Monthly Archives: February 2009

Virgin Active Pool Management

Yesterday at Heavy Chef Vanessa just had to vent about the use of the pool at the Point. I share her pain.

Today I wanted to go for a swim at Gardens. The pool is full. One lane is used by what looks like bobbing whales. Two lanes are used by a private swimming coach. It’s a pretty busy time in the morning. I have to wonder, htf can 60% of this resource be locked at this time of day? The two available lanes have 4 people in them and there are people waiting.

So, I have a chat with the club manager, Carl.

Surely it makes sense that either the whales _or_ the coach get some space, but not both at the same time? He claims they have no control over when the coach wants to use the pool.

This sucks.

This sucks because the pool, like any other resource needs to be managed with the same consistent logic. Let him try and lock 60% of the running machines at peak times and see how much fun that creates.

In fact, they actually have a person that schedules their running and cycling resources in peak times.. why is the pool so different.. because it’s wet?

Vanessa wants slow/med/fast lanes. Good idea. Maybe there should also be a sign directing the whales to the whale pool.. actually, if you can’t swim, you should not be in the swimming pool.

Please go talk to your club manager if you share my views.

My email signature cares about the environment

I seem to be getting more and more emails with these at the bottom..

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

What kind of muppet prints emails?

Sure, maybe you print an e-ticket to get on a plane, but really I can’t image anybody wanting to print emails.

Now, who started this stupid email signature idea? You sheep. You evil sheep. You must think you are oh so green and groovy helping the lesser animals in the food chain fight the urge to hit that print button.

Did IQ’s just drop suddenly?


It’s its too to.

Arghh.. for some reason I just have this reflex to always type “it’s” when I want to write “its”.

For some people it seems to be “to” when they want to write “too”.

Quick Update

This week’s post is a bit overdue, let’s see..

  • Monday, woke up in Stellenbosch, took a drive to the end of the Jonkershoek road with the top down, had lunch with Mia, her sister and mom, discovered a very cool little beach between Bakoven and Camps Bay, awesome sunset, had frogurt on Camps Bay Boulevard, perfect night for a walk.
  • “My word I’m hungover! Death warmed up.” — Debby

  • “Some people spend their lives in the traffic and never smell the washing.” — Naulene

  • “As soon as I have the perfect office everything will be OK.” — Naulene

  • “Good taste without power has no impact.”

  • Tuesday, meeting with Steve Song and Andrew Rens at TSF about Open Spectrum, soccer at La Med, kinda scored the winning goal.. drinks at La Med.. starting to like Camps Bay (even more), Waiting Room with Keith to see Julia Jacobsen and Nice. Really enjoyed the music.. so much life, you have to love Long Street in the summertime.
  • Wednesday, blisters from soccer.. but not too stiff, haircut at B’s, Orms visit.. I think I found a new hobby in DSLR’s, Neighbourhood bar with Cath, the plan was to go see Lonesome Dave Ferguson at Julep but ended up at Cape to Cuba bar.. the one at the top.
  • “..that’s one way to put it, another way would be that we were simply late”.

  • Driving home, I figured I was pretty chilled on Wednesday night.. I call it “peaceful lost time”. You see, I had a (long) Amobia meeting planned but that did not happen, which kinda leaves you with this feeling.. oh, well.. bonus!
  • “Got a light on you mate.. how can you start a revolution without a fire?” — Brandon at Cape to Cuba

  • “multi tasking is for girls”

  • “I am not as shallow as the two of you, talking about shallow…what’s green, wet, and doesn’t have a topless.. pool boy cleaning it (presumably because it’s overcast)…?” — Keith

  • Thursday, a bit of pool cleaning, I was invited to go to the DA website launch but had to go and win a little personal battle at the ISPA GM to get joining fees removed for ISPA peering points.
  • Seems I can still go 3 weeks without needing to do my washing, a good bachelor skill to master.
  • Friday, shopping, Chinese bloggers braai.. sundowners at Beta Beach and a night out at Chevelle.. (yeah, the website sucks).. the hot cars, the hot clubs, the hot chicks.
  • At least somebody seems to like my weekly bullet list blogging style.
  • “Do you ever blog while on the loo?” — Keith asked Nikki

  • “If you have to chase it, it’s running.” — Parri, about girls

  • I figure it’s a good idea to start limiting blog posts to the 250 word range.
  • “Life is slow when the groove is on,
    tripping lights fantastic disco show” — Groove Armada

