Friday, December 6, 2013

The father of our democracy. R.I.P tata

I think one of the greatest lessons we can learn from Madiba was the lesson of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Towards the end of Apartheid, the Apartheid regime was able to keep white people polarized with their strong “swaart gevaar” (black danger) propaganda campaigns.

The Apartheid regime told us that if the black man got the ability to vote, that there would be waves of revenge killings and genocide. It was strongly drummed into all white people that if the black man was free, we would be driven into the ocean until it ran red with our blood. We were often told in gory detail about what happened to the white people in Kenya during the Mau-Mau. 

When Apartheid ended, many white people were fearful…. but then Mandela happened. He took everything that we believed and turned it upside down. He showed us what a great statesman he was. He showed us gentleness, reconciliation and forgiveness. He showed us everything that the Apartheid government told us he was not. 

Instead of violence, he showed us gentleness, instead of revenge he showed us forgiveness and instead of death he showed us reconciliation. 

No country is luckier than South Africa to have had such a gentle and kind leader. Mandela is truly the father of our proud democratic nation.

I think we have all learned from tata Mandela. In some way he has impacted all of our lives. We have to take the gift of democracy he has given us and grow it. We have to create a South Africa that we know he would be truly proud of.

The father of our nation has closed his eyes so that the rest of the world may open theirs

No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”, Nelson Mandela

We love you Mandela. Asoze sikulibale. Nkosi sikelele' iAfrika

"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.", Nelson Mandela

Monday, November 18, 2013

How hating hunters could decimate the lion population

Please note, I do not advocate or support lion hunting in any form. I just think people need to think about this beyond  knee-jerk outrage. 

There seems to be a strong anti-hunting outrage coming from people after Melissa Bachman was photographed posing for a picture with a lion she had shot.

This post is not going to deal with the shaky morality of the protesters (for instance, why is a protester upset about a lion getting shot and not a Kudu? And if you have problems with an animal getting shot are you Vegan?). This post is going to concentrate on how those same protesters could push the lion population from "vulnerable" to "endangered".

Its simple. Many game and hunting farms breed lions. They actually breed quickly and populations of lions have to be managed. So no matter what, if you breed lions you are going to have to have some type of population control. Which normally involves a process called culling.

Most game and hunting farms breed lions for the value they bring the farm. Not only to visitors who want to see them alive, but also to the hunters that want to shoot them. A massive portion of the worlds lion populations are held on these game and hunting farms.

Lions are not cheap animals to keep. They need a lot of meat! When I worked on a game farm I used to have to give our 5 lions a cow every week to survive on. Now imagine you have a farm of 50 lions, and each cow costs R3000. That is R30 000 in cow every week you need to feed those lions.

Now if a game farm cant sell of their excess lions to be hunted, theyre certainly not going to keep many of them. In fact, since theyre really expensive to feed you will find most farmers would have to get rid of most of their lions to create a sustainable system.

This means that stopping the hunting of lions would probably result in them moving from, "vulnerable" to "endangered" in several short years. So technically, those protesting against the hunting are actually pushing the animal closer to extinction.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Funny Guy Fawkes Facebook Status

A friend of mine recently trolled Facebook with his opinion on how Guy Fawkes should be celebrated.

However, his troll post was not as funny as his next status update:

A warning to people who want to host a VPS at Afrihost

I've hosted VPS`s with many companies., Afrihost, DigitalOcean, Rackspace, Linode and even Virpus. Well actually there are too many companies to list but my point is that I have a decent amount of VPS experience.

Last year I signed a client up for a VPS at Afrihost. The market is very competitive but I thought I would give them a chance. By and large they have a decent enough reputation as a hosting company.

All went well until this month. Afrihost has out of bundle overage charges. Meaning that if you use up too much bandwidth they will charge you X amount per GB of over used bandwidth. My clients VPS came with a small bandwidth allocation of 100GB. (I best my international readers are wondering why there is such an insanely low cap)

Needless to say, everything was pretty much okay. There was the odd strange event like Afrihost shutting down my VPS for no reason and a couple of other issues but we got through them all. My client hardly ever went over their bandwidth. In the entire time I was there we got sent notifications about usage 3 times.

Things changed and one of the things that changed at Afrihost was in the month of October they did not send me any bandwidth notifications. Not a single one to warm me that I had over used. Instead what I got at the end of October was a bill for over R3000 (over $300!)... for excessive bandwidth usage.

Apparently the VPS has used in excess of 400GB and for that 400GB Afrihost charged me over R3000. Wow, was I blown away. Such a large amount deducted with absolutely no warnings! Yup, the month that Afrihost didnt send out a notification was the month that this VPS went into massive overages with them. What an amazingly convenient financial coincidence for them.

