Monthly Archives: April 2020

Quick Update

Cargo cult for cats…

Commie Virus News
  • Week of 20-26 April
  • Bug out, week 6, health week 1
  • Monday, early podcast listening, some experimental breakfast cooking, ventured out to buy food for the week, tinkered with some batch email copy, rainy afternoon, braai with Mia – I find rump steak is best if you want to keep meat for the next day.
  • I’ve been cooking this scrambled eggs thing where I add a layer of mushrooms, put a lot of cheese on top, and let it cook at a low heat with a lid over it – seems to be the best of both worlds, easy cooking and consistency of scrambled eggs, with the more solid feel and cheesy goodness of an omelette.
  • Tech Independence! I listened to a Derek Sivers interview, with Jordan Paris, right at the end, 1:17:00, Derek answers with ‘Tech Independence’ – the course he would teach at university, “Teaching regular people – non programmers, how to be free from the corporate lock-in and get off the cloud.”, “If something matters to you, don’t give it to a company.” Listen to the end of the podcast
  • I think I’ve finally managed to figure out the three things I want to work on over the next 5 years. Sustainable futures. Tech Independence. Cape Independence. The first one is a fancy way of saying keep making money, building networks mostly.
  • Tuesday, tea, green smoothies, wrote some copy for a video ad, tech plumbing for a pet project, watched the chief frog boiler’s speech.
  • Watch this: Einmusik b2b Jonas Saalbach live @ Preikestolen in Norway for Cercle
  • Migrating laptops is not a trivial thing – I keep finding more things to migrate.
  • The neighbourhood alpha cat somehow made its way into Mia’s morning school video teleconferencing, so the class wanted to know the cat’s name. We named him Jones, because he looks like Ripley’s cat… from Aliens, who was smart enough not to travel to LV-426.
  • Wednesday, spend 25min on the phone with Vodacom to ask them to send me a password for a router to change a wifi channel – big companies are special, video meeting, some hardware procurement.
  • I started listening to Models my Mark Manson. I kinda stumbled into it, because I accidentally bought an Audible credit and I did not know what to do with it.
  • Check out the ‘needrestart’ package in Debian.
  • Thursday, tea, green smoothies, more server hardware shopping, I finally managed to find a Kindle for Mia online – eCommerce in lockdown is no fun, I submitted a Debian Request for Package for Routinator, nap, we made Mexican food and watched the lockdown news update.
  • I recently bought a box of coffee pods, not that I like pods, but something different to tea, bit of a buzz in the morning, after about a week of morning buzz I realised it was a decaf box.
  • I cleaned up my RSS reading lists this week.
  • Note to self: daydream more.
  • Friday, creative writing, listened to Disintegration – epic album, quick outing to fetch server hardware, Jones and I had a braai, with some Campari and listened to Neil Diamond, Facetime chat with Stefan.
  • Saturday, tea, Cape Town visit, we made a few videos – good fun, epic fail with my plan to use an iMac as an external display for a Macbook via a Thunderbolt cable – seems the new iMac models do not support Target Display mode anymore.
  • Check out Synergy app
  • My desktop computer space now has 88GB of memory and 16 CPU cores – hard to imagine ten years ago.
  • I bought a Sublime Text licence – support them.
  • If South Africa’s provinces were independent states
  • I’m going to have rather long hair in another month – might need a skateboard.
  • Sunday, chilled day, green smoothies, caught up on some blogging, reading and video watching, watched Groundhog Day again – great movie.
  • Tune of the week: R.E.M. – Bad Day
  • I’m looking forward to a few extended podcast walks in the coming weeks.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Joe Earl Grey Botha…

  • Week of 13-19 April
  • Bug out, week 5, did not visit the shops at all
  • Monday, up early, braai.
  • Next-Gen Nuclear Power
  • Mini iMac review: 5k screen is rad, fusion drive is a bit slow compared to NVMe, nice that you can upgrade the memory easily, keyboard is a bit dorky.
  • Mini Macbook Pro 16 review: keyboard is great, screen is great, sound is very cool, 8 CPU cores is pretty crazy – yeah, it’s fast, 1TB storage is very handy, finger print gizmo works well. Magsafe power would have been cool, touchbar is pretty lame – who uses that? Pleasure to work with – makes a 13inch laptop look like a Fisher-Price toy. It’s been 5 years since I upgraded laptops – this one is probably 5 times better.
  • Safe to say Mia has slept through 66% of her holiday and commie virus lockdown so far.
  • I’d like to see warning labels on Chinese goods and services – Made with Communism.
  • Tuesday, omelettes, braai.
  • Wednesday, online school started – seemed to go well, meeting, tinkered with three video projects.
  • Thursday, mobility routine, tinkered with making Postfix more secure and migrated some email settings, attended a webinar about IPv6 address planning, braai with Mia, watched the 2nd half of Alien – very impressive movie for 1979.
  • “The standard pace is for chumps.” — Derek Sivers

