GeekDinner Stellenbosch

Last night was the first Stellenbosch GeekDinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it, mostly because of the venue.

Lovane Boutique Wine Estate was gorgeous and perfect. It’s on the Cape Town side of Stellenbosch so you can get out of the city after work and be sipping wine on the balcony overlooking the vineyards while the sun is still out.

Best of all was the food. A sirloin steak buffet with a mushroom sauce and tons of veggies and a green salad. Dessert was homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce. It was delectable in its simplicity. Something that the GeekDinners have been missing out on since we were at Mell’s Kitchen. The meal was perfectly paired with the bottle of wine had been generously placed on our table by Perdeberg.

Which brings me to a point about food. My partner is a chef. Her life is food and she’s incredibly fussy about getting food perfect… As a result I have eaten some pretty amazing meals ranging from the utterly sublime to french toast.

Perfection turns out to be very hard, even for the simple things. How do you fry a perfect egg? How is the perfect roast chicken prepared?

What any chef who truly knows their craft will tell you, if they’re being honest, is something that any good drummer will also tell you. To really impress, perfect the basics, keep it simple and introduce your own subtle flare to hook the person eating (or listening).

Complicated rhythms that mix 3 time signatures and require super human levels of coordination only impress drumming nerds. Also, making food too complicated before you’ve perfect the basics is like taking part in the 100m sprint before you’ve learnt to walk and too much complexity will just taste like noise to most people, even the “experts”.

Lovane got it right. They got the basics right and they had their own subtle touches which finished it all off nicely. The price was perfect, the venue was perfect. I just need to return to see if their wines are perfect!

If you’ve got a function and need a venue for around 55 people I can thouroughly reccommend Lovane.


Jonathan says it best

Normally I would write a little thing about the upcoming geekdinner, but Jonathan Hitchcock said it better.


The ancient Greeks thought that the rainbow was the messenger of the
gods, and named it “iris”. From this, we get the Iris flower (which
blooms in a variety of colours), and the iris in our eyes (which is
the coloured part). As happens in language, this word gave birth to a
daughter, “iridescent”, which means “brilliant, lustrous, or colourful
in appearance”.

The Iceplant, is, like, a sort of fig.

So, I’d like to announce the ninth Cape Town GeekDinner, named
Iridescent Iceplant, which will be held on Thursday the 31st of July,
at Da Capo Restaurant, in Green Market Square. I want to say that
it’s starting at 5:30, so that you tardy Capetonians will arrive at
6:30 for 7, because that’s when it’s really starting.

Those details are on the wiki page, where you can also see the logo
for this dinner, which should remind you of that time you saw Joseph
and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat:

Please sign up if you’re coming, and please remove yourself if you’re
not – the venue’s a little cosier than most, so seating will be
limited. Also, if you’ve got something interesting to talk about, let
us know, we always need talks. The page will be updated as we get
closer to the dinner.

Hoping to see you there,

Blog title goes here

So much going on, so little time to blog about it.

  • Going away this weekend… super stoked about that.
  • HPT is moving along slowly. A comrade set up a bazaar repository which we’re now using to share code. Probably going to sprint a large portion of it out next weekend. If you’re a python coder, know stuff about making facebook apps and are looking for something fun to do let me know.
  • Uploaded my sailing pics a few days ago…
  • Because everyone seems to think that other people care about the slides they used for a presentation, here are my slides on the talk I gave at the last GeekDinner called “Five ways to live like a Capetonian” [pdf]
  • If anyone knows any good way to repeatedly mount SMB or NFS shares in OSX (after reboot) please let me know.
  • My site will be moving to a new box in Europre soon… ZA bandwidth costs are a pain.
  • My friend rolled his had his landy rolled by someone else over the weekend but has yet to give me any more details other than a link to the pictures… Which means he’s probably pissed off with himself and doesn’t want to talk about it waiting to calm down before talking about it. Eish.
  • Started using Alarm Clock 2 to wake me up in the morning. It’s a neat little app because it can wake up your macbook and does the whole fade in the music thing. Funny how the commercial 50MB competitor doesn’t seem to allow me to set up a repeat alarm or specify which days of the week I want it to run on.
  • “Installed” a UPS on my friends office server a few days ago. Ubuntu detected it and Gnome Power Manager let me set what I wanted to happen when… without installing anything. Toit.
  • I tend to spend more time in my virtual Ubuntu on my macbook than I do in OSX. Attempted to install ubuntu natively over the weekend but it was such a ball-ache I stopped. Dear Lazy-Web, please make an Ubuntu distro tailored for MacBooks.


