Download And Install iOS 12.1.1 Beta 1 Without Developer Account

Download And Install iOS 12 Beta 12 Without Developer Account

Apple unveiled iOS 12 GM a few weeks ago. This version of iOS looks very sleek in my opinion, and one of the key highlights is optimized battery performance.

Update: Latest iOS 12 initial beta (not 12.1.1 beta 1) updates were draining my iPhone 6s’ battery very fast. Not recommended.

There are a lot of distracting blogs out there; I’ll be specific, and you can finish the whole iOS 12.1.1 beta 1 installation process in a couple of minutes.

iOS 12.1 is compatible with these devices

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad 6th generation
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPod touch 6th generation

Download & Install

As of now, iOS 12.1 is only available to the developer community for testing. Which means you need to have a developer account to download and install iOS beta 12.1 on your iOS devices.

But, luckily, there are workarounds to install iOS 12.1 previews without a developer account. All you have to do is install an ios_12_beta_profile.mobileconfig Profile.

Proceed at your own risk.

Step 1

Visit “this link” from your iPhone or iPad and tap “allow.”

The device will prompt you to restart after installing the profile. Just do it.

Step 2

Go to General -> Software Update. You’d be able to see iOS 12.1.1 beta 1 as an available over-the-air (OTA) firmware update.

Step 3

Tap on Download and install and wait for your device to prepare the update. The download may take a few minutes, and it entirely depends on your WiFi connection and device model.

Step 4

Tap on “Install Now” when you’re ready. Happy testing!

My comments on iOS 12 beta (not 12.1.1)

  1. My iPhone 6s performs faster comparing to iOS 11’s latest public release.
  2. I feel the animation is smooth.
  3. Screentime, Google has been doing it for years. But it’s good to see Apple adopting such an important feature.
  4. Grouped notifications, a much-needed feature!

Disclaimer

  • ios_12_beta_profile.mobileconfig as seen on betaprofiles.com.
  • Download and install beta versions of iOS at your own risk.

Start a WordPress Blog in China

Start a WordPress Blog in China

A lot of expats in China prefer to share their adventure in China with their friends back at home. Legends say starting a WordPress blog in China can be painstaking. That’s bullshit. All you need is a VPN service to get started.

Major Update: Sep 14, 2018

CloudWays Singapore servers are performing well in mainland China. Here’s an example site based on CloudWays that caters mainland audience. I highly recommend you to check their services to speed up the process. They offer one-click WordPress install as well. Sign-up with a VPN service, buy a domain and visit CloudWays.

Get Started for FREE

Why A Self-hosted WordPress Blog in China?

Dedicated hosting can be pricey since they come with one-click tools. A lot of blogging platforms doesn’t work well in China as well.

So, it’s wise to host your own WordPress blog. I’ve prepared this ultimate guide to teach you how to make a self-hosted personal WordPress website in China.

Note: This post contains 2 affiliate links and a referral link. Which means I will earn a small commission when you purchase using my links. No extra cost to you.

If this guide sounds too much of a tech jargon:

Sit back and relax, I can personally help you start a WordPress blog in China for the price of a coffee.

Prerequisites:

a. VPN

A VPN is essential. A lot of websites I’m going to mention below doesn’t work well in China. Feel free to use my affiliate link in the sidebar to sign-up with Express VPN. Their service is pretty good in China.

b. Domain name

A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. You know the drill; go ahead and buy a domain name that reflects your brand name.

I prefer NameCheap over Gandi.net since it has got a faster interface. Go ahead and use my affiliate link (starts from 0.88USD/year) if you prefer to register a domain using namecheap.com.

c. A Virtual Private Server (VPS) to host your website.

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual machine sold as a service by an Internet hosting service. Many companies including Aliyun in China offer virtual private server hosting or virtual dedicated server hosting as an extension for web hosting services.

There are several challenges to consider when licensing proprietary software in multi-tenant virtual environments. With unmanaged or self-managed hosting, the customer is left to administer their server instance. However, shared/dedicated hosting + cPanel in China can be pricey.

Services like Hostgator comes with one-click options, but you’ve got to pay the price for the same. So, we’ll be self-managing a DigitalOcean droplet (VPS) based on Ubuntu or CentOS.

Why DigitalOcean?

Even though, DigitalOcean is not for everybody. As a beginner, it’s something I’d recommend. You can learn a lot more about VPS in general when you start from scratch without anyone’s help. Feel free to join DigitalOcean using my referral link.

d. Putty or Terminal and WinSCP or Cyberduck

Putty or Terminal

You’d need an SSH client to login to your VPS.

PuTTY is an SSH and telnet client, developed originally by Simon Tatham for the Windows platform. Use Terminal if you’re using a Mac.

WinSCP or Cyberduck

Not everyone is a Linux savvy. As a beginner, you won’t be flexible with using Linux commands to move/copy and edit files. Hence you’d need an SFTP/FTP client to view, edit and manage the data on your server.

WinSCP is a free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 and SCP client for Microsoft Windows.

I suggest Cyberduck for Mac users since I use it often. You have other options like FileZilla for Windows and Transmit for Mac. Use any SFTP software you’re comfortable with.

e. Others

  1. You’ll be using VestaCP (free and open-source control panel) as the default VPS control panel to host the WordPress website on your server.
  2. For the managed DNS part and to speed up your website in China, I’d suggest Cloudflare since their interface is sleek. They also provide a free SSL. Having a Cloudflare generated SSL certificate is crucial since Google will be counting HTTPS as a ranking factor. Go ahead, visit cloudflare.com and create an account right away.

I hope you’ve got a basic idea now. Fire up ExpressVPN, let’s start a WordPress blog in China.

A. Buy A Domain

Purchasing a domain on NameCheap is pretty much straight-forward. Sign-up, search for a domain name of your choice, add it to the cart and make payment. After the purchase, visit this URL and click “manage”.

