Monthly Archives: March 2007

The New Campers

Real men play Quake 1 on Linux.

Back in my student days I pretty much lived for mountain biking, underwater hockey, Linux and Quake tournaments. There is a certain code to killing people. There are ways to win which are in theory fair but they are frowned upon. There are sure ways to get some pretty nasty insults out of people in gripping moments of live and death gaming.

We all hate campers.

The camper is the spineless little pencil neck shit that finds himself a corner to hide and waits to shoot somebody in the back. The lowest of the low.

Enter the new campers.

The day the finalists for the SA Blog Awards were announced there was something in the back of my mind that bugged me a bit, but I could not put my finger on it.

There has been a bit of noise about this topic over the last few days and one unhappy camper tried the “I’m going home and I’m taking my ball with me” approach to showing his unhappiness with the awards process.

I’m going to try and put my finger on why I think both the SA Blog awards and the ignorant child are lame.

First the awards.

There is a risk to creating a popularity contest in a “distributed thinking” ecosystem. How do you compare original, honest and deeply personal niche content to weak, shallow, regurgitated-happy-meal popular content? Do you count votes? Does democracy apply? I think we are all running our own little dictator states. I rule my feed list, just the way I like it.

Each person has their own view of the blogging world. This is the power of social media. There is no one view or one authority. The news for one.

Do I care who wins the SA Blog awards? Nope. Did I vote? Nope. Will it influence what I read? Hell no.

There is a risk that this popularity contest supports the new campers even if it has the best intentions.

Next, the new campers.

The new camper is the blogger who regurgitates shallow content. They get the hits, they have ads all over their site like an xmas tree. Here you will find the latest video clip which they did not create or the pictures of the latest blond bimbo celeb’s breasts or a series of posts that simply link to other content.

At its best, EPIC is “a summary of the world — deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before … but at its worst, and for too many, EPIC is merely a collection of trivia, much of it untrue.” “Perhaps there was another way.”
EPIC 2014

Change the world or go away.

The blog camper pulls the crowds, the feeblebrained click. Every vote counts. There are ways to win which are in theory fair but they are frowned upon.

There is a code and a responsibility to creating content and I have a problem with campers.

ps. To the people out there creating fresh, original, local, personal, Gonzo and smart content.. keep up the good work.

Weekend News

Just got home after about 61 hours away..

Lets see, that’s news:

  • Visited Stellenbosch on Friday afternoon, the Blio PBX is moving forward
  • I created a 91 MegaPixel panoramic image (15456×5888)
  • Had a long interview with a journalist from the Cape Times on Friday, mostly about the GeekDinners and social media. Watch out for this in the Lifestyle section
  • We are busy testing our new wifi product for Frogfoot and Amobia. Busy with lots of interesting Radius work.
  • Photos are at the usual place.

    WAPA Code of Conduct and AGM

    Today I’ll be attending the first WAPA annual general meeting. By the end of today WAPA should have a formal Code of Conduct accepted by all its members which is in line with the DoC’s guidelines for IRB’s (Industry Representative Body).

    ICASA is showing positive movement in the conversion of VANS licenses to ECS and ECNS licenses and ISM frequency will be license exempt. All good stuff for outdoor wireless networks.

    The party is picking up.

    The total allocated bandwidth (consumer and business products) and the total number of accounts on the Amobia network have grown by about 50% in less than 4 months.

    GeekDinner Update

    32 People on the GeekDinner Wiki so far.

    We now have a GeekDinner Planet to aggregate conversation about the GeekDinner. Please tag your posts in a way we can easily get the relevant content.

    Big thanks Stefano for setting up the Planet and tweaking the Wiki.

    After our little strategy session at Neo, Max and I will hopefully add some content to the geekdinner blog on topics like, what it’s all about, how to help, how to sponsor and the power of the crowd.

    If you have a cool new project to tell us about please add it to the talks section on the Wiki. Jonathan, Neil and I are busy brainstorming god’s gift to restaurant reviewing. There will be a talk about this.

    My little RRML hack to make the browser display a very simple XML file in a pretty way using XSL/CSS.

    “Don’t own the Venue, own the Party”

    Breakfast menu to the Revolution

    Blogging live from Caffe Neo. This is the place where the WAPA Committee usually meets.

    WAPA is looking for a hero. :)

    The kind of person that is passionate about changing the world yet wacky enough to show up to a conference with blue hair. Ant you are a true hero of the Internet in SA. (Ant Brooks / ISPA). We need more people like Ant in this crazy place of government induced asphyxiated Internet.

    Makes you want to put on a barret and light up a Gaulois cigarette or a Cuban cigar. No, actually that’s a revolting thought. Lets rather blog.

