Sunday, March 22, 2009

Looking outside your box - Eighteen interesting sites in China, Japan and Russia

For the longest time, whenever I see things like the curious IM service used in the Oldboy movie, I have asked myself "What is the computer culture really like [over there] ?" Well, with the help of Alexa traffic statistics and Google Translate, I can actually check for myself. It is no exaggeration that a new world has opened itself for me, amd I'm looking forward to what I may discover there.

You may have noticed that I've already before made this blog available in several languages using (the admittedly very mediocre quality) Google Translate:

Now I would love to find the coolest things existing in some of the largest countries of the world, but which due to language barriers are isolated from the most of us. Using the Alexa top lists by country, I checked which are the most popular sites in China, Japan and Russia, excluding those international sites I already am familiar with from the western world.

Maybe you are wondering how your sites or country compares to the rest of the world? Well, check out the lists for example for Sweden or Estonia (not synonymous with "sites in Swedish" or "sites in Estonian", which you can also look at). It may give you some good surprises.

How large are then the sites I will check out the weeks ahead? Well, the smallest of them are kaixin001, Hatena and respectively, with traffic rankings of 137, 237 and 2224 respectively. Compare that with the largest site in Sweden, Aftonbladet at 664 and Estonia, neti at 6050. The traffic rank is essentially a number of the site's place on a list for a specific region, in the general case for the entire world. That means that Aftonbladet is the 664th largest site in the world, only barely beating a, a Russian nerd site with funny quotes. I say barely, because with traffic and ranking, you have to consider magnitudes, like that which is taken into consideration for the popular Google PageRank, plus that PageRank is magnified in the markets Google dominates, have you ever used the leading Chinese search engine? :-)

So, if you have any suggestions or comments for cool sites in other languages I must check out, just drop a comment and let's together use Google Translate to break down barriers!

Below is my selection of interesting sites from the top sites in China (translated):

    The leading Chinese language search engine, provides a simple and reliable search experience, strong in Chinese language and multi-media content including MP3 music and movies, the first to offer WAP and PDA-based mobile search in China.

  • QQ.COM
    The largest Chinese portal website to provide instant messaging, news and information, online games and online auction business,

  • Sina News Center
    The same day at home and abroad, including different types of news and comment, the characters feature, Gallery.

  • Soso Soso
    Provide a forum, web pages, pictures, music and the type of search service.

  • Yoqoo
    Net yoqoo ( is the first video website. Net yoqoo provide a foothold for Chinese all over the world's fastest video player, the most rapid release of the video, the fastest video search service.

  • ZOL
    ZOL Greater China are the most commercially valuable IT professional website has been constantly engaged in sales promotion-based IT professional media building. ZOL was founded in March 1999, its customer base, mainly from small and medium-sized users, the individual buyers and substantial IT industry and related industries manufacturers, distributors.

    Provide all kinds of game information, downloads, games and players communicate

  • Net fun
    All the working people are a good place for leisure, an SNS community

This is my selection among the top sites in Japan (translated):

  • Fc2
    Free Blog (blog), Home Services, and various Web applications

  • Livedoor
    Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Such as portal management and hosting services. Corporate Profile, IR information, and links to your site.

  • Mixi
    Social networking site. Exchange messages, diaries, create communities, Functions and friends.

  • Hatena
    Community-oriented social bookmarking and blog search services Human Web.

Finally, my selection among the top sites in Russia (translated):

  • V Kontakte
    The most popular social network utility in Russia.

  • Yandex
    Find information on the Internet in the light of Russian morphology, the possibility of regional specification. Parallel search for news, images, products, blogs, links organizations.


    Placing a personal diary.

  • Inc.
    Entertainment portal.

  • Bash Runet
    "Masterpieces" new civilization: comments on IRC and ICQ.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Translated feeds in Google Reader

Two pictures say more than thousands of words, so check out how you auto-translate feeds in Google Reader, this time enabling me to follow the Chinese social aggregator site sr.ju690:

... aaaand... voila! :

Of course, it works also for less exotic languages than Chinese, such as if you want to follow a Swedish or Estonian site but don't read the language.

Also, seriously, check out the extremely easy-to-use translation tools for 1-click translations from your browser's toolbar (it has opened the non-Swedish Internet for my parents) and the excellent translated search.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pipes plus feeds merged burning

Finally I have gotten around to doing two things: Feedburning my blog RSS feeds so I can see how many are subscribed and reading, and creating a personal plus-feed.

The first is done easily by visiting Feedburner, signing up, giving it the URL of your blog, create the feedburner feed and then modify your blog's settings to point at the new feed according to the instructions given. Nothing too hard. I should get myself into Technorati one of these days as well. However, what it it may mean is that I would love for you to re-subscribe to my blogs! If you are currently subscribed to my blogs in Google Reader or another blog-management tool, please subscribe to these new feeds (and we'll see if Blogger gets things right sooner or later as well):

Secondly then, Christian Rudolf suggested me that instead of spewing URLs randomly, I should do like Doktor Spinn and market my "+1"-feed (a way of indicating something you like, you give it a point) as a great distillation of the mess out there on the web. Fine, but first I needed to put together my three different outputs of goodness then, my shared items in Google Reader, and pages tagged "cool" and/or "recommended" by me on Yahoo Pipes did the trick, just sign in there with a Yahoo ID and you're good to go!:

Here's the end result: (which I'd love for you to subscribe to at

Finally, if you don't understand a thing of what I mean by "subscribe" above, please please please watch the video Google Reader in plain English beloew, your online life will be better with it and it's extremely easy to do:

And don't let the "blog-stress" grab you, remember that your blog reader should be "like a river of fresh water, from which you may drink now and then whenever you feel like it". Just let it flow.

Amateur = ♥, Professional = $, which would you rather be?

The websmurfs are running another blogging Saturday, this time on the theme of the etymology of the words amateur (amor, passion) and professional (profit). "Old media" as they are lovingly denoted at least in Sweden like to slap the label of "amateur" onto bloggers and everyone else voluntarily organized through the internet, and we'd simply want to say - fine, then we are, and we love being amateurs.

pro⋅fes⋅sion⋅al   [pruh-fesh-uh-nl]
1. following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain

am⋅a⋅teur   [am-uh-choor, -cher, -ter, am-uh-tur]
1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons.

I would by the way want to run a shameless plug for my favourite amateur come extremely professional photographer Graham Mitchell (Foto-Z). The quality of his work is amazing and he is available for photo jobs around Scandinavia.

A lot is likely to pop up during the day, so check this post for updates! You can of course follow us on twitter

I spent a significant part of my Saturday updating the Websmurf member list, and check out the pictures (also here, here, here and here), but the others were productive:
(Update: Björn Falkevik reported live here)

(Update 2: The Online Etymology Dictionary may have a different opinion about the origin of professional and amateur, but as they say, "never check a good story" :-) )

Monday, March 2, 2009

I won a Gorillapod!

Christian and Peter over at made a little video on the topic of cooperation and for their production they had received two Joby Gorillapods of which they only needed one, so the other one they gave away to the first person to write a good post on what good they'd use it for!

Maybe it doesn't make sense in terms of time spent versus what a Gorillapod costs, but I'm very happy to be blogging side by side with Peter and Christian and I have wanted a gorillapod for a long time, so head over and read my blog post (translated here) and I hope you enjoy it!