Monthly Archives: February 2016

Quick Update

Create the world you want to live in…

Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay
  • Week of 15-21 February.
  • Monday, office, IFC meeting, Calix GPON workshop, Kloof st Knead, a walk up and down the full length of the promenade, some Reyneke Organic Merlot while hacking a user management system together for the ISP Portal part of the Octotel website – WordPress + Gravity Forms is a pretty cool rapid prototyping tool.
  • I switched to using the Overcast podcasting app. It’s a bit better than the default iOS app.
  • Tuesday, walked to the office, catch up chat with Lee at Knead, La Vie with Georg and Nick, a steak at Nelson’s Eye and some Saronsberg Shiraz 2013 (epic wine) with Georg and Nick – epic steak, nice to see Georg.
  • It was a liberating 5 days without a phone. Podcast listening suffered a setback. Because of Telegram I could still communicate with most people from my laptop – at least those I communicate with regularly.
  • I found a photo for last week’s post.
  • Support FMR. It’s R320/year.
  • “We are all super fragile.” – Nick, I think we were chatting about relationships.

  • Wednesday, lean startup coffee – chats about creating the world you want to live in, fetched a phone, restored all my apps and settings to an iPhone5 – this Android business was never really going to happen, took Mia some snacks and watched her girls relay gala, shared a pizza with Mia, we found some Mulante Spiced dark chocolate in the Waterstone Woolworths… very good, dropped Mia off at home, sunset drive to Cape Town, had a drink at La Vie with Georg and Nick.
  • “Make the kind of things you want to see exist in the world.” – Maria, of Brainpickings fame.

  • On the topic of creating the world you want to live in: You need a plan to live in South Africa!
  • “The best art divides the audience.”

  • So, Ari – I hope I meet this future wife in April, or I’m going to go have to come ask for my money back.
  • Thursday, gym, swim, office, got a Masked Ball ticket – let’s hope the weather is good, wrote a newsletter for the Octotel ISPs, sundowners on Clifton 1st with Georg, pasta and red wine at Hugo and Dennis’ place in Clifton… chats about analogue surveillance devices, kinda fell asleep with the lights on.
  • Friday, office, ZTE meeting, swapped the maps on the Octotel website to CartoDB – looks pretty cool, watched Mia’s school gala, she won three of her races (freestyle, butterfly, backstroke) and the U10 most points trophy (3rd year in a row), drove to Cape Town and had a celebratory pizza at Bacini’s Kloof St with Mia, tiramisu at Goloso in Sea Point, a sunset Famous Grouse with some sea views at home (see above), processed the photos and videos from the gala while Mia watched Futurama, 11h sleep.
  • Saturday, tea, we had flapjacks at Bootleggers (because of the recent shot put gold medal), Mia did some PyCharm Edu tasks while I renamed an AppleID, early thai food supper at Phuket in Camps Bay with Mia and Georg – it’s where the old Baraza cocktail bar was (see below) – we watched the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final there, a nightcap (at 20:00) at La Belle – Mia was tired.
  • What a nightmare trying to change my AppleID email address – I just wanted to merge an iCloud and iTunes account. Really painful process. Took like 2 hours. Had to reboot everything. Never use a company email address for an AppleID – things change. Make it a personal / generic account.
  • Lesson in iPhones going missing: always enable Find My iPhone via iCloud. Makes it a lot harder for the person who steals your phone – even after a full reset and OS re-install it gets stuck if the device is linked to an iCloud account with Find My iPhone enabled.
  • Sunday, tea and PyCharm Edu tasks, I showed Mia the banana ice cream thing – never gets old, gym, swim, smoothies, fetched Georg, Goldfish at Kirstenbosch with Mia and Georg (see below)… good fun – time well spent. The last time I was at a Kirstenbosch summer concert was in March 2013… it’s been too long – it’s been so long Mia is not really interested in playing in the kids area anymore.
  • Tune of the week: We Belong, Pat Benatar – random radio tune that got stuck in my head.
  • “This is the decisive second. The second when you act, the point of no return. This is where you meet yourself. This is where a new adventure begins. This is the moment. This is your time.” — Wired

