Monthly Archives: March 2011

Quick Update

Free yourself. Nobody else can…

  • Yeah, this post is late.. I’ve been busy, processing photos I guess.. three sets.
  • Monday, public holiday, grapefruit, we painted a mask, Kris’ bday cake, beach time, bumped into Chrisna, 4 kids running around the house in costumes, dropped Mia with Naulene.. met Marlyn, Fokofpolisiekar at Klein Libertas in Stellenbosch, met Paul and Etienne there, bumped into Henk, got a copy of their new book and had it signed, played photographer.. filled up a 16GB flash card using the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.. lots of fun.
  • Tuesday, day without using my car, photo processing, salad for lunch, walked to Clifton, steamed veg, off to bed pretty early.
  • Wednesday, sunrise (6:30) Lions Head walk with Dave, tea with Lee from Toodu at Wembley, Orms visit.. got a new bigger sling bag which can take the 70-200mm, haircut at Bianca’s, a walk to Clifton with Georg, steamed veg.
  • It’s safe to say this blog is evolving to be much more personal than social.
  • I suspect I might just be running a bit low on hugs.
  • Thursday, work, walked to Glen Beach, phoned Mia, burger at Primi Camps Bay, washed it down with two Moscow Mules, watched Zombieland again.. awesome movie.
  • It’s a bit disturbing that the only phone number I know from memory is Naulene’s land line number.
  • “Nut up, or shut up.” — Zombieland

  • “He was in the ass-kicking business and business was *good*” — Zombieland

  • Friday, walked to Clifton 1st, Sunday Times interview at home, had a chat with that cute girl on the beach again, fetched Dr. Ernst from the airport, drinks at Salt bar with Thomas.
  • I’ve been “consciously and explicitly reminding myself to be fully and exclusively in that moment”, mostly on morning walks.
  • Saturday, beach time, fillet steak braai with Thomas, Pirates of Beta Beach house party.
  • “Menlyn: die Tafelberg van Pretoria.” — Bienne

  • “You have to be dead inside not to like it here.” — Ernst

  • Sunday, got up just before 7, we drove to the Groovy Troopers party around Tulbagh with Tori and Etienne, the GPS wanted to go over the Bain’s kloof pass, arrived at 10:00ish, played photographer coach.. Tori took most of the photos, mostly 70-200 and some 16-35, bumped into all the cool kids, sunset drive back with the roof down, sipped Talisker at home sitting on the steps in front of the house looking out over the ocean.
  • All round awesome weekend with the good doctor. One to remember.
  • “We should be creating new good memories.” — Ernst

  • “Dit was my derde tweede jaar in ekonomie.” — Etienne

  • Tune of the week: Strobe, Deadmau5
  • Note to self: Need to train my friends to use auto focus on a DSLR. Most of the pics of me taken with my camera are out of focus.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

The Way I Work : Round 3

On a good morning there’s no alarm clock. I wake up with the sun. On most mornings I go for a walk around Lions Head or a walk to Clifton 1st beach while listening to a technology podcast. This is the best time to think, so I usually make a few notes along the way.

Getting back home, I shower, make tea (I don’t drink coffee) and cut up some fruit. I put on some music. I check my mail and read some news before sorting my todo list and getting on with work.

TrustFabric‘s office is a house next to the sea in Bakoven. Bakoven is like a seaside village only 10min drive outside the Cape Town CBD. We’re probably the only startup in the world with a cave to a beach. TrustFabric writes Open Source Vendor Relationship Management software.

One morning a week I like to take my laptop and go work in a coffee shop for a while. Usually Wembley Square or Caffe Neo. I usually bump into other Silicon Cape entrepreneurs at these spots. On Friday afternoons we often have a glass of wine on the beach or an after work braai.

My preference is to work from home where I have a good selection of music, nice views and a Herman Miller Aeron chair. I try not to use my car for about two days of the week.

TrustFabric is a team of 5 people at the moment. Two full-time, two part time and one advisor. We mostly use email, mailing lists and a bit of Skype for communications. I very rarely use a desk phone. These days I seem to do most of my required telephone time in the car (with a Bluetooth car kit). I figure driving is pretty unproductive time so I may as well catch up with a few people. I use Mutt.. it’s a text based mail client. I’ve been using it for more than 10 years. I’m thinking of switching to a graphical mail client.. mostly for better smime support.

