Array ( [total] => 17 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5627] => Array ( [iID] => 5627 [tTitle] => Google's reverse geocoder does not work for disputed territories [tSlug] => googles-reverse-geocoder-does-not-work-for-disputed-territories [iTime] => 1463522400 [iUpdate] => 1463588215 [tDescription] => Google's reverse geocoder, an API that tells you the address of a location on earth based on a latitude and longitude, does not work for locations within disputed territories. This might seem obvious at first, as it's not clearly defined which country a disputed address is in, yet Google Maps, and many other mapping services, as well as such old fashioned things as atlases, have no problem with mapping disputed territories. We stumbled upon this during the development of Kompl, where we determine what the name of the location of the user is, based on their latitude and longitude. Here's a list of a few disputed places, linking to the result of Google's reverse geocoder. All return zero results. + Kosovo Northern Cyprus Golan Heights Abkhazia The tribal area contested by India, Pakistan and China The list of contested territories is large, as evidenced by Wikipedia. We were not the first ones to discover this, though. A few StackOverflow questions (1, 2) show that others stumbled upon this issue as well, but only for a few local results. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1684 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1473 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -22.9525 [fLongitude] => -43.1887 [tLocation] => Casa Publica [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20160518 ) [5491] => Array ( [iID] => 5491 [tTitle] => Onwards to Salvador [tSlug] => onwards-to-salvador [iTime] => 1394492400 [iUpdate] => 1394492400 [tDescription] => The African heart of Brazil is known for Candomblé, a mashed up religion sprinkled heavily with African elements. The Salvadorian music scene is also distinctly African and, it is said, Salvador carnivals are the best in the country. I got here by bus. Flights aren't too unreasonably priced and, during low season, come close to the cost of the bus fare. But, so close after carnival, the only real option was wheeled transport, for the 31 hour journey up north. The scenery, though, is gorgeous but also very recognizable. At first, part South African mountain ranges, part French alps in summer, the villages consist, in a fashion similar to what you can find in rural Spanish or French little towns, of stacked up on top of each other little houses. Except that, here, the houses are often half finished and all have the same cheap, blocky, though often pastel colored, look. Quite like the mountain-hugging favelas in Rio. Later, with the mountains flattening out and the climate, presumably, drier, the countryside more resembled, first, the green swathes of hills of southern Uganda and, later, the vast veld of South Africa or the great empty spaces of Zambia or Tanzania. Africa, my home for over eight years, is still haunting me. Or is the Brazilian countryside taunting me? Also a surprise were the many Volkswagen beetles still quietly performing their duty all over the place. I later learned that only up to a few years ago, these were still manufactured in Brazil. The old town of Salvador has strong parallels with other cities in former Portuguese and Spanish colonies around the world. The many Catholic churches, the cobblestone streets, the pastel colored houses and the few annoying touts. As a whole in much better shape than its peers abroad, a surprising large percentage of the old town's buildings are in dire state of disrepair, many only having their facades still standing, many others just being empty shells. It's hard to say whether the city is making a comeback, or is slowly dying, prominence being taken over by the new town, specifically the south of the peninsula. That said, the Pelourinho, let's say the heart of the old town, feels like your perennial tourist ghetto. That is, cozy and pleasant, but also one of many. Then again, it's said that if you get mugged anywhere in Brazil, it will happen in Salvador. Even though the local police, here, appear much less aggressively dressed than in Rio, not carrying machine guns, some not even carrying guns, they are very much everywhere. And, taking out one of the shared bikes and veering of the main roads, drug use and homelessness was painfully obvious. Still, even though Salvador is supposed to be the most African of Brazilian cities, I still thought it felt like a forgotten part of Europe. Perhaps with hints of, say Mozambique. Decidedly cheaper than Rio, and more laid back. Salvador, like Rio, has a bike sharing scheme that costs. Ridiculously priced at 3 euro... per year. Funnily, several of the bike exchange stations are manned by individuals. Instead of being automated, you actually have to check in and out with an individual manning a laptop underneath a makeshift little tented roof. But, although the bike stations are supposed to stay open until 10pm, the manned ones seem to disappear before 6pm. Where the jetset go Some 70km north of Salvador is Praia do Forte. The fort is nowhere to be seen, but it's star attraction now is one of the countries turtle sanctuaries. Surprisingly boring, though some of the turtles are humongous, the best bit were the collection of cute, tiny, turtles huddled together in a smallish little pond. Praia do Forte feels like a Mediterranean tourist trap; a collection of pedestrianized roads lined with restaurants, cafes and shops selling pointless knickknacks, all hopelessly overpriced. At the turtle sanctuary, Google street view walked by. Lounging on the beach, enjoying an ice cold Skol, a fat little black boy, with huge oblivious eyes, stopped by, trying to sell me a bunch of small fishes he had caught in a little plastic cup. 