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Random Acts of Kindness

Today is the midwinter solstice, but it's a beautiful sunny day outside, in the fairest city in the southern hemisphere. However, today is lovely for more reasons than just that.

Adeline works at Primedia broadcasting, which incorporates Kfm, CapeTalk, Highveld and 702. Mel Jones is part of the KFM Breakfast Team (comprising Nic Marais, Mel Jones and the producer Ian Bredenkamp) and every day, she does Random Acts of Kindness as a station feature. Leaving aside the question of whether you can schedule spontaneity, the breakfast team decided to make today, the winter solstice, an official Random Act of Kindness Day.

I think I should just quote Adeline - she puts it best:

They asked listeners to drop off tinned and non-perishable foods at the studios for the homeless as part of Random Act of Kindness day, and the response has been unbelievable - imagine a 5x10m space just FILLED with food, and stuff is still coming in. It might sound like someone puked up a Hallmark store but it really restores your faith in people, seeing that kind of generosity and enthusiasm. So today is lovely because people are lovely and I am happy to be one.

I asked for a photo, and she sent this (click to enlarge):

KFM RaOK donations

She says:

I had to go up to the mezzanine level to get this much in and there's still more outside the frame. You can't see it but to the left is about half the same amount of food as well, it's coming in faster than they can sort it.

Well done, Cape Town!

July GeekDinner date decided

We've decided on a date for the next in the series of Cape Town GeekDinners: it will be on Thursday, July 26th, at 18:30 for 19:00. Head on over to the wiki to sign up and have your say in deciding on which venue to use.

May GeekDinner

It is with great pleasure and a rather muzzy head that I say that last night's GeekDinner was a really great success. People rocked up, the restaurant was ready, the equipment worked, the wine was delivered, the talks were interesting, the food was enjoyable, and everything ran smoothly. I think everybody who was there enjoyed it, and the atmosphere was very relaxed and social. It was also nice to see a wide range of people, from the completely nerdy to the completely not. This brings me to one of the points I want to make:

The talks that were given were, in my opinion, of just exactly the right mix for what we want GeekDinner to be. The way I see it (and others may disagree), GeekDinner should not aim to have technical topics and high-level computery stuff. We have CLUG talks and CTPUG meetings and the like for the pure technical topics. I know some people are scared away by the idea that we're going to sit down and talk about code and stuff. Now, I am by no means saying that we must avoid being the geeks we are - there are other places for the non-geeky side of things. Rather, I think, we should take general topics, of wide interest, and present them from the technical viewpoint that we are bound to have, as the geeks that we are. Alternatively, we should take the technical topics we know so well, and present them from a non-technical point of view, for a fresh perspective. The five-minute-talk format is perfect for this: take a topic, and present a view on it. And this is exactly what we got last night. Neil has already summed up the dinner fairly well, so I won't go into details. (Update: Aslam has a nice detailed breakdown of the talks that I think covers things fairly well.) But Bryn's PHP/Python talk was a nice overhead view of a fairly technical debate, and Antoine's laptop talk was an absolutely inspired perspective on WHY the OLPC project is, instead of WHAT it is.

A final point, related to my comments on the last GeekDinner: I think that the whole networking side of things went much better this time. We started off outside, milling around, introducing old friends to new ones, and generally being social, and then when the dinner actually started, we had tables of about ten or twelve people, which is generally larger than your average clique, which meant that people sat with people they might not have interacted with otherwise. I think this is a good formula to stick to in future, if possible.

All in all, it was a great evening. Photos are up.

Provisioning a GeekDinner

With four days left until the next GeekDinner, there's a lot of last minute stuff that has needed to be done. However, we have succeeded in organising GetWine as the wine sponsor, Neil has found a projector, and we have Prosperis technologies possibly sponsoring the sound system. We've confirmed the speakers (apart from Jeremy who hasn't decided what he's going to speak on), and we've got pretty close to our target of 70 attendees.

All that remains now is for you to sign up, if you're interested and haven't done so already, and ahead we go.

(If you're in the Garden Route, there's a GeekDinner being held there, too.)

GeekDinner planning

Since the planning for the second GeekDinner seemed to stall a bit, I decided it needed a kickstart, and after a bit of discussion with Neil, got in touch with The Wild Fig restaurant in Mowbray/Observatory. Joe and I went round there at the beginning of this week to make arrangements, and after a bit of haggling and discussion, we have settled on a date.

