Monthly Archives: August 2008

Extreme Networks Customer Advisory Council

Just had a 30min chat with the Extreme Networks Customer Network Requirements Director about joining their Customer Advisory Council.

It’s basically a structured focus group or think tank which meets once or twice a year at their HQ in California. The next one is in November.

They present their new ideas to the council and we get to give them our feedback and ideas. We get to see all the next generation technology. How cool is that.

Seems I’ll be the only person from Africa. Good thing I have that 10 year US visa. Well, I still have to wait for the formal invite. *thumbs*

Judgement Day

Loved the scene at the end of T2. A simple motion shot of a tar road at night and this voiceover…

The future, always so clear to me, had become like a black highway at night. We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along. — T2, Judgement Day

If you’ve been following the WAPA and Altech legal cases against the DoC and ICASA about the VANS’ rights to self provision infrastructure, you’ll know that we’re in for a fun ride if the high court rules that all the VANS now have Individual ECNS licenses. The telecoms tiger get’s out of its cage.. ~200 players in the game.

I’m obviously very interested because of Amobia and WAPA.

Judgement in this matter will be handed down at 9:45 tomorrow.

“Interns, chill the champers and get me some popcorn..”

..off to lunch at Lazari.

Joe on ITWeb

Spotted an article about Teraco on ITWeb : Ex-Storm investors in data centre deal

A few comments..

Teraco aims to be the first co-location data centre company in SA.

Teraco aims to be the first vendor neutral co-location data centre company in SA.

This means any business that needs secure data storage can use it without being locked in to specific hardware or telecommunication vendor’s services.

I’d say connectivity is a bigger factor than secure data storage.

The Cape Town site will have 228 cabinets, in which any range of storage devices can be located.

Naturally, you can host more than just storage devices… like servers and routers.

..supplemented by three generators and three uninterruptible power supplies.

The design allows us to start with this and add more units as the DC fills up.

Johann Botha, a director of wireless network provider Frogfoot

Frogfoot does a bit of Wifi, but Amobia is the wireless company. Frogfoot’s focus is on corporate Internet and carrier services.

Abz got left out. You have to love his website. The three initial founders of Teraco were, Matt, Abz and Joe… for the first year or so.

..everything has to be bought twice to ensure proper redundancy.

The idea is N + 1, as in.. Needed plus one. Which is not the same as 2N, though some parts of the design are 2N redundant.

I still need to write my “The brief history of Teraco” post as part of the story series. I have a few notes somewhere.

PS. Yes, the Teraco website is a bit lame at the moment, but it’s useful to have something up, if only for SEO reasons.

Three Men and a Little Lady

I’m moving in with Georg and Andy at the end of the week. The mortgage broker, the engineer, the entrepreneur and the little princess. The plot of that 1990 movie is not that far fetched after all.

Busy packing, sorting and getting rid of a some random old (nostalgic) stuff. I figure it’s a good idea to move every 2 years if only to flush the things you really don’t need…

The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything. — Fight Club

It’s been an interesting four months. Sold 1/2 a business, moved office space, ended a relationship, became a single dad, moving to a new place for September and moving again in October. Fun.

It’s going to be a bit strange not having internet access at home for a while.

Quick Update

Week in the life of Joe..

  • Monday, early blogging and (last) sunrise panoramic from my current pad. I’m moving soon. Lions Head, TT test drive, WP 2.6.1 upgrade, Chandler 1.0 desktop and server upgrade, Jono birthday party at Jamaicamecrazy, drink with Georg in lower main road Obs.
  • Tuesday, gym, hair cut with Bianca, civic centre visit for car license and to cancel my electricity. There is a nice spot to stand and eat lunch just outside the civic centre that has a good view of the mountain. Spinning class for a change, Asoka jazz night (as usual).
  • Struggling a bit to bench 110, let’s hope I don’t kill myself trying.
  • Wednesday, corporate governance forum at the Radisson, cable car run, SA|UX meeting at Limoncello, nice seared tuna.
  • Small world, turns out Mia’s babysitter is 1deg of separation away from the Web2 geeks.
  • Thursday, watched pretty much the only Olympics I’ve seen.. woman’s beach volley ball, very entertaining. Run in Mouille Point.. cold, wet, windy, waves breaking, salty spray in your face.. awesome.
  • Been enjoying the new Roisin Murphy album.. Overpowered, it’s better than Ruby Blue, and helps with my little issue of not wanting to listen to Statues anymore.
  • Friday, lunch with Jonathan, Mia time, braai with friends.
  • Saturday, WordCamp, rugby, Signal Hill, watched Finding Nemo.
  • Sunday, watched a collection of Pixar short films, gym, swim, afternoon nap, Neo, Mouille Point playground, Obz Cafe, watched Die Hard 4.

Have a fun week.

Everyone’s a Captain Kirk

A one-hit wonder Cold War protest song about how balloons trigger a war machine and doomsday event.

The war machine springs to life,
opens up one eager eye,
this is it boys, this is war,
super high-tech jet fighters,
everyone’s a super hero,
everyone’s a Captain Kirk..

Good song, smart lyrics, but I always figured Kirk was a peace loving pansy? He can’t be happy about this. Surely the real bad guys are annoyed about this too. Ok, so you can’t make Emperor Ming the Merciless fit the song, but how about everyone’s a Captain Sarn.. at least he was in command of a Super Star Destroyer. Could have done wonders for his career.