So my warning to anyone who uses an Afrihost VPS. Just remember that you or one of your clients can be hosting a Wordpress or Joomla website. It can easily be hacked.... and you are then responsible for a massive out of bundle bill. Those of us in the hosting industry know that hosted websites (especially out dated ones) are hacked a dime a dozen.

Its not just Vodacom and MTN that hit you with the OOB shark. Hosting companies are just as happy to take your money.

So a warning to all potential clients. Afrihost do not give you the option to hard cap your VPS, neither are they reliable in their notifications warning you of excessive usage. Understand that using them does add a certain amount of liability and risk to your company.

Needless to say we have cancelled all our services with them. It is not a risk we are willing to take.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Attack of the Wikileaks clones

This is an interesting story I thought I would share with people. You often hear Julian Assange carry on about how he is the victim of a smear campaign and how unnamed institutions are using dirty tricks tactics against him. Well from where I am sitting, those who live in glass houses, should not thrown stones.

Back in January when I did my short stint as the Wikileaks-Forum owner, there was a misleading attack by one of Julian Assange supporters on the Wikileaks-Forum. Which Julian himself retweeted (so it had his support) . For those of you that dont remember the incident here is the link to the original story:

In a nutshell, a user by the name of "Stjärna Frånfälle" accused the Wikileaks-forum of having malware. This was then retreated by Julian Assange. Since I am a skilled InfoSec specialist I investigated this claim right away. We could empirically prove that Stjärna Frånfälle was intentionally misleading people. I even remember when I asked "her" to back up the story, we got sent a dodgy fake screenshot.

I think that was one of those moments in my life when I realized I was dealing with some really disturbed human beings. Anyways, water under the bridge and all that, and I moved on with my life. 10 months later I decided to search, "wikileaks-forum" on Twitter and low and behold who do I find?

A Twitter user account by the name of @marthagroup slandering the Wikileaks-Forum. Now this by itself would not be interesting to me. I know there are several factions that are jealous of the accomplishments of the forum that are trying to do their best to attack the forum, however, what interested me was the user, "@marthagroup" was using the exact same profile picture as the fraudulent "Stjärna Frånfälle" account.

I went back to check the "@StjarnaFranfall" account to see what that clone was doing these days only to find out the user behind the clone account had decided to shut it down. Probably because of my last post on that user which outed them for being a fraud. 

Well it seems that user is back again. Once again slandering the Wikileaks-forum, this time under a completely different name. Also from what I have seen, there is a focus group of clones attacking the forum. Though theyre not alone. There is a small group of disturbed people (Im pretty sure theyre either bipolar or paranoid schizophrenics) who are constantly attacking the forum and stalking its members. 

All of this has kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Gone are the days when I was an idealist, thinking that Wikileaks was run by noble people for a noble cause with noble intentions. This has been replaced by the cold dark reality of subterfuge, back stabbing, dishonesty and deception.

So next time you see Julian and Wikileaks claim they are the victims of a dirty tricks campaign. Just remember, that its pretty unlikely that that is a one way street. Be careful whom you trust. 

PS. I am not the owner or involved directly in running Wikileaks-forum any more. I do however speak to members on both side of the divide and am friendly with people from the forum and some who ardently support Wikileaks. PPS. I am also not the least bit unsure that writing this article is going to light up my twitter feed like a Christmas tree with personal attacks. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

How to create a secure and anonymous chat system

So I have spent the last week trying out many different types of chat applications and services to find out what best suites my needs. This became more important to me ever since the FBI`s crackdown on Freedom Hosting totally destroyed Tormail (RIP).

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Tormail, Tormail was a completely anonymous email system which activists, whisteblowers and other people paranoid about their identity could use to send and receive emails. Ever since Tormail was taking offline, there has definitely been a gap in the market.

I communicate with many pro-democracy activists around the world. Some of these activists reside in countries where pro-democracy activities are monitored or are illegal. So it was imperative that I find a chat system that was both secure and protected my activists and their anonymity.

I tried platforms like Bitmessage and TorChat. While both of these systems were very efficient at sending encrypted anonymous messages they were more designed for limited or single use operations. They were not particularity designed for constant communication across multiple platforms. I found them useful but unpractical for my needs.

Eventually after sorting through many applications and protocols I finally found a system that was practical and that had very high levels of encryption and security. The solution involves combining Jabber (XMPP) and Tor.

What you will need:

Pidgin (An open source jabber/XMPP client)
Tor Browser (Allows us to connect to the Tor network for anonimity and encryption)
OTR Plugin (Allows us to add an aditional layer of end-to-end encryption) Jabber Account (Encrypted / decentralized Jabber registration service)

Install Tor Browser, Pidgin and OTR in that order. Before you create your account configure Pidgin to use the Tor encrypted network. Tools ---> Preferences ---> Proxy:

One you are sure Pidgin is using the Tor network you can go ahead and create your jabber account. Since you will be using Jabber via Tor, your real IP address and other incriminating information is hidden from possible observers. 

