Monthly Archives: December 2009

Quick Update

An even more random than usual weekly update..

  • It's been a week of braai, Lego, beer, Pimms, Tequila and afternoon naps.
  • Kinda sad I missed MCQP, better planning next year.
  • Product of the week: Windhoek Draught in a bottle.
  • Mia loved Onrus beach.
  • Mia seems to like dark chilli chocolate and Star Wars.. Clone Wars.. cool! Maybe we'll get Star Wars Lego next.
  • "No brain no gain." -- Georg

  • "Are you the friendly monster?" -- Mia, to Cath

  • I figure there is probably one good thing about Mia living with bunch of unemployed losers: gives her something to rebel against.
  • "Ek's 'n gemaksvraat." -- Gerjo

  • The food at Mesopotamia was very good.
  • Screw this whole digital workflow RAW format story.. I don't have the time, I'm shooting plain old JPG large again.
  • Ingi pointed out that in a relationship you have to be able to make a woman feel good about herself. I guess I used to suck at that. Then again I figure the self-contained view of happiness is more real.
  • Chilli skaapboud for xmas lunch was very good.
  • Tune of the week: Pille vir Kersfees, Die Heuwels Fantasties.
  • Georg figures his life is like a Vince Vaughn movie (-:
  • Andrew has a job again.
  • "Dog's dead." -- Jaime

  • "Kan jy jou idee van normaal by jou gat op druk! Kan jy 'apatie' spel?" -- Hemel op die Platteland, Fokofpolisiekar

  • Seems my cousin will be in town soon.

2010 is going to be good fun.

Quick Update

Summer and that.. wow, is this really the end of the year feeling..

  • Monday, tea, watched Spirited Away.. awesome movie, uber juice, pool cleaning, Naulene fetched Mia, nap, Beta Beach and Camps Bay walk with Ingi.
  • Tuesday, gym, office, dentist, tea with Tim, Mango-OMC end of year party at the Grand Beach.. nice place, tuna burger at Royale, some Longridge Chardonnay.
  • "Puny humans with your little cameras." -- Georg

  • Wednesday, woke up at Georg's house, Clifton beach bats, Lezari with Cath and Parri, watched The Devil Wears Prada, Beta Beach walk and braai in Bakoven with Georg, Cath, Parri and Sarie.
  • Thursday, Mia time, TF meeting, healthy supper and some Sterhuis Chardonnay.
  • Friday, gym, swim, visit to the swoosh factory store, nice supper with some Hidden Valley red, watched Terminator Salvation.. not bad.
  • Saturday, gym, swim, V&A to fetch my pink ipod nano.. man, iStore service is lame, toy shop.. Lego trains are awesome, aquarium and ice cream.. bit sad when you don't bother taking the camera anymore, went back to the toy shop and got a big Lego train set for Mia, Jonathan engagement party at the Wild Fig.
  • The iPod shuffle is ok, but the UI just gets annoying after a while.
  • Sunday, packing and driving to Hermanus.

This is probably the last update for 2009. Have a fun NYE party crazy kids.

Quick Update

Strange week..

  • Monday, bank visit again, I now own my car.. finally, gym, lunch with Georg at Crush, car trouble.. got a new battery (a bit ironic), photo processing, Pimm's with Georg and Parri, Rasputin field trip because of a minor romantic disappointment.. educational, Boo Radleys to sample some premium tequila.
  • "Hoop jy's lus vir Mavericks." -- Georg, after a romantic disappointment.

