Dang – Who Needs T-Mobile? (Rant)

March 19, 2008 at 7:43 am | Posted in Internet | Leave a comment
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I am writing these lines angrily on Frankfurt/Main Airport, but I am hacking them into a text document, not my wordpress dashboard. I am about to embark the plane back to Vienna, and it is the third time in two days that T-Mobile rickrolled me…. the equivalent to Rick Astley is T-Mobile themselves – they fooled my three times, making me unpack my Macbook upon getting sight of a WLAN sign; an unbranded WLAN sign, that is, so who would think that WLAN is not FREELAN, but the same stupid T-Mobile hotspot that is installed on ICE train, hotels and airports, and which you can only use if you’re willing to pay a ridonkulous sum of 8 EUROS for 60 mins. WTF??? If there was just a tiny bit of sense in their marketing people, then they’d set up free WLANs in areas in these areas – hotels, trains and airports, i.e. places you have to pay for entering anyway… THAT would be customer orientation. Shame on you, T-Mobile, for monopolizing public WLAN spaces in Germany, and shame on all you hotel owners, airport managers and the Deutsche Bahn of course, for allowing T-Mobile to plaster your facilities with their annoying magenta logo, and for not thinking of collaborating with one of the FREELAN providers like Freewave in Austria – don’t tell me they don’t have something similar in Germany? But shame twice on Frankfurt/Airport – because, in addition to a T-Mobile HotSpot, they are also host to numerous internet terminals, charging €0.35 per minute or €21 (!!!) per hour….

Namefagging – or why it is so hard to stay anonymus

January 31, 2008 at 12:27 am | Posted in Culture, Internet | Leave a comment
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This is an interesting follow-up to the Privacy/Transparent Human debate this week: The ‘Anonymous’ hacker group who had declared war on Scientology (but had accidentally launched a hacker war in which unrelated individuals were harmed) was apparently made vulnerable because some members had been unable to STAY anonymous, as they too much enjoyed to put their name to what they where doing. Mind Richard’s comment (with which I don’t agree whole-heartedly, yet Anonymous case proves he has got a point): “As soon as you’re registering with a service on the Internet, you should be prepared to being associated with that service sooner or later. And frankly, this is what most people who make ample use of Web2.0 services want.” As a hacker, you BETTER KEEP A LOW PROFILE – but that seems hard to do.

Read this message on Anonymous’ (now hi-jacked and exposed) virtual home 711chan.org:

It has been said before that this raid would fail, and although we do not see that happening at this moment, we as a network have taken a vote and decided that this raid on Church of Scientology was not done correctly.

It has come to our attention that this raid has evolved into more than Anonymous attacking Co$, the raid has turned into namefagging, giving people an area to attack.

This is not what the raid originally started as. Partyvan declares this as a threat to the network, and Anonymous alike. We have been under constant botnet attacks, 711chan hacked, and tons of drama over this. You guys did a very poor job of staying Anonymous. It’s obvious that a lot of you broke rules 1, and 2.

We are sorry to inform you that any more of this Scientology stuff will no longer be allowed on this network due to the epic amounts of spam, namefagging, and bullshit that goes on.

You may feel free to use our Wiki as a base, but 711chan will no longer support the ‘raid’ either.

Long live Anonymous.

TL;DR: Decentralize.

For those who want to continue this, please join this network instead.

/server -m irc.esylum.net -j #xenu

711chan in whole will be back online shortly. Just stick with us guys. We love you.
<3~ plasma

Damn. I fully supported Anonymous’ cause (they were also the originators of that spooky video). Too bad a few namefags brought a beautiful project to its knees. Urban Dictionary’s definition of a namefag:

Term used on 4chan.org for people who post using a name instead of simply post as “anonymous” like most others do. Usually used as in insult.

Namedude: I didn’t really like that movie.

Anonymous: STFU namefag, that movie was awesome!

4chan.org. Another mystery to be solved. Why ‘chan’ is a favourite ending to obscure communities to start with.

The End of Privacy: Transparent Humans, Courtesy of Social Media

January 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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This was a 45-minutes discussion which I hosted at the 4th Barcamp in Vienna. Here is my translation of the summary posted on the Wiki of Barcamp Vienna (where it’s probably going to evolve).