As an added measure of security I use the OTR (Off the Record) Pidgin plugin, This applies an additional layer of end-to-end encryption so that no one can snoop on your private communications. 

Thats pretty much it. Just be sure to have the Tor Browser open the whole time (or alternately configure Tor to be a permanent service) and you will be fine. 

Not even PRISM or your local corrupt government spy agency will have the ability to intercept and view your communications. 

Want to chat and test your system? Add me:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tie me kangaroo down sport

Just a short message out to all the Australian supporters of Wikileaks. It was brought to my attention that Julian Assange has attacked yet another part of his support base... The strong supporters he had in Australia.

Just like Julian attacked the Wikileaks-forum he has now gone after another Wikileaks support group called akaWaka.

The cries of dismay from his now ex-supporters were plain to see.

To the Wikileaks supports in Australia, from an Wikileaks supporter in South Africa. I can sympathize with you. If there is one thing that Julian has consistently done to his volunteers and supporters. Is use them, cut them off and then pretend like they never existed. A common practice is to pretend they are part of some front for whatever group he currently has issues with.  I wrote about what had happened to me and the Wikileaks-Forum last year already and a lot of it is still very relevant today:

It seems a year later nothing has changed. Julian is still attacking his support base. I feel sorry for the Wikileaks supporters in Australia. I know how it feels to be thrown under the bus like this. I just would like the Australian support base to consider the following. Dont ever give up on the ideal. The ideal is greater than one person or one organization. The ideals of transparency and accountability should never be lost. Dont let one man / one personality destroy your ambitions to achieve those ideals.

I know you are hard working guys and girls and I am pretty sure I saw a fellow Tabler (Round Table) in those tweets of dismay. Take this experience and learn from it. Build something greater than Julian could ever imagine. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

My views on libertarianism

There was a stage in my life I identified with being a libertarian. I loved the ideal. It was utopian. A world with little or no government where we were governed by ourselves and not by a government. I grew up in the 80`s, where governments around the worlds were committing terrible human right abuses against their peoples.

We had the communists and socialist governments wrecking havoc with bad centralized planning. We had the capitalist governments profiteering off the industrial war complex. We had Apartheid government in South Africa oppressing the majority of its citizens and we had the Chinese driving tanks over citizens in Tienanmen Square.

It was very easy to spin an anti-government argument then. Most governments were working against the will of the people.

Believe it or not, in the last couple of decades a lot has changed and it has changed for the better. The people are more in control of their governments. It is still  not ideal and we still need to learn to control and manage our governments better, but around the world... in a million tiny little steps. People are fixing their governments for the better.

But why do we need a government my libertarian friends ask me.

Its simple. Back when I was a libertarian my history knowledge was still pretty terrible. I used to think things like the Gold Standard was a good idea, I later changed my perception when I  learnt the Gold Standard was a major contributor to the Great Depression.  I also used to think governments were bad... until I learnt why we invented governments.

Many life forms have learnt that working together is a powerful survival mechanism, and we have probably been social creatures for longer than we have been primates. Nature has shown us, that species that work together as a team are better at survival than if they were just isolated individuals.

So humans have throughout the ages always grouped up and formed centres of power. We would have been gangs of early primates with alphas. We then moved onto clans and villages with chiefs. Not too long ago we had Kings of Fiefdoms, city states and then eventually kingdoms. Up until this point the wealthy and their armies could get away with just about anything and everything.

For 99.9% of humanity this was a pretty terrible deal. You would had no rights and the wealthy could abuse you any way they wish. You were the property of the ultra wealthy.

So of course, most of humanity deciding this was a bad deal went to war to fight for the rights of the majority. We have had events like the writing of the Magna Carta and the French Revolution as civilization  curtailed the power of the ultra wealthy.

From Kings and their Kingdoms we evolved to Presidents and countries. You must remember, we had just evolved from the time period of  kings and kingdoms (at the time of writing this there are still monarchies around the world) so we as yet had to learn which government model works the best. 

Of course many people had many different ideas on how a government should work. Every one went with what they thought worked best. Communists, Capitalists, Socialists, Fascists, Nationalists.... just about every ist you could think of.

Some of these we obviously got very wrong and others seems to be working better than the rest. Some of the biggest differences between government models was between which economic ideology was the most ideal: Communist vs Capitalist & Libertarian vs Socialist.

In reality we learnt none of these supposed utopian ideals were perfect for humanity. People were too diverse. There was no, “one size fits all. What we found out through trial and error is that mixed market economies worked the best. 

