Monthly Archives: May 2017

Quick Update

Alien Covenant, Fokofpolisiekar and Cape Town’s water…

  • Week of 22-28 May.
  • Health week 1/1. (-:
  • Monday, office, strategy meeting, dev meeting, after work catch up with Heleen, watched Alien Covenant at the Waterfront with Wouter – hmm… good visuals, wrote a blog post.
  • Tuesday, podcast walk to the office, telecon with Vodacom, dev meeting, server tinkering, indox zero – for the first time in a few months, walked to La Vie, rooibos tea and cat typing, played with some high-end wifi gear.
  • “Startups that use technology to disrupt existing, profitable business models and can scale fast.”

  • Wednesday, office, more wifi device tinkering, catch up chat with Dan, catch-up chat with Heleen, sunset promenade walk, upgraded the home wifi from 60Mbps to around 300Mbps.
  • Thursday, gym with a Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, office, dev meeting and server tinkering, watched Mia’s hockey, a glass of wine and some diagram drawing at Dirk’s house, Fokofpoliesiekar at Mercury with Georg – good show, great fun, time well spent.
  • Friday, office, catch up with Dirk, fetched Mia from her choir performance, burger in a bowl at Da Vinci’s, wrote a blog post about water in Cape Town.
  • “Something to ponder in the shower over the next few days…” – Michael figured this is not the best thing to say in Cape Town right now, so for the sake of saving some creativity in the shower, I did some research into which percentage of water ends up in Cape Town homes… seems it’s around 19%.
  • Saturday, Grander Bay market (and active wear convention) with Mia, Zander and Wouter – the usual olive shopping, Mia and Zander watched Diary for a Wimpy kid while we explored Exclusive Books – mostly Wired magazine reading – I found Mia two School for Good and Evil books – they seem to be a hit, watched some MIB3, a braai at Jacques’ – watched Evolution again, a long chat about Cape Town’s water troubles with some Laphroaig.
  • Sunday, slept late, made a nice breakfast, Mia read her book, watched the end of MIB3, we watched A Series of Unfortunate Events – not bad, putt-putt with Mia, sunset promenade walk, ribs at Hussar with Mia and Georg, try some Drambuie, ice cream at The Creamery, time well spent.
  • Seems Cape Town might run out of water towards the end of August.
  • I’ll keep adding posts to my Strong Opinions project.
  • Tune of the week: alt-J – Adeline

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Save Water

How to save water in Cape Town…

The usual answer:

  • Shower less and keep it quick.
  • Flush toilets only when needed.
  • Minimise laundry.

If everybody who lives in an apartment does the above, we might save up to 6% of our water resource. Hmm. Not that much of an impact? Yeah, sadly.

The total percentage of water that ends up in our homes is only 19%.


  1. Cut down on outdoor water use.
  2. Fix the 20% of leaks that cause the most waste.
  3. Figure out some form of tax on commercial and agricultural water use, to incentivise optimal use.
  4. Rethink agriculture. Create aquaponic urban / rooftop farms.
  5. Build more dams since Cape Town water demand will probably surpass supply by 2020, even if climate change does not impact us.
  6. Reduce evaporation from our existing dams. Cover dams with solar panels maybe.
  7. Make sure the stuff we do grow and export is high value and healthy. Don’t grow soy to feed chickens to make KFC.
  8. Bonus item / global context: Support aquaculture projects. Drink less coffee.

Lastly, don’t feel so bad about showering.

btw. I had to hack together some numbers from a few data sources. Could be out a bit. If you have better data, let me know.


GreenCape report. Seems the Cape Town water distribution network wastes about 15% (well below the 37% national average).

Use This Tech

Stating the obvious, but…

Get an iPhone. Use Prey and Find My iPhone. Use True Caller. Use SwiftKey.

Get a Macbook Pro. Make Dvorak your keyboard layout. Make an encrypted file system on your laptop.

Use Telegram, Firefox, Vienna RSS, Pocket, and Simplenote.

Sync your RSS reading on your phone with Inoreader app.

Use DuckDuckGo for search.

Install Pocket Casts and listen to an unhealthy number of podcasts.

Use iTerm2, mosh, mutt, and zsh with oh my zsh.

Learn a photo management tool like CaptureOne.

Learn to code Python, use Django to build web apps and APIs.

Learn Linux, run Ubuntu or Debian.

Don’t use Gmail. Run your own email server. Try to avoid “the cloud” as much as you can, this includes things like iCloud. Use a bit of Dropbox if you must share a big file. Keep all photos of your children private! Don’t share these online or in “the cloud”.

