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Johan Bové

A love note to e-mail and e-mail readers

1 min read

Thank you E-mail for delivering me the important things I need to know about. Enjoying the fact that you let me sip through you on my own pace and time and allowing me to see everything in a time organized manner. Thank you for not engulfing me with unnecessary images and self-starting video advertisements. Thank you for giving me a way to reply and sort my messages. Thank you also for allowing me to filter my messages based upon my own criteria. Also a big thank you (with imap and SMTP) for allowing me to get to my messages on different devices and having them all synchronize the folders. Thank you also for allowing to sign and send secure email with Pretty Good Privacy. I forgive you for the occasional unexpected message from a far - away land as I can simply toss these in the junk folder. Thank you for keeping track of you over many years and after changing many different devices and even accounts. I hope we can enjoy many years together more.

Yours sincerely,

A happy Thunderbird E-mail user.

Johan Bové

I upgraded the camera hardware in my @fairphone

1 min read

Pretty proud that I was able to replace the camera modules in my 3 with the latest camera upgrades.

It is really awesome how Fairphone made a truly up-gradable phone possible and they made it really easy to take apart the phone.

The process does require steady hands and some nerve to execute. Detaching the screen from the frame was exciting. You need to get everything to "click" and not "break".

Everything came apart as planned and taking out the old modules and putting in the new was no issue. I did forget to take away one of the blueish protective covers of the front-facing camera module, after I had put the phone back together. So I had the exercise of taking apart the phone twice.

Followed the instructions from Fairphone themselves

The old modules are on their way to IFixit in Stuttgart Germany for refurbishment or recycling.

Johan Bové

I've met my own fundraising goal, but my team still can use your support!

1 min read

To all my friends, thank you for supporting my head-shaving fundraiser for St. Baldrick's Foundation. I am amazed to share that I have already smashed my goal, with $1045 raised for childhood cancer research.

While I have met my goal, we are still $12000 short for the overall event goal of raising $50000, so I have increased my goal to $1500 – so if there is anyone still interested in helping, here is the link again 😃

We'll be going live on Facebook during the event, set for this Saturday at 18:00. @Jeff Neu, whose superhero 5-year old son Jake just beat cancer and rang the bell in June this year after three and a half years of treatment, is hosting the event. Many people will shave their heads and some will share their stories, and you are all invited to join if you are curious and have time.

This is the first time I do anything like this. While I am still a little nervous about shaving my head, I know it will be fun and I am grateful and humbled by the support you've all given me!

Johan Bové

Johan Bové

Why I am shaving my head bald on September 26th 2020

I am supporting the fight against childhood cancer!

2 min read

Me before the shave

I am shaving my head to raise money for childhood cancer research. Sponsor me to help me reach my goal of a €1500.

I will shave my head to raise money for childhood cancer research. Sponsor me to help reach my goal of €1500.

Childhood cancer strikes more than children alone, it attacks whole families too. Did you know that almost half a million children will get cancer each year, and that in Europe and the US, one child out of 5 will die within 5 years from diagnosis? Did you know that there is little funding for childhood cancer research, with many treatment protocols dating 20, 30 or even 50 years? And that these treatment protocols are more intense than the ones for adults, and can last years?

I had no idea. But now that I do know, I want to help, because children can´t fight cancer alone. My fundraiser is in support of the St. Baldrick's Foundation, one of the most important childhood cancer research charities worldwide.

When you support them, you help fund critical trials and grants in more than 377 institutions in 30 countries.

This Saturday afternoon I will take part of a live event together with other families that will share their personal experiences with childhood cancer.

If you want, you can follow me live as I am getting my head shaved.

I am a bit nervous, but I know it´s going to be fun!

Please sponsor me to help me reach my goal of €1500 by this Saturday.

Visit this URL to learn more:

Johan Bové

Twitter Interests page checkboxes are terribly bad implemented

It's almost that they don't really want you to edit your interests

2 min read

See this page if you have a Twitter account and want to control what kind of ads you get served:

It contained over 300 keywords, some of them I totally did not know why they would be added to my profile, some clearly wrong (Loud Orange Face was in there too) - so I started curating the list. The UX of this page is terrible.

