Monthly Archives: August 2011

Quick Update

I’m just a Sweet Transvestite…

  • Monday, a morning walk around Bakoven.. big swell, video filming day with Jonathan and Frances – we made 3 * 60sec videos, a long walk to Glen Beach, beers at &Union with the Gartner tech journos.
  • “Every year, thousands of politicians – liberal, conservative and just plain weird – say they’re going to do things that they know damn well they’re not going to be able to do, or even that they don’t actually want to do in the first place. If this is a revelation to you, you read at a remarkably high level for a second-grader.” — http://www.wired.com/underwire/2011/08/alt-text-patents-impending/

  • Tuesday, early morning work catch-up, breakfast with Ingi at Manna, Gartner day at CTICC, meeting with Rob at the Biscuit Mill.
  • Wednesday, morning walk to Glen Beach, meeting in Stellenbosch, afternoon with Alex, a walk with Naulene and pizza with Mia and family.
  • Thursday, work, meeting, took a long walk from Bakoven to the Promenade, more work.
  • Friday, early meeting in Stellenbosch, fetched Francis, we fetched Mia from school, fancy dress shop visit, fetched a video from Frances, another fancy dress shop, a visit to Constantia Village, photo session at Hout Bay harbour, How to train your dragon, pasta for supper, bath, read, sleep.
  • Mia’s favourite colour is definitely purple.
  • Saturday, more How to train your dragon, gym, swimming lessons, pizza at Knead, built a Lego Imperial Star Destroyer with Mia, Naulene’s 30th birthday party: Rocky Horror Picture Show theme – I went as Riff Raff, wow did Naulene look hot.
  • Sunday, woke up in Somerset West, Sunday lunch at Andrew’s.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

SPAM Brands

I just had an interesting meeting about South Africa’s anti-spam laws and how they are evolving.

The Protection of Personal Information Bill (not law yet) is being watered down by groups lobbying against it’s original Opt-In model.

What is Opt-In and what is Opt-Out?

Our current anti-spam laws use an Opt-Out model – any business (you don’t know) can send marketing to your inbox or mobile phone.. they just have to give you a way to tell them to stop (opt-out). You’ll see opt-out links at the bottom of emails and SMS messages asking you to respond with STOP if you don’t want to get their spam.

Our current Opt-Out laws create a nice environment for people to sell your personal information to spammers. Opt-out is clearly not working very well.

An opt-in model is much better, because random businesses are not allowed to send you direct marketing without your consent.

Why is the new law being watered down?

Let’s think about who benefits from the spam industry… in who’s interest would it be to keep our current opt-out model? Could it be your bank, your insurance company and your communications provider?

Turns out a number of these big businesses don’t like the idea of Opt-In. Many of them are part of a well funded industry body which lobbies government to keep our laws spam-friendly.

#SpamBrands

You might be surprised to see logos of companies which you are a customer of on this page.. or their names on this page. If you don’t think the companies you are a customer of should be supporting this pro-spam lobbying I encourage you to tweet something like:

Why is there a @BIGCORP logo on this page? http://bit.ly/p6J3Cv #SpamBrands

Feel free to get creative with your tweets, but make sure the @brand is mentioned and you include the #SpamBrands hashtag.

For more info read: Spam law heads to junk folder.

ps. You may be looking for some official Twitter names to use like:
FNB – @RbJacobs
MTN – @MTNsouthafrica
Nedbank – @NedbankSA
ABSA – who knows?
AVIS – @AvisSouthAfrica
Alexander Forbes – who knows?
Biz Community – @Bizcommunity
Standard Bank – @StandardBankGrp
DataPro – @VoxDataPro
Oracle – @Oracle
Cell C – @CellC

Quick Update

I am afraid we will forget this…

  • Monday, got up early to make Mia and Francis some breakfast, meeting with Jonathan, took a walk to Camps Bay Kauai, beach walk, Mia Skype session, sunset run to Clifton, press release writing.
  • Try using only the speaker phone feature on your phone for a week.. it’s a bit strange. The normal speaker on the phone I was using was not working.
  • Tuesday, meeting at Rob’s in Rondebosch, pizza at Knead, got a tripod at Orms, haircut at Bianca’s, BlueCollarWhiteCollar visit, Hudsons burger and a beer with Andrew.
  • “Say what you want, but spell my name right.” — Rob

