Sunday, December 28, 2008

Linux vs Windows (the old days, and now)

In the old days, (lets say 8 years ago)... most hardware didn't work on linux except with a LOT of work. In those days, stuff used to "just work" on windows. However, these days, things don't "just work" on windows... You need to install drivers (back then windows had about a list of 100 vendors per device, and had a something that should work with your hardware)... These days, you need to download a driver from the internet (which you may had to do then too - but then it was 1mb), and they come pricy when it comes to bandwidth. 45mb for a driver? You must be f#%king kidding me... Wait... you have a hardware abstraction layer you have to connect to... how hard can it be? 45mb?!!! The *whole* linux kernel is less than that (I believe... I think it's 27mb).

I'll be just naming the product I have in mind here... HP OfficeJet 4255 all-in-one. I think it's a shame that driver sizes has increased as much as they did. I don't know whether to blame windows or the companies, but the bottom line is: linux does it with much less bandwitdh, and probably much less effort.

The fact is just that linux is getting with the hardware curve, and windows is almost falling behind it. (And the vendors creates the drivers themselves!)

A vista driver 163mb (same product)... That's 3/8 of my cap of a month.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alternate rules for Boule

I've got a miniature boule set. I bought it marked down at Edgars... Anyway, it doesn't have the "target" ball.

So, I have six marble sized balls, with which I want to play boule (or a similar game).

So I've devised these rules (they are not yet refined but bare with me):
* Players alternate throwing (this may need to change?)
* The player with the most balls creating the smallest triangle (in circumference) gets 1 or 2 points (1 for having 2 of the 3 "points", and 2 if he has all 3 points).

Throwing last seems to be a big advantage... I'll be testing these rules over the holiday, and I'll give a follow up post on how it goes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


In the software community, (especially the free software community) there has been great amounts of talk about what is free software. GNU and Richard Stallman has a definition, and so has our "common sense"... what is free? Well, it costs nothing, but according to GNU it doesn't *have to be without cost*. For them the true freedom is to be able to do what you want, and add and edit what you want with the software (for this case I'll add knowledge to it).

I never quite understood it. Why would anyone ever stand in the way of this type of freedom? I still don't know why people would stand in the way... but what I do understand now, is why Richard Stallman is so fanatical about being given the freedom.

I've been trying to push a freedom of knowledge base... and some people (who are responsible for documenting systems etc.) cannot seem to fathom that wiki-based knowledge is
1) empowering for those who use it (they can teach themselves stuff they never had access to),
2) grows at exponential rates
3) self regulating
4) for the good of all
5) multiplayer notepad. (I love that)... though it was first cliched for IRC.

They think that the knowledge won't be audited, and that people will start to follow the wrong principals. But if the wiki is active enough, and they (who are people who can authorize is) are active on it, the knowledge will continue to be passed on, and on and on.

And if someone inhibits those awesome features of a wiki, then I feel the need to passionately fight for the right of freedom too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Open Street Maps

This is the wikipedia for maps, which I think is a kind of a ubuntu way of life for the world. Everyone with a GPS should log their travels and upload the roads into the Open Street Maps!

I wish I had a GPS so I could easily add to this wonderful project!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Open Office 3.0 Calc vs Excel

This post might be edited later, or further posts will follow.

Excel (and Access) is the benchmark no doubt when it comes to the two Office packages. If Open Office can do what excel can do, and DO IT THE SAME, then there's no reason to pay for MS Office...

Anyway, here is something that Open Office Calc does differently, and I think it's cool, MS Excel does this differently (it grows the selection to the width of the merged cells).

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I can understand that you get break in transmission when your people can't even spell technician. Small things tell a huge amount about incompetence.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

For people whose internet connections are not on ubuntu itself rules. Put in what you need (library), and use downthemall with a filter on *.deb, to get all the files. Set the downthemall to skip the existing files, and you can get your own little offline repository going.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mshini Wami - For new anthem and Bok emblem

I quickly made this from the current logo and the wikipedia AK47 article.

