Monthly Archives: June 2014

Quick Update

London in the summertime…

So this is what it looks like
So this is what it looks like
  • Monday, last minute backups, Georg dropped me off at the airport, flight to Joburg with Werner, Gautrain to Sandton, fetched our passports… which now contain UK prospective entrepreneur visas – all kinds of happy, a late breakfast with Anton in Sandton City, evening flight to London.
  • Catching a flight to go live in another country is a bit like getting out of a shower on a winter’s day – as soon as you turn off the tap you just have to get on with the day.
  • Looks like Georg will be going to Ireland (for 4 years) after all.
  • ERnst has quit his weekly blogging. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
  • “Formidable, charismatic, relentless.” — Three words you need to understand for the tech startup game.

  • Tuesday, woke up somewhere over north Africa, managed to make it through UK border control with only a 10min Q&A – this time they apologised for the previous experience and deleted the entry refusal flag from my profile, first day at Techstars, walked right into our first mentoring session at the Barclays Accelerator offices, warm welcome, good fun, we took a bus to Jacques’s house (Islington area), traditional fish and chips for dinner.
  • Wednesday, bus ride to the office, stayed until 21:00ish, Overland train to Shoreditch, a few drinks at the Softlayer party (to launch their new DC in London), Jacques showed me Grand Theft Auto 5.
  • “That’s why you’re in a startup, you do what needs to get done.” — Werner

  • Thursday, Overland train to the office (much quicker than the bus), another mentor day, investigated UHF RFID tags, we started building a new website for Gust Pay, took a walk towards the East of London and had a kebab, watched some True Detective… Anton recommended it, pretty good.
  • Friday, a very good day of Techstars mentoring, lunch at Dirtyburger down the road, picked up new SIM cards, out and about with Jacques and some Guinness at two local pubs.
  • “Do you have a British passport?” — Jacques’ pickup line for the evening… he’s on a mission to find me a wife it seems.

  • After a night out Werner is now known as Will – makes introductions a bit easier.
  • Saturday, used Airdrop between two iPhones for the first time, a walk along Regents Canal, a Mexican breakfast and a Bloody Mary with Jacques, got a new 4GEE SIM and Jacques ordered 40Mbps fibre (for 28 GBP/m) in Oxford Street, lunch at Wasabi, walked around the Camden Town market… the Cyberdog shop is pretty crazy, The Worlds End pub, a drink at After Midnight in Angel, watched Dallas Buyers Club… good movie.
  • Good to catch up with Jacques.
  • Jacques thinks my blog should be more Gonzo. “Less detail more Gonzo.” I’ll work on that.
  • Don’t phone me on my SA mobile number, I now have a UK (EE) number.
  • First world problem: not being able to finish watching a morning movie on the plane and having to forward though it for about 10 minutes on the next flight.
  • Sunday, Jacques made us breakfast, watched some House of Cards, I took a walk through Shoreditch Park and Rosemary Garden, Vespa ride to Old Street for a Doner Kebab and a (plain) yoghurt drink with Jacques, photo processing, watched more True Detective.
  • “I revised the parameters of my promise.” — House of Cards

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

School Computer Labs

Hard to believe that in this day and age they teach (Grade 2) kids lame “popular” tools in the computer lab.

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An email I sent to Mia’s school today…

Thanks for the report.

One line made me choke on my tea and biscuits:

“She is quick to open Google in Internet Explorer and select a specific image.”

I realise you want to teach the most commonly used tech – but there are a number of better options out there, which will probably be the most commonly used tech in the near future. I also think it’s a good idea to use open tools which take privacy seriously (don’t do user tracking etc).

Some of these are easy to swap out, some not, but here is a quick list:

https://duckduckgo.com/
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
https://www.ubuntu.com/
https://www.libreoffice.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard

Please pass this on to the people in the computer lab.

Using the first two links in the short term will make me very happy.

Quick Update

Waiting for the bus…

Top of Ocean View Drive
Top of Ocean View Drive
  • Yes, I’m finally publishing this from inside the UK border – London, Whitechapel, with a desk in the Barclays accelerator powered by Techstars.
  • Most of this week was spent in Joburg – getting to know Greenside pretty well.
  • Monday, public holiday – not ideal when you are waiting for a visa in Joburg, pizza with Werner, watched Godzilla with Ernst, Lisa and Werner in Hyde Park… entertaining movie – for what it is, Lisa made us some nice curry, Ernst showed us Saturn and Mars with his (big by home enthusiast standards) telescope, fetched Anton and family from the airport at around 0:00.
  • “The days are long, but the years are short.” — Something Ernst mentioned about getting older and parenting. I guess you need to live for the weeks then.

