Monday, 29 August 2011

Twitter fake page: Beware it will steal your password (phishing)

If you get a Direct message that looks like this:

ROFLMAO i can't stop laughing at this pic of you
Direct message sent by YourFriend (@yourFriend) to you (@YourName)

The first reaction is to click on the short link which will take you to which will resolve to (notice the ‘l’ before the ‘t’ of twitter) which will present a FAKE Twitter login page that looks exactly like the Twitter web site with username and password screen:


Please beware – since this is a FAKE login screen – So do NOT enter your login details!

If you do enter your username and password – then the fake page will steal your username and password and then redirect you to another fake page:  (notice the ‘l’ before the ‘t’ of twitter)
Once the phishers have harvested your login details then they will send DMs to all of your followers and send them the same “ROFLMAO” message and hope that they fall into the same trap and log in to the fake Twitter page.

Be careful out there and remember to ALWAYS check the URL of the page that you are logging in to.

Walkie Talkie on your phone: Push To Talk (PTT) using data channel on any network in South Africa

Use your BlackBerry or Android phone or PC to instantly talk to a group of users – just like using walkie talkie radios!  All of this for free (just pay for the bandwidth)!  I suppose you could call it a VOIP app, since the voice does get converted to IP packets – but what’s different with this app is that the voice gets transmitted to a group of people and it comes over their phones’ speakers – like an intercom system!

This app is available for download from here: and best of all it’s FREE.  This allows public groups of up to 100 people – if you want to create private groups, then there’s the “Loudtalks Mesh or “Loudtalks Cloud” products. 

The Cloud product is free to try out for up to 10 users, then there’s payment options to go larger groups up to 1,000 people. 
In short, if you have your own server, then go for the Loudtalks Mesh option – else Loudtalks Cloud – which doesn’t require a server and is very quick to set up.
See here for a comparison:


Some of the features of the app are:
Loudtalks conversations are nearly as fast as face-to-face and possibly the fastest way to communicate online.
With Loudtalks you can voice message two, three or even a hundred people simultaneously.
Re-play your conversations when you want from the voice history.
Unlike traditional VoIP applications you don't have to use a headset with Loudtalks.
Loudtalks works over WiFi and 3G, and can be used on GPRS and EDGE.
Real-time, low latency
Public channels
Voice-activated transmission (VOX) support

Currently, the app is available for BlackBerry and Android phones as well as PC (Windows and Linux using Wine):
BlackBerry - point your phone to: Note: that it does not use BIS – so if you are not using WiFi, then you will pay for the bandwidth used.  Depending on your wireless provider and service plan using the app may cause data charges even if you have "unlimited email and browsing" BIS data plan.  The app uses 110kB per minute talking, and 20kB per hour when idle.  Regardless of your service plan you can always use the app on WiFi for free.
iPhone: iOS version will be released later this year (2011)

How to get going?:
Install the app then create an account and username,
then add contacts – once approved,
then you can try talking by pressing the PTT button (for BlackBerry it’s the convenience button on the LHS of the phone; for Windows it is F7) – keep that button down to talk, and release it to listen.  

You can also create your own public channels that other people can search for and join.

I’ve tested the application with Vodacom in South Africa and has worked with WiFi and the Vodacom network on BlackBerry 9700 Bold and 8520 Curve.  
Users with 3G handsets should enable the WAP2SR in the Options->Connection menu – this will reduce the high battery consumption.

If you get stuck, here’s a FAQ for BlackBerry users:

Let me know if you have managed to successfully use the app – and for what purpose.  I am going to suggest this for the local neighbourhood watch in my area.

Follow LoudTalks on Twitter here:

Other similar apps that I’ve found are: Blackberry and other “rugged devices”, and not free Windows and iPhone Android and iPhone iPhone (soon Android) Android and iPhone (free)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Calculator: Cost comparison of Incandescent vs CFL vs LED globes

Thanks to Chris from and Mitra Ardron for extending the analysis by taking inflation into account – I have modified the calculator for South African (Cape Town) conditions: price of electricity, the price of the globes, and the inflation rate of power costs.

LED (Light Emitting Diode) globe, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps), and the bad old fashioned incandescent globe

To quote Mitra:

The spreadsheet tracks the cost curves for Incandescent, CFL and LED globes so you can see at what point you would break even. 

has changed the figures for South Africans: electricity cost per kWh, and prices for the different types of bulbs
Based on a set of assumptions (that I got from Mapawatt), it shows (at 4 hours/day usage):
* CFL's are better than all of them from year 1, it takes 17 years for LED's to beat CFL's but then need replacing after year 35. 
* LED's beat Incandescent globes after 3-and-a-bit years.

To quote Mitra again:

Obviously this depends on assumptions about inflation in electricity prices, so I've added a second tab, where I assume electricity inflates at 7% more than general inflation.

HTT has changed the inflation figures for South Africans: electricity is due to go up 25% for the next 3 years (and probably beyond that too).

Don’t give up on the LED globes - in the near future, I’m sure that their prices will drop drastically and will replace CFLs.

Here are the screen shots of the charts showing the results: no inflation, and with inflation (note: horizontal axis have different scales)
image        image

Is it just me, or do you also think that the power guzzling little incandescent globes should be banned!

To see the actual formulae and data download the calculator here:  HTT_Calculator_Lighting_cost_analysis_SouthAfricaAug2011.xls

The electricity rates for Cape Town for 2011 are here:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

If you have a pre-payment meter, then you can save 31.3% on your electricity if you buy now, only 3 days to go!

Eskom electricity tariffs will go up by 31.3% on 01July - that leaves 3 days for you to stock up on cheaper electricity:
I'm going to save that 31.3% by pre-purchasing as much electricity as I can afford before 01July2009.

Once I've purchased all that electricity, I'll want to make it last as
loooong as possible - I'll do that by checking where the biggest savings can be made by re-analysing my household's usage and cut down on the most expensive appliances: Saving electricity tips

See here for last year's posting (still relevant) for all the answers and the "Electricity Tariff Calculator tool":
Beat Eskom price increases

This year's increase details:

When are the tariffs going up?
@ 23h59 on Tues night 30 June 2009.
How much will the increases be?
2009's increase is 31.3%

The posting answers questions like:

How full can your pre-payment meter go?

How much can I purchase on my credit card?

Which tariff plan am I on?

If I fill my meter up too much will I lose my free 50 kWh per month?

And while you're saving money, why not ready the blog "Why pay cash for pre-paid electricity when you can use your credit card?" and earn cash back and "reward points".

How to save electricity:

*) turn down the temperature setting on your thermostat
- here's where and how: Where is my geyser's thermostat? How do I turn it down?
*) use less hot water (ie. Install a low‑flow shower head
). See here to purchase RST Profilence (RST contact details) and here for a report on savings (water and electricity
*) Shower, don't bath: see here for report on how much less power a shower uses than a bath
*) Install a geyser blanket to insulate your geyser and pipes. See here for a report on savings when using a geyser blanket (30% improvement)
*) use the ‘
Electricity Usage Calculator’ to see where you ‘spend’ your electricity.
*) Reduce your pool pump's ON time per day
*) Install ceiling insulation. See here for more info and suppliers
*) Lastly, use solar power to heat your geyser: install solar panels. If you are building a new house or if you replace your geyser, then install solar panels and a time switch. See here for non-savings installing a time switch if you don't have a solar geyser: non-savings report

Update on 16June2010:
Watch out or, at least, be aware: #WTF Geyser's element has just blown <3 years after installation... 5 year geyser warranty, but only 3 months on the element! #FFS #RipOff

Update on 09Aug2011:
I see the XStream warranty page has moved.... (and they can't even spell "warranty"!) 

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Copyright © 2008 HandyTechTipper. All articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 South Africa license, unless where otherwise stated.