Make regular off-site backups.

Get a personal server at Linode or Digital Ocean, or host your own hardware.

Host your own personal homepage and blog, use WordPress. Write about interesting things you do.

Share strong opinions.

Quick Update

Man in the arena, gigabit internet, found my phone…

Sea Point
  • Week of 15-21 May.
  • Monday, school run from Botrivier with some podcast listening, W Cafe – bumped into JD, gym, steam bath, podcast drive to the office, sunset walk with Heleen, Wouter visit, indian tapas at Sundoo with Georg and Nick, a Belvedere Marini at Harveys – and some of Wellington’s finest (WF / Bains Mountain Whisky).
  • Tuesday, epic breakfast on the Winchester Mansions porch with some Miss Molly, meeting at Jarryds, office, AfrikaBurn group meetup at La Vie – mostly chats about theme camp ideas for 2018.
  • I’m moving to Cape Town again, not that I ever really left.
  • 30 Seconds To Mars – Kings and Queens
  • Found this again: The Ideal Founder
  • Wednesday, three course breakfast on the porch, office, Apple OS upgrade day, dev meeting, catch up chat with Dan, played with VirtualBox networking.
  • I switched to a full dvorak keyboard layout this week – using Karabiner Elements – mostly because of VirtualBox. I kinda liked using Qwerty for shortcut keys in the past. Oh well. Took two or three days to get used to the change.
  • Thursday, gym, office, fetched Mia’s gum guard, fetched Mia, watched her hockey – astro game, dinner at Dirk’s house with some Beaumont Mourvedre.
  • Friday, office, dev meetings and Django setups, very randomly got a call to say somebody found my iPhone after that Pixies concert, La Vie with Georg, watched Jonathan of Radio Raps fame at GrandWest with Georg – good show – some very funny parts.
  • I have my iPhone 6s back, the universe is pretty cool. I also have some photos from the Pixies show now. Lifetime total phones-lost-or-stolen-count back down to: 1. Not bad.
  • Saturday, phone backup and restore, breakfast at the Granger Bay market with Wouter, hockey photo processing, had to reset my watch and login to a bunch of apps again, took a long (10k steps) sunset promenade walk – epic sunset, a beer at La Vie and wrote a blog post after some notes I made on my walk.
  • “Share strong opinions.

    Strong opinions are very useful to others.

    Those who were undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance.

    But those who disagree can solidify their stance by arguing against yours.

    Even if you invent an opinion for the sole sake of argument, boldly sharing a strong opinion is very useful to others.” — Derek Sivers

  • “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt

  • “The poem the reader reads may be better than that which the writer wrote. Try to make things that can become better than what you thought you were doing.” — Brian Eno

  • I now have gigabit internet at home (faster than at the office), but I only get about 50Mbps over the wifi. Time to rethink the wifi setup.
  • Worth a re-watch: Jordan Peterson – Women In High Paying Jobs
  • Sunday, promenade walk with Georg, Rick and Morty on Netflix – very funny, breakfast at Bootleggers in Bakoven with Wouter, Waterfront shopping – got a goose down jacket because it’s going to be winter any day now and I don’t know where two of my hoodies went (wine festival problem maybe), some blogging, braai with Wouter and friends and some of Wellington’s finest, a drink at La Vie with Georg, more Rick and Morty, time well spent.
  • We might be going on a Matjiesfontein adventure soon.
  • Remember, don’t buy clothes, unless you really need them, or if it’s going to be your most used item for the next few months. Hell yeah, I think I’m going to be wearing this thing all winter.
  • What’s with these half-automated bathrooms? If you are going to put a sensor in a tap, then just put sensors in the soap dispenser and the hand dryer. Don’t confuse people. Muppets.
  • My plan for next week: live in one place for more than five days.
  • Tune of the week: Patrice Baumel – Surge
  • I’ve started a new blog category: Strong Opinions. Let’s see if I can think up some useful content for it.

Full Unemployment

After a recent chat with a friend about saving the planet, I kept thinking: technology is the answer.

The economics of the future are somewhat different…

I hope you are not busy creating jobs. Jobs are things people hate which they get paid to do. Don’t create jobs. Create an abundant and automated future.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. Life is too short to be busy.” — Lazy: A Manifesto

Things you should be working on: UN, SU, YC.

Create these things, which impact the lives of billions of people, then scale and automate. Go read this.

Don’t build things which need “admin staff” or “support staff”.

Work on things that scale.