  • Saturday, dropped Andy off, fetched Mia, went shoe shopping with Mia.. we got two pairs each (Mia’s are almost as cool as Nikki’s), I have new trail runners and soccer boots, Beta Beach play park, dinner, watched Semi Pro, restless sleep.. Mia was a bit sick.
  • “He fall down” — Mia, after throwing a cat in a bush
  • Sunday, Monsters Inc., we made uber fruit juice, gym, swim, flapjacks at Knead, ice cream at Sinn’s, GP visit, took Mia home, Goldfish at La Med with Andy and Keith.. for about 10min I was a Cosmo VIP, Jules and the Fools at Joburg bar.. love the chorus on that “time after time” (video) song, nice Pixies cover, but the venue was a bit smoky.
  • “Everybody Love Everybody” — Jackie Moon, Semi Pro

  • Manage to not touch my laptop the entire weekend, that’s a first.
  • Tunes of the week: Groove Armada, Best of.

Looking forward to soccer at La Med this afternoon.. have a fun week.

HTML eMail

Since you asked.. I have a few things to say about the idea that HTML email has “benefits”.

Sometimes, in all the marketing noise and thought pollution, you have to stop, think and question some commonly accepted bull shit.

First the obvious stuff. Why send HTML when you can send a link to a website? Beats me. Let me try and understand the benefits of HTML email. Ok, it allows you to create pretty marketing emails.. which I could argue contributed to the complexity, size and increased volumes of spam and the birth of very creative phising activities in some African countries… not to mention the truly delightful quality of HTML markup these MUA’s produce.. have you ever looked at that shit?

Honestly.. and you use the word “benefits”? I would rather eat broken glass than send HTML email.

Maybe HTML email adoption trends correlate to rapid IQ and attention span drops? It’s like bubble wrap for the ignorant masses.. hours of mindless amusement.

Next, allow me use a simple example.

There are two kinds of people in this world. One will buy an all-in-one-fax-printer-scanner-copier-phone and bask in its compact awesomeness. The other will go and buy a fax machine, a printer, a scanner, a copier and a phone.

You could argue there are benefits to both routes.

In this example I like the idea of buying a set of devices that do their job, only their one job and does that job really well and reliably. More zen in my mind.

Which one are you?

Simplicate, don’t spread complexity pollution.

I hope you can see how this relates to the idea of bolting HTML features onto an email client when you have a perfectly fine web browser.

Another reason I don’t like all-in-one thinking is that simplicating and separating jobs avoids inherent faults in each to spill and blend.

“all in one” thinking == “kludge” thinking.

“UNIX improvements aren’t.”

Obviously this is not 100% true, but it brings across a point very elegantly.

You see, there is a distinct difference between true innovation and gradual incremental perceived improvement.

Think about that for a second. Plain vanilla, garden variety (RFC standard) email was an innovation.

These days it’s even more of a challenge to consistently apply principles.

Battlefield life is full of logic traps. HTML email is a trap.

Positive side of Mobile Radiation

From a conversation on Beta Beach on Sunday..

A few people were talking about the radiation from mobile phone being bad for us.. you know the story.


Radiation, from the sun, had a big role in our evolution on Earth. Radiation caused genetic mutation.. a touch of randomness that allowed improvements to emerge. Sure, there must have been freak effects, but it’s all part of the revolution.

Keith figures mobile phones are part or our evolution towards gaining telepathic abilities. Mobile phones introduce the idea that communication does not involve a place or a space or time.. it’s just there.

I guess the scary part is that we have no idea what mobile phones are doing to us. Evolution takes a long time, many lifetimes.. but we are meddling with things at such a fast pace we may all end up extinct within one generation.

..just a happy thought for the day.

“I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say… let’s evolve, let the chips fall where they may.” — Tyler

Net Prophet Muppets

Muppets. They require an HTML MUA…

From: Net Prophet Team
Subject: Successful registration
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 14:14:52 +0200
X-Mailer: PHPMailer [version 1.72]

You are unable to read this email – you will need an email client that allows html emails.

so that they could send me this..

Dear Joe,

This email serves to confirm that your registration for Net Prophet has been successful.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Kind Regards,
The Net Prophet Team

What am I missing?

These are the same people who are going to tell us how mobile is the next big thing.. and all mobile phones have HTML MUA’s right?