If we went too Capitalist we found out that society regressed. With no government to regulate the whims of the ultra wealthy, humanity suffered. Societies become unstable as wealth is accumulated by a few. The bigger the gap between the rich and the poor the more unstable your society becomes.

We also found out that if we went too Socialist, corruption got centralized and and there was no incentive for anyone to do anything but the least amount of work possible.

To return to a period of a government not run by the people means that we would return to the age of Kings and their armies. It would become the wild west all over again, where those with power would have it absolutely and have no accountability. This is what we spent centuries fighting against.

I believe one of the fathers of economics said it best:

"Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all". Keynes

When people ask me today, which are you? A Capitalist or a Socialist. I say I am neither. I believe in a Mixed Market Economy. One where we have the capitalistic incentive of earning more for working harder, but also a model that adds to social stability and has the humanity to include social welfare. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Yakhal'inkomo - Black Man's Cry

Some of my readers might remember my previous article on a painting called, "The Spear of Nation". In it I talk about the immature reaction from the ruling ANC party and its leadership to The Spear of the Nation. I also explain how the incident was blown out of proportion and how an artist by the name Ayanda Mabula had already painted Zuma in the nude before Brett Murray.

Well it seems Ayanda Mabula is grabbing the head lines this time. A new painting of Jacob Zuma that was on display at the First National Bank Artfair.... has been pulled as it may offend ANC leadership.

(Before I go onto the topic of the painting I just would quickly like to address First National Bank here. Stop being cowards. This is not the first time that FNB has has cowered to the ANC but hopefully it will be the last. )

It seems whomever pulled the painting from public display has never heard of the Streisand effect. To show the world what FNB and Zuma are hiding here is, Yakhal'inkomo - Black Man's Cry.

Yakhal'inkomo - Black Man's Cry
Yakhal'inkomo - Black Man's Cry
The work, by artist Ayanda Mabulu titled Yakhal'inkomo - Black Man's Cry, was themed around the Marikana shootings in August last year.
The painting reportedly depicted a kneeling miner with horns on his head, metaphorically representing a dying bull.
He was being attacked by Zuma's dog, reportedly signifying the police. Zuma, who was dressed in a suit, stepped on another dying miner's head.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles were also depicted, laughing at the spectacle. They were hosted by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was also depicted in his red beret, shocked by what he saw.
The dying miners were being killed by a matador who used the South African flag instead of a red cape to lure the miners to his sword.
I personally think Ayanda has outdone himself and this is an amazing, thought provoking art piece. I could understand how the ANC leadership could find the painting offensive but at the end of the day, they stand in public office and nothing they do is above criticism. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How not to design a website

Its not often I come across such an intense example of a badly designed website, but I thought I would show my readers how NOT to make a website.

Recently I was looking into learning some Zulu and I came across the following website:

Which had the following message:
Google Chrome not welcome disapproves of Google because their "services" are designed to trample on privacy and monopolize the web.
Please choose a different browser vendor.
Now to those of us in this IT industry know how silly this is. Cutting off such a huge part of your audience just shows how little you care about the people visiting your website.

The author of this website has decided to reject one of the worlds most popular browsers because he has ideological differences with the company that creates the browser. This would be understandable, however its pretty clear that same web designer runs a Microsoft PC.... who are well known to be a hundred times worse than Google in dodgy business practices. 

The hypocrisy from this web designer is mind blowing. The business practice is terrible. To add to the hypocrisy, the author of the website does not stop Google for indexing his website. So he is happy to get traffic from Google, but not happy if you use Google Chrome. That is just so dodgy.

Well because I was blocked from accessing I ended up purchasing products from another website featuring a more tolerant African language website. Xhosa. For those of you who would like to learn an African language I would recommend going to:

Learn to speak Xhosa like a pro with the guys at All browsers welcome :) No double standards.

Turns out the confused author of the website is : Carsten Gaebler

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Warning. Scam store

This is just a warning to anyone who wishes use the following website:

They are a scam store and we have laid criminal charges against them for fraud. Please be careful about this fake "online store".

Monday, August 5, 2013

There are no Mandelas in the Middle East

I have a lot of smart friends who have many different diverse views on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Some of them are pro-Palestinian and others are pro-Israeli. They often try draw me into these discussions and force me to pick a side.

I absolutely and completely reject either supporting Hamas or the Israeli government. It is a fools choice. Neither of those governments want peace.

Both governments are pretty conservative right wing political parties that thrive on fear, and the only way those type of political parties can retain political control is by scaring their respective populations into supporting their violent and discriminatory policies. If peace is formed both political parties will lose their support base to more moderate and progressive political parties.

Both sides are to blame. Hamas does not want peace with the Israeli`s and intentionally targets civilians in terrorist attacks. Israel go full retard with their collective punishments and behave like dodgy land squatters. None of them embrace diversity. Both push nationalist theocratic agendas.

