Author Archives: dontai

Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine: Repair

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

My neighbour is hard working and has few hobbies. She loves table tennis but has no partner, so she bought a table tennis machine, which shoots balls at her. This machine, an Oukei TW-2700-E1, she loves, allows her to return balls without help from the family. It was unfortunate when the machine began jamming. I opted to fix the machine, and she was grateful to have it back in service. It turned out the fix was very simple, but rendered the machine unusable.

Tracking by GPS in China: Google vs Baidu Maps

A friend at Tongji University, Shanghai. Using his GPS coordinates of 31.2820193,121.5083353 he is at the red pin., but this time over 500m west north west of his Google location Baidu Maps.

A friend at Tongji University, Shanghai. Using his GPS coordinates of 31.2820193,121.5083353 he is at the red pin., but this time over 500m west north west of his Google location Baidu Maps.

A friend is visiting China and has graciously allowed me, through Google, to follow him. I provide location advice as i can read Baidu’s Chinese maps. This time I was able to use his GPS coordinates and track him on Google and Baidu Maps. Now you would think that two mapping systems would give you near identical results, but no, they do not.

What to do to Clear Snow and Ice from the Driveway, Toronto, Canada?

Frozen tulip, Toronto, Canada. I hope it will survive. 2018 Apr 15. Photo 8 by Don Tai

Frozen tulip, Toronto, Canada. I hope it will survive. 2018 Apr 15. Photo 8 by Don Tai

After a lifetime of shoveling snow from driveways and living in Toronto, Canada, it is rare that I am unsure what steps to take. This current weather pattern is increasingly odd. We have had rain, freezing rain, high wind, and now followed by a lot more rain. So, what to do?

Mapquest Gives Developers Free SDK, in Exchange for Customer Data

Here is a deal that all smartphone developers should ignore. You receive free access to a new Mapquest SDK for Android and IOS, in exchange for all your customer’s data. This is a complete breach of user privacy.

I am sure that users of a smartphone app will not give Mapquest and their a third party tool, complete access to their data. Would smartphone developers actually disclose that all your data will be sent to Mapquest?


We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of our new Mobile Navigation SDK for Android and iOS applications. Our Mobile Navigation SDK is available to you for free, if you agree to a mutual flow of data sharing.*

QQ Ceasing operations in Europe, 2018 May 20

It looks like Tencent’s QQ International version will be ceasing operations in Europe, effective 2018 May 20. I am unsure why. I also do not know if this affects WeChat. Perhaps this is about Europe’s new privacy laws, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? I need to do more research. This is from a friend in China. it does look like Tencent’s QQ and Wechat will be pulled from the EU market.

We are sorry to announce that for operational needs from 20 May 2018 QQi will no longer be available in Europe.

China Store Owners Forced to use Government Routers

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any  company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

We all find retail wifi hotspots convenient. You leave your smartphone wifi on, and as you walk to can roam between different retail wifi hotspots such as McDonalds or Starbucks. The Chinese government has locked down this internet access point just a little further, by forcing retail store owners that offer wifi to use a government sanctioned router, which they can monitor. Big Brother one ups again.

Mapping GPS Coordinates: Google vs Baidu

Baidu map, Beijing University, is accurate to the line map. The map has a lot more detail about local anemities than the Google Map

Baidu map, Beijing University, is accurate to the line map. The map has a lot more detail about local anemities than the Google Map

If you play around with GPS coordinates you will quickly need access to a map. The GPS coordinate numbers do not reveal a geographic location useful to a human. The two go-to internet resources are Google and Baidu. Both have maps for North America and China, but are not as good outside of their competitive areas. As I am in Toronto and have lived in China, I can verify their usefulness for these locations, but for other parts of the world you are on your own.

Average Entry Level Salaries: China, US, Other

As I talk to people in China it is very useful to understand general level salary levels. These are average starting salaries for entry level university grads. These do vary depending on the cost of living.

These salaries are very variable. In all cases I used the highest average. None of these mean much comparing one country to another, as expenses such as housing vary greatly.

Year Country Monthly Yearly
2017 China 5,600RMB/$823USD 67,200RMB/$9,880USD
2017 US $4,000USD $47,300USD
2017 Japan $1,800USD $21,600USD
2017 Malaysia $585USD $7,020USD

South China Morning Post: China Owned, but Biased?

South China Morning Post, a beacon of balanced pro and anti-China reporting

South China Morning Post, a beacon of balanced pro and anti-China reporting

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) was purchased by Alibaba owner in 2016. Alibaba is a very large Chinese internet company. The ongoing question after the acquisition is if the SCMP is still unbiased, or will it bend to the views of China. This NY Times article highlights the concerns about the paper.

I am here, not to comment on the article, but to comment on the bias nature of the SCMP. Yes, there have been some very pro-China articles from SCMP, but they are more the minority and are equally balanced with anti-China articles. SCMP does find the right balance between the two. But for how long, is a question.

TD Canada Trust ATM Usability Error

TD Canada Trust ATM Usability error, makes my withdrawal much longer

TD Canada Trust ATM Usability error, makes my withdrawal much longer

Cash withdrawals from the ATM should be fast and easy. At TD Canada Trust they had set up a “Most Frequent” transaction button, which I like. I hit the button, receive my cash, take my card and slip, and I’m done. A couple of months ago things changed, which now makes the transaction longer and more complex. I am not amused.

When I withdraw cash from the ATM I usually take out $200CAD, programmed as my “Most Frequent” transaction, which is given to me as 10 $20CAD bills. Recently TD Canada Trust started giving me 2 $50CAD and 5 $20CAD bills. The $50CAD bills are disliked in the stores.