Blogging about Wave

Have just received an invitation to Google Wave. Included in the invite was 8 invites I can share with other people. I have invited 2 other people so that I can at least try and test out what Google Wave is all about. But from what I have gathered, the activating of one’s invites is a manual process and can take a while. I see that I have 2 other Contacts that is using Wave — Paul and Nafisa, I might just include you in some stuff I play with to see how it works 🙂  If there is anybody out there that is using Wave and want to add me to your Waves to experiment/play with some stuff, then you are more than welcome.

I used Google Wave to write this blog post, but had to manually add it to my blog. It would be nice if there was an Extention in Wave to integrate with one’s blogging platform and one can post directly to one’s blog.

One thing that I found that does not work is CNTRL-Z (undo) in the editor. Would have thought that something like this would work. CNTRL-C and CNTRL-V does work.

I will be back when I have mastered some of what Wave has to offer and give my opinion on it.
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Pigeon – 1; Telkom – 0

As mentioned in a previous post, a Pigeon raced against Telkom today to transfer 4GB of data over a distance of about 70km.

To no-one’s (well maybe the management of Telkom 🙂 ) surprise, Winston, the pigeon won by a lot of bandwidth to spare.  It took Winston only 2 hours 6 minutes and 57 seconds to transfer the data from Howick to Hillcrest.

Congrats to Winston, hope he got a nice bowl of yummy seeds to munch on.  The question now remains – will carrying data between Howick and Hillcrest become Winston’s full-time job. 

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Blog survived due to Pigeon Race – got Slashdotted :)

Looking at my blog stats this morning, I almost fell off my chair.  To give you some idea, the traffic on this blog is less than 50 pageviews (around 40 visitors) a day and yesterday and overnight it skyrocketed due to a Pigeon I wrote about.

The Pigeon article alone has almost 4000 views at the moment and here is some graphs that show my blog traffic over the past couple of days:

Blue: Pageviews – Yellow: Visitors
From:  Google Analystics

This is from WordPress Statistics.

So where did the traffic come from:

Yes, as can be seen, I got Slashdotted and my blog survived.  Here is the story on Slashdot: It was even on the front page of Slashdot for a while.

What I am really glad about is that I moved this blog not so long ago to a new host.  If this was the old host, it surely would not have survived.  My new host, Dreamhost, handle this kind of traffic without any problems.

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Pigeon beats ADSL handsdown .. classic.

I found this via Watkykjy and it is classic.  I am quoting the whole letter verbatim:

Hi Guys/Gals

We are having a bit of fun at the expense of our favourite telecoms provider Helkom. Let me explain. We have satellite call centres which are connected via business ADSL’s to our main data centre. As usual these connections where very unstable and extremely slow. This caused a huge amount of frustration for us as we need to move voice logs(100’s of megabytes) a day up to our main databases for QA and legal purposes. Our company runs on sales and without voice logs we have no binding contract between us and the customer. So they are pretty essential.

Anyway I read a Aprils fools white paper about Avian carrier networks a couple of years ago. Basically it is a protocol that uses racing pigeons as a network layer. This got me thinking about how fast we can transfer the data by racing pigeon. I discussed this idea with my CIO one night having a couple of drinks. When we did the math we found out that we can transfer the data faster by pigeon for certain sites. So we made a project of it. Next week Wednesday is Pigeon VS ADSL day here at the unlimited world. We have the media involved so check the Sunday times for a article on this event.

Basically we will be flying a pigeon with a 4GB micro SD card from Howick to our central site in Hillcrest. We did a dry run yesterday. Here is the stats: Pigeon took 48 minutes to deliver the data. ADSL is still downloading. Telkom got hold of this via the media and is currently in a flat spin. We got a call from Telkom asking us for our circuit numbers so they can make sure we have good service.

Here is the best part. We spend +/- R 45000 a month just on rental for these lines. If we moved to the Avian Carrier Network we will be saving a whopping R 35 000 a month.

Check out the facebook group, do a search for Winston the pigeon on facebook. Also watch the local press for some tongue in cheek articles about our great Helkom.


PS: The Original White Paper is located here:

Also check this link for more info:

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Wat was jou eerste rekenaar?

Na aanleiding van ‘n inskrywing van Jo-Ann waar sy praat oor haar eerste rekenaar, het ek dit goed gedink om bietjie te skryf oor myne.  En hier gaan ek sekerlik my ouderdom weggee en die jonklomp van vandag gaan nie ‘n “clue” hê waaroor ek praat nie.

