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View Full Version : Beware: Don't take your cell phone/PC to China!



bill190
02-11-2012, 03:37 PM
Story in NY Times this morning...

“If a company has significant intellectual property that the Chinese and Russians are interested in, and you go over there with mobile devices, your devices will get penetrated,”

Full Story...
Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/technology/electronic-security-a-worry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html

Ron Czapala
02-11-2012, 05:41 PM
Very interesting!
Thanks for posting.

4x5n
02-11-2012, 08:13 PM
Story in NY Times this morning...

“If a company has significant intellectual property that the Chinese and Russians are interested in, and you go over there with mobile devices, your devices will get penetrated,”

Full Story...
Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/technology/electronic-security-a-worry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html

Keep in mind that the French government also actively engages in corporate espionage (including hacking computers of foreign companies operating in france) and gives what they get to french companies.

Loopy Byteloose
02-12-2012, 10:42 AM
Interesting comments. I have one associate English teacher that relocated to Mainland China from Taiwan and married there. He has complained that his cell phone seems to get stolen every six months or so, and he communicates with me by registered letter only.

So that's that.

Taiwan doesn't seem to have the same problems. But I personally travel only with electronics that I can afford to loose. A netbook is very handy when loaded with Ubuntu Linux and my Palm PDA provides a wonderful set of foreign language dictionaries.

When traveling it is always better to bring nothing of high value.

John A. Zoidberg
02-12-2012, 01:43 PM
Hmm. I will take note of that when I go to China for vacation.

@Herzog - Plus, I need an electronic dictionary. Especially the Chinese ones. But sometimes, it's hard to find the word for it. The Romanized Mandarin can be very hard to type...

Martin_H
02-12-2012, 02:35 PM
The beauty of cloud computing is that you can use a thin client with a read only file system. It then accesses read/write media at home base using high strength cryptography. The local device should be hack proof short of Van Eck phreaking. If the device is confiscated and someone asks for your password, you can give them the local device password and they would not know about the cloud media at home base. If they suspect you can give them a password to a decoy drop box account.

Of course your home base can now get hacked by the bad guys from the convenience of their home base, even when you are not away from home. Grr argh.

Loopy Byteloose
02-12-2012, 03:54 PM
Regarding electronic Chinese-English-Chinese dictionaries - there is really only ONE on the market that is ergonomic and appropriate for the Western user.

Try www.Pleco.com (http://www.Pleco.com) - It can be on an Apple iPhone, IPad, Palm Zire, and maybe an Android platform (latest addition). The main attraction is that you can write what you see and get an answer - you don't need to first know the pronunciation of the Chinese character. Combine that with a device that fits in a shirt pocket (I use a Palm Zire72) and it is always easy to use while travelling. The drawback is that Plecodict has good, but limited lexicons for the user that must have 'everything'. Still it is the best for most learners as it will get used and used again for many, many years.

You don't have to buy a new platform, a 2nd hand Palm is very adequate with an 8Gbyte SDcard.

I have been in Taiwan since 1994 and tried many others (easily have spent $2-3000USD on electronic dictionaries over that period). Mostly I have used Besta and Dr.Eye, but these are intended for Chinese users to study English, not the other direction and they fail in several ways - lousy ergonomics, wierd operating systems, poor graphic choices.

Of course, if you don't want to spend money -- a Google link is very good as a second choice on wifi.

And if you want other languages, BEIKS dictionaries can be purchased in a bundle for a very reasonable price.

John A. Zoidberg
02-13-2012, 01:07 AM
Regarding electronic Chinese-English-Chinese dictionaries - there is really only ONE on the market that is ergonomic and appropriate for the Western user.

Try www.Pleco.com (http://www.Pleco.com) - It can be on an Apple iPhone, IPad, Palm Zire, and maybe an Android platform (latest addition). The main attraction is that you can write what you see and get an answer - you don't need to first know the pronunciation of the Chinese character. Combine that with a device that fits in a shirt pocket (I use a Palm Zire72) and it is always easy to use while travelling. The drawback is that Plecodict has good, but limited lexicons for the user that must have 'everything'. Still it is the best for most learners as it will get used and used again for many, many years.

You don't have to buy a new platform, a 2nd hand Palm is very adequate with an 8Gbyte SDcard.

I have been in Taiwan since 1994 and tried many others (easily have spent $2-3000USD on electronic dictionaries over that period). Mostly I have used Besta and Dr.Eye, but these are intended for Chinese users to study English, not the other direction and they fail in several ways - lousy ergonomics, wierd operating systems, poor graphic choices.

Of course, if you don't want to spend money -- a Google link is very good as a second choice on wifi.