Note:

  • You can purchase a .cn domain and host it outside of China with the help of Chinese friend.
  • You don’t need a China ICP license for hosting the .cn domain outside of China.

Buy and Manage Domain NameCheap

Once you click “manage”, you’ll see something like this.

Manage NameCheap domain

Keep the browser window idle and proceed to the next step.

B. Add Site to Cloudflare

Visit cloudflare.com and log in to your account. Visit this URL or click “+ Add Site” located in the upper right corner.

Cloudflare Add Site

Now fill in your domain name and click “Add Site.”

Cloudflare Add Domain

Click “Next”, select the free plan and click “Confirm Plan.”

Cloudflare Free Plan

Now, wait for Cloudflare to finish querying your DNS records.

Cloudflare DNS Query

Usually, Cloudflare will return your current DNS settings (aka NameCheap default settings). But sometimes it may display an error like “we are unable to find your DNS settings.” Just click “Next”.

As you can see below, Cloudflare will ask you to change your nameservers.

Cloudflare Nameservers

Visit the idle window I mentioned at the end of step 1. Select the “Custom DNS” in the NAMESERVERS section and fill the nameservers as suggested by Cloudflare and Click save.

Cloudflare Custom DNS

Switch the active window to the Cloudflare setup and click “Continue.” Give it a few minutes for the DNS propagation. The Cloudflare status will be “Active” after DNS propagation.

C. Create A DigitalOcean Droplet

DigitalOcean calls its cloud servers Droplets; each Droplet you create is a new server for your personal use.

If you are a new user, DigitalOcean will ask you either top up 5$ credit or add a preferred payment method.

I’d top up 5$ via PayPal since it’s the wise choice than adding a credit/debit card. Now sign in to your DigitalOcean account and visit the dashboard.

Click “Create Droplet” and refer to the screenshot below:

Create Droplet DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean VPS pricing starts from 5USD per month. Choose an ideal server for your personal website.

Since we are in China, I’d recommend Singapore location for hosting the WordPress site.  

CloudFlare has got data centers in China, and it will make sure your website delivers content without any lag.

Go ahead and select the 5USD server if you are setting up a personal website aiming less than 10k users per month.

Note:

  1. You can upgrade and optimize droplets whenever you like.
  2. I’ve selected Ubuntu 16.04.4. You can choose CentOS 7.5 x64 as well. Keep in mind that Ubuntu uses apt with DEB packages, while CentOS uses the YUM package manager with RPM packages. In this tutorial, I will be using “yum” often. CentOS is believed to be more stable because it has less frequent updates to their packages.
  3. I highly recommend readers to learn more about SSH keys and generate/set-up SSH keys while creating a droplet. SSH keys provide a more secure way of logging into a virtual private server with SSH than using a password alone.

Click “create” if everything looks ok for you. DigitalOcean will generate Public IP, one-time root password and send it over to your registered email address.

D. Install VestaCP On CentOS

Step 1: Login to your server as root

Use the credentials DigitalOcean sent you over email to log in.

Open up Putty on Windows. Things are pretty much intuitive on Windows. If you find it confusing, read this article.

In case you are using a Mac, open Terminal, type the following and hit enter:

$ ssh [email protected]

Replace 67.218.xxx.xx with your server’s IP address. 

After logging in for the first time, DigitalOcean’s Linux distro will force you to change the password. Just do it.

Step2:  Install Vesta CP

Download installation script

$ curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh

Run it to start the installation

$ bash vst-install.sh

Ubuntu may ask you to force the installation sometimes. Run this command to do it:

$ bash vst-install.sh -f

It will ask you type in the host name and email address. It’s wise to not use your domainname.tld as the hostname.

Use something like cp.domainname.tld. 

VestaCP roughly needs 5 to 10 minutes to finish the installation.  It will display the login URL and admin credentials upon completing the installation.

E. Configure DNS

Visit the DNS section of your website in Cloudflare.com.

Set CNAME and A records as follows.

  • A Record – Name: @, ipv4 address: 67.218.xxx.xx
  • A Record – Name: cp, ipv4 address: 67.218.xxx.xx
  • CNAME record – Name: www, Domain Name: @

Don’t forget to replace 67.218.150.74 with your server’s IP.

Make sure it looks like this after editing.

Cloudflare DNS

F. Add New Website on VestaCP

Step 1: Visit the VestaCP login URL.

It may look like https://67.218.xxx.xx:8083

Log in using the credentials you saved before. Change the admin password after logging in.

Feel free to tweak other settings according to your preference.

Step 2: Add a website

Visit the WEB section in the VestaCP and click the “ADD WEB DOMAIN” button.

VestaCP Add New Domain

Fill in the domainname.tld (eg: mynewsite.com) and select the default IP address. Click the ADVANCED OPTIONS and edit the Alias to www.domainname.tld. Click “Add” when you’re ready.

VestaCP New Domain

Wait for few seconds and visit domainname.tld. You’d see a dummy home page generated by VestaCP.

Step 3: Create a Database for WordPress

VestaCP has installed default software stacks required for WordPress.

You have to create MySQL database right now so we can use the same during WordPress installation.

To do this, visit the DB section of your VestaCP. Click “Add DB and fill in the details.

VestaCP Database

Note: Prefix admin_ will be automatically added to database name and database user. It’s a VestaCP setting by default.

Click “Add” when you’re ready. Save the database details somewhere safe.

G. Download And Install WordPress

Oh boy! we’re almost there. Let’s install WordPress already!

Login to your VPS using Putty/Terminal as root user. Use cd to navigate to the domainname.tld folder located inside the home folder.

$ cd /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

Go ahead and download WordPress to the public_html folder using the following command:

$ wget http://wordpress.org/latest.zip

Now unzip the wordpress.zip folder by:

$ unzip latest.zip

Wait patiently and let it finish the thing.

