Monthly Archives: August 2013

Quick Update

No more coffee...

  • Monday, school run, gym, chest day, mostly worked on a company overview doc for Gust, Mia went to Judo.
  • 92kg again. Need to lose 5kgs soon - like everybody else who needs to lose 5kgs.
  • Tuesday, school run, Mia went to go see an Artscape play, gym, other gym (after the traffic), we launched a RTD tickets competition for Gust, squash vs Werner, pizza with Mia.
  • We doubled our Gust Facebook page likes. 350 > 700.
  • Wednesday, up at 4:30, school run, Cape Town day, Quirk meeting, Zunguz meeting, bumped into Dave at Cafe Neo, Mia went to Judo, steamed veg, bath time, I read Mia "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"... maybe more for me than for her.
  • Thursday, early school run for choir practice, gym, Cape Town day, MIH meeting, lunch with Luke at Truth, printer demo, cheesecake and coffee with Jonathan in Obs, squash vs Werner... still unbeaten but I suspect he's upping his game, burger with Mia at Jan Kats, gelato, bathtime, reading, sleep.
  • "Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss." -- Elon Musk

  • A few thoughts on Gust... I think that what we've built in the last year, with the resources and budget we had is pretty crazy and I'm very proud of what we've been able to do. Yes, I'm a bit worried we're doing too many things at once - too wide a scope of problems, to much complexity. Do I think we have product-market fit: yes, I think people like our product and we're busy building something people want to use. I think we're figured out how to grow user numbers and hopefully scale the product.
  • Friday, early school run for reading buddy, gym, Hazz with Nico and Jan, lunch with Werner at Basic, talked cycling races with Carinus and Ben, a beer at Jolly Roger with Werner and Luke, Brampton, bought my first 1/8th of a Bitcoin - feeling a bit behind the curve, woke up at 2am on the couch after watching Star Trek.
  • Time to stop drinking coffee again. I stopped in Jan 2003 - lasted 8 years... until Mxit-free-coffee-on-tap.
  • Getting pretty tired of this winter weather and getting up at 5am.
  • Saturday, watched Star Trek - entertaining, Gust hacking and braaiing at my house with Jan and Dirk, watched 1/2 a rugby game at Wijnhuis, babies don't sleep this well.
  • "Design is about crafting an experience that is unfamiliar enough to feel novel, yet familiar enough to instill confidence." -- seen on Twitter

  • Sunday, sunny day, laundry, photo processing, backups, steak and avo omelette, folded a whole month's tshirts, nap, sunset walk on Strand beach with Mia and Francis, we had ribs and calamari at Surfside, dropped them at their mom's house.
  • "I always have a plan." -- Seen on Facebook

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Wearable Tech’s Underbelly


Random idea of the day: Is there an app to generate fake run data... with fake gps tracklog and map? Big business in fake wearable tech soon I suspect.. street vendors selling fake Google glass. The fake iWatch. The dummy you strap your heart rate monitor to - to fake medical aid data. Gattaca stuff. The borrowed ladder of cheap tech. Chip your car to "selectively" send your driving behaviour data. Big business kids...

Quick Update


  • Monday, gym, rainy day, work, email scrubbing.
  • "Prioriteit nommer een, kom lewendig hier uit." -- FPK (deja vu)

  • Tuesday, gym, Stellenbrau meeting, Ramfest meeting at KLT, a burger at Apres.
  • I've only had an iPhone for 13 months, feels like years.
  • In your 30s you start re-learning a few things you figured out in your 20s - you kinda spot them in a moment, some form of positive reinforcement nostalgia.
  • "BlackBerry is the new Palm." -- about BlackBerry being up for sale. This simplifies mobile app development a bit.

  • I watched Dead Man Walking this week - pretty good. Kinda reminded me of Things to do in Denver when you're Dead.
  • "You glide. It's a very attractive quality. Most girls, they merely plod along. You, on the other hand, you glide." -- Jimmy The Saint, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. Something I used to say to Mia's mom fairly regularly.

  • Seems Mia is singing in her school's junior choir now.
  • Wednesday, squash vs Werner, spent most of the day in a coffee shop answering emails, Stomme Jonge with David and Bev.
  • Thursday, skipped gym, RTD meeting, Obz Cafe.
  • Friday, gym, Woordfees meeting, Brampton while Mia read 7 pages of George's Marvellous Medicine, a burger and some Brainbox cards with Mia at Apres, gelato.
  • Saturday, up early for some business plan writing, the King Julian breakfast at Julian's, shopping with Mia, watched the rugby at Wijnhuis with Georg and Mia - good service for a change, watched Iron Man 3 - entertaining.
  • Mia seems pretty good at intuitive guessing. She definitely has the confidence to guess and try... pretty accurately.
  • Sunday, Bodega with Georg, Mia and my camera, Blaauwklippen Market to get ice cream, watched Pain and Gain - very funny, nap, steamed veg... Mia wrote me a letter - complaining about the variety of food I make her at home.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Outdoor Wifi in both directions

Something to keep in mind before you get too excited about the idea of free (outdoor) wifi...

Some context: Free Wi-Fi for Pretoria and Free Wi-Fi for Stellenbosch (which has about 2 working hotspots at this point, I think).

The (legal) power limit for a 2.4 Ghz wifi hotspot is 100mW (20 dBm). This is also what most laptops can probably (read: almost) do. This gives you a maximum range of about 122m if I read the UniFi specs.

100mW is the maximum power the hotspot can use to send a signal to a laptop. You can amplify the hotspot sending power to 200mW on some devices but it's generally a bad idea because your average laptop does not have enough power to send a signal back to the hotspot.

You must have seen something like this before... you're sitting in a coffee shop and you pick up a hotspot with "full" signal - but you can't connect to it? Usually this is because you can receive the hotspot signal, but your laptop does not have enough power to reply.

This must be the #1 mistake of outdoor wifi hotspot providers. Somebody can't connect?... Well, let's boost the (sending) power. Bad idea. The user's device just does not have the power to send a signal back.

Now the bad news, especially in SA, where most people would like to use free wifi from their mobile phones. A mobile phone has about 1/2 the power of a laptop - much less space for a good antenna in there. An iPhone 4S seems to give you less than 32mW (13 dBm)

What range does this give you? Half, maybe less. I'm guessing 60 meters.

So, if you are providing wifi services to mobile phones you probably want to be turning your hotspot's power DOWN not UP - and adding more hotspots.

One more sad thing about 2.4 Ghz Wifi - there are only 3 (Three) non-overlapping channels (not 11 like you think). So if somebody is doing outdoor wifi on channel 2, 6 and 10 and boosting the power - it kills wifi for everybody around them.

Take the Bandwidth Barn as an example. Wifi in there is pretty much useless. No spectrum management - chaos.

Lastly: there is a nice Android app called "Wifi Analyzer" - nice way to visualise wifi channels and power.

Quick Update

Fantastic Mr Fox week...

  • Monday, school run, gym, watched Mia do Judo - I'm starting to think it's not really her thing, we took turns reading Fantastic Mr Fox, late night email scrubbing.
  • And so starts the scramble to get Gust working in the UK by the end of the month.
  • Dairy-free week for Mia - rice milk is not than bad.
  • Tuesday, school run, gym, barber shop, Gusted some soup for lunch with Maia at Blue Crane, squash vs Werner, late night working session with John Coltrain.
  • "A total clustercuss for everybody." -- About Stellenbosch roadworks in Dorp St.

  • Wednesday, set up a blog for Gust, school run, Waterstone gym (read: press release writing), lunched the Gust Coffee Club with 55 active merchants, Brainstorm photo shoot at CTICC, lunch at Zucchini with Luke, meeting with The Suits, RTD meeting, a beer with Michael, double cream swiss chard with nutmeg.
  • Free Coffee? There's and app for that.. Gust Finder
  • Feeling like I have ten thumbs, tinkering with nginx and xen, it's been too long.
  • "You are honestly the easiest person I've interviewed, ever!" -- Brainstorm journalist, made me smile.

  • Thursday, school run, squash vs Werner - special kind of squash stiffness, Gust dev meeting at Blue Crane, met with Elizabeth, Ramfest meeting at Trumpet, watched Fantastic Mr Fox with Mia, burger at Apres.
  • Gust PR for the week: Bandwidth Blog, HumanIPO, VentureBurn.
  • I think Mia is ready to start reading longer books. Time to bring out the Roald Dahl books.
  • Friday, public holiday, Mia watched The Lorax, dropped Mia at her grandma's house, a burger at Hudsons with Micheal, drinks at Ian's, Sirius at Bloemendal.
  • Saturday, wine tasting at Neil Ellis with Al and Margot, 5 Reyneveld with Al, John and Johannes, watched the rugby at Jan Kats, 12h sleep.
  • Sunday, watched Mad Max 1, 2 and 3 (for the first time).. mostly painful, watched Pacific Rim... entertaining.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Shipping the new Gust Finder and Coffee Club...

  • Monday, gym, death by inbox, a beer and a burger with Andrew at Apres.
  • Tuesday, gym, Hilltop Live meeting at Wembley Square, lunch at Zucchini's, Woordfees meeting, made a presentation for #HackSTB meetup, talked about Gust Finder 1.2 and NFC payments at the #HackSTB July event, listened to interesting talks about Bitcoin and distributed Minecraft, Bobotie at Trumpet Tree.
  • Gust's events product is moving along very nicely. So far 4 event companies on board for using Gust this summer with a nice list showing keen interest.
  • Seeing more and more iOS and Android devices among the Stellenbosch students.
  • Wednesday, Cape Town day, Big Concerts meeting, MIH meeting, lunch in Obs with Werner, Rocking the Daisies app design meeting in Obs, a beer with the TinToy guys in Greenmarket Square, Randolf's birthday Beerhouse pre-opering party in Long St.. nice place, a burger at Royale.
  • Looks like we could be making a few big changes soon.
  • Thursday, the first day of August, squash vs Werner, catch up with Charles, weekly Gust dev meeting at the Blue Crane, Gusted some scrambled eggs, watched Mia's hockey game, took Mia to art class, car wash, design session on Nico's farm.
  • Time to start eating healthy again. Gym tracker says: 16.7% body fat, 91.1kg of which 43.8kg muscle.
  • Werner found this gem... Why?
  • Friday, up early to test Gust Finder 1.2.1, gym, more Gust Finder tweaking and Gust website update, Brampton, Apres with Mia.
  • Saturday, breakfast at Green Gate - Mia had poached eggs with toast soldiers, we built a solar powered helicopter toy, sunset walk around Stellenbosch with Mia, backups, upgraded to WordPress 3.6 and photo processing, washed Mia's hair - which is my official excuse for not making it to Andrew's going away (to China) party.
  • My slops broke - I guess I should be grateful to be able to wear slops so often that I have to get a new pair once a year.
  • Mia asked why I use DuckDuckGo and not Google search. She gets it.
  • Sunday, watched Treasure Planet again - great movie, more photo processing (two hockey games and a school play), shopping, we fitted Mia's 4th gum guard for the season, fish and chips and Top Trumps (car specs card game) at Jan Kats, nap, Mia watched The Lorax, I read Olivia goes to Venice to Mia as a bedtime story.
  • "They have the initiative in a world afflicted with comprehensive helplessness." -- about Stallman, Assange and Snowden

  • Go read Julian Assange's history. Reads like the plot of a hacker movie.
  • The good old days of hacking Unix systems.

  • Remember, "nobody knows anything" - it's all about how optimistic you are about what you are busy with.
  • The first half of 2013 has been an adventure. More adventure than I planned for.
  • Now I just need to find new funding for Gust and move to Cape Town in November.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.