'Peixe?' [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1633 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1293 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462144450 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 13 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -12.9731 [fLongitude] => -38.5099 [tLocation] => Praca da Se [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20140311 ) [5446] => Array ( [iID] => 5446 [tTitle] => Switching from Google Reader [tSlug] => switching-from-google-reader [iTime] => 1365199200 [iUpdate] => 1365199200 [tDescription] => It still is a bit of mystery why Google announced shutting down its Google Reader service a few weeks ago. Earlier, products that were shut down by Google typically resulted in a tiny backlash from a typically small community of dedicated users. Not so with Google Reader, which, as it turned out, has a sizable following, even after Google limited its functionalities with the introduction of Google+. Case in point, one of the Google Reader alternatives, Feedly, announced 3 million new users just two weeks after Google's shutdown announcement. I'm one of the avid users of Google Reader and have been for many years. It's one of the two tabs that are always open in my browser (the other one being Gmail). I use Google Reader for four things: + Reading the entries of RSS feeds. + As a platform through which any and all RSS clients can synchronize. + As an RSS aggregator (primarily for customers), outputting aggregated RSS feeds. + As a place from which to send content to somewhere else, most notably delicious, for further processing (primarily for customers). I've been investigating alternatives over the last few weeks. Here are, in short, my findings. Google Reader for reading feeds There are numerous alternatives for this. The prettiest is Feedly, which is available in the browser, on Android and iOS. However, the interface doesn't always work as expected and appears buggy a bit too often for comfort. On the up, they announced they were going to provide an alternative to using Google Reader as the synchronization platform for their users' feeds. Feedly is free. Also, the flexible online interface allows for a quicker scan of updates than Google Reader, and many of the other Google Reader alternatives. Bazqux, not free, and a close copy of Google Reader, if not as easy on the eye, is another alternative. One advantage is their inclusion of article comments in their feed reader. Feedspot , free, is easier on the eye, but is very much a walled garden. NewsBlur, not free, has a bit of a power user interface with a layout efficiently presenting a lot of information at the same time. Also has an API. Feedbin, not free, has a clean interface and a basic API. The old reader comes closest to the Google Reader experience, but also lacks in more advanced functionalities that many of the other readers have. It took them about two weeks to finally import my list of feeds. All the paid readers are affordable, typically costing around 20 USD per year. Then there are a bunch of standalone solutions, like Fever, Vienna and Cleverfeed. Digg has promised an RSS reader, but won't deliver for a while. Google Reader as a synchronization platform Feedly has promised an alternative to Google Reader as a synchronization platform, but its Feedbin and NewsBlur who already have an API. Google Reader as an RSS aggregator Feedbin and NewsBlur have an API, though this would require client side coding. Free alternatives are self hosted and use libraries like SimplePie or MagpieRSS. These also required client side coding, but then don't rely on third party services. Sharing to other platforms Feedly and Bazqux allow for sharing to a bunch of platforms, straight from the reader. Standalone readers typically do as well, but require a piece of software to be installed. Also notable For news discovery, for which I use Zite and, to a lesser extent, News360, there are also some online alternatives. Prismatic is one. Concluding There is, sadly, not one ideal solution for replacing Google Reader. For news consumption, the best alternative currently seems to be Feedly. For developer support, probably Feedly, or one of the self hosted solutions like SimplePie or MagpieRSS. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3509 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462129224 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20130406 ) [5372] => Array ( [iID] => 5372 [tTitle] => 54 hours to build a business [tSlug] => 54-hours-to-build-a-business [iTime] => 1335650400 [iUpdate] => 1335650400 [tDescription] => Last year, there was a lot of buzz around technology in Kampala. Mobile Monday, the google technologies user group and the Linux users group were all going strong. The latter two seemed to have quieted down a bit, but now, facilitated by Google, just like the two user groups, and hosted by MTN, this week's startup weekend, (Facebook) was a rather interesting event. At a startup weekend, hundreds of which have now been held across the globe, small teams, mostly students, try to come up with ideas and build something of a working business around them over the course of the 54 hours the event lasts. It started on Friday afternoon, where anyone was allowed to give a one minute elevator pitch. When I signed up, I considered throwing a pitch myself, but I never heard back from the organizers. Forgetting about the event, I got a surprise invite only hours before the start. I still considered pitching, though I hadn't given my idea a lot of thought. But with the crowd being mostly students, I forgot about it, at least this time around. A surprising large amount of attendees were wearing shirts identifying them as students of Victoria University, "take a shot at a UK degree in Uganda" (interesting slogan, if a bit odd; take a shot?) and, as a whole, a surprisingly small amount of whities were in attendance. In fact, it took ages before I and @boazshani, promoting the portal (hello nineties!) were joined by a trickle of more whities, and they were jurors. Some of the speakers dropped a few tidbits of interesting information, though I suppose for the younger crowd, they were somewhat more interesting. @mr_maina, CEO of the groupon clone Rupu, mentioned the interesting concept of white space, and how applicable it is for doing business in Africa: "when rules are vague, authority is fuzzy, budgets are non existent and strategy is unclear". Sadly, though, Ben didn't quote the source, which is an 11 year old Harvard Business Review article. Ben continued with describing best practices for starting a business, but then admitted that he himself hand't followed any of his own guidelines. Clearly, being considered successful, this was a clear, and pointless, example of "do as I say, not as I do". Easily the most enjoyable, and also most seasoned speaker, of the weekend was the 'honorary guest', handing out the first prize at the end of the event, Dr. Ham Mulira, ICT governance big shot in Uganda (and having no less than four LinkedIn profiles). Mulira's speech contained a few nice anecdotes, but offered little wisdom, with his most choice insight also being lifted from someone else. After a quiet start, no less than 35 pitches were put forward. Only two were presented by women, which pretty much comprised all women present. Of these, my favorites were: + A service called "Show me around", where locals could show foreigners where to do what in the Kampala region, in person. Quite similar to a service I once used in Hanoi, (now a part of Viator). + A service to allow for transfers between a PayPal account and the mobile money services popular in Africa. + A tool to compare Ugandan cellphone plans based on consumer's past behaviors. + A setup allowing for food-orders to be delivered to your door after paying for them with mobile money. None of the pitches were highly original, though a few were relevant in a local, Ugandan context, such as comparing the cellphone plans, a local iTunes clone and a SMS-reminder service for young mothers. Of the 35 pitches, 16 were selected, voted for by the audience, to try and find a team to support themselves, of which 12 were eventually presented at the end of the weekend. None of my favorites made it all the way, though "Show me around" reincarnated as a geolocation service. The idea of a startup weekend is to create a Minimal Viable Product in the space of 54 hours. I was highly skeptical, and indeed, most of the presentations at the end of the weekend were just that, presentations, with little or no demo of the finished product being shown. Three winners were selected by a somewhat professional jury, and only second place I could really agree with. MyZiki, a platform to distribute local music and collect revenue even showed off a working, if barebones, demo on a Samsung Android phone. Third place went, surprisingly, to a fund raising platform, Sonda, where the presenter failed to describe an actual product or value proposition. First place was for, a proposition for a portal to allow for mobile online sports betting, which appears to be quickly gaining traction in Uganda. These guys did some decent market research, though I have a hard time to believe that existing betting agents are willing to fork over 5% for their revenue for having it piped through And I'm surprised the judges were willing to award this betting portal first prize, as it's a bit like awarding a business venture which has a great plan for selling cigarettes or booze. What was great to see, was that the shy, quiet, mostly, boys from Friday, had changed into much more confident speakers by the time they had to present their products on Sunday, even though most presentations were quite meager, most business plans seemingly not thought through very well, too often relying too much on context sensitive advertising. It would be nice to see any of the final 12 presentations making it into an actual product somewhere down the line but, though prizes for the top 3 were mostly free use of useful services, including office space, it seemed no actual investments were awarded, meaning that, most likely, most, if not all, of these students, will revert to either studying, or to work that will simply make them some money in the short run. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5160 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1143 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462235936 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 0.33834 [fLongitude] => 32.6207 [tLocation] => MTN warehouse [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20120429 ) [5112] => Array ( [iID] => 5112 [tTitle] => MoMoKla [tSlug] => momokla [iTime] => 1298847600 [iUpdate] => 1298847600 [tDescription] => MobileMonday, MoMo, is a networking organisation for mobile industry professionals focusing on business development through virtual and live events to share ideas, best practices and trends. The platform was founded in 2000, in Helsinki, and now has over 100 chapters worldwide. In Kampala, the platform is run by Daniel Stern, who isn't on Facebook yet, but has given the platform a decent website, though it's the global MoMo website, which obviously has the reach. If you were in tech before the bubble burst a decade ago, you probably realise that the MoMo meetings derive from the wildly successful First Tuesday meetings, started in 1998 and still going strong in some 10 chapters across Europe, where tech startups mingled with VC funders. Both have survived, but it's MoMo which seems to be the more extensive one. Here in Kampala, Monday night's meeting saw four speakers and some 80 attendees, most of them locals, coming together at the Google offices close to downtown Kampala. MC for the evening was the jovial Simon Kaheru, @skaheru, from SMS Media, with speakers Michael Niyitegeka, @niyimic, a lecturer at Makerere University, Denis Ruhero, director of DMark Mobile, Elijah Kitaka from Google Uganda and the Dutchman Reinier Battenberg, @batje, who is responsible for UgandaWatch, an online platform for monitoring the Ugandan elections. On the whole, the evening was interesting, though the most interesting talk came from the Dutchman, simply because his was the only talk which referenced a tangible real-world solution, even though I'm not sure as to what extent a platform like UgandaWatch, which allows for plotting a host of data around the election sent in by citizens using mobile phones, can provide sound and valuable data. Similar to Ushahidi's solutions surrounding elections or disasters, the collected information can be indicative, but, by design, remains anecdotal. This, perhaps, is underscored by Battenberg's mentioning that on the day of the presidential election, his website had some 1700 visitors, which I don't find too many, given the context. Nevertheless, the implied power of having ad hoc real time geographical information at your disposal remains fascinating. Battenberg was the only one who delivered some true insights, giving the crowd his guidelines for running UgandaWatch: And he shared some lessons learned: Niyitegeka, the Makerere lecturer, talked about how his students grew up in a wired world but are taught using analog methods. Mildly interesting, in my view, but also something that I find hard to consider relevant for Uganda, where some 90% of the population doesn't have access to electrification. The best part of Niyitegeka's presentation was him saying that students' attention is lost after 15 minutes, that students can't be reached with just a Powerpoint, but that video is required. This, of course, was supported by his Powerpoint (though, truth be told, his presentation was only 15 minutes long). Ruhero, with his company providing news updates to mobile subscribers, kicked off a long debate on why so few mobile apps are built and used in Uganda. Later, Kitaka divulged that it's estimated that only 1% of Uganda's phones are Android or iPhone, which, to me, makes it clear that the market is way too small to support locally relevant apps which have no international context. Kitaka suggested that, to monetize usage of mobile applications for the 95% of basic cell phones, it wasn't necessary that the end user paid, as there are other sources of income, suggesting the telcos should play a role in financing new apps and applications. Though this was received reasonably well by the crowd, both in the room and for those using the hashtag #momokla, I was hearing a description of the model perpetuated by many of the world's NGOs for the last half century, which by many individuals are not considered to have been too successful. Ruhero, whom I can't find on Twitter, said he wanted an app that would mix location based services and social networking. For a second, then, I was wondering if I had stepped back in time, myself being an avid FourSquare user, the only location based social network with some, though very limited, traction here in Uganda. I's good to see events like this raking off in Kampala. Listening to what the speakers have to say is nice, but the mingling and networking afterwards is what's important, and lots of that happened as well. With the Linux User Group and the Google Technologies User Group, both facilitated by Google, it's nice to see there truly is a tech buzz in Uganda. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3593 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1062 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462163240 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 0.32298 [fLongitude] => 32.5764 [tLocation] => Google offices [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20110228 ) [4814] => Array ( [iID] => 4814 [tTitle] => [tSlug] => twaweza-org [iTime] => 1274997600 [iUpdate] => 1516112991 [tDescription] => My primary reason for being in Tanzania has been nearly fulfilled. Today, the Twaweza website is going live. Credits go to... + Styleshout for the Unbound template on which the design was based. + Andreas Viklund for the design on which the backend was based. + Smarty for the templating system. + captchasdotnet for the captchas. + Daniel Morris for the PHP Input Filter. + Simon Jarvis for the SimpleImage library. + Dan Coulter for the PHPFlickr class. + Detect Mobile Browser to... detect mobile browsers. + Kreaton for the validator script. + A multidemensional array sorter from Additionally, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are used for optimization. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4118 [iClicks] => 950 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 982 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462174275 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => -6.7917 [fLongitude] => 39.2784 [tLocation] => Twaweza office [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=4814 ) [5521] => Array ( [iID] => 5521 [tTitle] => Memes [tSlug] => memes [iTime] => 1264633200 [iUpdate] => 1516123941 [tDescription] => One-off gags and jokes. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 6514 [iClicks] => 488 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462144575 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 19 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5521 ) [956] => Array ( [iID] => 956 [tTitle] => Barcamp and plain camp [tSlug] => barcamp-and-plain-camp [iTime] => 1261177200 [iUpdate] => 1261177200 [tDescription] => Saturday saw the first Zambian barcamp, and I attended. A barcamp is something of a loosely organized open plan technology oriented conference, typically bringing together innovative minds in an informal setting. Barcamps are a great way to bring 'geeks' together and facilitate cross pollination of ideas and solutions as well as networking. This one saw significant sponsoring from iConnect and no less than three Googlers attended. Though some 60 individuals registered, less then 30 showed up, including five or so from iConnect. The eyes were on Google to sort of lead the discussions, and the baton was easily picked up by Googler Eve, with vocal input from Googler Divon. After a bit of soul searching as to what the group as a whole would be interested to talk about, I had enough time for four of the topics before I had to rush off to attend the Christmas dress up hash, followed by Christmas carols, punch and minced pie. As could probably be expected, the topic that most attendants were interested in was Google's strategy for Africa. Divon took the floor, explaining that Google's focus is on growing internet usage and connectivity in Africa, not to directly benefit Google specifically. Apparently, 7% of the Zambian population uses the internet, almost only educated urbanites, Google's goal would be to increase that significantly. Google is making their interface available in local languages as well as improving their products for low bandwidth locations. And, indeed, I've noticed a significant increase in performance using Google Mail over the last two years or so. Interestingly, with making the Google interface available in local African languages, it turns out that for lesser used, non-literal languages, there is no real consensus on how words are written. After that, the discussion slowly rolled into talking about the role of IT in education. There's a severe skills shortage in development, that is, programming. Anyone with some expertise gets absorbed by telcos and banks. Hence, obviously, my creating, a very simple solution which fulfills a clear need but, strangely, had not been done before. On working together with universities to establish training curricula, Divon made it clear he wasn't too impressed with the public universities on the African continent: "Public universities are basically focussed on extracting donations from international companies." One of the facilities Google maintains is, which has whole courses contributed by universities. Incidentally, Apple has something similar in iTunes U. The second topic ended up being a presentation of Google Adsense by Googler Eve, followed by a talk on how to engage government in facilitating the development (programming) community