Category Archives: Cape Town

Quick Update

Very interesting week.. most fun I’ve had in a long time. Started out spending time with Mia (~7 days).. a cycle of tea, rusks, Nemo, gym, swim, ice cream, nap, beach, chardonnay.. rinse, repeat..

  • Monday, gym, swim, fetched Mia, got me a VitB shot, followed a police car that was in a hurry on the N2.. fun, very About a Boy, nap, Glen Beach, Pimms party with Rachel and Keith.. well Keith had Ginger beer and kola tonic (*wink* to Cath). Seems everybody is threatening to stop drinking.
  • Neurobian, the Rolls Royce.. of Vitamin B injections, kicks ass, R65 at your chemist.. “That’s cheating” — Keith
  • Tuesday, Mia and I had tea and rusks on a rainy morning, building a puzzle to some layed back jazz.. discovered Madeleine Peyroux (thanks to Rachel), gym, swim, Sinn’s ice cream, had Harrods Darjeeling no.25 tea from my Ritzenhoff cups with some cucumber sandwiches and more jazz. Mia manicure/peticure.. tried to catch up on my bloggging notes, felt like such a stay-at-home-dad.. kitchen drinking helps *grin*, nap, sunset on Beta beach, I would really not mind a house in Bakoven, watched the Illusionist (not bad) with a superb bottle of Paul Cluver Chardonnay. Watched some Simpsons.
  • Mia’s baby sister was born on Tuesday night. I guess this makes her a half only child.. maybe a good balance.
  • Wednesday, gym, swim, gourmet flapjacks at Knead.. try them.. Mia loves them, Sinn’s ice cream.. we always get the Turkish Delight flavour.. “the pink one”, did washing for the whole family (of two). Bakoven beach with Mia, Rachel and Keith.. awesome sunset followed by pizza in Camps Bay, drinks with Andy and Lauren (King), nice Springfield Sauv, brie and fig snacks and jazz.
  • Looks like I’ve converted Andy into a Moloko/Roisin Murphy fan.
  • Kinda figured out what inspired my bullet list blogging.. Rules of Attraction:
    Victor: [summarizing his vacation]..
  • Tune of the week:
    You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go – Madeleine Peyroux,
    had this song stuck in my head for 3 days (new record I think).. turns out it’s a Bob Dylan song.
  • The solution to the RT turned out to be a girl (cat) problem seems to be: swap names and change to “Princess Walker”.
  • Mia asked to watch the Moloko DVD, I played her The Time Is Now, she thinks Roisin looks like Bianca. Figured out I have _all_ the moloko albums and the DVD.
  • How cool is that Terry Richardson photo on the latest GQ?
  • Thursday, woke up early and ended up with two purring balls of fur on my chest while working on my laptop, Nemo, we made uber-juice, dropped Mia off, worked though a big backlog of holiday photos.. about 1.5GB, watched Simpsons.
  • Dory: Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? ..just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
    Marlin: Now I’m stuck with that song… Now it’s in my head.
    Dory: Sorry. — Nemo

  • “The New New Man is perhaps a better father than a husband. He loves his children with a passion that frightens him.” – January GQ

  • My wine glasses seem to have a lower MTBF recently.
  • I discovered dark chocolate covered goji berries. Yum.
  • Modern conveniences.. getting you car back from the carwash and pressing one button to get your seat back just the way you like it. You have to love technology.
  • I think I need a new enemy.. and “a code” (like the marines have.. God, Country, Corps).. hmm.. food, fun, friends, something like that.
  • “Better to have flowers and not need them, than need flowers and not have them” — Joe.. when your date invitation (potentially) fails, *grin*.

