Monthly Archives: December 2006

Lame Vodacom Call-Centre

In general I don’t like call-centres, but from time to time you do get good efficient service from operators with the power to change, fix and resolve issues. Not Vodacom (SA), they do not seem to get it.

Why Vodacom sucks:

The operators do not have the power to change anything. They can’t give you any facts. The can’t view your profile or settings. They constantly put you on hold while they try to track down somebody that knows what to do.. 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

Terrifyingly BAD music on hold. While they put you on hold for what seems like forever they play this hip-hop crap. I’m not sure who told them that everybody is a hip-hop fan.. it must be that Rat they have as a mascot that is doing all the thinking.

Middle-ware queues from hell. Everything takes hours to process. Enable the smallest thing and they say “It should take about 24 hours, or about 4 hours if you are lucky”. 4 (friggin) hours to update a database record? Let me guess the Rat advised you to build systems using 7000 levels of Java abstraction?

SMS assumptions. I hate SMS’s so it really bugs me that they assume everybody loves SMS’s. You can only get your password via SMS for the Vodacom4Me website. This is a web service right? Why can I not register using email? I tried to enable my incoming SMS service using the GSM code (#35*1111*16#) but I can only guess that it’s disabled on a network level after one of their previous little screw-ups where they reset my whole profile to some default.

It’s pretty obvious they are stuck in the “GSM way” of thinking. Lets deploy ~24 year old technology and hope customers will just fit the technology. Well, there is this thing called the Internet now and using this thing you can create useful web services, empower customers and make the technology fit the customers.


Kill, Kill, Kill the Rat.

2006 Anti-xmas Zen

Had a nice quiet xmas-eve dinner with family (Naulene, her mom and the dogs) on Sunday. Rose (the dog) and I kinda passed out after some Tequila drinking.

Xmas Dinner

I was really not filled with the Christmas sprocket.. ehh, spirit the next morning so I had a bit of an general-anti-xmas-xmas. My only xmas gift was this card from AfriNIC. Nice.

Xmas Card

In fact, I spent xmas day at the office. Very relaxing, no uncomfortable social situations, nobody but me and my Linux workstation.

I wrote a nifty little PHP script to generate ATOM feeds for my photo albums. I played with getting Google Earth to work (DRI/Mesa) on my new Intel 965G graphics card. Got 99% there but found a bug in the Debian package. Built a new kernel ( Did some general todo-list grooming. All very relaxing.

Now I find myself in that time between xmas and new year’s eve when nobody really knows what to do. Hmm… there is that one thing, Goldfish are playing at Opium on Friday (29th, @23:00).

I’ve been in the lowest state of energy and loving it. Ok, I went to gym twice, but the rest of the time I’ve been in bed with my laptop, reading blogs, tinkering with my homepage and making notes of ideas for 2007.

Some blogs I’ve been reading:

  • Listened to Mike and Dave’s podcast:
  • All people who studied in Gtown are nutters:
  • James:
  • Dave:
  • My new state of creative illumination already produced a new idea to combine with a new company we are starting in 2007. The new company plans are top secret at the moment, but the name starts with a “T”.

    I’ve also been sipping a new cocktail I’ve created, Ice, Cointreau, Tequila, Ginger Ale and a twist of lime infused with a chai-tea teabag for a nice cinnamon nose. Too lazy to give it a name now.. what about: “leftovers from Anton’s party”, nope.. it needs something with a better ring to it. Any ideas?

    I’ve found that two continental pillows and a bolster cushion propped up in the right way can give me about 3 hours of uninterrupted vegetating with a laptop in bed. One of the reasons I’m not sure I want a new Core2Duo laptop is because heat is actually a bit of a problem with laptops.

    I mostly have this laptop in bed problem since I’m living in my own version of the Fight Club Zen Apartment at the moment (No, I’m not planning to blow it up). I don’t really have furniture other than a bed. I’ve gotten rid of anything that’s not really useful. My fridge is full of cocktail ingredients, no food and no condiments. I’ve never used the stove, or prepared anything warmer than room temperature here. No TV, no Hifi, no Telkom line, only an Amobia outdoor Wifi link and a Wifi AP. Zen.


    Maybe I’ll go for a sunset walk, this is Cape Town in the summertime after all.

    Dinner Dot Com

    On a Friday afternoon, I added the coordinates for Redemption Cafe to my GPS device and jumped in the Frog Van to navigate my way to the Summer Geek Dinner in Hout Bay. (sidenote: next time please provide GPS coordinates in GPX format so I can upload with gpsbable)

    Graham from Stormhoek

    I was a bit late, so I missed some of Graham’s talk on how Stormhoek is taking the wine world by storm, blog by blog. Redemtion Cafe is a pretty cool place. All-round good food.. did I mention there was Stormhoek wine to taste? I tasted the Pinotage and Shiraz and I liked it.


    The waiter’s service was excellent. Just the right mix of friendly efficiency. If only we could bottle him and install his good service in other Cape Town restaurants..

    (sidenote2: seems to point to the wrong place, maybe you guys need a better ISP, I can think of a few (-; )

    Enough about the food and background details. If you missed it you already feel bad enough right? hehehe.


    The evening’s general vibe created a bit of a Deja Vu feeling. It reminded me of the optimistic times around 2000. A wine induced reality distortion field (aka bubble) was created just long enough for this to feel like the new cape town mini dot com community. I guess that’s what you get when you mix a few smart, visionary, idealist, passionate people with good wine.

    With all this goodness in the air we still could not inspire Naulene about “the blogging thing”. Oh, well.. it took me a long time to take the trend seriously.

    I’m still new to “the blogging thing” but it seems there are some patterns, I’ve encountered the following general groups, the Me bloggers (mostly diaries and vanity), the Media bloggers (all about the new marketing trends), the Mommy bloggers and the Tech bloggers.


    Henk gave a very well prepared presentation advising entrepreneurs to “wing it”.. I think there’s a little bit of comedy in that (-:

    Note to self: drink less wine, try to make sense until the end of the evening, it is a Geek dinner after all.


    Mia seems to have enjoyed the evening, she can’t speak yet, but she lets us know by clapping her hands. It’s her new party trick.

    Thanks to Max and Dave for organising the event. Looking forward to the next one.

    Find more (higher rez) pics and an ATOM feed for my pics here.

    New Nokia E61 Toy

    I’ve been having lots of fun with my new Nokia E61 gadget, phone, computer, ssh client, wifi voip phone and more. I’m a bit bummed it can’t make a nice cocktail.. but other than that it’s really cool.

    Nokia E61 1

    Using the Putty SSH client I can use Mutt anywhere I like. I can even be really annoying and answer emails while waiting for movie previews to pass.

    Nokia E61 2

    Getting the Bluetooth-GPRS connection to work (Vodacom SA) with my Mac was not that trivial. I needed the Nokia GPRS CID1 script. The Vodacom (data) network’s latency seems a bit lame (300ms minimum) to the first hop.. but at least I seem to get about the transfer rates I can expect with a 115200bps Bluetooth modem link.

    Wifi access is pretty good. I have it working at home and at the office. The antenna seems to be a bit weaker than my laptop’s wifi connection.. but it works well enough that I can connect to the Mount Nelson Hotel’s AP from my bedroom.

    I’m still playing with getting the VoIP features to work with the Frogfoot Asterisk PBX.

    Viva la Wifi phone revolution. GSM RIP.