Digital Photography

I think I’ve found a new hobby. Well, more like an upgrade on an old hobby… just more geeky with more impressive hardware.

I’ve taken bucket loads of pictures with my compact Canon cameras over the last 8 years.. bit of an obsession maybe. I’ve become more interested in the DSLR market recently. In the past I always figured I’d rather have something compact I’d carry around and take medium quality pics than something bulky which I don’t really have access to when I need it.

Since I have 3 compact cameras already, the next step has to be DSLR. I was playing with friends’ DSLR cameras a few times this year. Lots of fun. I guess I’m most interested in using a DSLR in low light environments or for wide angle and better panoramic shots. I’d like to do a DSLR course soon.

I figure cameras are a really good investment because you get to capture things which become priceless. Like good wine.. things you just can’t reproduce 5 years later. I figure Mia will only be 2yo once. You get the logic.

So, I’ve been doing some research. Mostly around Canon 450D vs. Canon 1000D vs. the Nikon stuff. I’m not ready to go spend R25k on a pro camera yet, so I’m shopping in the <R10k range.

Lucky for us there seems to be a really nice value curve to digital photography. I remember spending about R8k on my first Canon digital. Crazy to think you can get a better camera for <R1k now.. but it’s all part of the revolution I guess.

Before 2000 you had really lame 640×480 cameras or film, which was expensive and annoying to use in general. I’m really sad I don’t have more pictures of my pre-2000 student days.

At some point the value revolution moved to the DSLR cameras, I’d guess around the time of the Canon 300D. Today, the 1000D at about R7k is awesome value.. you even get a lens with image stabilizer by default.

A few things I’ve learnt so far..

  • Most people agree Nikon make more rugged cameras.
  • Canon seem to market their product better. Canon is much more popular on digital photography websites.
  • It seems Canon was the leader in innovation for about 10 years.. people used to say: look at all the white lenses at the Olympics. This seem to have evened out over the last two years.
  • You can get Canon hardware from the usual PC dealers like Rectron.. makes things a bit cheaper.
  • The camera is only the start. This hobby can quickly become expensive. Start adding lenses, tripods, bags, flash and you have a voracious monster to feed.

“Buy the most expensive Canon camera you can afford and you will be happy.” (or something like that) — Jonathan

In the end I think the Canon 450D is the best entry level DSLR. A bit more expensive than the 1000D, but you get a 3″ LCD, 12MP and a nifty little sensor that turns off the LCD when you use the viewfinder.

Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Spectrum 2.0

Dominic and I had a very interesting meeting with Steve Song and Andrew Rens from the Shuttleworth Foundation this morning about the idea of open / shared frequency spectrum.

You may remember me writing about Lite Licencing.

A few ideas from our meeting which I think should be more widely distributed:

  • There seems to be a wide acceptance of open spectrum allocation models from global bodies like the ITU, Ofcom and the FCC.
  • We need an independent audit of South Africa’s spectrum allocation. Who has what? What is open?
  • Spectrum management should be open and transparent.. it’s a national resource. Think mining rights and databases of who may mine where.
  • We talked about the possible negative effects of using an auction process to hand out frequency.
  • I think everybody likes the Lite Licencing idea, but we may want to implement the idea in a bit more simple, pragmatic and “african” way. Related to this was DFS (dynamic frequency selection), being able to identify base stations and avoiding interference. I like the idea of location aware base stations which query some central database for the frequency ranges they are allowed to use per area.
  • The 600-700Mhz TV “white space” is an interesting one. Wide prorogation, maybe best used for voice services. Let’s hope we get to use it soon after 2011.
  • Use it or lose it. There should be no such thing as a permanent spectrum assignment.
  • We talked about spectrum trading.. could be nice, but there were a number of concerns about this. Think Enron trading electricity.
  • I like the idea of the “spectrum commons”.
  • Is spectrum a scare resource? Some studies show that even in metro areas (UK) only about 14% of available spectrum is used in any given area. Obviously we are not using this resource efficiently enough.
  • We talked about how we can change and improve the state of spectrum policies.. to help our new ECNS licensees, increase competition, improve access and drive down costs. Industry needs to get together, we need some lobbying momentum. Let’s get more people interested. Naturally WAPA and the ISPA have been working on this, but a new focus on open spectrum policies would be nice. Expect to see a workshop on the topic soon.