  • Tuesday, mostly sysadmin spring cleaning work (on 9 servers), a burger with Werner at Dukes in Greenside, phoned Mia, watched some of the Belgium soccer game with Anton and Werner at Pirates Sports Club down the road.
  • Wednesday, we visited the UK visa office in Sandton (crazy long queues – even running all the way out of the office), no luck, breakfast with Anton, worked in Sandton City for most of the day, sunset walk around Greenside, Anton cooked a perfect lazy aged rib eye steak with nice marbling.
  • “Do-ocracy: If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. You don’t need to wait for some sort of authority to do it. You just do it. …these types of events are a training ground for people to learn to be engaged. These experiences are an antidote to the insidious passive consumption that feeds on a life devoid of creativity, permission, and empowerment.” — From this article about AfrikaBurn.

  • “Sleep and laughter.” -~ Ernst… about curing pretty much anything.

  • Thursday, watched V for Vendetta… brilliant as always and kinda apt considering our recent experiences – Evey made me think of the friendly waitress, I cooked a vegetable soup with some cheese and olive bread and we had sago pudding, watched some House of Cards… entertaining.
  • “There is no certainty, only opportunity.” — V

  • 2135 photos this year so far, in 94 projects/events. Not totally happy with those numbers, but better than last year.
  • Friday, Anton dropped us at the Gautrain station, breakfast at the airport, flight to Cape Town, Georg fetched me from the airport, fetched Mia from Mtech – we listened to her remix project CD in the car, sunset walk around Oranjezicht, lamb and veg roast at home, introduced Mia to Cosmos Season 1.
  • Analog vs digital watches… now this, is amusing: Mia has two watches, both purple, one analog Swatch her gran gave her and one Casio I gave her for AfrikaBurn. You will remember from previous posts that every kid needs to own a Casio. I fetched Mia on Friday with two watches on her arm (I have a photo) and I asked her about it. Turns out her mom wants her to wear the analog watch because she likes analog watches and she says Mia need to learn to read analog watches… which I’m pretty sure she could do at age 4 already. Mia also wears the digital watch because she likes it more – it has a light and she can set the alarm etc. Read into this what you want, but I find it a very amusing result of different parenting influences.
  • Update: from Mia’s school report today: “She can tell the time using o’clock and half past the hour and fill in the correct time on a clock face.”
  • Saturday, up at 7:00, watched 4 of Mia’s hockey matches in Stellenbosch, very exciting first game, they won 3 of their 4 games, she scored 8 goals in total, a Full Monte and a Baby Monte at The Daily Deli in Tamboerskloof, we watched How To Train Your Dragon 2 at the Waterfront… Mia’s first movie without using a kiddies seat – as good as a sequel can be (Mia agreed – “almost as good as the first one”) and happy I was able to watch it with Mia after all, gelato, sunset Promenade walk, we visited the 21st floor of the Ritz hotel in Sea Point… nice views, but Mia wanted pizza, off to Bacini’s at the top of Kloof street… we snuggled under a blanket in the outside area and played a game of chess, great day.
  • Sunday, morning cartoons and tea, Beta Beach walk, drove to the top of Ocean View Drive with Mia – nice views, great oxtail, birthday cake and ice cream at Johann and Victoria’s house – Victoria made a very cool “growing bed” (aquaponic farming) cake – happy birthday Johann, dropped Mia at her mom’s house, dumped more stuff in storage, Van Hunks with Georg, bit of a deja vu feeling to the most of the day.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Adventures at border control and in Joburg…

Bumpy ride out of Cape Town
A bumpy ride out of Cape Town
  • Not the best photo this week, but it kinda fits the mood.
  • After a few weeks of mystery I can now tell you what we’ve been busy with and why we’re off to London… we’re part of the Barclays fintech accelerator powered by Techstars this summer.
  • Spotted this cool GUST Pay drawing – related to our new office space in London.
  • Monday, print shop admin, breakfast at Lazari with Georg, last minute packing/moving (mostly just dumped everything in the boot of my car), flight to Joburg (stormy turbulent take-off) and then to London with Werner, he was not impressed with gluten free meal, watched Her… good movie – food for thought.
  • Tuesday, arrived in London, LHR Terminal 1 at around 7:00, spent 12 hours at UK border control, 21:00 flight back to Joburg, phoned Anton – looks like we’d be spending some time in Joburg. Watched 3 Days to Kill… good movie – I think I have an obvious soft spot for these Taken’like plots, I was actually happy to get some airplane food and slept well.
  • Seems we’re not Jason Borne. UK Border Control did not want to let me in because I had a business visa and not an entrepreneur visa (which I only discovered there – more about this later). They did not want to let Werner in because our Techstars invitation letter was not on a letterhead – and it did not seem to help that the Techstars people phoned them. At least we were not deported – just refused entry. Thanks for checking, Jacques. The security people at border control were actually very friendly. The border control people just took a long time to figure what they wanted to do.
  • I guess you could say we started our Techstars team building programme a bit early. Nothing like a bit of a prisoners dilemma experience… 6 interviews of telling the same story. There were quite a few people passing through – mostly asylum seekers from places like Serbia – a restaurant owner from Brasil and a few Americans students who did not have visas for their internships – the one girl was there for more than 24 hours. I’m pretty sure I read every English magazine in the place and had about 8 hot chocolates from the vending machine – and some instant curry. The closest thing I’ve experienced to being in a prison. No phone, no internet, just a room with no windows for 12 HOURS.
  • Naulene took Mia to get her UK visa on Tuesday, thanks Naulene. Seems Cath also had a visa appointment at the same time and they spent about 2.5 hours waiting in the same room/queue without much to say to each other. Best friends for one summer.
  • Wednesday, arrived back in Joburg around 8:00, sense of humour failure – I logged into the UK visa application website to start the process of getting a prospective entrepreneur visa and then noticed that my previous application was also for a “(Business) Prospective Entrepreneur” visa, appointments made and original letters Fedex’d, Gautrain to Sandton, first Skype chat with Mia (since leaving), a beer with Anton in Nelson Mandela Square, pizza with Anton and family – a quick visit from Ernst.
  • Thursday, sunny winters morning in Joburg, visa paperwork, a beer with Anton and Werner, sunset walk around Greenside, dropped Anton and family at the airport (off to Zanzibar for a long weekend), a Chivas nightcap.
  • Jonathan coach die Lions Rugby Span
  • 1300 Facebook friends, 901 Twitter followers.
  • Friday, GPS’d our way to Sandton City for breakfast, visa appointment – Fedex docs arrived just in time, updated some SSL certs (just in time), Anton’s GPS took us for a tour of Rosebank and Melville, Hyde Park mall visit, So Yum with Ernst and Thomas, no fun (decaf) vanilla lattes at Seattle Coffee, a beer at Craft in Parkhurst with Ernst and Werner.
  • Ernst has a theory that Noakes is busy with a “long con” – and will possibly kill a lot of folk with even higher fat diets.
  • Saturday, omelette at Dopio Zero, added a few photos to Anton’s photo wall (note to self: make photo wall), epic braai at Ernst’s house – pomegranate salad, filet, rugby and springbokkies, I remember playing this Leonard Cohen song: Diamonds In The Mine, Saturday night adventure around Joburg, good fun – thanks Ernst.
  • Sunday, spent most of the sunny winters morning just chilling on lawn, a bit of FB stalking, Werner reminded me of the Coincidence Design story, pizza in Greenside with Werner, watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – pretty good, Fathers Day Skype chat with Mia, photo processing and blogging.
  • Let’s see if I publish the next post from London.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Goodbye Cape Town…

Signal Hill views
Signal Hill views
  • Monday, gym, swim, sauna, Twenty Fifty, a late business meeting at Cubana, Georg cooked a big supper, watched half of 40 Year Old Virgin again – I like the part where she asks the telemarketer to find a knife and walk into a wall.
  • Georg is officially on holiday for the whole month of June. Seems he’s not going to Ireland, but he might make it to Ibiza.
  • Tuesday, figured out it’s not a smart idea to go to Wacky Wine this year – too much to wrap up before moving to London, gym, meeting about fibre internet at Twenty Fifty, lunch with Robyn – chatting about robotics for kids, Bizoe wine tasting at Carlyle’s with Ania, yellow Thai curry with Georg, Milton and the wine maker, Ania offered me a press pass to Tomorrowland (!! end of July), Georg found his ex on Tinder on my phone, drinks with Lynne and Chris – who toured with INXS (allegedly).
  • “I got so drunk last night, I thought a tube of toothpaste was astronaut food.” — Will Ferrel, The Other Guys.

