Geek food General

Children of Chaos

I have had this book on my bookshelf since 1997(or maybe 1998), but it has sat there unread for a number of reasons over the years but finally it seems my brain has been prepared enough to take it in.

If you didn’t get the blog post title, the book is Children of Chaos by Douglas Rushkoff.

I keep thinking that he is talking about YouTube or Twitter, things from post 2005, but then he starts talking about the new fangled browser Netscape, recently evolved out of Mosaic, and it hits home the fact that he is talking about our online world today as a “prophecy” of where he sees us heading based on the cultural shifts around him in the mid 90’s – 15 years ago!

There are bits of what he talks about that are only now starting to become reality in south Africa in the past few weeks thanks to the recent uncapped broadband offers at reasonable prices.  Video content generated by individuals not corporations (like YouTube or more specifically examples like our local ZA Tech Show Live Stream).

I am filled with great hope for a far more connected community, and greater freedoms and expressions of a non-traditional media.  He pre-empts some of the thoughts in the Cluetrain Manifesto (1999/2000), the blogging “revolution”, and the demise of traditional media (which has only really hitting the “front page news” in the past few years.

A lot of the concepts expressed in the book can come across as socialist, anarchic and anti-establishment dreams for the future but if you look beyond those labels you will find an expression of the struggle for meaning, relevance and the value of an individual within an increasingly global and politically correct society.

There might be a lot that is disagreeable in the book (depending on your personal beliefs) but the fact that his vision of where we would be heading from 1996 forward has such a lot of similarity with what has happened in the past 15 years shows that, whatever disagreements you might have with his philosophies, he has a good understanding of our culture and the forces that drove us forwards in the past 15 years.

Give it a read, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Geek food General

Bloemfontein and Internet Access

We’ve just arrived in bloemfontein for  a “church conference” that’s lasting the week.  Since I may need to do some work, I brought my iBurst modem from home (they cover a fair portion Bloem), and since my wife would feel left out if I had net access and not her we brought our wireless router with too.

We checked into the hotel about 45 mnutes ago and within 5 minutes our wireless network from home was up and running and super fast.  Sometimes I love technology.. It seems as if there aren’t too many iBurst users in Bloem because the network speeds are pretty cool compared to at home in Joburg.

Its the first time I’ve been anywhere and taken my internet and wifi router with me… Its super geeky, but its cool.

We could have used the hotel’s wifi, but its damned expensive. So now we can sit at the pool surfing the net wirelessly without paying an extra cent. 

.Net Stuff Geek food General

Random thoughts

Thought 1:

So I just laughed out loud at work, thought “Oh my gosh that sounded just like Leo Leporte” and almost said it out loud when I realised that nobody in the office would get it since they don’t listen to TWIT (This Week In Tech).    It was silly, but it got me thinking about how listening to podcasts can really separate you from “common culture”.  Most people in the office will talk about the latest jokes from “The Rude Awakening”, or other radio stations while I’m talking about the podcasts I listen to.


Thought 2:

A friend of mine just updated his GeoCaching website –  It’s writen in .Net and does some cool stuff to get its stats about which cachers have found new caches.  Their old  site had Google maps to show where certain objects were in the world, and a bunch of other fun stuff like that. Most of their data is taken from either scraping data off images on or by parsing XML files that mails to them containing information on caches.  Its pretty cool considering its a part time hobby of theirs and the fact that it is making quite an impact in the local caching community.

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

New toolkit released

[IMHO just lost my blog entry – it posted it, but the contents were blank, so here’s a 2nd attempt]
I just read via the Daily Grind that Component Factory have just released the Krypton Toolkit.  Its basically a set of windows forms controls that are written for .Net 2.0 and VS.Net 2005, and best of all they’re free for commercial use.

I’m going to go and download it now and check it out.

[And for the .Net bloggers out there, if you blog about their release you can get a free copy of DotNetMagic – check out the offer here.]

Geek food General

iMate OS Upgrade

I have an i-mate SP3
– I’ve had it for about 6 months now – and the one thing that’s frustrated
me the most is the fact that it doesn’t have Windows Media Player 10 on it, so
certain cool features of WMP 10 wouldn’t work (like auto synchronising playlists
with the phone)  Anyway, I just checked the i-mate website and lo and
behold, there’s a new version of the OS for my phone and it includes (amongst
other cool things) WMP 10!  It apparently breaks some functionality with
some bluetooth based GPS devices, but since I don’t connect my phone to anything
bluetooth related, I don’t mind at all.