There are no saints in the Middle East.

This does not mean I reject the people of Palestine or the people of Israel. My heart bleeds for them. I want them to have the same freedoms and protections that I have in my home country of South Africa. I wish they could learn from the lessons Mandela taught us. The path to peace and prosperity is not built with a gun. It is built on forgiveness and reconciliation.

I am a member a liberal political party called the Democratic Alliance here in South Africa. Our party is built on four pillars which we fondly give the acronym, "R2D2". I would recommend those four foundational pillars to the people of Israel and Palestine to build your future governments on.

Reconciliation - Get over your hatred. Accept that Jews and Muslims are going to live in that part of the world for a long time still. You need to learn to forgive each other. It is also important that you learn to stop dehumanizing each other. Embrace yours and their humanity.

Redress - Bad things have been done. People have unfairly lost family, land and possessions. On both sides. Work out a system to look after those that have lost everything. Return back to the 1967 borders and organize fair land swaps and compensations for land.

Delivery - Make governments that work for the people by separating religious institutions from government institutions. Drop the theocracies.  Focus on building a transparent and accountable government that focuses on service delivery.

Diversity - One of the stronger pillars. Diversity is good. The more ideas, the more cultures and the more peoples you have in your society. The healthier your society will become over the long term. You need to learn to embrace the positives in each others cultures and you need to learn tolerate the negatives. We all have something to learn from each other.

The only way your civilization will last long term and achieve awesome levels of stability is if you build an ALL inclusive multiparty democracy with a strong secular constitution.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is probably part of the problem.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Microsoft Office 365 Review - Why you should ignore it

So today I was comparing the price differences between MS Office 365 and MS Office 2013. In many cases if you have multiple devices the Office 365 option could be the cheaper office.

I am pretty much at home with the majority of my data being housed in the more trustworthy Google cloud and I thoroughly enjoy the power and versatility of Google Business Apps, but every now and again I get a document (that due to Microsoft's aversion to public standards) that does not format well. So I am basically forced to open that in Microsoft Office. I do not need this ability more than once or twice a month as most documents are formatted correctly but the need does arise.

Since I have multiple devices (a high end laptop, my Galaxy Note tablet and my S4 phone) I decided it might be worth it to purchase a Microsoft subscription.

I go to their website, enter in my credit card details and all excited about playing with new software I get to the section where you install Office 365 onto your devices. Well.... here is the zinger. Not one of my devices is supported.

Yup that's right folks, Microsoft have completely ignored the worlds most popular phone and tablet operating systems and have shut out Linux operated PC`s. There is 0 support for any Linux system. Be it Android or Ubuntu.

My laptop runs Gnome 3 Ubuntu, my tablet runs Android and my S4 phone runs Android. Office 365 does not work with a single one of my devices.

What makes this worse is I know it is completely intentional. Microsoft have gone, "f**k you" to all consumers not running Apple or Microsoft products.

They have ignored the worlds most popular smartphone operating system distribution to try force consumers onto Microsoft or Apples product range.

First thing I did when I saw that was login to Office 365 and cancel my subscription. At the end of the day Office 2010 running on Wine does what I need and while it would have been great to try out Office 365.... the insulting way in which Microsoft treats its clients and its incredibly insidious business practices have turned me off. Again.

Cheers Microsoft. You wont be see any of my money any time soon. I guess Google wants my money more. Google actually give consumers what they want. For instance, I can use Google Business Apps on any smartphone with an Internet connection and PC. Be it Linux, Apple or Microsoft.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Did Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Solomon Ngubane of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Lie to South Africa?

While writing this I am honestly shocked. Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Solomon Ngubane of the South African Police Service (SAPS) as come out and (what looks like)...directly lied to the public of South Africa. I am using harsh words like, "lie" because this is something I can directly and empirically prove.

First some context. Yesterday I wrote about the hacker @DomainerAnon  hacking the SAPS website. At the time the hacker thought he was just going after SAPS data but he inadvertently dumped a lot of sensitive whistleblower information which has put the lives of many innocents at risk.