Things that make me smile…

Ever have one of those weeks when you just can’t stop smiling because the world is just being so damn inspirational?

Ok, so here’s my list of things I am currently happy about:

minicards.jpg1. My Moo Cards arrived: You have no idea how friggen happy I am with them. Moo is an inspirational company and yes, I would even consider living in London to be able to work there and learn from the Moo’inistas. Since everyone wanted to know, they cost $19.99 (R145) for 100 cards. Next time you see me ask for a moo card. I’ve even made my first Moo friend.

2. Civil Twilight made my day: So a couple of days ago I got a message on facebook to say that there was a CD waiting for me in Hout Bay… Apparently I was on the “list” of complementary CDs… getting a free CD is much more of a big deal when there are probably only a few in the country at the moment. Thanks boys. Much Appreciated! The album is awesome, my only fear is that I might wear out the CD. Check out their other video.

Civil Twilight Press Pics3. Mix two of my favourite things…: If I was into American football I could have called this one “mix three of my favourite things” because one of Civil Twilight’s songs, ‘Human’ will be featured on this Sunday’s special Superbowl episode of ‘House’ guest starring Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino. House is one of my favourites… so is Civil Twilight. Mira is ok. 😉

4. An awesome GeekDinner: The 6th GeekDinner took place in the cosy Sloppy Sams. I was MC for the evening and really enjoyed it. About 70 of us crammed into the tiny little restaurant and had an absolute blast. Thanks to everyone who helped out.

5. Friends: I guess it goes without saying that friends are important, but recently I’ve been finding my friends to be more than just important, they’ve been critical. Sometimes your friends can give you the kick in the bum you need to get your ducks in a row… Other times they just need to be there to make you laugh. Some friends are their to guide you, others to chide you and still others just to make you feel good about yourself. Tonight I’m going to see kitty! My long lost kitty from London!… Super stoked.

6. Synchronicity: A while back I was looking for a maid/domestic worker/housekeeper whatever you want to call them. I asked around the apartment building I live in and someone suggested an awesome woman called Nokulunga who’s been my angel for the past few months. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to come home to a clean apartment every friday. Anyways, the reason I’m mentioning this is because she’s looking for somewhere to work on mondays. She comes highly recommended.

7. Last but not least: As some of you may know, I’ve been seeing someone recently. Anything I say here will be dripping with cheese and I’d rather not put you all through that. Maybe I’ll just say yay!

The positive power of a brand and a strong community

About 5 days ago we officially announced the upcoming GeekDinner… We’d left things a bit last minute because of everyone getting back to work late in Jan etc.

Anyways, cut to the chase, its been 5 days and we already have our quota of 70+ people on the wiki. As usual we had our original stalwarts; the addicts who added themselves 2 months ago when the new dinner’s page was created (before we had a date or venue), but we’ve picked up about 40 people in 4 days. (Not counting the maybes)

Capetonians are crap at arriving at things they say they’ll go to so we have quite a high last minute drop out rate; sometimes as high as 20% against the number on the wiki. It’s fine because that allows us to go over the venues allotted 70 seats. We’re currently on 72 “confirmed” with 13 “maybes”. I think we can safely let the “confirmed” number get to about 90 before we create a “waiting list”. ie. If you haven’t already done so, go sign up now.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that we have a brand and a community that’s growing and making it easier and easier for us to put these things together. We’re always looking for people to lurk/participate on the planning mailing list, so if you feel like lurking, and perhaps maybe helping with some stuff, join the list.

Frugal Fennel

GeekDinner Time.

Ok, so if you’ve never been to a GeekDinner, why not make 2008 the year when you start going. It’s hugely fun and can possibly maybe be a little bit educational… Did I mention that at the last GeekDinner we discussed what to do if the Queen of England happens to start flirting with you on Facebook?

31 January 2008, Sloppy Sams, 51a Somerset Road, Greenpoint. 19:00ish

It’s open to everyone, all ages, all genders and all levels of technical innefficiency.

As usual, sign up on the wiki.