  • Wednesday, early morning walk to Maidens Cove, movie making 101.. Jonathan and I filmed an explainer video, I edited the video with iMovie 11.. I guess I’m about 70% happy with the results, upgraded the firmware on my 5DmkII.
  • Thursday, gym, work, visited Cath’s new offices, GeekList meetup at Woodlands Eatery.. good fun.
  • Friday, took a walk around Stellenbosch with Alan, fetched my new Nokia E6, fetched Mia from school, lunch with Naulene, drove to Cape Town, nap, took Mia to the opening of Swan Lake at Artscape.. her first ballet, she loved it.
  • Saturday, early (2.5h) aquarium members tour.. got to see the predator tank from above, Eggs Benedict, banana bread and flap jacks at Melissas – Waterfront, got Mia some new purple Crocks, toy shop.. new Star Wars lego and a cupcake making set, Mouille Point play area, watched some rugby at Neo, more play area time, watched some rugby at La Vie with Georg, cooked some pasta for Naulene.
  • Sunday, hot chocolate and pastries with Naulene and family at Giovanni’s, roast chicken and veg at home.. Mia fed Marlyn his first solid food – butternut, Mia went home with Naulene, drinks and sushi at Pepenero with Sam and Cath, photo processing.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

9/10 days with Mia..

  • Monday, breakfast with Mia, braai leftovers for lunch, we made jelly, stopped at Buzz Cafe for smoothies and carrot cake cupcakes, spent the afternoon at Jonathan’s house, sunset walk in Newlands forest, fetched Cath from the airport, picked up some custard for jelly and custard.
  • Tuesday, triple raw cacao banana and avo smoothie, gym, swim, extended lunch with Naulene and family at Eikendal, end of a 5day Mia visit, some photo processing and backups.
  • Wednesday, work.. we launched TrustFabric Child Protect, sunset Promenade walk, a glass of wine with David at the Radisson, calamari and fish at Saboroso in Bakoven.
  • Thursday, early morning Promenade walk with Dave, egg white omelette at Sotano in Mouille Point, work, fetched our prints from Rococo Gallery, Mia visit, walk with Naulene around Helderberg Collage.
  • Mia is now doing gymnastics twice a week and seems to be really enjoying it. Swimming lessons are progressing well.
  • Friday, woke up in Somerset West, work, returned the HTC phone to Vodacom, fetched Mia from school, took Mia to the dentist.. tip-top, we took a Taureg for a test drive.. I think Mia liked it more than I did, food shopping, sunset Beta Beach walk, watched Mega Mind.
  • Because of some recent annoyances with mobile phones I was using my old Nokia E71 for a day. That died. I’m now using Georg’s old Nokia E61i.. retro smartphone week ahead. You might be wondering why I’m not just sticking to using my E72: because Naulene’s phone died and this seemed like a good chance to try the newer options.
  • Satuarday, breakfast and Madagascar, gym, swim, fish and chips at the aquarium.. we watched them feed the predator tank, watched the first half of the rugby at the aquarium, Mouille Point play area, watched the last 15min of the rugby at La Vie, fresh pesto pasta for supper, bath, read, 11h sleep.
  • Sunday, family day, beach time with Naulene.. Mia went for a swim in her wetsuit.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

HTC ChaCha Review

I’ve had an HTC ChaCha for about 10 days now. The experience has been, in one word: lame.

Background
I’ve had a few Nokia’s – E61, E71, E72. Not really something you want to browse the web on, but they worked pretty well. I’ve had a few iOS devices.

Why did I not just get an iPhone4?
1) Not the best reception / antenna design. I often struggle to phone iPhone users.
2) No keypad. I don’t like typing on a screen.
3) Battery life.
4) I could not find a free SSH client. Not sure I like the ecosystem.

The HTC ChaCha was the first phone I spotted which was close enough in design to the E72, but which could probably have a useful web browsing experience. Yes, the Facebook button is UBER lame, but there are not many designs like this.

My Experience
It cost about R3300. It runs Android 2.3.3. Two minutes after I took it out of the box I noticed the plastic casing on the one side did not line up. Took it back, got a new one. A day later I noticed the one key only works about 70% of the time. Can’t sync my calendar and contacts with Apple iSync. Battery lasts only 1.5 days max. UI apps have crashed a few times. Finding a very simple app to make notes is painful – 500 half baked apps (all rated 4.5 stars) to experiment with. It seems to want a Google account for everything. General UX of iOS is much more polished.

Rock and a hard place
Is this it? Did IQ’s just drop suddenly? Why in 2011, can I not find a replacement for the Nokia E series? How hard can it be to make a phone with a keypad which has 3 days of battery life? FFS. HTC build quality is shockingly bad. Android is okay, but I expected more.