 So this afternoon I am busy reading my news feeds and a headline comes up stating that Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Solomon Ngubane of the South African Police Service has said that no sensitive data was leaked.  I will quote verbatim from the popular MyBroadBand website:
No criminal information or case information was compromised at all,” Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Solomon Ngubane told journalists."
Anyone with half a technology wit can prove that Mr Ngubane is misrepresenting the truth. Let me make the case. I have visited one of the mirrors where the hacked data is stored and will quote some heavily retracted comments from it. 
The above person is a prostitute who will be travelling with 2 men between Johannesburg, South Africa and CENSORED. She is a drug mule and will be carrying a large amount of cocaine. This will happen within the next 30 days. Her ID number is CENSORED.
There's a gentleman staying in CENSORED who sells drugs. Mostly dagga and cocaine. He runs CENSORED and also trains kids at his house. His name is CENSORED. ADDRESS CENSORED his phone number is CENSORED 
Drugs is being sold from this address from the CENSORED  in the back yard at this address. the suspect is also known to walk around with a fire arm a 38 special revolver.tik,dagga and heroin are his drugs that he sell to the young people of the area  
On the above mentioned date my younger sister age 16 was nearly rape and she was rescured by member of the public, when we went to the police station to open a case of attempted rape constable CENSORED and her superior inspector CENSORED told us that there was no panty torn so there is no way they can open a case,
All the quotes above represent but a tiny portion of the 16 000 reports and complaints of the hacked database. All the records come with additional information like telephone numbers, addresses and ID numbers (which for obvious reasons I have not included).

Mr Ngubane tries to pretend the data is not sensitive by saying:
Furthermore, the information that was accessed was the following;
o Information that is published usually, and
o Names and contact details of divisions and provinces, which is made public on the website in any case.
It does not take a rocket scientist to see that Lieutenant General Bonginkosi Solomon Ngubane is deceiving the public about the scope of the hack. A lot of very sensitive information was released and I would assume that in the 16 000 records... more than a few of those are open criminal investigations.

I have lost a lot of faith in the South African Police Force since this incident. An investigation into the SAPS and their inability to protect sensitive data should be started immediately.

UPDATE: The hacker  has since read this article and responded with;
@safrikaan and I thoroughly agree with your article...
—Domainer V2 (@DomainerAnon) May 22, 2013
UPDATE: This is the full press released by SAPS

SAPS At about 10:00 on Tuesday, 21 May 2013, the State information Technology Agency (SITA) informed the SAPS that the website of the SAPS had been breached and that information had been obtained unlawfully.
SITA hosts and manages the website of the SAPS separately from the rest of the corporate systems of the SAPS. For this reason, no criminal information or case information was compromised at all. In fact, the corporate systems of the SAPS are hosted in a building in the Pretoria CBD, while the website of the SAPS is hosted in the data centre of SITA in Centurion. They are, therefore, hosted in completely different buildings with no link between the two.
The SAPS can state that no case information or classified information was compromised as this information resides in the mainframe systems of the SAPS, which is hosted separately from the website.
The SAPS has made a facility available on the website where a person may log a request to be addressed by a specific station or division or merely give a compliment. The person may log the request either with a name and contact detail or anonymously, depending on his/her choice. The persons who submitted their names and contact details made it available in order for a representative of the SAPS to contact them. This list was also available for the people who hacked into the website.
SITA has since addressed the security on the above details.
Furthermore, the information that was accessed was the following;
o Information that is published usually, ando Names and contact details of divisions and provinces, which is made public on the website in any case.
Hacking the website of the SAPS will always be a matter that the hacker community will strive to achieve and therefore the website of the SAPS and the corporate systems of the SAPS are hosted on completely different networks and therefore no corporate information of the SAPS will be compromised if and when the website is accessed unlawfully.

UPDATE: Annelize van Wyk Parliament's Police portfolio Committee Acting Chairperson has since responded to this article:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Think Twice, Hack Once - An important lesson to be learnt in regards to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS)website hack

Today I read a pretty disturbing exclusive news article on the ENCA, an independent and reliable news source website.

A hacker who calls himself, "@DomainerAnon" on Twitter hacked the South African Police Service website and it looked like he dumped the contact details of many people who used the website. Both police officers' and innocent whistleblowers' personal information was leaked. Apparently @DomainerAnon is really upset with our South African Police Service because of the Marikana incident..

According to the ENCA website:
"In so doing, the identities of nearly 16,000 South Africans, who lodged a complaint with police on their website, provided tip-offs or reported crimes, are now publicly available".
I contacted @DomainerAnon and asked him why he released the sensitive information of innocent whistleblowers in the course of his hacktivism. Apparently his hacktivist anger is directed at our corrupt government and the inequality still existing in a rich country like South Africa.

To be honest, I agree with him. We do have a corrupt government that is impacting our ability to deal with the social and financial inequality caused by Apartheid.

What I don't agree is his method. If he really wanted to help us he would actually be going after the corrupt politicians. It's not like we lack content. You really want to help South Africa? Expose the corruption.

I did ask why  @DomainerAnon was risking the lives of innocent whistleblowers to prove a point and he seemed to think that he had not released whistleblower information. I think in his mind he thought he was just "sticking it to the corrupt South African government"  by releasing police officer information.

