District 9

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Just came back from seeing the District 9 movie. It’s made of pure awesome. I think it’s the best Sci-fi movie since 2001: A space Odyssey. It’s everything it was promised to be and more. I didn’t expect there to be so much humour though, the movie started off very light-hearted with really good humour which steadily turned more serious.

I’m also pleasantly surprised at how South African they managed to keep the movie, considering it is aimed at an international audience. They actually used fake SABC news footage (and fake fake network footage), instead of just using fake CNN footage etc (which probably would’ve been too expensive to license anyway). Many of the characters in the movie also came from the SABC soap opera Isidingo. There’s some South-Africanisms that the international audience won’t get, but they’re quite subtle, like when the protagonist shouted “jou doos!”. They even threw in a “fork & knife” joke.

I could relate to the alien Christopher. My second name is Cristopher and I’ve also spent lots of time in Jo’burg before just wanting to go back home. Thank goodness it wasn’t for 20 years though, poor aliens.

I like the way they set it up for a sequel (from the movie I gather it would be District 10). I just hope they do it properly or not at all.

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All you need is ubuntu

Free Software, Jonathan 4 Comments »

Ubuntu Release

By now it’s pretty much old news that the new Ubuntu 8.10 has been released. I used my local-only account to sync my mirrors and download all the iso’s. Thanks a million to Andrew Alston from Tenet for providing the local Ubuntu mirrors, and making sure that they are kept in sync. I hope that he provides some stats on the network and servers over the last few days. I’m sure that if every country had such a well maintained and well ran local mirror, then the load on Canonical’s servers and bandwidth would be a fraction of what it usually is around release time.

Ubuntu Release Party

Today Ubuntu-ZA had the Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex release party in (we think) 3 cities. I’m not quite sure if the Pretoria one happened, but we certainly had two good ones in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I dreaded the release party, I’ve had zero time to plan it and I was the event organiser for Jo’burg. It turned out quite good though, bringing together like-minded Ubuntu people is all that it takes to have a good release party. It’s really not difficult, if you haven’t had a release party in your area, just try and organise it for the next release. It’s easy. I wanted to get an Ubuntu branded cake for today (Jono Bacon suggested it in one of his posts), but I ran out of time and could only get a plain chocolate cake. Not being an Ubuntu cake didn’t deter anyone from eating it though :)

Ubuntu Full Time

A week ago I blogged about leaving my full time job and starting my own company. Today is my first day as an employee of this new company. I have enough work to keep me busy for the next 6 months or so, and by then I hope to have expanded the company a bit and have about 3 or 4 employees in total. I want to grow it slowly and make sure that we are solid and give our customers the best service possible. We’re not just going to offer Ubuntu as the operating system we’ll be supporting, but ubuntu as the philosophy will be built into every service and every product we have to offer. The company’s name is Zanix. It’s a combination of “Linux” and “Za” (South African iso code). The website is still in a bit of a rough state. I’ll gradually be cleaning it up and making it nice throughout the month.

Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

You really are who you are because of other people. I can almost trace all of my personality traits and my thoughts to someone who’s had an effect on me before. Every person I meet has at least some small effect on how I think and the things I do. When I realise that, I also realise that what I do have an effect on others. This is a big responsibility that all of us share. I believe that you should always live and lead by example, there’s always someone looking and it’s better to transfer the good parts of you than the bad. The last 6 months or so, I haven’t been a very good example.

I looked at some of my friends photos on Facebook a bit earlier. I saw some photos of some of my friends who earn less than I do, have less than I do, and yet I think they’ve been living a more fulfilled life. They keep themselves surrounded by the people they care for and love. I made a huge mistake believing my company when they said they wouldn’t require me to move to Jo’burg. I never really did move to Jo’burg, but they gradually brought me here more and more until they just assumed I do live here permanently now. I’ll still be in Jo’burg often in the future, but not as much as now. I’ll never let any one keep me away from the people I love again, no matter what kind of lies they tell me (lies may be a bit of a harsh word).  I have no hard feelings though, it’s in the past now. Since this afternoon after the Ubuntu release party I’ve felt light and happy, I’m incredibly excited about the future. I’ll end with one of my favourite quotes:

I guess I could be really pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain. And I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. – Lester Burnham, from American Beauty

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Party Hardy – Jo’burg

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The Ubuntu-ZA Hardy Heron release party went very well. It was quite peaceful, and it was the first time that many Ubuntu-ZA members from Jo’burg met in “real life“.

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We talked about marketing, and how we should make sure that more local newspapers feature Ubuntu’s release when the Intrepid Ibex lands. Supporters and staff from translate.org.za were present, and there were plenty of discussions around translation. We checked out the tuXlab, some people there haven’t seen Ubuntu being used in a school environment yet, and the lab teacher there, Simone, explained how lessons are integrated into the compu ter room. It was nice having a release party somewhere where Ubuntu is actually used, and people also brang their laptops along, helping each other solve some problems and installing Ubuntu 8.04.

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I think our loco team in Johannesburg is definitely stronger now that more of the local Ubuntu people know each other. Thank you to Simone and Saxonwold Primary for having us there!

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Hardy is here

Free Software 1 Comment »

Today sees the release of the awesome Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, Hardy Heron. In South Africa, our loco-team (Ubuntu-ZA) will be celebrating its release this coming Saturday. Johannesburg is finally catching up to Cape Town, and is also having a release party this time. :)

(Image from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Cape Town:


If you’re an Ubuntite in South Africa, don’t forget to subscribe to the Ubuntu-ZA mailinst list!

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Ubuntu turns 3 – Local celebrations

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Today’s release of Ubuntu 7.10, the very popular Debian-based distribution, marks 3 years since Ubuntu made it’s first release in October 2004… and the Ubuntu world is getting ready to celebrate…

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We have two Ubuntu 7.10 parties scheduled in South Africa:

Be there… or else… or else… we’ll have to think of some way to punish you in a way that doesn’t violate the Ubuntu CoC!

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GPS Device

Gadgets 2 Comments »

Last night, I finally bought a GPS device, a JNC Navig8 GPS351. I’ve been meaning to get one for ages, but it’s just been too expensive to justify buying one. This one costs under R2000, and since I will be driving around in Jo’burg for about a month soon, I think it will be quite a handy device.


Just after buying it I saw Joe’s post on GPS’ing in Joburg, where he says “Don’t go to Jo’burg without a GPS device”. It seems that I got one just in time!

For an entry-level device, it’s better than I expected it would be. It was 2 voices a male and a female, although the male voice has a bit too strong Asian accent in my opinion. It’s quite accurate and comes preloaded with all the local maps, which is stored on a removable SD card. The only bad thing about it (which I only learned after buying it), is that it runs Windows CE. I’ve even managed to get a Fatal Exception Error in one of the applications. It seems that most of the mobile GPS software runs on Windows CE. I think this was a good choice in GPS, I’ll blog again about how useful it was in Jo’burg!

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