The starting point of the discussion was the observation that the readiness of users to publish information about themselves on the internet has clearly increased over the last years: While web 1.0 communities often struggled with the problem that users – after signing up – were too reluctant to publish their information on their profile (thus limiting opportunities for further social rapport), the same users are now volubly feeding platforms like Facebook/Studivz, Twitter, Xing etc. with their personal information – real names, office addresses, documented conversations with others (e.g. Wall-to-Wall), current place of residence, party photos, etc. The scenario is complemented by services like spock.com, 123people.com or 30boxes.com which allow for the aggregation of information in one place, needing no more than a name or an email address. Anyone can place a request.

The main trajectories of the discussion:

_Discrepancy between immediate user experience and technological consequences: The type of information that is communicated via social media corresponds roughly to that communicated in small talk, in face to face conversations. What we do not take into consideration, however, is that this very information can now a) be stored b) be brought together. By means of this aggregated information much more can be be found out than we believe to have revealed.

_The lack of historicity in digital media: Digitally stored items exist in a permanent present – and that applies also to our digital traces on the net. Old curricula vitae, the little sins of our youth, previous communications are forever returning, over and over again, the fading away of information and recollections which is characteristic of non-digital existence has become impossible.

_Discrepancy between real person and on-line existence: As personal information/communication is turned into data, new online existences come into being that have little to do with real life individuals – and for many business models, these real life individuals are not of import anyway; what counts are micro communities that transform themselves into data.

_Illusion of control: Nonetheless – many users do still foster the believe that one can control the situation – two (absolutely contrary) approaches to regaining (imagined) control are on the one hand the strategy of acquiring many virtual identities (so as to cause confusion – yet as soon as the connection between them is revealed, they are mapped permanently) or the idea to only use one’s real name (so as to make sure that one always ‘behaves’ in way that cannot be turned against oneself).

_We are searchable: Those who engage in social media act similarly, exchange similar information like they would in real life – yet in real life our conversations and our behaviour are not ‘searchable’. Because all things digital have become searchable (and will never fade away, see above) new personality configurations emerge with which we have not yet learned to deal.

_We are aggregable: We have not only become searchable, but also aggregable. Information / communication which was intended only for certain addressees will sooner or later be brought together. Instead of only a small circle of friends/acquaintances, everything reaches a general public. Any form of electronic communication is public – sooner or later.

Evaluations of those taking part in the discussion corresponded in that it was widely believed that we are yet to face the biggest data-related disaster. On a more pragmatic note, it was believed that it lies with the current generation of users to find out how far we can allow ourselves to go with personal data.

See a corresponding article in Austrian daily newspaper Standard [German].

My First Barcamp: The Vienna Session

January 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I attended my first Barcamp, a socalled un-conference which took place in Vienna for the fourth time this time. Here’s a brief description of what a Barcamp is, according to its originators:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. The name BarCamp was inspired as a complement to FooCamp. [Source]

I was dreadfully tired yesterday and would have loved to nod off a couple of times, of course not because of the discussions and presentations which were indeed quite intriguing: fresh, straight-forward, coming from competent folk who abstained from proselytizing. Nearly all sessions that I went to were instant favourites, in particular the ones about blog networks [Lenina, any ideas how to translate ‘Vernetzung’?], the Netvibes Q+A (the chap who presented it had the uttermost modest demeanor, but netvibes rocks), the concluding Web 2.0 discussion and – of course – the brief demonstration of how to turn your beamer projector into a touchscreen/electronic whiteboard using a Wiimote (see a similar video below).

I hosted a discussion myself – wasn’t too keen on it really as I was both tired an unprepared, but was determined to heed Barcamp rule #8: ‘If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present.’ Topic of the discussion was ‘Gläserner Mensch dank Social Media’ (something like: Transparant Humans, Courtesy of Social Media). The German version of my summary is available on the Barcamp’s Wiki; I posted an English translation here on my blog.

30boxes – the consummate end of privacy

January 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Internet | 13 Comments
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Ok, we’ve given up privacy a long time ago – Facebook/Studivz probably was the ultimate blow. And here now is the application that brings all the bits and pieces of you on the net together: 30boxes.com. They pretend to be a calendar service, but what disturbs me more is that you can enter anyone’s email, and it’ll tell you where this person has posted data of him or her on the net.

For instance, I typed in my boyfriend’s email address which does NOT give away his real name – and 30boxes gave me his first name and the first letter of his surname. I typed in Lenina’s email address and it produced her flickr account – even though she uses a completely arbitrary user name.

In theory, your email address shouldn’t be visible to anyone on flickr – so how can some shady web application find out whether you’ve got a profile there or not???

