T-Mobile USA changes their pay-as-you-go plans

I’ve had a T-Mobile USA prepaid number for quite some time. It was a brilliant service — you turn on unlimited calls & data (200MB at high speeds, and then it goes down to 2G speeds) when you’re in town for a mere USD$3/day. If you can live with 2G speeds, it cost USD$2/day. And when you didn’t use it, you just went into a mode that would charge you upon usage. 

All this was and still is changeable online on your T-Mobile account. A bonus: add $100 credit, and you’ve got validity for 365 days.

Now, they’ve decided that the moment you go to one of those $2-3 plans, you can’t go back to the old “idle” mode. Now you’re charged a minimum of USD$3/month just to keep your number alive & active. So that’s $36/year to keep your number alive.

I don’t mind the extra charge, but I think its quite dishonest to change existing customers to this. A lot of people praise T-Mobile, but even they falter. 

SSL + website rankings

I read this: HTTPS as a ranking signal. You should then also read this: My blog doesn’t need HTTPS.

Frankly, I agree with Dave Winer here – blogs and many websites/publications don’t need to deliver content over HTTPS. For Google to say they are going to use this as a signal for PageRank, is kind of nasty. 

SSL on sites is also likely to spur IPv6 further – many SSL sites, especially e-commerce (whom I think need SSL), need to have a unique IP per site. Soon we’ll have blogs require an IP/site. Of course, there are workarounds to this, but not all web browsers support this.

You can then see that sites like Cloudflare tell you that this is now provided with their Pro plans – a great way to start charging free accounts. You can also get your own SSL certs (which you’ll have to add on as a yearly fee), and then maybe pay more for hosting…

For testing, use Why No Padlock? and Qualys SSL Labs SSL Server Test.

OLS needs your help – please donate

I went to my first OLS (Ottawa Linux Symposium) in 2005. I was living in Melbourne, Australia and I had to make it all the way to Ottawa, Canada. If you don’t want to read ahead, please consider donating to save OLS. I am providing my story after getting inspired by Matt Domsch’s: Ottawa Linux Symposium needs your help (I think I met mdomsch at OLS, and we continued working together on the Fedora Project even).

Anyway, how did I do this? In 2005, I won the national category of the Regional Delegate Program (RDP) of linux.conf.au 2005, which was sponsored by Sun Microsystems. Basically it meant that as a winner within Australia, I got to visit a grassroots event that was similar to LCA and naturally that was OLS. This was a time that the kernel summit was organised alongside the OLS, and I was totally excited. Not only did Sun pay for my travel & expenses to LCA 2005 (my first time to Canberra to boot), they also covered me to head to Ottawa. 

Consequently I met Simon Phipps for the first time in 2005, and he wrote this at his old Sun blog:

I really like that particular sponsorship as it allows the real stars of open source, the individual contributors, to attend the conference and gain recognition for their efforts. It works by paying the expenses and conference fees for ten key contributors (one from New Zealand and nine from around Australia) to attend the event, and then giving one of them (in this case Colin Charles from Victoria, a contributor to both Fedora and OpenOffice.org) an all-expenses paid trip to a conference in Europe or the US.

Who’d have thought that a relationship that started in 2005 would continue till this very day (we talked during due diligence of MySQL/Sun days, we worked together at Sun, and now Simon is the CEO of the MariaDB Foundation) in so many various different forms?

Looking back, connecting the dots, I’d like to think a lot of this was enabled by LCA and OLS (and the opensource stewardship that Sun Microsystems stood for). If anyone wants to look at a talk I wrote in 2005, about my experience with OLS and the very first Ubuntu Summit (pre-UDS, this was UbuntuDownUnder), take a look at The Last Two Weeks of My Life.

That said, I digress. This post is about OLS and its organiser Andrew Hutton (ajh). I’ve visited OLS several times as an attendee, and even as a speaker. I’ve not made it there in the last few years due to conflicting commitments, but I sincerely hope to make it there in 2015. You need to help the event by donating to OLS.

I’ve met so many people in various walks of life at OLS. OLS was a big event during the times of the kernel summit. It may have not grown much since, but the movers and shakers of the opensource world were always there. I learned so many new things, met so many great people, and networked with an awesome lot of folk.

That to me was the benefit of going all the way to Ottawa. Community. Camaraderie. Inclusiveness. Lasting friendship. 

Art in Siem Reap

I enjoy looking at art, and occasionally purchasing art and our visit to Siem Reap was no exception. There’s an old blog post about the art scene in Siem Reap on Travelfish (the Hotel de la Paix they refer to is now the Park Hyatt Siem Reap). I find that a lot of the art scene is foreigner influenced, and there’s very little offering from Cambodian artists – I wish this would change going forward.

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap offered quite a few interesting pieces, in-room even. Robert Powell numbered pieces exist.

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Northwest Tower of Ta Keo, Angkor, Robert Powell

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Preah Palilay, Angkor, Robert Powell

Managed to pickup a local piece from Sopheng, who is the proprietor of Sopheng Art Gallery, near the Old Market.

Sopheng Art Gallery, Siem Reap

Who’s popular? John McDermott and his collection of McDermott Galleries. He makes use of B&W infrared photography, something I noticed quite quickly. Pickup up a print made sense. I also quite liked the items in the WA Gallery Concept Store (they have a couple of outlets near the FCC Angkor) — started by some French expats.

If you’re into the art’s scene, the Park Hyatt is a great starting point. To finish off, a quick pic from the Park Hyatt Siem Reap:

In-room art, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

MySQLNoSQLCloud 2014 – Edition #3

Good morning buenos airesI’ve enjoyed visiting Buenos Aires once a year for the MySQLNoSQLCloud event, put together by the awesome people at Binlogic (in particular, their proprietor Santiago Lertora). It’s happening again in 2014, which by my count is the third edition, and there’s a twist: Buenos Aires on 13 & 14 November, and Cordoba on 17 November. It’s never been held in Cordoba before (like an annex event), so I think this could be extremely exciting.

If you’re looking to speak, send Santiago a note at events@binlogic.com (or leave a message here). I’ll put you in touch with him. If you’re looking to sponsor, you get attendees from all over Latin America.

Percona Live London Call for Presentations

Europe traditionally doesn’t have many MySQL-dedicated conferences, which is why I personally enjoy Percona Live London, now in its 2014 Edition. This year it happens November 3-4, and the call for presentations is still open — till August 17th.

DSCF1396The topic list is growing as the MySQL ecosystem matures: DevOps, cloud, security, case studies and what’s new are things you don’t often see. Tutorials are also welcome, of course.

Location-wise, London can’t be beat. And happening at Gloucester Road, you’re on the District/Circle/Picadilly lines to go to many fun places.

If you don’t want to present, do attend – registration is open. Early-bird (ending August 31st) conference & tutorials will set you back £425.00 and if you just want to attend the conference only, its £235.00 (VAT and fees excluded). A steal if you ask me!

See you there!


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