Monthly Archives: January 2007

Mia starts walking

Here is something that does not happen everyday.. Mia took her first few steps. She is exactly 10 months old today. I was not there to witness the event, but I’m sure she will be using this as her new party trick.. so photos and movies will follow.

Mia Standing Mia Drawing Mia Stairs

It is kinda sad that we are too young to remember some of the most amazing things we achieve. I’m not sure this sentence makes sense, but you get the idea.

Frogfoot and Amobia at Newlands Cricket

Amobia installed a 2Mbps link to the Newlands Cricket Stadium and Frogfoot put up a Wifi AP with proxy and some Linux goodness. This is mostly used by the press office.

I can’t say I really follow cricket, but having an ad on the scoreboard is pretty cool. (-:

Frogfoot Amobia Cricket Ad

PS. thanks for the photo Yassin.

Evita for President!

Pieter-Dirk Uys radiates pure genius. Some friends and I went to Spier to see the new Evita show last night. I can highly recommend going to see it. Bitter sweet humor, on the surface it’s a laugh, but the satire really hits home on some of the more distressing trends in our “new designer democracy”.

The real giggle is that I would really like this guy to be president. Strange times when a man wearing a dress seems to really out-class all the clowns in suits.

The Lush beat me to posting about the show and how we unexpectedly bumped into each other. Only one degree of separation in the social network it turned out.

I’ll just have to be quicker with posting the next time I run into a blogger.

PS. Loved the shorts and boots doll. (-;

iCal sharing, Sunbird and Iceweasel

I’m now running Iceweasel ( and Sunbird 0.2.

I was using Firefox 1.5 and the Firefox iCal plugin for the last year or so. This works very nicely and allows everybody in Frogfoot to share calendars using WebDav (over HTTPS). I can manage my calendar from the office using Linux and from home on my Mac, actually from anywhere on the Internet. Really nice.

A few weeks ago there was a security issue with the version of Firefox I was running and the Debian Testing distro seems to have moved on to Iceweasel. Iceweasel is basically Firefox 2.0 without the Mozilla (non-free) artwork.

The Firefox 1.5 iCal plugin does not work with Firefox 2.0.. so the obvious answer is to use Sunbird, which is the standalone calendar app. in the range. One minor problem is that the Sunbird project people seem to all be brain-dead. All the current Sunbird versions don’t allow you to share iCal calendars. Version 0.3 is just totally clueless and overwrites the calendar files. The nightly builds (0.4a1 and 0.6a1) are a little more useful and at least detect that these is a problem (when multiple people write to the iCal file), but then just updates the local copy and marks the calendar as read-only.

It turns out Sunbird 0.2 is useful. It dates back to the same time the Firefox plugin was developed. Sunbird 0.2 at least checks that the iCal file on the web server has not changed before updating the calendar file. Dig around on the Mozilla FTP site to find it or use the link above.

I tested it for interoperability with my Mac (also using Sunbird 0.2) and with Firefox 1.5 with the iCal plugin. It all seems to work.

Now all I need to do is figure out some hack to sync the iCal files to may Mac’s iCal app. so I can sync the calendar data to my phone. This all because Apple iCal is too brain-dead to understand https.

I think this is a case where commercial software is setting the bar very low and the free software people are just not interested in leading the way. Pity.

On the topic of iCal, I really would like a tool to dump iCal files to text in a more human readable format and a tool to dump those iCal meeting invites (which Apple Mail sends) into something that displays nicely in Mutt.

PS. Before everybody tells me to just use Google Calendar… No thanks, I value my privacy. Do I want ads based on my daily live?.. No.

Update: 21 Jan 17:11….

All this syncing now works.

E61 Screenshot
This screenshot shows icons for, Wifi, Bluetooth, SIP registration, my (unused) IMAP mailbox and one future meeting.

I can manage the iCal calendar files with Sunbird 0.2 over https from Linux and Mac. On the Mac I have a little shell script that fetches all the .ics files for me using Lynx-ssl. I make these .ics files available with Apache running on the Mac so I can add these calendars in Apple iCal as a normal http URL (http://blah..), this is because Apple iCal is too lame to understand any other form of URL.

I hacked some of iSync’s XML config files to detect the E61. iSync then syncs all my contacts and calendars to the phone. All very nice.

I spent about 2 hours trying to figure out why iSync would not sync the calendar data. This was really not fun.. no errors, no log message output.. it just did not work… This was the popup message:

“Do you want to use iCal as your calendar application? Before you can synchronize your calendars, you need to open a calendar application that supports Mac OS X synchronization.”

It turns out you need at least one local (native) calendar in Apple iCal for iSync to work. All my calenders were “remote” calendars. It seems iSync wants the one local calendar so it knows what to do with events that get added on the phone. So to fix the problem I added a calendar called “Phone Imports”.

Some search engine bait to help other people with this issue:
iCal 2.0.4, iSync 2.3, Nokia E61, 10.4.8

VoIP is the next cheap spamming and scamming tool

I posted this to the IOZ mailing list today, but I’m posting it here also.. maybe I can warn a few more people.

Today this woman (which claims to be in London) working for Profile Business Services phones me up and tells me a South African guy called Mr. Du Plessis wants to register 7 domains at 100 Pounds each (10yr registration). The domains are:

She asks if I know the guy and if we’ve asked him to register the domains for us: No.

Then she is very nice and offers me the first option to buy these domains
for 700 Pounds.. before Mr. Du Plessis can register them.

She gives me her co. name and the list of domains, but she is not willing to give me contact details for Mr. Du Plessis. I say I’d have to get back to her.

So I find the website for I look around the site, lots of nifty graphics, no real functionality, no contact numbers on the contact page.

root@blue[/]# whois
–8< ---------:- snip -:---------8<---------:- snip -:---------8<-- Registrant: frenton, nick pbs 23 margaret st london, uk W1W 8LF GB Record created on 02-Nov-2006. --8<---------:- snip -:---------8<---------:- snip -:---------8<--

So, this “fake” company who has been around since Nov 2006 is going to
register 7 domains for me, which I don’t really want.. sure.

VoIP becomes cheap and phones become spamming and scamming devices.

Internet with a big I

A little rant.. the more blogs I read the more of a sense of humour failure is brewing about the spelling of the word “Internet”.

It’s “Internet” not “internet”… as in THE Internet. There is only one.

..assuming you forget about the Internet2 academic elitists (“my pipe is bigger than yours”) and the poor misguided souls that are building their own playground using IPv6 :-P

Long live the Internet.


I’ve noticed that some people find dialing-codes a bit too hard to understand. Have a look at these examples:

This sign outside Manna in Kloof Street has been there for at least 9 months.. I wonder if anybody noticed?


I noticed this one when I wanted to phone Monkey Valley Resort in Noordhoek, this image is on their website. Must be the monkeys :)


A quick google for “+27 861” found the knowledgeable people at iBurst implying that you can dial a South African 0861 number from anywhere in the world.
(top right)


Some quick tips:

  • The “+” in “+44” is the thing you dial to tell your exchange you want to dial an international number. So to dial your friend in London you would dial 0044..
    This was 0944 in the past, but Telkom changed this recently.
  • You can’t put the + in the middle of the number
  • You can’t dial SA 0860 and 0861 numbers from outside SA
  • Lets hope the world changes to dialing “email account” style user IDs with SIP phones soon.