I have three screens on my desk. My primary workstation is a Macbook Pro 13″ with a 26″ LCD.. nice and portable, but with 8GB memory, so it’s snappy. I use a Mac Mini for photo processing on the other 26″ LCD, also with 8GB memory. The two machines share the same mouse and keyboard over a GigE cable. I have a Nokia E72 phone.. I’m not really happy with it, but it does what I need to do: make phone calls and make notes. I don’t like typing on touch screen devices.

I have two hosted servers which run my email, personal website and blog: a Debian Linux server and a Mac Mini Server. I’m a very inactive Debian developer. Both servers have a RAID disk setup. There is an Ubuntu PC around the house for Mia, though her toy of choice is an iPod Touch.

Mia is my daughter. She’s turning five soon. This will be the third year of having a birthday party for her on the beach in front of the house.

Most of what I do happens on my laptop now. I switched to using the Dvorak keyboard layout about 10 years ago. It’s more efficient, you should try it. I do my best work mid-morning and late at night. Some people don’t need sleep, but I actually need 8 hours a night.

My biggest time-suck is email. I used to have a pretty complex procmail setup to sort mail into 42 different inboxes. I’m getting better, I’m down to about 20. I used to send about 800 emails in a busy month, also down to about 400. Mid-day I often check emails every ~15 minutes. I usually respond immediately. If it’s more complex I flag it and work on it later. I keep my primary inbox below 15 emails.

I like to listen to music all day. Some jazz, Madeleine Peyroux, also Groove Armada, Morcheeba and more recently Deadmau5. I use a pair of Sennheiser headphones at the office. There is a hifi system in the lounge with a big sub (mostly for Blu-Ray animated children’s movies). We throw some great parties here. We hook up all the hifi’s to Airport Express devices which let us play music throughout the house.

My standard work clothes are tshirts, shorts and slops. I seem to have two modes of working. 1) Road Warrior 2) Apply bottom to chair. On “road warrior” days anything goes, meetings, short projects, emails, phone calls etc. On “apply bottom to chair” days I make a list of longer attention span projects and try to complete one or two. I also have a working “out of phase” mode usually starting at around 20:00 and working till 0:00ish at night.

I’d like to say I read lots of business books or even novels, but I probably only read about five books per year at the moment. I’m reading the 4 Hour Body at the moment. I seem to like reading product manuals. I think I’ve read my camera manual 3 times.

I don’t do much people management these days. I don’t think I’m that bad at it, it just got a bit much at some point, so I try not to demand much time and effort from people around me. Working with self-motivated people rocks!

I go out for lunch on road warrior days, which fits well with my preference for no meetings before 10:00. Most days I just make myself an uber-healthy raw chocolate green smoothie for brunch which I’m convinced is really all I need to eat. When I’m at the office I like to make tuna rocket salads for a late lunch. Weekends are usually fresh juice days. I love making fresh juices. I used to go out for every meal, but I’m getting better at simple and practical cooking. To be honest I really only make an effort to cook when Mia is around.

In general, I’m pretty organised, not often late and good at keeping a schedule. I don’t have a PA at the moment, but it seems like a good idea. I try to limit business trips to about two per year. I’m very happy being in Cape Town. I try to go overseas in June/July every year for conferences and do some traveling. I visited London, Boston, Egypt and Greece last year. I like adventure travel. I try not to plan much when I visit a new place. I just read a quick guide on the plane on the way there. I like going to places with good SCUBA diving sites.

Once a week I go through the notes I made on my phone. Some get moved to a todo list. Some get moved to my blog notes. Some get deleted. I guess it’s my version of GTD, but it’s not only about tasks, it’s about tracking ideas and recording creative thinking.