Move it from wordpress folder to the public_html folder afterwards:

$ cd wordpress
$ shopt -s dotglob; mv -- * ..

Now go back to the public_folder.

$ cd /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

Delete the default index.html file and the WordPress folder generated while unzipping.

$ rm index.html
$ rmdir wordpress

Now move the wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php using the following command:

$ mv wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

Now you have to edit the wp-config.php file. You may use WinSCP/Cyberduck to do the same.

Connect to your server using the root credentials. Open the wp-config.php file located in /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html/

how to edit wp-config.php

Replace database_name_here with the database name you’ve generated on VestaCP. Fill in the username, password as well and click save.

Open Putty/Terminal again and log in to your VPS as the root user.

Run this command to set chown rules for VestaCP admin user:

$ chown -R admin:admin /home/admin/web/domainname.tld/public_html

It will come handy when you’re about to install a new theme/plugin on WordPress.

Now visit your website and finish the WordPress installation.

Read this guide to setup CloudFlare flexible SSL for your WordPress website.

That’s it, happy WordPress powered blogging in China!

1&1 WordPress Assistant

If you have set-up a new blog about your life in China feel free to share the link via email. I’ll add you to the “great success” list.

Direct all technical questions to WeChat: mighil.

Guest Post: Moving To Chengdu, Now What?

20+ things to know about living in Chengdu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect mine (mighil.com). Click here to read my thoughts on life in Chengdu.

This is a guest post authored by Valéria Vicenti, A Brazilian Chengdu resident. Without further ado, let’s take a look at her take on “20+ things to know about living in Chengdu”.

Credit: cover image as seen on gochengdu.cn, other images as seen on justcharlie.com, seriouseats.com and chengduplaces.com

Moving To Chengdu, Now What?

Arriving in a new country can generate a lot of doubts, concerns, worries, so I would like to share with you few tips that I have prepared to facilitate the arrival and understanding of friends in this New World of pleasant surprises and many teachings.

Chengdu is very clean

It does not have a paper on the floor, from the sights to the neighbourhoods and public transport, everything very clean. Impressive!

Pollution

It exists, we can not deny. For each case a need or not the use of masks. On days of high pollution, it’s worth it to be careful and avoid big walks, but this year we did not feel anything that reflected in the poor quality of life or respiratory problems. Important you evaluate your physiological profile.

Climate

Well defined seasons with mild temperatures, compared to the north of the country. In the winter of this year, we had mornings with -2oC and afternoons that reached 14oC. The beginning of spring shows us days with maximums of 25oC, it is possible to walk in light clothes. In the summer, hot days with low pollution.

Safe city

With no visible risks to citizens, regardless of day or night time.

Kind and helpful locals

Most locals do not speak English but count on immeasurable sympathy in an attempt to help.

The food in Chengdu

Food in Chengdu is delicious, outstanding and Spicy. Western restaurants and menus are found throughout the city, both in the malls and in the sights. Casualties like Starbucks, BurgKing, KFC, Mcdonalds, Haagen Dazs are present all over town. World-class beer too, in supermarkets and in several restaurants. Attend to the temperature, ask for a cold beer. The warm flavored water will always be offered warmly throughout the meal. Cigarette smoking is not prohibited in many restaurants or even bars, so if you have any allergic problems, avoid enclosed places, or choose places that have non-smoking space (not many).

 

There is a useful application called SPOONHUNT

It can be used to translate restaurant menus. On SPOONHUNT, the menus are translated from Chinese to English, with photos and prices to help you place your order.

Speaking of habits

if you are invited to toast, the position of your cup in the toast corresponds to your hierarchical position, the higher your hierarchical position on the table, the higher your cup should be in relation to the other presents.

Will you give someone a present?

In the beginning, to avoid embarrassing situations, gift with chocolates or fine sweets. Always pleases!

Should I tip?

Expats who tips at bars and restaurants in other countries, do not practice this in China, people may get offended.

The local currency is the RMB,

Conversion tables on the internet will inform you the quotation of the day. Exchange money at the airport, on arrival in town, easier, simpler than exchanges at local authorized banks. Hotels are also options. Visa and Master Cards are accepted but less frequently than in other places in the world, so the importance of money as long as you do not have a Chinese bank account.

VPN

ExpressVPN is what we use, and for now without any complaint. And with it installed you have access to everything you have access in your country. Waze as GoogleTradutor became our inseparable friends.

Want to see how Chengdu looked like in the 80s? Click here.

I did not modify or edit any of the images you’re about to view. Go ahead and view the 100+ old Chengdu photos in high quality!!

Cost of living

Affordable price and ease make us move around the city by metro, taxi or Didi (Uber Chinese), safe and comfortable. For the taxi or Didi, always be with your destination address translated into Chinese to facilitate the driver. Use the Google Translate screen.

Prices here are similar to Brazil.

A good meal, in a restaurant with casual world standard, you will have an average expenditure per a couple of approximately 180 to 230RMB. The price of clothes and accessories at world-class stores is similar to the prices of the rest of the world, without much of a surprise. High prices for beef, milk and dairy products, compared to Brazil, mainly.

In supermarkets like Carrefour, Olé, Metro

you can find a wide variety of world brands, western products and brands for both food and service.

Casual brands of clothing and accessories

such as Zara, H & M, C & A, Boss, and several others, as well as classic traditional brands, can be found in the downtown shopping malls, mainly in IFS and Tai Ko Lii, also known as tourist points.

Looking for low prices for food, clothing, electronics etc.?

Check out TaoBao, the AliExpress family app. It’s in Chinese, so GoogleTradutor help is needed. For expatriates there is also the “adapted TaoBao”, Baopals.com, a shopping site also based on AliExpress / TaoBao but in English.

Will you need to buy a phone line?

You will first need to follow the bank to open your checking account. To purchase the phone line you will need to present your current account number in China.

In China you anticipate payments.

