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South African Post Office – Website down, emails bouncing, domain fees not paid

Posted on: Tue, 2018-03-20 - 23:10 By: admin

South African Post Office – Website down, emails bouncing, domain fees not paid

Accessing the SA Post Office website is impossible, and navigating to www.postoffice.co.za results in a “server IP address could not be found” error. Emails to addresses on the postoffice.co.za domain are also bouncing, and producing a “mail delivery failed” error.

I have been noticing too the last few months that the online Track & Trace service had also seemed to be broken.

Let's hope this gets fixed pretty quickly as they are also readying to take over the SASSA grant payments.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/government/252995-sa-post-office-website-down-emails-bouncing-domain-fees-not-paid.html


SA Post Office – Website down, emails bouncing, domain fees not paid
The South African Post Office’s online presence appears to be in tatters.
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What are the best alternatives to Facebook?

Posted on: Tue, 2018-03-20 - 21:50 By: admin

What are the best alternatives to Facebook?

With Facebook yet again in the news about breaches of privacy (it's free for users to use because the data is sold to advertisers so what do you expect?) many may be yet again looking for alternatives to use.

Two reality checks are worth noting:
1. Most people's friends and family are on Facebook (willingly or unwillingly) and you're going to find it near to impossible to convince all 150+ of them to migrate to anything else because their 150+ friends are also stuck on Facebook. It's the same reason WhatsApp and Twitter are still going strong despite there being better alternatives.
2. An exact replication of Facebook is not easy to find. WhatsApp and Twitter both have easier and better alternatives to use. You need to take stock of what is actually being used in Facebook, and whilst basic message posting with GIFs, attached photos, polls, etc are quite easy to find, what you don't find bundled elsewhere is included photo albums, check-ins, and events for example. It's often this clutter on Facebook that seems to keep some people there ;-)

I have tried (and still belong to) many different social networking sites from back in the day of FriendFeed, MySpace, etc and the closest I can think of right now possibly are the following (this list could be broadened if you put your photos and videos on a site like Flickr and just share in your posts):

* Diaspora at https://diasp.org - no adverts, decentralised pods with contacts (friends), photos (no album groupings though), posts. It has aspects similar to G+ Collections that you can post to or follow separately (do not have to follow all posts from someone).

* Google+ at https://plus.google.com/ - yes it is going strong still and is especially good for interests / hobbies based posts. Also has contacts in the form of Circles that you create to post / follow, and also Collections where you can post on a specific theme and also just follow a person's Collection instead of all posts. It also allows polls and posting photos. It has some links to Events / Hangouts but the photos tab has been obscured for the G+ profile so effectively no photo browsing.

* Ello at https://ello.co/ - punting itself more as a creators network now and also without any ads. It allows posts with photos and links but also no actual photo album functionality.

* GnuSocial at https://social.consumium.org - no ads, 1,000 character post that can include links, photos, events and polls. Also a decentralised federation of servers, and RSS feeds to replicate your posts elsewhere. They claim to be adding better photo and video posting in future.

I have really only considered pure social networks so have excluded these groups which have numerous alternatives already:
* Microblogging like Twitter, Mastodon, Tumblr, etc.
* Photoblogging like Instagram, SnapChat, Flickr, etc.
* Team chat like Slack, Riot, Zulip, etc.
* Online collaboration like Elgg, Alfresco, etc.
* Specialised like LinkedIn, Second Life, dating sites, FourSquare, Yelp, etc.

In summary social network alternatives to Facebook often have advantages like increased freedom of expression with less censorship, better security and privacy options, often can be self-hosted and federated to other instances (each instance having its own flavour), improved data export and connectivity. On the downside, your provider could also disappear as they do not have a corporate financial model selling your data to keep funding the service.

The final point though is, based on momentum to date, nothing ha syet come along that has been appealing enough for the billion or so Facebook users to all migrate away from Facebook.

So as much as many hate Facebook, most are "stuck" there.

What would it take for 100 million people to move? What other worthwhile alternatives do you think there are to Facebook that have posts, photo albums, events, check-ins, messaging, etc as part of the single platform?