In my case, there are over 300 checkboxes in a long list and there is no way to go through the process of unchecking the boxes easily because on EVERY click a POST request is sent to Twitter, which creates a brief moment where the user needs to wait before they can click on the next checkbox.

So obviously when a lot of people do this at the same time, especially now after watching the Social Dilemma documentary, clearly this page was not designed with that kind of traffic and server load in mind.

Was it done deliberately to discourage people to maintain this list? After 10 clicks or so the server is responding with error 503 ("Service Unavailable" or "over capacity") and none of the changes you make to the list is actually stored. I only noticed this after a reload. Yes, you can happily click further ignoring the error toast notification, but none of your changes will be saved.

This smells like a dark pattern, doesn't it?

Johan Bové

Contact-less cash in the Real World?

How to hand out cash contact-less?

4 min read

Got a SwatchPay watch developed by Swatch and G+D Mobile Security, the other Saturday as a father’s day gift. I activated the payment function today using the Boon Virtual Debet Card I had registered for some months ago. Since WireCard in Germany is filing for bankrupcy there was some confusion and uncertainty.

The nice people at the Düsseldorf @Swatch store had to verify that it would work. It did. Some time later I paid contact-less for lunch with my new watch. Pretty sleek and COVID - safe.

Being able to pay contact-less is pretty great. But people on the street who depend on small change donations are really left out. I simply don’t carry cash and coins anymore with me. My credit-card size wallet also attest for that.

So how could we give small-change using a contact-less cash system? Similar to how in China vagrants use Alibaba Pay QR codes to beg for a small contribution on the street.

How would that work with a system that relies on NFC like SwatchPay? Give everyone who needs it access to NFC readers? What is the cheapest, most battery-efficient, weather-proof, solar-powered NFC reader payment terminal you know of?

It would have to be a system that works offline, but where the collections can be transfered into a system that exchanges for actual cash or exchange for food and clothes or shelter. People who have no identification should also still be able to use this system. The reader would have to taken care of as if it was actual cash.

How can we digitalize small-change donations in Germany where a large part of the population, luckily, still trusts cash in the hand more than electronic payment systems?

So the best solution is that we would reverse the devices. The people on the street all get “SwatchPay - like” watches or a similar thing like a card. They work without a battery, need only to be registered once. Then it would be up to everyone else to use their phones, or a portable NCF payments-capable device, to initialize the donation transaction. There would be an app for that. Just like the existing Boon or SwatchPay apps.

Instead of paying, we would be giving.

How much technology is inside the SwatchPay watches? It’s an NFC tag chip, similar to the ones we all have on our bank and credit cards.

How SwatchPay! Works (source)
Payments are made possible by the NFC chip, which is located on the back of the case. In a ring around the bezel, the watch has an antenna that catches the radiation, connecting the chip with the payment terminal. This is exactly the same technology as your bank card uses. You can activate your watch with your internet banking system. Setting this up costs about ten minutes. SwatchPAY! uses a method they call tokenization, which creates a unique “token” for the device. Simply store your credit or prepaid card on your smartwatch via the app (activation of SwatchPAY! watch in Swatch store) – the app is available for iOS and Android.

More insights in the tokenization can be found in the PDF: SwatchPay case-study by G+D Mobile Security.

Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security is a company based in Munich, Germany

I’m not an engineer or have really investigated fully into the technical side of this, but the logic seems sound. What if we could tokenize everything this way?

And how we would avoid abuse is a whole different level of challenges to look into.

Johan Bové

Open Letter to René Benko by Nicole Lange about Schadowstraße in Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf In einem Offenen Brief an Karstadt/Kaufhof-Eigentümer René Benko schreibt die RP-Online Redakteurin Nicole Lange, warum die Einkaufsstraße bald wieder ein Top-Standort sein wird und welche Rolle die Kaufhäuser dabei spielen können.

