Choir, Computing and the Future

[I couldn’t find a word for “the future” that began with a C.]

Yesterday was my first time leading the choir at church.  There are 2 choirs, and choir 1 is so much better at arriving for practices than choir 2.  Fortunately I was leading choir 1, so we had 15 people there.  As a choir, they have some really good Tenors and Altos which is great because it took some pressure off me having to tell them precisely what to sing.

I was VERY impressed with them, even though I wasn’t the most confident leader, they followed me well (even through the songs that we’d never heard before).  It was a bonus that Jo-Jo was singing backing vocals coz she came over to help out with the Alto parts a two or three times. (I think at least 2 of the 3 times, she found that they were singing the right parts)

Computing and the Future
At home, I sat upstairs having supper, unpacking my books, and watching TV.  They had an interesting show about the future… and one line that stood out for me, which went something like this:
People always complain about how busy and hectic life is now, and how in the future with technology life will be less full of demands.  But they’ve got it the wrong way round.  Technology is what causes us to have so many decisions and options open to us that we’re always having to make decisions.  Technology is there to give us opportunities, not more time.

Quite an interesting look at it. I’ll post more on this later… I must get back to work – we’re closing the offices at 3pm coz they’re being fumigated – and I’d like to be done before they start. πŸ™‚


Lack of Payment

Last week I’d had enough of not being paid by Sean (for those who know my friends, I’m not talking about Sean Baumann, but rather another Sean from a company that begins with S)

If you want some background, here it is: Sean who I’d done work for last year, still has not paid an invoice I sent him in November. (4 months ago!) He keeps coming up with the lamest of excuses.  I’ve probably called him a few hundred times over this period, and he’s probably called me about 10 times.

He seems to be unable to ever call back.  Even when he promises for the 5th time that he’ll call, somehow it never happens. Anway, at the start of January I got hold of him and he said he’d pay me at the end of the 1st week, then suddenly I could not longer get hold of him. 

Eventually I found out that he’d been having difficulty paying his salary bills on time too.  So when I finally got hold of him he claimed that his PC had died and he’d lost my invoice.  So he didn’t know how to pay me, or what to pay me.  So I sent him an e-mail again (and faxed it to him so he couldn’t claim he didn’t get the e-mail, and confirmed with his receptionist that the fax had gone through)

After many more calls he eventually claimed to have paid me at the start of February.  But the money never arrived in my account.  He stopped responding to my calls (for about the 4th time he just disappeared for a week or so)  Finally I could contact him and he said he’d e-mail me proof of payment.

I checked that I’d given him the correct details, and he claimed he’d put it in the account I gave him.  but his “proof of payment” just never arrived, there were “continual” e-mail problems, or he was out of the office and couldn’t e-mail them to me, or he’d just ingnore my calls.  Finally last Thursday I semi-lost it with him on the phone (actually I was very civil, but I was very abrupt and direct which is not my usual style), and he said he’d immediately e-mail me the proof again.

About an hour after he said he’d e-mail me, I still hadn’t recieved his mail, so I mailed him to check that he had the right e-mail address.  He mailed back to say he hadn’t mailed it yet, but he’d do so immediately. So 2 hours later when I’d not recieved it, I wrote him a fairly blunt e-mail saying that since he’s not producing any proof of payment, and has come up with no valid reasons for him not to pay me I would be seeking legal recourse (based on advice I’d recieved), so it was up to him to respond with proof of payment by the friday or I’d begin following the advice. For some odd reason my e-mail to him from my personal address bounced saying that it couldn’t find the mail server.  This had happened before, and if I read the headers of the e-mail I could see that actually the mail had got to his general mail server, and was being passed on to one of their internal servers when it suddenly “couldn’t find the mail server”. (very odd)  So I sent him the mail from my work address, and it went through immediately. This happened once before when Sean was expecting me to be e-mailing him documents demanding payment.  So I’m guessing he just chose to “reject” mail from my private address (not realising that I actually have more than one address from which to send him mail) After that I found out that the credit bureau/ITC would blacklist his company and take over the collection of the funds for only R20 and about 10% of the invoice amount.  Which would be a great relief.

Anyway, on Friday he promised to call back but didn’t.  (as usual)

On monday I called him and told him I’d be at his office to collect the print out, so eventually I met him there.  Suddenly he’d realised that he’d actually paid someone also called Paul (another freelance developer they’d used before, who I’d dealt with last year) and now Paul was going to put the cash back in his account and he’d have the check for me on Tuesday.  Tuesday passed, wednesday passed, and thursday passed.  Each day, I called him.  Sometimes he ignored my calls, sometimes he ignored the messages I’d left on his cellphone and with his receptionist, and once or twice he answered my calls, promised to call back and didn’t.  Its now Friday. I’ve spoken to him today and aparently the cheque should be ready today (aparently the other Paul hadn’t put the money into Sean’s account yet).  He was going to check that it had been deposited and call me back. That was over 2 hours ago!

