This must be a good day for me.  I think I’ve just found where to stay!  I was looking at and I found a place just round the corner from where I want to stay, at just under what I’m wanting to pay (including levy and electricity).  Its about 3-5km from Christie’s work, and on the route I’d use to get to my work. AND its just being built, so we’d be living in a house that nobody else has lived in yet.  Anyway, we’re going to check it out over the weekend to see if its all I hope it will be. ūüôā


Why we love Edgars…

Here is why I love Edgars:

  1. Edgars have Edgars Club.
  2. Edgars Club has various options.¬† One of which is “Lifestyle”
  3. The “Lifestyle” option has “Legal Assistance”
  4. “Legal Assistance” has given me advice on how to start getting my money out of the guy that owes me cash.

The first thing I need to do is to basically write a letter demanding payment. (Unfortunately my phone died as Tracey (the nice lady from the Legal assistance) was explaining to me what to do after that.)¬† I’ll try again on Monday to get more info, since 4pm on a Friday is really not the best time to be doing this.¬† Anyway, the tone that Tracey was using when basically dictating the letter to me was very official and quite intimidating.¬† So maybe this will help speed things up.

On another side, I gather that other people haven’t been paid by him either which is a bit worrying. Anyway, hopefully this will serve as a lesson to anyone who reads it to make sure that you’re incredibly official with any business you do with “friends of friends”.¬† Otherwise you might end up in a sticky situation like where I am at the moment.

.Net Stuff Development Humour

MS Codenames

If you’re into the MS technologies, you’ll probably have started to notice that Microsoft are starting to push their “next versions” already.¬† Their codenames are being thrown around in newsgroups, blogs, and development sites: Longhorn (with Inigo, Avalon (including XAML), and the “third pillar of Longhorn” which I can’t remember), Whidbey, Yukon.¬† I even saw someone mention a team at MS working on features for the OS to come after Longhorn (they mentioned its codename, but I can’t remember it)

Recently a couple of the MS employee blogs have been talking about how some customers are complaining at all this “future talk” and that its not very relevant to problems we’re experiencing now.

Unfortunately for my company, we were starting to build tools that would let us do what many of the “new” MS technologies will do when they’re released.¬† I say “unfortunately” because now we need to decide if we spend the development effort now, or wait for MS to release the technology in 1-2 years time.¬† Then we’d still have to wait for the technology to be adopted by our clients, so on the surface it looks like we should just go ahead and build what MS is building.

Coming out of a discussion about how odd it is for there to be code samples coming out for technologies that we don’t yet have access to, and how nice it will be when these technologies come out, we have made up some new names for them:

  • Longhorn = Long yawn (it will be quite a wait till it is released)
  • Yukon = You Can’t (well, not yet, but in 2 years¬† You can)
  • Whidbey = Would be (as in “It would be nice to have whidbey now, but we don’t”)


Volunteer Gopher/Thug wanted

Weddings are not simple things to organise.¬† Right now mine is sucking up all my free time. (And I’m not even that involved in the organisation)¬† For the next few weeks my saturdays are pretty much fully booked, and I need to be looking for a place to stay.¬† Hence the need for a “gopher”, who could run around looking for places for Christie and me.

In the same vein, I could really use a good “thug” to go get some money I’m owed from a guy I did some¬†after hours¬†work for a while ago.¬† I’m seriously wanting to find out exactly what I’m legally required to do to ensure that he has “read and accepted” the invoice.¬† Unfortunately as he’s a friend of a friend I didn’t get him to sign the quotes I gave him.¬† In any case, he’d often call me at odd times to ask me to fix something on one of his websites (e.g. he’d call at 6pm and ask if I could fix a site that evening), so I’d quote him verbally¬†over the phone he’d accept it, I’d do the work and send him a bill over e-mail.¬† I was waiting for one final job to be complete before I started to ask him to start paying for the previous jobs.¬†