  • Meta is ‘about’ in Latin.
  • Friday, tea, braai meat for breakfast, played with the cats, bit of a blur – not sure what I did.
  • I think I’m at the end of the road of my drinks stash. 1/2 bottle Campari remaining.
  • My 2 year commie battle on FB seems to be working – the commies are doing most of the work though.
  • Saturday, tinkered with Postfix again – I accidentally required all my mail to come in via TLS, we made eggs for lunch, nap, played with BPKI/RPKI certs, listened to old REM albums and generated a ROA.
  • Mia keeps watching series – wasting time. She’s watching The Office at the moment. One day, when she’s sitting on the couch without any idea what she wants to do with her live at age 30 – I’m going to remind her that I blogged about this wasted time, way back in those commie virus weeks. I nagged her to complete the Jordan Peterson self-authoring / future-authoring course over the holidays – which she did, in a rather half baked way, if you ask me.
  • I drink so much tea I should change my middle name. Mia drinks chai rooibos. I drink earl grey.
  • I started using the / WARP app on my phone this week. Works well, gives you IPv6 also.
  • Sunday, tea, blogging, set up DNS and email for two websites, made popcorn and watched Aliens again – rad movie.
  • I blogged about Why I don’t use Gmail
  • I kinda miss writing. Note to self – write a weekly blog post other than just Quick Updates.
  • I suggested to Mia she should get her own domain name / online name – something like, but her own.
  • How to start a movement
  • Jonathan Carter is the new Debian Project Leader, nice!
  • Tune of the week: R.E.M. – Leaving New York

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Why I don’t use Gmail

Don’t use Gmail.

Take the free stuff!

I found an article about migrating away from Gmail this week. I was struck by how painful it is to move away. Login and contact details all over the place.

I’ve never used Gmail. I run my own mail server(s). Always have. I still have all my email archived from 1996 days. Recently I’ve been tinkering with a few mail server configs and I realised, this stuff has become pretty complex.

I’d really like more people to use distributed, self hosted email systems, but we have some problems:

  • Things like Gmail are very easy, convenient and free
  • People are trapped in free email services – it’s very hard to migrate away
  • Self hosted email can be complex, and not free (costs maybe 5 USD/m in virtual server hosting)

Why I don’t use Gmail:

  • I can avoid it. I find it fun to maintain my own email services.
  • I hate web based email services. Give me IMAP mail clients and mutt.
  • The advertising business model behind free email can only have bad incentives – I don’t like the idea of surveillance capitalism
  • I really don’t like the idea of some big evil empire having easy access to a large part of the communications in my life
  • I would find it scary to not be in control of my logins details around the web
  • The potential effort involved in migrating scares me – and the more you use it, the more you dig a hole for yourself
  • Email is a network, if one person in the network hosts their email in a compromised place, it impacts the rest of the network – I don’t want to be that guy.

Don’t use Gmail.

You might also like:

ps. if you find this topic interesting, let me know and I’ll write a post about how to host your own email services.

