I just receive the following email from a company who claims to represent the "Department of Registration Service in China". It appears that the email was sent to individuals who owns domains and is attempt to scam the user into spending outrages prices for similar domains under different TLDs.

We are the department of registration service in China. we have something need to confirm with you. We formally received an application on May. 17, 2010, One company which self-styled "Mintor(Japan)Venture Capital Co.,Ltd" are applying to register(vinko) as internet brand name and domain names as below (vinko.cn vinko.com.cn vinko.net.cn vinko.mobi  vinko.asia  vinko.in  vinko.hk vinko.tw etc.).

After our initial checking, we found the internet brand name and these domain names being applied are as same as your company’s, so we need to get the confirmation from your company. If the aforesaid company is your business partner or your subsidiary company, please DO NOT reply us, we will approve the application automatically. If you have no any relationship with this company, please contact us within 15 workdays. If out of the deadline, we will approve the application  submitted by "Mintor(Japan)Venture Capital Co.,Ltd" unconditionally.

Please forward the email to your decision maker,and let them contact me in time,so that we can handle this in reasonable,Look forwarding to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

Kevin Wu Senior Director TEL: +86 21 69929440 Fax:  +86 21 69929447 Website:http://www.qp-world.org.cn

Address:Room 902,8th,nong 1518,Jinyuan 1st Road,Jiading District, Shanghai city.

Whatever you do, DO NOT click on any of the links, reply to the email, visit the company's web site or act on this email in any way. It is a scam to try to get you to purchase more domain names.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

Other than the "Red Shirt Movement" in Thailand there is also a movement to stop using Facebook. This all started when Facebook announce their "Open Graph API" initiative. I am not going to explain the details of this API here, because there are extensive documentations on Facebook's Developers web site. The reason for concern is not because Facebook has opened its API, but how Facebook is doing so and the side effects of these actions.

From the beginning, users of Facebook have used it as a private network where people share personal information with only people they desire and no one else. In recent days/months due to various changes to Facebook it has betrayed this trust that over 400 million Facebook users have placed on the site.

One may argue that Facebook does have many privacy settings (100s), and these settings are design to protect the personal information of a user's account. Unfortunately Facebook set the default for these settings to allow "everyone" access to these personal data. So if a user is not familiar or not aware of these privacy settings, his personal information, which were originally private will all become automatically public.

Facebook's responds to these concerns from users by saying that any information posted to the Internet are public. This statement is correct, as I had already explained in my post Dangers of Young Generations on The Net, but this does not justify their recent actions.

The reason why people are so angry with Facebook is because Facebook originally established itself as a private network. So private that only people from certain US universities can join network. Even then only people that a user approves can see his personal information. Unlike services like Twitter and others, where the site/service owners explicitly remind their users the information submitted are public. In the recent months Facebook quietly changed this and began publicizing users' personal data onto the Internet and search engines. Each time Facebook does this, users will have to carefully examine Facebook's actions and revisit their Privacy settings to ensure proper personal privacy is maintained.

Due to Facebook's recent actions and attitudes toward personal privacy, the We're Quitting Facebook movement is asking people who agree with them to quit Facebook and delete their account on the site. To make this impact more public, they asked everyone to do it together on May 31st.

Unfortunately for many deleting their Facebook accounts is not an option. One reason may be because your Facebook account is associated with a Facebook Fan page, which you are an owner or administrator to. Deleting the Personal Facebook account will prevent you from managing these Fan pages.

If you're like me, belongs to the group of users who are concern with Facebook's exposure of our private data but do not want to delete your Facebook account, then the following will be the steps you should take:

  1. Log into Facebook.
  2. Go to the Facebook Edit Profile page.
  3. Go into each section:
    • Basic Information
    • Profile Picture
    • Relationships
    • Likes and Interests
    • Education and Work
    • Contact Information

    within this page and remove all content that you will not want to published on the Internet. Don't take into consideration your Facebook Privacy settings, because Facebook may change the meaning of these settings anytime.

If you are not administering any Facebook Fan page, you should still do the above and then deactivate your account.

If you want to voice your opinions you can leave them here as comments below and/or post them on the Facebook Site Governance Fan page.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

The 2010 World Expo officially opened on China's Labour Day, May 1st, in Shanghai's New Pudong district along both sides of the Huangpu river, between the Lupu and Nanpu bridges. I visited the Expo on the 2nd day and 2nd day of China's Labour Day holiday. It was a very hot 30C sunny Sunday in Shanghai fortunately it was dry and not humid. Due to the size of the Expo and the number of entrances, it was misleading as to how crowded the Expo was when I arrived at Gate 5-3 at 11:30 in the morning.