However according the reliable media source ECNA:
"However, was able to download the list posted online in less than five minutes and spoke to some of the people who had logged concerns on the SAPS website. After informing Setati of this, his response was: “The SAPS would like to reserve its comment on the matter at the moment."
Complaints range from rape cases opened in Durban to police brutality in Port Elizabeth. Also on the list are ordinary South Africans asking for help in cases involving vehicle theft and illegal shebeens. People have also complimented police on their work, including speedy responses to emergencies and help in cases."
So it appears @DomainerAnon was wrong. He has inadvertently exposed the personal information of innocent whistleblowers. With one mistake, he managed to piss off just about every South African who is not a corrupt criminal.

After going through the data dump I can personally confirm that @DomainerAnon has released the personal information of many whistleblowers. These people are the most vulnerable in our society. They are rape victims, people reporting drug lords, people reporting corrupt police and victims of domestic violence. This is a pretty shocking release.

There is that old saying. "With great power comes great responsibility". When you become irresponsible with that power and start costing lives, how different are you from American drone strikes and their collateral damage?

I really hope one day to see a skilled hacker expose the corruption in my (and all) government. That's worthy of the respect of the South African people... but this hack. Is not worthy of respect.

EDIT: 22/5/2013: There is a follow on to this story where the South African Police Service misrepresent the truth about the whistleblower leak

Monday, May 20, 2013

Liberalism and Ubuntu. My personal thoughts

I was recently reading a Letter to the Editor that Gareth van Onselen wrote where he emphatically expresses that the concept of Ubuntu and the concept of Liberalism are not compatible. I feel that perhaps this should be looked at in another way.

I understand where the classical liberals (or what we today call “classical liberals”... as the definition of liberal keeps evolving) come from. They come from a time period in the 80`s where just about every government they dealt had a negative impact on society. You had Reagan's America, Thatchers UK, communist Russians and the Apartheid South African government. It was one massive conservative festival.

So when I listen to classical liberals today I totally understand their absolute paranoia for anything that sounds remotely like social welfare. It reminds them too much of their respective communist and nationalist days.

Times have changed. The world has moved on. There are new battles to be fought. We have noticed how countries like Canada and the Scandinavian countries have pulled ahead of other countries in areas such as education, health and safety. When we look at those countries we see that in many cases the state can and has played incredibly important and vital roles.

These days we have less problems with out of control states than we do have with out of control corporations (though generally the two are synonymous). When we look around the world we see new centers of power forming daily as multinational corporations spread around our globe. These new bastions of power are often more powerful than the countries they operate in. We saw what happened in the Great Recession where these giant (mostly unregulated) corporations pulled the economic systems of the world to its knees.

I feel this raw and almost uncontrollable, unaccountable power is a power that many classical liberals are unable to see. They are still so fixated on the dangers of state power and abuse that they willingly ignore the abuse of power from the market.

Too often I see my classical liberal friends using extreme forms of liberalism to justify their selfishness.  Its no small wonder that these type of liberals more often end as Neo-cons or market fundamentalists. Justifying selfishness was always a conservatives game.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”~John F. Kennedy
As a modern social liberal I am different from a classical liberal. I believe in civil liberties like a classical liberal does but I believe in two things that a classical liberal does not understand the importance of. I believe in a transparent and accountable state that is managed by the people for the good of the people that creates a well-regulated and open market, and I believe in social justice. 

I am  an empirical human being. I work on empirical evidence to guide my beliefs. Based on empirical evidence all the best countries in the world are modern social liberal countries or have modern social liberal governments.
In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Its pretty self evident that the bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the more violent a society becomes. You just have to look at South Africa, its inequalities and its violence levels to get a clear picture of what happens to a society when there is a clear lack of social inequality.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.~Dwight D. Eisenhower
With Ubuntu, no one is advocating a classless state control society where everyone gets the same. Ubuntu essentially means, "people for people".  I know other people give it other definitions, just in the same way that the term, "liberal" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for the sake of this discussion and my mindset, I am working with the above definition. 

I see no logical reason why the word Ubuntu is "anti-liberal" anymore than my other liberal ideologies. Technically, nothing can be truly "liberal" -- i.e. there can not be absolute "freedom", as the concept is paradoxical  You can not have freedom without taking away freedom. Meaning, I cant have the freedom to live without taking away the freedom of the psychopath to kill me.  So we have established the rights of the individual while sacrosanct, does have limits. 

Looking after our fellow South Africans and expressing our humanity by looking after our humanity is not socialism, it is not nationalism, it is not conservatism, it is not communism. It is humanism.
It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”~Hubert H. Humphrey
So I am going to have to say, yes. I agree with Mmusi Maimane. You can have Ubuntu with Liberalism.  We can both believe in the importance of civil rights and liberties of the individual and fuse that with the humanity to make sure that the weakest and most vulnerable in our society are not left behind. 