I co-founded and sold my shares in 3 technology businesses by age 33. I’m working on the next one. I’m turning 34 this year. Steve Jobs started Next at age 31, so I figure early 30s is a good time for a big change. My primary job is CEO and Product Owner at a new tech start-up. TrustFabric is self funded and incubated, but we are busy talking to a few investors to help fund the business. It’s a big, scary, global, change the world idea that’s been bugging me for the last 7 years. I believe we are drawn to exciting projects and happiness is a product of excitement. Wealth is a side effect of passion.

The plan with TrustFabric is to build a startup and an open source project with a good story to tell. We want to build a business and set up a community that will be around 30 years from now. TrustFabric is also an experiment in finding a better business model. I like the idea of doing well and doing good: the .com + .org business model. TrustFabric.org owns 26% of the .com business. We’re busy hacking the fabric of business. Hacking for good. I think in the next 10 years the most successful businesses are those who conquer the moral high ground.

I used to do lots of non-profit work (for WAPA and ISPA). It was fun to unfocus, but I’m very happy to be focused again.

I like to meet interesting people. I like connecting people and ideas. I sometimes help organise GeekDinners and I enjoy speaking at geeky events.

I enjoy photography. I take (keep) about 10k photos per year at the moment. My photos are autobiographical — though I have a good memory, photos help me trigger memories. I’m maybe a bit overly sentimental about photos. If the difference between an amateur photographer and a pro is that the amateur shows you everything they shoot.. I’m something in between. I have a photoblog where I publish my better work, but I share most of what I shoot with friends. I need to have a bit more discipline in keeping the photoblog active. I enjoy shooting travel photos and live music (often Afrikaans Punk Rock), but I’d guess about 50% of my photos are of Mia. Usually from our sunset beach walks.

I have a Canon 5DmkII DSLR and I sometimes take photos with my little waterproof Canon Powershot D10. I have three lenses for the 5D: a 16-35mm f/2.8 wide angle, a 85mm f/1.2 and a 70-200mm f/2.8. I like these because they are so different to what the human eye can do, the first is very wide and the second lets through an insane amount of light and the third has a nice zoom.. going to 400mm with a doubler.

On weekends I don’t do much work, mostly because I’m entertaining Mia, but I still check email or write the odd blog post after I put Mia to bed. It’s nice work life separation. I think many people have flexible work times (balance) but clear “no work” times (separation) are good to have.

I never really cared to build an audience for my blog. I blog for myself and maybe about 15 friends. I try to at least write one post per week.. a brief bullet list style diary of sorts. The rest of my posts are a bit random.. I write when I feel like it. I have no idea how many regular readers I have.

I’m a bit sad that Twitter seems to have taken over much of the blogging time of the friends around me. I love reading interesting blogs. I like it when people sit down and do some longer attention span writing on a topic close to them.

My all time favourite quote:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
–- George Bernard Shaw

Don’t be afraid of designing and creating your own reality. That’s what entrepreneurs do.

Notes:

  • This is an update to : The Way I Work. One year later.
  • You may recognise some of this from ma.tt‘s blog. I still see Matt as the benchmark for the new geek entrepreneur.
  • I think it’s useful to track how we evolve in our quests to work smarter. If nothing else it gets me thinking about things I’d like to change and things I’d like to work towards.
  • I like to read about how other people work, so if you find this useful, please write your story and link here.

Quick Update

A week of steamed veg and rocket salads..

  • The time consuming part of writing these weekly updates is processing all the notes on my phone. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but at least it’s a routine and I tend to do things or file them.
  • Monday, walked to Clifton1, dentist visit, got a steamer, I spotted that girl on the beach again.. the film industry one, beach time, 1hour massage at home listening to the waves, made a steamed veg and fish supper.
  • I’ve been reading the 4-hour body.. seems all the cool kids are going to live to 120. Now you know.
  • So, the nurse figures I need more green veg. My solution: The healthy bachelor meal: 1 filet of fish. 1 bag of mixed veg (labeled “serves 2”). Add to steamer device. Set timer to 15min. Open a bottle of (L’Ormarins) Chardonnay. Add some pesto. Stuff yourself with enough veg for 1/2 a week. Wash down with 1/2 bottle of wine.
  • Eight bit me.
  • Tuesday, walked to Clifton1 listening to the ZATech show, launched the new website design, sushi day in Camps Bay, sunset walk, steamed fish, veggies and Chardonnay again, watched some Californication with Kris and Georg.
  • “Becca: Dad, are you ok? Hank: No, but I’m working on it.” — Californication

