Jul 042014
 

Posten Sporing app - screenshot
I just came across an interesting feature in the Posten Sporing app of Posten Norge AS.
This app does the following (translated from the product description on Google Play):

Record tracking makes it easy to monitor packages on their way to you with the Post Office.
When you register with your mobile number and email we find automatically packages on the way to you. To achieve this, we rely on that the sender has registered your mobile number or email. We therefore constantly check if there are packages on the way to you and alert you via push when there is a new package. We will notify you when you can get it at the post office or possibly when it will be delivered to your home.

All good and well, of course. It also let’s you enter a package tracking number manually. Handy of course, should you have a package coming your way that didn’t make it into the system automatically.

Posten Sporing - 12345But… here you can also enter some totally random number like… 12345

And then it suddenly gets interesting! I see a long list of packages, none of them mine (see screenshot, which I mutilated a bit on purpose). I can track their whereabouts, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I’d get a hentekode (pickup code) in the app when the package I selected makes it to the post office and is ready for pickup.

I wonder how long it will take before less honest people will start abusing this ‘feature’…

Their website on http://sporing.posten.no/ is even worse. There I can also search by phone number. This makes it very easy for anyone to track exactly where their neighbours, colleagues & family shop, and quite often it also gives a fair idea of what’s been purchased…
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Feb 282014
 

html_status_code_502_azureAzure wasn’t having one of its best days yesterday. The mess started around 07:30 local time, and lasted until almost 16:00. In other words, our sites were down for the full duration of the business day!

The following table contains the ‘explanations’ Microsoft shared with the public during the downtime:

time (UTC)
seriousness
status
06:35AdvisoryAn alert for Web Sites in West Europe is being investigated. It has not been determined if this is customer impacting. More information will be provided as it is known.
08:15AdvisoryWe are experiencing an issue with Web Sites in the West Europe sub-region. A very small number of customers may see intermittent timeouts or slow response when attempting to access sites. We are actively investigating. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation.
08:15Partial Performance DegradationWe are experiencing an issue with Web Sites in the West Europe sub-region. A very small number of customers may see intermittent timeouts or slow response when attempting to access sites hosted in this sub-region. We are actively investigating. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation.
09:15Partial Performance DegradationEngineers are actively investigating the issue. A very small number of customers may still see intermittent slowdown or timeouts. Further updates will be published within 2 hours.
11:15Partial Service InterruptionEngineers are currently evaluating repair options. A subset of customers may experience interruption to web sites hosted in West Europe. Further updates will be published within 2 hours.
13:15Partial Service InterruptionEngineers are continuing to evaluate and implement mitigation options. A subset of customers may experience interruption to web sites hosted in West Europe. Further updates will be published within 3 hours.
14:53AdvisoryThe repair steps have been successfully executed and validated. Full Web Sites functionality has been restored in the West Europe sub-region.

  • No mention of the cause. If they’d told us what the problem was we could have made a guesstimate ourselves on the duration of the downtime, and temporarily moved sites elsewhere.
  • No mention of how many sites/customers were affected by this. ‘a subset’ & ‘a very small number’ are as vague as one can get

And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, around 18:00 excrement again came in touch with ventilation devices! And this time both the West Europe & North Europe regions were affected. In other words: all hosting Azure has in Europe.
Again little/no explanations were shared:

time (UTC)
seriousness
status
16:50AdvisoryAn alert for Web Sites in West Europe is being investigated. It has not been determined if this is customer impacting. More information will be provided as it is known.
18:10Partial Performance DegradationSome customers may experience intermittent time out errors or slow response when accessing their web sites. Engineers are actively gathering monitoring and alerting details to troubleshoot Web Sites in the West Europe sub-region. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation.
19:07Partial Performance DegradationThe repair steps have been successfully executed and validated. Full Web Sites functionality has been restored in the North Europe sub-region.

This one lasted ‘only’ 2 hours. Resolved around 20:00.

This morning I did some Googling and came across even scarier rumours: While repairing whatever caused the downtime yesterday apparently Microsoft has restored old(er) versions of files, without informing the customers involved!
I can not confirm whether or not this actually happened, but fact is that several of our site-indexes were corrupt and needed rebuilding…

At the moment of writing, 24+ hours after the incidents, there is still no explanation whatsoever (believe me, I have Googled!) for what was the cause of this monster outage. And when I don’t know the cause, I wonder… What are the chances this will happen again, and when?

