Archive for the 'WWW' Category

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Neology: wikifizieren

At work, I’ve started using an expression in 2005 when dealing with internal memos and information we enter in our knowledge database, a mediawiki installation: wikifizieren means just that, entering information into a wiki and using wiki formatting. I had to explain to my boss and colleagues what I meant, but I think it sounds reasonable. What do you think?

update: I found the term in Wikipedia (where else), the earliest entry is from 2004.


Flickrvision displays photos around the world as they’re created in Flickr. Neat.


Why TOEFL Online Registration Broke Down

ETS_TOEFL_logoTOEFL is required as English became a basic requirement for jobs in South Korea, even ones completely unrelated to English. Even children are taking the test. I don’t have to mention that they’re not supposed to take it since TOEFL is targeted to candidates in their last high school year or first semester at the university. The market for TOEFL in South Korea is not huge, it is gigantic: The bank of Korea estimated in 2005 that about 54,8 million Euro are spent annually for study. The linked page gives a good explanation about the sociocultural reasons why everybody is learning English.

800px-Flag_of_South_Korea.svgThis year, it happened that the TOEFL online registration system (a.k.a. iSER) broke down for several weeks. Worldwide, nobody was able to register online. It’s no wonder if you have one server and hundreds of thousands of customers trying to register. This was certainly the case in South Korea. The cbt TOEFL, the computer-based variety, was taken by 130,000 in 2006. Since ibt TOEFL got introduced, the numbers were cut to less than one fourth. The numbers vary depending on who you ask. The rest of the unlucky ones who didn’t get a seat yet are even hiring people to do so for them or fly to other countries to take the test. The ETS server got pounded by Korean customers, once there were 32 million hits in one day when free seats for July admins were up to grabs. Now, that’s desperation.

ETS is going to loose a lot of customers if they don’t expand their network capacity fast: The South Korean government might create a test of their own to depend less on TOEFL. It’ll take them a few years though, and even then, ETS has a head start of several decades in language tests and a couple of years in internet-based testforms. TOEFL is a global operation, involving thousands of people working hard for it for years.

After the debacle with excluding South Korea from July admins lawyers took it in their hands and filed a complaint at the Fair Trade Commission. In the meanwhile, the importance of TOEFL is decreasing, applicants for foreign language schools are among the first who don’t need to take the TOEFL anymore.

Lee Yong-Tak (who has an English name like every English language learner in this country: his name is Paul), who has been appointed as country manager for South Korea on June 1st will need every help he can get to end the TOEFL crisis in South Korea. My advice: Four cities can’t possibly meet demand for the whole country, get every university and language school equipped with computers on board asap.

US Pressure On South Korea: Fair Use Is History

US pressure on South Korea: fair use is history


Forget Visit New York: Google Street View

Forget Virtual NYC Tour: Here comes Google Street View!


Pandora: Quarantine

Pandora, one of the greatest music services online, has been forced to prevent access from outside the US. Welcome back, Dark Ages.


Great Firewall of China

Find out whether your website is blocked by the Great Firewall of China – this blog is, for whatever reason.


Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke It, Deutsche Telekom!

I’m employed as a test center manager at my company and the list of my duties is longer than today’s first page of this blog. How come I can leave for a full month and travel to South Korea with my family? In the last few years, out of a number of reasons my company used to have its employees work from home. My duties and responsibilities allow me to work almost completely as a telecommuter, although I prefer being in the office several times a week. I’ve been “away” for a whole month last year and it worked, this year it’s most probably the last time for the next couple of years and it works again. I didn’t have an internet connection before yesterday though, which was quite a problem since I need to be online, especially during TOEFL preparation courses or TOEFL and other tests. My parents-in-law’ new apartment already has DSL network plugs built into all rooms, but they don’t have a computer thus no need for an internet connection. After our arrival, my sister-in-law called a local internet provider, hanaro, on a Saturday morning (at 10 a.m.). Not only it was possible to do this on the weekend and confirm an order for one month of broadband per phone, but their customer service visited us within 8 (eight) hours! That’s quick – and it didn’t even cost the world. It would have cost three times as much with Deutsche Telekom, they’d need a week or even more and I’d have to split internet connection and the provider and switch the latter to another company, because Deutsche Telekom doesn’t offer internet for one month.

Virtual NYC Tour

Virtual NYC Tour: If you don’t have the money for the ticket.


Explore Britannia

A BBC website with a very well done timeline about Great Britain


Defaced à la Türkiye

If you wondered why the recent and sudden silence: One of the websites I host – the DAAD Freundeskreis Düsseldorf – and my personal website entry page were defaced by some Turkish scriptkiddie. My university’s International Office sent an email asking whether the address has changed, which is how I found out that something was wrong. The hacker probably used remote file inclusion to deface the sites, but since the Freundeskreis website was running on an old Mambo 4.5.2 installation I didn’t touch for …quite a while, the used method might as well been a SQL injection or a combination of both. IANAH. I upgraded the CMS to the latest stable Joomla version, turned off register_globals and now I’m trying to get my ISP to use suPHP. Recovering data, changing passwords, upgrading the software and reconstructing everything took me eight hours and several days to check whether everything was really ok. This WordPress install was untouched, luckily it’s upgraded to the last stable, sitting in a subfolder and used another database anyway.

The hacker left his emailaddress on the root page, but he didn’t write back. Too bad, could have made for an intriguing exchange.


DoMyStuff – and do it quickly.


Social Science Japan Newsletter

An academic newsletter about a wide range of topics, the Social Science Japan Newsletter. The current issue is about hope.


Microsoft aims to double PC base

Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 for $3 or Ubuntu for free. Microsoft is trying really hard, but they’ll loose the fight in the end.


Numly Copyright + Web 2.0 = Copyright 2.0

Creating content and need to make sure you can prove it’s yours? Try Numly