in Zambia. Divon's suggestion was to, instead of talking about ICTs, to talk about applications deploying ICTs. That is, to talk about the applications and the value, rather than the technology. The last topic I managed to attend was a presentation of Googler Misha on Google apps. His presentation wasn't too bad, but his demonstration on how to create a simple Twitter-like application in minutes made me seriously consider moving to Google apps as my development platform. It would require me to learn Python though. Camp! After Misha's demo, I rushed back home to make it in time to the Christmas hash dress up party. Though there was a clear gap between dressed ups and nonos, it was a lot of fun. And Lynn, who threw the afterparty, had the cutest kitten this side of the Indian ocean. 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[tSlug] => feedback-needed-motherfkers [iTime] => 1249768800 [iUpdate] => 1249768800 [tDescription] => Over the past few days, I revamped my website. Let me know what you think. What works? What doesn't? It was time for a new aesthetic. The design is based on work by Styleshout, always a source of excellent free designs. Prototype and were replaced by jQuery, LightboxJS was replaced by Slimbox. I've now also taken a very different approach in relation to 'membership' of this site and commenting. I've integrated the very interesting, possibly excellent, Google Friendconnect, which now is supposed to take care of article ratings and comments. Besides this lowering the threshold for users to become a 'member' of this site, I hope it will also reduce the amount of spam comments I've been getting, specifically recently. There are no more ajax requests on the site. It seems that using jQuery and some unobtrusive javascript also does the trick. One advantage of this is that photo collections with articles now don't need to be paged to see all photos. The archive has been revamped as well. The calendar view, though very pretty, was taking too long too load, regularly timing out. In related news, I've also closed a few of my websites over the past few weeks. now redirects to the assignments page on this website, now redirects to and has been taken offline., I suppose the website which ignited my love for web development, has been retired, redirecting users to the Travelhog group on (and, incidentally, I'd suggest using Diigo, not oneview, for something like this in the future). You can still make your bookings, now from travelogues page on this site. So, do let me know what you think. I'm curious. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4857 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 560 [iOldID] => 1311 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461969886 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 18.7936 [fLongitude] => 98.9943 [tLocation] => Baan Chinnakorn [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20090809 ) [895] => Array ( [iID] => 895 [tTitle] => Pain, strategy, stealing and friends [tSlug] => pain-strategy-stealing-and-friends [iTime] => 1228345200 [iUpdate] => 1228345200 [tDescription] => On Sunday night, I was still feeling the pain resulting from Friday. This time it was a vague, but not too bad, brand of whiskey which I finished together with Tim over two games of Risk, played with the guys I go out quizzing with on Tuesdays. We started playing at around 9pm. We finished the second game at 6 in the morning, finishing up with a final drink on the balcony, watching the sun come up amidst the avid twittering of birds. Risk, as it turned out, has changed substantially. For a boardgame. The 'standard' game is now played with four assignments per player, as opposed to the one assignment I used to play with years ago. The alternative game is world domination, where consecutive sets of cards (three infantry, three cavalry, etc), obtained when conquering a country, can be traded in for more and more armies, up to an impressive 60. These updated rules made the game surprisingly interesting as well as strategic. The resulting headache and lack of aspirins the following afternoon impeded my enjoyment of the subsequent hash and 101 birthday party, thrown in the far south of Johannesburg. 3G In Thailand, I paid 4 euros for a month's worth of unlimited internet (I think it was 512Kb). In South Africa, I pay 35 euros for 2 Gigs of 256Kb. It's a good thing I'm making some money, or I would spend my days crying. Friends? What friends? As you can see on the top of my homepage, I'm one of the early testers for Google friendconnect. Yet another Google product which will make a few developers, selling or promoting applications which do what, with friendconnect, is a breeze, very unhappy. The service is only just beginning. The number of available applications is very limited. But as users can develop their own applications, this is set to grow rapidly. I'm currently only using the member thingy, but another widget allows for inline ratings, similar to what I use on this site, but with the added bonus that users can leave reviews, also similar to what you see on this site. It's not too much yet, but I suspect that Google's friendconnect will be de rigeur for smaller websites which won't have the power and/or know-how to build their own social environments. However, at the same time, smaller websites, like this website, are not social in nature, so they wouldn't really need members. Or these websites are already working with Wordpress, Blogger or other straightforward CMSs and would not have an interest to use these social features. Stealing is praise It's funny where one's work pops up. Crime and food Tonight, I had dinner at a 'Thai' restaurant. The food was good, though the prices made me choke. Compared to Thailand. The owner, a young bloke, was beaten over the head with two liquor bottles on Monday when three oaks, carrying guns, robbed the place. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3624 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 911 [iOldID] => 1269 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462190809 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1407 [fLongitude] => 27.9941 [tLocation] => The Buxt residence [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20081204 ) [787] => Array ( [iID] => 787 [tTitle] => Gadget heaven? [tSlug] => gadget-heaven [iTime] => 1219788000 [iUpdate] => 1219788000 [tDescription] => Very surprisingly, electronics aren't all that cheap. In many cases, I've found the electronics in Thailand to be cheaper, though that might be because of the cheap Chinese knock-offs, which do make it to the shelves there. Gaming consoles, in Japan, are affordable, though most are, price wise, on par with the US. Though the Wii is easily available here. Of course, what's special about Japan is the breadth of different electronic gear. Hello Kitty USB sticks, dancing mini-orchestras. Communicating Tamagotchis, and whatnot. I almost made an impulse buy of a Google Maps navigator. A bit like a rollerball mouse, it responds to pushing down, pulling up, twisting around and pushing sideways. Indeed, perfect for navigation Google Maps. And it came in at a reasonable 60 euros. And I'm tempted to buy a wifi radio. This is a standalone unit which can play thousands (theoretically) of radio stations when having access to a wifi point. I did get a Nintendo DS Lite. I was struggling between getting a PSP and a DS and eventually settled for a PSP. Literally moments later, I learned that Sony will come out with a new PSP model in October or November. So it had to be a DS. Back to Akihabara, I chose the color, asking in passing if the machine was available in English. Not. So no purchase. I ended up buying the machine at the airport, where signs advertised the 7 languages on offer. Opening the box, I turned on the machine, to find the whole interface in Japanese. I was guided, by the sales girl, through the Japanese setup and registration process, after which it was possible to set the language, all in Japanese. Now, thankfully, it's running in English. Sights 13 meters higher than the Eiffel tower at 333 meters, the Tokyo tower is the worlds highest self supporting steel tower. The views from the top are pricey but good. A better choice would have been to go up to the observation deck in the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills, an architectural marvel in itself. Tickets to the observation deck can be combined with a visit to the supposedly excellent Mori Art Museum, on the 52nd and 53rd floors of this tower. What's more, with this ticket, you can get free or discounted access to several other museums in town, including the excellent National Art Centre, which had a very good Chinese modern art exhibition on show. The best piece of that exhibition was a collection of life-like old men made out of resin and wax, driving around in automatic wheelchairs. Half sleeping, bumping into each other in a large open space inside the museum. Close to the Tokyo Tower is the Zojo temple, with in its gardens a tree planted by General Grant, the 18th president of the United States, in 1879, as well as a tree planted by George Bush (the elder) in 1982. Enjoying the scenery for most of the day, visiting major malls like the earlier mentioned Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, my last stop was at the Yebisu beer museum. A bit boring as a museum, but worth a stop for the cheap tasting set on sale, which allows you to try "MAJOR weiss", "Puremium YEBISU", "YEBISU The Black" and "MAJOR ale". 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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080827 ) [586] => Array ( [iID] => 586 [tTitle] => Google and the MDGs [tSlug] => google-and-the-mdgs [iTime] => 1193958000 [iUpdate] => 1193958000 [tDescription] => Google Earth now can keep you up to date on the worlds progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 - form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest.
Although particularly that last sentence is a bit rich, the MDGs do form a central focal point for developed and developing nations to use as a basis for helping the poorest of this earth. I'm a big fan of Google Maps and Google Earth, I'm a web developer, and I do a lot of work in the development (NGO) sector. So imagine my excitement when Google announced their MDG layer for Google Earth. MDG means Millennium Development Goals.