5 min read

Von Nicole Lange

Sehr geehrter Herr Benko,

kürzlich habe ich mir Schuhe gekauft; im Karstadt an der Schadowstraße. (Es sind übrigens bequeme Sandalen, trotzdem ein bisschen schick.) Die Stimmung bei diesem Einkauf war gedrückt, denn tags zuvor war bekannt geworden, dass beide großen Kaufhäuser an der Straße schließen sollen, der benachbarte Kaufhof also gleich mit. Mehrere hundert Arbeitsplätze hängen an dieser Entscheidung, von Menschen, die teils seit Jahrzehnten dort arbeiten. Gleich neben mir unterhielt sich eine Kundin mit einer Verkäuferin, die noch unter Schock stand wie auch viele ihrer Kollegen. „Die Leute weinen die ganze Zeit“, hat sie zu der Kundin gesagt. Ich will Ihnen das nicht verschweigen, aber es geht mir auch nicht darum, auf die Tränendrüse zu drücken. Denn es gibt auch gute sachliche Argumente, warum die Schließung beider Häuser ein Fehler wäre.

Baustellen-Ende an der Schadowstraße Die Kundenfrequenzen und Umsätze beider Kaufhäuser sind seit Jahren stark beeinflusst durch die Dauerbaustelle(n) an der Schadowstraße – aber das Ende dieser Zeit naht in großen Schritten. Blicken wir zurück: Anfang 2008, vor mehr als zwölf Jahren, haben die Bauarbeiten für die Wehrhahn-Linie begonnen. Schnell wurde die Straße „ein Ort, an dem die Abrissbirnen kreisen und wo es schrecklich aussieht“, so damals der Einzelhandelsverband. Bis 2010 fiel die Schadowstraße aus den Top 10 der deutschen Einkaufsstraßen auf Rang 22. Aktuell liegt sie auf Rang 17, noch hinter der Flinger Straße. Dass es in diesen Jahren schwer war für die Kaufhäuser: Wen wundert’s?

Für den Weg zurück unter die Top-Einkaufslagen gibt es aber einen klaren Zeitplan. Seit Februar 2016 fährt die Wehrhahn-Linie, die oberirdischen Straßenbahnen sind verschwunden. Bislang kann der gewonnene Platz zwar nicht zum Flanieren genutzt werden: Wenn aber die Arbeiten für den Kö-Bogen II beendet sind, wird die Straße mit neuer Oberflächengestaltung erstrahlen (ein guter Teil ist 2021 fertig, der Rest voraussichtlich bis 2023). Das vieldiskutierte Konzept sieht einen geteilten Straßenraum vor, mit breiten Flanierzonen für Passanten, gelben Lounge-Sesseln und einem großzügigen Radweg. Über letzteren kann man freilich streiten – aber dass das Gesamtkonzept ein Erfolg wird, bezweifelt kaum jemand. Und ein Kaufhaus an einer generalüberholten Einkaufsmeile scheint keine schlechte Sache zu sein. (Und dann ist da noch das geplante Wasserspiel gleich vor Karstadt...)

Kö-Bogen II wird mehr Leute anziehen Wo wir beim Thema Baustelle sind: Bei den Baggern und Bauzäunen geht es ja nicht mehr nur um die Verkehrserschließung, sondern um ein großes städtebauliches Projekt inklusive Einkaufszentrum. Die Mieter des quasi fertigen Kö-Bogen II sind trotz des Namens nicht an der Edelmeile orientiert, sondern klassische Marken für die eher „konsumige“ Schadowstraße: TK Maxx, H&M, Mango, ein dm-Markt. Das Center wird auch Gastronomie beherbergen und die Laufwege von der östlichen Kö komplett neu prägen, glauben Handelsexperten. Die Straße bekommt also einen festen Anker im Westen – ein weiterer im Osten wäre ein Gewinn für die gesamte Straße, mit breitem Sortiment und Tradition. Eine B-Lage, so hat es ja schon Oberbürgermeister Thomas Geisel gesagt, ist das fürwahr nicht.

Die Qualität der Immobilie Vielleicht reden wir an dieser Stelle einmal nur über den Karstadt – denn für dessen Zukunft hege ich wie viele andere die deutlich größeren Hoffnungen; und wir wollen ja komplett ehrlich miteinander sein. Experten haben seit Jahren darüber spekuliert, dass der Kaufhof am Wehrhahn vermutlich schnell einer neuen Nutzung zugeführt würde, wenn beide Häuser zum gleichen Unternehmen gehören. Pläne für einen Neubau haben Sie ja offenbar schon; und die Lage eignet sich tatsächlich für einen Bürobau bestens.