See https://www.1and1.com/digitalguide/online-marketing/social-media/the-best-facebook-alternatives/


The best Facebook alternatives
If you like to network with your friends online, the chances are you’ve got Facebook. But there are conservative alternatives that offer better data protection.
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Free Etherpad - open source online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time

Posted on: Tue, 2018-03-20 - 18:34 By: admin

Free Etherpad - open source online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time

Etherpad is often embedded into team chat type services like Slack to allow for many people to simultaneously edit the same document. This could be to collaborate on getting a business case done, drafting a policy, etc.

What is different from Google Docs or Microsoft, is that it is fully open source, you can embed it elsewhere, or you can host it internally within your own company free of charge.

There are free hosted sites to try out Etherpad such as at http://board.net/ and also one that does shared spreadsheets at https://ethercalc.org/ called EtherCalc.

See more on Etherpad at http://etherpad.org/


Etherpad
Collaborating in really real-time. No more sending your stuff back and forth via email, just set up a pad, share the link and start collaborating! Etherpad allows you to edit documents collaboratively in real-time, much like a live multi-player editor that runs in your browser. Write articles, press releases, ...
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This VW electric car could set a new record to the top of Pikes Peak this year

Posted on: Mon, 2018-03-19 - 22:43 By: admin

This VW electric car could set a new record to the top of Pikes Peak this year

As part of its Dieselgate penance, Volkswagen is mounting an all-out, all-electric assault on Pikes Peak this June 2018. And, on Monday, the German automaker finally gave us our first look at the car it's going to use: the I.D. R.

Unlike an internal combustion engine, an electric motor cares not about partial pressures of oxygen. As long as its batteries are happy, it should make as much power at 14,000 feet as at sea level and all points in between. And with a little over 12 miles to run, endurance isn't an issue. Consequently, the hill climb has become a venue where electric power can take on the internal combustion engine without artificial handicapping.

Pike's Peak is a really challenging uphill race with much of the road not having any guard rails, where there is a lot of sideways oversteer involved, and spectators lining parts of the route (also with no guard rails). The race itself is very demanding but the two additional factors mentioned must make it pretty extreme for the drivers. Now that the road is tarred it does, however, take away some of the dramatic effect of slipping sideways around U-turn gravel bends.

Electric cars have raced here before but it looks like this VW will take EV to new "heights"!

See https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/03/this-electric-car-could-set-a-new-record-to-the-top-of-pikes-peak-this-year/


This electric car could set a new record to the top of Pikes Peak this year
A brief history of Pikes Peak and why VW wants to win it so bad.
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Sec-U-Med: Cape Town-based Cyclists, Runners or Sporting Enthusiasts tracking & protection service app...

Posted on: Mon, 2018-03-19 - 21:05 By: admin

Sec-U-Med: Cape Town-based Cyclists, Runners or Sporting Enthusiasts tracking & protection service app

"Sec-U-Med offers local cyclists, runners, or sporting enthusiasts, complete peace of mind in the form of a mobile application which allows you to call on help whilst riding on trails in and around Durbanville. It is the first of its kind in the country and we are proud to have partnered with mySOS and Bassett Burglar Alarms, to bring this revolutionary security product to life."

"There are many apps available to track your safety, but none offer a reliable trained response when the need for assistance arises. Often those persons who you would call for assistance are either not available or are riding with you rendering there help ineffectual."

This service seems to have partnered with mySOS (free notification service I featured in a post at https://plus.google.com/+DanievanderMerwe/posts/G6DwsysLz16) but the difference here this is an actively monitored service with a rapid response (at a monthly subscription). The point being is if you expect this level of service you will have to pay for it. The mySOS does offer a free alternative but you will need to rely on you own 4 or 5 nominated friends to respond.

See https://www.secumed.co.za/


Are you a mountain biking enthusiast? Get Sec-U-Med!
Sec-U-Med is an easy to use mobile app that offers mountain bikers in the Tygerberg area complete coverage and protection. Make sure you get it today!
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Why You Should Switch to the Signal Chat App

Posted on: Sun, 2018-03-18 - 21:39 By: admin

Why You Should Switch to the Signal Chat App

Signal is a messaging service that has gained a lot of traction among privacy enthusiasts in recent years. It is a cross-platform app that is available for both Android and iOS, with desktop support for Windows, macOS and Linux.

It looks and works like most messaging apps, so it’s easy to get started with, and it can also handle your SMS so you don’t have to use a separate app. It supports voice and video calls and allows you to share pictures, videos, or documents in your conversations.