That job was cancelled in¬†Sept/Nov last year, so I started asking him what he required before he would pay me.¬† All I had to do was send him an invoice.¬† So I did (via e-mail).¬† Then that invoice was not in a format he wanted, so I split it into an invoice per client of his that I’d worked on. (previously I gave him one invoice with all the client’s details together)¬† That was probably around the begining of November.¬†

In December he stopped returning my calls, e-mails and SMS’s (in fact his Company’s phone number was redirected to a switched off cellphone number (I got the “The subscriber you have dialed is not available at present.¬† Please try again later” message that Vodacom/MTN use when a subscriber doesn’t have voicemail setup and their phone is out of reach)).¬† In January I finally got hold of him and he said that he’d had some “personal problems” and couldn’t handle talking to clients, but he’d pay me at the end of the week.¬† That didn’t happen.¬† Then he started ignoring my calls again.¬† I’m calling him on average about¬†3 times a day, and calling his office to leave messages about 3 times a day (hoping that the sheer annoyance factor will get him to respond to me).

But today I can tell that he’s now annoyed his staff, in their tone they gave away that they weren’t very happy with him (and in what they said, didn’t say, and asked me not to repeat).¬† So I’m guessing things are going downhill with his company.¬† Currently he owes me R4000, which I’m not very keen to lose.¬† Hence my desire for a thug who could go over there and intimidate him into paying.¬† Not that I’d want to cause him any harm, but I’d just like him to have some pressure put on him in some way.¬†

But since I’m not that kind of person, I think I’d rather see what I can do legally.¬† Anyone got any suggestions?

.Net Stuff General

Photo Galleries

A while ago I played around with my own photo gallery, it was kinda cool coz you didn’t have to make the HTML for each page, and it used XML files to describe the images and “sub galleries”, and it basically just required you to dump a whole bunch of images in a folder, and it would do the rest for you.

It was great because¬†William could get a gallery of his photo’s up for prospective¬†clients, but it meant that I had to upload all the files (I only have one user that has FTP access to the site, so I’m not keen on giving its password out to anyone)

Then recently (thanks to someone’s blog – I’ve forgotten who), I found out about nGallery.¬† Its a free .Net image gallery which can use XML or SQL (or even an access database in the latest version of nGallery) to store image info, it looks really great, and it has an admin section where the gallery owner can upload new images, add new galleries, etc, all without any intervention from me.

So I’m busy testing it out on my pics, check it out and let me know what you feel. (I haven’t fixed the “Email Paul” link at the bottom of the pages, so you’ll have to contact me via this blog)¬† The gallery is here.

General Internet/Links

Cool tool…

Hey, just a quick post to say I’ve finally got BlogJet working on my PC at work.  Its a REALLY cool tool that will let you post to a blog on probably 95% of the most commonly used blogging tools. Check it out at!

Currently its at version 0.3 Beta, but it seems pretty stable and has been blogged about by a number of the “big” bloggers at  Personally I was using w.Bloggar before but it didn’t work on my work’s connection, but BlogJet does!  (took me a few days to find where I could set it up to use my proxy, but I eventually found it (by reading the instructions on the one form… yup, I was an example of your “regular” everyday user who acts stupid enough to warrant having his PC forcibly removed from him and then be bludgeoned to within an inch of his life for all the frustrated tech support people in the world (can you tell I had to field support calls once before? Its amazing how stupid users can truly be!))) (Yup, I was exhibiting OCD tendancies there… (all my parenthesis were correctly closed))

That’s enough of that, I better get back to work… ūüôā


Fun links

Fun links from

  1. “High-speed, slo-mo videos of various foodstuffs being shot” direct link here or via BoingBoing.
  2. An interesting method that spammers (might) use to get valid e-mail addresses to send spam from. (yet another reason to hate porn) via BoingBoing
  3. QTVRs from Cambodia via BoingBoing

Development General Internet/Links

Social Networking Software

Recently a friend found out about “social networking software” (not that he called it by that name)… It was yet another implementation of the whole “Six degrees” idea. I first saw it with the “original” It was a craze that hit in my 3rd/honours year at varsity. Everyone linked up… But then the network is only as good as the people that join, and when one person registers with two different usernames and links to different people on both names it starts to get messy. I was pleased to see that “The Scobeleizer” thinks similarly in his blog “Social Software still not impressing me“.

