Monthly Archives: November 2010

Quick Update

A week with Mia..

  • Monday, gym, swim, launched the first TrustFabric video, drove to Somerset West to drop Mia off, Naulene started screaming at me so I took Mia for a gluten-free pizza in Stellenbosch, then Naulene decided she was not able to look after Mia this week, so Mia and I drove back to Cape Town, shopping, Beta Beach walk, watched the sunset from our favourite rock, bath, read, sleep.
  • Mia is now on a dairy-free diet to see if we can get her cough to go away. Seems to have worked but she’s not a big soy milk fan.
  • Tuesday, WAPA meeting, PO box renewal, aquarium membership renewal, fish&chips, ice cream, got Naulene an aquarium membership, Mia got lost in the PnP.. had all the security people looking for her, found her, watermelon at home, bath, read, sleep.
  • Wednesday, assembled some Playmobile, made a fresh juice, gym, swim, gluten-free pizza at Col’caccio’s Camps Bay with Jonathan, answered some interview questions for the Ideate blog.
  • Do you have days when you think, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be, or anything I’d rather be doing?
  • Thursday, Mia play session on Little Beta Beach, super green smoothie, Mia spent the day with Fiona.. mostly shoe shopping it seems, we released Alpha8, worked on the script for the next TrustFabric video, made a presentation for WAPA, Little Beta Beach with Mia, Jonathan and Fiona, Vaudeville show with Keith and Georg.. somehow I got invited to the Yola end of year party.
  • “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” — Fortune on login, somehow very appropriate.

  • Friday, dropped Mia at school, WAPA presentation at Asara wine estate in Stellenbosch, N2 road trip to the Breede River for Jonathan’s bachelor’s party weekend, wine tasting at Paul Cluver in Grabouw, braai.
  • “Fucking around is not dating-lite.” — Jonathan

  • Saturday, Pimm’s, watched SA vs England rugby at a boathouse next to the river, braai.
  • “This is a good problem.” — Jonathan

  • Sunday, road trip back, nap, a walk to Clifton with Georg.
  • How to fix Nokia: Just make an E72, with a touch screen and let it run Android. Simple.
  • Tunes of the week: White Light by Groove Armada, funny, the White Light remixes are mostly of the Black Light tracks I was really enjoying last week.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Limber up..

  • Monday, tea, HtTyD, super green raw chocolate smoothie with volcanic ash, gym, swim, iced rooibos Chai latte smoothie, late lunch with Naulene at Jimmy’s, Little Beta Beach swim, a run to Clinton and a Glen Beach walk.
  • Did you ever see the movie Matilda? Interesting conversation at lunch on Monday. Mia telling Naulene how her house is too messy and Mia’s room is too messy.
  • Tuesday, explainer video meeting, assembled two office desks, inbox zero (for the first time in too long), sushi with Georg in Kloof st.
  • Wednesday, 6:30 Lions Head walk with Dave, a Little Beta Beach swim, work, 45min spinning class, 90min spinning class, watched Zombieland with Georg.. truly awesome movie.
  • “My real thoughts are so damn hard.” – Not forgotten, GA

  • Thursday, tinkered with my 580ex speedlight, played photographer at a launch party for The Hub in the Old Castle Breweries building, met a girl named Kat, late night seared tuna at Asoka.
  • I lost 5kg since getting back from Greece (and starting the gluten-free diet).
  • Friday, Green Point CID meeting at Neo, talked about VRM at the University of Quirk, pre-drinks at our house with Lyle and co., God’s Kitchen – Above & Beyond.
  • Saturday, Naulene had a moment, Mia swimming lesson, pizza at Knead, shopping, SA vs Scotland rugby, Beta Beach walk, bath, read, 11h sleep.
  • Mia’s swimming instructor asked if she is 6yo. She’s 4yo, but I suspect they ask that to make all the parents feel good.
  • It’s not easy dealing with pregnant woman. You just have to assume that in any context you will be wrong.
  • “Under promise, over deliver.” – especially true in parenting, rather seem like a crap father who delivers than the model mother who loses the plot.
  • Sunday, How to Train your Dragon, gym, swim, braai with Laura and Georg, nap, Beta Beach walk with Cath and Mia.
  • Sunday conversation in Woolworths:
    “I didn’t know you had a daughter?”
    “Yes.”
    “Are you married?”
    “No.”
    “Then who are the flowers for?”
    “For the table, we’re having a braai, you are welcome to come?”

