The Brief History of Joe's Life

I find it useful reading this from time to time. I think it gives me perspective in the craziness of the moment (details) to get a feel for medium and longer term trends and achievements.

1977 - 1995, Turned 18

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Pretoria (South Africa).
I frequented Pretoria Oos Jnr School and Menlo Park High School where I completed the following subjects: Afrikaans, English, Maths, Physics, Accounting, Additional Maths and Computer Science.
Spent lost of time playing Quest games, Sierra, Lucas Arts stuff.. Monkey Island, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle etc. I was addicted to the game Civilization and the Simpsons TV show.
I spent most of my afternoons swimming and later playing underwater hockey or squash.
Was the administrator for the school Novell 3.10 LAN.
Had loads of fun going on underwater hockey (bus) tours around std9, cool people.. memories of Mr. Jones and Corduroy (Pearl Jam) songs.

1996 - 1998, Turned 21

I moved to Stellenbosch (best thing I ever did) in 1996 to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.
..that and play Quake and organize Quake tournaments, learn Unix/GNU/Linux and networking, Scuba dive, Mountain bike, Spear fish, play Underwater Hockey and free dive for Crayfish and Abalone. 1996 was a good year, I met a number of people who whould shape the rest of my life and actually passed all my 1st year subjects.
Remember Spyce? ..and the summer of 96/97
Co-founded a Stellenbosch Linux User Group. Was active in the Stellenbosch University Underwater Club and Secretry on the Committee.
Played Underwater Hockey for the Stellenbosch University A team.
I met Abz in 1997. After 2.5 years I decided that engineering and I did not like each other that much. ;-)

I realised that I was being trained to think manufacturing. Industrial and mechanical engineers manufacture and produce tangible things, they work on mines and in factories. I liked to work with ideas. Design and brand, dont manufacture.

..So back to Pretoria/Jhb to do IT consulting (mostly to pay off my bursary), I worked at a soap factory (fmcg) in Joburg.
Had a pretty lame 21st birthday party.

1999, Turned 22

The year I ate 365 Spur Burgers.. ghgrrrr
I studied B.Sc Computer Science at the University of Stellenbosch.
..that and screwed around with TCP/IP over HAM radio, Started an eCommerce web site co. to sell wine, learned more Unix.. the BSDs this time, Learned to appreciate good Wine and watched (too) many movies.
I passed my amateur radio operator exam and used the callsign ZR1JOE.
Was an avid Wine culture society supporter, not only was I a member, but also on the committee :P
Wine tours every Tuesday and Thursday.
I went on a wine tour almost every Tuesday and Thursday.
At that point a had enough fun studying.
I must add that Stellenbosch University's Comp Sci department was brain dead. Oberon Sucks.
Built a GNU/Linux touch screen Kiosk.

I can really identify with the main character in the movie Rushmore, if you have seen the movie you know what I mean.

2000, Turned 23, published 99 photos

Started working for an online trading co. in Stellenbosch which saw it's butt about four months later.
I co-founded an ISP called Frogfoot Networks.
Worked as a SysAdmin for a Java dev house for four months.
Bought my first car, Golf 4 TDI (Diesel).
Saw a 400% increase in my salary that year.. I'll have to make a note to do this again.
Started working for the digital side of a large news and media co, IOL.

2001, Turned 24, published 253 photos

Moved to Cape Town/Vredehoek at the beginning of the year.
Worked in the Cape Town CBD in the dot com (First Tuesday) days, cycled to work.
Put up a second POP for Frogfoot Networks, moved the POP to Newlands.
Showed up at enough CLUG meetings/dinners to be elected to the Cape Linux User Group Committee.
Learned LaTeX, co-founded a company called the Blio Corporation.
Screwed around with LDAP.
Had this routine of squash and wine drinking with Anton in Stellenbosch every Thursday.
Started working on an online property listing project,
Started an Internet peering point project for Cape Town called
Frogfoot was assigned Autonomous System Number 22355
Became a Debian GNU/Linux Developer.
Had a very nice holiday in Hermanus.

2002, Turned 25, published 1398 photos

Moved to a house in Newlands/Fernwood/Southern Suburbs/Cape Town.
Switched to the DVORAK keyboard layout in January.
Put up a third POP/DataCenter for Frogfoot Networks.
Did some GNU/Linux lecturing/training in the evenings.
Frogfoot turned Two and we had an uber cool party.
Figured out DocBook and some BGP routing, started listening to Jazz.
Was invited to the ISPA Internet Week event in Johannesburg.
Made some T-Shirts and started an Online Shop called, mostly to sell T-shirts, but never really used the site.
Blio's first dev boards, first casing designed.
We built the third phase of the Frogfoot Network, a major redesign and upgrade.