  • Wednesday, wet and cold morning, The Full Monte at The Daily Deli… yum – had to grab one of these before leaving, made an attempt to store/sell/trade my car, spotted an awesome Touareg, but I figure I’m just going to have to store my car, Wellness Cafe Kloof st, UK conference call with a view (drove up to Signal Hill while on the car phone)… it was very cold up there, took the EV3 bot to Robyn.
  • Thursday, long painful visa application process (for Mia), gym, Twenty Fifty, Sarah’s new office-warming drinks at Inner City Ideas Cartel, First Thursdays with Paul, Tammy and Lyal ended up at a place which seems to be called “The Pit” standing an a half pipe watching an all girls band… so hipster things seems to have clocked right around an people were drinking Black Label quarts, watched Cosmos and the end of Superman 3 (a bit ironic, Clark Kent / Clarke’s).
  • Friday, health check / blood tests at Wellness Warehouse (with no breakfast), glucose fine (4.1), cholesterol a bit high (6.8), no HIV, blood pressure ok (139/92), I should lose 5kg (like everybody else), VitB shot, devoured an egg white omelette Fantastic Mr. Fox style, haircut at Muse (Bianca’s), fibre internet related meeting at Twenty Fifty, arranged some travel insurance, fetched Mia from Mtech and dropped her iPad at aftercare (so I can keep in touch with her), burger in a bowl with Mia (which is actually on a plate now) at Da Vinci’s, epic take away milkshakes from Royale Burger in Long Street, we watched Oh Shucks, it’s Schuster… had a few good laughs, 12h sleep.
  • “They are either gay or married or gay and married.” — o/h at Sarah’s office warming party, about dating in Cape Town.

  • “I love you daddy” — found this in my blog notes text file – Mia’s editing.

  • Leigh roped me into this – Edgars teen magazine interview, hehe.
  • Saturday, got up at 9:30, we almost finished a whole bag of granadillas, OZCF market… bumped into Mark, Alex and Joost, Long street – had some visa photos taken for Mia and me, fresh juices and a ginger and grapefruit shot at Orchard on Long, I got a new pair of Reef slops (AfrikaBurn consumed the last pair), to the Waterfront to get more winter school socks for Mia, fish and chips for lunch, a Promenade walk and play area visit, the little blue train ride, Mia’s first fuffy slide ride – bumped into Alan, Caffe Neo – bumped into Marius, Deer Park play area and some Lion Heart Larger, watched the 2nd half of the Springbok rugby game with some pizza, red wine, dark chocolate and photo processing, 12h sleep.
  • I’m more than a bit bummed that I will not be watching How to Train your Dragon 2 with Mia in June.
  • Sunday, we got Mia a new gym card, poached eggs and toast with marmalade, drove around looking for a printer ended up having hot chocolates at Melissas on Kloof st, printed some visa docs at Chris’s house (thanks), packed all Mia’s stuff, dropped Mia at Naulene’s house, fetched some AfrikBurn gear from Paul’s house, put a batch of stuff in storage (pretty depressing place after dark on a cold winter Sunday), rainy burger special evening at Van Hunks with Georg, made FB friends with the friendly waitress, I remember they played a Lightning Seeds tune, Pure… and simple everytime – made me think of Anton, more than one G&Ds – Georg has successfully managed to migrate his Cheers-like status from Carlyle’s to Van Hunks.
  • Seems the good doctor included me in his wedding entourage in December. I’m honoured.
  • Year so far: January: Stellenbosch, February: Geneva, Dublin and Amsterdam, March: Tamboerskloof, April: Oranjezicht, May: AfrikaBurn and Oranjezicht, June: London.
  • Goodbye Cape Town, I’m going to miss you, especially after the two years in Stellenbosch – but, I’m NOT going to miss your shitty internet.
  • “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do.” — Amelia Earhart

View from the little blue train
View from the little blue train

See you in London, and maybe Belgium, Amsterdam and Ibiza, crazy kids.