  • I always figured I was too much of an anarchist for marriage.
  • Tune of the week: Time & Space, Groove Armada, I’m obviously getting good value out of Black Light.
  • “This is Berk. It snows nine months out of the year, and hails the other three. What little food grows here is tough and tasteless. The people that grow here, even more so. The only upsides are the pets. While other places have ponies, or parrots… we have dragons.” — How to Train your Dragon

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Time to write some life affirming shit..

  • Monday, tea, How to Train your Dragon, fresh juice, painting, photo processing, gym, Mia’s first swim with flippers, dropped Mia off, Keith made a very nice corn pasta, watched Rules of Attraction.. memories of 2003.
  • Seems Naulene wants to take Mia to Germany for a month over the Dec holidays. I’m obviously not happy about this.
  • Crossed the 700 FB friends mark.
  • Tuesday, laundry day, pretty much ran up Lions Head with Andrew, cooked a nice broccoli supper.
  • The date and for the next party has been set. We’re having an End of the World Party.
  • Try Macadamia nut oil instead of olive oil.
  • “People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” — George Bernard Shaw, via Dr Ernst

  • Wednesday, super green raw chocolate smoothie with Gogi berries, 60 minute Swedish massage.. courtesy of Naulene.. well, kinda, I had to buy her a massage to look after Mia for the housewarming party so she found a 2 for 1 deal, 45 spinning class and then a 90 minute spinning class which included a few Groove Armada tracks.. Bearnaise fillet steak at Hussar Grill and a nice glass of Chardonnay with Jonathan.
  • Thursday, errands day, ADT, sub swap, fetched snail mail for the first time in about 5 months, got a rackmount server case, stuffed myself with Broccoli again.
  • I suspect I’ve found a reason to get a zoom lens.. the beach.
  • Friday, Telkom line install, Lions Head walk, lunch with Cath, looked after Mia and her sister while Naulene went for a massage, Little Beta Beach session, after work braai with Jonathan, PW, Gerhard, Louis and the resident braai master.
  • The resident braai master is now in training to also become the resident DJ.
  • TrustFabric signed up its first paying customer this week.
  • It seems Jonathan is a real Viking.
  • Naulene figures I need to get a few spare bikini’s for the house.
  • “I love you. This is a really fucked up situation.” — Naulene. I guess I should have said: You met me at a very strange time in my life. Haha.

  • Saturday, tea, watched How to Train your Dragon again.. such an awesome movie (it has attained Finding Nemo/Incredibles status), Mia’s first (new) swimming lesson, watched SA vs Wales Rugby at home with Georg.. and a few Tanqueray g&ts, Beta Beach walk with Mia, bath, read, 11h sleep.
  • Keith figures I’m the more mothering of Mia’s two parents.
  • “I love all of it.” — Mia, when I asked her what’s the best part of HtTyD.

  • I figure: if you can still sleep 11 hours (once a week), you should.
  • Sunday, tea, watched HtTyD, photo processing, super green raw chocolate smoothie with Acai, toy shop, gym, swim, shared a gluten-free pizza at Doppio-zero, Little Beta Beach session, bath, read, sleep.
  • Remember kids: it’s not what you do, it’s what you do relative to what you are expected to do.
  • Tune of the week: Look Me in the Eye Sister – Groove Armada.

Have a fun week, crazy kids. Rock ‘n Roll.

The Feeling Bad Pipeline

I’ve discovered a positive thing about no-number calls on a Monday morning. I’ve hated them on a level all their own for a long time, but now I see their value.

You see, every week I do a few things I feel a little bad about.. maybe saying something I should not have or pissing somebody off in some negotiation or debate or even a Facebook comment in the “humour at the expense of others” category.

It seems the pipeline for these feelings is about 3 events long, as I usually can’t remember the 4th person I pissed off.

Luckily I feel a bit bad when I’m rude with people who phone me and try to sell me mobile phone contracts or life insurance or even lame DHL logistics people. Just a little, but just enough to fill up the pipeline.

“The truth is, you’re the weak, and I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.” — Pulp Fiction

Quick Update

Three men and a little lady again..