On SADeveloper.Net we had a discussion a while ago in one of the forums about a kind of “social networking software” which could be used for doing most things. In a nutshell, it worked as follows:
···1. I establish a group of friends
···2. I rate them
···3. Everyone rates products/people/skills/companies/etc…
···4. I get to see an aggregated rating for any product/person/skill/company/etc which is formed based on who I trust and how much I trust their rating of a product.

For example… I have some friends… Charlie, Sean, and Matt (all in the computing field). Lets say that I hypothetically think that Charlie’s ranking of a developer’s skills is overstated (i.e. he over rates them), so I’d automatically adjust any rankings he gives to a developer’s skills to 75% of his original ranking, for Sean I’d adjust to 80%, and for Matt I’d adjust to 110% (in this hypothetical situation, Matt undervalues people’s skills). Now lets say that Charlie rates Jon at 95% on Web Development, and Matt rates Jon at 60%. I’d translate those to 71.25% (via Charlie – 95%*0.75) and 66% (via Matt – 60%*1.1). So my aggregated value for Jon’s web development abilities would be 68.625%. So if I was looking to hire Jon, I’d at least have some idea as to his abilities based on my trusted friends.

You could expand this to then include institutions in the systems, so if my old university (Rhodes) was rating people I would have another way of ranking people. I could specify how much I trusted that institution’s rankings, which could start to apply to any institution.

And the rankings could not only be limited to people’s skills, but movie preferences, any products you want to purchase, dating, etc.

Of course, now that I’ve linked to the Scobeleizer, this idea is pretty much going to be seen by the whole world. To see what I mean, check out this blog of his. Especially when you consider that “everyone in London[paraphrase]” reads his blog.

So if you’re reading this, you like the idea, you build it, and you make a few million dollars off it… please be so kind as to donate some of it to me. ūüôā


So much “stuff”, so little time

I was reading on a stack of blogs today about the various people in the US who have been made MVP’s.  It seems to be quite an honour…  Which got me thinking again about my developer community involvement in SA.  A while ago I was very keen to get involved, but then just trying to keep up with the various forum groups on SADeveloper.Net was taking forever (my network connection at work is dog slow (in fact its worse, dogs would be greatly offended that something this bad would be associated with their good name))…  The community grew to about 1000 people in the space of a few months, and with very little time on my hands to be able to try out the various code problems that people were having, I was not really able to give much input.  Combined with a few other facts, like the time it took to read just 10 posts was seriously hampering my work productivity, and that I have such a busy schedule during the week that I have pretty much no time for anything computer related after work.  (Unless I was to do it into the wee hours of the morning)

Since then, not much has changed… well actually a lot has changed… but nothing that would free up more time for me to be able to get more involved in the SA Developer community… In the last 6 months I’ve been singing in the choir at church, doing “backing vocals” for one of the worship teams, moving houses, getting engaged (followed by planning a wedding) which kinda brings be to where I am now… Currently I’m still planning a wedding (its happening on the 13th of March), so I’m looking for a place for us to stay, organising a honeymoon, fighting with a client of mine to pay me (so we can have a nice honeymoon), working, singing, etc.  On the 3rd of February I’m going to be leading a “homecell”/bible study which will also be taking up time…

And slowly I’ve started to realise that “Time Management” sucks!  Its not that I can’t manage time mind you, because I’m perfect (as you all know) – its just that this whole misguided attempt at expecting that the things we want to do must fit within a finite amout of time, like say for example 24 hours.  Who says that I can’t read three books, write two articles, answer 50 queries on various forums, spend time with my fiancé, sing in a choir, go to work, have food, go to gym, and sleep in 24 hours while giving my complete attention to each activity?  Unfortunately, I think I must admit defeat and join the ranks of the “unenlightened” in believing that doing things takes time, and that there is finite time available in each day in which to do them.