Ticket Prices

Peak Day - Single Day Entry Ticket RMB200.00
Peak Day - Special Administration Ticket RMB120.00
Standard Day - Single Day Entry Ticket RMB160.00
Standard Day - Special Administration Ticket RMB100.00
3 Days Entry Ticket RMB400.00
7 Days Entry Ticket RMB900.00
Evening Entry Ticket RMB90.00

The following days are considered "Peak Day":

2010.05.01 - 03: Labor Day Holiday 2010.10.01 - 07: National Day Holiday 2010.10.25 - 30: last week before the closing date

The following are defined as Special Administration:

These tickets are available for the disabled, the senior citizens (born on or before December 31, 1950), students with valid IDs, children above 1.2m and Chinese military personnel on active duty. Valid IDs must be presented to during ticket purchase and entry into Expo.

Note that only children under the height of 1.2m are allow into Expo free of charge. Everyone else require to purchase a ticket.

Only Peak Day tickets have entry date printed on the ticket. If this Peak Day ticket is not used on the specified date, it can be used as a Standard Day entry ticket.

Evening tickets can only be purchase at Expo site on the same day. All other ticket types can be purchase in advance at authorized ticket outlets.

Transportation to Expo Site

The easiest is to take an Expo taxi, the only type of taxi allowed into the grounds of Expo site.

Alternatively you can also take the Metro (subway). Line 13 is a special line that has two dedicated stops: Lupo Bridge and Shibo Avenue, within the Expo grounds.

I found out the hard way that there is no taxi stand; at least not ones that can be found or signage to show where it is, and hailing a taxi is a free-for-all experience, making it even more dangerous as you are now competing with mainland Chinese.

Calling the Expo Taxi number (96822) does not help, as they claim that they cannot book any taxi, but drivers of any vacant taxis say they had already been booked. It was a total chaos. We ended up calling our hotel concierge for help; this is another reason to stay at a reputable hotel when in China.

Visiting Pavilions

If I was to wait in line for the pavilions I visited I would not have visited so many pavilions during my 6 hours of visit. Fortunately, because I knew people at the pavilions, I was able to get into: UK, Africa, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam pavilions through VIP entrances.

The people waiting in lines at the "specially built" pavilions are packed in so close, due to the typical mainland Chinese culture of not-wanting-to-be-left-out mentality, it is really scary to go into the lines. Not to mention that majority of the lines do not have any cover overhead, making heat stroke a definite danger.

Of all the pavilions I visited, the Canada and Chile pavilions were the only ones worth visiting. All the other pavilions were showing information I could have received via their respective Tourist Bureau web sites. Even the UK Pavilion was a bit disappointing other than having the opportunity to see the structure up close.

You can see a photo documentary of my visit at my Flickr photo set.

It appears that many who had jailbroked or unlocked their iPhone 3G[S] did not know what they are doing or had not ask the friend who knows, like myself, before upgrading their iPhone to version 3.1 of the firmware. It is very important that BEFORE anyone upgrade they save a copy of their unique iBEC and iBSS files before the perform the 3.1 upgrade. Failing to do so will, at the moment, made the iPhone no longer unlockable or jailbreakable. These files will also not be obtainable afterwards.

I will not go through the instructions here, instead a very detailed and easy to follow steps are documented at HackThePhone.com for the iPhone 3GS. If you own other models you can locate respective instructions there.

The bottom line is that hacking the iPhone is a technical procedure, reserved for people who knows what they are doing and should NOT be attempted by users who are not.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone

New iTunes 9 NoticeIf you run the Software Updates on your Mac or Check Updates from within iTunes you will find that Apple had updated iTunes to 9.0. There are many discussion about iTunes 9.0 all over the Interweb so I will not do it again here.

Along with the new iTunes Apple had released the iPhone firmware 3.1 (technically 3.1.1) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In doing so, Apple also reduced the cost of upgrading the iPod Touch to USD4.95. For those who held out when the iPhone firmware 3.0 came out, there are even more reasons to get it now.

