2009 June


 Musical Education: revisited

June 29, 2009

Joachim Witt. If it’s the only new artist to ever get introduced into your limited repertoire… Ever. Please, just listen to him. I can’t directly link to the man’s music, nor do want to “induce you” to download  it. But buying just him, is a mission impossible.

But worth it.

I have a taste for German Neue Deutsche Harte,  Bauhaus, and   Architecture… And Joachim Witt is simply where it all started, musically, and genre-wise.  I  will not comment about the german girls playin guitar, since there is no need. It “augments”.

On top of the usual video artistry (did Anton Corbijn direct this video?) ,  Joachim Witt is a master of song, reinvention across decades, a depiction of reality, and a whimsical reflection upon the 80’s, life and 42.

Amongst my genre-favortite bands such as Rammstein, Kraftwerk, and Oomph, and Wolfsheim you will find that Joachim Witt has been the “grandfather”. The literal inventor of NDH. You may want to listen to the REALLY 80’s versions of the songs, and reflect where German NDH has come from and where it’s gone.

Joachim Witt tracks to search for:

1. Batallion D’amour
2. Goldener Reiter
3.  Weh-Oh-Weh.

I used to directly link  to  my “http://rodent.za.net/me/” which had some samples and a wiki-like description of my “Musical Education”  pages before, but all it got me was take-down notices. Funny that I can link to the youtube video’s without problems…

I’m sure that 90% of the bands  I used to “educate” people  with  would have actually appreciated the attention.

Oh well. Welcome to new-age media. Where the artist wins… Or NOT.

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 Go camping!

If, like me, you were brought up in Pretoria, South Africa then you most likely encountered loads of camping trips endowed upon you by your parents in the misguided belief that it would be “fun for everyone”. Aside from the fact that camping is of course, cheap. For me, at the time it felt that all we were doing is visiting boring after boring, dusty after dusty venue with nothing to do but read.

If, like me, you were also forcefully endowed into the abysmal system of slavery that was called ‘conscription’ in the South African National Defence Force, you probably encountered other kinds of “camping” trips that made the experience from childhood seem like a walk in the park.

All of this, instilled in me a complete sense of dread and adversity whenever camping was involved. Over the last years of my adulthood, I’ve simply shunned all forms of camping as “sub-human”.

So, here I am 20 years later, having actually enjoyed a camping trip. Vincenzia’s requirement for her 32nd birthday was a simple one, yet for me (initially) nearly unachievable due to my preconceptions.

She wanted an “adventure”. With Ruben now at the age of seven, and really having developed into a true rascal, my years of shying away from camping was bound for an overhaul. Besides, I’d actually bought a tent about a year ago so with the idea that Ruben could have some fun with it.

So, Ruben and I google’d mom’s secret adventure, and landed onto the website of Hartebeespoort Oord, camping and otherwise average-looking resort.

Aside from the fact that there was a (apparently unsuccesful) Christian Rock concert scheduled for the entire weekend (have you _ever_ heard of something as oxymoronical as Christian Death Metal?) the weekend was a blast. Ruben used his scooter in the pretty impressive skate park, we played mini-golf, swam for hours in the heated pool, and just generally relaxed.

I stuck to a few basic rules though:

1. Go prepared. In fact, go overprepared.
2. Go somewhere where there is LOTS of green grass.
3. Go somewhere where there is LOADS of things to do for a 7 year old kid.
4. Limit the damage by going somewhere close, and only going for one night (grin).

In all, it’s turned out  to be a complete blast (again, aside from the Christian Death metal).

I guess sometimes  you have to “get out of it”  a little bit in order to appreciate things back at home, and to see what the rest of the world is doing.  It also takes you out of your comfort zone, away from the drudgery, and just this  simple act, of 36 hours  has taken nearly a million miles off my stress-ridden shoulders. Vincenzia was entirely delighted with the birthday “present” and has already started planning another million trips I’m sure…

I might try this again, in a few months time. Time to start un-turtling… (Thanks Joe). If only there was a site somwhere on the interweb’s where people could rate their experience truthfully. Hmmm. Maybe I shoudld consider registering the24trip.co.za …  😉

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 Amway. Sigh.

June 22, 2009

So I just spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon with a couple that Vincenzia knows through her pottery connections and socially.