Feb 052014
 

Cyanogenmod logoAre you unable to send SMS text messages after upgrading (to) Cyanogenmod? Here’s something you should check! (This fixed it for me after installing Cyanogenmod 11 on my Nexus 4)
Open the Voice+-app. As it mentions, ‘Voice+ enables all apps to send SMS messages through Google Voice’. Well… this apparently doesn’t work for everyone. So if you have trouble sending SMS via your Messaging app, disable this. After I did that, I was able to send SMS again! :cool:

(Not sure which versions of Cyanogenmod this applies to. Applies perhaps also to other custom roms, or even to stock roms. Probably only for people outside the USA)

Jul 032013
 

Some people and firms simply don’t have a clue of how the Internet works, and of simple concepts like freedom of speech/expression. Here’s a little gem I got in my inbox earlier today: (I’m replacing the name/URL of the company in question with BlahBlah, to avoid further ‘legal’ excrement in my inbox)

Dear Webmaster:

I write to notify you of unauthorized linking on your website.
[BlahBlah] is the owner of the exclusive rights protected under copyright law and other intellectual property rights. The following links are specific examples of URLs that link to http://blah.blah without authorization:

http://evert.meulie.net/2010/04/20/chatroulette-and-its-alternatives/

http://evert.meulie.net/tag/shuffle-people/

http://evert.meulie.net/tag/anochat/

http://evert.meulie.net/tag/zupyo/

http://evert.meulie.net/tag/chatroulette/

[BlahBlah] hereby notifies you that the following constitute or incorporate links to http://blah.blah which were placed without prior permission and are therefore unauthorized.

[BlahBlah] requests that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to all unauthorized links to http://blah.blah on your website. We also ask that you provide us with written assurance of this fact within 3 business days from the date of this letter.

The undersigned has good faith belief that use of the material in the manner described herein is not authorized by [BlahBlah] or its agents. Under penalty of perjury, the undersigned is authorized to act on behalf of [BlahBlah] with respect to this matter.

If these links are not removed within 3 business days, we will have no choice but to file a formal complaint with your hosting company and domain registrar. If this happens they will notify you to take down the offending links or risk having your website shut down or domain name inactivated.

Sincerely,

Blah Blah
Legal Department
[BlahBlah]

First of all (before you ask): Yes, I did remove the requested link, and provided them with written assurance of this fact within 3 business days:

Hi,

Clearly you don’t have a clue of how the Internet works.
But since I neither have the time nor the will to educate you on the matter, I have removed the link (which were in no way negative towards [BlahBlah], and therefore nothing but free advertising!) you mentioned.

Evert

I’m sure that organizations like the ACLU & the EFF eat ‘legal’ notices like these for breakfast, but I’m not going to waste any more time on it. :cool:
But if you do get a notice like this one as well, and have the time to fight it, please do! I seriously doubt they have any legal grounds to stand on…

Mar 202013
 

Just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Microsoft support to figure out how one migrates (a crappy term to begin with. It suggests moving from one place to another. In reality it’s more of a 1-way sync) email accounts from an Exchange server to the mailboxes that come with Office 365 Small Business.

As you can see there’s no mention of Exchange or Migration when you sign in:
Office_365_Small_Business_1

The trick is as follows:
* Click on Outlook, thereby starting the Outlook Web App (OWA).
Office_365_Small_Business_2

* Edit the URL. Remove the part that starts with /owa and replace it with /ecp. Example: https://pod12345.outlook.com/owa/[something] becomes https://pod12345.outlook.com/ecp.
Office_365_Small_Business_3

* Press ‘Enter’ and… voilà! There’s your Exchange admin center, with the option to create migration batches.
Office_365_Small_Business_4

Why hide it like this? Who knows…? Microsoft Moves in a Mysterious Way

Update: It appears Microsoft has changed their URL-scheme. You still first go to the Outlook Web App, but from there you can go to https://outlook.office365.com/ecp/ to access the Exchange Control Panel for Office 365.

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