  • Tragic how often I look at Facebook invites and go.. nope, Mia time. People should have more events in the week.
  • Wednesday, early Lions Head walk, wildlife photography, swim, we had a Key Gen ceremony.. paranoia is good, we released Beta 2.2, a run to Clifton, steamed veg and some reading about the future of PKI crypto.
  • “Anybody going to wrap theirs in tin foil?” — Louis

  • Thursday, dentist visit.. to fix what they had fixed on Monday, got two new tyres for my car, a few pints of Guinness at O’Driscolls with Aiden and Georg for St Daddy’s day, met Dan and Gabs.
  • A good strategy to make friends: be really honestly friendly and cool.
  • “Wanted: meaningful overnight relationship….;-)” — Seen on FB.

  • “Rebellion is the only thing that keeps you alive.”

  • Tune of the week: Purple Haze, Groove Armada.
  • “Pinky promise?” — Mia, something she picked up from Despicable Me.

  • Mia asked me why you are not allowed to copy DVDs this week. Seems the propaganda at the beginning of movies is working.
  • I had an interesting conversation with Alex about the paradox of how entrepreneurs get cornered into bad deals recently. He figures there are more people with money than people with good business ideas that can be implemented well. True.
  • Friday, early podcast listening walk to Clifton1, swim, fetched Mia from school, stopped at Naulene’s house to fetch Mia’s bag, Naulene looked pretty tired, shopping, watched My Neigbour Totoro, beach time, steamed veg and fish, bath, glow in the dark Easter egg hunt, read, sleep.
  • Saturday, watched Fantastic Mr Fox, raw smoothie, gym, swimming lesson, shopping, beach time, braai for ~8 people in Bakoven.. Michael John was here (from China).
  • Reached the 800 FB friends mark.
  • “AND you expect me to take responsibility for your having a social life which is one of the prime reasons our relationship failed: you thought life didn’t have to change with a child. It does. This is not comparative happiness, it is equal responsibility.” — Recent email from Naulene. She seems to read her email about twice a month. This is probably the closest to a good reason I’ve seen. I obviously had to point out that her alternate plan sucked.

  • “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” — Top Gun.. or in Naulene’s case.. her body is writing checks her her ego can’t cash.

  • The new car tyres are stylin’, btw.
  • “Pappa Joe.” — What Mia’s sister seems to call me.

  • Sunday, micro nippers at Clifton.. we watched the WP life saving champs, Greek breakfast at Caffe Neo, watched Fantastic Mr Fox, nap, arts and crafts, sunset beach walk photo session, bath.. while beading necklaces, Talisker and dark chocolate, read, sleep.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

This is the time of the year where you start thinking about your next holiday right?…

  • Monday, walked to Clifton1, bumped into Richard on the beach.. we had a chat about outdoor parties, being single and working for yourself, tuna rocket salad, sunset Little Beta swim, braai with Georg and Kris.
  • I don’t have Monday blues, but I usually miss Mia when I’m cleaning up her room.
  • “If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere. You better wake up and pay attention.” — seen on FB

  • Mia is 5 years old this month. That’s 3 years of being a single dad. Hmm.. single for 3 years, well.. I guess that’s not so strange.
  • Tuesday, an omelette with Johann at Crush in St George’s Mall, a fresh juice at Crush in Wembley Square, fetched my copy of The 4-Hour Body I ordered, got a lens cap for my 16-35mm at Orms, client presentation, nice sunset drive, a beer with Aiden at La Vie.
  • “We think too much about the past and the future. Relish the present.” — Aiden