In 2001 I had a 64Kbps leased line at home. The general market price for this was about R5000/m. Considering inflation and how easy it is to get a 100Mbps home link now, fixed line home internet has improved a fair bit in the last 16 years. 1600x the speed, at 1/10 of the price… or sixteen thousand times better value! I now have a gigabit internet connection at home. About 100k times better value. Not bad.

If we do technology right, we don’t need jobs. We just need to work out how to let most of society benefit from improvements in technology.

Technology is the answer.

ps. I now have a blog category for strong opinions.

Dating for Nerds

In the spirit of sharing strong opinions, I figured I’d write a post about relationships. A note to self kinda thing.

I’ll try and keep it short. This is mostly for nerds in their 30s and 40s.

“Hell yeah!, or no.” — Derek Sivers

“Smart, interesting, not-cooked. Pick two.” — Paul.

Step 1: Get comfortable being single. Dating is a huge waste of time and energy.
Step 2: If you find somebody really cool (smart and interesting), jump in and love them like crazy. Do this a few times. Understand the mechanics of infatuation.
Step 3: Understand optimal stopping theory.

Here are the key things that you need to look for…

  • Culture, ideas about the world, background, language etc.
  • Career, is this person happy in what they are doing, building, learning.
  • Locality, live and work in the same area and plan to stay in the same city/town for a while.
  • Mental health, tricky one, but get a feel for it.
  • Religion, kinda boring, but could be a show stopper.
  • Kids, yes/no/maybe.
  • Dog/cat person. I suspect it’s a very useful personality indicator.
  • Burner, yes/no, I’ve found this to be an interesting aggregate for a number of metrics.
  • Health and fitness, not too much, not too little.
  • How busy they are.
  • Can’t hurt to know their MBTI personality type.

Have a chat about the above in the first three weeks of finding somebody that passes the optimal stopping filter (step 3). Be honest.

Good first date question, ask person to complete the following: “If you really knew me, you would know…?” and “What would your friends say is your superpower?”

“Work ethic, taste, integrity, curiosity. The rest you can learn.” —

Generally a good spec: Smart, calm, healthy, interesting, resourceful. In that order. Calm is a superpower.

Remember: “Needing nothing, attracts everything.” Bonus points, read/listen to the book Models by Mark Manson.


Strong Opitions

“3. Share strong opinions.

Strong opinions are very useful to others.

Those who were undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance.

But those who disagree can solidify their stance by arguing against yours.

Even if you invent an opinion for the sole sake of argument, boldly sharing a strong opinion is very useful to others.” — Derek Sivers

This motivated me to write a series of blog posts.
You can find them here: Strong Opinions by Joe.

Quick Update

Botrivier adverture, 3D CAD and IMAX…

Botrivier – photo by Mia
  • Week of 8-14 May.
  • Monday, blog editing, guesthouse breakfast, office, dentist visit, lunch with Michael, dev meeting, built a new production server for the Octotel automation system, a swim at the silo gym, some reading about Arista gear.
  • Write drunk, publish, edit sober.
  • Relentlessly resourceful.
  • Go leave a comment about the FCC Net Neutrality process:
  • Tuesday, some eBay shopping, office, dev meeting, tinkered with VirtualBox networking, a beer with Mike at Village Idiot – to chat 3D modeling, a burger and a beer at Junior, P&G, a rooibos tea, in bed early.
  • Wednesday, The Blue House guesthouse breakfast, office, Sababa lunch with Heleen, built another Ubuntu server, a walk with Georg from Clifton to Bakoven, Georg cooked a roast for dinner and gave me a few 3D CAD lessons with OnShape while we watched and old Leon Schuster movie on ShowMax.
  • 3D CAD / design is fun, I could get into it.
  • It really was awesome not to have a phone, watch or laptop at AfrikaBurn.
  • Thursday, yet another continental breakfast, had two small parts of my face burnt off at the skin doctor – walked out with a bit of a Fight Club look, office, catch-up chat with Dan, tinkered with an aquarium design, watched Mia’s hockey, an early supper with Mia at W Cafe, a glass of wine at Dirk’s while Mia watched MIB3.
  • Naulene had a wobble because I took Mia for supper after hockey… “I’m not available, make a plan!” and put the phone down on me, hmm, I tried to phone her on three phones, no answer, turns out she’s blocked my number. Kinda hard to let her know what’s going on if there is no way to communicate. Unreasonable people living on strange planets. *shrug*
  • Friday, my last continental breakfast for a while, Mia skipped school because of above wobble, office, dev meeting while Mia watched The Fifth Element with some hot chocolate, took Mia to the dentist for a checkup, Guardians of the Galaxy II in 3D IMAX – very cool – as good as the first one – Mia agreed, clothes and shoes shopping for Mia, road trip to Botrivier with some singing along to Killers / Sam’s Town, dinner at the Botrivier Hotel, dark Toblerone, 12h sleep.
  • Fleetwood Mac in GOTG2 made my day (-:
  • Saturday, I had less of a Fight Club look by now, extended breakfast at the hotel – with some marmalade, extended wine tasting at Beaumont Wines with Sebastian in the winter sun with a few very layed back dogs while Mia doodled in a notebook, lunch and a wine tasting at Gabrielskloof, epic nap, watched Willow with Mia – Val Kilmer the fantasy hero, we watched Dune – classic and strange, Amarula night cap at the hotel bar – with a Rushmore soundtrack, time well spent.
  • Here Comes My Baby – Cat Stevens
  • “It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. Fear is the mind-killer.” — Dune

