First, I want to thank Paul and Lisa Witzel for their invaluable help. Numerous emails have sped across the lines with them answering each of my simple to complex questions. I have asked about shopping (top of my list), living arrangements, medicine, technology, etc.
Tech– China does block many websites. Netvibes, Symbaloo and Page Flakes are not blocked. Google services are hit and miss–they work sometimes. Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter are blocked. Most foreigners use a VPN (Virtual Personal Network) to access these sites. You can access them but many VPNs make the access time slower and more cumbersome. It costs around $55/year and takes a little configuration on your computers, but no biggie. One example is StrongVPN (www.strongvpn.com). Most teachers in Asia suggest not having GMail as your only email account. I have both Hotmail and Gmail and will probably keep both. There is an Apple Store in Shanghai. 🙂