I think I’m going to call him just now, and tell him about the nice people at our credit bureau.

[Update: Someone commented today that I should not have mentioned the other Paul’s full name in the entry because it could be misinterpreted as if he was in the wrong and didn’t pay Sean back.  So I decided to remove his name and add the following:  After further dealings with Sean and a very frustrated e-mail by the other Paul, I can only assume that Sean was lying to me when he claimed that he had mistakenly paid “my” money into the other Paul’s account.  Where I said “aparently the other Paul hadn’t put the money into Sean’s account yet”, I simply meant that from what Sean had told me this was the case… I did not mean to imply that the other Paul had not in fact done so.  All dealings I’d had with Paul had been most positive, and to be honest I found it rather strange that Sean claimed he had not paid the money back into his account.  I guess my frustration at Sean may spilled over into Paul’s life, and I certainly hope he was not caused any hassles.]

[Update 2: After being threatened with legal action by the other Paul for mentioning his full name in the blog entry, I’ve removed the comment by his “friend” (not sure about that fact, but I’m guessing that the “friend“ found the blog and passed it on to him) anyway, I decided that I should probably remove the name of the other Sean and the name of the other Sean’s company. I’m still of 1/2 a mind to actually visit the other Sean at his offices and confront him about the lack of payment… But since he claims never to have approved the costs, and I have no e-mails or faxes to support my claims.  Well, I do have e-mails regarding the sites while I was working on them, and copies of the sites and their databases on my PC, and a friend who works (worked?) there who can vouch for me that I was doing the work for Sean … but none of that is the same as a piece of paper with his signature on it, so I aparently don’t stand much chance in court of proving that I did the work.]


This week…

Hrm… looks like I got a bit busy this week.

Had supper with Christie at home, sorted out some odds and ends in the house, and after dropping her at her home I setup my PC, Hifi, etc (connected the tv, and playstation to the hi-fi)

Like most days it was busy. I’d organised dinner with an old school friend, Matthew, who I’ve known since Std 1 (Grade 3 for those who are either not from South Africa, or were at school after the grade system was introduced in South Africa) Anyway, I just managed to fetch Christie, get food and get home about 5 minutes before Matthew arrived.

We used a “Grilldue” (like a fondue but you grill stuff) thing that my mom and hendrik gave us.  Its aparently VERY popular there, but I’ve never seen one before.  Its name is not a “Grilldue”, but I can’t think of its actual name.  Anyway, it was quite cool… We learned that thin pieces of meat are much nicer to grill on it… perhaps I’ll cut up some minute steaks next time instead of big chunky pieces which take forever to grill.

It was good to chat to Matthew, and I’m glad that we now have every 2nd Tuesday free for this purpose.  As soon as you start to become “vaguely” involved in the church, your week gets filled REALLY quickly. (especially if you’re musically oriented).  My week usually looks like this:

  • Monday – Home cell music practice
  • Tuesday – Home cell
  • Wednesday – Prayer (and bible college)
  • Thursday – Church worship practice 2-3 times a month
  • Friday – Free, but usually spent connecting socially with people from home cell
  • Saturday – Morning more often than not taken up with something church oriented, and evening either with other home cell people or spending time with Christie
  • Sunday – Worship practice, Church, Lunch, Household admin, Worship practice, Church, Supper

Anyway, this makes it difficult to see people who aren’t involved in the church.  So I’m really glad that the elders have chosen to set aside a day where we have NO activities on so that we can socialise with people we know outside of the church.

Yet another busy day, after tuesday evening’s supper I sorted out tuning in my VCR, did some washing(?) or some unpacking, but got to bed late.  So it was a very tiring day at work… but productive.  I missed 1/2 the prayer meeting coz I was busy at work.  Christie and I skipped bible school so we could both get early nights.  We also sorted out the order of service for the ceremony with Malcolm Black (who will be doing the marriage ceremony for us)  We then went out to supper coz the coffee shop at church had closed.

After I’d gotten home I got a call from Simon Murphy to say that he and Tarryn would be Christie and my “leaders in touch” for our home cell.  (Basically they’re the people we go to if we have any problems, questions or difficult situations in the home cell that we’re not sure how to handle, and they’re also there to check up that we’re not teaching odd doctrines, leading irresponsibly, etc)  I think its gonna be awesome getting to know them and getting input from such a dynamic couple.

