• My first tweet

    My first tweet When I first started this blog, I started with a self-referential piece . There I covered snail mail, fax, email, Usenet News and instant messaging (AIM and others). Since then I have been blogging, and I have stats on what people look at. My most popular posts appear to be those on Zulu weddings, and my visitto the school where One Laptop per Child was launched in Nigeria.
  • Centre for High performance computing in Cape Town

    Last month I started a contracting job with the Marine Remote Sensing Unit - a collaboration between the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and University of Cape Town. I have some history in parallel processing, mostly with Inmos, a British microelectronics company that built the Transputer, a ground-breaking microprocessor of the 1980s. I had been looking for an opportunity to work at the CHPC for a while, and took the chance when an opening arrived via the clug-work mailing list run by the Cape Town Linux Users Group.
  • Kiwix - enabling offline copies of wikimedia projects

    Wikimedia projects, including the flagship English Wikipedia, have been restricted in access to people with internet access. kiwix is opening that up, via its offline reader. I have blogged before about kiwix - this article is an effort to tell other people how to do the same. Kiwix is a cross-platform reader of zim files. Zim is an open, standardised file format to store Wiki content efficiently for offline usage. It is compressed (LZMA), with fast resolution of inter-article links.
  • Using Freeradius with Mikrotik wireless routers

    I inherited a wireless setup of three Mikrotik routers in the roof of a set of office suites in Cape Town, South Africa. They were connected to an ADSL router, but the owners problem was there was no accountability on usage. Mikrotik Mikrotik make a numberof Single-board computers, known as “Routerboard"s, and licence a proprietary operating system called RouterOS for use on these boards. This was my first time to come across the Routerboards, and I like them.
  • Zimbabwe sanctions

    I was invited to participate in BBCWorld Service ‘Africa have your say’ call-in programme to discuss Zuma’s request to Gordon Brown that sanctions be lifted. I was given 30 seconds very near the end of the programme, and I handled it poorly. This post is to make up for it :) Africa have your say I have blogged about Zimbabwe here before. the bbc programme was prompted by Jacob Zuma’s official visit to the UK, and his request for the lifting of Zimbabwe’s sanctions.
  • Kiwix install at Kwena Malapo school Johannesberg

    Kiwix, an offline wikipedia selection, is installed at Kwena Malapo school. I have blogged before about creating offline copies of wikipedia for use in school computer labs that do not have internet access. Wikimedia, the umbrella organisation behind wikipedia and other related projects, is also keenly interested in offline uses of wikipedia. From November through January, the offline taskforce had a series of IRC meetings where we attempted to answer questions relating to the use of these offline copies.
  • Jacob Zuma: president of South Africa

    Jacob Zuma has made no meaningful stamp on the history of South Africa. I have blogged about Jacob Zuma’s rise to power in the ANC before. I am reminded of Winnie Mandela’s response when asked for comment about Thabo Mbeki’s re-election bid in 1999 - she said he “deserved another chance”. I am sorry - “deserve” is a strange modern word like “it’s not fair!” -creation of a concept that did not exist 100 years ago.
  • Jazz in Cape Town

    Cape Town boasts a wide variety of Jazz, with the calendar centred around the Cape Town Jazz Festival, on the 3rd and 4th April thisyear. My introduction was via Monday Night Jam sessions at Swingers, which I found in late 2006. (Others have blogged about Swingers as well). Swingers can be found at 1 Wetwyn Road, Ottery - such a short road that you cannot miss it. GPS location :- 34.
  • Climate change and personal responsibility

    The Copenhagen Climate Change conference opens next week. It is the 15th major meeting since the start at the Earth Summit in1992 in Rio de Janeiro. Along the way we had the Kyoto Protocolin 1997 and an attempt to extend the Kyoto Protocol at the Earth Summit in Montreal in 2005. Copenhagen Very few of the meetings around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have produced any tangible results - but next week’s conference in Copenhagen is shaping up to be a bruiser.
  • Offline copies of wikipedia

    I have been involved for a number of years with Hilton Theunissen and the Shuttleworth Foundation and their efforts to bring computers to township schools. A part of that software suite was an offline copy of wikipedia. Early attempts I have blogged before about my own project Wizzy Digital Courier putting thin client labs down in South African classrooms. That also included a copy of the english language wikipedia. Initially in 2003 I took the whole of the then-existing English wikipedia, installed a copy of the mediawiki software in conjunction with mysql and apache as database and webserver respectively.
  • Ukweshwama - Zulu bull-killing ritual

    Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has a number of ceremonies conducted at his palace in Nongoma, his only traditionally-built palace. Zulu ceremonies Zwelithini, the sixth zulu king since Shaka and his brothers carved out a piece of South Africa for themselves in the mid-1800’s, is the first one to have to deal with the modern media and concepts like Human Rights. He has a bull-killing ritual, scheduled this year for December 5.
  • What is a racist?

    Living in South Africa, this is a much-overused term, derogatory, harking back to the Apartheid era. In my opinion, it indicates a strange paucity of the English language in a very necessary area. Let me start with a lot of my own opinions of words I have used in Africa, starting at primary school in Kenya. kali Aged 6, a critical, central word in our vocabulary was kali, loan word from kiSwahili, that (like most swahili words) had broad, multiple meanings.