2003, Turned 26, published 988 photos

Moved again, still in Newlands, next to a river this time.
I stopped drinking coffee in January, Life without caffeine is stimulating enough.
Visited Mozambique in February.
Frogfoot gets it's first employee.
Started a business called metaMera (Pty) Ltd. mM (nutrasuticals)
Was interviewed on a local radio station (RSG) about the Frogfoot Seti@Home team.
Frogfoot becomes multihomed with portable address space and two views of the global routing table.
Started a company called Amobia Communications (Pty) Ltd. (outdoor fixed wireless)
Frogfoot was on TV (SABC3, Business Report) 2003-05-28, my personal homepage got about 4sec of nationwide airtime.
Developed a liking for Martini's.
Ernst was in cpt from April 2003 to Nov 2004.
Started working for Frogfoot/Blio full time in June.
Bought my first petrol car, Audi TT Roadster. Loads of fun.
You would have found me in places like The Fez, Rhodes House and Deluxe most weekends.
I stopped drinking Coke-a-cola in August.
Frogfoot found office space in November, Albion Springs, Newlands.
We had some shares in an another embedded systems company, but we gave that up and did our own thing.
Ate at almost every Cape Town restaurant in Wine Magazine's Guide to the Top 100 Restaurants in SA 2003
Frogfoot's upstream bandwidth grew about 560%
I keep a copy of the Frogfoot Website from around 2003.

2004, Turned 27, published 939 photos

A crazy fun year... all things considered, probably still the best (most exciting) year so far.
Best newyears party ever, big Fez party at Heritage Square with Ernst.
Stayed in the same place for more than a year for a change.
Switched to using Ogg Vorbis. Stopped eating McDonnalds.
Frogfoot moved into office space and hired a sysadmin.. for a while there were no computers at home which was a strange exerience, I then bought an Apple Powerbook G4 with wifi base station and became an instant Apple fan.
Had an office opening party for Frogfoot and launched a new website.. which took about 10 months to build.
Designed labels, branding and strategy for metaMera's first 4 products... and brochures, letterheads, business cards and other wonderful forms of documents for the Frog.
Produced the first batch of Metamera products.
Met my (ex-)significant other: Naulene at Melissas in Newlands. (first girlfriend)
Gave a few lectures on Open Source Software etc. at Stellenbosch University Information Science Dept.
Listened to lots of Moloko, "The time is now" was definitely the song of winter 2004. Also Morcheeba, Goldfrapp and "It's my life" by No Doubt/Talk Talk. Madam Zingara was the restaurant of the year. The four little friends had lots of fun in winter and spring 2004. Best birthday party ever.
Blio sold its first products for the wireless market.
Was invited to go talk to some MBA-types at the UCTGSB about Open Source Software.
I went on an Audi Advanced Driving Course which was lots of fun.
Frogfoot was allocated the block of IP space, this made us really independent from other ISPs.
Another TV crew interviewed us about Frogfoot and Blio, this time for the Go-Opensource TV series.
Made a first website for Blio.
Ernst left Cape Town.
First girlfriend broke up with me after about 6 months.. on a beach. She was my Rushmore. Listened to the last two tracks on the Moloko/Statues album too many times. In hindsight, maybe I was like a dog chasing a car.

2005, Turned 28, published 1503 photos

Found my Rushmore again (-:
We had a Frogfoot Beach Party at Llandudno for about 50 people.
Went scuba diving in Sodwana with Jacques.
We built a Bandwidth Manager/Stats product for Blio.
We had some shares in an another wireless ISP company, but we gave that up and did our own thing.
Did lots of work on the Frogfoot Portal, Network Management / Automation System.
Had a birthday party for Frogfoot at Wijnhuis with about 12 people.
Gave some more lectures at Stellenbosch University.
Heard the wonderful news that I would become a dad soon.
Started working for, Cape Town Development Centre in August.
Amobia built a network and started doing business (in ~November) using Blio's Wireless CPE product. VANS could self provide from 1 Feb 2005.
Attended my 10 year high school reunion.
Swapped the TT for a VW Caddy Panel Van.. it's not pretty, but damn it's practical (-: "I'm through with all the hot cars, the hot clubs, the hot chicks" -- Ford Fairlane (Rock 'n' Roll Detective)
Left Amazon to work for Frogfoot/Amobia/Blio again. Started Surfing. (for a short time)
Developed a liking for Single Malt Whisky.
Amobia built a wireless network in the Western Cape (Newlands to Stellenbosch) and we stopped using Telkom services. We designed a first website for Amobia.
This was a busy year, at some point I had 4 jobs and a girlfriend.