  • Friday, carwash, beer(s) at the Labia.. watched Pineapple Express.. not bad, Helga came over for drinks, Rafiki’s with Rachel and Candy, Kyoto Sushi Garden for tuna sashimi, Scott’s famous cocktails, Suntory Yamazaki 18yr old (R1k+/bottle).. good stuff, off to Jade (strange music, but fun, the older cape town goovy kids hangout it seems), ended up in the Shack (jeepers, how did that happen?), I think I like Kings of Leon.. when played really loudly, nice view of the CBD from there, the bartender was a bit drunk so I DJ’d (mostly Moloko), home, wine, nap (not much sleep at all).
  • “Hey Bartender! Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here? — Brian Griffin (Family Guy)”

  • I think I may have ruined my Vivian Westwood shirt.. guess it was worth it.
  • “Cowboy the f*ck up” — Rachel

    How is that Savanna going down?.. “Like an oyster milkshake” — Rachel

    “You say it all without.. ever speaking” — Moloko, in the Shack

    Winners come last — quote from Friday mayhem somewhere

  • Saturday, woke up on the couch with memories of Leonard Cohen songs, off to Bettys with Rachel and Andy.. (I keep a spare toothbrush for days like these), a fun drive.. since I was not driving, swim, nap, nice braai with Cath and Parri, Ingi and Debs came over, a bit of Scrabble cheating, general mayhem (I think the lack of sleep got to me).
  • Well, well. (*bite fist*) [ignore this bit]
  • Sunday, woke up in Bettys (thanks Cath).. a bit dazed, swim, good brekki (thanks Andy), chilling, nap, we drove to Pringle for a swim.. which was awesome, pimpin drive home (Andy’s Throb mixes).. got a tad sunburnt, pizza and Tequila at Da Vinci’s, got home and played the song, grabbed a Rikki’s taxi to La Med (being sensible, how’s that working out for you?, we’ll see), had a beer with David (Goldfish), friends all around.. Rachel, Keith, Cams, Adin, Lauren.. met Rachel’s sisters, Goldfish rocked.. as always.. I was the guy with the jacSharp tshirt, Andy met a Scandinavian girl who hopped in the taxi with us to Asoka, got home and played the song. Another shit day in Africa. I just love Cape Town in the summertime.
  • I met somebody, actually I’ve know her since about 2006ish, she loves jazz, reads Ayn Rand, she’s an engineer and she’s hot (yes.. go figure). I hope she does not discover this blog any time soon :-P, I may have to cook my legendary Thai green curry for her.
  • “A pot of honey is nice,
    but there is a moment just before you start eating,
    that’s even nicer” — Pooh Bear, something I remember from Friday

  • I gave at least 4 massages this weekend, I think it’s a hidden talent.
  • I may need another VitB shot after this weekend.
  • I should really go see the new Woody Allen movie.

The holiday is over crazy kids.. I need to start being productive again.

Story of the GeekDinner

I was asked to do a short write up on how the GeekDinners came about for a radio interview on SAfm tonight.

The origin of the GeekDinners.. well, this my version. I think Rob first told (me) the story of how the London GeekDinners (v1.0) started. Feel free to correct me if I get the details wrong.

GeekDinner v0.0

Geeks have been having dinners for a long time. I remember going to Cape Linux User Group dinners around 2000. The key ingredient has probably always been interesting conversation (and food, obviously).

GeekDinner v1.0 : London

Enter: Graham Knox (wine marketer) and Hugh Macleod (social media strategist and cartoonist).

Wine and wine marketing is the second most competitive industry, so Hugh and Graham (genius marketers) had an idea to use the internet (blogging) and word of mouth (social media) to market wine.

They sent wine to bloggers. Bloggers wrote about the wine and the Stormhoek brand spread through social networks and became know as the blogger or Web2.0 wine.

In June 2005 the first GeekDinners were held in London. Hugh and Robert Scoble were there. They used a wiki (a web page anyone can modify) as a way for guests to sign-up.

So now the ingredients became: interesting conversation, social lubricant (wine) and open (web-based) self sign-up.

GeekDinner v1.1 : Cape Town, South Africa

The Stormhoek farm is in Wellington, close to Cape Town. So Graham, Max Kaizen, Dave Duarte and Chris Rawlinson (I’m guessing) started a Cape Town GeekDinner in August 2006.

Same ingredients and wine as the London Dinner, but in the Mother City.

GeekDinner v1.2 : The 27 Dinners

At this point Dave and Mike Stopforth had started a marketing company and chose to re-brand the dinners. They called them 27 Dinners. They would be on the 27 of each month and I’m guessing 27 hints at the +27 dialling code or SA.

