2012 — The year that was and looking forward to 2013

2012 was one of those years that was not that bad (well the world did not end) at all but I cannot say that it was great either.  So what happened during the year:

  • Work — I changed jobs.  I started the year off working for Fundamo/VISA and during the first half decided to make a change.  I got an offer from Internet Solutions and accepted the offer and started working for them on 1 July.  Must say that it was probably the best decision I made all year.  I have a great team and IS is a great company to work for and I am very excited to be part of them.  To see how the internet in SA operate is a real eye opener and I believe over next year or so we will see lots of change particularly around Fibre and wireless technologies like LTE and WiBand. 
  • Children – My son completed his Chemical Engineering degree at Stellenbosch University and obtained his degree on 13 December.  Was a very proud moment for myself and I am so proud of my son.  He is now looking for work but it is tough going so if anybody has some contact or know of something, then please contact me and let me know.  My daughter is still studying for her B.Sc (Human Sciences) degree and hope to complete next year.  I am so lucky to have 2 great kids that is doing very well.
  • Personal – My son was in an accident with my car and the car was written off, my son was fine.  This meant that I had to go car hunting and eventually decide on a Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Sedan and must say that I am very surprised how well it is behaving.  It has all the bells and whistles as standard and after driiving it for about 8 months, I do not have any complaints.  Little bit loose on the road in windy conditions but I have now got used to it with all the wind here in Cape Town.
  • Social – On the social front nothing realy changed.  Now that work has been sorted out and children are mostly done with studies, I want to spend some more time in 2013 socially and have a more balanced life.  Time to meet new people and make new friends.
  • I have to add something (and the people that know me will enjoy this) about technology.  2012 was the year I started using a Mac (MacBook Pro 13inch) and must say, I am getting used to it and it is way better than Windows I used for work.  I am a Linux person and the Mac allows me to still get to the underbelly where I can tinker and where I still have some control over what I do on my machine.  On the cellphone side, I upgrade to a HTC One X and am very happy with the phone itself.  However I am very disappointed with the support from HTC South Africa particularly in rolling out Android Jelly Bean to their user in South Africa.

I am looking forward to 2013 and make it the year where I spend more time on myself and what is important to me. I do not make new year resolutions since we break them in any case.  I just want it to be a year of happiness and prosperity.  Oh and hopefully will get some time to take out my golf clubs and get on the course again.  This is something I realy neglected in 2012.

To all my friends, family and whomever read this, I wish you all the best for 2013 and may it be a great year.

Alive and Kicking

For those few that are still reading and following this blog, I am still alive and kicking. I am just very busy at the moment with my new job which I started at the beginning of July, can you believe, almost 3 months already.

It has been a hectic 3 months spending some time finding my feet and learning all about the ISP and Internet provisioning industry and keeping big clients connected. It is amazing how everything is urgent and need to be done yesterday.

Hope to get back at blogging soon again.

Eventually — change of theme.

After years of using the same theme which does not support widgets, I have decided to eventually update my theme and join the new world order.  You might see some changes over the next couple of days until I have decided on a look and what works for me. I want to keep it simple.

If you happen to find something that does not look correct or has broke then please let me know via the comments.  Suggestions are also more than welcome.

Update — so what has happened – changing jobs?

I have not been blogging much over the past couple of months, mainly due to being so busy and tied up in my previous job.

Yes, you heard me correct, previous job.  I have left Fundamo/VISA (well offiicially only at the end of the month, currently on leave for 2 weeks) and will be starting at Internet Solutions in a permanent role on 1 July.  Fundamo was and stil is a great company to work for and I will follow their progress as a VISA company closely and see how they adapt being part of a big American company. If I can leave one bit off advice behind then it is to sometime sit back and look at the bigger picture and to not try and jump in head first trying to satisfy the customer at the cost of your own people.

Although the new role is also in Project Management, it will be a totally new experience and challenge working in the infrastructure/connectivity field rather than pure software development.  I will be based at IS Cape Town office but will be travelling to Johannesburg on a regular basis, in fact, I will see the Jhb office even before the CT office since I will be spending my first week in Jhb. 