The iPhone users who have jailbroken or unlocked their iPhone using unofficial methods should stay away from both iTunes 9 and the iPhone firmware 3.1, at least until the iPhone Dev Team releases new versions of their software. Accidentally upgrading your iTunes to 9 and more importantly upgrading your iPhone to firmware 3.1 may prevent you from ever unlocking the iPhone accept via Apple's official methods.

iPhone 3.1 Update Notice

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone

If you have a blog you will agree that RSS is one of the most important piece of technology to help disseminate your blog content through out the Interweb. Unfortunately this RSS (protocol) is a pull technology where subscriber to the feed must poll the source of the RSS feed for new content. Often this polling iteration is every 15 minutes or so. In the current realtime world of Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook timelines, this method of requesting information seems old and out-dated. This is why one of the pioneer for RSS, Dave Winer, came up with rssCloud, a new element that was added to the RSS protocol in January 2001 as part of RSS 0.92 and later in RSS 2.0.

With rssCloud the newsfeed readers will no longer have to poll the source of the feed for content periodically. Instead as soon as new content is available from the source it is pushed (sent) to all subscribers of the feed. This lends to more timely conversation on the content and serves our realtime web much better.

Prior to Automattic's adoption of rssCloud the only reader that recognize the <cloud> element was Winer's River2 RSS reader, this created a chicken-and-egg problem where RSS reader developers were not eager to add the rssCloud feature to their reader and site owners did not bother with adding the element into their RSS feed.

Wordpress.com supports for rssCloud had basically eliminated this stalemate, and gave the developers of RSS readers a potential of 7.5 million blogs with support for this feature. Now it will be up the the developers of RSS readers to make their move to get the momentum flowing.

Fortunately, Joseph Scott was kind enough to help with this drive, he released a WordPress plugin to help self-hosted WordPress blogs add the rssCloud support to their own feeds.

Also on the RSS reader front, the cool up and coming web service, LazyFeed is announcing support for rssCloud.

I suggest all WordPress blog owners; no matter self-hosted or one residing on Wordpress.com, enable this features, so we can add to the excitement and trend of this realtime web evolution.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

As many of you know Apple released the latest version of OS X, 10.6 (aka. Snow Leopard) on Friday, August 28, 2009. I had pre-ordered this version on Tuesday, when Apple began accepting orders on their online store for HKD238.00. Apple had originally told me that my order was going to ship on August 28 and I would not receive the shipment until Monday, August 31. Although I was a bit disappointed I was glad to have the time to prepare my Mac for the upgrade. So I was caught by surprised when Apple delivered my shipment on Saturday, August 29.

You ask, "...prepare my Mac for the upgrade"? Yes, I normally do a fresh Time Machine backup and a full image backup of the boot up drive before I attempt any OS upgrade. Since this time it is a dot release, and the amount of changes to the underlining OS, it is even more important to do so.

For the case of OS 10.6, almost all components of the system has been rewritten in 64 bit architecture. Even the kernel; underlining engine that drives the OS, boots up in 32 bit mode by default unless the user holds down the "6" and "4" keys during boot up, but all 64 bit application will run in 64 bit architecture. The reason booting up in 32 bit mode by default is for general compatibility with the early Intel based Macintosh (Intel Core Duo) which are 32 bit.

Due to this 64 bit architecture, there is also a great deal of incompatibility for Plug-ins, Extensions, and Input Managers. It is best to examine the usual locations for these items for incompatibility first before performing the upgrade. You can use the excellent crowd source list at SnowLeopard.Wikidot.com to see if the applications, extension and plugins are Snow Leopard compatible.

The usual locations for Plug-ins, Extensions, and Input Managers are:

  • /Library/Adddress Book Plug-ins/
  • /Library/Contextual Menu Items/
  • /Library/InputManagers/
  • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
  • /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
  • /Library/PreferencePanes/
  • /Library/QuickTime/
  • /Library/StartupItems/
  • /Library/Widgets/
  • ~/Library/Adddress Book Plug-ins/
  • ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items/
  • ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
  • ~/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes/
  • ~/Library/Widgets/

Note: the "~" represent the Home directory of the current User account

Since this version of OS X is an upgrade, there was not the usual options in the Installer to do an "Archive & Install" or "Erase & Install". I was going to do a fresh install but erasing my hard drive, install a fresh copy of 10.5.8 then upgrade it to 10.6, but I decided not to. If you want to do so, you will have to first erase your hard drive using Disk Utility, then install OS 10.6.

Apple said that the new OS has a smaller foot print, which was indeed true. I compared my hard drive's free space (26GB) before upgrade to after the upgrade (39.3GB), which means I gain 50% more disk space after the upgrade. During the installation wizard I did choose my normal Customized install, by excluding all Language version of OS X and Printer Drivers. Although, this time the Installer had a new option for Print Drivers, which is to install only the Print Driver necessary for this Mac.

After about 12 hours of use, I find OS 10.6 to be pretty good. So far there are no incompatibilities that I can see, especially after I removed all known incompatibilities prior to the upgrade.