The idea spread to Joburg and Durban.

GeekDinner v2.0 : The New Original GeekDinners

..”by the geeks for the geeks”

Not everybody was happy when Mike and Dave “hijacked” the GeekDinners, renamed and controlled them.

I attended the first 27 Dinner in February 2007. I was less than happy with the change, so I did what any stubborn geek would do.. picked a fight and started the New Original GeekDinner movement.

Somebody said she would eat her hat if I pulled it off, or something like that. Good motivation.. well, we’re just gonna have to see about that!

So, the next day I registered the geekdinner.org.za domain, got a logo, setup a blog,
wiki and planet.. and started planning the first in the new series of GeekDinners which would be at Barbarellas in Constantia a month later (March 2007).

A few of my memories of the GeekDinners

How it all started.. searching for CaffeNeo’s details I found a blog post by Mike. I emailed him and we had a cup of tea at CaffeNeo. I then met Max and somehow I was invited to a small dinner at Sinn’s in Wembley Square (Nov 2006). This would be my first GeekDinner or bloggers gathering. I met Henk.. I think he said something like.. “blogging is just like writing an email, but a lot more people see it”. So two days later I installed WordPress and started blogging.

The last v1.1 dinner was in Hout Bay in December 2006 aka the Summer GeekDinner. This was the first time I met Nikki (probably the only blog(s) I’ve read start to finish) and Dave. I remember taking Mia along (oops, had to move those pics, no longer public).

GeekDinners vs. 27 Dinners

These days the GeekDinner and the 27 Dinner happily co-exist. In Cape Town they alternate monthly so they don’t compete.

So, how do they differ..?

Well, the 27 Dinners tend to a attract more of the marketing types and groovy geeks. The GeekDinners attract more of a techie geek community.. but a number of people attend both. There is no dress code for being a geek.

Traditionally the 27 Dinners have followed a more centralised and closed planning model for venue and speaker selection and sponsorships.

The GeekDinner takes a more open, decentralised and democratised approach. It’s kinda like an open source software project. There is no official committee. It’s anarchy in a sense.. order without leaders. It’s more of a benevolent dictatorship model.

The new original GeekDinners have been going for almost 2 years now. As long as they remain fun to plan and attend, the model works.

“We reject: kings, presidents and voting.
We believe in: rough consensus and running code.”
– David D. Clark

Quick Update

End of the year..

  • Monday, dropped Mia at school, tea at Will’s house, Lions Head walk.
  • The worst form of citizen.. people that cruise in the fast lane.
  • Tuesday, 5th Suicide Gorge walk with Will, Jess, Rachel, beers at Peregrine farm stall, braai at home with Rachel. Awesome day.
  • Wednesday, could feel I did a long walk the previous day, updated my /me and /about page, managed to flush a few pending blog post ideas from my notes file, Amobia meeting in Stellenbosch.
  • Thursday, tea with Edward, pool party at Ernst’s place in Newlands.. nice Longridge Chardonnay, Mainstay party in Llandudno with Cath, Lindi, Georg, Jess.. a wild party, they played The Time is Now (Moloko), jacSharp album launch, chilling at home above Cape Town.
  • Friday, a few embarrassing memories to process *grin*, long swim, Mia time, drove to Kalkbay, lunch with Ernst and Michelle, Boulders beach to see the penguins, nice drive home.. top down.. listening to Groove Armada.. down Ou Kaapse Weg, drinks and pizza at home with Ernst, Rachel and Georg.
  • I know what you are thinking.. :-P
  • Texas Ranger turned out to be a girl (cat).
  • Saturday, gym, swim, I was asked to give a talk about Lifestyle Design at Doppio Zero (St Georges Mall).. only about 6 people showed up, nice nap, olives at the deli. Watched some Family Guy.
  • Sunday, off to Plett and Knysna for a few days.

Taking a break.. I may not be updating this blog for a while. It’s been a fun year. Have a fun 2009.

