My blog was down for the couple past days, because I changed the hoster.
Normally it should have been very smoothly. The domain was due to expired on July 1st 2017 . The support at FastComet told me to renew at Planethoster because they need 15 days to transfer. But I didn’t expect a 60 day lock after transferring my domain raychenon.com to the new hoster. Somehow the registrant’s information (WHOIS ) was modified when I ordered the transfer not by me directly.
FastComet transferred the website content ( DB, images, post , …) but the domain name was still with Planethoster. Since the transfer was in progress, I couldn’t edit the DNS, nameservers . But the support at Planethoster could. I was just the middle man between Planethoster and FastComet. The fix took a week.
Currently the domain is still with Planethoster, but all the existing links are there.
To avoid the 60-day lock :
Request the transfer to another registrar before changing the registrant’s information
Have the prior registrant opt-out the 60-day lock (if this option is offered by the registrar) before making any change to registrant information.
In the next post, I will explain the reasons why I changed the Cloud Hosting for my blog powered by wordpress.
Website hosting is a commodity, prices are dragged to the bottom. In terms of infrastructure and software, hosters are pretty much the same . Higher cost hosting providers have better customer support and extra service. That’s the general rule.
4 years ago, I chose a cheap hoster at ovh.com . I had trouble to set Domain Name System (DNS) . After a few days , no reply from customer support. So I invited a DevOps friend for pizza at home, after a few hours he couldn’t fix. The lunch cost more one year subscription. Then I reviewed on hostsearch and hostadvice . I tried out Planethoster during the free trial.
First I was impressed by how technical the support was. At any time of the day, within a few hours the technical support will reply to me. Just open a ticket on their website, you can reply to it by email like zendesk without being zendesk.
It wasn’t simple questions. They helped transfer my old wordpress to a new domain without breaking any link. Redirect to a sub-domain. Anonymize on whois.org …
Then the following years, I still stick to it.
Most hosters give incredible discount for the 1st year and increase dramatically the next year (Strategy of godaddy ) . But Planethoster stayed true to the initial price.
In addition, since the company is from Québec, Canada. The support speaks English and French.
Thanks to Cpanel , it is very easy to install in one-click WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Prestashop, WooCommerce, Magento. The updates are automatically taken care.
I’ve been a satisfied customer of Planethoster for over the past 3 years on multi hydrid now moving to Platform World ( 6 USD per month).
Disclaimer: I don’t advertise products I’ve never tried. The link below is an affiliate link. A percentage of the sale will go in my pocket. This commission comes at no additional cost to you
Tout d’abord cela va faire 5 ans que je suis chez Free depuis j’ai quitté un autre opérateur . Ne résidant plus en France, je garde quand même mon numéro FR mais je rétrograde l’abonnement de 20€ à 2€.
Pour activer l’option voyage , il faut d’abord payer 10€ seulement par carte. Sauf que le code de confirmation est envoyé par SMS et que ce numéro de tel ne peut rien recevoir hors de France. D’où la raison pour activer le roaming , cette fameuse option voyage. C’est le serpent qui se mord la queue.
Je remonte cette information. Je vous confirme que les cartes bancaires étrangères ne sont pas acceptées. Pour activer l’option voyage, vous devez être sur le réseau Free mobile en France, il n’est pas possible de l’activer une fois à l’étranger. Bonne journée.
Donc pour activer cette option voyage, il faut :
être sur le réseau en France
payer avec une carte Française supportant 3D secure.
J’ai résolu ce problème 2 par la carte d’un ami.
Mais allons plus loin dans la réflexion, Free a une autorisation de prélèvement sur RIB. Pourquoi ne pas débiter automatiquement sur le compte bancaire ? Après tout, quand il y a du hors forfait , Free prélève le dépassement sans autorisation supplémentaire.
Le support téléphonique est encore plus désarmé par cette situation. Je dois être dans le 1% des usagers.
En passant par d’autres interlocuteurs, la 2ème personne en vient à la même idée du prélèvement automatique , dont elle fera part à sa hiérarchie. Je lui promet que je twitterai ça à Xavier Niel et elle éclate de rire. Pour des raisons de qualité, la conversation a été enregistrée.
Confronté à un problème avec Free mobile, je dois les contacter depuis l ‘étranger. Avant tout, je suis client sur 2 numéros mobiles et Freebox depuis plusieurs années sans jamais avoir contacté le service client. Soit un taux de défaillance de < 0.1 %. La plupart du temps, je me rends sur mon compte du site officiel avec un email automatique pour chaque facturation.