2006, Turned 29, published 2842 photos

A snapshot of the Frogfoot Website in 2006.
Revamped my personal homepage, converted from html4 to xhtml/css.
Read the Subversion book over the holiday time and actively started using SVN.
Did a marathon Simpsons and Family Guy session after DVD xmas gifts.
Got a GPS device, started tagging my picture headers with GPS data.
We built a Voice Logger product for Blio.
Passed some LPI exams, Frogfoot started selling Apple products, became an Ubuntu partner and ISPA member. Helped design some Ubuntu/LPI exams.
Frogfoot (11 people now) started advertising, first a b/w ad in a small newspager, then a full page colour ad in a magazine.
Started the Frogfoot Online Shop (frog shop), mostly to sell a cheap Ubuntu Linux PC.
Naulene was carrying around what she calls the ultimate fashion accessory, a love child. (-; We now have a very cute baby girl called Mia.
We did a major redesign of the Frogfoot Network.
I was invited to give a talk at the Stellenbosch University, Knowledge Technology and Society week.
Had a 29th birthday brunch.
Visited London and LugRadio Live 2006.
Frogfoot started a Xen Virtual hosting product range and sold its first Portal (network management/billing system).
Two trips to Johanneburg one of which was for iWeek 2006.
Moved to Somerset West for a few weeks. Then moved to a flat in Gardens, Cape Town.
Amobia started a franchise in Potchefstoom.
Blio built an embedded PBX and had a live demo at the Futurex tradeshow.
Frogfoot and Amobia attended the Futurex 2006 trade show at the CTICC.
Had a house warming for the new pad.
Attended my 10 year varsity residence reunion in Kleinmond.
Started the SwimGeek Blog in November.
The Wireless ISPs in the Western Cape formed WAPA. I was interviewed for an ITWeb article and appointed to the WAPA management comittee.
I was invited to give a presentation about Frogfoot at the Western Cape FOSS Forum.

Nov 2006, Started Blogging

Note: This is the point where I started blogging, so I may have rather blogged about something than adding it to my history page.

2007, Turned 30, Mia turned 1, published 3959 photos

Had a nice mini-break at Monkey Valley resort in Noordhoek.
Mia started walking after 9 months.
Frogfoot exhibited at the Design Indaba trade show.
Frogfoot aquired the customer base of an ISP, Jaywalk Interactive.
Started taking Panoramic pics.
Started using VoIP, mobile phone with SIP client (Nokia E61), connected the office (with SNOM phones and Asterisk), home and Somerset West ~home.
Developed an interested in Blogging, CGM, PR and GeekDinners. Picked a fight about the 27 Dinner taking over the GeekDinners and started the New Original Cape Town GeekDinner movement in March.
I was interviewed for an IOL / Cape Times article about the GeekDinners.
Attended the KKNK for the first time.
Started using Ubuntu on the home PC.
Started Teraco Data Environments (Pty) Ltd., a vendor neutral datacentre business.
Did a lot of reasearch on metro ethernet switch fabrics and discovered Extreme Networks
Developed a liking for Pringle Bay.
Got a pair of Frogfoot cufflinks for my birthday.
Had a pretty lame 30th birthday party. Seems to be a trend.
Had an awseome holiday in.. Prague, Bordeaux, Pamplona, Barcelona, Paris, London and Stockholm.
Built a Frogfoot Wifi product with a big launch at Futurex, CTICC.
I was quoted in an ITWeb article saying "let the animals run the zoo".
Amobia connected 100 schools in the Western Cape as part of the SchoolWAN project. Attended iWeek and the franchise Expo in Joburg.
Amobia finally started advertising. We wrote a business plan for Amobia, mostly because of the changing licensing environment.
South Africa won the Rugby World Cup.
Blio continued development of its IP PBX.
Almost lost Miss Rushmore again. (she broke up with me on Facebook this time)
I was elected joint-chair of WAPA.
Started using Chandler.
Had a very nice end of year holiday in Pringle Bay with Andy and Georg.