On the privacy and security front, as long as both parties are communicating with the app, all messages will be end-to-end encrypted so that the contents of every chat remain private and unable to be viewed by anyone else. Calls made through the app are also encrypted so that no one can listen in. WhatsApp does enable end-to-end encryption by default which ensures that your conversations remain private, but the Facebook-owned messaging app can still extract and store metadata around your activity within the app.

What I like most about the service though is that it works across all common OSs and devices, and does not need to have your phone connected to use it.

See https://www.maketecheasier.com/why-switch-signal-chat-app/


Why You Should Switch to the Signal Chat App - Make Tech Easier
Signal is a cross-platform messaging app that is focused on protecting your security and privacy. Here are some of the reasons why you should switch to the Signal app.
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List of Hacks, Mods and Add-ons for Kobo eReaders

Posted on: Sun, 2018-03-18 - 13:06 By: admin

List of Hacks, Mods and Add-ons for Kobo eReaders

There’s a new post over at MobileRead with a long list of hacks and utilities available for Kobo ereaders.

There are a ton of add-ons and mods for Kobo ebook readers so the list is quite helpful if you want to tweak your Kobo.

One of the best mods is to install an alternative reading program called KOReader (which includes syncing with Calibre server). It’s much better for PDFs than the stock software. Other apps can be installed as well.

See http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2018/03/17/list-of-hacks-mods-and-add-ons-for-kobo-ereaders/


List of Hacks, Mods and Add-ons for Kobo eReaders | The eBook Reader Blog
There's a new post over at MobileRead with a long list of hacks and utilities available for Kobo ereaders. There are a ton of add-ons and mods for Kobo ebook readers so the list is quite helpful if you want to tweak your Kobo. Some of the stuff I haven't heard of before, and a lot of it probably doesn't interest most
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Good Mastodon screen layout meme that was intended for new users coming from Twitter - Yes Mastodon ...

Posted on: Sun, 2018-03-18 - 09:08 By: admin

Good Mastodon screen layout meme that was intended for new users coming from Twitter - Yes Mastodon is still going well

Mastodon is a decentralized, open source social network which is similar but different from Twitter.

The Mastodon instance that I belong to, Mastodon.social, has a bit more than double the users it had in 2017 so there is certainly still steady growth happening on Mastodon. Many are users who were disgruntled (eg. with the censorship rules) with the way Twitter operates, and have found a happy home on Mastodon. The meme below gives a summary of what the screen looks like on Mastodon and what each column is for.

Mastodon's key features are many separate instances (just under 4,000) each operated with its own rules and theme (a list at https://joinmastodon.org/), all these instances are interconnected so you can follow anyone from any instance, but your local timeline will show the local instance conversations (so if you join an instance for artists the local timeline discussion will mostly be about art). 500 characters to post with and an option to hide spoilers makes posts more flexible. A post or Tweet is called a Toot on Mastodon.

I can be followed on Mastodon at https://mastodon.social/@danie10.

See https://mastodon.social/@adamk678/99426489220924396


Adam K on mastodon.social
I have a bunch of friends from Twitter joining Mastodon tonight so I made a quick guide to how the site works. Making it public so anyone can see/boost it if it's helpful. If you have any questions feel free to ask!
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5 Big Companies Doing Progressive Web Apps Right

Posted on: Sat, 2018-03-17 - 13:18 By: admin

5 Big Companies Doing Progressive Web Apps Right

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that are regular web pages or websites, but can appear to the user like traditional applications or native mobile applications. The application type attempts to combine features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of a mobile experience.

Progressive Web Apps have taken 2018 by storm. Over the past two years, a lot of major companies put their developers to work on PWAs to overhaul and improve their mobile experience. Now in the early months of this year, Progressive Web Apps have brought about major benefits and trackable results. PWAs are transforming the best practices and standards of the mobile web and native mobile applications. Businesses are using PWA’s to replace their current desktop website, their mobile website, their native mobile app, or all three of them! Read about these five well-known companies that are doing Progressive Web Apps right.

See https://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/5-big-companies-progressive-web-apps-right-02026522




5 Big Companies Doing Progressive Web Apps Right
Progressive Web Apps have taken 2018 by storm. Over the past two years, a lot of major companies put their developers to work on PWAs to overhaul and improve their mobile experience. Now in the early…
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