Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Red Envelopes in Red China! 中国红的红包

Mainland China Red Envelope Hong Bao stuffed with Chinese Yuan RMB Renminbi
Cash-stuffed Hongbao
Ahoy from Amoy! (Xiamen, China)

On special occasions (New Year, weddings, birthdays, funerals), Chinese the world over give Red Envelopes (Hong Bao 红包) stuffed with cash. It's very practical, helping newlyweds to avoid getting 5 thermoses, 8 blankets, 4 electric fans (well--that was 28 years ago; today wedding gifts are cars, apartments and wall-to-wall flatscreen TVs). And from day, one we've been astonished at how generous they are.
Chinese Christian-themed Red Envelopes (Hong Bao) with angels, dove, Jesus loves you etc.
During our first year at Xiamen University (1988), a retired university leader gave each of our sons a Hong Bao with 100 Yuan—half of our monthly salary! Money, of course, was not used much back then. We used ration tickets, not cash, for everything from meat, rice and veggies to cooking oil. But no one ever had enough rations. For 200 Yuan, our friend could have bought one months’ ration tickets on the black market!

Even the poorest Chinese give freely of time and money. The bike repairman who lived in the loft of his roadside tin shack repeatedly refused money. “It was nothing. Wait until a big problem...” It was humbling.

Christian Hongbaos Chinese Christians have their own versions of Hongbaos with angels, doves or hearts, often with Bible verses or “Jesus Loves You.” One seller on Taobao (China’s eBay) sends a free Bible to customers!

Chinese Magi? Over 1700 years ago, legends claimed the Wise Men who visited Christ were from the land of silk at the farthest Eastern country, which bordered the “Great Ocean.” That would have been appropriate because Chinese have certainly mastered the art of gift-giving.

Chinese wise men bearing gifts made in China nativity first Christmas 
So who knows? Maybe even the wise men’s gifts were Made in China! 
 Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
Xiamen University School of Management


Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"




Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

EZ Homemade Wooden Pizza Dough Press!

Ahoy from Amoy! (Xiamen, China)
DIY Make your own homemade wooden pizza dough press

Since coming to XMU in 1988, we've made a tradition of making pizza every Christmas Eve (and many other holidays as well). We've even had Chinese TV crews film our pizza making (maybe they'll give us the Nobel Pizza Prize?) How I've wanted a pizza dough press, but even today they cost from USD 700 to 9.000. But I just made a great homemade wooden pizza dough press for only USD 25! With nothing but a small drill, hammer and screws, small hand saw, and wood glue, I made this very practical, easy to use press in only 4 hours.

If you have very basic woodworking skills, just look at the photos below and you'll see how to make it. The key is--make it strong! This is basically just a very large version of a wooden tortilla press, but it must be very strong to handle the pressure needed to flatten a big ball of pizza dough. The good news is--it doesn't need much pressure when the base and handle are so long.

You will need one 8-foot long 2"x4", a 17" long piece of 1" x 10", two 18" diameter round pieces of 1" thick wood (or square if you can't make it round), a 10mm thick 4" long bolt for the handle rod, two hinges, and lots of screws.

1st step: Place something between the two round (or square) pieces so they are 1/8"to 1/4" apart and fasten them together with two hinges. The pressure will be enormous, so bend the hinge over the top of the upper wooden piece and screw it on both top and side. It will never come apart!
Easy DIY Homemade wooden pizza dough press make your own

2nd step: On the opposite side, screw in the vertical assembly that will hold the handle. That assembly is made from 3 pieces of 2"x4" (two are 9 inches, the center piece is 3") that screwed together very securely (and wood glue on everything!) with 4" screws.

3rd step: screw a 17" long piece of 1" x 8" on top of the upper round piece (don't forget the wood glue). Let it cover the bent over hinges (I chiseled out two grooves so they lay flat). This is double insurance that the hinges won't fly off when you press the handle.

4th step: screw (and glue) the 1" x 1" x 7" strip on the upper round piece near the handle (this handle will hit this and press it down).
Easy DIY Homemade wooden pizza dough press make your own

5th: drill a hole in the handle (28" long 2"x4" board) and fasten it to the uprights with the 10mm 4" bolt. No need for a nut, or for it to reach all the way through, if you make the furthest hole a bit small and then force it in. It won't come out.

