Monthly Archives: January 2011

Quick Update

Getting back into a bit of an exercise routine again..

  • Monday, Codfather 1/2 price sushi lunch special, chucked 3l of bleach in a pool to kill some mozzies, a run to Clifton1 and a sunset beach walk.
  • “How awsome is this?” ..what I think most mornings when I wake up.
  • Tuesday, Lions Head walk, design meeting, a walk to Clifton1, Big Beta beach sunset with a glass of red, Campari’s, pasta.
  • “Just about everybody I know in Cape Town are busy starting up their own business.” — Brad the designer

  • “Endless Summer. Time to replace those photo frames.” — A message in what I think was an xmas card from Naulene

  • Wednesday, Camps Bay/Glen Beach walk, Little Beta swim, made a fresh juice, hot chocolate at Vida with Donald, first spinning class of 2011.. bit of a bitch, Little Beta swim, salad and Chardonnay, watched some Simpsons with Georg.. the Michael Jackson one was kinda cool.
  • “I’m not popular enough to be different.” — Homer Simpson

  • Remember kids, stretch, at least twice a day.. and drink more water.
  • Thursday, sushi lunch special at Codfather again, more mozzie killing tactics, DJ Georg Thursday night set at home, Campari’s.
  • Managed not to leave the house for two days this week.
  • After a week of trying to arrange to video conference with Mia I have tot sit back and think.. WTF?. I suspect we’ve reaching the point where working with Mia to get something done is easier than working with Naulene to get something done. A trend I suspect we are only seeing the very beginnings of now.
  • Friday, Lions Head walk, Clifton beach walk, fetched Mia at school, wraps, book shop, food shopping, Little Beta beach swim, bath, read, sleep, I watched the other half of Life Aquatic with a glass of Sterhuis Chardonnay and some Blueberry Lindt.
  • I was looking in the book Mia brings home from school. Seems next week they are learning about the colour Blue, the letter B and the number 2.. really?
  • Mia can count to 120 now.
  • “We’re gonna be like Fonzie here. And what’s Fonzie like? Cool.” — Pulp Fiction

  • Saturday, we watched the Emperor’s New Groove, my famous raw smoothie, gym, swimming lesson, aquarium, fish and chips, ice cream, Chardonnay with Andrew and Bianca on Little Beta, I made pasta, bath, read, 11h sleep.
  • It’s a bit distressing that I seem to have lost a lens cap in the house.. at the last braai.
  • “Why is my mom a mom if she’s not married?” — Mia

  • Sunday, watched Eldorado again.. I think Mia likes the Elton John soundtrack, raw smoothie, gym, swim, Waterfront toy and DVD shop, Naulene fetched Mia, walked to Clifton1 with Georg.
  • Started reading The Black Swan.
  • Tune of the week. Same as last week. New video.
  • Anton is in Cape Town this coming weekend.

Remember kids, getting there is all the fun.

Who’s Who Muppets

A few weeks ago I find my name on this page: TrustFabric Employees & Directors. First impressions: it’s a bit spammy. I figure they must have been harvesting info off Huddlemind.

I figure, ok, let’s try this. Click on Claim This Profile. It asks for an ID number. Hmm.. why? Do you really need personal information?

I ask on Twitter. They respond saying they don’t need my ID number, only a Date of Birth. No problem, that seems to pass their form validation. I let them know that the form very much seems to ask for an ID number but DOB works. From their response I’m guessing this is a bug.. and they really really want and ID number.

Two weeks later. No response, no profile. Muppets.

Dear Who’s Who. Remove me, please. Go back to the drawing board. I suspect you can think up a better way to initiate the process of listing people or your site. The current way is very broken.

The Circle of Trust

I have a new use for TrustFabric… to control who can view photos of Mia.

I enjoy taking photos. I take a few thousand a year. I’m guessing about 60% involve my daughter Mia.

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to put photos of her on Facebook… all kinds of paranoia and privacy issues. I don’t like Flickr or any kind of cloud hosting… again, paranoia and the need for easy backups.

So, I used to simply host my photos on my own server, with no access control, but I would only send the link to close friends. It was easy for friends, no need to remember a username/password, but you could probably guess the link if you wanted to.

So, I have a new scheme: Client side x509 certs.