  • Monday, Mia watched Eight Below, gym, swim, pizza at Knead with Naulene, Mia went home with Naulene, shopping, a run from Bakoven to Clifton and a beach walk, Georg and I got DSTV working, watched Zach and Miri make a Porno.. very entertaining.
  • Playing Andy Dufresne again with the gym suggestions. 4 this month.
  • Planning for this year’s Suicide Gorge walk is coming along nicely.
  • Tuesday, Lions Head walk, Little Beta Beach swim, day at the office.
  • I’m off honey.. I’ve discovered Agave Nectar. Try it.
  • Wednesday, day at the office, 90min spinning class with Lance.
  • “So, do you straight engineers have rules about who you can and can’t sleep with?” — a supper making conversation between Keith and Georg

  • Seems I convinced Vodacom to make the new E72 software available for upgrade.
  • Thursday, nurse visit, VitB shot, omelette at Crush and tea with Nikki, fetched our new Pirate flag, got a 40″ LCD (for Mia movies and rugby), played with the new toys, Moreson Chardonnay on Little Beta beach with Jonathan, bumped into Nicole at Hussar Grill, had an awesome bearnaise fillet steak.
  • Got an Airport Extreme and three Airport Express units this week. We now have a 802.11n network in the house and we can play the same song on 4 hifi’s at the same time.. nice party trick. Still need to do something about better beach coverage.
  • Friday, last minute party shopping, had a kick-ass big Guy Fawkes day housewarming party in Bakoven for about 70 people, played DJ with the Remote app on an iPod Touch. Good fun.
  • I think we should have a Life Aquatic theme NYE party.
  • “I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life.
    Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.

    This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
    We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.

    Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do.
    Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

    The models will have children, we’ll get a divorce.
    We’ll find some more models, everything must run it’s course.”

    — MGMT, Time to Pretend.

  • “No girl can resist a live panda bear.” — Alison

  • Saturday, a sunrise swim with Paul, slept for about 30 minutes, got woken up by Naulene (strange, but best wake-up in a long time), aquarium with Naulene and Mia, fish, chips and ice cream, watched the SA/Ireland game with Georg, PW and Ellie. Babies don’t sleep this good.
  • “Mia belongs to you.” — Naulene, seems Mia is getting a 1/2 brother soon.. her logic is: sister-Baker, brother-Naulene, Mia-Joe. I asked if I could have that in writing.

  • Naulene has this theory that my Gluten-free diet involves a problem with bakers. Never thought about that. On some level, maybe.
  • Sunday, chilled around the house, gym, swim, gluten-free pizza at Doppio Zero (Green Point), V&A shopping.. got Mia some flippers, got a new sub and How to Train your Dragon on Blu-Ray, watched the movie in all new low frequency awesomeness, bath, read, sleep.
  • Mia knows which lane is the fast lane. She’s 4. Why are there so many people on the road who don’t get this?
  • Often the best people in the game started out sucking very badly.. one of my parenting theories.
  • It’s funny how it feel like with some people you just can’t spend enough time.. it was good to spend time with three such people this week.
  • Tunes of the week: Black Light, Groove Armada – Paper Romance (7) is very cool.

Don’t have fun this week. Take it easy. Trust me.

DHL Muppets

Around August I bitch about Symbian on Twitter. WOMworld responds and ask if I’d like to test the Nokia N900, to check out the new OS. I fetch the phone in London from their offices. I play with it for a bit and write a review. It’s not bad, but not something I can use day-to-day, so I put it back in its box and wait for WOMworld’s logistics people to let me know how I return it.

The fun starts.

WOMmobile tells me DHL will collect the phone. DHL start phoning me. Their system seems to require than I be a business with an office. I keep telling them it’s just me – Joe, and I’ll meet them at Wembley Square where I often go to gym. This goes on for about two weeks. They keep phoning. I keep telling them the same thing. Then it stops.

WOMmobile email me asking if I’d like to review something else. I say.. sure, it’s probably a good idea to collect the phone I have when you deliver the new toy. So, they start the DHL process again. They email me. I email them with the collection details. They never confirm by email. They keep phoning me asking for a business to collect from. I keep telling them I’m just an individual wanting to return a phone.

Two weeks of this.

Then the delivery guy start phoning me. I get an email from some manager telling me how they attempted to collect the phone but failed. Really? More calls from the delivery guy. After about 4 phone calls the guy is happy that I’m an individual meeting him in at a ~coffee shop. He agrees to a time and date.

He ends up being an hour late. No problem I’m having tea with a good friend. I tell him he can have the box and I’m happy to sign his form but I’m not going to do any admin now.. just take it back to the people who asked you to collect it.

He wants to know if the battery of the phone contains Lithium for some reason. Yes. Whatever. Just take it. He starts phoning. Finally he agrees to take the thing and he walks away.

Joy.

15min later he’s back. Now he can’t take it. I say: just take the box and email/phone me tomorrow with whatever you need. Nope. Ok, so I’m still stuck with this thing.

Grumble.

20:00ish that evening the same DHL delivery guy phones me. Now he wants to know if he can buy the phone from me.

WTF!?

