the powers that be decided that services such as Twitter, which "allows words or phrases …
Headline of the month
I can't help feeling a bit envious of the Chinese population being denied Twitter. Is that wrong?
I am curious
How does SMS work in Chinese? I know the system supports 16-bit character sets, which would limit a text to 70 Chinese ideograms, but how would you enter them using a 12 button numeric keypad??
Enquiring minds want to know ...
It's considered morally acceptable to have most of our electronic goods made in that police state.
Blocked? Methinx not
Hotmail and MSN working fine as of 22:20 Beijing time in Zhejiang... Don't really give a stuff about Twitter.
Entering chinese chracters
A friend showed me how he writes japanese and chinese characters on in emacs, seemingly with the phonetics of the ideogram I think. From watching the live action version of Death Note, they enter ideograms in their cell phones the same way. The phonetics are interpreted and replaced with the ideograms while you type.
Perhaps someone who actually knows the asian languages and computer/cell usage can explain it better than I can.
@Entering chinese chracters
It's not that hard, really and works in a similar way to T9.
On non-touchscreen phones, you tap in the romanised form of Chinese (i.e. Hanyu Pinyin) and optionally the tone, and the phone brings up a list of possible candidates from which you choose the one you want. The most common candidates are always first, so not too much scrolling normally.
There's also the option to input characters by stroke/radical, but I find this trickier.
Touchscreen phones and handwriting recognition are big in China. Even the 600RMB no-name, dual online SIM, NucleOS-running cheap-phone I currently use has full Chinese handwriting recognition (and a valiant effort at English characters too). Still can use Hanyu Pinyin, though.
There's an article on input methods (including handhelds) here:
I wonder how effective they are. I remember showing a roman alphabet (pinyin) transliteration to a Chinese colleague and he told me it was like working out a crossword puzzle, so many characters correspond to the same letters.
Chinese on a mobile
Just because I accidently know:
There are 2 ways to enter chinese characters on a phone (with Chinese character support).
All Chinese characters are made up of a set number of 'strokes' or lines. The strokes are all uniform (straight horizontal line, straight vertical line, curved line from top to down right etc) and there are maybe 8 possibilites. When you're writing a character you must write the strokes in the correct order, and so by pressing the key strokes in the correct order there are a finite number of possible character matches. For example the keystroke combo 1,3,4 (horizontal line, curved line to the left, curved line to the right) gives 2 possibilites, the most common of which is 大 (da, meaning big).
The other method (more popular with me) is one involving Pinyin, or the phonetic version of Chinese characters.
Each character can be represented by a single syllable sound, link 'dong', 'xi', 'nan', 'bei'. There are not many of these sounds (maybe 50 possibilities? I forget) but anyway so each of these sounds represents a different number of characters (sometimes maybe 20 different meanings). Sounds difficult, but actually the most common ones are very common, and the phone dictionary knows this, so if I type in 'yang' it knows I mean 羊 (sheep) and not 痒 (itchy) since one is common and one is not. It's just like T9. It still offers you the full list of words (if you do want to say that your inner-leg needs a scratch).
Hope this sheds some light on the questions. Other quick info - texts are limited to 70char (although using characters means a huge amount of extra info can be sent) and a text costs 1mao = 1/10rmb = 1p to send.
Re: Thanks Draco
Chris Miller wrote:
There's an article on input methods (including handhelds) here:
Be careful posting such a link here. You might trigger the Reg's anti-wiki crusade-bot !
The censorship here is worse than the article suggests...
Firstly, PINYIN is entered as standard alpha characters, so the word NI, most commonly meaning 'me/i', has multiple Chinese arty characters associated with it. So it's not as easy as it sounds to remember all those from just the alpha letters NI. You can use google to enter the characters, or XP if you've got it setup. It's interesting to experiment with it as someone who just uses European ISO characters mainly.
Secondly, right now you can't send English SMS to Chinese network subscribers - it will give you a delivery report saying delivered, even if their phone is off - it's always done that - but they wont get it. If you send an SMS during this more serious blockage period, and it's in Chinese format, it will get through most likely, unless it contains blocked words or phrases.
They've really got the censorship more obvious than other countries. There must be a dedicated factory somewhere with thousands working on the internet censorship, because the TCP SYN reset initiated by filtering technologies is only as smart as the person who programmed the intelligence it has been given.
This censoring is also in force - cannot send English messages using QQ, Windows Live/MSN, GMail talk, etc.
Chinese character encoding works. You may be laughing at this level of censorship, but keep in mind your actions are currently being recorded too! The UK and USA are just as bad, but it's more annoying here for sure.
"You can't send English messages using QQ, Windows Live/MSN, GMail talk etc"
This is 100% incorrect. I'm sitting in bed right now on Gchat chatting in *only* the Queen's English. The level of censorship has been almost unnoticeable (bar Youtube being unavailable, however there are many Chinese clones) until yesterday when the big fist came down on Hotmail...
forgot to say
Oh, and I can send English using MSN and so on okay here. ?
I'm surprised I can access anything out of China ATM. YTube, blogspot, Bebo and countless others. And now this. Well, Twit being blocked is something of a blessing, as mentioned, but the rest is a pain. You've no idea how many Ytube vids are embedded about the web until you can't see them.
And did you know about half of all blogs are on Bspot? Goofle truly owns the web.
Texting in English is still okay here though. (Beijing), so not sure what that's about.
The you-know-what that happened you-know-when
When you-know-who ordered you-know-what to you-know-what you-know-who
...Children in China must be wondering if they're stuck in Harry Potter...
The one with "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" in the pocket, please
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