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Camps Bay
Camps Bay
Kirstenbosch
Kirstenbosch

Quick Update

Returning some video tapes…

Octotel Roof
Octotel Roof
  • Week of 8-14 February.
  • No photos this week – I’ll get to that.
  • Monday, school run, Waterstone gym, fetched a Constania Fresh ticket at Eagle’s Nest, office, Journey Apps meeting with Dirk, kinda forgot to eat all day, left the office at 19:00ish, had a good chat with Wouter – the only real solution to this Naulene problem is for Mia to live with me – Wouter made banana ice cream (without ice or cream) – very cool process of putting half frozen banana through a masticating juicer, phone chat with Mia, some blogging.
  • Tuesday, Headspace, podcast walk to the office, Trello training session, drinks at Up Yours with Jess, Max, Amanda and Marion (bit of a Techstars London reunion meetup), a burger at Junior (hipster McDonnalds) on Kloof Nek with Max, tacos at El Burro Taqueria (right next door) with Jess and Amanda, dropped Jess off at home and took Wouter a Junior burger, upgraded 6 Let’s Encrypt SSL certs.
  • “No please not Trello. It’s like bringing a spoon to a gun fight.” — Jonathan

  • Wednesday, podcast walk to the office, two ISP meetings, more Octotel website tinkering, our Calix GPON gear arrived (finally), took an afternoon walk around Tamboerskloof, attended the Vumatel community information evening at the German school, another walk around De Waal Park to get to 10k steps, sunset drive home, a beer and a smoothie with Wouter, more website hacking after he pointed out a few design snags.
  • I gave the Octotel website a fairly major design and content update this week and made it https. I also added some GIS / mapping features. I’m pretty happy with it now: www.octotel.co.za. Notice we have 5 ISPs on the network now. Still a few more things I want to improve.
  • Mia won a gold medal for shot put this week – competing against two other schools. Seems my weekend coaching worked. 6.09m. Interesting thing, genetics. I used to do shot put and swimming. Mia seems to be good at those too.
  • Thursday, podcast walk to the office, we took a company photo on the roof of the building (see above), ZTE GPON lab setup, long painful meeting, a fresh juice with Paul, fibre patch manager demo, more website tinkering, a beer with Wouter – watching the State of the Nation speech.
  • I know, let’s all email Excel spreadsheets around. Not.
  • I ended up buying an AfrikaBurn ticket. They were not sold out (a week later), interesting. 74 days until the Clan burns.
  • “The collective noun for people who live in Cape Town: a flake of Cape Townians.” — Wouter, about planning a braai.

  • Friday, gym, office, after work beers at the office, a swim and a braai at our house, good chats with Michael, we ended up in ERA, I donated an iPhone to Long Street :-/
  • I tried both the tracking apps on my phone within 30min of it going missing. Nothing. I suspect it was stolen and switched off. Oh, well – I guess losing one phone in 16 years is not the worst stats.
  • So, yeah, no photos this week, but more hyperlinks than usual. At least I did not lose much data – a few photos and some notes.
  • Saturday, watched The Princess Bride… of When Harry Met Sally director fame – really enjoyed it – not sure how I missed seeing it until now – gap in my education filled, had some left over braai meat and beer for lunch – bacheloring hard, nice to do nothing, had a Telegram catch-up chat with Paul – he finally managed to see you-know-who for a dinner this week – only took him about 4 weeks to arrange that, epic nap, watched SuperMensch – inspirational and a bit sad, aimless sunset walk to Clifton and a beach stroll from 1-4, got in bed with sand on my feet and watched Risky Business… not bad for an 80s movie – the Genesis soundtrack was a nice touch.
  • I realised two important things this week:
    1) Mia should live with me. It’s the only long term solution.
    2) I’ll make a note to come fill this in, in a few weeks time.
  • Sunday, lazy morning, backups and more braai meat, I installed Cyanogenmod on a Samsung Galaxy S3 – it’s not bad – after all the Google crap is removed from Android – let’s see how many weeks I last on Android, nap, took a sunset walk to Clifton, had a burger at The Craft Burger Bar in Sea Point.
  • Update: I found a photo for the week.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Shot put training and folding paper ships…