6th step: Make some pizza! It's large and heavy, but it has to be to handle the pressure--and it works beautifully. But some wax paper or saran wrap on the wood surfaces before placing the dough. Or better yet--we bought two 15" diameter silicon baking pads. The dough presses smoothly between them and comes right off (but you can use these pads to bake the pizza as well).

Again, I have no woodshop (not even a work table; I sat on the floor to make it), but it took me only 4 hours to make it, cost only about $25, and my wife loves it (and I love her pizza). See photo below for details (click to enlarge them).

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill Brown
Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
Xiamen University
Fujian, China 
Easy DIY Homemade wooden pizza dough press make your own

 School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"


Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Saturday, August 6, 2016

How to Restore OneDrive Icon in Windows 10

Ahoy from Amoy (Xiamen, China).


Several times a day, my computer has frozen, and I've found the problem is "System and compressed memory", which for many minutes uses up to 45% of GPU memory. This is often related to using the internet but OneDrive also causes the problem.

 I don't use OneDrive (internet too slow here), but I could not disable it because the OneDrive icon was missing from the notification area. The Windows website said to disable OneDrive with the OneDrive icon in Notifications--but my computer didn't have that icon (even in hidden icons).

I found many people have this problem. Here's here's how to restore the One Drive icon simply so you can turn the thing off:

Restore OneDrive Icon: In the root of C: drive (C:\ ), type this command, and hit enter (BUT replace William with your own user name!!):

C:\Users\William\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\OneDrive.lnk
 
The OneDrive icon will appear. You can then, in theory, disable it and click exit. 

As to how to solve the System and Compressed Memory" problem--it is a bugbear! There are so many causes for the problem, and the only real solution is getting rid of Windows 10, which is increasingly impractical. Very frustrating. I can't believe that Microsoft folks don't know about this problem. People have been blogging about it for at least 18 months. You'd think they could resolve it, but they're too busy adding new things (X-box, Weather, TV and Movies--which we can't delete) to bother fixing what doesn't work.

Oh well--on the bright side, with all its problems, Windows 10 works far better than Windows 3.0 or 8.0 (though I did like Windows XP).

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"
www.amoymagic.comBill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Friday, August 5, 2016

Easily Unlock Any Size PDF File for Free!

Ahoy from Amoy! (Xiamen, China).

I sometimes forget the passwords to large PDF files I use for my MBA classes at Xiamen University, and though many online sites offer to unlock them for free, most have you upload the file and only then tell you that there is a fee for files over 5 MB (many of mine are 20 or 30 MB). Very frustrating. They don't say this up front because they figure once you've uploaded the file, you'll just pay the fee.

But I found a site that easily, and for free, unlock any size PDF file (and remove the password): https://smallpdf.com/unlock-pdf

A warning--such sites are not designed for people to unlock files they don't have authorization for.

Also, this site may in time change. Many unlock any size file at first, but once they've established a reputation and clientele, but the 5 MB limit on files. But for now, Smallpdf.com is the best out there. If it too changes, let us know!

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"
www.amoymagic.com
Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Find and delete duplicate photos in Windows 10!

Ahoy from Amoy! While working on my 15th book about Xiamen and Fujian , I found my computer had over 24,000 photos, mostly of China, and hundreds were duplicates or similar versions I'd cropped or edited. 

For years, I've sought a simple, reliable program to find and delete not just duplicate photos but also all versions of a photo (cropped, or edited), or even similar photos, but not even expensive commercial programs were  that reliable or else were awkward to use. But I recently found a completely free program that easily detects and deletes all duplicates or similar photos (edited or cropped, or different photos of the same scene). anywhere in the computer (you can also easily rename duplicates instead of deleting them). I found 8 versions of one photo I'd cropped and tweaked for various projects--PowerPoints, books, articles, etc. In one simple procedure, I deleted 100s of duplicate, similar or edited photos--and freed up several Gb of my hard drive.

Fuzzy Slider! Move the slider up to detect only exact duplicates; move it down to the bottom and you'll get edited versions (cropped, tweaked tints, etc.) or even 8 or 10 different photos of the same event (though scattered across the computer) so you can keep only the best.
Visipics Detects and Deletes Duplicate Photos even in Windows 10!


Over the past 2 or 3 years, I've tried everything, but the best is the 100% free Visipics! Click here, read all about it, and then click the download link in the left column (third down).

It says it's been tested for 32-bit Windows up Windows 7 but I can vouch it also works perfectly with 64-bit Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill
Detect and Delete Duplicate Photos even in Windows 10!

Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"

www.amoymagic.com
Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Warning! Fraud Phone Calls (Dell, Payday Loan, etc.)

Hi from Amoy!

The past year, we've received several fraudulent phone calls daily, including 162 claiming to be Dell Tech Support (they even know my full contact info and model of computer, so either Dell has been hacked, which they deny, or someone in Dell is doing this).

The Dell callers warn my computer has been hacked and they need me to contact them so they can go in and fix it.

Other calls include one this morning claiming to say I'm approved for  a Payday Loan of 1,500 to 10,000. The recorded female voice asks me to call her back at her personal number.

Fraud Numbers have included Payday Loan: 14693517852 , many numbers for Dell, and

Fraud! 18006249896
Fraud! 19174389273
Etc.
Bottom line--if you don't recognize it, don't answer it or return the call!

Enjoy Amoy!

Bill Brown

School of Management, Xiamen University
Amazon eBook
"Discover Xiamen"



Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Euro-English (5-Year "Simplified English" Plan from Germany)

When the Queen of England revoked U.S.' Independence last week, she ordered Microsoft to eliminate it's Spellchecker's "U.S. English--but the Queen's own English is also being axed, or whittled down, thanks to Germany's 5-Year Euro-English Proposal. What goes around comes around. Dr, Bill, Xiamen Univ. MBA

Euro--English 5-Year-Plan (read to the end!)The European Commission just announced that English, not German, will be the EU's official language.  But as part of the negotiations, Britain conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and accepted a 5- year phase-in plan for "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards will have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where! more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl. 


Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill Brown, Xiamen University MBA Center
Academic Director, SMXMU OneMBA

www.amoymagic.com

Queen of England Revokes U.S.' Independence!

Ahoy from Amoy!    
Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton will be President. Given the mess, the Queen of England  revoked America's independence. Disbanding Senate & Congress is a good move, but I'm not keen on Microsoft eliminating U.S. English or having rugby, cricket and afternoon tea forced on us. But sanity requires sacrifices. (And check out the new Euro-English Proposal)

Enjoy Amoy! (caterer of Boston Tea Party).
Dr. Bill Brown, XMU

Queen of England Revokes U.S. Independence (original source unknown)
"To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

"In light of your failure in recent years... to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves … we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

"Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

"Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

"Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

"To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
 -----------------------

"1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

"2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'

"3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

"4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

"5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

"6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

"7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

"8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

"9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

"10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

"11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

"12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

"13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

"14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

"15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season."

God Save the Queen!

And check out Germany's 5-Year Euro-English Proposal. Even the Queen's own English can't escape the brains in Berlin and Brussels!

Bill Brown

Prof. of Organizational Behavior
Academic Director, SMXMU OneMBA, Xiamen Univ.
Xiamen University
www.amoymagic.com

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Official IRS tax return USD to CNY (RMB) exchange rate (2016)

Ahoy from Amoy (historic Xiamen, China).

It's tax time! Don't just guess at the official currency exchange rate for Chinese Yuan to USD. The IRS official rate works in your favor! When trying to figure out how much I'd earned here in Xiamen, China, and how much taxes I'd paid.  I Googled--and found that the IRS has a tax table for the major currencies of the world, going back for several years. In 2016, it is 1USD = 6.489 CNY.

And the IRS' figure worked to my advantage--much better than what I would have guessed the rate would have been.  Though they say that if you were paid throughout the year in the foreign currency, they'll give you a bit of leeway if you do the rate yourself.

Anyway--if you want to know the official internal revenue service currency exchange rate for your tax return, try this link for IRS Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rates!

By the way, whenever I seek IRS info, I get hundreds of links that are not IRS--and they can be quite tricky.  I've found, after decades in Xiamen, that it is safest to go direct to the IRS -- or some firm that is very reputable, such as H&R Block.  Whenever I've been really stuck, I've just phoned (or Skyped) IRS, and found them to be very helpful and patient.  The last one I spoke to told me that frankly, he did not know, but he searched while he had me online--a full 20 minutes, and was extremely helpful.  It was a good reminder for me that, while I might hate the idea of paying taxes, the people that work there are people!

And as a Chinese friend here said to me, the great thing about paying income tax is that you have an income to tax.

With today's economy as it is (30% unemployment in our hometown of Reedley, California), that is certainly the truth.

Enjoy Amoy!


Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Solved: Windows Update Keeps Checking for Updates

Ahoy from Amoy!

Many people, myself included, have had problems with windows update in Windows 7 and Windows 8.  It says windows update checking for updates forever, but goes nowhere. There are many causes, but the most common is that the update folders get corrupted. There are 3 easy steps to fixing the windows update problem.

1. Stop all windows update programs.
2. Rename (or delete, if you're brave) the two folders with the windows update programs
3. Restart all windows update programs--then try checking for updates again.

Fix the windows update checking for updates running forever problem by typing these commands:

Open Command Prompt
1.  Click Start (or in Windows 8 or 10, right click the start button and click "Run")
2.  Type ‘cmd’ in the search bar.
3.  Right click Command prompt and choose “Run as Administrator”

Stop Update Services
In command prompt (big black window with white type), type these commands, hitting ENTER after each command:

net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
net stop cryptsvc

Rename the 2 Windows Update Folders
In command prompt, type these commands, hitting ENTER after each command:

ren %systemroot%\System32\Catroot2 Catroot2.old
     
ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

Restart Windows Update Services
In the command prompt, type these commands, hitting ENTER after each command:
net start wuauserv

net start bits

net start cryptsvc

Exit Command Prompt and retry Windows Update. A reboot may help (though should not usually be necessary)

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill Brown 
Xiamen University
  www.amoymagic.com

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Solved: One or more internet protocols are missing & missing network protocol errors

Ahoy from Amoy! (Xiamen, China)

Windows 10 is far better than 7, but every few weeks, my notebook's WiFi won't connect and I get the message: One or more internet protocols are missing, or missing network protocol errors. It often, though not always, happens after Windows 10 updates.

I manage to fix it each time, but it's a pain. I click "Try these repairs as an administrator," and everything else, but nothing works. Once I restored the system to an earlier date, other times I fiddled with the registry. But I just came across the best explanation that I've ever seen for such a tech problem. It's a YouTube channel called HandyAndy Tech Tips.

His video shows, very clearly, step by step, how to resolve the problem. The first step is a no-brainer--check your cables. But the second is pure gold. And should that one fail--he shows you exactly what the fail looks like, and how to easily resolve it. It's a permissions problem; you just edit the registry. Be very careful here; type it wrong and you've a big mess. But he shows, very clearly, exactly what to type, and where to click. I've never seen such clarity in a tech explanation--and the 2nd step works without fail.

Of course--you can't get on the internet with your computer when it has this problem, so do as I did--watch his video on your cellphone and follow the instructions on your computer. Can't miss!

Thanks, Handy Andy! Again, Click Here for Handy Andy Tech Tip on solving this "One or more internet protocols are missing" issue. And give Andy a Thumbs Up while you're there!
[ YouTube Link:  https://youtu.be/G3DpeeXLSDM ]

Amoy Bill
School of Management, Xiamen University
Dr. Bill's Amazon eBooks
"Fujian Adventure"

Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Merry Amoy Christmas and Happy Monkey Year in Xiamen

 Warm greetings from Amoy!

We had quite a Christmas in Xiamen in 2015. They get livelier every year. Some of the buildings had gigantic Christmas decorations, some of my favorites being the gigantic Santa Clauses climbing ropes up the side of department store walls--like red-suited cat burglars. We were also very surprised to see a beautiful, nearly life-sized nativity scene on our busiest downtown main street (Zhongshan Rd.) A non-stop crowd ogled it, taking photos. Who’d have thought of this in mainland China when public nativity scenes are often banned even in the U.S.?

Lots of changes in 2016. Sue will be busier than ever with her English Corner, ladies’ studies, and teaching  And I’m not going to do TV work in 2016. I filmed 329 episodes in 2015, which on top of teaching, writing and everything else, was a bit much. This year, I hope to spend more time on  teaching, writing two books, one being “Off the Wall" (about our 27 years here, and published in Beijing), and one about the Hakka city of Longyan in West Fujian), and working more with XMU's part of the OneMBA program. I add a photo of our granddaughter, Kate, who just celebrated her first Christmas. Hard to believe she’ll be a year old in two months. We hope we can see her before she goes off to college! She’s becoming quite the little lady. Matt's already teaching her to play ukulele. He sent a video. What a grin when she strums it (Matt holding it for her, of course).

Enjoy Amoy!