Quick Update


Bicycles for the Mind
  • Week of 6-12 April
  • Bug out, week 4
  • Monday, home office – big surprise, tinkered with IPv6 BGP.
  • Tuesday, got up at 05:00 to tinker with BGP configs, nap, video meeting, a quick Cape Town visit – three roadblocks, phone chats on the way back with Dirk, Jacques, Pierre and Nikki, figured out the Fhk Woolworths closes at 4pm, we made wraps.
  • Learning BGP has been fun – have not really used BGP in a few years.
  • Pro tip: A Thunderbolt 3 cable with USB-C connectors is not the same as a USB-C ‘charging’ cable.
  • Wednesday, tea, phone chats and video meetings, we made cheesy breakfast burritos at 16:00ish, watched Idiocracy – amusing.
  • Remember kids, commie data is creative data.
  • Thursday, up early, worked on a side project, food shopping outing – what a mission to rinse every item when you get home, nap, braai with Mia – we made burgers.
  • Check out Radiolab for Kids
  • Personality quirk: I hate it when people shuffle songs on albums/playlists – order is important.
  • Friday, random tinkering with an iMac – installed Aperture, CaptureOne and Proxmox, finally upgraded my laptop macOS (10.15), we watched Darjeeling Limited – which was pretty average.
  • Double clicking on Apple Watch to confirm things in macOS is pretty cool – less password typing.
  • Inception: I now have a Debian VM running in a Proxmox VM with VirtualBox on macOS – nested virtualisation is amusing. Proxmox works well.
  • Saturday, not sure what I did really, migrated some laptop configs, we made mexican food for supper, caught up on some blogging.
  • Commie Virus lockdown was extended until the end of April.
  • The two cats are visiting more often.
  • Half of the contacts on my phone’s ‘Favourites’ screen now use Facetime audio.
  • Sunday, up early, rainy day – moved my car to get a free car wash, more laptop configs and migrations, Campari, braai with Mia, Facetime chat with Jacques and Dirk, started watching Alien, but fell asleep.
  • I blogged about setting up macOS from Scratch
  • Check out the ‘Dark Mode’ WordPress plugin.
  • Tune of the week: R.E.M. – Supernatural Superserious

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

macOS from Scratch

A few notes about things you probably want to configure and install on a fresh macOS machine. I’m using macOS 10.15 at this point in time.

Not getting too nerdy, just a collection of day to day generally useful things.

Geek Lair


System Preferences items

  • Enable Night Shift
  • Move Dock to the right of the screen
  • Turn on DND
  • Enable Firewall
  • Run this in terminal: “defaults write type jpg”
  • Remove screenshot delay : Command + Shift + 5 > Show Floating Thumbnail (off)

You may also want to read some of my previous posts

Quick Update

Commie Virus Groundhog Day…

Campari and Braai
  • Week of 30 Mar to 5 April
  • Bug out, week 3
  • March went by really quickly – must have been spending all my time reading commie virus news.
  • Monday, tea, server tinkering, we made breakfast enchiladas at about 4pm – good for breakfast and lunch and supper, video meeting for a pet project, we watched MIB III again.
  • Tuesday, up early, read about VLAN-aware bridging with Linux, WW visit to get food, we had cake to celebrate Mia’s 14th birthday – how did this happen so soon?!
  • Happy birthday, Mia! – I guess we’ll have to move your birthday party.
  • “Now that all the anti-vaxxers have become mighty quiet all of a sudden, they’ve all resurfaced as 5G conspiracy theorists.” — Paul

  • Wednesday, mobility routine, tea and cake for brunch, video conference with the team, played with SR-IOV while listening to REM – they have some really epic music.
  • Lots of tea making going on, lots, main-lining tea!
  • “Play silly games, win silly prizes.” — Naval

  • I had to change some habits – move around more – stretch – drink less wine – was getting a bit out of hand – strange sleeping patterns – deep nerding on weird tech topics at 3am etc.
  • Thursday, mobility routine, server tinkering and vlan plumbing, braai with Mia and Jacques via Facetime.
  • On a positive note – I’m using this time to unsubscribe from a lot of random email lists – every clown and his dog thinks they need to send me something about the commie virus.
  • I say the ‘commie bat lab fuckup’ story beats the ‘wet market’ story in the next 30 days.
  • Check out the old REM albums
  • Friday, extreme yak shaving and playing with Proxmox, home exec tasks, tinkered with FRR with more REM B-side tunes, sunset g&t, watched Moneyball.
  • USD / ZAR exchange rate went over 19 ZAR per USD, eek.
  • Saturday, tea, backups, sunset g&t, server shopping, watched V for Vendetta again – interesting how the plot involves a virus.
  • DaisyDisk is a pretty useful tool to clean up a macOS filesystem and free up space. I got a bit annoyed with how macOS shows it has lots of space but ‘df -h’ shows a smaller number. DaisyDisk lets you purge the disk.
  • So long Wunderlist. We had some good times – we planned a few Afrikaburns together.
  • Beethoven – Piano Concerto No 5 – Zimerman, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bernstein (1989)
  • Sunday, more backups, email scrubbing and played with FRR and IPv6 BGP, sunset g&t, braai with Mia – and an excellent bottle of Moreson Chardonnay 2017, watched High Fidelity again – great movie – good memories of making compilation tapes – and bad memories of breakups.
  • “The making of a great compilation tape is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway… I’ve started to make a tape… in my head…” — High Fidelity, found in a post from 2008

  • Tune of the week: R.E.M. – Oh My Heart

Have a fun week, crazy kids.