Archive for September, 2007

Undesirable: Non-swedish customers

Today I tried to get a contract for a 3G data subscription. Since the mobile operator does not have any stores itself , I went to one of the biggest resellers here in Sweden. The details were discussed, the data card was stocked and the contract was ready to sign. Then they asked for a swedish ID-card, which I don’t have. An austrian passport should be enough, we are talking about the European Union after all. I explained that this shouldn’t be a problem since I already am customer at the very same operator. I also have a swedish civic registration number (“personnumer”, the wet dream of every data-miner; every person in Sweden is relatable to a unique number consisting of birth date + 4 digits) which is basically required for everyday life here in Sweden. You can’t even get a newspaper subscription without it.

Anyway, having such a number, living and working in Sweden, and being a citizen of the EU is obviously not enough. They told me that I just can’t get a contract, because I’m not swedish. And Pulling away the modem from the desk and making a step back is a pretty weird message to the (potential) customer as well. Well, apart from the fact that I already have a contract (how did that happen?), I just don’t think that such a behavior is legal. I don’t know exactly who’s fault it is, my guess is that the reseller has a problem with his policy. Perhaps DO (“The Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination”, which also includes restrictions related to the citizenship) can help them to improve their legal performance. A complaint is on its way.

I will order the package (contract plus modem) which I intended to buy directly via the operator’s website. The civic number is enough, nobody cares about citizenships there. Good old Internet. The reseller will never see me again.

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AJAX, the Web and Everything

Today our research group had, together with some people from Uppsala Learning Lab and IML at Umeå University, a very giving all-day workshop on AJAX and the toolkit Dojo in particular. My colleague Matthias Palmér was talking first about existing approaches for realizing modern web-based applications in general and focused later on the architectures ReST and AJAX. The whole day culminated in doing some hands-on stuff, which means hacking together small applications using Dojo, just for the sake of getting a feeling for how it works or at least how it is supposed to work.

For me it was pretty new terrain. Having done some decent JavaScripts before, the “AJAX using Dojo approach” opened up a load of new possibilities on “how to do things differently” [tm]. Dojo is a powerful toolkit for simplifying such advanced web programming, and I guess I will be using it in a number of applications and prototypes. One of the first (and an important one as well) will be a web-based lightweight version of the concept browser Conzilla. Lightweight means that it will not have any editing support as we know it from the fully-featured Java application. At least not from the beginning. The main purpose will be easy and embeddable presentation of context-maps in different kinds of web documents.

Matthias already developed a prototype which is able to render context-maps directly in the browser. I’m working right now on a Restlet which supports dynamic creation of JSON-data which will be fed into the AJAX client. This will be the foundation of the web-based Conzilla client. Watch out for news on this topic!

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Conzilla 2.1.3 is out

This is a bugfix release of the stable branch, which updates also the Collaborilla client library and fixes some unicode issues with published metadata. If you downloaded and installed Conzilla via Java Web Start, then your installation probably has been updated already.

While maintaining the 2.1.x branch, development continues on Conzilla 2.2 which we plan to release during October. The next release will significantly improve usability.

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