Bill and Sue Brown
Dr. Bill's Amazon eBooks
"Fujian Adventure"
Cartoon from my nightly TV program on Fujian's HXTV




Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

8778413509 -- SCAM! (Phishing fraud ) Report to FTC!

Greetings from Amoy!

While in the U.S. recently, I got a robocall from  8778413509 saying "this call is in regards to the security software that we were installed on your computer last year. Now we see a red flag on our and saying that there is a security breach on it.. Please call 8778413509 .."

DO NOT CALL THEM! I don't have their so-called security software, so obviously it is fraud--probably a phishing scam to get into my computer. And please, ASAP, report fraudulent phone calls and scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The link is at the bottom of this post.

Amazing how many fraudulent emails and phone calls I get (and here in Xiamen, China as well; even the police fall for them). And amazing that scams like this phone fraud are allowed to continue (they've been using this same phone number for awhile).

NEVER reply directly to an unsolicited phone call or email--or give any personal information to anyone that phones you. If you recognize the company, hang up, find the official phone number, and then phone them. I've had friends and family ignore this and face big consequences.

CLICK HERE to report phone scams or fraud to the FTC!!

Click Here for FTC info on Tech Support Scams
FTC Phone Support Counselor: 877-382-4357

 Enjoy Amoy (Xiamen's historic name), with Discover Xiamen.

Dr. Bill's Amazon eBooks

Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Saturday, January 23, 2016

BEWARE! Chase Fraud Alert Credit Card Fraud activityconfirmation.chase.com

Today I received an email from "Chase Fraud Alert" warning Confirmation of Recent Account Activity - Unable to Contact - Please Call

The Fraud Alert is a FRAUD, even though it linked to a legitimate--looking website, activityconfirmation.chase.com  and had the last 4 digits of my card. It gave the phone number to call, but also said I could phone the number on the back of my card.

I read online and various sites say this is legitimate, but it is a fraud. I did phone the number on my card, and Chase said the other number they gave is NOT Chase, and there was no problem at all with my account.

I'm pretty good at catching Phishing Attacks, but this one was really persuasive. A good reminder: never, ever phone the number sent to you in an email, or give info if you are supposedly phoned by a bank or any other group. Always call back, and only to a number you have in advance.

Be safe--and Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill Brown
P.S. Try my books on Amazon.com !  "Discover Xiamen"  or "Fujian Adventure"

Below is the message I received:
 
Dear William N Brown:

As part of our commitment to help keep your account secure, we routinely verify activity that seems unusual based on your general account usage. We called you to help us verify recent activity, but we weren't able to reach you.

If we've already spoken with you about this recent activity, there's nothing you need to do at this time. Otherwise, we ask that you please call us immediately:

  • You can reach us at 800-772-XXXX (deleted so none dials it!) from the U.S. or Canada, and a fraud advisor can assist you.
  • Or, if you prefer, just call the number on the back of your Chase Freedom® card.
  • Internationally, you can call us collect at 480-902-XXXX (removed so no one dials it!)
We are here to assist you anytime. Your account security is our priority. Thank you for choosing Chase.

Sincerely,
Chase Fraud Department

Is your contact information current? Make sure we can reach you if we notice suspicious activity on your account. Update your information by logging into your account at http://www.chase.com/



Bill Brown

 Xiamen University

www.amoymagic.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Solved: How to search ONLY MY OWN Personal Contacts in Gmail


For some reason, Google's Geniuses changed it so when we search for our contacts and hit "enter", it shows us every name in the internet, as default! I finally figured out how to get only my own contacts.

1: Type in the contact name, or even part of it, but do not hit Enter.
2, Click on the blue rectangle with the magnifying glass to the right of the search box.
3. You will now see only your own personal Gmail contacts.

Why on earth Google has set it up this way I've no idea. I'd think that when you open your own contacts, and search for contacts, you're obviously looking for your own contact. At the very least, Google should explain this--or have two search bars: one for personal contacts and one for global contacts.

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Why I'm glad I did not wait to update to Windows 10!

No need to delay update to Windows 10--especially if you have 8!

While most reviewers have said Windows 10 is miles ahead of Vista, 7 or 8, they also recommend delaying a few weeks or months until the bugs are worked out. And I considered waiting--but I'm glad I updated as soon as it was available today!

1st, Windows 8 has been such a pain, and already buggy enough. I thought, how could it get worse?