  • I figure my worst enemy is the things that I’m not entirely happy with but don’t bug me enough for me to want to invest time in changing them.
  • Wednesday, a 3minute spinning class.. not sure what happened to Lance, but his replacement was no good, sunset swim, CA design session.
  • Thursday, lunch with three Mxit friends in Stellenbosch, fetched Mia from school, clothes shopping for Mia, got three USB sticks, I got a new watch, dropped Mia off with Naulene, played photographer at the Fokofpolisiekar book launch at Stellenbosch Woordfees, another quick Mia visit, Aiden visit.. he took me for a tour of the Lexus workshop with a 4.6l engine of a R1m car being fixed, Sterhuis wine tasting, dinner with Bienne at Anatoli’s.. had some Raki, Turkish delight Martini’s, a bottle of Sterhuis Chardonnay and a selection of starters.. Bienne asked me when Naulene and I are getting back together, photo processing with some Talisker 10yo.
  • I really missed my Chardonnay. I really don’t like Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Bienne thinks this blog reads like a cheap Royal Tenenbaums script.
  • My pirate scar turned out ok.
  • Friday, tea with Sarah on the green sofa, massage at Wembley Clinic.. a very good idea, omelette for lunch at Crush, fetched Mia, Aiden visit, Mia climbed around a few expensive cars, Little Beta swim, bath, lightsaber battle in the dark, read, 11h sleep.
  • Somerset West really is a special place.. you see cars with two “baby on board” signs in the back… Cape Town and Stellenbosch’s ugly sister. Special needs, ugly sister.
  • A very relaxing weekend…
  • Saturday, gym, swimming lesson, shopping, awesome nap, beach walk, upgraded our iPods to iOS 4.3, sunset braai and Campari’s, watched the last Louis C.K. episode with some Talisker.
  • Mia is now 1.16m tall. Her breaststroke kick is looking good.
  • Sunday, we got up early to take photos of the Argus Cycle tour leaders coming past Bakoven… Victoria road was closed so we spent the day at home, nap, Mia and Georg played hide and seek around the house, watched The Princess Diaries 2, Naulene waddled in to fetched Mia, I walked to our local bar for a beer with Aiden and Georg, bumped into Adriaan, Aiden fed us drinks and made us dance to UB40, made pasta at home.
  • “Yowza, that’s stylish!” — Mia, about the queen’s outfit in The Princess Diaries 2

  • “I’m a social hand grenade. Pull the pin. I’m going to go off.” — Aiden

  • Tune of the week: Village Idiots, Catatonia.
  • At least I’m never bored.
  • “You can divide our industry into two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company.” — Jamie Zawinski

  • Sending time with Mia is almost like an alternate reality.. a different outlook on things, new discoveries and cool toys. A mini-holiday every weekend.
  • “To be a princess, you’ve got to believe that you’re a princess.” — The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

  • My new theory on why people in their 20s have failed relationships: well, they were in their 20s and they thought they were bulletproof.
  • Do not go to Caprice with a crazy Irish guy on a Sunday evening!
  • Yes, I do all my own stunts for this blog.
  • I’ve noticed some traits in Mia that make me think she’s going to be a bad loser. Excellent.
  • Naulene’s new album is now 8 days late.
  • Update: Mia’s new 1/2 brother was born the (following) Monday at 12:00: Marlyn – 3.7kg

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Ok, let’s just get this done already.. let me produce a bit of content so I can go back to just consuming.. just like you.

  • Monday, car service day, sushi for lunch, sunset walk to Clifton, Louis C.K.
  • Tuesday, walked to Clifton1, work, swim, work, swim, processed notes from my phone.. all the way from Aug 2010, took a walk around Bakoven to watch the sunset, Louis C.K.
  • I figure there are two types of people, nerds.. who like to focus and don’t like many options, creatives who don’t really like to focus and keep collecting options. The nerd in me fears I’m becoming a creative.
  • Wednesday, tea with Tim at Melissa’s in Constantia, 45min spinning class, Beta Beach swim.
  • Thursday, monthly health checkup and vitB shot, developer interview, rocket and watercress salad for lunch, Louis C.K, braai, Tunes Thursday ™.
  • The state of Joe’s health: good progress on blood pressure and cholesterol – now well within the happy range.. but Hemoglobin is down.. seems I’m anemic now (13g/dL).. more spinach and rocket on the menu. That’s what happens when you stop drinking for a month kids.. you eat a lot less red meat.
  • My photos were used in this video
  • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” — unknown ..focus on convenience.