  • "It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." - Roy Disney

  • Tuesday, gym, FNB mCommerce meeting, run past Clifton, dinner at Cath's, watched Push.. entertaining.
  • Often by just telling the story you start seeing the solution, but good advice from a friend helps. I think I should spend 3 days a week with Mia next year.
  • Wednesday, A nice fruit salad breakfast at Cath's, Impay meeting at Wembley Square, gym, Lions Head walk, Kink's 1st birthday party.. good fun.
  • "What flavour of beer you got? Flavour? Castle. That's for miners. Minors?" -- Andrew and Aiden

  • Thursday, spent the day with Andrew, Table Mountain and Clifton, got a bit sunburnt.
  • Regret is underrated.
  • I think I'm getting a bit overly patriotic with all these Fokofpolisiekar concerts. Somebody called Afrikaans music "prawn music" and it almost ended in violence. btw Kirstenbosch: Fokofpolisiekar 24 Jan, aKING 7 Feb.
  • "I felt like I was in Africa." -- Ingi, about a township tour.

  • Friday, Mia end of year school play, Mia's first dentist visit, nap, Jolly Roger pirate boat trip with xmas father.. new Mermaid Tag book and Pirate Lego, bath, read, sleep.
  • I'm loving this Lego thing.
  • Saturday, gym, swim, dropped Mia off, xmas party at Amelia's house, vertical tasting of 10 years of L'Avenir Pinotage from 1996 and a bottle of Vin De Constance.
  • Sunday, woke up in Somerset West, fetched Mia, took a walk with Will, Amelia and the dogs to go feed some ducks, watched Atlantis, read the new Olivia book.
  • Mia now has a Where's Wally? book for the car. Good fun.
  • Tune of the week, still: Safe as Houses, aKing.

You're still young and breathing's easy. Suck it in..

FNB Send Money

FNB send (me) money (please).. just kidding, it's the name of a new service from FNB Mobile Commerce.

They chatted to a few bloggers today. I was invited. Nice format.. 1-on-1 sessions with the CEO of the eMoney business unit.

They did a demo where they sent me R50. The system created a "wallet" for me, which I could access via USSD. I then generated a PIN to use at an ATM. I walked over and withdrew R50 in cash. Pretty slick.

Some ideas:

  • The product makes sense. It's pretty obvious that people want to move money via their mobile phones. The target market seems to be people who don't earn a lot of money or who may not have a bank account.
  • The brand could be a bit better, "Send Money" is simple, but it's not very unique, which may actually make it hard to remember.
  • They use a USSD (GSM) interface, simple, not very sexy or intuitive, but reliable I guess.
  • Seems to be designed and driven by cool people (well, at least one).

Paranoia part:

The system is VERY dependent on the security of the phone and everything seems to link back to a mobile phone number (MSISDN). This is fine if they use more than one path/way to authenticate the transaction (like web + mobile phone, in online banking).

In the demo I received a PIN via SMS. So anybody who could read or intercept that SMS could withdraw the money.

We know there are a few potential problems with mobile network security:

  • We don't trust the SMS gateway operators (mobile phone company staff). They can read the SMS's.. crypto is not end-to-end.
  • We don't really trust the way SIMs are issued. Any mobile phone shop can request a "SIM swap" and get your number on the new SIM. Maybe not trivial, but certainly a known problem.
  • GSM crypto is not that safe. You can buy devices that do GSM call-interception (and SMS).. or have fun with a DIY solution.. you can snoop GSM traffic with something like OpenBTS and you can crack A5/1 like this guy with his.. GSM has more security holes than Swiss cheese project.

So, the idea is very good, but I'm not too comfortable with relying on the GSM networks for the security of the transaction.

Quick Update

End of an era..

  • Monday, gym, photo processing, chicken Caesar wrap at Kauai.
  • Tuesday, I was 1 of 60 Silicon Cape steering committee nominees, fixed Ingi's laptop after an Ubuntu upgrade, squash with Matt, architecture exhibit thing in Hout street, drinks at Waiting Room, tuna burger at Royale (highlight of the day), drinks at Julep with Georg and Rosanne.
  • "love the blog, glad to know you've got new cars to chase, miss the phone calls though... you are an extreme guy Joe... X" -- Naulene. Yes kids, turns out she does read the blog.

