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You thought they only made counterfeit goods in china?  They also do counterfeit stores…

It’s an Apple store!
Or is it?
… I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks.

This blog post is from someone living in Kumming, China 

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Are you listening, Steve Jobs?

The Western news media is replete with pithy descriptions of the rapid changes taking place in China: China has the world’s fastest growing economy. China is undergoing remarkable and rapid change. This represents a unique moment for a society changing as quickly as China.
You probably read such things in the paper every day – but if you have never been to China, I’m not sure you know quite what this means on a mundane level. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, in the 2+ years that RP and I have been in our apartment, much of the area around us has been torn down, rebuilt, or gutted and renovated – in some cases, several times over. I had the thought, only half-jokingly, that when we returned from a couple months abroad, we might not be able to recognize our apartment building. Or that it might not be there at all.
As it turns out, my fears were baseless – our scrappy little home remains. The neighborhood, however, has definitely kicked it up a notch or seven. Starbucks has opened not one, but THREE branches (that I encountered) within a 10 minute walk of one another. An H&M has opened across from our apartment building. These are the kinds of major Western brands that were previously only represented in Kunming by fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. Our neighborhood has quickly become the swanky shopping center of the city.
So when we strolled down a street a few blocks from our house a couple weeks ago, I was only sort of surprised to see this new place, one that any American of my generation can probably recognize instantaneously:

It’s an Apple store!
Or is it?
RP and I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks.





We proceeded to place a bet on whether or not this was a genuine Apple store or just the best ripoff we had ever seen – and to be sporting, I bet that it was real.
I know, you guys are laughing: an Apple store in Kunming? No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before. Kunming is the end of the Earth. It’s all true – but seriously, China warps your mind into believing that anything is possible, if you stay here long enough. When we went back to this store 5 days later and couldn’t find it, having overshot by two blocks, I seriously thought that it had simply been torn down and replaced with a bank in the mean time – hey, it’s China. That could happen.
You have already guessed the punchline, of course: this was a total Apple store ripoff. A beautiful ripoff – a brilliant one – the best ripoff store we had ever seen (and we see them every day). But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly.
Apple never writes “Apple Store” on it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.

The name tags around the necks of the friendly salespeople didn’t actually have names on them – just an Apple logo and the anonymous designation “Staff”. And of course, Apple’s own website will tell you that they only have a few stores in Beijing and Shanghai, opened only recently; Apple famously opens new stores painstakingly, presumably to assure impeccable standards and lots of customer demand.
Is this store a copy of one of those in Beijing? A copy of a copy in another Chinese city? A copy of a copy of a copy?! While you’re pondering that, bear in mind: this is a near-perfect ripoff of a store selling products that were almost unknown when we first came to China. My white MacBook was likely to draw only blank stares or furrowed brows as I sat gnashing my teeth trying in vain to get a piece of Chinese software to run on it.
Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple. I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere.
Clearly, they had also been told that above all, they must protect the brand. As I took these photos I was quickly accosted by two salespeople inside, and three plain clothes security guys outside, putting their hands in my face and telling me to stop taking photographs – that it wasn’t allowed. And why wasn’t it allowed? Because their boss told them so.
I…may or may not have told them that we were two American Apple employees visiting China and checking out the local stores. Either way, they got friendlier and allowed me to snap some pictures.


And the best part? A ten minute walk around the corner revealed not one, but TWO more rip-off Apple stores.


Some store managers may have dozed off briefly during certain parts of the lecture on How to Completely Ignore Intellectual Property Rights:

Anyone from Apple want to come down to Kunming and break open a can of IPR whoop-ass?

Are you listening, Steve Jobs? « BirdAbroad


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Hello all readers of the MasterBlogs!

Excuse us for the breakdown in our blog service, but Blogger is to blame!!! – not us!!

The MasterBlog: Blogger is (Finally) back

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Man unknowingly liveblogs bin Laden operation