My main advice to all is make sure you have a full backup before attempting the upgrade.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Netvigator LogoStarted about 14:00 yesterday (August 17, 2009) Hong Kong time access to majority of the Internet web services hosted outside of Asia was unreachable. This first happened at my home with Netvigator Home Broadband service. I Tweeted about this hoping to get confirmation from others in Hong Kong. I also left to tried to see if the problem is localized to my building or district (Wanchai). I visited a Starbucks in Causeway Bay. After logging into PCCW WiFi connection at Starbucks I confirmed that most Internet web services were unreachable.

A friend then came and logged into the PCCW WiFi University service and was able to connect to each of the web services I was not able to. So I proceeded to try using Smartone-Vodafone to reach these Internet web services. I was too successful in accessing these Internet web services via Smartone-Vodafone's HSDPA network.

This morning China Unicom released an explanation, as reported by Shanghai Daily, the reasons for yesterday's Internet interruptions for its customers. PCCW's Netvigator service released a short news item in their Customer Service section of their web site, placing blame on "severe weather conditions" that caused "multiple submarine cable faults" claiming that "Some customers may experience traffic congestions" with"international traffic". I have encountered Error 500 for services I tried to access, but in Netvigator's "news item", it claims that their "systems are in normal operation and are working closely with partners to divert traffic".

I cannot see how they can claim their "systems are in normal operation", when I had paid for and expects the delivery of broadband Internet service at 8Mbps. So I called Netvigator's Technical Support line, 1000, and filed a complaint and asked for details of compensation to customer for the interruption.

According to Netvigator service policy, if any interruptions is longer than 24 hours their customer is justified for compensation. The Technical Support representative tells me that I should call back after the service is back to "normal", since they have no idea how long the interruptions will last.

I asked the Technical Support representative if all Netvigator customers will be compensated after the service returns to normal, and he gave me a convoluted answer that basically say that not all Netvigator customers will experience the problem. So I ask for my official complaint to be logged.

I suggest everyone who are effected by the PCCW's Netvigator Broadband Home service interruption to call Netvigator and demand compensation and to ask for your complaint to be logged.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Smartone-Vodafone logoToday all PCCW Home Netvigator (one of the largest Broadband ISP in Hong Kong) customer encountered problems accessing web sites outside of Hong Kong. It started for me some time around 14:00 and is still an issue. Fortunately, many people who has an iPhone was able to tether their computer to their iPhone's HSDPA connection.

This produce a very good result. Although, as the PCCW problem persist throughout the evening. I presume more and more HSDPA customers are tethering their phone to their computer for Internet connection.

I notice Smartone-Vodafone; who previously did not make a distinction between regular HSPDA traffic and tethered traffic. This evening all of a sudden modified their settings so that their "SmartoneIN Toolbar" momentary appeared in the Safari browser window on the Mac, while the Mac is tethered to the iPhone.

This means that Smartone-Vodafone may have changed their exchange settings in an attempt to identify tethered traffic and/or control the bandwidth usage on their network.

For anyone who is not paying for a Smartone-Vodafone Tethering package, I suggest you stop tethering your computer to your iPhone until we who had used this service this month check our upcoming bills for charges from Smartone-Vodafone.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone

gooogle-voice-logoI had Google Voice for almost a month now. I was so excited to receive the Google Voice invite, as I had been wanting to get an account ever since GrandCentral days; the company and service that Google purchased and rebranded it into Google Voice. For those who does not know, Google Voice is a service where Google assigns you an unique USA telephone number. Then whenever you receive a call at your Google Voice number, you can set up the service to ring any (US) telephone numbers you have. It also enables screening and grouping of these callers so that certain individuals can be directed to voice mail or a specific telephone number.

As you may notice from the above, the service is only designed for telephone numbers in the USA. Plus to activate the Google Voice account, a US telephone number must be provided to the Google Voice account as verification (your location). So after I received the Google Voice invitation I had to find someone in the US to validate my Google Voice account. Having done that, I then need to get Google Voice to forward all calls to a US telephone number that I can access outside of USA.

This is where Gizmo5 (aka GizmoProject) comes in. Fortunately, today Gizmo5 announced a new feature where it can connect itself to GoogleVoice for free. Detail instructions on how to set it up are at GizmoVoice.com.

Gizmo5 Google Voice NumberBTW: if you do not have a US telephone number to perform the initial verification of your Google Voice account, you can purchase a CallIn Number service. Since you will only need this CallIn Number for the initial Google Voice verification process, you can purchase the CallIn service for the minimum 3 months.