  • “Stay in the space.” – PW, about start-ups and what he learned from Mxit

  • Thank goodness I did not have a child before digital cameras were around. What a waste that would have been.
  • “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan

  • Friday, early morning swim, met a really cool girl on the beach called Francis, a fresh (chilli) juice with Ashley at Manna – Kloof st, fetched Mia from school, we released Beta 2.1, beach time, sunset photo session, salad and protein shake, bath, read, sleep.
  • Our collection of ~400mm beach shots is growing nicely.
  • Saturday, a day of relaxing at home, grapefruit, Despicable Me, photo processing, raw smoothie, Mia manicure and pedicure, charged all our iPods (4), organised Mia’s room, swimming lessons were cancelled so we chilled on Big Beta beach with Paul and Claus, sunset braai with Georg, Kris and some Lyambiko on 3 hifi’s through the house.. I figured we needed some jazz for a change, bath, read, sleep, watched Tron Legacy.. amusing but not good enough to keep me awake, walked into a sharp corner of a cupboard in the dark – while trying not to wake Mia, blood running down my face, sense of humour failure.
  • If I have a pirate scar under my right eye.. it’s a parenting scar okay!
  • Spray plaster: even better than sliced bread.
  • Sunday, nippers, shopping, played photographer at LKB’s 30th at the Ambassador pool deck, Naulene fetched Mia, Thomas visit, photo processing.
  • Loving the 70-200mm lens.
  • Naulene was due to pop on Saturday, but she’s thinking it will be another 3 days or so.
  • She’s been less of a cow lately. Marginally less.
  • Seems Mia wants to be a designer and a model.. she must get that that idea from her mom. Her dad wants her to be a countercultural revolutionary.
  • FaceTime is freakin useless. We switched back to using Skype for dad – daughter comms.. now that it does video on the iPod touch.
  • Getting ready for the next house party. Dr. Ernst is flying in for the event.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Multichoice DSTV evil empire of Muppets

I received a letter from Multichoice (Pty) Ltd’s lawyers today. A physical posted letter, to my street address. They seem to think I owe Multichoice R871.20 and their letter reads: “..your details will be listed on all major credit bureaus”. A convenient way of abusing the underbelly of personal information.

Now, the first thing I’m thinking is.. why are lawyers writing me a letter and not Multichoice? I think I’m a customer of Multichoice. Surely they should have made at least one attempt to communicate with me before running to lawyers. Do they value their customers so little? The lawyers managed to post me a letter. Does DSTV not understand how email or the postal system works? I guess that’s just how monopolies do business. It’s the evil empire way.

What I think happened:

We know DSTV have a monopoly on broadcasting Springbok Rugby. I figure it’s a good idea to get DSTV for the month of November 2010. Just the month of November. I get the DSTV decoder gizmo and connect it all up. I phone their call centre which points me at their website saying I can use their service on a month-to-month basis. I look at their website and see I can pay by credit card. No contracts or debit orders. Cool. So I pay for the month of November with my credit card. I watch 3 rugby games. Happy.

I honestly do not care about any of their other broadcasting. I don’t watch TV. I guess I could have just gone to a bar and watched the rugby there, but I have a 4yo daughter and she’s not that into bars. So I was stuck with the DSTV option.

Since my first (and only) interaction with their pretty buggy website, I’ve had zero communication from Multichoice. No invoices. No phone calls. No emails. Nothing.

Any rational human would have expected the service to end at the end of November.. the month I pre-paid for.

What I suspect the evil DSTV empire thinks happened:

A customer comes to our website and pre-pays for November. We think this implies a 3 month contract. We’ll let their service run for the month they paid for plus two months. Hmm.. yeah, two is a nice number. Not 1 or 3 or 24. Two is good. We don’t need to invoice them or let them know of this creative contract we cooked up.. that would just bother them with things they don’t need to know about. Oh, yeah and.. we don’t want any real contact with out customers so we’ll just automate things and involve lawyers because we don’t give a shit about the quality of relationships we maintain with our customers.

We rock! Evil is cool. Golf again this afternoon?