Light, water, cell phone, bike rental, parking etc need pre-payments so they are available for your use.

The retention time of the passport

to issue the stay visa by the responsible agency will take approximately 90 days.

License to drive

you will get after getting a hit of 90 of the 100 questions presented in the test. You can repeat the test as many times as necessary. There is an app with more than 1000 questions that will help you in your studies for the test. The test can be conducted in English, German, Spanish and other languages. Beware of traffic, especially in the headlights, being you pedestrian or driver.

Do you like daily general information about the city?

You can find China Daily, CCTV, China High Tech, China Xinhua News on Facebook or visit ChengduLiving.com.

Squat toilet instead of a seated toilet

The common toilets in China are the ones we need to squat to use. We can find restaurants and hotels in sightseeing “western” bathrooms more often.

Some basic Chinese daily phrases

“(nĭ hăo) means “hi”. “(hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ)means “nice to meet you”. (xièxiè) means “Thank you”. There are a lot of sites and applications available on the internet to learn Chinese, some interesting and recommended are: HelloChinese (para iniciantes), ChineseSkill, Chinese-Me

Useful Telephone Numbers in China

Here are the most useful emergency phone numbers you need to keep in mind when travelling to China. 119 to call firefighters, 120 is for medical emergency and 110 to call the police. However, If you want to know the phone numbers of local churches, governments or other organizations, you could dial 114, which support 24-hours services.

Good luck!

Are you interested in contributing? Would you like to share your thoughts on living in Chengdu?

Get in touch with me day!

Google Honors Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng’s 65th Birthday

 

Today’s Doodle pays tribute to one of Teng’s most well-known songs, “The Moon Represents My Heart.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtGKEMCzCD4

Meaning of the Song (As seen on Edonn.com)

Like magic, love appears is replenished through time. And like magic, the moon appears to change through time. But does the moon really change over time?

It’s always the same moon, it’s only how it is viewed that makes it seem different. From certain angles, the moon reflects light in a certain way, from other angles, it reflects light in other ways.

And yet love, though seemingly different, never changes. Underneath the veil of a half-moon, or crescent moon or moonlessness, there is a full moon just waiting to appear.

Add to all this the significance of the moon in Chinese culture, and you get a great song.

Edonn.com 

Who is Teresa Teng?

Born in Yunlin, Taiwan, on January 29, 1953. Teng was able to move her audiences as much with the sweetness of her voice as with the power of melancholy emotion

She started her singing life as young as the age of 5. At the early age of 11 (1964), she won the Chinese Radio Station Huangmei Singing Contest by the song “Visiting Yingtai.” by 14 Years old, she hosted the show “Everyday One Star.”

In 1969, she played the leading role in the TV series “Thank You, Manager.” She was also invited to perform at a charity concert in Singapore.

In the same year, she sang the theme song for the first Taiwan TV series.

In 1970, Teresa’s first performance in Hong Kong was held. In 1971, she became the youngest person ever to be awarded the title of the Charity Queen of the Bai Hua You Arts Auction for making charity sales. She also signed to Life Records of Taiwan.

Teresa Teng

In 1972, she was filmed in the movie “Ms. Music Fan” with Mr. Chang Chung. In the same year, she made the Top 10 Singers list in Hong Kong.

Teresa Teng Google Doodle
Teresa decided to start singing in Japan in 1973, when she signed to Polydor Records of Japan, so she was determined to try her best in studying Japanese.

However, within a short period of 6 months, she was already able to communicate in Japanese with the staff of the company and during meetings. Her first Japanese Album “KONYA KASHIRA? ASHITA KASHIRA?” (Should it be tonight or tomorrow?) was released on March 1, 1974.

Her second Japanese album “KUUKOO” (Airport) was released on July 1, 1974. Through this song “KUUKOO” she won the Best New Singer award of Japan that year. She also signed to PolyGram Records of Hong Kong and released the album “Good Bye, My Love” in 1975. The following year, she held her first HK solo concert at Lee Theatre.

In 1977, she held her solo concert in Tokyo, Japan and won a television award for her song “I live for you.”

Teresa held her second solo concert of Hong Kong in 1978. In 1979, she held her first solo concert in the US and Canada.

Teresa also studied English at USC (University of Southern California) in California, USA. On the same year, the album “Small Town Story” was released.

In 1980, Teresa performed in the US at the Lincoln Theatre in New York and became the first Chinese to ever perform at the Los Angeles Music Center.

She held her third Hong Kong solo concert. In addition, she went to Taiwan to visit the Kinmen Island troops and performed at the Sun Yatsen Memorial in which all funds from tickets went to the Patriotic Fund.

Teresa won the Best Female Singer award in Taiwan. In the same year, her first Cantonese album was released.

In 1981, Teresa held 7 consecutive solo concerts in Hong Kong, breaking the record for the number of consecutive solo concerts by a single artist. Also, she won the record-breaking number of 5 platinum records in a single year in Hong Kong and also received the Patriotic Artist Award in Taiwan.

In 1983, Teresa became the first Chinese to ever perform at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas, USA. In the same year, she received an award from PolyGram (Hong Kong) for reaching top sales, being the top-selling singer ever in the music industry of Hong Kong. She released her second and famous Cantonese album “The Steps of the Road of Life”, which got the Double Platinum figure after a few days of its release.

Teresa Teng won the Annual Cable TV Award of Japan for 3 consecutive years (1984, 1985, and 1986) by the song “TSUGUNAI” (Love Compensation) in 1984, “AIJIN” (Lover) in 1985, and “TOKI NO NAGARE NI MI WO MAKASE” (Let It Depend On The Flow Of Time) in 1986. No other singer, even to this date, was able to achieve this.

The song “AIJIN” (Lover) also set a new record for staying on top of the broadcast charts in Japan for over 10 weeks. Her song “TOKI NO NAGARE NI MI WO MAKASE” sold over 5 million copies in the Japan market in 1986.