2nd, Yes, the new Windows 10 has bugs; all new software does (and the old software does as well' they're never perfected). But the Microsoft Team has spent months working on it, and quite a few experts have taken the plunge and updated, with no backup, and been overall pleased. And so I decided it wasn't likely to get any worse, and I too updated.

Updating to Windows 10 was so easy!  Downloading and updating took perhaps 90 minutes, and it was all automatic. When I entered Windows 10 the first time, all of my old programs and data were exactly where they'd been before, but so much easier to access now. And I like the new Start Menu, better in some ways than the old one with Vista and 7. 

I did have a hiccup only with one 10-year-old software for backups, but I shut it down, restarted it--and it has worked perfectly. It appears Windows 10 saw the problem and fixed it.

I've gotten used to Windows 8 and it's quirks, and set up enough of my own shortcuts that I use it as easily as I did 7 (which I loved). But just a couple hours on Windows 10 and I'm pretty impressed.

So you can wait until the bugs are out, but my feeling is there will always be bugs--and Windows 10 has fewer bugs, even now, than I had in Windows 8.

Enjoy Windows 10, which is a breath of fresh air after the Windows 8 debacle. It looks like Microsoft really has it together this time.

Dr. Bill

Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Xiamen University Treehouse (Up a Tree in Amoy!)

Ahoy from Amoy, China!
 In the summer of 1995, I built a tree house in the garden outside our Xiamen University apartment. And of course every Chinese neighbor and passerby asked, "What are you doing up there". Chinese greetings always consist of asking what you are doing, even when it's obvious--and they do expect an answer...
   "I'm building a tree house," I said, as if it weren't obvious.  And every person asked the second question, "Why are you building a tree house?" That too should have been obvious, but I said, "So when my wife is angry, I'll have a place to sleep." 
     The Chinese barely betrayed their shock. I can see where foreigners got the idea of Oriental inscrutability, but I saw the signs--a barely arched brow, a jaw that almost dropped but was caught and fixed back in place, and plastered over with a "humor the guy until the white coats get here" smile. Not one asked a third question, but within 24 hours, every Chinese on campus knew that the American teacher had such a strict wife that when she got angry he had to sleep in a tree.
        And when Sue found out, she was so angry I almost had to sleep in a tree!

By the way, I just started writing a book for Foreign Languages Press about our 27 years in Xiamen--how both China and our family has changed. It's fun looking back. :)

Enjoy Amoy!

Bill Brown
 Xiamen University School of Management
  www.amoymagic.com

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ann of of Green Gables Complete eBook! (All 9 Books)

Ahoy from Amoy! (modern Xiamen)

Someone borrowed our Ann of Avonlea complete series and never returned it--but happily, you can get Ann of Green Gables complete for 99 cents on Amazon now!(Some of the other so-called "complete series" are incomplete).

We don't have a Kindle Readers, but we have pads and use the free Kindle software, which is better than just a Kindle because we can use any Android software, whereas Amazon limits software use on the Kindle. And with eBooks, we now have a great library both here in China wherever we travel. Yes, I too like "real" books--but you do get used to eBooks after awhile! But download a free "bluelight" filter to lessen the glare on your eyes, which can cause insomnia.
And if you really like Lucy Maud Montgomery's Ann of Green Gables, watch the Canadian TV series Road to Avonlea ! It has long been our family's favorite TV series. Amazing settings, character development.

Enjoy!

Bill Brown


Bill Brown Xiamen University www.amoymagic.com

Friday, May 29, 2015

South Fukien: Missionary Poems: 1925-1951, William Angus

An interesting note today from the Author of "South Fukien: Missionary Poems: 1925-1951, William Angus".  I read some of the poems and they really brought to life the place and the people of Amoy (now Xiamen), of Fujian Province. I even recognized some of the notorious characters--a bandit chief--in one poem, though the name was changed. Insightful, and fun. Below are the author's note and Press Release.
Click Here for "The Three Trees", William Angus' favorite poem. 
Dr. Bill, Xiamen University MBA Center (since 1988); Author of Discover Xiamen &Fujian Adventure.

Note from David Andrews, May 27, 2015
I have enjoyed reading your site while doing research for my book project, South Fukien:Missionary Poems 1925-1951,  by William Angus.


William R. Angus, Jr. was a Reformed Church missionary in Amoy and on the Fukien mainland in the years named, and after expulsion worked in the Philippines.  He wrote over 600 poems on the Fukienese people of his time, 60 of which are collected in a 2015 edition co-published by MerwinAsia Publishing and University of Hawaii Press.