Early Morning Desk
Early Morning Desk Views
  • Week of 1-7 February.
  • Monday, took a day off.
  • Tuesday, office, interviews (looks like Octotel will be a total of 8 people by the end of the month – growing pretty quickly), our first building residents information evening – it went okay – I had a good grin, Paul finally made his way home, salad at Da Vinci’s.
  • Wednesday, Headspace, podcast walk to the office, bumped into Paul and Philippa, sunset promenade walk, where I bumped into Pieter, Wouter made home-made friend chicken – even better than the last batch, nice dinner with Johan and Wouter.
  • I discovered Mattermost on Charl’s blog.
  • Thursday, Headspace, walked to the office, updated the Octotel website – coverage maps etc, a swim at home, upgraded Mia’s laptop and installed PyCharm Edu.
  • Sense of humour failure with Naulene again, usual WTaF/brainhurt moments. Took me 3 days to get her to let me have a 5 minute conversation with Mia – even though Mia has a phone now. Who does that? Some pretty messed up people to watch out for on this planet, kids.
  • I tinkered with VMWare VDC this week. It’s okay – but using Linode is way easier.
  • Want Your Children to Survive The Future? Send Them to Art School.
  • A World Without Work
  • “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” — Peter Thiel

  • The big contrarian question that’s been bugging me for weeks. The easy answer is that everybody should type Dvorak. The more interesting answer, which has taken me a bit of time to realise – is that people should not work. People are bad at working. In the future, the companies that will win will have excellent reproducible customer experiences that do not need any humans. The core of a company should be a machine. Humans should just be APIs to call when it can’t get something done in any other way. DevOps and automation, kids.
  • “Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it, …but a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” — Batman Returns

  • Some US based student emailed me this week about wearable payments, asking for advice. I was going to turn this into a blog post at some point, but I just emailed him the brain dump… why GUST Pay did not work:

    Sitcom business model – the kinda thing they would write into a Friends episode / or a Microserfs book. Cool, but it did not have a big idea or cause or mission. Product needed to be at least ten times better than existing alternative (cash and tokens). Payments are hard, even Barclays have not figured our how to make money from wearable payments. Payments is a highly regulated space – there is no such thing as the financial police – the banks are the financial police. GUST had a bad legacy – the whole Mxit exit was a mess, bad timing, bad relationship with investors, debt etc. It was not a unicorn, can do better. One thing about going to Techstars is – you learn to spot a good idea from an average one. We left the investment conversations too long. Not inspired anymore. If we white-label the product – it would just be building tech as a dev house – not a product business. SA IP regulation headache. I don’t like fintech, not sure I ever did. Customers don’t really want it – build something people want…. there was even more random notes, but I edited it down, it was a messy time.

  • Friday, Agile/Kanban workshop at 7:30 – I folded ~50 (7/minute) paper ships like a crazy person (good fun – our team won), Space TV meeting, fetched Mia, a fresh juice at Fred & Max, collected some of Mia’s art from art class, we found Mia some new school shoes and a Valentines Day (school) outfit – the extended clothes shopping experience, drove back to Cape Town – we chatted about the industrial revolution, self driving cars, the end of work, and learning to code, a sunset walk around Queens Beach, I made her the bachelor dad minimalist healthy snacky supper.
  • I missed the AfrikaBurn ticket sales process – because I did not have a Burner Bio – how did I become so lame and jaded again? (I blame Michael, okay, not really)
  • “It’s been sitting in an information refrigerator.” — The Agile coach guy, about MS Sharepoint.