  • I think we’re progressing fairly well with the geeky movies list.
  • Sunday, hotel breakfast with Mia, filled in the AfrikaBurn survey, we watched Ghost in the Shell – the original, wine tasting at Wildekrans, wine tasting and lunch at Benguela Cove – with two Sting songs by some one-man-band guy – Mia found it very funny after watching Dune, I read Mia the Sivers Directives, epic nap, watched Jurassic Park again – moral of the story: make sure you know what the nerds are doing, sunset walk around Botrivier, helped Mia make a slide deck for a school project, backups, notes and photo processing.
  • Nice to see Mia five days in a row.
  • Tune of the week: The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Safety third…

Our Camp’s AfrikaBurn Artwork, photo by One Imagined
  • Week of 1-7 May.
  • Monday, last day at AfrikaBurn, Paul arrived at the camp as I woke up, mostly packing and cycling around to see a few last things, found Richard and Tom at the Loki camp, final packing and clean up, I drove the R355 dirt road stretch back to Ceres – thankfully no tyre issues on the way back, Paul and I stopped at the Spur in Ceres, drove to Stellenbosch.
  • No luck with that GIC thing.
  • Unlike last year’s AfrikaBurn, which involved damage on many levels, this year’s burn was very chilled… no damage done. Easy and predictable. All we needed was there. Group dynamics worked. Food was easy and just enough (the usual avo, lime, biltong, almonds), water worked out well. But, I suspect the best burn, for me, was still 2014.
  • Tuesday, processed some AfrikaBurn photos, published 146 photos – I’m pretty happy with the photos I took, some notes processing and blogging, backups, car unpacking, dropped my camping gear in storage, booked into the Mojo Hotel – pretty close to our office – visited the new Mojo Market for some oysters (brain food) and bubbly – which is very cool – many more lunch options nearby, half a shwarma with Heleen – who I had not seen in about 7 weeks, a Jamey and tiramisu at Posticino and a drive up Table Mountain to go view some city lights with Heleen – mostly chats about saving the world… and something about her not being sure about our relationship – which leads me to believe I’m single again.
  • “Hell yeah!, or no.”
  • “It’s a good place for cat typing on Valium.” — Paul, I can’t remember which place he was talking about though.

  • I now have 25 podcasts I subscribe to. I should maybe write a blog post about how to get into podcast listening.
  • I’m 60 podcasts behind after going to AfrikaBurn.
  • Wednesday, a 2 minute walk to the office, first day in the office for a while – so lots of email and RSS scrubbing, Uber ride while reading Pocket articles, meeting at MWEB, catch up chat with Dan, an epic nap, tapas and curry at Sundoo with Georg, we had a Belvedere Vodka Martini with some olives at Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions and then we pretended to watch some football, gelato at Mojo Market.
  • Love this guy… Quitting the Silicon Valley Swamp
  • Thursday, great shower – felt super clean for the first time after returning from the burn, office, moar email scrubbing, managed to catch up on my RSS backlog, Sababa lunch with Paul, mapped out some logic for Octotel’s ticketing system, did some reading on NOSs, found a good deal and checked into Winchester Mansions – Mojo Hotel was a bit lame, bar food and cat typing and fighting with my email backlog, I managed to confirm that I am in fact, now single, groovy.
  • “Let the first impulse pass. Wait for the second.” — Baltasar Gracian