  • Wednesday, smoothie and muffin at Crush, last CTSP class, gym, mid-week braai in Bakoven with Georg, Parri, Jonathan, Lynnae and Ingi.
  • I think I'm over spirulina green smoothies for a while, I'm now doing raw cacao chocolate smoothies.
  • Thursday, not much, mostly admin, skipped the CTSP student exhibit.
  • Friday, gym, WAPA AGM at Asara, fetched Mia, pasta salad and a few glasses of wine with Georg.
  • As of Friday I'm no longer the WAPA chairman.. end of an era, I was involved for the last three years. Nice to feel you made a bit of an impact, I think WAPA is now pretty self sufficient.. membership numbers grew 75% in 2009.
  • When I fetched Mia on Friday there was a cigarette burn or her shoulder. Total sense of humour failure. I can live with the flea bites, but this takes things to a whole new level of unhappiness.
  • Saturday, tea, Aladdin, uber juice, gym, swim, lunch at Fairview with Georg and Rosanne.. good Dorado, dropped Mia off for a birthday party, evening at Debby's in Jonkershoek by the dam.. memories of tequila slammers.
  • Sunday, woke up in Stellenbosch, had oxtail potjie for breakfast with the sound of Billie Holiday, a swim at home and a few beers with Georg, watched The Hangover and Watchmen.. entertaining, sunset Beta Beach walk.. perfect summers evening.
  • Sunday felt like the first day I had off this year. I did pretty much nothing other than watch movies and relaxing home alone.. it felt awesome.
  • Plant > fish > dog > child. So much for that logic.
  • It seems to be relationship season. Good to see friends hook up with cool people.
  • Anything you try to control, ends up controlling you.. so choose wisely.
  • It's not about the building, it's about the people inside.
  • Mia seems to be very into James Blunt (Shine On) at the moment.
  • Tune of the week: Cooler As Ekke - Jack Parow

Suck it in, rock 'n roll..

Quick Update

This post is very late.. seems to mess with the logical delineation of a week in my head.

  • Monday, Lions Head, pool testing, photo processing, a run to Glen Beach, a swim to scrub the pool, club sandwich and Mojito's at Caprice with Georg and Aiden, a beer at Baraza.
  • "It's not easy being good lads." -- Aiden

  • "Are you ready to go where no man has gone before?.. where?.. home!" -- Aiden

  • "We have some damage to do." -- The Boat That Rocked

  • Tuesday, gym, bank visit, played photographer at the 1st Silicon Cape networking event at the Biscuit Mill.. good fun.
  • I hate Vida-e, bad service, annoying people.. and the fanboys who keep yapping on about it on Twitter.
  • Wednesday, Beta Beach walk, gym, very brief CTSP visit, TF meeting.
  • It became clear that CTSP is a bit of a waste of time.
  • I was called a jerk. Arrogant.. sure, but jerk is a first. (-:
  • Realised that for a long time a I was a chicken/rooster, it's good to be a pig again.
  • Thursday, gym, bank, fetched AV equipment for the GeekDinner, a glass of wine with Keith at Greens - Park Rd, played photographer at the GeekDinner.. Cafe Max, De Waterkant, good food, fun and friends.
  • I now have a will and a retirement fund and the Swimming Animals Trust made an investment to make sure Mia can go to a good school. I feel old. Maybe I'll give a talk about being the responsible entrepreneur at a GeekDinner soon.
  • You know you have an interesting working routine when you spot night club owners in the gym.. Kink and Asoka in this case.
  • Friday, dropped car at Audi Centre, uber juice, nice salad for lunch, nap, swim at home, played photographer at VanFoKingTasties at D'Aria with Georg, Keith, Jonathan, Lynnae, Karma and Dizzy's with Aiden.
  • Live music photography really works your lower back.. ducking and diving around the stage area.
  • Saturday, Mia time, brunch with Ingi and Carl, Goof's birthday party in Scarborough.. good fun, 11h sleep.
  • Sunday, chill, swim, nap, paint, read, dropped Mia with her mom, Andy's Buena Vista on the R44 with Andy and Georg.
  • Mia seems to be into Lego now. Cool.
  • Realised I need another 16GB compart flash disk, I took about 22GB of photos this week. Published 577 photos.
  • I lost 3Kg this week. Have to get fit for a Suicide Gorge trip soon.
  • Tune of the week: aKing, safe as houses.