.Net Stuff


Its odd how these things happen, just this morning Charlie was asking me how to migrate a PHP website to ASP.Net, and this afternoon I see a link to MSDN’s ASP.Net Migrating article which has links to the “PHP to ASP.Net Migration Guide


It’s a revolution! :)

Hey, just after I bought my Dancing Stage Euromix and dance pad (See my “Dancing Barefoot” entry), I see this blog on the X-Box version, titled “Its a revolution…”

I want an X-Box! I want an X-Box! I want an X-Box!

.Net Stuff

Windows Forms FAQ

Ever wanted to know how to make the PC “beep” (the windows 2000 default is the “ding” sound), check out the Windows Forms FAQ.  Odd that, I just noticed that its a .ASP page, not a .ASPX – but then I guess its a Windows FORMS FAQ, and not an ASP.Net faq.

For those who don’t have time to look up the solution to the “beep” problem, here are the two solutions from the FAQ:

     using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

public static extern int MessageBeep(uint n);
private void button2_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)

     Reference the VB.NET runtime support and just use the Beep() method.
The method is in:
Microsoft.Visual Basic.NET Runtime
The method is:


Moving and weekend update…

Sean Baumann deserves some “respect”.  Without him Matthew (and his cousin Roland), and I would not have moved 1/2 the stuff we did on Saturday.  Matt and I started with a small load of Roland’s to their Matt, Bryan and Roland’s place in Sunninghill, while Sean packed most of my stuff from his place into his car… Then we went off to my storage spot and collected a whole bunch of big items, boxes, and miscellaneous stuff and unpacked at my place. 

William joined us and he, Matt and I went to get a bed from Bryan, a desk from my cousin, and my bed.  Then was the big task, we fetched most of the furniture from Matt and Roland’s place.  (If Sean hadn’t supervised the packing we’d literally have taken about 1/4 of what we ended up taking)

My new home

I’d not seen what is now Christie and my new home (well, mine for the next 2 weeks, she moves in after we’re married on the 13th of March) so when I saw it, I was pleasantly suprised.  Its a SummerCon complex called “Chobe Sands”.  I’ve lived in one of their “African Lodge” style complexes 6 months ago, which was built about a year before Chobe, so I pretty much knew what to expect.  But I didn’t know where the unit was located, how the rest of the development was run, or any improvements that they may have made to Chobe that were not present in Savannah Sands.

Its a single bed unit with loft, and the lady who owns the unit extended the loft to cover 95% of the “upstairs space”, normally they only cover about 50%, and the rest is left open so you have a double volume area downstairs.  The unit looks over a nice garden just over the complex wall, and on the other side it looks over one of the 3(?) entertainment areas in the complex.  Its one of the “small entertainment areas”, but its pool is almost the same size as the “big pool” at Savannah sands, it has a large grass/garden area, much better braai facilities and a pool table. πŸ™‚

The unit has a much better bathroom, and the thatch roof is done so that you have much more space upstairs and on the upstairs balcony than you have at Savannah Sands.  On Saturday evening we went to the club house, and WOW!  The place is awesome, it has 4 pool tables, a huge pool, a dart board, on of those soccer game things, an awesome looking bar, NICE couches to sit and chill in, a DVD library where you can rent DVD’s, a HUGE menu, and I have yet to see the sunset from the huge entertainment area upstairs. (and a bonus is that they’ll deliver to your unit in the complex)

I also noticed that they have an ethernet plug point in the unit, so I’m guessing they’ve got the complex connected to the net – I must find out what that costs per month, it could be awesome. πŸ™‚


Google, E-Bay and bad spellings

A while ago I read an article on /. about finding bargains on e-bay. Basically, people upload auctions which have badly spelled descriptions, like “labtop” instead of “laptop”.  They get very few people looking at them because the item names/descriptions are spelled incorrectly.

Looking at the stats for my site (, I noticed some interesting mis-spellings that people are searching for.  For example, Charlie mis-spelled the movie title “Once upon a time in mexico”, as “Once apon a time in mexico” (click the link to see Charlie’s entry).

He has got over 216 hits from Google/Yahoo! and others just because of that incorrect spelling and his blog entry is the 2nd in the list for searches on the mis-spelled name!

I wonder what I should mis-spell to get some attention to my blog?  Microwsoft/Mikrosoft/Bull Gates/Bill Goats?  Hrm… I guess I could be heading for a law suite like the guy (Mike Rowe) who registered “”… πŸ™‚