I edited the collection and provided a historical Introduction and Glossary.  David R. Angus of Lansing, MI, the poet's son, wrote the Preface.

I am enclosing a press release for the collection and two files of excerpts.  I hope you will find them interesting and lend us some aid in raising the book's profile among readers, students, and perhaps missionaries.  Some links to web pages about the book are at the bottom of this message.

Best regards,
David Andrews 
                                                                                                                              

                 PRESS  RELEASE

Edited with an Introduction by David Andrews 
Preface by David Angus
Portland, ME: MerwinAsia Publishers, 2015 
China Missionary Poet Published 64 Years after Expulsion
Lansing, MI, April 1, 2015
Through four decades as a Reformed Church missionary in China’s Fukien (today, Fujian) Province, William Angus produced more than 600 narrative poems.  What emerged is pointedly not A Nice Missionary’s Poetry.

In spring of 2015 MerwinAsia Publishers, in association with the University of Hawaii Press, releases 60 of William Angus’s verses under the title South Fukien: Missionary Poems, 1925-1951

Humane but hard-edged, Angus’s verse depicts the Fukienese through successive eras of trial: in China’s struggle toward modern government; through civil wars between Nationalist and Communist forces; under Japanese occupation in World War II; and during the Communist takeover at the end of the 1940s.

Written from actual incidents, in the voices of the storytellers, the poems are as vital as the Chinese people. Angus’s work combines historical reporting with folktale, and a sharp edge of moral ambiguity.  

David Angus, a retired educator in Lansing, MI, has waited decades to see his father’s poetry in print.

“My father traveled long distances in Fukien’s countryside—on foot, by boat, and by ancient, rickety bus.  He knew peasants and merchants, bandits and soldiers.  He heard their stories and he valued their experiences,” David reflects.  “He knew they were together in some of the world’s most troubled times.”

During World War II, Angus’s wife, Joyce and their three children—David Angus among them—were interned by the Japanese before repatriation to America.  In 1951 William and Joyce were forced, like all missionaries, to leave China by the new Peoples’ Republic.
“When my father died in 1984, he left behind a body of remarkable work which he edited and revised several times,” says David.  “These poems represent his personal response to the Chinese he lived and worked among.  The South Fukiencollection’s subtitle, Missionary Poems, offers a hope that his verse will still bear witness to the effect of Western evangelism on the daily lives and values of the Chinese people.”    

South Fukien is edited by independent scholar David Andrews, who provides a historical Introduction and Glossary.  David Angus supplies a Foreword recalling missionary life in China. 

The collection was assembled and annotated from papers in the collections of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, NJ, and the Joint Archives of Hope College and Holland, MI.  “The poems were an exciting and historically important discovery, too compelling to remain unpublished,” says David Andrews. 

William Angus’s poems are dispatches from his time to ours, showing the Chinese as a people much like us—hoping to adjust to a world of rapid change, seeking comfort in a Western religion that offers faith, justice, and love. His accounts of spiritual strength and moral failings present unique perspectives into a people’s behavior and mores under crisis, temptation and change.

“Writing with objectivity, sensitivity, compassion, and uncompromising directness, Angus does not pretend,” notes Dr. Paul Vender Meer, Professor Emeritus at California State University-Fresno.  Dr. Ann Kuzdale, Associate Professor of History at Chicago State University, says, “Angus is a keen witness to events that most readers know superficially.  South Fukien is a valuable addition to world history and religious studies courses, and to transnational and Pacific Rim history.

The Amoy Mission Pages

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SOLVED: Unfortunately, Samsung Galaxy has stopped (after photo, camera, gallery)

Ahoy from Olde Amoy!
     I love Samsung Galaxy hardware but the undeletable bloatware (My Magazine, Evernote, etc.) is frustrating, and causing more glitches.  For days, my wife's gotten "Unfortunately Samsung Galaxy has stopped" after using the camera or gallery. Happily, the solution's simple:
1. Open Settings
2. Open Application Manager
3. Scroll right to ALL apps.
4. Scroll down to and open "Samsung Galaxy".
5. Clear "Cache" (not data, just "cache").
6. Reboot/Restart (NO factory reset! Just off & on!)
              PROBLEM SOLVED!
Enjoy Amoy--and check out my Amazon eBooks about Xiamen & Fujian.
Dr. Bill's Amazon eBooks
www.amoymagic.com