Unfortunately, she left us on May 8, 1995 due to an asthma attack in Chiang Mai, Thailand at age 42. Her coffin was wrapped with the Taiwan flag and was carried by military officers and family members. Indeed, during the funeral, Teresa was given many awards for her large contribution to the nation and society.

Legacy

Her music and talent was a dominant and influential force in Asia throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s. Teng was able to move her audiences as much with the sweetness of her voice as with the power of melancholy emotion.

One of the “Five Great Asian Divas”, she was known for driving her audience into rapture, and often tears, over a career that spanned three decades.

Personally- she is one among my favorite singers of the past, present and future era.

Here’s a screenshot of my Baidu Yun a/c where I collect almost every digital copies of Lijun’s work.

Listen Teresa Teng Songs

Teng’s widespread popularity was also driven by her ability to sing in several languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian, and English.

Evoking for many precious memories of childhood and happier times, her legacy endures to this day.

By providing an alternative to the most revolutionary songs then prevalent in mainland China, Teng’s emotional rendition of this old Mandarin favorite catapulted her to instant and long-lasting fame that lingers to this day.

Happy 65th birthday, Teresa Teng!

Doodle by Cynthia Yuan Cheng

Credits: Content from Google Doodle page and teresateng.org

Blockchain + Gaming

LAST UPDATED: December 15, 2018 | By Mighil

Nb: This article needs further update. Feel free to reach out if you want to list your blockchain gaming platform here. 

Yes. everyone online is talking about how blockchain can transform the gaming niche.

A lot of blog posts, articles, and videos out there definitely prove blockchain and gaming industry together can do wonders.

From esports, digital goods monetization to game distribution platform, blockchain will change the outlook of the game industry.

But…

Only a few are actually mentioning up and coming blockchain gaming platforms and blockchain gaming projects on their blogs.

There’s a whole bunch of gaming community out there who want to learn more about new blockchain based gaming projects.

And that’s my motive for writing this post.

Here’s the complete list of  blockchain gaming platforms and projects

ugChain 

Singapore based ugChain; powers ecosystem consisting of a series of decentralized applications.

ugChain’s core is a decentralized account system (DAS) based on blockchain technology.

The system has built-in exclusive token UG Token (UGC).

UGC simultaneously has the equity attribute and monetary attribute.

I’m currently associated with ugChain as well.

Token: UGC

PLAYKEY: Decentralized Cloud Gaming Platform

Playkey is a brilliant game-virtualization service dedicated to providing gamers around the world with the resources of a distributed network of powerful home computers (“miners”).

They are basically a cloud gaming platform, allowing gamers to play top-rated games on obsolete PC and Mac.

With Playkey’s service, owners of weak PCs, laptops, and MacBooks can play modern games on their own devices. The games themselves run “in the cloud” on the hardware of the miners.

They have a team of 45 experienced R&D specialists collaborates directly with leading game publishers including Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Wargaming and is backed by a large European VC fund.

Token: PKT

Chimaera

The Chimaera blockchain acts as a decentralized gaming backend that is scalable, secure and reliable.

It’s a solid game dev focused platform which lets developers create fully decentralized, autonomous games where players can expect 100% uptime and have provably fair gameplay with true ownership of their in-game items.

Chimaera team is behind Huntercoin– which is still the only game that runs entirely on the blockchain. (That was quite an interesting find)

Token: CHI

Funfair

With a range of prototype casino games powered by their game-changing technology, Funfair team claims they are way ahead of the competition.

Blockchain powered FunFair simply enables anyone, anywhere to run their own online casino.

The FunFair platform also offers unrivaled levels of transparency and player protection and is set to open up gaming globally.

Token: FUN

Xenio Blockchain

Similar to ugChain, The Xenio gaming ecosystem uses distributed computing to solve systemic problems inherent in existing game distribution and asset management systems.

According to their whitepaper, Xenio runs on their own blockchain.

Which is optimized for gaming and which uses a combination of a modified Delegated Proof-of stake and Proof-of-Authority consensus protocol they proudly call “Proof of-Networking,” or PoN.

The Xenio ICO is currently underway.

Presale: https://xenio.io/register.php

CryptoKitties

Not a platform but this is something you’d like!

It is a blockchain-based virtual game that allows players to adopt, raise, and trade virtual cats, and it represents one of the earliest attempts to deploy blockchain technology for recreational and leisurely purposes.

The game’s popularity in December 2017 caused the Ethereum network to slow down.

Whereas CryptoKitties is not a cryptocurrency, it does offer something similar to one: each CryptoKitty is one-of-a-kind, 100% owned by the user, validated through the blockchain, and the value can appreciate or depreciate based on the market.

Cryptokitties cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed. The game involves digital cats, and users who buy, sell, and sire (breed) them.

CryptoKitties operates on Ethereum’s underlying blockchain network.

A test version of CryptoKitties was unveiled at ETH Waterloo on October 19, 2017, the largest Ethereum hackathon in the world.

Wanna play? visit their website now!

Credits

Life in Chengdu

Best SEO Chengdu, Calicut

LAST UPDATED: January 01, 2019 | By Mighil

Thinking about moving to Chengdu? You’ve reached the right place. This QnA format blog post is an ultimate expanded guide based on my previous article, “expat life in Chengdu” (archived).

Life in Chengdu

Moving to Chengdu or China, in general, can be both exciting and frustrating. I’m a Chengdu resident since 2015. I chose to live Chengdu because of the quality of life here. Another reason is my wife, who’s a Chengdu local. A lot of people think Chengdu is just a tourist city, but that’s not the truth.

NEW TO CHENGDU? JOIN THIS FACEBOOK GROUP

justcharlie.com

Chengdu is evaluated as a city with great economic vitality, a superb business city, right tourist destination and a national model city for environmental protection. It has won the UN Habitat Award and International Thiess River Award. Moreover, Chengdu is one of the booming cities in China when it comes to IT and development. Chengdu government is continuously working on new schemes and plans for the overall development of the town and its suburbs.