It comes from my lunch discussion I had about the bok emblem, and how we should really have Mshini Wami being sung, rather than our anthem, because the "Stem" part is embracing the old afrikaner regime.

Anyway, my personal take on it is, we should keep the Bok emblem, because IT DOES NOT represent the negative stuff of the past. I'd remove the anthem, and sing Shosalosa.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wordpress vs Blogger

I was recently invited to co-post at the tenletter games blog, which is hosted on Wordpress.

For me, the way blogger lays things out's user interface is cleaner than Wordpress's.

In the above screenshot, you *might* notice the publish button to the right of the editor. In user interfaces... that should really be at the bottom of it.

However, the features at wordpress is really cool, from pingbacks to statistics and other cool things make it really good.

So, my recommendation (if you don't already have a gazillion blogs) - blogger is "simpler, better, faster". Wordpress is more features, more complex.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My Daily Web Experience

This will take you through my typical day of being on the web...

1. I log onto gmail.

There I check if I have any new personal emails (not tons a day, often none, sometimes a bit more). I try to reply to them ASAP, though obviously work goes first.

I also check for any progress in my Diplomacy game. I'll respond to them ASAP too if I deem it appropriate for my tactics/strategy.

I am subscribed to several lists and blogs, so some of them automatically goes to it's label, and leaves the inbox (typically high traffic lists), or some lie in my inbox for my perusal. The most important lists are:
1. Lazarus mailing list.
2. Slashdot
3. Facebook junk
4. The straight dope
5. My church's mails
6. Seth Godin's Blog
7. Lots of other randoms, like ToME or Open Office's newsletter or KDE's newsletter and so forth.

2. I look at my iGoogle rss feeds
Then I am taken to my iGoogle feeds... I have some blogs on there, and some webtoons. I've got more on there than I actually read, so maybe I should reduce it? Anyway, those that I still read regularly is:
1. xkcd
2. Basic Instructions
3. Happysad
Those that I have, but don't follow,
4. Dilbert
5. Cyanide and Happiness
6. Calvin and Hobbs

I have some news feeds on there too, news24, and BBC (i think).

Blogs on there
1. Tenletter
2. De Naakte Priester
3. Ker!ching retail
4. Some cricket blogs
5. Keo

3. Random searches and browsing
Other than that... well, not much. I'll browse wikipedia from time to time, and I'll join the freenode server on Mibbit (an IRC webclient).

If you think there is something absolutely essential I'm missing... let me know!

I also run a very cool wiki for myself (which sports a decent TODO list, but also other useful information).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Popular Mechanics

I don't generally read their magazine. But the South Africa edition, for the month of October 2008, had a long article about how google make us think differently. Quite interesting, and quite ironic, as they say that we generally struggle to read more than one page at a time now, because of the way the internet is structured now... and then the article is about 4 pages.

Anyway, their graphic designer made a mistake... hopefully not (maybe it was intentional?), but they wrote htpp, instead of http.

Whoa... that's a bad error to go past everyone...

Friday, October 03, 2008

SVN frustrations

Again... I don't want this to be a techie blog (probably because I'm in the land of the blind, and I have one eye... and I've seen the land of the sighted...)

Anyway, my searches on google failed to help me here, so I am hoping this will help people out. (THIS IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!)

My SVN kept dying (during checkout - and afterwards during update). And leaving me with a state where neither svn up, or svn cleanup would work. Giving me this error:
svn: Error processing command 'modify-wcprop' in

The advice other people gave, was to remove the directory and start over... this works ok, but the trouble is when it's in the root of the 50mb svn... then remove the directory (and it's subdirectories) won't work.

Here's what I did, and again... NO WARRANTY.

I deleted the .svn/lock file. Then I just did svn up, and it completed it!