2008, Turned 31, Mia turned 2, published 6127 photos

Amobia rolled out a wireless network in Joburg.
Blio completed its IP PBX product and passed the required certification tests, we built a batch of 20.
Got a new Laptop and started using Ubuntu.
Walked Suicide Gorge for the 3rd time and the 4th time.
Redesigned and developed a whole new Frogfoot Website and Blog (using WordPress).
Had fun marketing the Frogfoot Wifi Hotspot.
Frogfoot became a WAPA member.
Continued my interest in PR and marketing. I ran (dis)information campaigns for Frogfoot, Amobia, Blio, Teraco, WAPA, GeekDinner, SchoolWAN etc.
WAPA started high court action to fight for the rights of VANS to self provide network infrastructure.
Lost (crazy bitch) Rushmore again. She broke up with me, leaving a letter in my Atlas Shrugged book. Removed all the pictures of her. Became a single dad.
Messy breakup, cried while blogging about this.
Weekends spent taking Mia to fun and educational places.. best thing in the world was taking Mia swimming.
Teraco got funded and started building DC1 in Cape Town.
Started The Swimming Animals Trust.
Had a fun birthday in Montagu and Cape Town with Anton and Georg. Read The 4 Hour Work Week book.
We sold the Frogfoot consumer client base to Web Africa and discontinued the wifi hotspots.
Moved to Obs with Georg and Andrew, the bachellor life, three men and a little lady.
Drank a fair amount of Chardonnay.
A strange time in my life, time of self discovery, lots of thinking and making notes.
Started my weekly bullet list blogging (Quick Updates).. kinda like a diary, back to blogging basics.
Moved to Tamboerskloof.. Leeukloof Drive.. Cape Town's Mulholland Drive. Awesome summer season and a Clifton beach routine.
Really fun Halloween Housewarming party.
Seemed to have lost my alergy for cats, mostly.
Web2 and music scene.. WordCamp, GeekDinners, Rocking the Daisies, jacSharp, Lions Head (full moon) walks, Suicide Gorge for the 5th time.
Developed an interest in public speaking, GeekDinners, iWeek etc.
Elected to the ISPA management committee at iWeek and chaired the ISPA PR working group.
Elected to the WAPA and CLUG management committees again.
Maintained about 9 WordPress installations.
Kinda took a mini-retirement (Aug-Dec). Mostly worked from home.
The VANS won (Nov 21) and would be converted to IECNS licenses.
New car.. with 4 seats: Audi A4 Cabriolet, 3.0, Multitronic.
Attempted to start up The Hub Project again, internet exchange in Cape Town.
Had a bit of a Facebook addiction. Made many new friends.
Soccer on Tuesdays at La Med, Clifton.
It was awesome seeing Mia grow up (2yrs - 2.75yrs)
Fun holiday in Plett, Knysna, Bettys and Rooiels.
(Live) radio interview on SAfm about the GeekDinners.
Attended (my first) big outdoor NYE trace party in Franschoek.

2009, Turned 32, Mia turned 3, published 10867 photos

Mia got a baby sister.. her sister from another mister. Jan 2009 was good fun, braais, house parties, La Med/Goldfish parties, farm trips, beach trips. Good summer season. Suicide Gorge for the 6th time. Discovered Madeleine Peyroux.."You're gonna make me lonesome when you go" was the tune of summer. Moved to Bakoven with Andy, Keith and later Ingi. Spent lots of time on Beta Beach. We started recycling. More Tuesday La Med soccer. Chinese Bloggers braai. More full-moon Lions Head walks. Changed my CN to Joe Botha. 7 dry-weeks around March. Mia turned 3 and we had a nice party for her on Little Beta Beach. Continued my pilot lifestyle, the weekend dad. Mia watched her first big screen movie: Monsters vs Aliens and she had her first haircut (with Bianca). Anton had a wedding in De Wetsbaai. Gave a few talks on Lifestyle Design. Often took a run from Camps Bay to Bantry Bay. 2009 was very much a non-profit year, lots of WAPA and ISPA time. Helped found the Open Spectrum Alliance and had a successful first meeting at Asara, Stellenbosch. WAPA grew from about 40 to 70 members and employed a General Manager and Ops Manager. Worked on (wireless) Industry Self Regulation and Light Licensing. Talked about these at a few conferences, including iWeek. We closed down the Blio (PBX) business (old website) Attended my 2nd Rocking the Daisies (with Mia). Mia's first night in a tent. Cath and I had birthday party at Kink, followed by a Failure party at Kink. Audi MVP day.. loads of fun.. TT vs R8 race. Started a new project called TrustFabric.. officially around November. Sold my shares in Teraco, made (my first (-: ) 7 figures. Ended my ISPA PR WG chair time, we did 25 press releases for the year. Ended my time as WAPA chair. Attended Gartner 2009 at CTICC.. as a tech blogger. Renewed interest in photograhpy. Got a Canon 50D (which I gave to Naulene), then a 5DmkII and a 16-35mm lens about two weeks later. Enrolled for a photography course at CTSP (with Cath and Naulene). Also a PowerShot D10 for swimming with Mia. Developed an interest in live music photography and started a photo blog. I was a big Fokofpolisiekar fan for a while. Added an 85mm f/1.2 lens to my collection. I was a mentor in a UCT-GSB artist business mentorship program. Started playing squash again. Started a SwimGeek micro-blog. I traveled around the country giving some lectures for Media24. Had about 20 people over for Braai Day, good fun. Made a lot of (green / raw chocolate) morning smoothies. I got over Miss Rushmore. Let's face it, she screwed me up for about two years. In the words of Robert Smith: boys don't cry. I don's have regrets, it was life experience. Also, it was a time of "living well is the best revenge", which was fun. Album of the year: Viva la Vida, Coldplay.