Enter the Customer Protection Act:

(yeah, I don’t like the word “consumer”)

What Multichoice and DSTV is doing should be illegal.. oh, turns out our legal system agrees: Enter the CPA

No, dear evil empire, you can’t just get creative and pick a number of months you assume an imaginary contract exists.

CONTRACTS

Ever been billed for that gym or cellphone contract you thought had expired?

Thanks to the new act, automatic contract renewals will be no more. Companies will have to contact you – in writing – between 40 and 80 business days before your contract expires. They have to give you the option to continue your contract, change its terms or cancel it.

Note that the contract will continue on a month-to-month basis until you make your choice.

You will also be able to cancel contracts at any time. No more waiting for the full 24 months to end. If you’re unhappy, give the company 20 days’ notice – in writing – and you’re home free.

I’d very much like Multichoice to show me the contract I signed and the invoices they sent me, or even a statement of my account. Any communication at all would be a good start.

Evil is in fact not cool.

UPDATE: 2011-03-04

DSTV phoned me. They are going to get their lawyers off my back. They confirmed their billing system should work on a month-to-month basis. Seems there is some snag in how they disconnect customers.. they can only disconnect 10k users per day. I’m guessing somebody made some lame assumption about how much data needed to be moved in a signalling band “why would you ever want to disconnect more than 10k people in a day?” Sounds like they will be looking into how this snag relates to the CPA. This is all well and good, but I feel sorry for all the people who have been affected and ended up in fights with DSTV’s dogs of automated debt collection.

Quick Update

Hooah.

  • Monday, early walk to Clifton1, client meeting in Gardens, VC meeting, supper with Keith at Limoncello.. we wanted to check out the new Cafe Paradiso, but it was full.
  • Mia started dancing lessons.
  • “…and thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.” — Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Tuesday, walked to Glen Beach, pizza with Morgan and Jonathan, walked to Clifton1 for a swim, watched some Louis C.K.
  • “It’s a tool, not a nanny.” — Jonathan, about OpenSSL

  • Wednesday, met with Gareth in Kloof Street – editor of the Silicon Cape newsletter, 2.5 hour spinning, Louis C.K.
  • Mia is getting a new 1/2 sibling on +- the 5th of March.
  • Percentage of Mia’s life that her mom has been pregnant: 31%
  • It seems Naulene has decided she wants to employ an au pair soon.
  • “Well I guess it ain’t easy doing nothing at all.” — Why Don’t You Get A Job, The Offspring

  • Seems the German baker has been claiming unemployment benefits for the last few months back in Germany.. while working. Real upstanding guy. He’s not going to be around for the birth of Mia’s new 1/2 sibling.
  • Thursday, Vineyard Hotel, fetched Mia from school, lunch at Bodega/Dornier, ice cream at Butterfly World, Hillcrest Berry farm, Delair, rock shandy’s at Lanzerac with Debby and Romek, dropped Mia off – fetched Naulene, my first parents cheese and (not-)wine function.. I’m pretty sure I was the only guy who rocked up in a tshirt, shorts and slops (my work clothes).. tip: avoid the parents with Power Balance bracelets.
  • Do not go to Delair. They did not want to serve us afternoon tea. Muppets.
  • Naulene thinks I’m the most stubborn type.. only child + Afrikaans.
  • Friday, fetched Mia at school, Orms visit.. I got a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, we had our hair cut at Bianca’s, food shopping, beach time, bath, read, sleep.
  • Saturday, Despicable Me, gym, swimming lessons, pasta salad, beach time, Beta Beach rocks photo session with the 70-200, bath, read, sleep.
  • Mia weighs 22.5kg now.
  • I feel like I need a sabatical to catch up with photo processing and publishing.. or I need to teach Mia’s mother how to use Aperture.
  • “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t” — Unknown, via Henk.

  • Sunday, up at 4am.. a bit of adventure, Masqued Ball with LKB and Tanya, bumped into Olwyn and Milk, awesome drive back with Malan, roof down, good tunes.
  • Sunday, Mia went to her first (nippers) life saving lesson at Clifton 4 with Fiona, followed by a planetarium visit and a braai.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.