And if you want other languages, BEIKS dictionaries can be purchased in a bundle for a very reasonable price.

I'll try to look at the Pleco as I have an Android-based smartphone.

And Besta is all over my country too. I find it difficult to use as the interface is generally Mandarin, and my Mandarin is really limited (despite I'm a Chinese descent).

Humanoido
02-13-2012, 09:07 AM
Hmm. I will take note of that when I go to China for vacation.
@Herzog - Plus, I need an electronic dictionary. Especially the Chinese ones. But sometimes, it's hard to find the word for it. The Romanized Mandarin can be very hard to type...Study a good book and audio CD about learning Chinese Pinyin before you go to China. The Chinese words are spelled with English characters, some letters have the same sound and some do not. For example, a Q in Pinyin is pronounced like "CH" in English. You may find Pinyin to be a lifesaver and highly useful for travel, reading maps, speaking, writing, and taking the bus and subway. Beijing has one of the most advanced and modern subways in the world which contains Pinyin maps for the convenience of foreigners traveling there.

John A. Zoidberg
02-13-2012, 11:17 AM
Study a good book and audio CD about learning Chinese Pinyin before you go to China. The Chinese words are spelled with English characters, some letters have the same sound and some do not. For example, a Q in Pinyin is pronounced like "CH" in English. You may find Pinyin to be a lifesaver and highly useful for travel, reading maps, speaking, writing, and taking the bus and subway. Beijing has one of the most advanced and modern subways in the world which contains Pinyin maps for the convenience of foreigners traveling there.

Thanks for the heads-up. :) Actually I'm exposed to Chinese environment - many of my friends do speak and write Mandarin, but there are some of us who don't go to the Chinese-based school. The Pinyins are quite tough - it takes me a long time to master it, but I'm still going and not giving up.

I can speak and listen to some Mandarin, but still need polishing. Plus, Chinese dialects I spoke like Cantonese are related to Chinese but it is not a correct way to guess Chinese words. :D

Loopy Byteloose
02-13-2012, 04:21 PM
Yes indeed, Roman Pinyin is useful in Mandarin Chinese (won't help in Hong Kong's Cantonese) - but you can only get so far with it as you must know the sound of the character to do a computer search. If you are looking at a menu or a street sign and want to know both sound and meaning, it won't really help you.

Pleco Dictionary allows you to copy the image of the character and find out the sound and meaning.

Besta also allows this, but is much harder to work with as it has a timer on the input. If you don't get the character completely drawn within the time limit you have to start over (very, very dumb feature). Having owned about six Besta dictionaries over the years, I aware of just about every stupid thing they have done. The most recent models are NOT as good as some of the older ones were as the manufacturer doesn't seem to grasp the concept of ergonomic input or the idea that the Western user needs a different approach to search for information.

BTW, the X and Q in Roman Pinyin are derived from representing Chinese pronunciation in Russian Crylic alphabet and have nothing to do with English. Mainland Chinese is communist and they created the system to teach Russians.

There are other phonetic pronunciation representations based on English or other, but really too many - Yales, Wade, Wade-Giles, Modified Yale, BPMF, and more. If one really wants to use a wide varierity of textbooks and dictionaries to study Chinese, you have to learn nearly all of them. Yale University was an early creator of excellent Chinese study materials.

But these days, Roman Pinyin is recognized by the United Nations and Taiwan primarily hangs on the BPMF for teaching Mandarin from elementry school and beyond. So these two are most common. Both are valid computer input systems.

Also there is a touch typing system called Tsang-Jie that is based on visual images of the characters and Modified Tsang-Jie for the lazier user. I have learned this and it is very good, but requires some real study in order to use it.

Loopy Byteloose
02-14-2012, 01:12 PM
Frankly, China isn't the only Asian country that may mess with your electronics. Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar are places where either the government or criminal elements or both together will try to monitor a tourist with electronics. And that doesn't even get into the intrigues in the Middle East or Africa.

Thailand has a rather severe 'leste majeste' law that will prosecute anyone that insults the King or royal family AND they do snoop their very convenient tourist internet access. Entrapment via downloads of XXX material is yet another naive hazard. And in Saudi Arabia, Christian or biblical material might get you picked up by the religious police and given the choice of conversion to Muslim or beheading.

In sum, if you are going to be travelling with electronics - you should be well-informed on a country-by-country basis as to privacy and your lack of rights. Respecting their customs takes priority over what you think the world should be like.

In many places off the beaten path, just being a Westerner gets you pegged as working for the CIA and as an American (just consider that Pakistan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world, a very young population, and with extreme religious fanatics and you begin to see how just being Western is dangerous).