    WAPA is interviewing for a similar hero position today.

    ps. Try the toasted pistachio yogurt thingum. Very yummy.

    pps. Just had a meeting with Max about the GeekDinner. It’s going to be fun.

    ppps. I must also mention Dominic as a hero of WAPA. Thanks for all your hard work.

    New Geek Hobby: Megapixel Panoramics

    On Sunday while in Paarl I took a 5×1 set of pictures which I put together as a panoramic. I ended up with a 20 Megapixel image. Keeps my new Core2Duo CPU busy for a while to create these things.

    Pano1

    Today I hiked up Lions Head in search of more “big sky” photos. Nice walk. I watched the sunset from the top. I love Cape Town in the summertime.

    I took a few sets of pictures.. I’m interested to see how my 5×3 set goes. That should produce about a 100 Megapixel image. Maybe I need a tripod.

    The Blockhouse above Newlands forest should be next.

    On the way down you hit a single file path and I was stuck between 3 groups of woman for a while. Interesting conversations going on.. apparently Goa and other parts of India are very “commercial” now. There was one about how men create problems in relationships to hide their real issues. Snap out of it *snap* *snap* … I’m not used to this soap opera stuff. Oh well, at least their drama is authentic.

    TV and beer. The best reasons to stay at home and pacify the mind and body. Who needs to go for walks around this beautiful city anyway? The avg. American only takes 5000 steps a day.

    I watched Super Size Me over the weekend. Good movie, but the dude is a bit of a ninny if he can’t finish eating a super sized McD’s meal?. Not that I would try.. I’m very happy I stopped eating McD’s about 3 years ago, then again, there was that one pub crawl evening in London last year.

    This has drifted far enough.

    iBurst and the ISPA Code of Conduct

    Please help me in showing that the SA telecoms consumer has a voice and will not be bullied by companies who think they have the power to make the rules. You can follow the 3 easy steps below.

    If you have been following iBurst’s circus tricks in the last few weeks you will already be pissed off enough, so just skip to the Submit Your Complaint Now section.

    My summary: iBurst seems to think they need to do the job of the telecoms regulator (ICASA). They also seem to think that spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and disinformation is easier than competing in an open market with well informed customers. iBurst uses the ISM (license exempt) frequency bands (5.8Ghz) but do not want to share this (national) resource with the rest of the networks. Telkom, Vodacom and iBurst are all on the same team. The SA consumer should demand real choice from independent providers motivated to provide good service in an environment with healthy competition.

    Time to stand up and speak out. Please add a comment to this posting once you have followed the 3 steps. Thanks.

    Submit Your Complaint Now

    1. Go to http://www.ispa.org.za/code/coc-complaint.shtml

    2. Fill in the required details..
    Name of ISP: iBurst
    Code of Conduct section: 4-6

    3. In the box which states “Please provide specific information in regard to your complaint” cut and paste the text below (amended as you please).

    As has been widely reported in the media iBurst (Pty) Ltd, which is listed
    as a “Small” ISPA member, created and caused the distribution of 140 000
    pamphlets containing allegations that another ISPA member, Aerosat, was –
    . “NOT LICENSED to sell Internet connectivity”
    . “[not the holder of] an Electronic Communications Service licence”
    . “[an] illegal fly-by-night operator[s] who will leave you and your
    business stranded without internet connectivity”

    None of these statements is true. “Electronic Communications Service”
    licences do not yet exist.

    The pamphlets were distributed to households throughout Port Elizabeth between 19 and 21 February 2007. After iBurst at first denied knowledge and then refused to deny involvement Aerosat obtained an Urgent Interim Order from the High Court preventing further statements of alleged illegality in advertising created by iBurst.

    The pamphlets make extensive reference to ICASA and action which it is allegedly taking. When contacted ICASA had no knowledge of either the pamphlet or the alleged action it was taking.

    The simple and unavoidable truth of the matter is that Aerosat is a competitor of iBurst’s in the Port Elizabeth area and that this pamphlet campaign was undertaken with the primary purpose of unfairly and unlawfully gaining competitive advantage.

    It is noteworthy that iBurst has previously approached Aerosat with a view towards some form of co-operation and the obtaining of the assistance of Aerosat in maintaining iBurst’s network in Port Elizabeth. The parties met to this effect in 2006 and, as recently as January 2007, iBurst had extended a cordial invitation to Aerosat to meet with its Managing Director.

    Aerosat has not, at the time of lodging this complaint, instituted any further legal action.

