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Category Archives: Geek(ish)


Photo credit: Fail0verflow

Fail0verflow took the AT&T microcell (femtocell) apart and reports “We finally got around to looking at this AT&T variant this week, and discovered that it is totally full of fail.” Uh, oh! Read the whole article here.

Links How to get your “Free” AT&T MicroCell

The Ideas BBS was South Africa’s first private 24/7 dial up bulletin board. It ran out of my 10th floor apartment at 102 Maxwelton, 6 Goldreich Street, Hillbrow, Johannesburg. The number was +27-11-642-3724. My computer club buddy Steve Cilliers and I collaborated to develop this innovative piece of software in ways that are now considered to be agile.

The Ideas BBS took calls from all around South Africa and even a few from Zimbabwe, Canada and Britain. It connected me with people I might never otherwise have met: Michael Earl a design genius, Willie Esterhuizen the movie maker and Paul Everitt, my best friend.

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A thermal imaging camera can expose your ATM personal identification number (PIN).

Here’s how … Read More »

Without my permission LinkedIn has opted me into using my name and my photo in social advertising. This is just so damn lame and unprofessional! The feel-good I once had from being amongst the first 100K to sign on — has just vanished. Here’s how you opt out …

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My youth was not entirely misspent, but I was addicted to one particular arcade game: Atari Tempest. To the extent that I purchased a game console at auction and installed it in my apartment in Hillbrow, Johannesburg and played it to perfection. Read More »

So by now you may be aware that Apple only supports Time Machine on internal, directly connected or volumes shared wirelessly via AirPort, right? Why not regular Network Attached Storage (NAS) volumes? Because they’re unsupported at this time. So let’s run with that risk here and experiment with using an unsupported NAS volume. Read More »

Rather than fix a well know PIN vulnerability in verifying card transactions UK banks would rather keep the problem under wraps — to the extent of asking Cambridge university to censor a thesis one of its computer students had published on the subject. The university’s response to the banks is — spot on!

“… you seem to think that we might censor a student’s thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work … censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values … Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent …”

For your reading pleasure, the university’s full response can be found here

Microsoft has been spectacularly successful at claiming simple words that aught not be trade marked. Windows, Office, Project, Exchange, Outlook, Entourage, Word, Access, Excel and Money come to mind. But they’ve been equally unfortunate at making up others like WinCE for Windows Compact Edition (officially Windows Embedded Compact) for hand held computers — it didn’t work well and, for many users, lived up to its initials.

Perhaps worst of all trade marks was Zune, Microsoft’s failed competitor to Apple’s iPod, when seen from the other side of the glass, assisted by a graphic hinting at the sphincter, you might understand why the product got such a bum deal … especially when one of the few poop pop colours it came in was brown!

UPDATE 1/11/2011: Am I the only one wondering what Verizon was thinking when they introduced their 4G wireless service with the letters LTE? It stands for Long Term Evolution, but most will associate it with “lite” as in a light weight version. Really? Well … okay, by all accounts it’s not quiet up to the 4G spec anyway.

Hmmm, must make my own version of this …

Researchers find that after hooking up to your car’s diagnostic port they can interfere with its operation. Like disabling the brakes. Hmmm, imagine what you might be able to do with an Arduino and some deliciously malicious code. Just kidding.

Suggested reading: Network World’s Car hackers can kill brakes, engine, and more: Hackers develop a program called CarShark to access a car’s Controller Area Network (CAN) system.

It’s not often that a real physical object presents istself, when viewed at the correct angle, as an amazing optical illusion — as well as this one does. Well done Koukichi Sugihara!

We’re all familiar with services which shorten URLs, right? For example this typical short URL links to this article. Some suspect that short URL’s mask links to bad sites — phishing, malware, link poisoning or worse.

So what would be the upside of masking an innocent website with a shady URL? Beats me, but here’s how you do it. Copy-paste your innocent link into a field at and see it converted into something suspicious like:–INITIATE-CREDIT-CARD-XFER–_t4y2y_the-most-dangerous-game.

Go on, I dare you to click the link!

Using a compressor we sucked all the air out of a chamber containing fruit steeped in two different glasses of fruit juice and another in vermouth — and then let the air back in to force the liquids into the spaces where the air was vacated in the fruit.

Results: Pomegranate juice not so good, vermouth very interesting, cherry cider was best.

You might want to try out or to Flip Text for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Forums, IMs etc. — or not!

Unfortunately the process is a bit imperfect: No capital letters, the “i” isn’t dotted, the letter L either doesn’t flip in flipmytext or sits on the wrong baseline — and flipped text doesn’t work in SMS/text messages where my “¿uʍop ǝpısdn sı plɹoʍ ɹnoʎ ǝʞıl ƃuılǝǝɟ” headline will come out something like “=?utf-8?Q?=C2=BFu=CA=8Dop_=C7=9Dp=C4=B1a”.

The blog post tries to answers the question “How do you type upside down on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Forums, IMs etc.?”

CarlosLabs Ground Zero

CarlosLabs Ground Zero

This will probably attract some seriously unwanted psychological counseling, but in case you’ve ever wondered what the effect of nuking your neighbourhood would be (from a selection of thermonuclear weapons and an asteroid impact), there’s an online mash-up just for you …