So, the next GeekDinner will be held at the Wild Fig on Monday the 28th of May, at 18h30 for 19h00. Please head along to the wiki page (at, and sign up. If you're keen to give a talk, let us know!

Doing the Cape

We in the cape were recently graced by a visit from Megan (say it with me, Meeeee-gan, gotta pronounce it right), and it fell upon me to entertain her for some of her stay. I wanted to make the most of her time here, so I decided to see if we could cover as much as the Cape offered. As it turns out, the beautiful Western Cape came through with flying colours.

After picking Megan up from the centre of town after work on the Wednesday, we went through to Kenilworth so I could show her my new house, and had a drink at Banana Jam while we were there. From there, we drove to Stellenbosch, and had dinner at the Mystic Boer, which Megan thought was fantastic, and where we were joined by Tania for a bit.

On Thursday morning, we went down the road to Lanzerac, where we had breakfast - R95 for a buffet of the most fantastic food, in the most beautiful surroundings. From there, we moved on to my favourite wine farm, L'Avenir, where Megan bought some Chardonnay that she thought was great. After that, we visited Asara for another set of tasting, before leaving Stellenbosch.

On leaving Stellenbosch, we avoided the N2, and instead drove down the R310 (Baden Powell Drive), along the coast to Muizenberg. This is a very beautiful stretch of road that runs along the beach for some distance, past False Bay, occasionally wild and windswept, and very pretty. We ended up in Kalk Bay, and had a nice calamari lunch at the Brass Bell, before driving on down the coast towards Cape Point.

We actually got as far as the Cape Point park gates, but we decided not actually to go into the park, and instead turned around and drove up along the Chapman's Peak drive, round past Hout Bay, to Llandudno and Camps Bay. This drive is absolutely stunning - a twisting road that winds round the mountain, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. There are a few downsides, such as a tollgate and the potential for large rocks to fall on your head, but apart from those, it's a lovely experience.

After tea in Rondebosch, we went to dinner at Anatoli's in the Cape Quarter, which was a very interesting experience. It's a Turkish restaurant, with a lot of atmosphere, and Genuine Turkish Dudes as the waiters. The starters are mezze, which they bring to you on a huge tray covered in little bowls of Stuff, and you pick a couple. For mains, they have several dishes which they've cooked up, along the theme of lamb, chicken, beef, rice, kebab, sort of thing, and you can go and have a look at them and pick a helping of whatever bubbles the best. Anyway, it was a nice evening, wrapping up a pretty perfect day.

The rest of Megan's stay involved other Cape Town delights: A Wild West party in a house overlooking District Six and the Bay, a walk up Signal Hill, a nap in the afternoon, and all-you-can-eat sushi at Sushi Zone in Observatory on Saturday night. Easter Sunday saw us having a picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and everything wrapped up with a nice meal at Cafe Paradiso on Kloof Street on Monday night before Megan left.

In summary, Cape Town, the most beautiful of cities, surprised even me by what it had to offer, and I think I enjoyed the week almost as much as Megan did. I wouldn't live anywhere else for anything.

Solid photographic evidence was obtained everywhere that we went...

Status Update

Just an update on where I am and what I'm doing. I am no longer working at Adept Internet - I have moved to OpenVoice, and today was my first day.

Adept is based in Stellenbosch, but OpenVoice's offices are in Millenium Park in Century City. As a result, I am moving from Stellenbosch to Cape Town, and I'm renting a place in Kenilworth - this means that I'm swimming upstream mostly, when I drive to and from work. I haven't actually moved house yet - I only signed the lease on Saturday. I spent last night in the Rondebosch Safehouse, and will probably stay in Stellenbosch tonight. I'll move sometime in the next week or so, although Megan's single main request for her holiday in Cape Town this week is that she spend some time in Stellenbosch. I'm taking Thursday off work (my fourth day, I know!), so that should be fine.

Today started off with insomnia, and then lost car keys. I left home at 7am ("Leave early", they said. "You don't want to be late on your first day", they said) and got to work at 7:25am. Everybody else rocked up at about 8:45am, which meant that I had a solid hour and twenty minutes to get really well acquainted with the parking lot at our offices. (It's a very nice parking lot, by the way.)

This job seems interesting, with a nice environment, and lots of opportunity, and I'm looking forward to it. In addition, I now get to live in the Mother City proper, about which I am very excited. Onward, 2007!


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