All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy?

JISHOU, HUNAN — I am one happy camper tonight, because I discovered how to circumvent China’s blocking of Picasaweb. The solution was right there in front of me, if I had bothered to look.

In their ineffable wisdom, the wonks at Google allow you to upload photos to Picasaweb via email. All you need to do is go to Picasaweb’s settings and set up a secret email addy. Then you can emails to that address with photos as attachments. The subject line is the name of an existing album.


Because China is blocking Picasaweb and Blogger, both Google services, I have had a hell of time uploading to my Picasaweb albums. For a while, I could upload using Picasa 3, the desktop application, then mysteriously uploads would constantly fail. Either the uploads would stall, or I would get the message, “This account is not enabled for web albums.” First, I suspected a bug in Picasaweb (like THAT would ever happen!), but it appears some service or port is being blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

I can use the latest version of Ultrasurf (v.9.98) to climb the Great Firewall, and access Picasaweb to edit photos and such, but uploads still fail, either from Picasa 3 or on the website itself. Timeout problems, or connection problems because of the proxy service.

So, as they say, RTFM. I went to the help pages, and lo! You can email your pix to Picasaweb. Duh. I should guessed that.

It’s pretty slow, since I can only send 20 MB at a time (about 10 pix), but at least I can do it. I paid for 80 GB of storage space at Picasaweb, and I’ve barely scratched it.

I’m in the last few days of my summer break. We returned from Beijing on the 23rd. Vanilla and the Americans went to Jishou, while Sally and I stayed in Changde to see the sights. As it turns out, since Sally is from a neighboring town, Hanshou, she is not very familiar with Changde at all. Normally, she travels from the bus station to the train station when traveling between JiDa and home. So, she asked a classmate of hers (whom she hadn’t seen in five years) to be our tour guide.

I wanted to the see Poetry Wall, which people say is quite a marvel, but it was undergoing renovation at the time. We visited Binhu Park and Liuye Lake, though. Both were quite nice, even in the light rain.

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Since returning to JiDa, I’ve helped the American family get settled — their daughter started school today as the only foreign student in the entire school — and prepared for classes, which start Monday. Another task is to proofread a friend’s master’s thesis by Saturday. It’s 14,000 words and I’m about halfway through. She’s a 2009 graduate from our college, now at the University of Durham in the UK.

So, my last week of vacation is pretty filled up with work. Nothing new there.

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