Free mobile ou Freebox a mis en place un parcours du combattant pour décourager ses clients “casse pied” à les contacter. Jusqu’à maintenant , j’ai toujours cru que le service client était le maillon faible de Free.
Warning letters concern a formal demand to stop doing a particular activity. The idea behind such warning letters is to settle disputes directly and cheaply, without resorting to taking claims to court. The copyright infringement warning letter is an out-of-court settlement offer.
In 2014 , I downloaded many films on BitTorrent. I received several copyright warning letters from law firms asking compensation up to 1000€ each and a declaration to cease and desist.
Worse, all the warning letters must be replied within 7 days. I contacted some lawyers specialised in internet copyright. I learned a lot about file sharing infringements. If you don’t have much time to read through this, go directly to the last paragraph Summary
What is illegal ?
The music and film industry pursue file sharers. As a general rule of thumb, download is allowed. You are not allowed to upload copyright material publicly.
If the exchange of music to friends via e-mail , chat or cloud storage ( even though this is an upload) takes place within the private sphere, it is then legal.
Streaming is legal as long you only download. How can you that you’re not uploading while watching ? never install any software to watch anything online. Ex : some people thought popcorn-time was uploading on their behalf.
How do law firms track file sharers ?
By default, when you use a peer to peer such as torrent, your IP address is visible. Look below at the screen capture . The IP addresses are displayed and their respective countries.
Copyright holders ( Hollywood , music labels … ) purse the file sharers of their content. To expand territorial scope ( e.g. Hollywood is US based) , copyright holders use law firms based in Germany. These law firms target only IP addresses only in Germany and the time ( important for dynamic IP address ).
The name and address of the person accessing the internet cannot be directly obtained from this information.
The ISP is obliged by court order to send the information directly to the copyright holder. In doing so, internet providers may demand payment for providing copyright holders the information concerning IP addresses. (According to paragraph 113, sub paragraphs 2, sentences 2 and 3 of the Telecommunications Law)
Once the name and addresses are obtained, warning letters are sent. The requests from rights holders comprise thousands IP-addresses at a time. The whole process is highly automated.
However the IP Address is not sufficient to prove its owner was the one who committed the crime. It could the children or a neighbor using the wi-fi.
The defense (you or your lawyer) focus on proving you are not the perpetrator but someone else did it.
It could be someone else who was using your internet access via Wi-Fi. That’s why all wifi must be secured.
The German Federal Supreme Court decided that every person who owns an internet connection is under an obligation to ensure that it is secured.
If the wireless connection was not secured, but the owner can prove that he/she didn’t commit the copyright infringement (e.g. because they were not at home at the time the download took place), then the owner will not necessarily be liable as the perpetrator, but will nevertheless be strictly liable for causing a nuisance.
Cease and Desist letter
Not only does the warning letter ask for a compensation ( the price always inflated ) , but it asks you to sign and return a cease and desist letter (Abmahnung) within the next 7 days.
The initial cease and desist letter is crafted to take advantage of youbecause :
You acknowledge to pay compensation and the opposition side’s legal cost
You were the one who committed the copyright infringement.
You would be bound by the declaration for 30 years and future changes in the law by Parliament or through the courts would have no effect.
Instead you should submit a modified declaration to cease and desist, which satisfies the other side’s claim. You acknowledge to pay a lower compensation, you don’t know who did it and you will never be involved in copyright infringements.
There are plenty of free “cease and desist” samples online. But the modified declaration can be rejected by the opposition side if the formulation terms are incorrect.
A specialist lawyer in file-sharing case is a great help for the average joe.
How to choose a lawyer
I contacted some lawyers specialised in internet copyright. Each case costs a nominal fee. Most of them have a flat rate price no matter the number of warning letters received. Meaning all the copyright infringements committed before the last warning letter was sent will be ignored but the ones after are not included in the flat rate contract.
But the most important criterion for me was the location of the lawyer. If the case is escalated to Court, it’s better to have your lawyer in the same city.
If you choose one, you will have to mandate the law firm and give the power of attorney ( Vollmacht in German ).
Now you received a warning letter , it doesn’t matter how you were caught. You read you have to pay a fine.
Remember a warning letter is an out-of-court settlement offer. The copyright holders didn’t bring the case to court. A letter is cheap, the court is expensive.
After receiving a copyright warning letter, there are several options :
Be the stupid guy ( be Ned Stark ) . Sign the cease and desist letter and accept their unfavourable conditions.
