Twitter and Facebook attacked

Social networking sites Twitter and Facebook were both unavailable for long periods this afternoon (Central African Time) due to a Distributed Denial of Service attack or DDoS, a process whereby huge numbers of infected computers, controlled by a single “master computer” besiege the servers of a site with demands for data until the servers – and the site – breaks.

Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, likened the attack to “15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time.” and while this explains the situation nicely, there is no definition of how fat the men are or how small the revolving door is. Some shopping malls (Meadowhall, Canal Walk) have huge automatic revolving doors which wouldn’t have any trouble fitting 15 fat men in. I can only imagine that either Twitter has a very small revolving door or that the men in question were exceptionally obese.
It’s also interesting to note that it is men who are taking the rap for this. In this age of political correctness, I sincerely hope that Graham considered the implications of his perceived single-sex attack. While it may reflect rather negatively on the male sex, I’m sure there will be – at some point down the line – some mouthy lesbian who will claim to have been struggling to get through the revolving door as well.

And already, accusations as to who employed the 15 fat men and the angry lezza are flying around. Some have suggested that Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinajacket was getting back at twitter for the rather unsupportive stance it took around his brutally putting down opposition protests last month. Others have suggested that it was some sort of coalition or consortium of bosses who just wanted their employees to actually get on with some work for once. Especially those in Port Elizabeth.
But it seems most likely that this was basically an attack by aliens who were just warming up to take on a really big site like this one. But don’t worry, we’ll be on the lookout for a group of fat bastard martians trying to get in through our revolving door. And this being South Africa, we’ll be ready and waiting to defend 6000 miles…the only way we know how: with a gaggle of angry black mamas toi-toi’ing their way to greet them.
There are few sights more terrifying than Nkosazana, Thandiwe and their chums singing and dancing their way towards you while holding up illegible placards made from torn cardboard boxes. Believe it, because it’s true.

Once the large social networking sites have seen how well we in South Africa defend our revolving doors, they will be flocking over to Mzansi, servers in hand. We’ll have a plethora of twits in Pretoria, loads of MySpace in the Karoo and Friends Reunited in Cape Town (as long as they went to the same school). All of which can surely only be good for the economy.

Then all we have to do is somehow stop them from noticing how slowly our revolving doors actually revolve.

Good start, but…

It’s been a week of political revelation in South Africa, as President Jacob Zuma arrived unannounced in Balfour, Mpumalanga to see first-hand the lack of service delivery which has caused riots there recently and Human Settlements (read ‘Housing’) Minister Tokyo Sexwale – the man with the best name in Government since Johannes van der Undergrunties – slept in a shack in Diepsloot.

It’s good stuff and a far cry from the distant leadership of Mbeki. It’s down-to-earth, it’s populist and hands-on.
And while that’s a welcome change, it’s important to remember two things: firstly, that we’re in no way comparing Zuma to any sort of gold standard in Mbeki and secondly, that turning up on the doorstep and talking about things is really just the start.
Echoing my thoughts on the promises of Zuma’s election campaign from July 24th last year, the only thing that should actually make people believe that Zuma and the ANC care about them is when they actually deliver on the promises they have made. And that’s yet to happen.

However, Zuma’s surprise visit has certainly struck a chord with the press. Dominic Mahlangu wrote in The Times:

That the local government was lethargic was further demonstrated to Zuma when he drove to the municipal office at about 3.30pm, only to find that the mayor, Lefty Tsotetsi, had already gone home for the day.
It remains to be seen whether Zuma will take action against Tsotetsi and the other alleged under-performers on the council. But his populist pledge to visit many other local governments and departments without warning in the coming months could keep civil servants and elected officials on their toes most of the time.

And that can only be good for South Africa.

While one of Zuma’s most vocal critics, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro graded Zuma’s performance as almost “praiseworthy” by moving the symbolic showerhead which has plagued Zuma since his rape trial in 2006, upwards in response to his Balfour visit (note the small self-portrait in the bottom corner: “Credit where it’s due”).

This cartoon removed at the
request of Zapiro’s legal team
6000, September 2009

If he is to be taken seriously, Zuma needs to act now. A lack of action now would surely be even worse than not visiting at all: The hope, the expectancy and the promise are all there now. Sadly, I have seen too many broken promises not to be skeptical about Zuma’s motives in Balfour. It’s now nearly 4 months since he was sworn in as President and as far as I can see, nothing has really changed for the better.
Some might argue that it’s still early days, but some concrete action wouldn’t go amiss already.

Sick

Bah.

With all this talk of swine flu getting a grippe in South Africa, I find myself sick in bed. Not, I hasten to add, with swine flu. I’m not sure what it is; all I know is that I’ve been stuck here sleeping, watching old episodes of Deadliest Catch and sleeping while watching old episodes of Deadliest Catch.
I have been treated to the dancing nuns on the DSTV advert about 17 times, which has been nice (who doesn’t like dancing nuns) but I’m still feeling rather ropey.

More drugs are required because the long weekend ahead brings with it the promise of sunshine, the return of the football season and live international rugby at Newlands.

Sent from my Sony Ericsson XPERIA™ X1.

On the rocks


On the rocks, originally uploaded by Ballacorkish.

On the rocks in more ways than one.
I have been suffering with horrendous stomach ache today and it’s because of this that you’re only getting a quota photo this evening.
I am putting it down mainly to last night’s prawn madras: at least the combination of that and the beer and brandy.
Add to that the [few] hours sleep I managed and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The rest of the Boulders photos can be found here. And jolly nice some of them are, too.

More tomorrow, should I last that long.

Roman Rock

One of a great many photos that I took at Boulders Beach this morning, more of which I will upload tomorrow morning as there is a rugby and curry evening starting 4 minutes ago and we’re hosting. Oops.

This is the Roman Rock Lighthouse, just outside Simonstown Harbour, thus satisfying my lighthouse fetish. And, in the foreground, some of the famous Boulders on the beach, which was actually surprisingly devoid of penguins  – apart from the odd one every now again stumbling onto the sand after being pushed down the path by TMNP employees desperate to keep the tourists happy.

As I said, more photos tomorrow. But now: some Tri-Nations and a quart of Castle Milk Stout. As you do.