Alright, let’s jump to the topic. Here are the frequently asked questions about life in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan.

What is living in Chengdu like?

Chengdu is a beautiful city to live in when you compare it to other big Chinese cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen or Beijing. Quiet overnight, Chengdu is transforming itself into a huge modern city. New subway lines pop up almost every year. Chengdu Locals are fun loving and relaxed. I usually spend my weekends in Qingchengshan Town, Dujiangyan though.

justcharlie.com

You’ll find lots of places to hang out here. There’s a handful of Western restaurants in the city, and new ones are popping up left and right. Without a doubt, Chengdu is a convenient place to live as an expat. If you like to chill a bit in the evening with friends, there are a handful of pubs and bars in Chengdu. The city has garnered a reputation for its LGBT scene also.

What is the realistic cost of living in Chengdu, including rent?

A lot of people who read my previous post added me on WeChat to clarify this part. The truth is I can’t give you an exact answer. To be honest, the cost of living in Chengdu is something often misunderstood. It entirely depends on your lifestyle.

However, the majority of expatriates can earn much higher than that provided to the locals in Chengdu. I’ve heard English teachers are paid well if they choose to work at a reputed school in Chengdu. Since I am a minimalist freelancer who’s inclined to the IT niche, I do not know a lot about the “life as an English teacher” scene in Chengdu.

Anyway, here’s a ballpark figure:

  • Shared apartments range from 1000 RMB to 4000 RMB.
  • 15 RMB to 30 RMB for one inexpensive meal.
  • 5 RMB for domestic beer.
  • 1 RMB or 2 RMB for buses within the city limit.
  • Electricity and water are prepaid. You’ll be sharing this with your roommates. Together it may cost around 100 RMB maximum per month.
  • Internet fee is around 100 RMB per month.

Verdict: If you’re a bachelor, consider moving to Chengdu if your employer offers 7,000 RMB net salary, at least.

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What is the best and easiest way to find a house for rent in Chengdu for a foreigner?

Trust me; this won’t be easy if you can’t speak Chinese. There’s ChengduLiving.com forum (that I moderate) and GoChengdoo forum where you can address your query and find expat roommates.

Best Practices

1. Be sure about what kind of apartment you need for rent.

Your choice varies according to who you are. During my early days in Chengdu, I preferred not to live with students. So I had to refine my search for roommates and apartments based on that. Set your standard before apartment-hunting.

2. Talk to other expats.

Chengdu Living and GoChengdoo are the active expat forums here. There are countless WeChat groups as well. Join an expat community WeChat group before moving to Chengdu. Get insights from long-term expats.

Mighil on WeChat
Feel free to add me on WeChat*.

3. 58.com

Undoubtedly one of the top classified sites in China. If you speak Chinese, use this one right away to find new apartments. If you are on PC, visit cd.58.com right away. Only seek help from agents and third parties when best practices aren’t working. There are a lot of shady agents and landlords here. Be careful.

What is the weather in Chengdu like?

Since ancient times, Chengdu has been known as “the Abundant Land” owing to its fertile soil, favorable climate, and famous Dujiangyan Irrigation System.

justcharlie.com

But in reality, “Sichuan’s basin” Chengdu is quite cloudy. Winter can get very dark and cold. Summer can be annoyingly humid.

How is the Pollution in Chengdu?

Pollution in winter can get hazardous for the sensitive group. According to 2016′ data, Chengdu just barely edged out Beijing for highest PM2.5. You should think twice before moving to Chengdu if you have a toddler. Take precautions like buying an air purifier, filters etc. Always check the air quality index (AQI) and wear masks whenever its necessary. Better safe than sorry.

Chengdu Expats Facebook Group
Click here to join the group.

What is the food in Chengdu like?

Chengdu food falls under the banner of Sichuan Cuisine, which is one of the Eight Regional Cuisines of China. One main thing I noticed is that a lot of places serve oily food. Be careful if you suffer from GERD or if you’re someone who quickly gets gastroenteritis.

Other than that, Chengdu is famous for its cuisine. You should try hot-pot when you’re here. You can either have the extra spicy hot-pot or the non-spicy one. There are a few Auchan, Carrefour, Walmart outlets in Chengdu. Most of them sell imported items as well. So yeah, you can cook at the apartment if you’ve got time. It will save your money as well.

What is the music scene like in Chengdu?

Chengdu is home to several local and international artists, DJs and performers. Music scene won’t be majestic as in Shanghai, but yeah it’s fantastic out here.

justcharlie.com

Chengdu is one of the cities that hosted STORM Electronic Music Festival 2017, China’s first and most prominent international electronic dance music festival. The city is home to The Sichuan Conservatory of Music (Chinese: 四川音乐学院), founded in 1939, one of the leading music institutions in China, and is considered to be the largest conservatory in the world.

How to open a bank account in Chengdu?

It is pretty straightforward if you speak Chinese. Otherwise, you might need help from a local friend or colleague. Different banks have different rules for signing up an account. Do check with your employer and open a bank account according to that. Keep in mind that the regulations have changed recently. Now you need to submit more paperwork to apply for a bank account in Chengdu. Once your application goes well, you have to make your first deposit in cash. It’s often up to 100 CNY at once. After that, you’ll need to set up a six-digit password / PIN for banking in China. After the whole process, they’ll give you a UnionPay ATM card.

Buying a SIM card in Chengdu

You need to submit passport as identification for buying SIM card in China. Make sure that your phone is already unlocked, and you will have no trouble using a new SIM. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom are the big three carriers in China. You can buy SIM card either from a retail store or by visiting any of the official stores of a carrier I listed above. The language barrier will be a problem so take your Chinese friend when you decide to buy a new sim card.