Your editor in chief: Joe

Suicide Gorge Dec 2008

I walked Suicide Gorge for the 5th time yesterday with a group of 12 people.. “Tour-guide Joe”. I only knew 3 of them at the beginning of the day.. so I made a few friends in the process.

It was an awesome day, perfect weather, cool people, lots and lots of fun.. good way to spend a public holiday.

This must be the best day-trip you can do in the Western Cape.. the kind of thing you really need to do if you live in Cape Town. Nice exercise.. man against nature, with a bit of adrenalin to keep you sharp.

As Richard said, he really can’t figure out why people live in Cape Town if they don’t go on adventures like these.. they could be in London making much more money with crap weather to make sure they don’t feel guilty about staying indoors. We feel for all the mouse-clickers that will never experience this.

We noticed a few more frogs than last time.

I’m a bit stiff today and I’m sure everybody slept well last night… babies don’t sleep this well.

This was freedom. I felt more alive than I’d ever felt. I wasn’t host to cancer or blood parasites; I was the little warm center that the life of the world crowded around.

And I slept. Babies don’t sleep this well.

Every evening I died, and every evening, I was born.

— Fight Club

Suicide season is open 1 November to 30 April, so I’ll plan another trip early in 2009.

Pics are at the usual place.

Quick Update

Just a week in time..

  • Monday, WAPA exco meeting, finally got my credit card back, ISPA mancom meeting, Lions Head walk, Daily Deli (Tamboerskloof) for olives and Moussaka, bumped into Gerald and Gabby (neighbours) and had a nice dinner with them.
  • Tuesday, gym, swim, stroll down to Justin’s house for his wifi-radio launch, Henk and Ian were there, drinks at Dizzi’s for Lyle’s birthday, bumped into Matt on the way home.
  • Lesson of the week, kids.. do not drink and respond to online dating messages..
    the whole online dating idea lasted about a week. Real life is more fun. You see.. I’m one of those “drowning in a sea of love” kinda people.. online dating is a nice idea, but it’s just not up there with the levels of infatuation I’m after.. dog chasing cars remember (-:
  • My little idea of introducing Lite Licencing for SA saw the light.
  • Wednesday, gym, swim.. getting fit for Suicide Gorge, DSLR shopping, haircut at B’s, tea with (all new Apple toys girl) Cath at Le Petite Tarte in De Waterkant.. nice place, concluded the Standard Bank saga, Heavy Chef at 24.com with the marketing geeks: Nikki, Andrew, Bev, Chris, jacSharp press and media launch at the planetarium, briefly met Cokey Falkow, Asoka with Lindi, Georg, Romy and Mischa.
  • “Simple, concrete, unexpected, emotional stories” — Dave Duarte

  • “Ten more reasons why I need somebody new.. just like you” — RHCP, Can’t Stop

  • Weird.. I keep bumping into the jealous sunset girl.
  • Thursday, encrypted file system troubles, watched 1408.. pretty lame, seared tuna burger with sweet potato fries at Royale, figured we should go support our neighbour Scott and visit his sushi restaurant.. Kyoto Garden Sushi in Tamboerskloof, we had authentic grated Wassabi, eel and Japanese beers, try the Dirty Ninja Sakitini.
  • I think I suffer from TMTTT.
  • Friday, gym, swim, uber-juice, TT-S test drive, Full Moon Lions Head walk.. 7 people showed up, Chinese take-aways with Will and Jess.
  • Do you ever get the feeling (fear) that you are not taking in the moment?.. those perfect moments, just ticking it off the todo-list is not good enough. How do you make sure you suck it in?
  • Hmm.. things are just not that cool when they are popular, I much preferred my die-hard windy Thursday full moon Lions Head mission to the popular Friday crowds.
  • Truly amazing the amount of stuff I can buy at Woolworths without buying anything that needs to be heated above room temp.. is there a name for this diet?.. room-temp-snack-etarian.
  • Saturday, sleeping late, Mia time, uber-smoothy, picked up some Gemsbok fillets and wors for a nice afternoon braai, nice bottle of Becksberg Chardonnay, afternoon nap, Beta Beach, drinks at Cappellos in the CBD with the Pink-23 girls, watched Lost in Translation again.. while blogging and drinking beer with two kittens on my chest.
  • I think I should start wearing Issey Miyake again.. move past the memories.
  • HTF can anybody be 2.5 hours late? even a hippie? ..total sense of humour failure, I’m not a nice person when you mess with Mia’s swimming time. RFDOAB! (from Aliens)
  • Sunday, tea + rusks, Nemo, Mia manicure and pedicure, gym, swimming until we had raisin fingers, Knead bacon, eggs and earl grey tea, Sinns ice cream, bumped into Frerieke, watched Monsters, Inc. again, nice nap, Glen Beach sunset walk, watched some Family Guy.
  • “Say hello to the scream extractor” — Monsters, Inc.