Be the nice guy . Return a modified cease and desist letter favorable for you ( lower compensation and you were not the perpetrator) . But never sign the original one.
Be bold. Reject the warning letter and reject the cease and desist letter. State no compensation will be paid. The copyright holders will escalate with another out-of-court letter. Maybe the case will reach the court only if the opposition thinks the cost of the Court is worth.
Be ignorant. Ignore the warning letter as if you never saw it. There is little chance that the copyright holders will ignore your ignorance. The consequences will be worsened.
A lawyer is not required but can be very helpful for your defence.
Copyright holders ( via their law firms ) bring customers to defence law firms. The compensation requested by the warning letters is always inflated. Copyright holders have minimum costs to recover because Internet providers can demand payment for providing the names behind IP addresses.
Warning letters based on alleged copyright infringements have become big business for the German content-industry, anti-piracy firms and their affiliated lawyers. And the people who are benefitting the most are the defence lawyers whose demand is only increased by customers who receive warning letters.
Because the whole process of 1 tracking IP addresses/ 2 requesting the name holder of those IP addresses / 3 sending warning letters is highly automated, it has created a nuisance for hundreds of thousands if not millions of honest internet users in Germany. The current implementation of warning letters violates EU law .
A major difference with France’s HADOPI , the French government sends some waning letters ( rarely with fine ) while in Germany, private law firms carry on the warning letters.
With growing losses due to piracy , the corporations are suing the content consumers instead of re-inventing the content distribution.
As a general rule of thumb, you are allowed to download anything. What is penalized by law is to upload copyright material and offer it to other people. Here is a way to avoid any copyright lawsuit/penalty/infringement .Law firms track users uploaded the content by looking at their IP address. They can request the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to give the IP address’s name holder only within their respective countries. For example : a German law firm can only request a German Internet provider (not French or British ) to disclose the name of IP address holder. Thus it is best to not expose your own IP address on public BitTorrent.
A virtual private network ( VPN ) creates an encrypted ‘tunnel’ between the computer and the host server, with the internet traffic going in and out of the host server. An ISP or government can only see that the user has connected to the VPN server and nothing else – the activities, IP addresses visited etc. are all completely hidden from the ISP.
However, the VPN server can keep logs. After the post Snowden era, all your VPN history and logs are likely to be harvested by the NSA.
Go for a non-US provider. If possible with untraceable payment method.
Apart from the peer to peer ( P2P ) anonymity, VPNs can bypass geo-location restriction ( content only available in certain countries )
is a remote server hosted used for the safe uploading and downloading of digital file. Contrary to a VPN, a seedbox will not use your bandwidth. Most seedbox are hosted in a high-bandwidth data center. A seedbox can be safely hosted in a country where file sharing is illegal. Because data centers are considered professional use. For example, the biggest datacenter in Europe is OVH ( in Roubaix, France ). A lot of French customers use OVH as seedbox while if they use their private internet, they could get a fine.
Seedbox are more expensive than VPN.
Use an internet cafe
Since the IP address matches the owner thus the downloader , it is best not to expose one’s IP address. There are 2 important conditions to select an internet cafe : – you can bring your own laptop. – no ID asked. Of course, the payment method cannot identify you ( pay by cash ).
When the legal alternative is cheaper
Maybe you had a look at the cost of a VPN or seedbox, Netflix costs about the same price as a seedbox ( 9,99 USD /month for the standard subscription ) . The Netflix catalog may be smaller than all the content available on P2P but the content creators get a better redistribution of their work. You make your own choices.
To start the new year, I will add one more Rant about the TOEFL iBT ( in addition to this rant from an Oxford scholar) . One week before the test, I took some practice with Notefull videos . Joseph Miranda does a great job at explaining how to score well on the TOEFL iBT. The latter is not exactly measuring English skills , you have to know different kinds of tricks which are not even nearly related to English skills. My weakness is the Speaking part . My English speaking is fluent but I find it unnatural to say everything in 45 sec or 60 sec ( no more , no less). The voice is recorded and later scored by a certified ETS rater. It is a similar to a rapper contest without the rhythm. Even in my native language ( French ), I cannot do it. I passed the test on December 5 at GLS Sprachenzentrum Berlin. Despite the training from Notefull, I knew I fucked up the speaking part.
@ets.org agents reply like robots
I received my score, 10 days later , I thought I performed better. Only 22 on writing.
I knew I could score better at reading and much more at writing ( I used the right paragraph structure according to Notefull. Wrote 350+ words for the first essay and 500+ for the 2nd => the more the higher score). Surprised , I requested firstname.lastname@example.org to see my corrected exam. Here is the template answer I received :
Thank you for contacting the TOEFL Program.
