Friday, 28 May 2010

The price of books

Some one needs to explain why I can buy a paperback book by Bill Bryson from an a shop in England and have it shipped to New Zealand for $10.00 LESS than I can buy the same book at Whitcoulls in New Zealand.

What's really crazy is that I can buy hardback books by the same author from the English shop for only $2.00 more than I can buy the paperback books by him from Whitcoulls, New Zealand.

Go here for good pricing and free shipping to overseas:

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Social Networks - you just can't trust the fuckers

Facebook, Myspace, whatever Social Networking site - you just can't trust the fuckers. Both FB and MyS have been caught giving data to advertising companies. A quote:

"The report says that the companies have delivered user data to major online advertising companies such as Google's DoubleClick and Yahoo!'s Right Media, despite explicit pledges to protect such information. The released material includes user names and ID numbers, together with data that could be used to accumulate a host of additional information on individual users, such as where they live, their names, occupations, incomes and places of employment."

Fuck them, I say.
In a seemingly never-ending string of damaging disclosures about its users' privacy concerns, Facebook has reportedly been releasing user data to ad companies that hadn't even asked for the info.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Bay Plaza Hotel, Wellington

Shit hotel.

We are up on the 9th floor and the traffic noise is incredible.  The lift is loud and the toilets must be interconnected as we can hear other toilets flushing through our bathroom.  This isn't the worst bit though.  The worst bit is getting a cup to get some water and noticing that it hasn't even been fucking washed.   Maybe it was rinsed but certainly not washed.  The tea/coffee stains wiped away on my finger.

Shit hotel.  Don't stay here.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Waipuna Hotel, Auckland

Waipuna Hotel staff have a bad practice of knocking on your door in the morning and shouting out, "Mini Bar!" as they have come around to check to see if you have used the mini bar at all.  This morning, a Saturday, a staff member was at our door around 8:00am.  What if we had wanted a sleep in? 

This pales in to insignifance compared to the experience of a friend of ours who came out of her shower at 7:30 in the morning to find a male staff member, having had no answer to his shout of "Mini Bar", had come into her room to check it!

Chain your doors in the Waipuna Hotel.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Diaspora III

Amazing!  The Diaspora project originally set out to raise $10,000 by the 1st of June.  As of today they have raised over $115,000 and they still have another 19 days to go!  This is excellent!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

In Auckland Again

Camille and I are in Auckland again to meet with a few potential clients.  We are staying in a hotel in Mt Wellington.  It's a bit strange.   When we arrived nobody greeted us.  No staff offered to help with our bags and so I was left to load them onto a trolley myself while Camille registered.  Then she shot off to park the car while I waited in the lobby for her along with the fully laden trolley.  When she arrived back I ended up pushing the trolley to the lift and so up to our room (after having the lift door close suddenly while the trolley was half in it).

The room was... not up to scratch.  It reeked of fresh paint, not because it had been painted but because all along the corridor were rooms in the middle of refurbishment.  The corridor had been carpeted with plastic to protect the actual carpet.  The noise of saws etc. was quite audible as were the voices of the staff working on the rooms.

Not good  - so a phone call was made and a complaint laid.  We have now been moved to a much better room with its own wee balcony and a lovely view of one of Auckland's lagoon which you can see below with my not quite matched up stitch job.

Now we wait for our first meeting which is shortly after 5:00pm today. Ho hum.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Decentralize the web with Diaspora

You will probably notice the slightly cut off graphic and text on the right hand side of the blog with the headline Decentralize the web with Diaspora.

Diaspora is an Open Source project which aims to develop a "privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed social network".  Given my rantings in various places about the lack of privacy associated with Facebook and the way they hide their disregard for your privacy, I thought it was time I put my money where my mouth is.  I have made a financial contribution to Disapora as I believe it could be the solution to my issues with social networking - namely the lack of control users have over their own data.

From the Kickstart Diaspora page:

What is it?
Enter your Diaspora “seed,” a personal web server that stores all of your information and shares it with your friends. Diaspora knows how to securely share (using GPG) your pictures, videos, and more. When you have a Diaspora seed of your own, you own your social graph, you have access to your information however you want, whenever you want, and you have full control of your online identity. Once we have built a solid foundation, we will make Diaspora easy to extend to facilitate any type of communication, and the possibilities will be endless.
A more complete explanation is available here.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fuck Facebook

Some time ago I made the decision to delete my facebook account.  The main reason for this is that Facebook does not respect privacy regardless of how much they say they do.  This article articulates my reasons for deleting my account far better than I can:

After some reflection, I've decided to delete my account on Facebook. I'd like to encourage you to do the same. This is part altruism and part selfish. The altruism part is that I think Facebook, as a company, is unethical. The selfish part is that I'd like my own social network to migrate away from Facebook so that I'm not missing anything. In any event, here's my "Top Ten" reasons for why you should join me and many others and delete your account.