The only problem with this is that I’ll have to re-install all the apps I’ve
put on my phone, kinda like re-installing the OS on a PC… At least I’ll be in
control, unlike the phone OS upgrades I’ve had with previous phones where the
“service centre” just wipes all your data, I’ll be able to back up everything
and make sure I don’t lose any important information.  Its also cool that
it synchs with Outlook so all my contact info will be safe…

I know the last time I upgraded my phone software I had to re-name my phone
because ActiveSync believed it was still partnered with my “pre-upgrade” phone,
and wouldn’t create a new partnership with my “post-upgrade” phone. 
Unfortuantely I can’t remember how I worked around it, or what I should do now
to prevent it from happening this time.  So I’ll make sure I post a blog
entry about it for future reference.

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

SA Team for Imagine Cup

I just read an IT Web article on the SA entrants to the Imagine Cup.  For those who don’t know, Microsoft South Africa has run Project Firefly for a number of years… Its basically a software development competition amongst SA Academic institutions.  The Imagine Cup started after Firefly and is an international “version” of the competition.

I was fortunate to meet the guys from PE who are going to Japan this week for the international competition.  Their system looks amazing!  I had no idea that people at varsity had the ability to write such cool and useful software in .Net.  Their IDS (Intrusion Detection System) is damn awesome in what it does, and they’ve done some amazing work on it.  I know its not from some big name that we can all trust, but after hearing them talk and seeing a demo of some of their project I seriously think they have a winning product.  If I was a system admin I’d seriously want some of their features on any IDS I bought for my company.

Imagine sitting at home on a weekend, and getting a message on your iMate phone or other Pocket PC based phone to tell you that a user’s PC is being used to hack your network.  For most people that would be good enough, but in this case it goes further.  Rather than having to get to a PC or rush into work, you can quickly and easily disable their account, shut down their pc, etc, right from your phone.  Just push a few buttons and get back to watching the game/braai/beer/etc.  No stress, no hassle, network intrusion averted.  This example is just one of the many super cool things that their system does!

Aparently they have only got 15 minutes to present their project in the first round, and 10 minutes in the 2nd round (excluding a 5 minute demo).  I have no idea how they’ll get that right because they could spend hours talking about all the features they have.  Aparently they built most of their UI controls themselves, so their UI is really cool and was made locally!

Needless to say I’m VERY impressed and I hope they get the top spot in the competition!

Geek food General Internet/Links

First day of the 10 free SkypeOut minutes promotion…

Today is the first of four days this month where you get 10 free minutes of SkypeOut calls.  Check it out on their site – Skype, or via Skype Journal.

[Update: Aparently the promotion started yesterday, so their 24 hours is over.  I’ll try and be a bit faster in posting the next time.]

Geek food General Internet/Links

Coolest keyboard…

I was just listening to Monday’s (a funny yet sometimes crude podcast done by the guys from and they were talking about Das Keyboard.  Its Uber cool – its like a normal keyboard but with no writing on it… so only uber-geeks can use it. 🙂  Anyway, listen to Episode 22 (The Starwars Episode) and around 50 minutes into the show you’ll hear them talk about the keyboard.

PS: I was using my i-Mate and the memory stick I got from Leaf to listen to the show, its seriously better than listening to the radio during the 1.5hrs I spend in the car each day… Oh, and while I’m on the topic of radio shows, check out DotNetRocks – episode 110 (I think) has Kimberly Tripp talking about SQL Server 2005 – and for a chick, she’s darn clever. 😉  Just kidding, but its kinda refreshing to hear a female geek speaking about tech stuff – there are so few of them out there!  Check out Episode 110 its cool.

Geek food General


I have an i-Pod… yeah… there’s a dash in the name… (and yeah… I didn’t come up with the name myself, I stole it from André O)  With my 512mb card on my i-Mate SP3, I have been starting to use it to listen to music… I’ve had it going playing .Net Rocks episodes this morning… I’ve played about 200 minutes of them so far, and the battery (which was fully charged this morning) is now at about 72%.  So if it carries on at this rate I’ll get just under 12hrs playback on one charge… (That’s including sending an sms or two and having the phone talking to the GSM network – i.e. I didn’t put the phone in “flight mode”)  So that’s not too bad at all!

I’m loving my i-Mate ( site) more and more the longer I use it. 🙂

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

Reflection Talk

Here are the notes from the talk I gave last Wednesday night at Torque IT (Thanks for the venue and the cool caffeteria)…

I hope it went pretty well for the guys that were there…  I certainly enjoyed giving the talk. 🙂

Here are the promised notes/slides/samples.

The PPT is here and the code samples are here.  The PPT’s have word for word what I wanted to say.  The samples are all there, I’ve included a file “demos.doc” which are my notes to myself telling me what to show to the guys.  I didn’t include instructions to myself to tell me to copy DLL’s from one folder to another (which I needed to do in the Dynamic UI demo).

The whole reason I wrote out word for word what I wanted to say was so that even if you didn’t go to the talk you could get the slides and demos and step yourself through it.  (My aim was to put in enough info so that someone from another town could take the slides, notes and code and with a few modifications they could present the material themselves…) 

If there are any hassles, let me know. 🙂