Anyone reading this, that know and understand why this is a bad thing please comment. Also if you did it and it worked, also please comment.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Another one. Taken a while back, but even that day I walked a bit to find this shot. I doubt it's great, but hopefully you'll have an idea how breathtakingly beautiful it was for me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alarm Bleeps...

I recently had to change my alarm on my car... I don't know if I *had* to, but the auto-mechanic said that the alarm was giving trouble, and well, my feeling is, that if I take it back to him every time, I can have what he's used to in the car. It wasn't cheap, but hopefully it will add to reliability.

The interesting thing about this alarm though, is that the "On/Off" bleeps are inverted from how the old one was. My old one was :
1 Bleep : On
2 Bleeps : Off

Our house was always set up like that, and I recall the installers saying "the amount of letters after the O is what it means".

So my current alarm is:
1 Bleep : Off
2 Bleeps : On

How do I get used to this? Well what I did was I decided that when it goes Bleep, it's my car saying "Hi!", and when it goes Bleep-Bleep, it's my car saying "Bye-Bye!".

So now, when the card says Hi, I say Hi back, and when it says Bye-bye, I say bye-bye back. This will hopefully get me used to it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Face book - Application privacy

Well... I know I won't be using the "Send Secret Thoughts" application anytime soon.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Rain in the cape

Yesterday we had rain so highveldlike which we don't often see here. Hail, thunder and lightning, and high volumes of rain in a short time. This picture is after the rain has been gone for at least half an hour, showing how the drain pipes can't handle the sheer volume of water. Fascinating and scary.

Kulula EMERGENCY Poolboy

I'm no amateur,
this is not toy.
I'm an expert in my field,
I'm emergency pool boy!
I'm a jet setter,
I'm a jet setter.

When H2O needs fixing,
Kulula is my ride,
if swimming pool is greener,
on the other side
I'm a jet setter.

I provide a personal service,
more personal than you think,
satisfaction is guaranteed,
nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Jet setter!

Love the advert, reminds me of Desperate Housewives.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beinjing Pollution? -- Cape Town

So Beijing has a lot of pollution... I believe it's pretty bad... but Cape Town's is pretty bad too if there is no wind blowing it all around.

That part there you can almost see... that is Table Mountain. There is a whole lot of mountain that you cannot see in the picture.

If you look carefully at this picture, you can see a mountain range (Stellenbosch's surroundings) on the right of the image... There is also, if you zoom about 300% onto the middle of the image, you'll be able to see a hint of it still there... but to the left of it it's totally obscured.

Cape Town is set to host quite a lot of games of the 2010 Fifa World Cup here, and if the Olympic committees had issues there, similar issues could be raised here.

We in Cape Town also need to get our act together in terms of pollution.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Card shark

My cousin tossed this card about 5m across the room (missing his target by about 50cm) only to have it peg into the banana. Pretty sweetly too. I found it a little bit frightning and visions of bullseye in daredevil came to mind, but cool enough to share.
Yes... We ate the banana afterwards.

Friday, August 08, 2008


When I drove to work this morning, I was driving behind a guy with a bakkie, with 2 dogs in the back. They were loving it. I know that Gary Larson in his Farside comics often thinks about what it would be like in our world had dogs (or cows, or flies, or other animals) been just like us --- almost.

Anyway, what fascinated me was (as dogs always do) how they wanted to keep their faces in the "wind". I suspect it has something to do with the wind otherwise bothering them in their ears, but maybe it just gives them a sense of freedom.

Another thing that fascinated me, is the fact that dogs, even though they do not really invent new technologies like cars, understand quite in real terms, the implications of these technologies. They know not to run in front of the car, or not to jump off the car while it's moving.

The last thing that fascinated me, is the interspecies relationships. Dogs and cats interact. Birds and hippo's have sybiotic relationships. But is there really times in the wild where species interact to such a way that we can really call it friendships? Interspecie relationships thus far is extremely rare... So two thumbs up for everyone of us with an interspecie relationship! :-)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What linux *must* change

I don't want this to be a tech blog, and it will never be... Anyway...

