Welcome to Germany


Google Street View Germany was launched this morning after a soft start two weeks ago. It currently covers 20 larger cities in Germany – the screenshot above is from a street in Frankfurt where a friend used to live.

Over 244.000 Germans requested Google Germany to remove their property from being viewable via Google Street View, probably due to privacy concerns, and it is very likely that there will be more requests coming up to censor online street views like the one above. This process also can’t be revoked, so once the images have been altered, they can’t be set back.

While Germany isn’t the only country that has been having issues with Google regarding this service and how data was collected, I am in fact very upset about the stupidity and “privacy concerns” of my fellow citizens, especially when you’re confronted with such views like the one above. I call this “Verpixelungsfaschismus”, because there are many other occasions when Germans should imo protest against political and social changes and nothing happens, but then when it comes to such an unimportant thing like Google Street View that will – at best – only contribute to marketing the beautiful parts of this country, almost a quarter million (!) house owners protest against a photograph of their property being published online. And it’s not that Google is the first provider to offer such a service.

Going by the criticism Google Street View encountered in many other European countries so far, I am only glad this isn’t a German-only thing. In other EU countries, this may be even worse.

tags, tags, tags…

I don’t know if something like the following already exists out there, but I was just going through my feeds on Google Reader as I had recently developed an interest in Japan-related blogs (Gaijin blogs, as I’d call them – much more interesting than traveller blogs) and thought about a website that lists sites in the way humans sort them.


For instance, I grouped/tagged all Africa-related sites as “afrosphere” and European sites with no particular topic as “Eurosphere” on my Google Reader. It may not be the smartest solution, but it helps me to quickly identify where something belongs to (again, according to my own understanding which may be different from yours).

You may also see from my folders that it’s sometimes difficult to caterogize one website into a unique folder. For instance, Steve often writes about the musical Golden Afrique on his blog – so I didn’t know where to save his feed: afrospehere or ngoma?

Google knows about this problem and consequently enabled users to save their feeds in more than one folder. In dubio pro reo – so I saved his blog in both folders.

I even read the wonderful “Everything is miscellaneous” by David Weinberger the other day and think that it makes sense to tag all content. However, it’s still my own tags/keywords – and sometimes I’d like to know what kind of classification others are using on their readers.


One fine way is to check out delicious.com – that social bookmarking service I’ve been using for quite some time now – and see the tags ppl have used on their saved bookmarks. The screenshot above is a search for “Kikuyumoja” – lists 35 search results.

So the idea is to come up with a service that takes bookmarks / links from various resources (e.g. social bookmarking sites, feedreaders, etc.), looks at their tags and combines these with a link:

Kikuyumoja.com – my blog – would probably create a tag cloud like:

Kenya Germany mobile_blogging cool twitter Africa social_media blog moblog water ecosan internet mobile gprs Safaricom umts Nokia WordPress eee imagineering …

…and so on.

Again, I don’t know if something like that already exists, but the idea behind such an approach is not to display my own categorisation (because otherwise I would just come up with a tag cloud on the sidebar of my blog) – but instead a user / reader generated tag cloud: I am not interested in my own stuff, but in yours.

In other words: in case you’ve saved my blog on your feedreader – how did you tag it?

Technically spoken, I imagine a Yahoo pipes app – but how do you access those private tags on feedreaders?

Sarugakucho 11-19

I’d spent the first eight years of my life growing up in Tokyo, Japan, and since we’ve never been back to Japan since then, I was very pleased today to discover that the house we’d lived in still exists:

enlarge map

I may not be such a great fan of Google services (even though I have their ads on my blog), but this Google Street view feature just rocks big time. It’s also interesting to see how the city has changed over the last 30 years – at least by judging from what’s visible through Goolge Maps.

From a professional point of view, of course, I am nowadays wondering about the sewage system in use in Tokyo, and how they manage to provide all this high-tech infrastructure in such a densely populated area.

never change a running system

The missing ability to run a simple cronjob on my 1&1 hosting package actually contributed to the decision to eventually move all my domain names and sites to another server.