  • I think I’m not allergic to cats anymore.
  • Tunes of the week: Saving Grace : jacSharp, Closer to You : The Wallflowers
  • Dr. Ernst is in Cape Town this coming week.. with his shake-and-bake family.
  • Tuesday is Suicide Gorge day. Hooah!

Have a fun week.

A jacSharp Story

Last night I was lying under the Cape Town ~stars listening to music by jacSharp.

Lindi and I attended the press and media launch of their debut album at the planetarium. Very cool idea for a venue, especially if you want people to listen to your music. Nice visuals in an otherwise pitch black room, good sounds and commentary from the band between songs.

We were hoping they recorded the event.. would make for a pretty cool podcast.

I guess I was invited because I’m such a groovy independent citizen journalist (haha). Turns out Lindi and Jules are related. We had nice wine and sushi and received a copy of the new album: Technicolour. I had to take two copies (sorry guys), one for Mia.

Going back a few months..

In September Georg and I had a random wild evening at Asoka and Bambu. I bumped into Carl (the guitarist) at Bambu. This was the first jacSharp Electro evening. I liked their music.

I always liked “intelligent” dance music.. things like: Moloko, Roisin Murphy, Morcheeba, Groove Armada, Goldfrapp, Massive Attack.. only later did I figure out jacSharp were also a rock band.

I think I met Carl on rooftops of buildings in Cape Town. We worked together in the wireless industry. I met Juliet that night (and asked her for her phone number *grin*). Ben and Emelio I met at Rocking the Daisies and Nikki (the photographer+) a bit later in Camps Bay.

Then there was that little vote (massaging) thing, I dragged them up Lions Head one Sunday morning, had a nice braai, I attended their Wednesdays sessions at FTV and most of the Sunday sessions at Karma.

Mia (the backseat DJ) often says: “I want to watch Juliet’s music”.. this is because Juliet took Mia up on stage once. I think she wants to be a rock star now.

The story of Tonight

Their most afro-pop sounding track is: Tonight. I guess it’s the song most people like instantly. I couldn’t really figure out the lyrics, so I asked Nikki about the song one afternoon sipping Mojito’s at Caprice. Turns out Jules wrote the song for Nikki, her sister. Then, the lyrics made sense.. it’s a song about sibling love, caring and support.

“and if you ever cry, your tears will fall from my eyes”, “this questioning that slapped you in the face”, “embrace it”, “hold your head up high”, “if they try to take your pride, then I’ll be there”..
–Tonight, jacSharp

The background, (hmm.. not sure if I should share this so I’ll keep it short).. Nikki was in l love with a musician who died. This left her pretty broken. An indecent with the authorities, questioning and rumours followed. I figure Nikki went overseas soon after this. Jules wrote the song to help her through a challenging time.

What a cool song.. almost makes me wish I had siblings (-:

 

Their Music

Let’s just say it’s a diverse sound.. jazz, rock, afro-pop, trip-hop and electro. This kinda requires a longer attention span from the listener. They have two really cool pop singles at the moment.. and bucket loads of potential for more.

I’ve been know to send them emails with friendly suggestions (mostly for the Electro stuff). It’s really cool to see their music and their stage act evolve.

Their Angle

The band is a mix of personalities, wide eyed optimists, realists, big-picture and here-and-now people. They are smart, wise and ambitious. They talk about their “ethical empire”.. a movement behind their brand. Nice idea.