After you have verified your Google Voice account, you can proceed to hook up Google Voice and Gizmo5. Don't forget to click on Save.

Google Voice Gizmo5 Settings

If you did not use Gizmo5 to verify your Google Voice account, you can enter your Gizmo5 SIP telephone number into your Google Voice as one of the telephone numbers to forward to.

If you like, you can download a copy of the Gizmo5 desktop application to use as your VoIP client. But if you are like most and use Skype as your VoIP client/service, you can use Gizmo5's built in feature to forward all calls to your Skype account.

Gizmo5 forward to Skype

You are now all set. Any calls to your Google Voice account will be forwarded to your Skype account. If you have an iPhone you can answer these incoming calls there too with the Skype iPhone native application.

I hope in the future Google will open Google Voice to telephone numbers outside of the United States.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone

Twitter LogoTwitter has been around now for over 3 years and along the way there had been many 3rd party applications and web services. At the beginning years these 3rd party applications and web services had required the Twitter users to provide their Twitter credentials to use the service. This requirement of providing a 3rd party with my credentials of another service had never sit well with me. So I did not use any 3rd party web services that requires my Twitter credentials. This decision was frustrating to me, as during this time Facebook, FriendFeed and others had authentication services that does not require their users to provide their respective credentials to the 3rd parties. As a result I joined the 100s of others who requested Twitter adopt OAuth or alike technology for their site.

Finally beginning of 2009 we started to see signs of Twitter OAuth. This was promising, but now there are 1000s of 3rd party services who had yet to adopt the new authentication method. I then join the campaign to encourage as many of these 3rd party developers to incorporate Twitter OAuth as their authentication method instead of requiring the user's Twitter credentials. Unfortunately, several months after the appearance of Twitter OAuth, we see a vulnerability in the implementation of OAuth, which slowed down this 3rd party adoption. With the cooperation of the member companies of the OAuth organization this vulnerability was quickly identified and resolved.

In the mean time we keep hearing stories of Twitter accounts being compromised, initially it was thought that these incidents came from within Twitter. Since Twitter had an incident where the Administrator password was hacked by a teenager using brute force method. But now stories like the most recent one, 1000s of Twitter Accounts Compromised in Latest Spam Attack, is becoming more and more frequent.

As always the most vulnerable security is through a third party. So try to refrain yourself from trying that latest Twitter service, if it does not use Twitter OAuth. Definitely don't use your Twitter credentials as the login for the 3rd party service.

If you suspect your account may be compromised, change your password immediately.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

3 HK LogoIn the past several days I had been trying to trouble shoot why a follower ("Ms. iPhone") on Twitter cannot get to iTunes Store from her iPhone. This was the iPhone 3G model on the 3 HK, Apple's carrier partner in Hong Kong, network. Ms. iPhone finally complaint to 3 HK Customer Service, and today she tells me what 3 HK Customer Service has told her:

All iPhones purchased in Hong Kong cannot access iTunes Store. The only iPhones that can access the iTunes Store are iPhones purchased outside of Hong Kong and hacked for used in Hong Kong.

What a ridiculous statement.

As many of you know Ms. iPhone's problem with her iPhone not having access to iTunes Store (music and movies) via the iTunes application on her iPhone is not because she bought her iPhone in Hong Kong. Ms. iPhone problem is that her iTunes Store account is with iTunes Store Hong Kong and iTunes Store HK does not have a music and movie section.

This sort of statements from people selling Apple products is what Apple tried to avoid with the establishment of Apple Store worldwide. Unfortunately, there is no official Apple Store in Hong Kong. Several years ago there was one Apple Authorized Reseller who take pride in delivering good service and doing it the Apple way. Their sales staff would never make up an answer to a customer to a question they do not know the answer to, but simply tell the customer they do not know and will get back to them after they seek out the answer. This sort of sales staff and companies are hard to find.

Aside from the above story, WinAndMac just posted another story about 3 HK that adds to the reasons we should not choose 3 HK as our mobile carrier.

The kind of statement from staff of 3 HK and tactics like those described in WinaAndMac's article are just two of the many reasons why I recommend people NOT to choose 3 HK as their mobile carrier in Hong Kong. People living in Hong Kong has 5 other carriers to choose from for the iPhone.

Frequent readers of my blog and anyone who have visited Apple Online Store HK will know that officially "SIM unlocked" iPhones are available directly from Apple there and all Authorized Apple Resellers in Hong Kong. All of these iPhones are capable of accessing the iTunes Stores they have access to on their personal computer version of iTunes.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone