Multi Language Support on Macs

One very nice thing about Apple products, including laptops, iPads and iPhones, is that they all have fantastic multi lingual support. You just need to add additional input language supports to the defaults.

This is a step by step instruction for adding input support for Simplified and Traditional Chinese input to a Mac:

1. Open System preferences and click on language and region

2. Click on Keyboard Preferences

3. Add the three shown input methods below

4. Create a keyboard short cut to quickly switch between input methods

The default keyboard short cut for switching between input sources (languages) is cmd-space. However the default for spotlight is also cmd-space. If you read apple's support document, it tells you to change the spotlight short cut to something else. That does not make sense. I use spotlight much more often. As I often need to use other people's Macs, I want to keep the spot light shortcut to the standard. So using the screen below, I changed the "select source in input" to "ctrl-space". Just click on the shortcut character and press "ctrl-space".

Prepaid Phone SIM Card in Hong Kong

This is part of the on-the-way-to-Shanghai Hong Kong series: 


If you are going to spend time in Hong Kong, it make sense to get a local phone card. Everyone in Hong Kong operates on phone, SMS and whatsApps chat. Most importantly, with a data enabled smartphone (you did bring your unlocked iPhone with you, right?) you can google map every step of your way. 


Currently (November 2013) the two good mobile carriers to use are One2Free and Both have reasonable plans. The sales rep should help you get a reasonable plan without over paying. Make sure you get a prepaid SIM card plan that has 3G service. When I got to the shops the one2free shop were out of nano size SIM card so I bought a "3" SIM card for $188.

I recommend you buy the card once you arrive at the Hong Kong airport. You do have to lug your bags upstairs, to the departure lounge. But that is easily done with the elevator service:

  • once you are out of the restricted area, find the elevator or escalator or the ramp and go to the departure floor, upstairs
  • find the F aisle , head to the end
  • turn around -- now you should see some shops at the end of both the G and the F aisle/check in counters. There should be a 1010 shop, which is the name for one2free shops, and a "three" shop. 
  • Pick one and ask for a prepaid SIM card. 


Note that the image is distorted because it is a panorama image! 

Note that the image is distorted because it is a panorama image! 

Electricity, or what types of adapters do I need?


One of the problem with moving between countries is that there is no universal standard for AC power. Voltages (110V to 220V)  are different. Plug shapes are different. If you are traveling for a short time, often you get away somewhat if your hotel supplies the necessary adapters or wall sockets. For example, many good hotels in Hong Kong and China provide American type of sockets for power cords. Although the voltage level is different: US is 110V, China and Hong Kong is 220V, at least if your gadget chargers can take "universal voltage of 110V-22V", you can just plug your gadget chargers directly into the sockets.

For long term living in an apartment or home in Shanghai, you should plan a little ahead:

The normal three pins socket in China has three blade type holds at an angle, very different from the US sockets. However, luckily many sockets also have the two prong blade+circular holds that will accept US style two prong plugs.

Be careful

Even if you can plug your American style two prong plug into one of these two prong sockets, remember that the voltage is different. If your appliance, or you power supply, is not designed to accept universal voltage, it will likely burn up. However most modern power supplies, like iPhone chargers, are universal and they will just work.

A classic mistake is when you try to plug an American power strip into these sockets. The power strip often has electronics in them for spike protection, but they are rated only for the American 110V. Plugging in one of these power strip will likely result in a small bang and smokes.