How about the traffic in Chengdu?

It’s pretty convenient if you ride a bike. Chengdu is notorious for bad traffic during rush hours due to its centralized layout. Subway lines are expanding now and then, which is a good sign. And yes, you can quickly grab a green taxi cab from downtown. DiDi is another option. I’ve heard DiDi has an English interface now.

How about Railway Stations in Chengdu?

There are three major railway stations in Chengdu. Chengdu North Railway Station, Chengdu East Train Station, and Chengdu South Train Station. The city is going to build the fourth train station – Chengdu West Train Station. Booking a train ticket is pretty easy online. However, foreigners have to show their passport to collect physical tickets after booking online.

Which VPN should I use in Chengdu?

I’d suggest ExpressVPN over any other VPN providers. Their services have been stable over the years. Feel free to use my affiliate link if you’d like to support this blog.

Do this before moving to Chengdu

Now that you’ve got a clear idea about life in Chengdu, take a look at the apps you need for living in China.

Do you have more questions?

Got some general questions about the life in Chengdu? Wanna join expat groups in Chengdu? Feel free to email me webmaster [at] mighil.com or add me on WeChat (mighil). Alternatively, you can ping me on Facebook. I’m quite busy these days, so please don’t expect a swift response. I do offer relocation consulting and assistance, get in touch with me if you’re interested.

Useful Links

Please report the broken links by sending me a message on WeChat.

Credits

  • I’ve analyzed answers from a Chengdu related thread on Quora.
  • HQ photos from justcharlie.com. Charlie is a good friend of mine. He’s an American designer and DJ who’s been living in China for ten years.
  • All images (except the cover image, FB group image, and WeChat QR code) as seen on justcharlie.com, seriouseats.com, and chengduplaces.com

Need Relocation Assistance & Consulting?

I can help you sort out all your inquiries and doubts regarding life in Chengdu. First come, first served. *I will respond to generic email inquiries but I do not offer a free one-on-one consulting. I charge flat 30USD per hour for relocation consulting and assistance.

Relocation Consulting Services

Hire Mighil to learn more about Chengdu

Send a message!

Setup A ShadowsocksR Server On Amazon EC2

How to Setup A Shadowsocks Server on Amazon EC2

LAST UPDATED: December 18, 2018 | By Mighil

Learn how to install ShadowsocksR (not Shadowsocks) server on Amazon EC2 Ubuntu instance (Free Tier) easily. I set SSR in the title since it’s superior to Shadowsocks. The script included in this tutorial comes with the option to choose between Shadowsocks or ShadowsocksR during installation. It’s your call.

Heads up: unlike the DigitalOcean guide I posted before, this one involves fewer commands and scripts. 😉

Update: I recommend SocketPro, a dirt cheap option ($2.41/mo annual) if you prefer to rely on a service provider. Their services are top-notch and I’ve been using it for almost two years alongside my DIY servers. Click here to read my review.

Why ShadowsocksR?

ShadowsocksR is a fork of the original Shadowsocks project, claimed to be superior regarding security and stability.

Warning: Although this guide is intended to be 100% n00b friendly, there are chances you may face minor issues or errors during setup. Be prepared. Just comment here or write to webmaster[at]mighil.com or connect with me on WeChat @mighil if you want me set it up for you for a small fee.

Prerequisites:

  1. Access to AWS console. (Requires one time credit/debit card verification)
  2. Read more about EC2 Free Tier.
  3. SSH client.
  4. Patience.

Sign in to the AWS Console & Create an EC2 Instance

AWS may take you to the US region by default. It’s up to you choose the location.

Select EC2 in the Compute Section

Select Asian region (Tokyo or Singapore recommended) if you’re from China.

Click Launch Instance

Go on and read their Getting Started Guide if you’ve got enough time.

Select The Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS

Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS is Free Tier Eligible, and that’s what we’re going to use for this guide as well. Click Select and proceed to the next step.

Choose the Instance Type

Look for the t2.micro which is Free Tier eligible. Select it and Click Review and Launch.

Configure Security Group

Open the TCP ports you’re going to use for ShadowsocksR. I’ve set Port Range from 8000–8083 for this guide. You can limit the source according to your preference. Click Review and Launch when you’re ready.

Create a New Key Pair

Create, download and save keypairname.pem file in a safe place.

Congrats on the 60% progress…n00bs, before jumping to the next big step, learn how to use PEM key on Mac.

!! Windows users, you have to convert PEM file to PPK. Please read it here and come back to this article.

Copy The AWS Generated PEM File to a Safe Location

Here’s how to copy keypairname.pem to /Users/usrname/.ssh/ (hidden directory)

  1. Copy the keypairname.pem file.
  2. Open Finder, use the shortcut “Shift + Command + G” and type in /Users/usrname/.ssh/
  3. Paste the keypairname.pem file.
chmod 400 the PEM file

We have to set the right permissions for PEM file. Use the chmod command to make sure that your private key file isn’t publicly viewable. For example, if the name of your private key file is keypairname.pem, use the following command:

$ chmod 400 /Users/username/.ssh/keypairname.pem

Alright, it’s about time fellas! Let’s dive into the Terminal/Putty.

Uncheck this Sucker in Terminal Preferences (Recommended)

There are chances some users may get locale errors, it’s a best practice to uncheck this from Terminal Preferences.

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Connecting to The EC2 Instance

Let’s connect to your instance from Putty or Terminal:

Terminal, Mac:

$ ssh -i /Users/username/.ssh/keypairname.pem [email protected]

!! Check your public IP from the corresponding AWS EC2 webpage.