Sure, friends probably need to spend 10min to get it working, but I’m all for investing a bit of time initially to make life easier over time.

How it works:

1) Friends register at
2) They request a Network Access cert, which contains their TFUUID and install the cert in their browser.
3) I configure my Apache to require a valid TrustFabric cert to view a URL and setup a list of TFUUIDs I allow.

No username/password to remember. Strong crypto (4096bit). Easy to managed on my side. Sure, you could do this with usernames and passwords, but I think this is much cooler.

What’s interesting here is that you could easily use this to setup a closed distributed social network. Control access to your blog or photos or an application. Kinda like the single-sign-on enterprise vibe, but based on relationships. What’s probably more interesting is the “distributed” part. You don’t need to have people coming back to a website to show them ads to be part of this social network.. it does not consume attention. I like to think of it as social networking for grown ups.

How cool would this be: I configure my wifi hotspot at home to allow my friends (and all their friends). They show up and it just works. Maybe I’ll do this next week.

Apache config snippet:

<directory "/var/www/swimgeek/foooo">
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
SSLVerifyDepth 1
SSLVerifyClient require
SSLOptions +ExportCertData +StdEnvVars +StrictRequire +FakeBasicAuth
SSLRequire ( %{SSL_CIPHER} !~ m/^(EXP|NULL)-/ and %{SSL_CLIENT_I_DN_CN} eq "Fooo CA" )
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Mia Photos"
AuthUserFile /blah/password/foooo
Require valid-user

You have to manage a password file using this, but it’s pretty easy to use some of the other auth modules like db or ldap or radius.

Update: 23 Jan

I managed to install a TrustFabric cert on my iPod touch (iOS 4.2.1) and use it to to browse the protected photos. Fairly easy to get going.. I was bored at gym.

Notes on The Social Network

Seems The Social Network won the best picture award at the Golden Globes yesterday. I watched it recently. Good movie, well worth watching.

I think movies like these are very useful in the long run. Sure, they are probably not totally factually accurate, but it’s the story we remember, not the details. I’d like to think movies (stories) like these inspire future generations.

The movie provides a good insight into the life of entrepreneurs and the tech startup game. There is a formula to tech startups and I think this movie captures it well. It’s a story about being passionate, turning that passion into a fun project, and turning a fun project into a successful business. As we all know: wealth is a side effect of passion.. and there is only one way to get rich: quick.

Some random notes:

  • Probably the most important lesson: Ethics. Mark should have kept his nose clean, the story of how you became successful is very important, then again, if he did that the movie would be way less entertaining.
  • Idea vs execution, big theme in the movie, you need both, but ideas can be “borrowed”, implementations not so much. Interesting how Mark not only stole the basic social network idea, but also the adoption strategy idea.
  • Sean Parker is the most entertaining character by far. The Rainmaker. Usually an entrepreneur with a successful track record. Important link between entrepreneurs and investors. Adds extra momentum and takes care of fund raising.
  • The failed romantic relationships theme (Mark and Sean), very Great Gatsby. Not easy to dump that amount of energy into a venture if you are married with three kids. A little bit of pain never hurt anybody. (-:
  • Facebook fit the big money VC model so well. Go for user numbers worry about revenue way later. Amusing contrast between Eduardo’s and Sean Parker’s ideas for the business.
  • 7% for $500k seems like a very good deal, the high end of seed investment.
  • The first year of a startup is very volatile, people claim shares, people have expectations, it’s very hard to figure out how people will end up working together. Negotiating shares in the first year can be a complex problem.

    Which of the characters do you associate with most? Can one person be geek+entrepreneur+rainmaker all in one? I suspect not, the recipe does not work that way.

Quick Update

A life aquatic week..