I've been an advanced computer user (programming, modifying, etc) for more than 20 years now. I've worked on Apple II, DOS (from 3.0-the end), several Windowses (95,98,2000,NT,XP,Vista), and several linux distros (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Red Hat, Gentoo). And there is this part on it that totally gets me confused and not wanting to explore...


Hello? Can't we use a "little" more descriptive names?

/bin Ok, so by now I know this is binaries... but which binaries? I'll tell you one thing... ALL the binaries are not there. (Also please note... not a recycle bin - shouldn't be "emptied".)
/boot is good. Like it keep it.
/cdrom... well, it's good enough on it's own... almost like D:\
/dev devices maybe? This isn't perhaps the development libraries? (I'm trying to convey a point...)
/etc well, this is where it all started. What is /etc? What's the difference between that and /usr... and /usr and /home? I've tried to explore it, but it's got about 2 gizillion "files" in it... Windows has "Program files" where the space messed everything up for the first 2 or three years... but one thing I can say is that it's descriptive.
/home I know now. It's good, and can stay. But what is /usr then?
/initrd I have no idea. Something with initialization. But it's not part of /boot.
/lib This I know is libraries. Thinking of it as a literal library may make it easier to accept the total levels of chaos in there... (sorted chaos, but to the untrained eye, it is chaos) *phew* and don't get me started with the cryptic library names.
/lost+found Well, at least it's descriptive. I have no idea how to use it... or what even goes in there. But it's descriptive.
/media This makes sense, and wasn't there years ago. It's a good addition. And in a way makes /cdrom unneccasary.
/mnt GRRRR... I know now (ok for about 12years now) what is a "mounted" device. But we have media now thank you... /mnt or /media... why both?
/opt I dunno... I think it's new from the old days, and I assume it's options. Why doesn't it then go into /home?
/proc Again... No idea. Procedures? Processes? No idea, never visited there.
/root Okay... I know what / is... /root? I assume it's root's /home folder?
/sbin ... Uhmmm /bin is binaries... sbin? No idea.
/srv This one is new to Hardy. I assume it's server stuff. Dunno, don't care.
/sys *sigh* what is in here? Must be "system" stuff... but what isn't covered in /dev /opt /proc /boot /initrd?
/tmp Now here's one I can identify and understand. We don't even need an "e" because the data is so temporary we don't have time for the "e". So /tmp can stay, I'll be forever grateful.
/usr Well... see the comments on /home and /etc
/var No idea... Variables?

A fresh windows (vista, XP, etc... /etc?) install has about 5-8 "folders" in the root. It "hides" all the stuff that I don't want to know about. And it all looks clean and understandable.

Please Mr. Shuttleworth or Mr. Torvalds, please, please can we make this part a bit easier?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well... they've got a decent concept. BUT I don't believe them that they don't use my private data. Because, I search for word vine (a really cool game) on CUIL, and it found (on an image)... Vine Trellis... a Magic: the gathering creature... Now I ask you, how did a search engine that doesn't poke around in my private data, know that I have an interest in Magic the gethering?

Another issue that bothers me... is the navy blue on black background. I like navy blue, and I especially like black as a background... but no... they don't go together well. I cannot read the "preferences" (If you select it with you mouse you can read it) link.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Irene drive in Somerset West

When I first arrived in the Western Cape this view made me understand what makes it special to stay here. You can see the whole peninsula, and on a clear day (like yesterday) the view takes my breath away. I'll post my first panoramic image now as well, don't know how well it will turn out... as it's a feature of the phone, and let's look at the result.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A quick review of Firefox 3.0

Well... I think it's... very much like the old one.

The look and feel has been changed a little, but not enough to make me feel uncomfortable with it, and also not enough to say it's a huge improvement. So

Look and feel : Still very good, +1 on the old one.

Size of download : Chunkier, so -2 on that. I liked the fact that firefox 2 was still small and lightweight. Firefox 3 is almost 8mb.

Ease of installation : Very easy... Just as any normal windows application. +0 (the old firefox was just as easy)

Ease of porting from old Firefox : Very easy... +2 (technically porting from the old Firefox is so easy you don't have to do it... but it gets +2 brownie points for getting all my addons for Firefox 3 (those that weren't compatible already)

So quick review...
+3 vs Firefox 2.
+8 (it should be a horizontal 8) vs IE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pre-arranged funeral

In KZN I found this window... What is a pre-arranged funeral? It sounds just a little bit below board...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Proclaim Allah?

Radio Tygerberg has never been a station I listen at all so forgive me any misinterpretations I might have here. It's their democratic right as much as it is mine to do whatever they think is good. I just have a feeling that christians will be much less tolerant of a booth in public mall stating "We proclaim Allah".

Vodacom poster

However much I enjoy wit and humor in advertisements, this one was maybe just a bit too graphic for me. I have to admit that it grabbed my attention when I saw it, as it speaks to how I believe many view their phones. However I've always been really uncomfortable with the idea of having any thing foreign in my body.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Music Evening

This is a "Potbrood" (pot bread) that we baked that day, and then I snatched this photo of the cat camping on the guitar case. Reminds me of the musicians of Bremen (? -- Help me if I have the place wrong).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sunset II

I drove a while to get this shot. It was taken on the Tierberg, and i got the light to play some tricks which was awesome. If I were rich then I'd like a spot up there, or maybe Plattekloof.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunrise II

The thing about sunrises in Cape Town, is that the mountains are in the way. So in a way the sun's angle on the earth is often not so perfect for nice sunrises, but we often have spectacular sunsets... However table mountain gets in the way in high summer periods.

Sunrise I

What I like about winter is the fact that I can sometimes rise early enough to appreciate a sunrise. As Pep I can get onto the roof and have a pretty decent view of the sunrises.


I finally got my phone's photo blogging feature to work, so i'm now posting all my pics i want to now.
These moths were just a little smaller than my hand... Unfortunately i don't have one where their (there were several) wings were opened more.

Cape town CBD tree hugger

This to me was just so cool. The tree was obviously put there a while back, and my best guess is because of prodominant wind forces it grew less straight than the original planters had hoped. What really caused me to take the picture, was the way the tree engulfs the barrier.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Black holes

I found this using StumbleUpon! and I thought it was awesome. I now understand much more, and it's a really cool flash (I think) learning experience.

By the way. I've now created a DaringApprentice blog, so I'll not be posting any more Daring Apprentice news here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Testing the email blogging feature


I am testing how the picture email blogging works, and just using a DA screenshot to do it.  (Old one at that!)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

No action on svn...

Yes... I've not posted another release recently. And here's why:
  • I've been seriously busy with work lately, but I think it will slow down in the next couple of weeks, so I'll get some extra time on it.
  • I've been assessing how to improve my model of the network communication, to be sending "objects" instead of a stringstream through.
    • I'm chatting to Almindor ( who will hopefully help me get that on track.
So I'll be posting my progress here, and letting you know on how things are shaping up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Daring Apprentice revision 76

Revision 76:
M : Changed the way "messages" were handled.
M : New tokens are immediately available on the dropdown after creation.
M : Changed Type2 decks to be really type 2.
UM : The deck/SB/RFG/Graveyard has moved
UF : You can now save the last camera coordinates and zoom
M : Some table creation on the server has been written

I guess the most important changes here are the fact that I now have actual Type 2 decks with it. :-)

I also moved the position of the deck/sb/ etc. to free up more space on the table, which I guess is significant.

Yeah... on the serverside... I am realising now why I've been setting it away... it's hard. :-)

I am creating the structures on the serverside at the moment, so nothing "visible" is happening (well with network stuff are never really visible), but I am working on the networking, and I have a second PC to my disposal which will hopefully make testing easier...

So hopefully within the next couple of releases you'll be able to upload your deck to the server... then hopefully in the next following those, we'll get the you to draw cards, and play them and so on... :-)

Then we'll implement it feature by feature...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Abe Sargent of the Kitchen table references Daring Apprentice

It is at best, just a quick reference, but it is an excellent prospect... although there isn't any actual links to any of the software mentioned. So I'll ask him to insert it, but I don't know if he can/will.

I should eat that frog and start getting multiplayer working. :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Programming DA...

I want to possibly change this blog a bit, towards something like the guy who does MTG Forge's blog.

I'll talk here about things I struggle to overcome, and how I did (or did not) overcome them.

Today, I'll discuss my "TfrmStringlist". This is my window that displays the graveyard/RFG/SB/Deck/"Top X cards" of the deck.

At the moment though... it displays only one of the above mentioned and that includes both players.

Only one window... that's the rule.

This can eventually become a problem though... as you may want to view your own, and your opponents graveyard to make a choice (etc.).

One solution I can think of at the moment is to have 1 of these per player (this will alleviate the above mentioned problem) but then you still can't view your graveyard and deck at the same time.

The next is to have 1 for each zone per player... this will be very memory intensive though, and I want to keep Daring Apprentice very "lightweight". :-/

Anyway, I'll let you know what I decided.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daring Apprentice revision 75

Lots of work, especially on the deck editor has gone in, but also important is that you can now play dredge decks a lot easier.

One of my objectives are to at least include 1 client/server item per release, so I get it done. It's my frog.

Please comment on the bolded change... I have no idea if there is ways in magic to send cards to the "non-owners" hand/deck/SB etc. (How does Booby trap work?)

If anyone reading this has got a or a digg account, please go ahead. :-)

Revision 75:
Fix : (Deckeditor) Deleting a card should not give an error.
Fix : (Deckeditor) After loading a deck, the cardtotals will now refresh.
UF : (Deckeditor) TAB doesn't stop in the card's oracle anymore.
Fix : (Main) Discarding the whole hand doesn't crash the game anymore.
M : (Server) Implemented a rudamentary Player and table type.
UF : Hand and token windows will now display the current player's name in the caption
M : Cards that are moved to zones, are now moved to their OWNER's zones, and not their Controller's.
This implies you cannot send something he doesn't own to his hand/grave/rfg/top of deck etc.
Fix : Zones now update even if they are open while you send cards there.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Daring Apprentice revision 70

Revision 70:
UA : Alt-S in the deckeditor now adds a card to the sideboard
UA : (Option) You can set the max length (in chars) of the card name (before going adding "...") (Default = 15) (0 = Show everything)
U : Cards are now created not so close to each other.
U : Tokens are created next to each other just as normal cards.
U : You can now create your own token types... (you'll have to edit the Options.ini file).
MB : Tried to fix some memory leaks...
BUG : Icons are loaded until one breaks it... currently on my machine I get none... :-( (I think this came in 69 already)
UA : If you shift-click on the "Set Life" button (on the toolbar) you'll get "Adjust life by:" instead of "Set life to:".
M : Changed the shuffling a bit. (Technically, just shuffling a bit more "systematic")

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Inno Setup

Inno Setup is probably the leader when it comes to installers.

And it's open source too.

If you ever want to distribute your own creations, Inno is for me the best there is.

Written in Delphi, it's keeping up with the world, being compatible with *gasp* even Vista... Not even Vista is compatible with Vista. So that' s saying a lot.

Daring Apprentice Solo mode (alpha) is out

Daring Apprentice, has developed in leaps and bounds, and are now actually useful!


One issue is still lingering on the Deck editor (and maybe lots more?), but further than that the tabletop is coming along really well, and solo mode testing is here!

If you're into Magic: The Gathering (mtg) then go grab it!

The latest SVN are available at