Google Earth with MDG layer
With the MDG layer for Google Earth, you can keep track of how the world is faring in pursuing these goals. Install Google Earth, run it, get the feed and go wild. There's much more info over at the Google/UN/Cisco website SD card with wi-fi Possible the best thing EVER for photographers is a 2GB SD card with built in wi-fi. What the thing does is that, when you pop this in your digital camera and there's a wireless network around, pictures are automatically transferred to either your PC or your photosharing (think flickr) service of choice. Read more at photojojo. Currently only (legally) available in the US. Obviously, this is useful for transferring your pictures at home, without having to whip out cable or cardreader. But it's even better when making a pitstop in some coffee shop or restaurant offering free access. Just sip your coffee and you're ready to reuse your memory card. Seriously, this would be reason for me wanting my next camera to have an SD slot. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3862 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 539 [iOldID] => 958 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462121473 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 18.7942 [fLongitude] => 98.9903 [tLocation] => HDnet office [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20071102 ) [566] => Array ( [iID] => 566 [tTitle] => Google maps, Soweto uprisings and Iranian TV [tSlug] => google-maps-soweto-uprisings-and-iranian-tv [iTime] => 1187647200 [iUpdate] => 1187647200 [tDescription] => Google today upgraded Google Maps. It's now bloody easy to include a map on your site.

View Larger Map
Above, you're looking at geotagged artworks in Delft. The datafeed comes from That took me less than one minute. True, as a user using this new technique (embedded maps) you're more restricted than doing everything yourself (like I do on several of my sites), but your development time also goes down to near zero. It just ain't fair. Soweto uprisings . com on MSNBC Yah, we're cool. You might know I've done some nice work, together with Ismail Farouk on Soweto uprisings . com, an online mapping application, documenting the June 16, 1976 uprisings in Soweto. Recently, the site was mentioned in an article on MSNBC. The article is decent enough, but also generalizes too much, something journalists writing on 'Africa' often end up doing. The article also isn't 100% accurate, as it says that "... by the end of the day (June 16), scores of children were shot dead." In fact, at the end of the first day (that is, June 16), it is generally accepted 23 people had died, including 3 whites. I don't think the other 20 all were children. Anyway, the site's getting coverage on, according to Alexa, the second most popular website in the world. Iranian TV I was asked to plug an online Iranian TV station aimed at the 18-35 age group. It's rather entertaining, if you have an interest in Iran. They're still ironing out some glitches on the website.
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[tSlug] => boycott-google [iTime] => 1175724000 [iUpdate] => 1175724000 [tDescription] => Google, today, introduced My Maps on their Google Maps service. With it, you can create and save your own maps. You can add markers, routes, shapes and whatnot. Great. I've been doing exactly that, and was getting quite good at it, with websites like Soweto uprisings . com, streets of Iran . com and, most recently, Now anyone can easily do it. Great. A visitor Over the past two weeks, we had our second visitor for the year that we've now been in South Africa. As you can see, we're popular guys and we've got loads of friends. It was also the second parent which stopped by, Betsy's dad. We've been quite the tourists, visiting the Lion Park, the Voortrekker monument, Pilanesberg, Soweto, downtown Jo'burg and loads, loads more. 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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20070405 ) [402] => Array ( [iID] => 402 [tTitle] => we map flickr [tSlug] => we-map-flickr [iTime] => 1139612400 [iUpdate] => 1139612400 [tDescription] => Well, not 'we', that should be 'you'. I'v quickly thrown together a google/flickr mashup where, on a map of the world, you can see links to pictures from specific places. The map comes from Google, the pics come from flickr. What's more, you can add your own places, assuming they refer to a flickr tag. Not making sense? Check out Google local, flickr and we map flickr (since taken offline). The issue with putting cities on a map of the world is getting high quality geocoded city names. This is the reasons that, so far, I've only managed to put up some 7 countries. More will follow, however. On a side note, I stumbled upon a very lovely collection of pictures here and a great flickr implementation here. 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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20060211 ) [358] => Array ( [iID] => 358 [tTitle] => As seen on Google II [tSlug] => as-seen-on-google-ii [iTime] => 1120428000 [iUpdate] => 1120428000 [tDescription] => Yet another fantastic screenshot from the Google vaults. No manipulation whatsoever. 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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20050704 ) [356] => Array ( [iID] => 356 [tTitle] => As seen on Google [tSlug] => as-seen-on-google [iTime] => 1119477600 [iUpdate] => 1119477600 [tDescription] => As seen on Google. No image manipulation (except for the red circles, of course).
Belgium? Netherlands?
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