My eerste rekenaar het ek aangeskaf in, ek dink 1978.  Dit was nog die dae voor PC’s.  Dit was ‘n Apple II wat min of meer so gelyk het.

Daai skerm wat julle daar sien was groen gewees en dit het een of ander vorm van Basic gehad.  Die floppy drives was, ek dink, 128KB en ek het net een gehad.  Ek kan nog onthou dat ek ‘n huis finansies program geskryf het en ‘n hele 3 kopers gehad vir die ding.

My volgende rekenaar het ek in 1981 aangeskaf en die was ‘n IBM PC wat in Suid Afrika gemaak is met die naam Psion.  Dink hulle bestaan lank nie meer nie.  Hierdie rekenaar met 2 floppy drives and 640KB geheue het my seker naby die R8000 uit die sak gejaag wat baie geld in daai dae was — geen hardeskyf nie.

Vandag staan hier 3 rekenaars, waarvan een ‘n laptop is, in my huis.  En alles is genetwerk en met die druk van ‘n knopiie kan mens basies enigiets in die hande kry. 

Die beste ding wat verander het vanaf 1980, toe daai PC, DOS op gehad het en later Windows, is dat daar geen Microsoft/Windows op enig van my rekenaars is nie en dat alles wettig is en my nie ‘n sent gekos het nie.  Ja ek gebruik net Linux (Ubuntu), by die huis en by die werk.

Laat hoor van julle wat julle eerste rekenaar was en wat julle vandag gebruik.

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Installing original (Gold) Windows XP on new PCI/PCI-e based motherboard

I was asked to install Windows XP on a new PCI/PCI-e based machine.  I tried to convince the person to install Ubuntu but since this person is a photographer, she wanted Photoshop. Yes I did explain that GIMP can do everything Photoshop can do.

I only had an original (Gold) Windows XP and when trying to install this on a new PCI/PCI-e machine, the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) happens.

Here is how to solve:

  • Ideal solution – convince the person to install Linux (Ubuntu).
  • Easy solution – find a Windows XP install disk that includes either Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3.
  • If you do not have that then you will have to make your own Service Pack slipstreamed Windows XP install disk.  I had a copy of Service Pack 3 lying around and this is what I had to do:
    Follow the instructions at to create the install disk.  Be sure to follow the instructions to the T, particularly the one that say something about Emulating a Floppy in Nero when you burn the CD.  If you leave that default, the CD will not Boot.

This slipstreamed CD should boot fine and the Windows install should now go through without BSOD.  It still boggles my mind that the original Windows XP (even with SP 1) did not know anything about PCI interfaces.

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From 2 Windows XP machines to 3 Ubuntu machines

Around September last year I got a new work laptop – Lenovo T60.  IBM, for whom I work, gives one the choice of what OS to run on the desktop ie Windows or some Linux flavor. Oh and some people actually do run Macs also.  The Linux is either Red Hat, Fedora, OpenSuse or Ubuntu.  My choice was Ubuntu.

Getting Ubuntu installed and running with all I need to get my job done within IBM took about 40 minutes.  Inside IBM we have our own APT repositories with various layer packages that install the appropriate packages and applications to get everything up and going.

Now about 5 months later I have no regrets.  Having a working machine in about 30 seconds after boot is just great.  No more BSOD’s, viruses and/or trojans to really worry about and just a more stable and productive envirionment.

At home I also had Windows XP on some very old hardware that ran very slow.  Since my laptop experience was so good, I decided, what the hell, lets totally get rid of Windows.  Now my machine at home is also running Ubuntu and it is doing it so much faster than before.  In the mean time I got another desktop and this is runing Kubuntu

To be honest, I have not gotten used to Kubuntu so I do not know how long my second machine is going to run Kubuntu.  I just prefer Ubuntu and finding my way around it, is just so much easier.  And the fact that Dropbox does not work on Kubuntu is a real pain.  Oh and not being able to share my floders on Kubuntu with my Ubuntu machine is not great either.  To be honest I did not really try to find a solution for this yet so it is probaly only something stupid I did or did not do.

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Ubuntu: Add/Remove Programs listing is blank

This is just for my reference since it happened a couple of times when I open Add/Remove Programs and find the listing to be blank. If you encounter this then here is the solution to fix it.

Do the following:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-app-install
sudo apt-get install gnome-app-install apturl ubufox ubuntu-desktop

You should now have a fully operational Add/Remove

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