Roll on summer.. Cape Town in the summertime, the hot cars, the hot clubs, the hot chicks.

ps. seems the new Fez is opening on 15 Dec.

Cape Town School of Photography DSLR1 Review

Yesterday I attended the last class in a 10 week series at the Cape Town School of Photography. I figured I'll write a short review.

Week 1, very useful. Understanding the features and settings of your camera is obviously essential. So, sitting down for three hours tinkering, playing and experimenting was cool. Sure you could read the manual, but nobody makes time to just play with the menu system for a few hours while you can ask questions.

Weeks 2 and 3 were ok. I had to actually go print physical photos. This is a painful process involving USB sticks and those DIY photo terminal things you see in photo printing places. Never in my ~ten years of taking photos did I even think about doing this.. and I still don't see the point.

Weeks 4-6 were a bit of a blur. Can't really tell you what I learnt. It involved mostly long hour+ sessions where the lecturer would comment on student photos. People were usually asked to bring 3, but they end up brining 6 so it's a long painful and mostly uninteresting process. Then there was a tea/coffee break and a bit of theory for the week seemed to be padded on to the end of the class (20min).

Week 7, I think that was the gimp and photoshop session. Painful. I'm pretty damn sure I learnt nothing.

Practical outdoor shoot, lacked structure, we were supposed to do some night photography but that did not happen.

Week 8, I was only there for 5min. Just could not handle more student photo critiquing.

Week 9, chose to give it a miss.

Week 10, we had to hand in a photo essay, which I did. I took a series of live music photos from my photoblog.

I can suggest they improve:

Workflow: spend some time on the process of getting pictures off the camera, sorting, selecting, raw-tinkering and publishing. I asked about this a few times, but did not really get many answers.

Structure: Say what we are going to do today and then.. let's do it. Don't faff around aimlessly.

In summary:

I guess the course forced me to think about photography for a few hours every week.. but I honestly have to say that if you know somebody that understands digital photography you'd be better off saving the R4k, spending a few hours with them to show you how the camera works and just taking lots of photos.

Friend Spam

I've noticed a bit of an annoying trend lately. It's probably nothing new, but it seems to be getting worse because of Twitter.

What do you do when your friends start spamming you on social networks? It's easy to just drop lame acquaintances who get spammy, but friends are more painful to amputate.

I guess I first noticed this "friend spam" trend with the Jail for Bail campaign.. some autism thing. Sure, it's probably a good cause, but it got super annoying when people kept on promoting this via Facebook and Twitter.. going on and on about it for weeks.

Last week three things started to annoy me in the same way. People I follow or know kept on promoting the same thing.. over and over.. we had: Albert Frost voting and FHM model voting.. and there were the Google fanboys who keep going on about Google Wave invites.

Add to that the annoyance of receiving the same "X suggest you become a fan of.. <insert X's business venture>" for the second time and you end up with a bit of a sense of humour failure.

Once is enough! FFS!

"Someone just suggested I become a fan of Danny K on facebook. I deleted him immediately. Jesus." -- MyBrandedLifeTM

It seems Twitter and FB status messages are making friend spam worse. Twitter is more spammy than blogs/rss because you usually have to read the whole tweet. At least with blogs I can scan subjects in RSS and only read the things that look interesting. People seem sane enough to only blog about a topic once. Somehow Twitter seems to be this garbage channel for many people.

So, new rule, you if you tweet about the same spammy thing more than once I'm not interested anymore.