  • Need do start thinking about being good again. Too many good memories of being bad I guess.
  • Monday, woke up in Franschhoek, drove back to Bakoven, lunch at La Med with Jonathan, built some Pirate Lego with Mia.. first time she completed a Lego project from the manual, bath, read, sleep.
  • Tuesday, we painted Mia’s finger and toe nails, bright pink (obviously), gym, swim, aquarium, ice cream, DVD shop, Waterfront shopping, watched The Emperor’s New Groove.
  • I’m getting pretty good at painting nails.
  • Mia managed to give herself her first paper-cut. She was not happy with herself.
  • Best decision of 2010: to spend 3 days a week with Mia.
  • Wednesday, got up at 6am, Mia’s first day at school (Grade 00), tea with Naulene at JennaViva.. I asked her to marry me, again, haha, she didn’t say no (or yes), made a nice salad for lunch, took a walk to Camps Bay beach.. figured this was a lame idea: too windy, turned around, got a g&t and had some two minute noodles (for the first time in 10+yrs), watched Life Aquatic again.. always awesome.
  • Wednesday was my first working day for 2011… and TrustFabric’s 1st birthday.
  • End of an era. No more 3/4 day week split… doing the 2/5 split because of school now. A bit sad. Let’s hope I’ve prepared her well enough for the amount of time she’ll be spending with her mother. I need to figure out how to spend more time with Mia in 2011.
  • “Hey intern, get me a Campari.” — Steve Zissou

  • “Ned: Why didn’t you ever try to contact me?
    Steve: Because I hate fathers, and I never wanted to be one.” — Life Aquatic

  • “That pregnant slut is playing us like a cheap fiddle!” — Steve Zissou

  • Note to self: Watch Garden State again.. and The Mexican.
  • When do you get to that point where enough is enough?
  • Thursday, productive day, swim, walked to Glen Beach, Thai Yellow Curry at Carlyle’s with Georg, Bienne and Chris, had a very Fight Club near-death experience, g&t’s on the deck.
  • We figure Georg’s DJ name should be: DJ Danger (is my middle name)
  • Friday, had a strangely zen day.. as days after near-death experiences go, Friday afternoon drinks on the beach with Jonathan and Georg, nap, Naulene dropped Mia off, we had dark chocolate goji berries, I made gluten-free penne for supper, had a glass of Chamonix Pinot Noir, bath, read, sleep.
  • “I became the calm little centre of the world.
    I was the Zen master.
    I wrote little haiku poems.
    I e-mailed them to everyone.”

  • “A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body.” — Jonathan

  • Saturday, watched The Emperor’s New Groove, gym, swim, gluten-free wrap, shopping.. got Mia a new red polka dot hat for school, Little Beta swim, Campari’s with Georg, Big Beta sundowners with our neighbours.. awesome weather, bath, read, sleep.
  • Sunday, raw chocolate green smoothie, gym, swim, Deer Park.. cheese cake and ice cream, dropped Mia at Naulene’s, very good glass of wooded Chenin blend at Andrew’s, Glen Beach sunset walk, conveyor belt sushi and sake with Georg at Codfather.. the sundried tomato parcels rock, found my Sennheiser headphones and listened to Fires about 20 times while writing this.
  • Mia can count to 100 now.
  • Sometimes I think I should have gotten a daughter first.. and then a girlfriend.
  • Tune of the week: Fires, Band of Skulls ..actually the whole album is pretty cool.
  • Some days I wish I could find music to be in love with the way I used to be in love with Moloko.

See you at Origin, crazy kids.

Quick Update

A week of real holiday..

  • How awesome is it when you forget which day of the week it is?… deep holiday mode.
  • Monday, walk from Bakoven to Clifton1, freshly made juices with Vanilla Stoli, awesome nap, burger at Royale with Georg, beet at &Union, Jameson on Bienne’s roof terrace, watched The Great Gatsby at home.. super slow moving movie, but I figured I needed to actually finish watching it this time.
  • “Willer as die Wildtuin.” — Georg

  • Thinking back, this was the first new years where I did not have to figure out what I’d be doing for a NYE party and it’s also the first new years I really could not care much for new years resolutions.. I pretty much know what I need to do.
  • “Ideas that spread win.” — Seth G.

  • I now have 300+ Twitter followers. I’m still not really sure about my Twitter voice/strategy. I guess it’s simply about passing along things I find interesting.
  • Tuesday, pizza with Jonathan in Camps Bay, Naulene dropped Mia off, Little Beta Beach, perfect day.
  • “Everybody wishes that the police will arrest people who drive slowly in the fast lane.” — Mia, her mom must really get unhappy when this happens.