Thank you for your email.
Please be informed that we do offer a score review service – after receiving your scores, you can request a review of the Writing section and/or the Speaking section of your TOEFL iBT® test. You have 1 month after your test date to request a review. IMPORTANT NOTE – the score review service is not available if you have already requested that your scores be sent to any institutions or agencies.
Keep in mind that you can only request only 1 score review per test administration, and there is a cost of US$80 for each section. Both sections together cost US$160.
If the review results in a change in your scores (either higher or lower), your new scores will be posted to yourTOEFL online account, and you will receive a revised test taker score report if you requested a paper copy before you took the test. The revised scores will become your official scores.
Results of the score review will be posted online within 3 weeks of the receipt of your request and payment
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.
Agent ID: xxx
Case ID: xxxx
US$80 to request one score review ?? It is no secret that paying for an extra review will grant a higher score. Now I never asked to review, I simply requested to see my corrected test.
The TOEFL test taker are not allowed to display parts of the exam in any public environments. So I understand their refusal to show only the reading and listening parts because they are multiple choice questions. But the answers can be so different on the writing and speaking sections. So why hide it ?
ETS agents only reply with template answer. I don’t know if these agents can properly read emails. After 5 exchanges , I am redirected to email@example.com to request a correction of my exam. Judging by the template answers the ETS agent reply , I seriously doubt they can get a B1 on the Reading.
Thank you for contacting the TOEFL Program.
It’s great to hear you took the TOEFL® test!
We received your request for a score review – unfortunately, your scores can’t be reviewed because you have already requested that they be sent to at least one institution or agency.
As stated on the TOEFL website at www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/scoring and on the Score Review Request Form, our policy is that scores cannot be reviewed if the test taker has selected any institution or agency as a score recipient.
Furthermore, our Score Review service is not available for the Reading or Listening sections of the TOEFL iBT® test. Those sections are scored by computer and validated by the ETS® Score Quality Control process. The Reading and Listening sections are graded and validated in several stages, and the scores can’t be put through our review process.
If you decide to take the test again to try to improve your scores, be sure to check out all the free and priced test preparation products at www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Case ID xxxxx
How qualified are TOEFL examiners ?
OK by reading above , I guess I will never see my corrected essays. It is no use to waste my time . If the monkeys behind @ets.org email cannot read and answer by their own words , I don’t blame them. What about the people who score the test : writing and speaking ? The examiners must have at least a higher command of English . I checked the requirements for the scoring job opportunities ( note this is not specific for TOEFL )
The Online Network for Evaluation (ONE) is ETS’s proprietary software application that enables Raters to score test-taker responses and/or other submitted work via secure Internet access. Raters typically score from their homes or offices, in accordance with ETS guidelines. Online scoring sessions may occasionally be conducted at regional sites.
The process for each testing program includes:
To certify and score using the ETS Online Scoring system, prospective Raters must have computer equipment that meets the minimum hardware and software requirements.
So the raters are just a bunch of people working from home. There is no need to have a bachelor, no English certification required ( TEFL certification ) . The English teachers I met in China and Germany aren’t the smartest crowd, yet they have at least a bachelor. I have nothing against them, some are very smart ( one was a former investment banker). But these guys/gals recruited by ETS have no fuck*** credentials. There is no requirements for them to speak fluent English. Just have a computer and internet connection, and you can score any TOEFL listening and writing tests. I wonder where are located the ETS scorers ? If I were the CEO of ETS , I would put the bare minimum for all raters at least 26 out of 30 on the Writing or Speaking sections.
On top of that, ETS charges US$80 to review the speaking or writing part . My guess estimation is that it takes no more that 30 minutes to score each section. Sorry ETS ( Educational Testing Service ), I think the test takers deserve more respect from you. Especially when you charge US$245 for a 4h test in Europe. I got excellent customer service for as cheap as US$10. ETS has the monopoly of the TOEFL, it is just a lobbying and money sucking machine.
So next time, I will look at IELTS . At least the IELTS speaking part is done in the presence of an academic examiner. ETS, don’t count on me to take your GRE. I prefer the GMAT.
Last month Thessaloniki welcomed the first Droidcon in Greece. It was also my first time in Greece, and I was fortunate to be invited as a speaker. Aside from the high quality of the conference itself, the organizers (special thanks to Eliza Camberogiannis) did a great job of spoiling us. It started at the airport, where a taxi was waiting for me. On Droidcon Eve, the other speakers and I were given a bus tour of Thessaloniki.
