Was hat es zu bedeuten, wenn das ganze Universitätsviertel mit Autos zugeparkt ist, besonders vor den Wohnheimen, aber auch bei den Fraternities und Sororities?

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If there was an award for the largest company with the most unusable website, I would consider recommending T-Mobile for the award.

The American cellphone branch of the German Telekom obviously doesn't like its compatriots in the U.S. - or maybe they don't like their customers at all.

One might guess, ordering some new minutes for a prepaid cellphone card should be a common task. Far from it! Not only that I had to switch from Firefox to MSIE (and this hurts, believe me) because the "okay" button didn't show up (MSIE shows a big red cross meaning "image not found" that you can click instead). When I proceeded entering my data, the page was reloaded with every click on one of the numerous dropdown fields, constantly reminding me of the fact that there are securely encrypted and unencrypted parts of the page mixed. - click no, I do not want to display insecure parts of the page.

After I finally entered my whole address - the German one, using the dropdown box to select Germany, then, after another reload, selecting the only state "other - German" in the State dropdown box - a nice little Javascript information insists on: "Please choose a valid state".

So I have to go back and re-enter all the information again with an American address and I wonder if anyone has ever tested the site before making it available on the net.

Wow. This can't be coincidence. T-Mobile must virtually have spent a tremendous amount of money to build a website with so many obvious errors that it must be intentional. I seldomly got pissed off as much by a company website as today.

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Gestern hatte der beste Web-Browser der Welt Geburtstag!

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Diese Woche wurde auf der Arbeit gleich mal für die notwendige Ausstattung und auch ein bisschen Corporate Identity bei mir gesorgt.

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Um gegen den typisch oregonischen Winter-Regen ein bisschen besser gerüstet zu sein, hatte ich mir für mein Fahrrad vor etwa drei Wochen einen Spritzschutz für das Hinterrad besorgt. Anderenfalls wird man immer gründlich am Rücken nass, wenn man mal durch die - hier reichlich vorhandenen - Pfützen fahren muss.

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Today I went to a tiny little ACM workshop at OSU. One of the other OSL guys1 was talking about building accessible web sites with CSS.

Pretty interesting stuff. And, even though I should already know all that, I am always glad to hear stuff from different perspectives.

Pencils, CC licensed from flickrHowever, it make me wanna play on some CSS again. I wanted to rebuild the website of my high school graduation class since some months anyway. After a weird incident2, I had to take the news script off the site, making it more or less static and not truly informative anymore.

At the same time, I wanted to try out Textpattern as a somehow lightweight, but also mighty content management system. A friend of mine really prefers it for her websites (therefore recommended it to me more than once), and she recently did some very nice CSS magic on her blog.

For today, I only made my laptop carry a lighttpd webserver and snagged some old website source code. But I am going to hack on textpattern soon3.

Thanks for bringing "CSS mojo" to my mind again, Morgamic!

Ah, if you want to read more about it, Mike made a nice "Accessible CSS" wiki page with quite a bunch of useful links for you.

Oh, and thanks for reading the article with the most footnotes I ever made ;)4

[1] by the way, I should bug someone to include me in this list - have to take a photo, though :) [2] some script kiddie defaced the site through a security flaw in the news script we were using. [3] maybe on the OSLUG hacking social? If I go there once after band rehearsal on wednesdays... ;) [4] I'm serious!

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Ja, ich war an Halloween verkleidet. Es fühlt sich nicht besser an als Fasching, und ich hasse es genau so wie im Frühjahr, aber es musste sein. Man will ja nicht negativ auffallen.

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Wie ich heute beim Telefonat mit Zuhause mitbekommen habe, werden ja heute nacht die Uhren umgestellt. Oooh, das hätte ich fast vergessen.

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How was it again, the way home when I was in Germany? Aaaah I remember!

Markus just sent me a picture message from his cellphone in the tram. Woohoo! How fancy the green-yellow pattern on the seats is ;)

Straßenbahn 1 Straßenbahn 2

Thanks for reminding me of the 45 min journey that I have to take to university in Germany every day. Oh, and, thanks for reminding me of the other 45 minutes it takes me to get back home again.

Okay, this belongs to the things I do not miss here. However, the "bike riding action" here is somehow flawed by the rain getting you soaking wet easily... Everything has its drawbacks.

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Today, I got my social security card. (Yes it is as ugly as in the picture...)

This, however, is no big secret. Almost every American has one.

Social Security Card

The bigger secret is the number itself. Being discovered by "bad guys", they can do quite a bunch of bad things concerning identity theft. Therefore it is a sensitive document, and you don't want to carry it around. And you don't want arbitrary people know your number. Maybe your employer. Maybe your bank. But nobody else. Especially not the bad guys mentioned above.

Considering this, it is impressive that you are asked for your SSN almost everywhere. I don't really get why some companies should need it, but they ask for it nonetheless. Being an international student is usually a good excuse not to have one, however it is strange how easily this sensitive data is asked for and written down everywhere.

If I read it right, once upon a time even the "student ID" number at Oregon State University was derived from the SSN.

For my job however I have to inform the university administration of my new SSN now. But I kind of hesitate to send it via plain text email. - "No problem!", you would guess, "as a facility that has to handle sensitive data every day, they surely have a bunch of GPG public keys (or something else) for their employees. I mean, they must be interested in the privacy of their students!"

But no, no, you might have anticipated what comes now: Of course they do not have GPG keys for us to use, of course they want me to send my sensitive data via unencrypted email, and of course they have no clue why plain text emails are bad.

Surprising? No.

Sad? Kinda. :-/

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