They see value in online marketing and are very clever in leveraging social networking. Independent.. they do all their own branding, marketing, PR, and events planning, which makes them very busy people.

Interesting time to be in the music business, but they seem to have it waxed.

Good to see cool people follow their dreams, be brave and succeed. I just like the way they roll.

Tell me More

Have a look at their Facebook page for events. See you at their Plett and Knysna gigs crazy kids.

“Use the rhythm. Kick it. All around the room.” — Saving Grace, jacSharp

Quick Update

Weekly bullet-news..

  • Monday, gym, uber-juice, ISPA PR working group, Lions Head walk, Glen Beach sunset, “red olives” at the Daily Deli, bumped into Janine, watched Hancock again.. it was better the 2nd time.
  • Tuesday, FICA admin (what a waste of time), spinning, Suicide gorge and Lions Head full moon walk (12 Dec) planning.
  • Wednesday, gym, swim, lunch at Manna with Cath, watched Taken.. really cool movie.. I can relate.. also nice S8 driving scene, sushi in Obs with Georg and girls from Holland.. after a few drinks they understood Afrikaans and we understood Dutch, they insisted on going to a Kareoke bar.. that was a strange experience, bumped into Nicola at Bang Bang.
  • Thursday, Gardeners Cottage in Newlands with the boys from Westcon and Extreme Networks. Took the Extreme guys to see the Hub project switch.. a bit nerdy maybe. Teraco DC1 visit, 80%+.. should be finished in the next 10 days. Official tours should start in Jan. Lions head walk and a drive around Camps Bay. Braai at home with very nice lamb steaks and gourmet braai-broodjies (red onion and mozerella). Watched Hitman.. more Audi product placement.
  • Song of the week: Silver Springs, Fleetwood Mac, kinda like a revenge love song.. nice idea:

    Time cast a spell on you… you won’t forget me…
    I know I could’ve loved you but you would not let me….
    I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you..
    You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you..

  • Friday, braai-broodjies.. breakfast of champions.. hmm, can’t find a Wikipedia entry for those I’ll have to go add it :-P, early car service, Mia time, visited the Audi showroom in the Waterfront, Mia climbed around in the new TTs, bumped into Chris (another Audi fan), Clifton 4 sundown picnic with Georg and Lindy.. Wavescape surf movie.
  • I asked Mia if she remembers what’s on the front of my Amobia cap.. she said: “radio”.. how’s that for brand association (-:
  • Saturday, gym, swim, Beta Beach with Andy.
  • Sunday, Mia was up at 5AM!.. first night she asked to sleep without a nappy (with success).. because “I’m a big girl”, watched Treasure Planet again, uber-juice, gym, swim, drive to Somerset West, very nice lunch at Fishmonger in Stellenbosch, visit to Fairview wine farm (Paarl), it was a hot day: 39deg, awesome nap, La Med (briefly), jacSharp at Karma in Camps Bay.
  • I’ve been invited to the jacSharp “press and media launch” of their debut album this week. Cool.. now all I need is a date (-;

Have a fun week..
I’m off to walk up Lions Head again.

Jealous Sunset

Cause she can’t stop shaking and I can’t stop touching her and…..
This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes her away and Anna begins to change her mind
“These seconds when I’m shaking leave me shuddering for days” she says.
And I’m not ready for this sort of thing

I’m not gonna bend. And I’m not gonna break and
I’m not gonna worry about it anymore
It seems like I should say “as long as this is love…”
But it’s not all that easy so maybe I should just
snap her up in a butterfly net-
Pin her down on a photograph album

And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love
and oh lord…. I’m not ready for this sort of thing
She’s talking in her sleep-it’s keeping me awake
And Anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand and
oh lord. I’m not ready for this sort of thing

— Anna Begins, Counting Crows

Always loved this song.. not sure why.

I was walking along Camps Bay beach tonight just before sunset. A girl ran past me, to the end of the beach where the water is calm and deep. She went swimming as the sun was setting. Reminded me of a girl I used to know.

As we were walking back she stopped and gazed into the sunset. Awesome sunset. An Interview with a Vampire / Crimson Tide kinda sunset.