All the best countries in the world have managed to get this right, I dont see why we can’t. 

One of the reasons I initially joined the Democratic Alliance is because internationally they are recognized as a modern social liberal party. In fact, if you look under social liberalism on Wikipedia, South Africa's Democratic Alliance is listed there. However, being a modern social liberal means nothing I believe is set in stone. Everything I believe is subject to criticism and change. As a liberal, being adaptable to change is one of those core values we should continuously endeavor to.

I also accept that the Democratic Alliance has migrated onto being an Open Opportunity Society for All and this is an ideal I can fully embrace.  I love diversity (as should most liberals). It means I get to hear all opinions. Right wing and left wing. Conservative and liberal. What old classical liberals need to realize is that an Open Opportunity Society for All is not just about the "Open". It is about the "Opportunity for All" as well.

There is an African proverb that I think best describes this entire article I wrote but includes the spirit of Ubuntu in it:
If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.
So are we the type of country that goes quickly and alone, or are we the type of country that incorporates the spirit of ubuntu and goes far together?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Political Cartoon of the Week

What do you mean. YOU need a bailout??

PUT.IO an honest review

I am going to start this review with a disclaimer. PUT.IO is a website service I subscribe to. They emailed me recently offering me a couple of months free usage of their service if I wrote an honest review. They were pretty insistent about the honesty bit. They insisted I talk about positive or negative experiences I have had with their service.

I had been meaning to write an article about their service so I guess this is as good a time as any other.

I came across PUT.IO around six months ago when it was recommended to me by a friend. For those of you who are not familiar with the service, PUT.IO is a specialized cloud storage system. It comes with a diverse set of useful tools:
  • Cloud torrent application
  • MP4 converter
  • The ability to schedule torrent downloads with an RSS feed
  • Video streaming (Browser and other internet steams)
Why would I want a cloud torrent application? For two primary reasons. Speed and security. One of the disadvantages of running with torrents is connections are peer-to-peer which means bad guys like the Russian mafia and RIAA can snoop on what you are downloading. Since PUT.IO is doing the downloading, your downloads are private and incredibily fast. 

If you select your media from ThePirateBay Top 100 Files, then downloads are pretty much instant. If you are like me and have a few regular files that are released weekly, you can use the schedule option so that your media is automatically downloaded and waiting for you to watch at your convenience. 

Have a look at a schedule service like

I think without a doubt the ultimate feature of this service for me is the speed at which you can start consuming your media. Normally I can add any file I want and be watching it within 20 seconds. For someone like me in bandwidth starved South Africa this is important. 

Torrent traffic in South Africa is heavily shaped (slowed down), so one of the added advantages of using PUT.IO is the HTTPS encryption which not only means your traffic is unshaped, it also makes it harder for someone to spy on you.

If you run a Plex or XBMC media player for your home entertainment system, then you will be happy to learn that there are plugins to allow you to stream the media content directly to your main screen. 

Well... thats a short breakdown of the positive side of PUT.IO, now I guess its onto the negative. They are a new service working with some amazing concepts, and a lot of what they are working with is beta type, cutting edge technology. So there have been some teething issues as they have expanded. I also am looking forwards to the day that one of the proxy servers are located in South Africa so I can get even better streaming speeds.

On at least three occasions in the last 6  months there has been lengthy service disruptions. In their defence the last one was caused by one of their datacenters and was beyond their control. They do communicate with you via Facebook and Twitter when there are service issues. The only other complaint I have is with the mp4 conversion times which can be frustratingly slow sometimes. 

All in all I believe it to be a very useful service, one that I am happily willing to pay for monthly. I love it that I can pick any media I want and be watching it on any device in seconds. I can watch it on my XBMC media player, I can watch it on my S3 Samsung phone and I can watch it on my 10" Samsung Android Tablet.

Go check them out, they are a fantastic web based service:

Monday, May 13, 2013

David Bowie on the ISS

First music video ever shot in space. A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.

Be sure to follow all his social networking feeds!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

KdenLive error: Unsupported audio codec: libmp3lame

I wanted to do some video editing on Ubuntu with some of the awesome open source tools out there. I thought I would give the video editing software, "KdenLive" and see how it performs.

Video editing was really easy and I was impressed with some of the powerful video editing utilities that come with KdenLive but for some reason when I wanted to render the project as a MP4 I got the following error:
Unsupported audio codec: libmp3lame 
That was very perplexing because I was sure I had all the right packages to render my project. It seemed like there was a configuration error with KdenLive. So after much googling I came across the following two simple steps to resolve this issue:

1) Browse to: /home/USERNAME/.kde/share/config
2) Delete the file called : kdenliverc

That is it. Fire up KdenLive and you can render away.

EDIT: This fix also fixes the following error:  Video codec libx264 is not supported