Kwaheri, 1&1…
I don’t know about 1&1 in the US, but here in Germany where they started many years ago (I had become their customer in 1999 when they were still called puretec.de), 1&1 = United Internet AG just suck. It’s their web hosting package that doesn’t provide enough flexibility (limited amount of MySQL dbs, no cronjobs, etc.) as well as how they treat their broadband customers. Back in 2004 when flatrates were introduced to the DSL market in Germany, the flatrate option was only made available to new customers, leaving those with an ongoing contract (min. 24 months) stuck to a volume- or 20h/month contract. And the worst, really worst, part on 1&1 is their so-called customer service. Whoever does their L1-support should be fired and kindly asked to stay away from computers.

Technically, though, 1&1 is great. During all those…9years?? with 1&1, I never experienced any server failures nor speed issues.

And it’s not that I or other customers never told them to improve. The management @ 1&1 (United Internet) obviously never studied The Cluetrain manifesto. Did I already mention how much I hate their customer service? Well….

Anyhow, the missing cronjob and limited number of available databases (5, which already was an improvement to the previous 3!), my good mood on a thursday morning and the perspective to be paying much less in future (I’ve spent like ~2.8000 € on hosting services since 1999 alone) eventually led me to switch to a cheaper and much more competent web hosting service. Not the cheapest – and maybe I could/should have switched to one in the US instead (who btw also often have some hidden extra costs), but one that just delivers. Fast. The way I like it.

As a consequence of that, I’ll be moving (done!) all of my domains and sites from the old server to the new one in the next few days. Let’s hope it all works out, especially the database backups. For those of you trying to get in touch with me via e-mail: try my gmail address or twitter account (@jke). Thx!

It also means that I’ll be implementing some changes, or rather – I’ve thought about changing a basic issue that has been bugging me for quite some time now:

change of name / blog title
My online presence under the nickname “Kikuyumoja” started off in early 1997, with my own home page residing under different URLs (AOL, geocities.com, Rhein-Main.Net, Manri.com) until I managed to register kikuyumoja.de in early 1999, quickly followed by uhuru.de and umoja.de.

While searching for an adequate blog title way back in June 2005, I chose to continue using “Kikuyumoja’s realm”. My blog was accessible either via https://kikuyumoja.com or even via http://kikuyumoja.de .

Now, imagine the situation where someone asks you what “Kikuyumoja” actually means. That is, to me it’s just a name, but to many others it’s either “Kikuyu1” or “Kik-Kuuu-ju-moh-jha”. Something that remains difficult to explain. And yet it’s just another (sort-of) brand name like WhiteAfrican, Afromusing, Mentalacrobatic, tHiNkEr’S rOoM to name just a few.

So please allow me to ask the following questions:

1. What do you – dear reader – think I should do? Change it from “Kikuyumoja’s realm” to just “Kikuyumoja”? “Kikuyumoja’s”? “JKE”? “Kikuyumoja Inc.”? “Kikuism”?

2. I didn’t use uhuru.de as the starting page of my blog, as I am currenty hosting different sites on my webspace of which some are accessible via uhuru.de/xyz.
So I was wondering: should I configure my blog to take uhuru.de as the ultimate starting page and force other sites on uhuru.de to use their own domain names? Much like it already is the case with WhiteAfrican.com? Solved!

3. How long does it take to load my blog in areas where there’s no broadband available? Should I maybe reduce the amount of posts shown on a single page? And what should I do with that blogroll? Do ppl still need it? Will I need it or may I just kick it out?

4. What about those Google Ads on my site – are they offensive in any way? I’ve noticed some advertisement for Asian dating services on my blog – which is kinda strange. I understand that GoogleAdSense isnt the only advertisement programme out there, but they at one time in the past at least helped me to *pay lunch* – so I thought about keeping their ads inside my blog.

Ah, so many open questions. Comments on these are highly appreciated!

Thank you.

[EDIT: DAMN….will still have to do something about that UTF-8 issue…argh!!! Fixed!]

[EDIT2: just registered kikuyumoja.COM after 9 years of kikuyumoja.de – and although I do not think Kikuyumoja is such a good name, it still is a brand).