First Kiss

April 27, 2010...... at 11:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank-you to a very special lady, for making me feel like a boy again. For bringing a big smile to my face with a first kiss. How special such a simple thing, how much it speaks to our humanity. Two individuals reach out and cross the divide of ego and for a moment hunger to become one, to share everything and be uplifted by the unconditional acceptance that the other offers in their need. Life is again a hunger, all is as it should be. It is the essence of reciprocity, I want to make you feel special as much as you want to make me feel special. I didn’t realise how much I missed reciprocity until tonight, its sudden presence was a bliss I had forgotten. Treasure it, wrap it up and put it under your Christmas tree because this is what life is made of. So easy to forget what it means to be human, its about the relationships and the community and the beautiful people that will fill your world if you let them. I haven’t felt like this over a decade and I wonder why. This last 3 months has been a revelation to me, so much accumulated behavior that did not belong to me, baggage picked up along the road of my last relationship. Since letting it go I’ve been free falling to a happier state, and tonight I landed! I was free to be totally myself, all the baggage was gone. I was a younger, happier me.


Friends I’ve never met

April 25, 2010...... at 10:45 am | Posted in personal, thoughts | 1 Comment

I love what twitter is doing to my world.

A couple of days ago my girlfriend ended our relationship because my kids were a problem, too young.
Sad thing is, she’d reminded me how great it is to be a couple and now I find I can’t go back to the me
that wasn’t looking before she gave me intimacy
wrapped up in a body to die for

So I’m feeling all alone and WTF
and took drive out to blogspot
and stumbled on friends I’ve never met
who shared my thoughts and
made my impossible, possible
and gave me peace

Telkom customer service nightmare

March 16, 2010...... at 5:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spent 25 minutes on the phone to Telkom, troubleshooting a persistent ADSL connection dropping issue for a friend. After running the usual diagnostics and rebooting the router several times, Telkom help-desk tells me there’s nothing wrong with the line, so in their opinion the modem is broken and I should take it in to be replaced.

I said, okay no problem. Put in another ISP’s settings and satisfied myself that indeed the router did appear to be the cause of the issues. Friend is irritated as this is the second time the router has been replaced, a duoPlus 300. On Monday my friend runs into the Telkom store in Tokai, where after standing in one queue for 10 minutes, she’s told “Wrong queue – try that queue”. Another 10 minute wait, gets to the service consultant, tells them what the helpdesk told them and that they need to replace the modem.

Customer service says they can’t do that because she doesn’t have a reference number from the 25 minute call on Sunday. I mean come on. Firstly, it is easy to establish that the router is broken, try get it to connect. Secondly, the helpdesk, didn’t give me a reference number, nor tell me that I needed one to swap out the modem.

So the user experience looks like this:
1. Spend 25 minutes on the phone, rebooting router every 10 minutes. Get told you need to get a replacement modem.
2. Go to store, stand in wrong queue for 10 minutes (signage anyone)
3. Stand in right queue for 10 minutes, only to be told to go back to step one and repeat the process, because you don’t have the magic code that step one was supposed to give you.


Google is the 800 pound marketing gorilla

February 3, 2010...... at 6:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I don’t think people have any idea of just how profitable Google is going to be for the next decade. The internet has very few barriers to entry other than inertia. Google’s absolute domination in search means that its going to be the start page of internet for a while yet. It is my contention that this century will be the century during which the prevailing corporate organisational paradigm designed to support the industrial revolution finally comes tumbling down. I see it already in IT: small teams, decentralised leadership, relationship based work environments, agile approaches to risk mitigation. I believe the next 100 years belong to the startup and historically the price of marketing has been prohibitive for startups – Google and adwords is changing that.

Google must have realised that personalised search was the way to go, around about the time Digg launched. They may also have realised that if they have only one set of search results for the term “jobs” they could only sell 13 front page ad slots, but what if they turned their most valuable product – page one of a search result – into a long tail product. With personalised search results that equation changes to 13 front page ad slots X no of personalised clusters for jobs. Ka-ching

What really blows me away is just how many clusters there are going to be, once you inject real-time search into the mix. The web is already starting to wake up to what this means in terms of SEO effectiveness but I don’t think Wall Street has yet factored it into the GOOG share price. To get an idea of how many more selling opportunites Google will have going forward, take the number of search terms currently in use and multiply that by (number of distinct social networks). My best guess is that Google will probably increase its ad space by about an order of magnitude, somewhere between 7 and 16 fold. Because of the long tail the effect won’t be linear but I would estimate a 3-5 times increase in top line revenue over the next 5 years, excluding organic growth related to increasing world-wide internet penetration. Google for me is a buy.

Get your iPad game on

January 31, 2010...... at 5:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

With all the talk about digital paper, its good ol Steve Jobs who finally delivers the solution that I believe is going to be come ubiquitous. The iPad is a game changer for a couple of reasons:

1. it is based on a proven recipe. Over the last 300 years, books became broadsheets became tabloids. The Kindle (Jeff Bezos is such a visionary) modeled an electronic book, the iTab models the tabloid format. It will occupy the same space in human culture that the tabloid occupied, and I’m guessing tabloids outsell books 1,000,000:1 This I think is the key difference between earlier tablets and the iTab, it occupies a different space. Tablet computers were portable workstations, the itab is an electronic tabloid. It is essentially an entertainment device.

