Thank you Google


While visiting my cousins in Toronto back in 1995, they informed me that while they thought they had the best government in the world, they did not like the fact that their socialist democratic leaders had so much (collected) information on their citizens.

I remember thinking at the time that this was a good problem to have if your government was well, good. I actually did not see or experience anything during my lengthy stay there, which gave me any indication that the Canadian government was anything but good.

Fast forward 20 years, this is a kind of problem very few people in South Africa would like to have, considering that our current government is nowhere near good. In fact they’re leaning toward despotism. But I digress…

Google released their latest Transparency Report recently which shows that the South African government requested user data from them on 18 different occasions over a one and a half-year period, and they (Google) refused every single one. The requests also include the removal of content (presumably of a politically embarrassing or compromising nature) uploaded by users (citizens), from Google platforms.

Google 1, South African Government 0, Citizens WIN.

It’s extremely reassuring that Google upholds the values of freedom of speech, but whenever this government gets shown the finger, I find it personally satisfying.

So there you go, you prying kleptocratic fucks. I hope Google continues to give you what you deserve. Nothing!

Zeus fries my internet


Hello folks. Haven’t been able to post for nearly two weeks because during my short trip down to the coast, the lightning gods decided to have some fun with my ADSL connection.

I got back to a dead modem but didn’t realise the true damage until after I had a huge row with my internet service provider. While they insisted that they had repaired the damage to the cable and replaced my modem, I could still not connect. It was only after a few tests I discovered that the network card on my Notebook had also been fried. Thanks Zeus, you mother-frier you.

Anyway, to cut a frustrating story short, I purchased a network adapter which plugs into a USB port and am joyfully back on the air.

I missed some of the posts by bloggers I follow regularly and am still catching up. I also missed following the latest news from around the world. Unsurprisingly nothing’s changed – the world is still as fucked up as it was two weeks ago.

The one good thing to come out of all this, was that it gave me the opportunity to upgrade my connection speed and I’m now surfing faster than before. Still, it perturbs that hell out of me that that sonofabitch Zeus will always be faster…


Big news this week is the release of yet another iteration of the iPhone. It’s the iPhone half-a-dozen and it’s much bigger; and probably sports some new-fangled tech-shit that will amuse a lot of people no end.

But am I the only person who doesn’t understand this fascination obsession with new cellular phones? Sorry “smart” phones.

And I’m not just picking on Apple. They’re the solo-evil-genius of the smart phone world, but the Android operating system has multiple evil manufacturers. If I remember correctly, Samsung released a new Galaxy version only just recently, also with a few more bells and whistles that maybe ten people will actually use.

Off course the one thing that keeps improving, is the camera on these phones. But I still don’t understand why. There must be like ten people in the whole world who have somehow managed to capture a really good photo with a smart phone. Everything else is just shite. Why wouldn’t it be? Who can hold a smart phone steady enough to take a really good photo. All it’s good for is selfies. And there you have the irony with smartphones. They’re made for not very smart people.

I got my first smart phone a little over a year ago. I chose a Blackberry because I didn’t want to be called an Apple or Android or Thor forbid, a Windows fanboy. I also only wanted a phone to make and receive calls and send and receive the odd text message. And Blackberry used to be the most stable and reliable cellphone out there. Then it all went south.

The nightmare started after the first software upgrade. The phone became practically unusable. So Blackberry eventually sorted out the mess after a few months, but the company was going down the tubes pretty fast. The next software version fixed the bugs of the version that was supposed to make Blackberry the greatest thing since… Blackberry. I think they’ve recovered somewhat in recent times.

But then came the next software upgrade a few weeks ago. And guess what? Yep, my phone is almost unusable again.Sigh!

So I’m now waiting for the software upgrade to fix the software upgrade…


The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air. – Wilbur Wright


Sitting on a plane this weekend, looking out over the port side wing during takeoff, I contemplated how often I had flown, but had never given much thought about mankind’s ability to fly. I had always taken it for granted that aeroplanes are there to take you from just about anywhere to anywhere else.

When we reached cruising altitude, I convinced myself that the aeroplane just has to be the greatest invention in the world, ever.

Up to this point I like many other people thought that the Internet or World Wide Web was mankind’s greatest invention, together with electronic communication and the computer. But there’s nothing quite like being face to face with someone, or witnessing a marvellous vista or object in person… on the other side of the world.

Flight has liberated us from the tedium of land and sea travel and saved a lot of valuable time in the process. It’s mostly convenient, if not a little expensive. But can a lifetime experience, or the ability to be practically anywhere at will, be measured against cost? And you can get alcohol on most flights.

Airports however are a necessary evil. I hate every corner of them, except the corner with a bar. Until such time as our brilliant scientists and engineers figure out how to make flying cars an everyday reality, I suppose we will have to live with airports.

Bright White Dot Spotting

Just got back inside after gazing earnestly into the night sky. Nada! Slightly overcast…

According to this timetable I should have seen a very bright white dot moving through the sky at approximately 7:36 PM… for about three minutes. Apparently it was supposed to look something like this:

So the question is why would I want to fritter away three (maybe ten in total if you factor in the logistics) minutes of my life looking at a bright white dot?

Well for starters, that bright white dot happens to be the International Space Station (ISS) which is the brightest white man-made dot in the sky. Secondly, I think that it would be kinda cool to watch something whizzing by at a speed of around 27 724 kilometers per hour. The fastest thing I’ve ever seen is a Top Fuel Dragster which didn’t even get to 400 kilometers per hour (although they do go much faster).


Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with all the details about the ISS and why it’s so awesome – it’s everywhere on the Internet, and in person in a patch of sky near you. Just wanted to let you know that this is my timetable for the next few days, and if I still don’t spot that dot, I understand that the ISS is expected to be rotating the Earth until 2020…



Growing up in the 70’s I, like a lot of other boys, had a fascination with the Lamborghini Countach.

As an object of beauty, a Lamborghini poster or picture of some sort would have adorned the bedroom walls of many boys, alongside perhaps a poster of Farrah Fawcett (or in my case Genevieve Bujold). Unfortunately for me, I had to make do with mental imagery since my dad would not have tolerated anything this exotic on his walls, unless it was the Periodic Table or something similarly academic.

Through the years since, and even before the 70’s, many exotic cars have been produced which have excited the hearts and minds of boys and men, young and old. I cannot say for certain if it affected the female of the species as much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Powerful engines encased in sensual curved and angled sheets of metal was for the most part a guy thing. Not any more though, and all the better for it too.

Is the Lamborghini still one of the most beautiful and desirable cars in the world? Perhaps for some, but this fascination with automobiles is hardly objective. Our tastes change with years and new offerings constantly being put out by the manufacturers.

Personally for a very long time Aston Martin (various different models) had replaced Lamborghini as the most beautiful car in the world. The one other car that I thought, and still think as stunningly beautiful, is the Duesenberg Model J.

But now something else has come along that has knocked my socks off. If beauty had a name, it would be Maserati Alfieri. It is still only a concept car, but I wish like crazy that it goes into production.

Maserati Source


I used to love roller skating in high school; haven’t done it for years.

More than 30 years actually.

I tried ice skating about a year ago and realised, I’m really out of practice. But I can still totally do it. Recently I was thinking about getting another bicycle to ride around a park on weekends…

But this looks like a more fun option, even for a guy my age. Meet the AeYO.

Now where do I get my hands on one?

Project mismanagement

screenshot of the project management software ...

One of the basics of project management is identifying, sequencing and scheduling your project activities in a logical manner. It’s not that difficult and you don’t need any sort of Project Management qualification to do this; it’s common sense mostly.

Things only start to get hairy when you begin to manage resources, time and cost, but even here it requires some skill and a whole lot of luck. I know this because I’ve been in the business for a long time.

I’m writing this because I watched in amazement today, a contractor installing a simple water drainage system at the side of a building in my office block, just weeks after another contractor had just finished painting and renovating that very same building. It was actually amusing to watch these guys mess up that freshly painted wall with unsightly splotches of wet cement.

Now I’m pretty sure that the facilities management company that manages the place, employs project management principles, but for the life of me can’t understand how or why they got the sequencing of their activities so wrong.

I remember around 20 years ago thinking the exact same thing when I was a supervisor of a team installing telecommunications cabling infrastructure in a newly developed town. We’d get to the site, admiring freshly tarred roads separating the blocks of nicely demarcated plots of vacant land, and commence to dig up that road to lay our cables. While still busy with this project we’d watch in sequence as other utilities owners arrived on site to dig up the same roads which we’d only just resurfaced, to install water, sewer and electrical reticulation.

What were the town planning and development guys thinking not getting all these services installed before tarring the roads? It only requires a little bit of project planning to get things done in the right sequence.

I’m not sure if that still happens with new town planning as I’ve moved on and haven’t seen the like since. But I’m still a project manager and I do see it happen with other types of projects in the data networking environment I’m in.

It all comes down to communication and we’re really bad at it, even with the sophisticated tools we have at our disposal.

The most expensive WordPress template in the world?

Would you pay a web development company R40m [$4.41m] to create a website for you? Surely not!

That’s what the Free State Provincial Government [which is led by the African National Congress] in South Africa, forked out to a web development agency which strangely does not even have their own website. Actually the amount is in dispute, with the Provincial government claiming it was R40m while the newspaper that leaked the story reported an astounding R140m.


But that’s not all. It appears that the designers used a WordPress theme called London Live, to create the website which goes for $40, or at the latest exchange rate, around 362 South African Rands. [Read one such report here].

That makes London Live, the most expensive template ever designed… or there are some serious shenanigans at work here. If you consider that WordPress themes are really easy to use and one need not be an expert at using a CMS to make design changes, it would take an experienced web designer a few days or less to create a really stunning site. So either the design agency has pulled off the mother of all web-design con jobs, or there’s some sort of fraud involved here.

With the ANC having a well-known history of fraud and corruption up to the highest levels in government, I’m going with MASSIVE FRAUD.


Update, 13 March 2013:

The woman who handed out this ludicrous tender to the design agency, a Director-General at the time, has been promoted by the Provincial Premier to Minister of Finance. Now don’t this beat all?

A day of science awesomeness and religious foolishness

At about the time the robotic Mars Rover, Curiosity was undertaking or completing one of the most complicated landing manoeuvres for a space mission, 5 Pakistani militants from the banned Lashkar-e-Islam group were being blown up by the bomb they were planting on the roadside near the border of Afghanistan.

Here are some thoughts about these two events:

  1. Both events played out on barren landscapes; one of them is inhabited by at least some intelligent life forms.
  2. Both were magnificent feats of science and engineering; one of them was for a truly higher cause.
  3. Both of them were inspired events; one was inspired by the yearning for true knowledge.
  4. Both events will leave you laughing; one in joy and the other in derision.
  5. Bothe events will lead to acts of discovery; one to perhaps signs of life before death and the other perhaps to signs of life after death. Guess which one’s odds are greater.


Here is a video of man celebrating the achievement of science awesomeness:


At this time there’s no video of man celebrating the achievement of lunacy. If and when they find all the body parts and bother to make a video, I’ll be sure to post it, but don’t hold your breath.