We stopped at a Bougatsa shop around the Byzantine Walls and tried both the salty and sweet versions of the pastry; my vote went to the sweet Bougatsa with cinnamon, pictured below :
Before lunch, we visited a local market and tried some mezze (ham, cheese and the biggest olives I’ve ever seen.) Then we were treated to a seafood lunch where, again, we experienced that extremely good Greek hospitality and cuisine.
The talks I liked the most
Droidcon took place at Noesis ( ΝΟΗΣΙΣ ), a science park on the outskirts of Thessaloniki. All of the talks were interesting, but these takeaways were the most memorable:
All the talks were interesting , some were more memorable.
Damien Mabin, Google developer advocate and former game developer , gave advices for game monetization :
Even if an user spends st 1$ in your game it’s still more than what you would get from him watching ads in your game/app. As soon as the user spent money on your app, remove the ads, he gave you enough money. The whales (big spenders) still generate more revenue the average user who spends less than 5$. Duet cleverly uses this strategy.
Damien also noted that time-constraint challenges incentivize players to spend more time in the game; these challenges generate a nice surge in traffic from the same users. (This point applies to non-game apps as well.)
Developer and evangelist Svetlana Isakova of Jetbrains (editors of Android Studio) demoedKotlin, Jetbrain’s homegrown programming language. Nicknamed “the Swift of Android,” Kotlin is considered to be less verbose but more readable than Java, and it supports immutability, nullable types and lambdas. The easiest way to start using it is by automatic conversion of Java file to Kotlin file, done with an Android Studio/IntelliJ plugin. Java can interoperate with Kotlin methods and vice versa. In one of my pet projects, I’ve found Kotlin to be very concise for POJO classes with setter and getter methods.
Josh Skeen, an instructor at Big Nerd Ranch, led a workshop on RxJava — something I was really looking forward to. Rx stands for Reactive, and you may have heard of Retrofit + RxJava in combination. Josh explained the fundamental concepts of Rxjava, a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs by using observable sequences. We tried to solve his RxJava Koans in order to reach RXJava enlightenment.
Savvas Dalkitsis from Shazam discussed how aspect-oriented programming can isolate code related to analytics and ads from your business logic. It reminded of our code base at Zalando, which uses a similar technique (tracking) for analytics.
As for my own talk (my second Droidcon presentation — I got to speak at Droidcon Berlin earlier this year), I focused on “App Fails and Retrospectives.” The topic didn’t quite fit the SDK track, which was where I appeared, in that it mostly offered failure-related anecdotes based on real-world Zalando experiences. Judging by the audience’s reaction, our “best” failure was the time our app was about to become the Editor’s Choice on Google Play, and on the same evening I had to revert to the previous app version because of an untested crash that was going to affect millions of users.
I came up with the idea of “epic fails” from an active Zalando group chat called “#guild-fuckup,” one of the most active of Zalando Tech’s +100 guilds. I found inspiration there the day before the Droidcon Berlin deadline, submitted the talk … and was accepted without sponsorship! I couldn’t offer expertise on trendy topics: Internet of Things, wearables, Android Auto, but failure and mistake-making was something I thought every dev or dev team could relate to, big company or small startup.
All Good Things come to an end
After the very last talk, we took a “family” photo and finished the event with a Greek dinner (of course).
Before leaving Greece, I bought a Terkenlis chocolate cake (tsourekia) for my team in Berlin. A Greek colleague recognized the cake and thanked me for bringing the best back from Thessaloniki. I thought it was the least I could do for all the hospitality I enjoyed there! It was definitely worth the trip.
If you are tired of the default look or darcula theme of IntelliJ (tested on 2017.x and 2018.x versions) or Android Studio , you can switch to a better looking theme . This is a very short process
IntelliJ with Obsidian.jar theme and darcula
1 Select your theme
color-themes.com has plenty of themes ( Sublime Text 2 , Monokai,) . Download the .jar file . Roboticket.jar is my current theme
2 Import the theme
Import to IntelliJ or Android Studio by going to File -> import settings -> and select the .jar file you downloaded.
Select All . press OK. Then Restart your IDE.
Note : if you use darcula theme previously , you will notice the new theme is only applied to the Text Editor. The light theme clearly contrasts
3 Appearance theme
On Mac , go to Preferences -> Appearance . You can also use the shortcut Preferences -> search theme on the top left search bar Next to Theme , Select Default . Or Darcula if you are using a dark theme .
Restart your IDE.
4 The final look