    A copy of the flyer can be accessed at:
    http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=65&d=1172236275

    Media articles concerning the matter can be accessed at:
    http://www.theherald.co.za/herald/news/n07_26022007.htm
    http://www.mybroadband.co.za/nephp/?m=show&id=5742
    http://www.mybroadband.co.za/nephp/?m=show&id=5774
    http://www.mybroadband.co.za/nephp/?m=show&id=5758

    Given the above we believe in good faith that iBurst has breached section 7 of the ISPA Code of Conduct, which states:

    “7. In their dealings with consumers, other businesses, each other and ISPA, ISPA members must act fairly, reasonably, professionally and in good faith. In particular, pricing information for services must be clearly and accurately conveyed to customers and potential customers.”

    The pamphlet utilised intellectual property in which Aerosat has common law intellectual property rights.

    No authorisation was given for this use.

    Given the above we believe in good faith that iBurst has breached section 20 of the ISPA Code of Conduct, which states:

    “20. ISPA members must respect intellectual property rights and not knowingly infringe such rights.”

    The pamphlet breaches at least the following sections of the Advertising
    Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) Advertising Code – see
    http://www.asasa.org.za/Default.aspx?mnu_id=13:
    . Section 1.1 – All advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and
    truthful.
    . Section 1.3 – All advertisements should conform to the principles of
    fair competition in business.
    . Section 3.1 – Fear Advertisements should not without justifiable
    reason play on fear.
    . Sections 4.1.1 & 4.1.2 Substantiation
    4.1.1 Before advertising is published, advertisers shall hold in their
    possession documentary evidence as set out in Clause 4.1, to support
    all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective
    substantiation.
    4.1.2 Documentary evidence, whether in the form of survey data or any
    other documentation, shall be up to date and current, and shall have
    market relevance.
    . Sections 4.2.1 Misleading Claims
    Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation
    which, directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity,
    inaccuracy, exaggerated claim or otherwise, is likely to mislead the
    consumer.
    . Section 6 – Disparagement
    6.1 Advertisements should not attack, discredit or disparage other
    products, services, advertisers, or advertisements directly or
    indirectly.

    Given the above we believe in good faith that iBurst has breached section 9 of the ISPA Code of Conduct, which states:

    “9. ISPA members must comply with all compulsory advertising standards and regulations.”

    You can also submit your complaint to: http://www.asasa.org.za/Complaint.aspx

    Bullet Point News

    I’ve been a bit quiet and busy.. here are the news highlights from the life of Joe:

  • We had lunch at Manna today, they fixed their sign
  • GeekDinner sites are up and running. I’m getting some help from the wiki and planet Master to add the final touches. 100% free, open and local
  • Always nice to read about another happy Amobia customer
  • My 1.5 seconds of fame on the 27 Dinner Video
  • Teraco is moving forward, important meeting tomorrow
  • The frog recruitment program is making progress. A jnr. guy was in the office today for a one-day-trial. Three more interviews next week. Two snr. people starting soon, one in April and one in May. The interns are doing well.
  • “Hey, intern, get me a Campari, will you?”;
    — Steve Zissou

    The 4 Muggers

    Today, a guy named Kyle shows up at our office to collect a Lucent Portmaster 2er. Kyle is 14 years old and he is interested in the ISP business. He emailed us a few days ago asking for donations for his plan to setup a dialup ISP.

    I offered him a free Portmaster, which is a network access server / router that can connect 30 modems. Frogfoot does not use the thing anymore, but these things were pretty expensive about 3 years ago.

    Off he goes with his new toy and all the cabling. I’m thinking: this will keep him busy for a few weeks. It’s not the most intuitive OS, but if he figures it out I’ll be impressed.

    Then, this afternoon I get an email from him. He was mugged in the Claremont area by 4 guys and they took his Portmaster.

    No, this is not a story about the DoC, Telkom, ICASA and iBurst, but it almost sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    GeekDinner Wiki and Planet

    GeekDinner Logo

    A very basic first wiki and planet site for the original geek dinner is up.

    Yes, it’s ugly. It will look better soon.

    Start tagging your GeekDinner related posts with something like “GeekDinner” so the planet site only fetches the relevant posts from your feed.

    example:
    http://www.swimgeek.com/blog/category/geekdinner/feed/

    Add your GeekDinner feed URL to the wiki.

    ZA Spam Bounty Hunting

    Last week at the ISPA meeting Alan talked about the ISOC-ZA Spam Bounty project.

    Go check it out. I already have 3 local spammers which I sent unsubscribe mails to and I’m just waiting for them to send me the next mail.

    In the meeting I suggested we need a logo and buttons for people to support the project. Here we go:

    logo1 logo2

    logo3 logo4