Quick Update

2nd last week in Cape Town for a while…

Kirstenbosch
Kirstenbosch
  • Monday, pizza for breakfast, blogging, gym, swim, a quick visit to Crossley & Webb (cars), Twenty Fifty, afternoon walk to Higgovale, email catch up at The Odyssey wine bar, watched Cosmos and a show about the Mars Curiosity Rover.
  • It seems it’s better to deflate your tires when driving to AfrikaBurn than inflating them (as suggested by the survival guide).
  • Stating the obvious, but I’m very happy to be in Cape Town right now.
  • I must be one of the top wifi users at the Virgin Active hotspots.
  • Tuesday, early morning walk through Higgovale, Trek rd, Kloof Nek and back, gym, Twenty Fifty – had a moment about the bad internet in Cape Town and ended up phoning the city of Cape Town CIO – good chat, burger in a bowl with Georg at Da Vinci’s, nice Silicon Cape meetup at Twenty Fifty… met one of the guys from SendGrid, watched Superbad… reminded me of nights staying up late chatting with my cousin, funny movie.
  • Wednesday, got up early and wrote a blog post about the bad service from the muppets who were supposed to set up our AfrikaBurn stretch tent, gym, swim, watched Mia’s netball game… they won, she scored two goals, fresh juices and homework with Mia at W Cafe, dropped off some more KYC docs, sunset walk around Oranjezicht with Georg, I made a vegetable soup, photo processing.
  • Note to self: indoor sports photography with a f/2.8 lens does not work very well – you only get about 320th of a sec at 2500 ISO.
  • I think my hair is probably the longest it’s been in about 10 years – it’s still pretty short.
  • We’re busy fighting a bit of a battle to get Mia to avoid the bread (and golden syrup) at school. We had a few chats about sugar.
  • Thursday, gym, swim, sauna, awesome pulled pork tacos at The Yard, Twenty Fifty, watched a very rainy hockey match with Georg and Naulene… Mia’s team lost 3-0, but it was a pretty good game – I suspect the other team’s coach actually plays hockey, dropped Mia off at art class, early supper, back to Twenty Fifty for a PR telecon with people from the US, Luxembourg and the UK, Van Hunks with Georg.
  • “The fears you do not face become your walls.”

  • Friday, gym, minor car windscreen repair in the parking lot (after the Cederberg trip) – kinda educational, swim, sauna, Twenty Fifty, managed to find some accommodation for Wacky Wine Weekend , fetched Mia after Mtech, we picked up some biltong, we synchronised our watches (to ntp time), dinner at Victoria and Johann’s, (new and improved) aquaponics farm demo… I tasted some of the micro herbs, Gnocchi with rocket (from the aquaponics farm) and cream, salad, Lego building and chats about Canada’s startup funding, great pecan nut cheese cake which Victoria made, dark chocolate and red wine. Thanks V & J.
  • Saturday, I made omelettes, OZCF market with Mia and Georg, hot chocolate at Will’s Cafe, a pleasant rainy walk back home, watched the end of Ratatouille… epic ending, had me a bit misty eyed (again), Mia played some Monkey Island 1 (again), smoothies at Wellness Warehouse, booked a flight to London and back (9 June to 30 Sept), some Myog, Promenade walk, gave Mia a quick tour of Nettleton road on the way to Johann and Victoria’s, dropped Mia and her laptop (and EV3) off, Lean Startup Machine workshop… impressive number of people (100ish), thanks for the t-shirt, I came up with one pretty good disruptive startup idea after talking to four of the teams, fetched Mia who was busy playing Monkey Island with Victoria (her new hero).
  • Mia has been correcting my pronunciation of the word “water” recently, seems I was saying Wa-de, when I should be saying Wa-ter – I blame Paul. I think I’ve been rehabilitated.
  • Sunday, Market on the Wharf (Waterfront)… schwarma, we shared a crepe for dessert, shoe shopping for Mia, Kirstenbosch visit – we took a few levitation jump photos on the new treetop canopy walkway (Die Boomslang)… impressive construction, sunset Strand Beach walk, early supper at W Cafe… we played some Monster Physics on Mia’s iPad, dropped Mia at her mom’s, a glass of red at La Parada in Bree Street with Georg and some blogging, driving home up the hill I thought – I’ve almost lived in Oranjezicht for it to feel like home, photo processing and backups.
  • Note to self: we should try some levitation photos in London.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.