Nebenan sind Sie dagegen Mieter einer Immobilie, die mit ihrer edlen Fassade ein erhaltenswertes Schmuckstück ist; übrigens auch der letzte Warenhausneubau des Architekten Philipp Schaefer, über Jahrzehnte der Chef-Planer für die Kaufhäuser von Karstadt. Zuletzt wurde dort einiges investiert, beispielsweise in die neuen Rolltreppen. Untermieter gibt es im Untergeschoss auch – ein Konzept, das sich weiter ausrollen lässt, um das teils angestaubte Warenhaus-Konzept weiter aufzufrischen.

Dass Kaufhäuser an sich noch eine Zukunft haben, glauben Sie ja selbst – sonst würden Sie kein KaDeWe für die Düsseldorfer vorbereiten, und den Kaufhof an der Kö haben Sie bei unserem Ständehaus-Treff als „mega-erfolgreich“ bezeichnet. Die Schadowstraße der Zukunft wird definitiv Platz für ein weiteres mega-erfolgreiches Haus haben. Ich würde auch zusagen, die nächsten Sandalen wieder dort zu kaufen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Nicole Lange

Johan Bové

Gimme A Token "client mismatch" in Known

Figuring out why Gimme A Token is not working for my Known instance

2 min read

Trying to obtain an Access Token for IndiePub with IndieAuth to be used in IFTTT requests so I can link other Web Services with my site.

I was able before to get a token using, and the integration with Pocket, Deezer and others worked, but I revoked all access tokens and today it no longer works to create a new token on my Known instance running version 1.2.2.

This post is about trying to solve this issue.

Got the endpoints of my server using:

After entering all the fields in "Gimme A Token" and going through the process to get the access token, I end up on with the message "Client mismatch". And I'm not sure where to go next.

What is causing this "client mismatch"? Did Known get safer or is "gimme-a-token" broken?

Going to reach out to Seb and Marcus in the next days.

Found that Greg had a similar issue with Monocle some months ago:

Update 2020-06-29 19:00

So I can rule out that "Gimme-A-Token" is broken.

Thanks to the greate people on the IRC channel (thanks Aaron, Greg and sknebel) I have a pointer towards htaccess and http/https redirecting. Looking into that now.

Update 2020-06-29 23:20

It seems that for a correct IndieAuth authentication, I had to add a hard-coded "me" url in the head of the Known head.tpl.php file so the Known homepage would always have this link:

<!-- Hardcoded me url -->
<link href="" rel="me" class="u-url">

This resolved the site error message and I can log in in one flow without having to retry.

But unfortunately I'm still getting "Client mismatch" errors with "Gimme a token" most of the time. I did manage to get once an actual token which I can now use again for IFTTT PESOS syndication.

Johan Bové

Note: Making Beaker OS a reality

Gathering ideas and basic requirements

1 min read

Actually: Beaker OS would be very similar to Google's Chrome OS which installs on many laptops. What would be necessary to make Beaker OS "bootable" ?

A list of basic applications any computer should have

  • Editor: check: basic text editor and coding IDE (similar to VScode)
  • Browser: check; similar to Chromium, without the extensions. Also issues with accessibility and internationalization.
  • Application platform: check
  • Address book: how would we integrate non-beaker profiles in the address book?
  • Calendar: CalDav, web client
  • Message client (email): web client
  • File Manager: check, but issues with syncing with OS FUSE and Hyperdrive
  • Terminal: check, and extensible with "Web Term Commands"
  • Media player: some examples: Winamp player, video player?
  • Photo Management: creating a photo gallery is easy. Web client?
  • Chat client: IRCCloud, web clients
  • "Office-like" applications: spreadsheet, editor, presentations: offline working spreadsheet?
  • Games: many web games already out there. Some multi-player using Beaker api?
  • Remote Desktop Client: not sure how this would work.