Internet Eats My Life

August 29, 2007 at 10:34 am | Posted in Internet, Life | 1 Comment

I just realized that I yesterday I spent 2.5 hours in that café hacking into the computer, trying to get all my online chores (virtual socializing, checking the pages I always check, look at the amount in my back account decreasing…) done. That’s far too much, me thinks…

Btw, the Web crashed yesterday

July 18, 2007 at 11:39 am | Posted in Internet | Leave a comment
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Check out the article on the onion (linking to this article is a performative contradiction): “All Online Data Lost after Internet Crash

The oldest meme on the web: The Hitler Cat

May 21, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Blogging, Internet, Lolcats, Marketing, Meme, Viral | 4 Comments
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Just because Jetsam brought up the subject of cats that look like Hitler: Here it is once more (for the first time on this blog) – the essence of a Kitler, a cat that looks like Hitler:

Kitler Hitler Cat

More Kitlers on www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com – although the site’s rather an example of why web 2.0 can only go wrong if it’s done with a web 1.0 mindset: The supposed top ten kitlers hardly look like Hitler at all, but they owners probably were the most relentless ones when it came to hitting the ‘vote’ button.

And this my own post contains a deliberate lie: The Kitler is definitely not the oldest meme or virus on the web. The oldest in the cat department is the Bonsai kitten (btw, what’s the thing with cats and the web anyway?***), and the oldest meme on the web that I know is the good old “End of the Internet”. Does anybody know anything older than that?

***) Check this out! The tags most closely related to ‘meme’ on wordpress are:
* Blogging
* Humor
* Life
* Cats
* Entertainment
* LOLCats
* Personal
* Thoughts
* humour
* Blog


An Evening at the Net.Culture.Lab

May 11, 2007 at 9:23 am | Posted in Alps, Culture, Internet | Leave a comment
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A place called Net.Culture.Lab opened its gates in both Vienna and Dornburn this month – Eric Poscher, one of its local facilitator, told me about it and so we checked it out yesterday.

It’s mainly going to be a meeting and work place for anyone in Vienna and Vorradelberg interested in or pursueing a project in the vast area of ‘net culture’ (another buzz term I am not deeply fond of, but it works to impress investors; Telekom Austria is funding the project). And what a nice space it is! Located in a 5th floor penthouse in Dornburn, it well allows the visitor to imagine herself as an elevated being, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of Vorarlberg. Amazing what mere 20 metres can do!

sonnenuntergang im net.culture.lab


I’ll try to hang out as much as possible in this place – open to non-members every Thursday evening. I am almost beginning to regret to leave now – but that’s just a fleeting thought of course;-)

Germans have no sense of humour and detest playfulness 5/40

February 25, 2007 at 1:12 am | Posted in Culture, German, Internet, Lent | 11 Comments

The last time I wanted to access Xing it was temporarily offline. The notification was posted in English and German – and they did not not even try to translate the joking remark about magic into German. Germans don’t like poking fun at such situations. They want precise information, an apology and a swift eradication of the problem.

Germans are not funny

LentMy daily Lenten note (Day 5): Meanwhile – although I am in the conventional sense always a wee bit hungry now – I begin to notice that I want to eat less. As a late snack, I had a jar of cottage cheese and could barely finish it. Had it been a normal day, I am sure I would have had plenty of hidden sugars yesterday – maybe honey nut flakes as a snack or of course a slab of Nussstrudel. Maybe it’s sugar that makes us even more hungry.

I’m a Wikipedian now

January 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Internet, Plagiarism, Web 2.0, Wikipedia | 1 Comment

Logo WikipediaWoo yay! Alright, nothing to be proud of really… Today I edited my first article on Wikipedia. I wasn’t particularly bold or prolific, just added a link from the William Blake article to one on one of his paintings, The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun, which is crucial to the plot of both the Red Dragon film and novel.

I submitted precisely that information and introduced an additional subcategory, Blake in Film and Literature, to the main article as I wasn’t sure where exactly my contribution would fit in and nothing much on ‘Blake and Posterity’ was to be found there. I hope not all new Wikipedians start by adding new categories at will 😛

It’s fairly easy to come to grips with the Wikipedia mark-up, certainly if you know a bit of HTML. Do I feel any different now that I’ve become part of the smart mob that my students’ papers feed on? I was about to write ‘hardly so’ but then realized in the same breath that the article on smart mobs was just a stub*. And a proper one on ‘smart mob’ itself (singular) dos not even exist (The Smart Mobs page is about a a book by ole’ Howard Rheingold clicky – I didn’t realize he looked like a senior citizen from Florida!). Maybe that’s my first challenge coming there 😉

*: A stub is an article that is too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of the subject, but not so short as to provide no useful information. Wikipedia

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