  • Made it up to ep74 of the Tim Ferriss show.
  • Who is in your tribe?
  • Saturday, tea, backups, photo processing, we covered Mia’s last two uncovered school books – which involved making some art to stick on the front – I could not resist adding my quote of the week to the cover of one of the books (hope it reminds her to ponder the question), I showed Mia PyCharm Edu (super cool app) and we did the first 7 steps (took some explaining), I cooked us an obscenely healthy lunch – with some Reyneke Organic Chardonnay (it was so healthy I think it undid about 1/16th of the Origin weekend damage), processed some notes (like two weeks), putt putt in Three Anchor Bay – I won 50 vs 60 (par 36 – I don’t think either of us are taking up golf soon), shot put training in Green Point Park – I tested some ideas from the Pavel Tsatsouline interview I listened to, beer and pizza at Posticinos, ice cream, 11h sleep.
  • Mia has read through 13 of the ~70 books I added to her Kindle two weeks ago.
  • Sunday, tea and more PyCharm Edu tasks, Mia built a game with The Foose – pretty cool app, gym – power plate, front squats and breaststroke sprints, Waterfront visit – ladies of leisure day, fragrance browsing, Sunday buffet lunch at Melissas with a Steph Weiss – the single dad’s take on a wholesome family lunch, spent a few hours in the book shop with Mia (while she read the latest Diary of a Wimpy kid) – I mostly browsed design books, ice cream, more shot put training in Green Point Park (for the athletics event on Wednesday), a swim at home and some top trumps playing (undecided outcome), I cooked another obscenely healthy meal for Mia – who by now was in her pink rabbit onesie.
  • Kinda cool that Mia is learning to code and I’m learning to code again.
  • One standard obscenely healthy meal: takes 12 minutes. Boil 8 eggs, while steaming 1/2 a (“buy in bulk and save” size) bag of tender stem broccoli, green beans and kale over that. Serve the greens and 4 egg whites with butter, cheese, tomatoes, gherkins and any other random thing you can find in the fridge. Bribe child with exotic dark chocolate to eat all the greens. Watch as they finish all the kale with a loving expression.
  • btw. did you know breaststroke is the hardest stroke to master?
  • I browsed though a Wired magazine on Sunday, made me want to jump on a plane and go on some random adventure. Used to buy Wired mags for long flights.
  • Have I really become one of those dads you see with the child walking behind them in the mall? Yeah, but when I slow down she still walks behind me playing with either a phone or a kindle. I’m more like a human mall shield.
  • I see a fasting week in my future.
  • You can probably predict my mood by the rate I update my blog.
  • Sorry, the photos this week are a bit boring. Meh. Only the mediocre are always at their best…

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Queens Beach
Queens Beach

Quick Update

A super fun road trip, and pondering my purpose…

Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch Street Soiree
  • Week of 25-31 January.
  • This post is late. I had to process two weeks of notes :-/
  • Monday, rainy school run, Waterstone gym – such an odd place, left the office at 20:00ish, sunset stroll around Bantry Bay.
  • Interesting read on our inner storytelling process.
  • Tuesday, 1km swim, office, DFA meeting, ended up reading about TCP buffers and theoretical maximum throughput per TCP session as a function of latency – in summary, latency is a bitch (double the latency, 1/2 the throughput), I installed Simplenote – pretty cool, pocket, notes, photos -zero, sunset walk, read 1/2 a Python book – this programming thing is actually cool – I only scored like 100% for my matric year end comp sci exam – not sure why I’ve been avoiding it for the last 6 years.
  • Fred said something interesting last Friday: ~in our world of being overwhelmed by information, the people who are going to win, are the ones which just jump in and do.
  • I’ve been hungry to learn recently. It’s a nice feeling. Mindful, interested and engaged. Keen to start building.
  • I started reading Letters from a Stoic – after discovering I bought it more than a year ago on my Kindle.
  • Don’t share your journal with anyone. Yeah, whatever – amateurs.
  • I’ve been typing Dvorak for 14 years now. I switched in January 2002. That’s probably saved me a about the distance to the moon in finger travel, give or take.
  • Sounds like we must go to the next Wolfkop Weekender. Should be around Sept.
  • I’m feeling a lot stronger after just two gym days.
  • “Slow down.” — ma.tt (and chase quality)

  • Wednesday, Lean Startup Coffee… we chatted about mindfulness, the future of parking lots and pair programming, gym, ZTE office visit, ZTE Camps Bay GPON site visit – very interesting, big Chinese food lunch at Tao Yuan in Sea Point, fetched my car, found a new watch battery and a 2kg shot put ball (for Mia) at Sportsmans Warehouse, Stellenbosch Street Soiree (see above) with Paul, Janna and Tasha… I’m happy I was not this cool when I was a student – I would never have discovered the joys of Slackware (Linux) and HAM radio, Balboa with Paul and Janna, dropped Mia’s swimming gear off at Naulene’s house.
  • “In China, we say the two most important things are: a) your purpose, b) the way to your purpose.” — Arthur, the ZTE GPON engineer I spent the day with – interesting chats about meditation and life in China – and some tech.