And then, for some reason I was jealous. Envy for the way I remembered she could take in a moment like this. I had a camera with me but I could not capture the moment the way I figure she was experiencing it.

I think I have a bit of a love-hate thing for the quirky/arty/free-spirit types (-;

ps. Yes, she looked good in bikini.

Quick Update

Strange week, ups and downs..

  • Monday, good fun.. bit of a blur actually, Daily Deli with Helen and Tina, a swim at Beta Beach with Andy, sundowners on Clifton 1st, swim and braai at Chris’ with Cath, Parri and Andy.. basically just another shit day in Africa.
  • I figure life is all about the good times you get to share with friends.. it’s no fun living in the most beautiful city without good friends.
  • “Drowning in a sea of love, where everyone would love to drown” — Fleetwood Mac

  • Tuesday, gym, swim, Mouille Point run, chocolate beer and pizza at the CLUG AGM.. elected to the CLUG committee again, Jazz night at Asoka.
  • Realised I suck at keeping secrets.
  • “It’s maybe a good idea to have more carrots than sticks”. — me

    found this here.

  • Careful what you wish for.
  • Wednesday, Neoforum at the Radisson with Cath, Rhodes Memorial with Helen and Tina.. seems I make a good tour guide, Erf 81 (the farm in Tamboerskloof), Table Mountain contour road lookout, sundowners on Signal Hill, Beta Beach, Codfather.. very nice food, had some Marlin and Snapper, Porn Star Martini’s at Asoka… YASDIA (see Monday).
  • Thursday, presentation about peering and The Hub Project at the GeekDinner.
  • “My drinking club has a reading problem” — Henk

  • Friday, big mission to try and get my credit card back after a Standard Bank ATM swallowed it in Camps Bay, Mia time, we had home made chicken burgers with the ex.
  • I’ve been blogging for two years this month, not long, just twice around the sun.
  • Saturday, I was sick as a dog, did as little as possible, pizza with Andy and Marsha, rainy day – tea – built puzzles with Mia – listened to Chris Chameleon, watched the Bank Job and The Dark Knight.. and did not make it to Bianca’s 30th.
  • “make your own luck”, “I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve”, “I’m a dog chasing cars, I would not know what do do with it if I finally caught it” — The Dark Knight

  • Sunday, gym, swim, Deer Park, uber-juice, nice nap, aquarium.. watched the predator tank feeding session, swim at the Icon building.. and did not make it to the bloggers cocktail party.
  • Weird how life is so relative.. the day after you’ve been sick you feel so alive.
  • Dr. Strangelove (aka. Ernst) informed me that he will be doing a Cape Town in the Summertime session soon.

Have a fun week lazy kids.

Quick Update

This weeks’ update seems to have been delayed.. I blame the awesome weather.

  • Monday, gym, swim, ISPA mancom meeting, watched Perfume.. good movie.
  • Tuesday, gym, swim, uber-juice, Tamboerskloof steps run, beer and pizza at Carlisles in Vredehoek.
  • Wednesday, Lions Head walk with Andy, WAPA admin and PR, eStrategy workshop in Bishopscourt.. which turned out to be a royal waste of time.
  • Thursday, walk above our house up to Military Road, ISPA general meeting, Teraco CPT site visit.. DC1 is starting to look good, January GeekDinner planning at Yum, SA UX meeting at Asoka, drinks at Asoka. Met Tristan from MyVideo.
  • Brandon told me I seem to be a very proud parent, I guess that’s true.
  • We named Andy’s two new kittens: Walker and RT.. from Talladega Nights, “Ricky Bobby: Dear Lord Baby Jesus, I want to thank you for this wonderful meal, my two beautiful sons, Walker and Texas Ranger” (-;
  • Friday, updated my homepage (front page and history), cocktails on the Camps Bay strip, added my first Wikipedia article about Vendor Neutral Data Centres, braai at home, watched Crank.
  • Fri 21 Nov.. Celebrations! The VANS won. “Many pioneering independent networks are already operating and the high court ruling will allow them to attract investment and expand their networks.”
  • Saturday, Mia time, gym, swim, kids party at our place, sundowner drinks and pizza with Cath, Parri and Jess.
  • Sunday, early Clifton 2nd session with Georg and Mia, braai, afternoon nap, Camps Bay.. Primi, Baraza, Karma, Baraza.. to watch jacSharp and Pierre-Estienne play.