2010, turned 33, Mia turned 4, published 7196 photos -- so far

I figured that maybe it's time for me to grow up. Still lived in Bakoven with Keith and Ingi. Sold my shares in Frogfoot and made another 7 figures. Started working on TrustFabric full-time. Developed a liking for outdoor trance parties. Became a Mac-kiddie again, got a MacBook Pro and some other toys. Started using Aperture for photo processing. Took some photos of Cape Town for travel guide about Cape Town.. my first published photos. I was invited to speak at the UCT GSB Talking Heads session, part of the Infecting the City movement. TrustFabric launched an Alpha service at the end of March. Travelled to Amsterdam, Belgium, Egypt (Red Sea Scuba) and London.. presented at VRM Hub. Awesome scuba diving in the Red Sea. Moved to Gardens. Mia's first plane ride, to Durban. Had a birthday party at Kink again, with a Lego cake. A long legal battle with Naulene about which country Mia was going to live in concluded in August. I think Mia (and I) won. Sold my shares in Amobia, to focus on TrustFabric. Mia's first international flight, to London, business class. Mia spent some time in Cambridge and Germany. Travelled to Boston/Cambridge for VRM+CRM 2010 at Harvard law school, Greece - Mykonos and London. 3rd Rocking the Daisies. Moved back to Bakoven. Got a pirate flag for the house. Made a TrustFabric video. Gave a number of talks about TrustFabric. Album of the year: Sam's Town, The Killers. - Also: Conditions by The Temper Trap and Black Light by Groove Armada. Walked Suicide Gorge for the 7th time.

2011, turned 34, Mia turned 5

I've been a bit slack with updating this page.. will try and get it up to date again soon.

Mia got a new (1/2) baby brother: Marlyn. Mia had her 5th birthday party on Little Beta Beach (3rd time) - with a Fantastic Mr Fox cake.. I was featured in a Sunday Times article: The Super Geeks. We launched TrustFabric Connect and TrustFabric Child Protect. My first photography exhibition: STOMP. Tune of the year: Time to Pretend, MGMT - and Deadmau5. I was homeless in October. Flew to London for a week, spent two weeks in Turkey - Oludeniz, Kas, Istanbul.

Story unfolding.. come back soon.

"When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life he has no right to keep it to himself." -- Jacques Yves Cousteau (from Rushmore)

Some places I called Home


Huis Marais 2008


Merriman Square
Merriman Street


153 Banhoek Weg


86 Upper Mill Street
Cape Town


30 Bisset Road
Newlands, Fernwood
Cape Town


9 Kinnaird Court
33 Main Street
Cape Town


29 Trevi Court
De Lorentz Street
Cape Town


5 Disa Street
Cape Town


32 Leeukloof Drive
Cape Town


3 Pitlochry Rd
Cape Town


12 Virginia Court
Cape Town


7a Beta Close
Cape Town


4 Middebosch
Dorp Street


6 Jonde Court
Northbank West Street


1A Rugby Road
Cape Town


20 Montagne Avenue
Cape Town

$Date: 2011-03-05 10:23:06 +0200 (Sat, 05 Mar 2011) $ $Revision: 158 $

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