They made a date with us for an evening during the week (which I cancelled due to flu) and they then rescheduled for Sunday afternoon tea, i.e. Today. We were quite excited, finding people that we have some reasonable connection with is not a simple task.

She (of the couple) mentioned when scheduling the meet, that that they wanted to talk to us about a “business opportunity” which we (quite gratifyingly) put off until AFTER we had had our quiche, and coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’d been highly suspect of the whole event beforehand because of the “secrecy” and lack of “wanting to talk about it, until we see you”.

Of course, I’ know how these things go. After quiche and tea, we sat on the porch to listen to “the thing”.

Started off talking about “passive income”. It took ALL my might not to roll my eyes and freak out.

Eventually once we got to the point of “being part of a big company that distributes products and makes lots of money”.  I asked… “So, is it Amway?”

It was indeed…

So that was the end of a nice afternoon, with a couple (in the IT industry _nogal_). I politely indicated that they should stop talking and, very surprised, asked: “Why? What’s bad about Amway?”

If I had the time, or the inclination, I would have gone down the rabbit hole, but in the interests of my ulcer, irritable bowel, and general stressed-out-ness I just indicated that I have not, could not, ever be a “merchant” of wares.

The rest of the afternoon carried on under strained conversation and I quite honestly could not wait to show them the door.

How to screw up what could have been a nice friendship? Try to sell Amway. And that’s why it works. Because 90% of people feel so uncomfortable being accosted that they agree to “sign up”, or buy “stuff” simply to make everyone and their verbalised dreams happy.

What a crock of …

Die Amway…  Die… Die American sales dream. Die… This is Africa.

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2 responses to “Amway. Sigh.”
  1. Simeon says:

    Ah yes… I feel your pain.

    Same thing happened to us, except there was no mention of the “business proposal”, he just said they wanted to have tea and meet my wife.

    No great friendship loss though (he is an asshole after all). What gets me is how this is really a huge insult to your intelligence!

  2. Tricky says:

    I’d buy their products if it weren’t for the sales pitch. Haha.


 Emile van Bergen – RADIUS God.

June 18, 2009

I’ve been working with OpenRADIUS for nearly four  years now. I build high-availability and carrier grade RADIUS stuff with it. And I can only endow respect, and “I’m not worthy’s” unto it’s creator: Emile van Bergen,

I chose OpenRADIUS when Neology started, for a number of reasons:

1.  It extends like Apache. With FastCGI, except better.
2. The behaviour language allows me to do pretty much anything. It’s like Assembler.
3.  Emile took the UNIX paradigm of programming, and applied it to RADIUS.
4. The proxy code is phenomenal.
5. Dictionary support is excellent, and adding new ones, a cinch.

OpenRADIUS is like the GAS of RADIUS. I won’t recommend it to any newbie in trying to get things going, but as I’ve  had to add more features, and plumb more cleverness into OpenRADIUS I keep looking back at the days when I researched things like FreeRADIUS, and just cannot believe the quality of OpenRADIUS from as produced (largely) by single developer. The website, isn’t too snazzy, but the documentation is brilliant. I think Emile is so tied up with making a living that the project sometimes suffers from not enough marketing and “bling”, but then again, I prefer technical information above flashy logos and useless wiki’s full of cookbooks.

Ik til m’n hoed voor u, Heer van Bergen.

Unix Development | 1 comment
1 response to “Emile van Bergen – RADIUS God.”
  1. Erik Thiart says:

    Do you still prefer open radius over free radius?


 Bricking an e-cigarette

June 17, 2009

I’m impressed. Rossi a colleague of mine,  has managed to “brick” his recently acquired e-cigarette. There was this “magic blue smoke smell” in the office, and we were all skulking around trying to figure out where the smell came from until we saw him grinning at his table.

Apparently the bricking had to do with the multimeter he held in his hands and “measuring something” and “getting the vapourizer a bit wet”.

Hehe. I’m kinda impressed tho. Everyone knows any new electronic device needs to be “hacked” and prodded a bit.

Hardware, Reality Reversing, Reverse Engineering, Uncategorized | 1 comment
1 response to “Bricking an e-cigarette”
  1. Kevin says:

    LOL 🙂 I was there!

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