In an early email to WOMworld I asked them why this process needs to be so complicated. Just give me the thing, with a return envelope and give me a web interface to book the collection time/date.

It’s safe to say I’m never taking part in any device trail again and I’m avoiding DHL.

Muppets.

The Information Underbelly

Keith had a bit of a sense of humour failure about the SABC and their TV license drones this week. (The SABC is the South African public broadcaster.)

It’s safe to say the majority of the SABC are on special drugs that prevent their IQs from going above room temperature during office hours.

It’s not easy to be popular if you force people to buy something they don’t want or need. The SABC wants Keith to prove that he does not own a TV to avoid paying a TV license. A long time ago he did have a TV. Not anymore. The way to prove you don’t have a TV is to go to the police and get them to rubber stamp a letter stating that you don’t own one. Interesting that you need to prove you don’t have a TV.

I’m thinking.. huh?, why bother dealing with these clowns? They probably still have his home/postal address from ten years ago, but it seems they somehow have updated contact details.

This is where it gets interesting. Some business out there must be sharing personal information without their customer’s consent. Not only sharing, I’m pretty sure they are selling it.

Yes kids, there is a whole network of bottom feeders which scrub and exchange your personal information. Selling it to the people you probably never want to interact with. I suspect the people you are least interested in will pay the most for your information. Awesome little market right?

Is this a bad thing? I think it’s pretty obvious what my views are, but let’s look at it from another angle.

A while ago I had a meeting with a well respected ICT lawyer. I was telling him about TrustFabric. He seemed very interested.. but he did not really listen my story, he just assumed we were building something which would collect personal information which we could sell. So, I explained again and he looked a bit confused. Yes, we really want to give users control over their personal information. No, we don’t want to sell it.

Then he tells me about how he was involved in setting up a credit bureau in an African country. How this credit bureaus is a very positive thing, allowing credit providers to borrow money. Good for the economy etc. Credit bureaus naturally have a few deals behind the scenes to collect personal information and exchange financial information about people.

I don’t buy the idea that these information exchange deals are a good thing. I think you can build a credit rating (reputation) system in an open and transparent way while allowing people to selectively share personal information and keeping people in control of their information. I think it would be much better for a country and it’s economy if people understood the rules of the game. In this case the credit rating game.

Do you remember that scene at the end of Fight Club where they blow up the buildings which house credit data? Project Mayhem resets the credit card system. I think the personal information ecosystem needs a reboot. Companies should be forced to delete all personal information that can not be tied directly to an active customer relationship. Companies must only be allowed to keep information if the customer granted them a license to retain their information.

This sounds easier than it is, mostly because most companies have no clue which customer relationships are really active. So, maybe we just delete it all and start from scratch.. giving the customer control again.

The system needs a reboot.

Quick Update

Three braais in seven days..

  • Monday, braai meat for breakfast, unpacking, gym, swim, super green smoothie, dropped Mia off, packing and moving things from Gardens, more unpacking.
  • Tuesday, Lions Head walk, script writing, salad at Cafe Sofia with Jonathan, Mark came over for a quick visit, moved my Aeron from Gardens, Georg and Parri came over for a braai, a nice bottle of Kanu KCB.
  • Wednesday, WAPA meeting, 27Dinner at Upper East Side Hotel, Woodstock Lounge.
  • It’s tricky to explain what I do to the 27Dinner crowd.
  • I figure you don’t really need to have a start-up in stealth mode if it’s something which is hard to execute and it takes a longer attention span.
  • Thursday, final explainer video script writing, tea and meet the teachers day at Mia’s new school with Naulene, Jimmy’s, Heavy Chef, Jordan Belfort at Artscape.
  • Let me just say it was a bit strange going to a meet the teachers day.. not only because of the Naulene situation, but I kinda feel more like one of the kids than a parent.
  • “There’s only one way to get rich: quick.” — Jordan Belfort, not about get-rich-quick schemes.

  • Seems Mia was one of only 6 kids to be accepted into her class this year. Schools are really competitive these days.
  • Friday, fetched Mia, shopping, sundowners on Little Beta Beach, braai with Jonathan, Lynnae and Georg.
  • Saturday, tea, gym, swim, waterfront shopping, Ingi’s housewarming tea, had a little battle with HDMI cables.
  • “And have children (with her) and spend as much time as you can with them… and never forget that that’s what’s important.” — Zabel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

  • Sunday, tea, gym, swim, waterfront shopping, trick or treating around Bakoven, rocket and watercress salad, watched Princess Diaries (the princess Mia movie), bath, read, sleep.
  • Tune of the week: Kids, MGMT

Have a fun week, crazy kids.