Goeie gratis Internet en niemand is daar nie

Vroeër hierdie maand het ek oor middagete op 'n weeksdag vinnig gaan kyk hoe lyk die stadsraad van Pretoria se gratis Internet (saam met Alan Knott-Craig jnr se Project Isizwe), op die hoek van Lynnwoodweg en Roperstraat by die Universiteit van Pretoria se hoofingang. Dit is heeltemal gratis en toeganklik soder wagwoord en redelik vinnig maar ek kon niemand anders sien wat besig was om dit te gebruik nie. Wat is eintlik die aanvrag vir gratis Internet?


AirBNB offering rooms in Spain for $4 per night

I can imagine exactly how this happened (I had recently moved my computer from South Africa to Europe) but should AirBNB not have worked out a way to actually display a euro sign when giving the prices in euro? At R42 (around $4) per night, it does look like a bargain... This is rather sloppy programming but I have seen the same kind of thing at banks, of all places. Is it not time for a basic price data type (perhaps "monetary") which always has an assigned currency symbol, rules for rounding and so on?


Fonts in e-mail – please don't!

Friends of mine have remarked on my "boring" plain text e-mails but dear Reader(s) the horror that I try to avoid is the one on the left, as displayed in GMail on Chrome. Through naïveté or bad luck and an ill-advised copying-and-pasting event sequence, this newsletter has turned into a real canine petit déjeuner of text and formatting. I suspect the delusion that formatted e-mail is nice to be fuelled by the mistaken presumption that this is a way of transferring a pretty image from the writer's screen to that of the reader. But the appropriate tool for that is an image or PDF type format! The security and privacy risks around formatted (HTML) e-mail are another topic...


Die terloopse rak-intimiteit van die Skype-onderhoud

Dit is deesdae heel algemeen dat korrespondente vir internasionale nuuskanale hulle onderhoude per Skype doen uit 'n woonstel- of hotelkamer. Duidelik werk baie sulke mense van die huis af en ek verstom my in die laaste tyd oor wat 'n mens op hulle rakke sien, selfs op die relatief ernstige videokanaal van die Wall Street Journal: 'n prentjie van Che Guevara, 'n 3/4-vol bottel vreemdsoortige donker drank ens. Was dit nie anders en meer statig in die dae van Tossie Lochner, Italië, nie?


The opposite of steganography?

Hiding secret messages in pictures or other writing is called steganography. The exact opposite could be observed for over 20 hours from yesterday in the presumably frequently read Wikipedia entry on the Capital asset pricing model as the telephone number for one SU Khan defaced the entry. I am really a bit surprised that it did not get fixed earlier but perhaps others (like myself) were simply too bemused by it to do anything. In any case, fixing the vandalism does not delete the message since the revisions are available on the history page for the entry. My first impression is that defacing a Wikipedia page could be a fairly reliable way to leave a message in such a way that the collection of the message (which amounts to reading Wikipedia) would not necessarily arouse much suspicion and where leaving the message requires little skill and involves very little risk. Another job for the data facility in Utah?