On a personal note, the last year was very stresfull and life/work balance was about non-existant.  I will strive to change that over the next couple of months to return to a more balanced life and spending more time with my family and friends.  I have really neglected some of my friends and that is something I want to change.

Oh and I will try to blog a little bit more, on this personal blog and also my technical one.

PayCity.co.za major Fail .. my experience over the past couple of week – #fail #paycity

As it happens to most of us, we tend to drive to fast from time to time and pick up some traffic fines that needs to be paid.  In the past there was a site www.payfines.co.za which worked just great and one could easity pay one’s files.

During November 2011 I got 2 fines on the same day (be carefull when you in Stellenbosch) and I tend to let it lie till the second notice before I pay the fines.  Why should I give my hard earned money to somebody else if I can hang onto it.

During March when I wanted to pay my fines, www.payfines,co.za did not exist anymore and was redirected to www.paycity.co.za.The first issue I had was that I had to re-register since my payfines.co.za registration did not work anymore. I did the register part and had to email some documentation to get activated which was done and a couple of days later my access was given.

When one sign’s into the site the following screen is presented:

When you select the “View and pay your traffic fines” (marked in red above), the correct list of outstanding fines are listed to be paid:

Selecting what fines to pay and clicking the PAY NOW button works as should be.  One is presented with the input fields to make your payment via Credit Card as expected.

After entering all the Credit Card details and click the PAY NOW button, everting just fails:

Clicking OK removes the Dialog box but the site just hangs and the only way to recover is to close the site totally.

This has now been going on for more than 2 weeks.  I contacted PayCity.co.za vie email, telephone and even twitter but have not received a satisfactory response at all.  I did get a response via Twitter

As can be seen, this was more than 3 days ago and the PayCity.co.za system is still not working.  I am glad I do not depend on the system to buy electricity or some critical service since the service and quality of their site is pathetic.  Payment integration services are not difficult to do and if they do not know how then I highly recommend that they get somebody that can sort their problems out.

The irony is that in the latest TygerBurger (dated 4 April 2012), PayCity GM Jean-Claude Allegrucci claims how much money people can save by using their service.  Mr Allergrucci, before making claims like that, please ensure that your site is working like advertised and provide a decend and acceptable service if something goes wrong.

Off to go pay my fines the manual way at some counter or if you aware of another online service which will allow me to successfully pay my Stellenbosch fines, then please let me know in the commenst.

Mega Millions Lottery won — oh crap I have missed out.

The Mega Millions lottery was apparently won by someone from Maryland, USA. Just imagin what you would be able to do with that lottery in rands.  If you were a lucky South African that won the lottery then you had the following options:

  1. Take a one time $462million — that is R3.533billion … should keep you going for a couple of years.
  2. or you can take the full amount of $640million in 26 yearly payments — that will give you a annual income of about R188.25million for the next 26 years.

Since no South African has won this, you might try your luck with the National Lottery tonight which is standing at a cool R40million.  I can do with that R40million .. will keep me going for a while.

Studying again — at my age: Udacity

Today I want to talk about Udacity, a online Univercity if you like and I quote:

We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.

Currently they are running 2 cources

  • CS 101: BUILDING A SEARCH ENGINE
  • CS 373: PROGRAMMING A ROBOTIC CAR

I have enrolled for both but not sure whether I will have the time for the Robotic one.  

I have just completed the first week of the Search Engine one and must say that I enjoyed the way it was teached and the pace at which it was run.  I even did the homework assignment so am eagerly awaiting on how I did with my homework. The course is presented as a series of videos with questions and exercise throughout.  The interactivity is well done and it even has a browser based Python interpretor, so one does not need to install anything on one’s computes.

The course is using Python to build a search engine, I come from a Sofware Development background with years of C, C++ and PHP behind me but has never realy learned Python.  Also just like to mention that I am over 50 years old so studying is a new experience again but as they say, one is never to old to learn.  

Looking forward to receiving my homework assignment result and week 2 of the course.