  • On the topic of purpose. What is your purpose? The Xprize guy has a recipe for answering this, he asks: What has been your passion since you were a child? What would you do if you had 1 Billion USD to spend? What are you doing to change the world? (I added that last one).

    Hmm, let’s see… and I’m probably going to look back at this at some point and scratch my head. Those of you that know me, know that I’ve been talking about all of this for a while. No, I’m not high… and since only two people actually read this blog, I figured I’ll write this down:

    As a child: I loved computers, sci-fi and adventure games, hacker/maker, figuring out how stuff works, writer, and a bit later photographer. Geek of all trades, kinda – but in the end: tech and adventure.

    What would I do with 1B USD?: Building tech products and tech companies… and help others build tech products and companies – kinda like Fight Club – for freedom, but without blowing up buildings.

    What do I want to do to change the world? (impact): grow food + build companies that don’t need humans. More about this next week.

  • Thursday, 10min Headspace app session, podcast walk to the office, sunset podcast walk around Bantry Bay, more Python reading.
  • I made it up to ep 66 of the Tim F show (7 for the week).
  • Friday, 10min Headspace app session, podcast walk to the office, fibre installer interview, tinkered with some Postfix virtual domain stuff, finished reading A Byte of Python, after work beer and braai at the office, watched some Python coding videos, walked to Camps Bay via Clifton 1-4, had a beer at Vicky Christina’s – which I suspect will not be there for very much longer, 18k steps for the day.
  • I’ve been geeking out on Python, Django, PyCharm, GeoDjango, OOP, pair programming, test driven design, git, Bootstrap, Django-REST, Nginx, Gunicorn, Postgres etc. It’s all still a bit messy, but I’m beating it into shape.
  • I like this coding thing – it feels like I’m doing it for me.
  • “Most of what we do does not matter.” “The goal of the future is full unemployment.” “Life is too short to be busy.” — Lazy a Manifesto

  • This will be my 5th Origin, I had to look it up… 2010 Georg, 2011 Anton and Georg and Luke, 2012 missed it (Naulene related – talk about time I will not get back), 2013 Ernst (could be the best one so far?), 2014 I was in Geneva, 2015 Nikki, 2016 Paul.
  • Saturday, Headspace session, TiTea, gym, Paul and I collected some Ultra loyalty points and drove to Elgin, we had lunch at The Pool Room at Oak Valley Wine Estate (see below) – great Chardonnay, we chilled by the pool till after they closed and had a walk around, made our way to Botrivier with a Pearl Jam soundtrack, many moments in the now, a swim at the Botrivier Hotel, epic day.
  • “Sometimes realise, I could only be as good as you let me.” — Pearl Jam, Hail, Hail (the lucky ones, I refer to those in love).

  • “It’s like the Bermuda Triangle down here.” — Paul, on the way to Botrivier.

  • “The microbes made me do it.” — lame microbiome joke

  • Sunday, Origin with Paul (only left at 10:00ish, minor navigation snag – arrived at about 11:00 – so much for my grand plan to stay near the party), we tracked down Philippa and Pieter – bumped into a lot more people and had a great time, drove back with Paul, Philippa and Tash, we stopped at the top of the Franschhoek pass (see below, good memories from last year, the photo looks rather similar – maybe not as good), Pixies soundtrack on the way to Cape Town – much singing along – all in all – a good memory design weekend, we stopped for pizza at Bella Italia in Sea Point, Tash’s house, Pieter’s house, somehow I was asked on a date (twice) but Paul ended up staying at her house *grin*.
  • Yield was released 18 years ago (February 3, 1998).
  • Tune of the week: Pixies – Dig For Fire

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Oak Valley
Oak Valley Pool Room
Franschhoek Pass
Top of the Franschhoek Pass