I’ve been invited to the U.S. Bloggers Tour dinner this week. Makes me think people actually read the rants I publish here.

Have a fun week.

Vendor Neutrality

Background

A while ago I had to keep explaining the ideas behind “Vendor Neutral Data Centres” over and over, mostly when talking about peering. I believe vendor neutral DC’s are a good environment for hosting peering points.

To me the logic and benefits were pretty obvious, but I kept bumping into those stubborn types (change resistance factor) who just don’t want to listen to the voice of reason and kept on asking for an exact definition of vendor neutrality.

Some people you just can’t reach.

They claimed that “vendor neutral” could mean any number of things to different people. I did not find much on Wikipedia and a few examples of UK/US data centre with vendor neutral business models did not seem to make an impact.

So, I figured I’d make a few notes and write it all down.. maybe I’ll add it to Wikipedia.

What is a Vendor Neutral Data Centre?

Before we start, I guess I have to say I am a founder and shareholder of South Africa’s first vendor neutral data centre business: Teraco… but I’m not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. I should also add that a big part of my motivation for starting Teraco comes from an experience involving a local peering point project failing because of the anti-competitive interconnect policies of a single-vendor data centre… but that’s old news, circa 2002. More about this later.

Let me give you my attempt at a summary…

Vendor Neutrality in the data centre market refers to a specialised and focused business model, where a provider limits its activities to a fixed set of value layers in order to avoid conflicts of interest. The provider creates an open market and a platform for others to add value. The provider remains neutral and independent and offers standard open interconnect policies. This results in greater flexibility and wider choice for clients.

There are a few similar sounding terms like.. Telco Agnostic and Network Independent. These mostly refer to network infrastructure and IP transit services. I think “vendor neutral” goes a bit further and refers to a business model which is independent of all parties which add value further up the chain… these could be: service providers, consultants, DR solution providers, storage providers etc.

This brings us to the concept of “value layer abstraction”. Vendor neutral data centres focus on the bottom value layers in the stack of services customers in data centres need: space, security, power, environment (aircon) and cabling.

If you want to think about this in a (OSI) networking stack model: They stick to Layer 1.

Vendor neutral data centre’s have proven to be a successful business model in Europe and the US. Examples would be: Telecity and Equinix.

In some ways it’s more of a property leasing business than an ICT business.

An easy way to test if a data centre is vendor neutral is to see if the sales person you deal with will sell you data centre space and IP transit services.

South African Context

It has long been the norm in SA that a business or ISP has one upstream provider.. a single point of failure. This is not really how the internet was designed to work. The internet is about democratization, decentralization and dense interconnectivity. You could say internet is built on a vision of anarchy.. order without leaders and central control.

In SA (until January 2009) you were pretty much forced to buy your IP transit (internet access) from the same guys who provide you with data centre services. This comes from an era where last mile costs were very expensive and it made sense to be close to your one ISP.

With a bit of luck, the SA telecoms landscape will change radically over the next 3 years and network operators will see the value in the vendor neutral data centre model. We’ll see businesses and ISPs connect to two or more upstream providers in a more flexible hosting environment and we’ll see good growth in peering traffic.

Benefits and Attributes of Vendor Neutral Data Centres

  • Focused on the data centre infrastructure business, specialised and efficient
  • Create a platform for others to add value, an open market
  • No conflicts of interest, focus, not competing with customers
  • Truly independent and unbiased
  • Greater flexibility and no “lock-in” effect
  • Less exposure to single provider instabilities
  • Dense interconnection with no restrictions on connections between customers
  • Consistent pricing structure for interconnect medium
  • Greater competition between providers, avoids anti-competitive behaviour
  • Lower costs, better value
  • Best-of-breed choices, buy voice from the leader in voice services, buy IP transit from the operator(s) that offers you the best solution
  • Good environment for peering points

Let me know if you can think of more benefits or attributes I should add..