What’s the lesson here?

Jonathan 4 Comments »

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Usually after being away from home a while I tend to get a bit down and have thoughts like “nobody likes me” and “I’m not cool enough”, etc. Not that I actually believe it, but those kinds of thoughts are hardly ever really rational. My DSL connection in Gauteng has been down (Thanks again Telkom), and 3G coverage here is sparse at best, so keeping in touch has been a bit tough as well. I decided to go to Centurion Mall, which I haven’t tried out yet to go get a haircut and buy some new clothes. It’s very humid here at the moment, so I hoped that that would help me feel better and fresher.

The barbers were booked until Tuesday and I wasn’t really feeling like shopping anymore so I just had a quick lunch and decided to go back. On the way out, a guy came to my car and asked if I could give him and his sister a quick lift. I never pick up hitch-hikers and it’s my policy not too. They looked like poor people, but I didn’t want to judge and didn’t put too much further thought into it. I don’t really know why, but I decided to be nice and give them a lift anyway. He said that they were selling car fresheners in the parking lot and if I’d want to buy one from them too. My car was just in a service yesterday and they put new freshener in my car, so I really didn’t need one (and I don’t like them much anyway). I saw him counting money and thought that they did quite well today. He was also fidgeting in a bunch of plastic bags the whole time that they had with them. He started throwing papers out the car. I was really annoyed, because I don’t ever throw anything out of my car and I expect the same from my passengers, and it’s rude polluting.

He asked if I could perhaps take them a bit further- just another 5km’s or so, it would really help them a lot. I thought that a total of another 10km or so won’t really hurt me time-wise so much, I might as well do it. It turned out to be more like another 15km further, I dropped them off in Pretoria. In some ways, I’m a bit obsessive compulsive. I do things in a certain way and in a certain order, it helps me to tell when something is wrong or when it’s not how it should be. I usually put my wallet in my cupholders space, it fits in there nicely and you can’t really see it from outside. I noticed that it was upside down from how it usually is. I wandered if I was just in a rush when I put it in there, or whether I was paranoid. I saw them walking away, and thought what the heck, I’ll just quickly look before I drive away. I knew I had about R450 in my wallet.  I opened my wallet- and it was empty, he took all the money in my wallet. I climbed out of my car and ran on to them. I told him that I want my money back. He said he didn’t take it and that it’s not in his character to steal money. His sister started rambling on about how she was in the back of the car all the time but I didn’t really listen. I told them that I know that they took my money and I don’t believe anything they say. I also realised that I’m in a very unfamiliar area and I didn’t know whether they had any kind of weapons with them, so I just turned around and went back to my car. I realised that the papers he was throwing out the window all along was gaurantee slips that was in my wallet for things that I bought for my company. Luckily all my credit/garage/debit cards and my drivers license were still safe inside. The money isn’t such a big deal, but I’m really disgusted at them. What kind of low-life would steel money from someone who’s nice enough to do them a favour?

I’m not at all bitter about it though. It happened about 40 minutes ago, I’m just wondering what the lesson is here.

Is it perhaps that I should learn to stick to my personal policies? Was this perhaps a slap on the wrist for giving strangers a lift when I know that I shouldn’t?

Is it perhaps God’s way of telling me “Stop being so fucking miserable, you’re not all that bad, look, there are way worse people in the world.”?

Is it perhaps that I shouldn’t trust people who don’t look trustworthy. I’ve had poor people try to trick me out of money a few times in the past before, but because I’m usually quite sharp and on the lookout for things that aren’thow they should be, I managed to not get caught.

Perhaps it’s so that I can repeat the message here:

  • Don’t pick up strangers, ever.
  • Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

I don’t really know what the lesson is here, I was very angry with them for a minute or so, but I’m glad that I managed to let it slide so quickly. I’m also thankful for what I have, and looking forward to being back home again next week.

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Corporate Irony – Dinosaurs Will Die

Free Software, Music, Project Mayhem 3 Comments »

Telkom “transforms to attack”

Motorola boss doesn’t do e-mail

  • According to this Engadget article, the CEO of Motorola, Greg Brown, is so out of touch with technology that he doesn’t use his computer for communication. His secretary actually prints out his e-mails and brings it to him! That’s terrible for someone who is supposed to lead a communications company.