— 99 Red Balloons, Nena

WordCamp Cape Town

I attended WordCamp yesterday. Only managed to see two presentations, but it was worth it.

Justin Hartman talked about the disruptive force of WordPress and Open Source in a large media business. Seems the simplicity and intuitiveness of the backend authoring interface was a key part of the success they had in getting their team to adopt WordPress. I had the same experience with a few non-profit WordPress projects.

Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and Automattic talked about Open Source business. He’s a very good speaker and an inspiring person. All about openness.

I few ideas I liked:

  • Capitalism, freedom and openness.. scarcity and abundance business models can all co-exist.
  • WordPress has a hybrid / dual business model: wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Copyrights belong to Matt and the code is open source, which results in a successful commercial business which does not own the software it creates.
  • I enjoyed their ideas about very selective advertising on wordpress.com. If you run Firefox you don’t see ads.
  • He talked about how, as with children, it’s easier to promote and reward good behaviour that punishing bad behaviour… and get busy making more bloggers (-:
  • Money is a bad motivator.
  • Your content belongs to you. Insist on openness and data portability. Be very careful when putting your content in centralised proprietary systems. This idea really resonated since I’ve been thinking about life caching and personal information gathering lately. Will the content you generate and harvest still be around in 10 years.. are you in control? Avoid content roach motels.. your content checks in, but never checks out.

Lastly.. and sadly a bit of criticism. The event organising could have been better, especially just after the keynote talk. I was really enjoying the Q&A session after Matt’s talk. Then it all abruptly ends and a herd of strangers stampede the place. That sucked. No communication as to what happens next.

I phoned one of the organisers last week, asking them to more clearly explain the lunch plans on they website. There was a 2 hour lunch break in the program, so I’d say it’s kinda important to know.. is the lunch sponsored, do you need to pre book, what are the food options, where is the lunch etc.

Maybe it just annoyed me more than others because I had to keep the eating patterns of a 2yr old in mind. Anyway, turns out you had to book your food earlier that morning.

So, please, in future… insist on exclusively reserving a venue for a conference like this, especially a social media / networking event and communicate the logistical details clearly.

Thanks for bringing Matt to Cape Town.

Audi TT and R8

Somebody once told me, there are two ways to buy a car. One, with your head. Two, with your heart.

I somehow managed to get a meeting date mixed up on Monday, so I found myself in the waterfront area. I passed the Audi showroom and remembered Cath telling me she did not like the interior of the R8.. so I figured I would investigate.

The new A4 looks pretty cool. A5 is nice… but, on a perfectly sunny winters day in Cape Town a convertible is simply the most fun. Sunglasses required.

I took the new TT 3.2 Quattro V6 Roadster for a test drive, a black one.. very very nice. Beautiful day for a drive down the M3 to UCT and back around De Waal drive.. which must be the second most fun road to test drive a sports car on.

 

Around 2003-2005 I was driving the previous model TT Roadster. As I told Igor the friendly sales guy.. it seems when you have a child, the sports car must go, but then you become a single dad and you figure.. what the hell, two seats seem just fine.

Some things remained the same. It’s a beautiful car, all about design. It feels solid. It vaults out of corners like only a quattro car can. It’s an awesome everyday sports car and it’s exciting to drive.

I noticed a few changes in the new model. The rear wind shield is not glass any more. The soft top roof is now fully automatic. The new rear spoiler and 18″ wheels are a nice touch. The 184KW V6 engine makes a deep purring noise and the DSG S tronic is very responsive in sports mode across a wider range of engine rpm’s.

Probably very good value for ~R540k.

“Other guys snort for it, jab a vein for it — all you gotta do is jump.” — Point Break

Now, the best road for a car like this is the one between Gordons Bay and Bettys. I remember sleeping over at Bettys one evening but having to drive back very early for a meeting in Cape Town. An empty road just after sunrise is great fun. I’d say the most fun one person can have in a car.

 

I used to think life was about food, fun, friends, Cape Town in the summertime and a TT with some Morcheeba as a soundtrack for life. Ok, it’s shallow and maybe seems a bit gay. But it’s good fun. No real harm in thinking like that when you are 25 I guess.

I asked about an R8 test drive, but Igor says they only let people test drive it if they are on the waiting list to buy. An 8 months wait and a ~R100k deposit it seems. I guess it’s a nice way of saying “nope, sorry we don’t trust you with our 1.5 bar automobile”.

 

Over lunch at the Radisson yesterday, I had a chat with somebody who has driven the R8. He figured it’s not really a car you want because it’s just too fast and aggressive.. you’ll just end up killing yourself. Maybe.. but you simply don’t think like that if you’re the second type.. the person that buys a car with their heart.

ps. I like the interior of the R8.

SA|UX Forum

Just returned from the SA|UX forum at Limoncello. Very good talk about mobile user interface design by Antony Ribot… for me they most useful ideas were:

  • Miniaturisation vs. Mobilisation.. it’s all about context, which is about feature number 1.
  • Less is more, there are constraints, but constraints can be good, less choice is sometimes a good thing.
  • Attention to detail. It was kinda cool listening to somebody describe why they liked a mobile browser in the way a font-geek would talk about typeface design.
  • You can be a creative in a geeky niche environment.

See you at WordCamp on Saturday.