So now I’m doing something that’s also kind of “weird”… you see at the start of the year most people make decisions to cut out various “bad” things in their lives, and to take up various “good” activities instead… but this year I’m looking at what “good” things I can cut out of my life so that I can be better at what is left.  This throws up a whole bunch of interesting questions like “what is good?”, “how do you know you’ll be able to do better at what is left?”, “Who are you kidding? Are you really trying to say that you have nothing bad in your life?”, etc.

Well… I can answer some of them:

  1. “What is good?”
    By “good”, I’m meaning things that are beneficial and will help me get to my “end goal”. (I’m still deciding exactly what the end goal is)  For example – I know I won’t get to my end goal without my wife to be, so I cut things out of my life that interfere with spending time with her.  Those are the kinds of decisions I’ll be making…
  2. “how do you know you’ll be able to do better at what is left?”
    Well, I’m not 100% sure of it, but it kinda makes logical sense… If I have 5 minutes a day to practice music now, and after removing various superfluous bits from my life I have 30 minutes a day to practice music, I have a greater chance of improving my musical skills. (and I’ve had an extra 25 minutes a day of relaxation, which is great!)  Its this kind of effect that I’ll be looking for…
  3. “Who are you kidding? Are you really trying to say that you have nothing bad in your life?”
    Not at all, I have plenty of bad things that I need to remove too, its just that I don’t think its that commonly spoken about for someone to be choosing between which “good” thing to give up, as a “new year’s resolution”… You’re normally taking the “lesser of two weavils” (to quote from the “Master and Commander: The far side of the world“)

I think I’ll “cheat” on a number of points… I’ll do a “trial and error” test… I’ll drop things “for a while” and evaluate what impact it has on my life, especially since I’m begining a whole bunch of new things (like moving closer to my social group, getting married, leading a home group, and having less of my time required by being involved in worship at church (they’re organising the practices a bit better this year so I should only be practicing twice a month, as opposed to 4 times a month last year)) which will have both positive and negative impacts on my time and will certainly change my outlook on life.

I better dash, its 00:36 right now and I should have been asleep ages ago! (there goes that “wonderful” time management of mine again :))


Technicalities, Legalities and Stupidities

I just read Tim Marman’s blog entry about a poor kid called “Mike Rowe”, who registered ““… now he’s being sued by Microsoft for copyright infringement! [more info] Look, you probably find that the kid registered the name with a kinda “tongue in cheek” motive, but really – to sue him for it? I mean, just know I’ll be sued by some other guy called “Paul Sainsbury” for Identity Theft!

How would you prove yourself innocent of that… Imagine… one day the police rock up at your door to say “Mr Paul Sainsbury, you’re under arrest for identity theft”, and you’re like “Who’s identity did I steal?”, and they’re like “Mr Paul Sainsbury’s”, and you’re like “But that’s me”, and they’re like… “You’re not fooling us Mr Sainsbury”. How could you prove that all your documents aren’t fake?

If you are wondering how people could fake these documents, just check out the show “The Agency” (Monday evenings at 7:30pm on SABC 3 for those of you in South Africa)… they have a really cool lady there who basically fakes documents, etc all the time using simple grafic design skills, a PC, a scanner, some program (like photoshop), and a laminator. (plus a few other goodies, but since I’m not into the “fake id” business, I wouldn’t really know what they are… but then I guess I’d have to say that if I was in “the business” so I could not draw suspicion to myself, so you really have no way of knowing if its true or not – but this sentence is getting too long so I’ll stop writing about it)

I guess that “Mike Rowe Soft” case is kinda like those supposed “Stella Awards” that get handed out for the most “outrageous” law suites in the states… like the lady who got sued because a guy who broke into his house slipped on her kitchen floor and broke his arm (or somthing like that)… That’s gotta be an “urban legend”, but I’ve not checked it out on