Sony BMG are mass-scale software pirates

  • Saving the best for last, Sony BMG is probably one of the most proprietary companies on the planet, aggressively enforcing their copyright wherever possible. It turns out they are large scale software pirates themselves. This article points out that the BSA found that Sony BMG had a piracy rate of 47%! Scumbags. I guess this is one of those times where I get to shout “THAT’S WHAT THEY GET!” (thanks Nofx)
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Class Action against Microsoft

Free Software 8 Comments »

A lawsuit against Microsoft for classifying hardware as Vista Capable, when it is in fact only capable of running the simplistic Windows Vista Home Basic version, has been granted by a judge as a class-action lawsuit (man, we really need one of those against Telkom for their pathetic service). Microsoft will probably attempt to blame their resellers for this, biting the hands that help feed it, but in my opinion, it should be Microsoft’s responsibility to educate their partners on the exact system requirements of their upcoming products. A computer manufacturer cannot in any way predict the exact specifications of Microsoft’s upcoming systems, not even when testing pre-release versions, since they are often in debug mode which would make it run somewhat slower.

I also think that the industry is wising up to Microsoft quickly, consumers are also learning that Microsoft isn’t the angel software house that many people previously believed, and as a result, I think we will see many more class action lawsuits against them in the next few years.

Maybe Microsoft will finally learn to play nicely. Not because they want to, but because they have to.

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Telkom, Rugby and Ubuntu

Free Software, Jonathan, Project Mayhem, Sport 11 Comments »

Telkom Protest

Friday, I attended the protest against Telkom and their appauling service. Telkom, our national telecoms monopoly, have been raping our country and been causing great damage to our economy for decades now, and a local non-profit, IkamvaYouth, organised the protest. People from all over Cape Town who were fed up with Telkom joined in on the protest. It was actually quite fun, and the first protest I ever participated in. The police and traffic department was amazing, there was plenty of police officers to make sure that we stay together and no one got lost along the way, and nothing got stolen/damaged. The traffic officers did a good job of blocking off traffic where we needed to walk through traffic, and it went quite smooth. Phantsi Telkom, Phantsi! (”Down with Telkom”)

Thank you to the city of Cape Town for allowing us to do this.

PICT0845 PICT0787

Rugby World Cup

Last night I watched the 2007 Rugby world cup final at my father’s place, South Africa vs England, with South Africa winning the cup. The atmosphere here was electrifying. Many high-profile people were there. Amongst others, Nelson Mandela- former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki- current president of South Africa, Jean-Pierre Raffarin- French prime minister, Gordon Brown- English prime minister and Prince William & Prince Harry from the British monarchy. The ceremony after the game was excellent, but what bothered me a lot was the bad manners of the English team. They shook hands with the French and Brittish prime ministers, but when the got to Thabo Mbeki, many just walked passed him and ignored him. I told my friends that I thought that this is incredibly rude, but they said that the English team might not have known that he was the South African president. I don’t want to believe that the English are that stupid. But they’re either that, or very rude.

Ubuntu Gutsy Release Party

Today I attended our very modest Ubuntu-ZA Cape Town release party. There’s lots of overlap in our local community, and many of us in the Ubuntu-ZA community are also together in other communities such as UCT-LEG, CLUG, CT-WUG, CT-PUG and more. We discussed issues in Gutsy, burned some discs, and briefly discussed goals for the next six months.

Gutsy Release Party - 21 October 2007 PICT0890
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IkamvaYouth Telkom Toyi-Toyi Updates

Politics, Project Mayhem No Comments »
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IkamvaYouth Telkom Protest – October 12

Politics, Project Mayhem 2 Comments »

On Friday the 12th of October, my favourite non-profit organisation will be protesting against Telkom’s appalling service. The protest takes place on 12 October 2007, from parliament in Plein street, to Telkom’s offices in St George’s mall. I’m incredibly unhappy that I won’t be able to attend it (see update below), since I’ll still be in Joburg for business purposes.

I do urge everyone who reads this to give their support to IkamvaYouth for this cause, or even better, attend the protest.

Telkom’s incredibly poor service is doing damage to our country, and it seems to be getting worse with every passing year. This is a good opportunity to make your voice heard, make use of the opportunity.


I will be able to attend the Toyi-toyi after all. I will be flying down to Cape Town next Thursday, and will leave for Joburg again at the end of the weekend.

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