I should blog more… GeekDinner 5 – Eccentric Eggplant

GeekDinner 5 - Eccentric EggplantNo really, I should. I have a really good blog post chomping at the proverbial bit… Even Adrian would approve. (probably not, but a man can have hope)

Anyway, it’s GeekDinner time again, and this one, “Eccentric Eggplant” promises to be a good’un for two reasons… Firstly, I might finally be able to get Derek the marketing guru to do his now – way – too – over – hyped – and – yet – not – delivered – on speil – about – the – old – world – vs – new – world – advertising, and secondly, but most certainly not leastly, my friend Jennie will be talking about her experiences in the world of game development. Yes, she’s a real girl, and yes, she’s a real game developer currently working on something to do with Maya and the Wii. (I like how that rhymes with Maya The Bee).

Sign up here

Later, Aligator!


Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Release Party


Hi All

The “Ubuntu 7.10 – Gutsy Gibbon” Cape Town Release Party has been finalised.

The venue has been set as Cantina Tequila in the Waterfront. We’ll be
outside in the sun on the benches (which are undercover and heated in
case the weather gets crap).

Be there at 2pm for 2:30pm this Sunday (21 October).

Cantina Tequila is “under” the big flagpole in the waterfront facing the water.

If you *still* can’t find it you can give me (Jonathan E) a call on
082 xxx xxxx.




ps. Mail me arbitraryuser at gmail dot com to rsvp.

The next geekdinner… Dangerous Drumstick

The next in the series of awesome get-together-and-talk-all-things-geek geekdinners is on Thursday the 27th of September at Summerville in Camps Bay.

Amongst other great talks, my friend Derek will hopefully get to share a bit about his experiences running an online business… A subject that usually wouldn’t be all that interesting except for the fact that Derek is/was a big time old-school marketing director type person for airlines, hotels and large travel consortiums spending multi-million budgets on traditional media marketing… Only to get better results out of his kitchen and some well thought out online advertising.

The wiki is still where it’s always been. Sign up there.



GeekDinner – Carnivorous Cantaloupe

Another successful GeekDinner is in the bag…

Last night around 70 of Cape Town’s coolest geeks converged on Krugmann’s in the V&A Waterfront and ate, drank and discussed geeky things like wireless meshes and selling wine on the interwebs. I’ll leave it up to more neutral people to say whether or not it was a success but I certainly enjoyed myself.

David Carman spoke about building a wireless mesh in Scarborough… his talk was excellent… I’m very interested in the technical elements of wireless communications but the thing that “got” me the most was the fact that they are providing internet access to kids in the township. I don’t care what authority you’re from and what laws you want to twist to “get your way”, but if you want to take Wikipedia away from underprivileged kids you’re going to have to do so after ripping the CAT5 cable out of my cold, dead hands.

Next up was Ian Gilfillan who essentially told us that, even though he is now an International MySQL superstar, he didn’t get rich doing so.

Alan Levin talked about peering… Alan is a great speaker who did his best to ignore Wizzy’s heckling. It’s comforting to know that we should soon have cheaper international bandwidth in this country, and morally reprehensible (what’s new?) that the government and Telkom have set it up in a way that it’ll still cost an arm and a leg because some irrelevant middle man has the “rights” to sell it at some archaic price as previously defined by Telkom. BMW X5 much? (Alan, did I get the corruption chain right?)

Johann Wegner of (our fabulous wine sponsor) was up next and talked about the challenges of selling wine online. His sidekick (what was his name), Sam Paddock, gave a more in depth technical discussion about how they actually do it. Very interesting…

Finally we had Aslam Khan telling us how wonderful PHP and Pretoria are. Actually, he talked about Behaviour Driven Development… a talk which for some reason the two non-technical people I brought along seemed to enjoy the most… perhaps because he used the dog.getBody().getTail().wag() vs dog.expressHappiness() analogy. Aparently non-techies like dog analogies.

I’d like to personally thank:

  • You guys for rocking up!
  • Antoine for hooking us up with sound and a projector.
  • SimplyAV, an excellent AV company that I would seriously recommend you contact if you need AV – (021) 782-5100.
  • GetWine for providing the Wine.
  • Krugmann’s for hosting us.
  • The other GeekDinner organisers.

Finally, just a little punt. These things don’t organise themselves and we’ve got it to the point that it’s actually quite easy to put together. PLEASE, if you have any inclination for helping us organise a future GeekDinner, sign up to the GeekDinner Planning list. We don’t mind if you lurk.

There’s also the announce list which everyone should join so that you know when these things happen. The list traffic is extremely low, about 1 email a month. Finally, for those of you who have succumbed, there is a Facebook group.

Cheers, see you at the next GeekDinner.



ps. The photos and the very bad recording (something went wrong) will be available some time over the weekend.