This seems to be a good time to change the way we think about spectrum allocation. We’ll have a new DoC minister soon and we have ~200 ECNS licensees needing a solution very soon. A good time for ideas like these to have an impact.

Quick Update

Sundays have become Fridays in some ways..

  • Monday, picture processing, planned to do the Lions Head full moon walk, but had to abort.. too many people, Beta Beach with Andy and Gerjo, pizza at Dizzys.
  • “..but it must die of boredom at some point” — Keith, about the bug he trapped

  • “hookers don’t snuggle” – Andy

  • Tuesday, early Beta Beach swim, Teraco CPT DC visit, planned to go play soccer at La Med.. too windy, the universe is against me this week, went for a run with Keith, green rooibos chai.
  • Tunes of the week: Monster, R.E.M.
  • “This wind is blowing more than the hookers on Seapoint main road” — Keith

  • Wednesday, ISPA INX workshop, Teraco DC visit, tea at Melissas with Cath, nice dinner with Cath and Parri, watched Blood Simple (Coen Brothers).. good movie.
  • We now have a screen to watch movies on.. no TV license needed thank you.
  • Thursday, ISPA PR WG, lunch with Joey at Wembley Square, Beta Beach with Andy, Cams, George and Bianca, driving to the shops.. very much a holiday vibe to Camps Bay.
  • “So, we’re the only two friends he did _not_ sleep with?… hmm.. Oh.” — Bianca

  • Friday, gym, swim, Mia time, Beta Beach.
  • Since I seem to have stopped buying clothes, it’s sad to see some of the trusted old stuff finally tear and go.
  • Saturday, perfect day.. tea, gym, swim, braai, nap, (little) beta beach.. collecting sea shells, playing on the swings, pasta, bath, sleep.
  • “Thank god I’m single” — Andy, about Valentines day

  • “I have realised that I would not have made it to the ripe old age of 31 if it wasn’t for my amazing friends!!” — text from Andy

  • “I’ve always been known to cross lines.” — Kings of Leon, Cold Desert

  • Sunday, took our glass to the recycling containers.. destructive fun, shopping, (big) Beta Beach picnic with Keith and friends, nap, Meiring’s 40th in Stellenbosch, dropped Mia off, picked up some Gino’s pizza on the way to Debby’s, all kinds of adventures in Stellenbosch with Andy, Debby and Paul.. I remember a dam and the inside of the engineering building.
  • “God here, yeah.. how can I help you?” — Andy, answering his phone

  • “..and all this white wine is giving me bitch tits, what’s worse?” — Andy

  • “I’m too shallow to be sad” — Paul Kruger, 02:04

Have a fun week. See you at the Waiting Room tomorrow night.

Urban Wave Muppets

Bit of an experiment with these covert marketing events. A friend and I completed the Sasha Unban Wave party “application” on the same day. I said I don’t smoke. He does not smoke but he figured he needed to say he did smoke in order to get an invite.

He got tickets. I did not.
Not that I really wanted tickets, my Saturday evenings are spent with Mia.

Amusing terms & conditions.

1.1 Registering on this website does not guarantee that a ticket will be allocated. Ticket allocations will be drawn from the total number of registrants, based on criteria determined by Urban Wave.

Criteria.. sure, you need to smoke to be invited. Obviously this is a very small data set to base my theory on, but it kinda makes sense.

Another thing that annoys me about these parties is how they ask for ID numbers and mobile phone numbers, obviously tracking and profiling people.. but, they have no privacy policy or PAIA manual on their website.

3.4 By participating in this promotion, you agree to release and hold Urban Wave and their agencies and promoters free of any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind ….. and claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy.

Oh, wonderful, invasion of privacy.. who needs privacy? I’m no lawyer, but I somehow think that this does not gel with our constitution.

Nasty, Edward, just nasty. (-:

Now, to all those annoying friends who always say I’m paranoid by not wanting to piss away my privacy in exchange for an invite to a party, go think again. How would you feel if you knew the tobacco industry had a nice way of knowing who to target, because they know how many of your children’s friends smoked?

There must be some simple logic behind this. They can obviously map a network of friends with their data.. they know ages and smoking habits. Anybody know how this works? Maybe they say that if >50% of your friends smoke and you are <20yo you are a good person to invite? Simple peer pressure logic. Any ideas?

I’m guessing the logic is even more simple.. maybe they simply want to keep their smoking community smoking. Get them all together to validate and sustain their habit in the company of other smokers. Sheep.