When the phone was 8 days old, I took it back to the shop. They told me that because it’s more than 7 days old my only option is to have it repaired.

So on Friday, I’m going to print out section 56 of the CPA and go tell the mobile phone shop that I want one which actually has functional keys.. but what I really want is my money back and a Nokia E6.

Probably the most annoying part is that for a number of years it was easy to know which phone I wanted next. At the moment I’m clueless. I don’t really want any of them.

Apple and Google – you suck, thanks for taking us a few steps sideways (if not backwards). Thanks for dominating the market and leading it to create this crap.

HTC – You are true Muppets.

Nokia – why, oh why? …so many wrong choices.

UPDATE Friday 12 Aug

I visited the Vodacom shop today. They confirmed the one key was faulty. They needed to order a new keypad to fix it. They asked me what I wanted to do. I said: I’d like my money back. They wanted to know if I’d had the phone for more than 7 days. Well, yes.. 13 days. So, the lady responded with “In that case, hell no”.

I said, I’m just going to go fetch a print-out of the Consumer Protection Act from my car and then we’ll talk again.

Section 56 of the CPA: Implied warranty of quality
(2) Within six months after the delivery of any goods to a consumer, the
consumer may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expense, if the goods fail to satisfy the
requirements and standards contemplated in section 55, and the supplier
must, at the direction of the consumer, either:
(a) repair or replace the failed, unsafe or defective goods; or
(b) refund to the consumer the price paid by the consumer, for the goods.

When I returned she seemed busy for about 5 minutes. She returned with a copy of an internal document.

She read my printed CPA page. Then she read the company brief on what to do. The Vodacom document’s wording was similar to the CPA wording but it seemed to require me to follow the Vodacom processes and policies.. not really the way I read the CPA. I pointed out that the CPA gives me the option to choose how I’d like the matter resolved.

At this point the lady insisted that the Vodacom doc was the same or more relevant than the law. I suggested a solution. Let me give you back this phone and I’ll buy the more expensive Nokia E6?

Nope.

“Well, then I have to send the phone to Joburg,” she said. She started filling in a special form for “CPA Implied warranty” matters.

I have to wonder if she knew about this form when she told me “hell no” I’m just going to have to live with the lame phone because I’ve had it more than 7 days.

So. Now I’m without a phone. Awesome. I’m wondering if the “without penalty” wording above is relevant. It seems a lot like a penalty to me. It’s most certainly very inconvenient.

They agreed to respond within 10 days.

UPDATE Tuesday 16 Aug

Today, 4 days later, I get a text message saying my phone is ready for collection.

I phoned the Vodacom store. They were very happy to inform me that they have repaired the HTC ChaCha… really?

They seem to now have no recollection of the process of filling it the CPA form or saying they would send it to Joburg. I asked who the person was who changed the plan and decided they should repair the phone. They offered to give me some other call centre number if I wanted to find that person. Very useful dead end.

From the Vodacom Trade Bulletin I have:
The Act states that if the device fails within 6 months to meet the standard, a customer can return the device and the supplier must at the direction of the consumer either: a) Repair or replace the failed or defective goods b) refund the consumer the price paid. It is imperative to communicate to customers that the above WILL happen within the company’s prescribed policies and procedures. A request from a customer for one of the above does not mean that they are entitled – the company still has the right to determine its course of action and the REPAIR process will remain our first course of action because our starting point is to determine if the device is in fact faulty and what the nature of the fault is.

Does the above seem a bit contradictory to anybody? The Act certainly does not say that the company may ignore the customers requests.

I have a name for the person who wrote the document, so I’ll try and track her down.

Lets zoom out a bit… I bought a phone from Vodacom. I was never able to test or inspect a working model without buying it. It clearly failed twice in under 14 days. Do I really want to risk accepting back a phone with this track record?

I clearly explained the outcome I wanted based on the law – a very reasonable outcome in my mind. They clearly ignored me. Not very nice.

UPDATE Tuesday 17 Aug

After I mentioned this post to Twitter.. @Vodacom responded. They phoned me and explained the situation. Seems the staff in their shops will get more training on this topic soon.

They are going to arrange that the Vodacom shop I was dealing with take back the HTC and give me a Nokia E6. I have to pay the difference, but I’m happy to do that. I’m going there on Friday.

Yes, I realise that Symbian is a dead duck, but I’m happy to just stick with what I know while I ponder my options.