  • Wednesday, got up at 9am, watched Nemo, raw smoothie, gym, swim, shopping, Little Beta, awesome Big Beta Beach sunset session, took long exposure shots while Mia chilled in a blow-up boat in the bath, read, sleep, perfect day.
  • I suspect Naulene is jealous that we often get up after 9am around here.
  • “Gobber: Now, where did Hiccup go wrong today?
    Ruffnut: Uh, he showed up?” – HTTYD, I feel this way about my last meeting for 2010.

  • “The truth is.. I am Iron Man.” — Tony Stark, cool end of a movie .

  • Thursday, HtTyD, raw smoothie, gym, swim, Little Beta Beach, braai and sundowners with Mia, Georg, Paul, Claus, PW, Gerjo and Misi.. Paul made The Crow’s Nest drinks again, I made Cosmo’s, perfect weather, perfect day.
  • The pirate flag seems to be getting some character… the one corner is unraveling a bit.
  • Friday, Naulene fetched Mia, Longridge Chardonnay on Little Beta, sunset bubbly on Big Beta with Georg, made Cosmo’s, perfect weather, perfect day.
  • Naulene managed to get Mia sunburnt. Sense of humour failure.
  • Saturday, watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again.. not as good as I remembered it to be, fetched Mia, a glass of wine at Miason Estate in Franschhoek, swim, braai with Mia, Nikki and Shannon, a few more glasses of good Chardonnay.
  • It seems I have a type (of girl I like). And it seems to be “The Royale Burger Waitress” type.
  • Sunday, woke up in Franschhoek, swim, an awesome lunch at Bread and Wine, Franschhoek Motor Museum, dress shopping at Beluga Bear.. got Mia a red polka dot dress, Huguenot Monument photo session, a long swim, pretty awesome pizza, read, sleep.
  • Mia has a new favourite person.. could be because of the feather boa present. Thanks Nikki.
  • Btw. If you read my little weekly rands you should probably be nice and go like this page.
  • Tune of the week: Getting away with it, James

Yeah, sorry this post was a bit delayed. No, I don’t have a good reason for that. Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Cape Town in the Summertime and the living is easy…

  • Monday, Mia and I built the Playmobil Knights Empire Castle, gym, swim, extended Waterfront visit, fish and chips at Willoughby’s, got Mia a Vader (red) lightsaber, when we got home Mia ran upstairs to find the Yoda (green) lightsaber and switched off the lights, so we had a Jedi battle.
  • “How can Santa Clause see everybody?” Well, do you think he can? “No.” — Mia

  • Tuesday, made fresh juice, we watched Wall-E again, gym, swim, Gardens Centre, nap, Little Beta Beach, I made Cosmopolitans and Vanilla Pear Martini’s, gluten-free Spaghetti, lightsaber battle, bath, sleep.
  • Georg has become a music geek. He is well on his way to investing 10k hours.
  • Wednesday, watched Kung-Fu Panda, we had grapefruit, mangos and litchi’s for lunch with a nice glass of Longridge Chardonnay (memories of 2004), Little Beta Beach, sunset Chardonnay on the bar deck (for a bit of variety), pizza at Col’caccios Camps Bay.
  • “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” — Oogway, Kung-Fu Panda

  • “I don’t want to survive, I want to live.” — Captain, WALL-E

  • “Did you feel you were tricked by the future you picked?” — WALL-E soundtrack (Peter Gabriel).

  • Mia can count to 30 now.. and to 10 in Afrikaans.
  • Thursday, Naulene fetched Mia, gym, nap, sushi in Kloof st with Georg, watched a few South Park episodes, watched Iron Man again.
  • Friday, last day of 2010, slept late, Little Beta swim, pre-nye-party-nap, put 1kg of fillet on the braai and ate it off the braai with some wholegrain mustard.. can’t think of a better meal, had a new years eve party for about 120 people at our house.. it was wild and very good fun, watched the sun come up and went for a morning swim in the sea with Paul and Elodie.
  • Saturday, got out of bed at around 4pm, Chardonnay on the beach, sushi and two helpings of Sake at Codfather with Bienne.
  • Sunday, omelette at Village Cafe in De Waterkant, walked around Kloof Street, watched The Social Network at Labia on Orange with Bienne.. good movie, walked from Bakoven to Clifton1, watched The Ugly Truth with Georg at home.. entertaining, but disturbing to voluntarily watch a chick flick.

Have a fun 2011, kids. One more time around the sun. Make this one count.