  • You’ll probably forget the tough times.
  • Instagram ads are getting super annoying. Have to just browse with a web browser and ad blocker.
  • Memories of hearing this at the burn… Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen
  • Also memories of hearing this: Counting Crows – Round Here, great lyrics… to all the misunderstood Maria’s in the world.
  • Friday, hotel breakfast – bircher muesli with some Miss Molly and orange juice, office, more ticketing system configs, watched Mia’s hockey tournament – they won bronze medals, a drink at Van Hunks with Georg and the local bar dog (an actual dog – see below), Jason’s 90s Rave Party at La Parada – good fun, more than one good memory of 90s raves.
  • “Chicken or beef?” — Chris, about Tequila and Jagermeister

  • Being Lazy Is the Key to Success
  • If you have not yet read/watched (a lot) of the Derek Sivers and Jordan Peterson stuff. Do it. Do it this week.
  • Saturday, woke up with a glowstick around my wrist in Clifton, watched The Wedding Crashers again, back to Van Hunks to fetch my car, breakfast and a Bloody Mary with Georg and Chris, a swim at the Silo gym, cat typing with an activated chia and ginger shot, watched John Wick 2 at the V&A VIP cinema – senseless, but entertaining, a Hussar steak with Georg and a cocktail at La Vie, watched Heat again – epic movie.
  • “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” — Heat

  • I think my Stellenbosch living experiment failed. It was a fun summer. Winter is for working. Maybe now I’ll appreciate Cape Town more – for a while.
  • “I am capable of learning nothing from almost any experience, no matter how profound.” — Tim Kreider

  • Sunday, watched some John Oliver – mostly about the French election, a walk from Glen beach to the end of Camps Bay beach, catch up with Jurie and Georg at La Vie, backups, notes and hockey photo processing and reading.
  • “Get married and die of loneliness.” — Jurie, about how people lose friends after getting married

  • Have to wonder about people who mix their active wear brands.
  • Every now and again, I guess I have to say that many of the notes that make it into this blog are pretty random and probably don’t have any meaning. I’m really just doing this to live twice, at least the interesting parts of each week.
  • Tune of the week: God Moving Over The Face of the Waters – Moby / Kronos Quartet

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

AfrikaBurn 2017…

AfrikaBurn 2017
  • Week of 24-30 April… my 6th AfrikaBurn, 5th with Paul.
  • Monday, last minute AfrikaBurn planning and packing day, backups, laundry, parent teacher meeting at Mia’s school, haircut, shopping, more packing and fetched all my camping gear, drove to Paul’s house – we had the best intentions to leave at 3am the next morning, but we ended up being realistic and taking another day to prepare and pack.
  • After a teacher meeting this week, I really need to teach Mia some more Afrikaans.
  • When you start packing for AfrikaBurn you are at AfrikaBurn.
  • Can Exes Be Friends?
  • Tuesday, sorting and organising AfrikaBurn gear at Paul’s house, more shopping for batteries, avos and biltong, we had a nice lunch at Basic Bistro with a Kaapzicht white, packed Paul’s van, epic sunset
  • Wednesday, up at 3:00, road trip to AfrikaBurn with Paul, we were on the dirt road at around 6:49, we stopped at the Tankwa padstal, then we had a flat tyre, so we stopped and swapped the wheel – but, it started raining, then the jack slipped under the car, then the car would not start, so we flagged down a car to help jump-start us, then moved the car to get the jack out, swapped the wheel, and then made it to the Halfway House to fix the wheel, we arrived at the burn at 11ish (8 hours after waking up), we had a bit of rain, found Tammy’s camp and had a sunset walk.
  • We had just over 20 people in our camp this year under two connected stretch tents – and a few cool people camping next to us, including Jon – who I camped next to in 2012. We camped around 10ish… it was fairly quiet.
  • I met at least 10 new cool people at the burn.
  • Thursday, chilled around the camp, built some LEGO, not real other notes – pretty sure we went for a few walks.
  • Friday, solo exploring and photography walk, watched the sunset from the top of the Tree of Life structure with Paul, we found Lietsie’s space truck.
  • Saturday, more exploring, more photos, more sunset fun, walked around with Nelia and watched a burn or two.
  • No bike this year, but can’t say I really missed it.
  • I managed to pack fairly compactly this year – see photo below… that excludes water.
  • Sunday, coffee with Charl and Will, most of our camp packed up and left, Paul and I took a long walk and took some photos, spotted an Ode to Snowden artwork (see below), afternoon at Tammy’s, we went to go watch the Clan burn, I got some nice evening photos, but it was no the most impressive burn.
  • Btw. that tent company that screwed up and did not bring our tent in 2014 made good and borrowed us a tent this year. All went well, so I removed that blog post.
  • Find my 146 photos from AfrikaBurn here: Day 1 and 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.