2. It will not crash. The fact that both windows and Linux have failed to deliver an effortless computing experience in the last 10 years is I feel a testament to the impossibility of their technical strategy: One OS running on a multitude of hardware solutions. We may have gotten there one day but I believe right now Steve Jobs is offering a better solution – one OS, one hardware platform. The stability that this brings will alllow Apple to market the device to people who are deeply distrustful of computers. Everyday I handle enquires from JobCrystal users that demonstrate a technical divide as vast as the Grand Canyon. For a lot of users, computers in their current incarnation are incomprehensible. I think the iPad with it iconography and user centric minimalism will bridge the divide better than the existing incumbents.

3. I have watched my mobile phone morph over the last two years into being my primary reading device for rss and twitter feeds. Waiting rooms and reception areas have become opportunities to catch up on the lastest happening online. But the screen is too damn small for comfortable use and I hate the fact that its difficult to share links and offer commentary. I expect the iTab to completely change the way we collectively communicate around media.

Nice DIY version of sendfile

November 30, 2009...... at 11:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Woof – simply exchange files

Django from the trenches

August 21, 2009...... at 9:12 am | Posted in geek | Leave a comment

I walked into the office this morning to an email from one of my colleagues asking me for my opinion on Shabda’s article A response to Dropping Django. The article makes some interesting points and re-affirms my opinion of Shabda as a top-notch python developer. However, I also feel for the points made by Brandon Bloom as they mirror some of my own experiences.

In 2006 I sat down with 2 web developers that had never written a line of python code and together in 7 months we wrote a syndicated Javascript application using django as the application layer. I don’t think we could have done this without the help that django provided. It provided a really great architectural platform upon which to base an introduction to python web applications. To people new to the world of python web applications, its been my experience that django is the least intimidating.

In 2007 I sat down with 2 of the best python developers I am ever likely to work with and over the space of two weeks hashed out a development platform. They were firm TurboGears enthusiasts but I already had working Django code in my repository. What we came up with as an acceptable compromise was Genshi templating (sandboxed), FormEncode validation, TurboGears views and SQLAlchemy ORM. Fourteen months later we launched a kick-ass web application.

In 2009 I sat down with a web developer who had never written a line of python and guess what? I chose Django. Three months later we released JobCrystal. Top flight developers, probably shouldn’t be using any framework other than the one they’ve been involved in rolling themselves, because anybody’s else’s framework is going to itch. For the rest of us mere mortals who aren’t interested in solving authentication again, or url dispatching again, or caching again – Django makes some really sensible choices that in my experience allow you focus on the real issue of delighting your customers a lot quicker than would otherwise be the case. Once you’ve got delighted customers, sure you can go back and re-engineer the parts that don’t feel quite right (I’m dying to play with Django’s contenttypes capabilities to get a higher level of abstraction), but for most web applications the focus has to be on getting to market as quickly as possible and Django provides more of that than any other framework I know.

Installing PIL properly

August 9, 2009...... at 12:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I love virtualenv and easy_install but using the latter to install PIL has in the past proved problematic as it is often not found. I thought my worries were over when I found this little gem on the internet:

easy_install –find-links Imaging

But today while debugging mail-server issues I was left scratching my head by a situation where django running over wsgi was finding PIL but runserver wasn’t.

The reason became clear to me after reading that the problem is that the above method of installing PIL, doesn’t actually install PIL – it installs Imaging (which is a submodule).
pip install
gives you a PIL.pth file in your site-packages and the ability to import PIL

Getting Skype sound working in Jaunty

June 28, 2009...... at 1:39 pm | Posted in geek | Leave a comment

In Skype -> Sound Options choose pulse for all. Then open up the Ubuntu volume control (Next to the data in the top right corner) and choose the Alsa Mixer. Then click the preferences button find all the microphone options and display them. Unmute and play with the volume setting on each device until you find the one that gives you nice clear sound. Make a Skype Test Call to check that everythin is working.

A thing to remember when moving your /usr partition

June 25, 2009...... at 9:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Having successfully moved my root partition and home partitions in the past I thought this one would go without a hitch, but it was not to be.
sudo mkdir /mnt/usr
sudo mount /dev/md3 /mnt/usr
sudo cp -a -u /usr /mnt/usr
sudo rm -rf /usr
sudo mkdir /usr
**error /usr/bin/sudo file does not exist**
doh 😦

Remember not to delete the usr folder itself, just the directories underneath it. Also found that something weird happened when I rebooted. Fstab mapped /dev/md3 to /usr (once I had shelled out and created the dir again) but somehow md3 became md_d3 so failed to boot until I changed the fstab entry to mount md_d3 rather than md3.

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