Good to see Vodacom’s social media customer services process is working.

UPDATE Friday 19 Aug

I returned the HTC box and cables today and fetched my new Nokia E6.

Happy again. Thanks Vodacom.

I’ll write a review for the E6 soon.

Quick Update

Not the best personal electronics week…

  • Monday, early breakfast with Naulene and family, dentist visit, Discovery 4 test drive, gym, tea at Neo, sunset Promenade walk, admin.
  • Time to move again, looking for a new place to live – 1st of Oct. Stellenbosch maybe.
  • Tuesday, upgraded to OSX 10.7 – which corrupted my filesystem, DigiCape visit, got a dual disk RAID0 Firewire800 toy, dentist, Aiden visit in SSW, old filesystem backup pains, a walk with Naulene, parent-teacher meeting at Mia’s school, supper at Naulene’s house, drove back to Cape Town.
  • Don’t move to an Android phone and upgrade OSX in the same week.
  • Let’s hope we can jump ship to Ubuntu when OSX becomes more bloated and lame.
  • Wednesday, installed OSX 10.7 again, restored backups, meeting with Stu at Rococo Gallery, sushi with Jonathan, a sunset walk to Bantry Bay.
  • Thursday, work and admin.
  • Friday, meeting at De Zalze Golf Club, fetched Mia from school, Somerset Mall session with Mia and Francis.. mostly to try and replace the HTC phone, back to Cape Town, we made Mia’s favourite food – fresh pasta and basil pesto, Francis took a bath while Mia took a shower, read, sleep. Watched X Men First Class.. pretty good.
  • Saturday, first weekend playing dad of two, Despicable Me, gym, swimming lesson, pizza at Knead, a glass of Chardonnay with Sarah at Deer Park, nap, supper, bath, read, sleep. Watched Pretty Woman again.. not bad for an 80s movie.
  • You may have noticed the pretty new blog theme. The header photo is one of my Beta Beach sunset shots.
  • Sunday, breakfast with the girls, relaxed day at home, braai with Georg, Ollie and Flora, Naulene had a wobble, she came to fetch Mia and Francis, Mia responded with “Erm.. no.” and stayed.
  • Tune of the week: Martin Solveig Et Dragonette Hello

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

This week’s post was delayed because of an Apple OSX 10.7 upgrade gone wrong.

  • Monday, woke up in the Cederderg, Ollie made us a Dutch uitsmijter for breakfast, drove back to Cape Town, meeting with Alex at &Union, Range Rover Sport s/c test drive, cooked myself some dinner.
  • Tuesday, press release writing, a walk to Vida with Rob, a long meeting, strategy session with Jonathan, supper at Soboroba in Bakoven, some proposal writing, watched Green Zone.
  • Wednesday, Discovery3 test drive, jungle oats at Wembley, gym, work, steamed veg, proposal writing.
  • Seems I’m well past the Gold Discovery Vitality status mark for this year already… which I think gives me Diamond status next year.
  • Something I’ve been pondering this week: Survival vs. flourishing, would be nice to see more people around me flourishing.
  • Nice graphic about food supplements.
  • Thursday, work, gym, drove to SSW, lunch with Mia and family, got Georg a birthday gift, found a new phone – HTC ChaCha running Android, played photographer at Heavy Chef, sushi with Nick in De Waterkant.
  • Walking out of Heavy Chef I was thinking… Thank god I’m not selling ads.
  • “Well done me.” — Mia

  • “I always thought Christianity was a bit of a cop out.” — Nick

  • Friday, fetched Mia from school, a walk in the nature reserve, took Naulene out for dinner at Jenna Viva.. kind like a 2nd 1st date.
  • Saturday, woke up in Somerset West, took Mia for her swimming lesson, gym, fish and chips and sushi at Willoughby’s, toy shop, wine shop, Milton’s birthday braai, sunset Beta Beach walk, bath, read, sleep. Perfect day.
  • Good thing I missed the rugby.
  • Seems Georg has changed his batting style from Pro20 to 5day.
  • I figure Mia goes through at least one set of Leapfrog Tag batteries every month.
  • Sunday, Waterfront shopping with Mia and family, braai in Bakoven with Naulene, Shannon and Jason.
  • Seems married men live 7 years longer.
  • I think it’s safe to say Rushmore is back. End of an era.
  • “Nothing can come close to this familiar feeling.” — Moloko, Familiar Feeling

Have a fun week, crazy kids.