Putty, Windows:

Load your PPK and connect to the server as ubuntu user

Switch User in EC2 instance

Once you’re inside the EC2 instance. Switch to the root user:

$ sudo su

Run The ShadowsocksR Auto-Installer

Script by @teddysun. Copy and paste each line separately.

wget --no-check-certificate https://raw.githubusercontent.com/teddysun/shadowsocks_install/master/shadowsocksR.sh

$ chmod +x shadowsocks-all.sh

$ ./shadowsocks-all.sh 2>&1 | tee shadowsocks-all.log

This installer is intuitive and will guide you setup ShadowsocksR on your instance.

Note: It contains installers for other Shadowsocks packages as well.

!! the installer will generate and display the final config. It displays Private IP (not public IP). So make sure you use Public IP within client apps. As I mentioned EARLIER, you can find your public IP within the corresponding AWS EC2 instance page or run the command below to display the public IP

$ wget -qO- -t1 -T2 ipinfo.io/ip

Commands to start | stop | restart | check status

Shadowsocks-Python

$ /etc/init.d/shadowsocks-python start | stop | restart | status

ShadowsocksR:

$ /etc/init.d/shadowsocks-r start | stop | restart | status

Shadowsocks-Go:

$ /etc/init.d/shadowsocks-go start | stop | restart | status

Shadowsocks-libev:

$ /etc/init.d/shadowsocks-libev start | stop | restart | status

That’s it, congrats on the 100% progress. Write to webmaster[at]mighil.com or connect with me on WeChat if you want me set it up for you for a small fee.

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Setup A Shadowsocks Server on DigitalOcean

Setup A Shadowsocks Server on DigitalOcean VPS

Shadowsocks is an open source SOCKS5 proxy which, according to their official site, is designed to protect your internet traffic. As an expat in China, I have tried few VPN services. The major downside of well-known providers is that their VPNs create one connection for all traffic (which is easier for China’s GFW to detect/block/slow down).

Recently, I tested Shadowsocks on an Ubuntu server based in Singapore and I must say I’m quite happy with SOCKS5 rather than the paid services. I know there are a bunch of tutorials out there on how to configure Shadowsocks. But, I’d like to be more precise providing the best tips and workarounds.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to install Shadowsocks and related packages on an Ubuntu server and bypass the Great Firewall of China.

Prerequisites

  1. A DigitalOcean droplet (preferably an Ubuntu or CentOS x64 server) / Cost: starts from $5 per month. Feel free to sign-up with my referral link if you’re interested.
  2. Notepad++/Sublime Text Editor if you don’t prefer UNIX vi editor.
  3. SFTP/FTP client like WinSCP if you prefer a GUI.

How To Create A New Droplet In DigitalOcean

Note: I highly recommend new users to generate/set-up SSH keys while creating a droplet as they provide a more secure way of logging into a virtual private server with SSH than using a password alone.

How To Install Shadowsocks on Ubuntu 16.04

Let’s fire up putty or any other SSH client and log in to your server as root user.

Once you have logged in to the server, run the following command to update the packages:

$ apt-get update

Now, run the following commands to install Python then Shadowsocks:

$ apt-get install python-pip
$ pip install shadowsocks

Now install M2Crypto, which is the most complete Python wrapper for OpenSSL featuring RSA, DSA, DH, EC, HMACs, message digests, symmetric ciphers (including AES). Run the following commands to install M2Crypto:

$ apt-get install python-m2crypto
$ apt-get install build-essential

Since salsa20 and chacha20 are fast stream cyphers. Optimized salsa20/chacha20 implementation on x86_64 is even 2x faster than rc4 (but slightly slower on ARM). You must install libsodium to use them:

$ wget https://github.com/jedisct1/libsodium/releases/download/1.0.10/libsodium-1.0.10.tar.gz
$ tar xf libsodium-1.0.10.tar.gz && cd libsodium-1.0.10
$ ./configure && make && make install
$ ldconfig

After finishing up the steps above, we must create a .json file (config file) for Shadowsocks. In order to do this, fire up Vi editor or open your text editor and create a new file. Add these data to the file:

{
"server":"your_droplet's_IP_address",
"server_port":8000,
"local_port":1080,
"password":"your_password",
"timeout":600,
"method":"aes-256-cfb"
}

You can choose any encryption method from here.

Save the file as shadowsocks.json and copy it to the /etc folder.

Now start your Shadowsocks server. Run the following command to do so:

$ ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d start

You can check the Shadowsocks log file, which is located in /var/log/shadowsocks.log to make sure everything is okay.

Now that you are almost done, we need to make sure Shadowsocks server will be started automatically during system reboots. Edit the file named /etc/rc.local to do so.

Open up /etc/rc.local and add the following content before the exit 0 line.

/usr/bin/python /usr/local/bin/ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d start

Now you’re ready to roll.

Note: In the future, use this command: “ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d stop” to stop the Shadowsocks server. and “ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d restart” to restart.

Server Optimization

There are a number of ways to optimize your server, here are the best ones.

To increase the maximum number of file descriptors:

Edit the limits.conf file located in /etc/security/limits.conf and add the following two lines:

* soft nofile 51200
* hard nofile 51200

Now, temporarily stop the Shadowsocks server to set the ulimit.

Run:

$ ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d stop

Now set the ulimit:

$ ulimit -n 51200

To optimize the kernels:

We can optimize the kernel parameters by editing the /etc/sysctl.conf file. Open up the file and add the following lines to the end of the document:

fs.file-max = 51200
net.core.rmem_max = 67108864
net.core.wmem_max = 67108864
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 250000
net.core.somaxconn = 4096
net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 0
net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 30
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 1200
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 10000 65000
net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog = 8192
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 5000
net.ipv4.tcp_fastopen = 3
net.ipv4.tcp_mem = 25600 51200 102400
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 4096 87380 67108864
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 4096 65536 67108864
net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = cubic

Save it and run this command:

$ sysctl -p

Now that you finished optimizing, start the server!

$ ssserver -c /etc/shadowsocks.json -d start

Shadowsocks Clients:

Check out the clients for different platforms listed on Shadowsock’s official website.