Forums > Living in Kunming > skype alternative?
its true that facetime does work much better than skype (not sure if that will continue as it becomes more widely-used) but that's not suitable for most people and certainly not for voice-only calls to international landlines or mobiles, its for video calls between user of similar hardware. Even if you do happen to have a new macbook, ipad 2 or iphone 4 the chances of the person you're wanting to call also having one are slim.
If its real international calls you want to make (ie, you want to call a phone number rather than a username) then something you could try is jajah. I've been using it for years. The only time you need to rely on your own slow internet is to initiate the call, from then on it uses fast stable internet. The system stores your numbers (up to 3, home work mobile) and then it connects your phone to the phone you wish to call using VOIP, making the equivalent of 2 skype calls - it calls your phone first, tells you to wait and then calls the other phone. So its slightly more expensive than skypeout but cheaper than IP cards. It has mobile sites and iphone apps so you can even do it while not at home - it basically uses about 1kb of your data plan to initiate a call. So infinitely better than skype which would eat up all your data plan within minutes if it actually worked at all.
Forums > Living in Kunming > What the #*%$s wrong with the internet?
Jiesi - the philosophy on censorship has changed in recent years. BBC, CNN etc are no longer seen as threats (although the chinese language sections of the sites are still blocked). It is user generated content and social media which is seen as the real threat to stability.
They don't care if the BBC carries a story about Syria or even about the Dalai Lama. They do, however, care if people are discussing this on twitter or weibo or posting pictures/video about sensitive subjects to flickr/youtube/youku etc.
Forums > Living in Kunming > Anyone know about how a spousal visa works?
BillDan, the temporary residence permit you describe is better than the spousal visa. Neither of them entitle you to work. The spousal visa is just an L visa (tourist visa), the difference between it and a normal tourist visa is duration, it lasts a year and can be renewed in Kunming each year - you'll never need to leave China if you don't want to (although it is multi-entry should you wish to).
However the spousal L visa costs the same as any other L visa. Therefore if you are British or American its really expensive for the year. I'v been on both and can't see any difference but price. So when you're entitled to a temporary residence permit for about 40 RMB there's really no point getting a spousal visa for a couple of grand as neither of them entitle you to work. For that you need a Z visa and work permit - unfortunately being married makes no difference to the ease of getting this. It is entirely down to your employer and the local government.
The permanent residence permit that tigertiger refers to sounds different but difficult to get I would imagine.
Forums > Living in Kunming > Social networking websites in China?
Hi Banjoe, Actually the Chinese are far more engaged in social media than people in the West. While people in the West are likely to belong to a social network and read social media sites (often in a purely passive consuming way), Chinese people are far more likely to actively engage and publish content, ie. talk about companies and brands.
"Chinese netizens actively engage in discussions that could directly affect companies. A recent study by OgilvyOne in China found that 55 percent of China's netizens had initiated or participated in online discussions about companies. Understanding social media is no longer a luxury for companies operating in China—it is an imperative. Formerly, a lack of engagement with netizens could be considered a lost opportunity. Now, the penetration and impact of social media is such that failing to understand what consumers are saying about a company online has become a business risk."
taken from www.thomascrampton.com/[...]
Disclaimer: I actually now work for a company doing Social Media marketing and also providing leading Social Media Monitoring technology. (www.sinotechgroup.com.cn & www.digitaljungle.com.cn)
Forums > Living in Kunming > Wanted VPN
actually the connect-on-demand feature only works when accessing facebook, twitter or youtube. I thought it could automatically find if a site is blocked but not so. Nevermind, its still a pretty cool feature that saves a bit of time.