AP –By DIAA HADID, Associated Press – 1 hr 57 mins ago
CAIRO – A computer programmer, startled by a helicopter clattering above his quiet Pakistani town in the early hours of the morning Monday, did what any social-media addict would do: he began sending messages to the social networking site Twitter.
With his tweets, 33-year-old Sohaib Athar, who moved to the sleepy town of Abbottabad to escape the big city, became in his own words “the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”
Soon the sole helicopter multiplied into several and gunfire and explosions rocked the air above the town, and Athar’s tweets quickly garnered tens of thousands of followers as he apparently became the first in the world to describe the U.S. operation to kill one of the world’s most wanted militants.
Athar did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment — he explained in another tweet that a filter he set up to stop his email box from flooding could be culling out requests for interviews. He was up to more 70,000 followers by Monday evening.
“I apologize for reporting the operation ‘unwittingly/unknowingly’ — had I known about it, I would have tweeted about it ‘wittingly’ I swear,” he tweeted after realizing what he had witnessed.
Later, he gave an interview to Al-Jazeera’s English-language news network via Skype as he sat in a cafe. When asked if he was scared, he said that he’s from Lahore, “so I’ve had my share of bomb blasts.”
His first tweet Monday was innocuous: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”
The noise alarmed Athar, who had moved to the upscale area of Abbottabad to get away from city life after his wife and child were badly injured in a car accident in the sprawling city of Lahore, according to his blog in July.
Nestled in the mountains around 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of the capital, Abbottabad is a quiet, leafy town featuring a military academy, the barracks for three army regiments and even its own golf course.
As the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden unfolded, Athar “liveblogged” what he was hearing in real time, describing windows rattling as bombs exploded.
He questioned whose helicopters might be flying overhead. “The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani,” he tweeted.
Athar then said one of the aircraft appeared to have been shot down. Two more helicopters rushed in, he reported.
Throughout the battle, he related the rumors swirling through town: it was a training accident. Somebody was killed. The aircraft might be a drone. The army was conducting door-to-door searches in the surrounding area. The sound of an airplane could be heard overhead.
Soon, however, the rumbling of international events far beyond the confines of this quiet upscale suburb began to dawn on Athar, and he realized what he might be witnessing.
“I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected,” he tweeted.
Eight hours and about 35 tweets later, the confirmation came: “Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Athar reported. “There goes the neighborhood.”
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Associated Press writer Eric Carvin contributed to this report from New York.

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Check it out on The MasterTech Blog

>Top 10 Social Networks

  1. Facebook – 133,623,529 unique visits
  2. MySpace – 50,615,444 unique visits
  3. Twitter – 23,573,178 unique visits
  4. Linkedin – 15,475,890 unique visits
  5. Classmates – 14,613,381 unique visits
  6. MyLife – 8,736,352 unique visits
  7. Ning – 6,120,667 unique visits
  8. LiveJournal – 3,834,155 unique visits
  9. Tagged – 3,800,325 unique visits
  10. Last.fm – 3,473,978 unique visits

* — stats provided from About.com as of 08/12/10.
Top 10 Social Networks You Should Care About As a Web Developer
By Scott Clark
August 13, 2010

If you are a web developer, you may have brushed off social networking as a phenomenon that is dominated by teenagers and people seeking relationships. If you talk to non-developers, however, you may have realized that social networking is pervasive, and noticed that most smart businesses have embraced the phenomenon as a way to attract potential customers and interact with their current customers. In this article we’ll look at the top 10 social networking sites that you should be aware of as a developer who cares about your clients’ businesses.

Top 10 Social Networking Sites

To get started, let’s break down the top 10 social networking sites today. In order of unique visitors, here’s the list*:

  1. Facebook – 133,623,529 unique visits
  2. MySpace – 50,615,444 unique visits
  3. Twitter – 23,573,178 unique visits
  4. Linkedin – 15,475,890 unique visits
  5. Classmates – 14,613,381 unique visits
  6. MyLife – 8,736,352 unique visits
  7. Ning – 6,120,667 unique visits
  8. LiveJournal – 3,834,155 unique visits
  9. Tagged – 3,800,325 unique visits
  10. Last.fm – 3,473,978 unique visits

* — stats provided from About.com as of 08/12/10.
Over the last year, Facebook has doubled its monthly visitors, while MySpace has experienced a 13% decrease. Some of the change is due to MySpace users growing up and wanting to interact with business acquaintances, school friends and more, but overall, social networking is dramatically increasing worldwide. Small businesses, corporations and grandparents everywhere are becoming socially active online at an exponential rate. The time is now to get your business or website’s presence on the social networks so your customers can reach and communicate with your business and other customers.
Your business or website’s social networking presence should not be a copy of your website, nor should it appear like a brochure designed to sell something. It should provide a more personal look at your business, the people who are involved, and the social networking sites should be a place where, although still done in a professional manner, your company can let its hair down, so to speak. Interesting aspects of your business, positive communications with your customers, new aspects of the business that you are working on or considering are all topics to be considered for posting on your social networking sites.
Another thing to keep in mind is that all of the social networking sites have their own rules about soliciting, advertising and what can and cannot be posted on their sites. You must adhere to their rules, or you will be banned and your site will be blacklisted. Most social networking sites enable their members to interact with each other, and your business’ social networking sites are no different. You can expect to receive both positive and negative feedback. While the positive feedback is great, the negative feedback allows you to focus on those aspects of your site or business that needs improvement. Your reactions to that negative feedback will be seen by all of your other customers, whether they are current customers or potential customers, so keep it professional, and whatever you do, do not allow yourself to get into a flame war or argument.
On some social networking sites you can use an RSS feed to display your most recent articles or content from your regular website. This is a great way to keep folks informed about changes to your site, and keeps the content on your social site fresh and appealing.
Some social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, provide web developers with access to many features of their site through the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or Software Developer’s Kits (SDKs). Developers can access bits of information from “friends” on their social networking site, and display that information on their regular website. Facebook’s now famous “Like” button is an example of the use of an API.
Here are a few social networking APIs and SDKs that you may find useful as you create or enhance your current website:

Top 10 Social Networks You Should Care About As a Web Developer – www.htmlgoodies.com

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