2014 was an adventurous year interrupted with some back surgery — which conspired to keep me away from my blog for a while. I built myself a laptop stand that worked in conjunction with a zero gravity garden chair and hacked an Ikea standing lamp into an iPad stand to use bedside during my recovery when mobility was painful and limited. The laptop stand has since found its way into storage but the iPad stand is a firm favorite of mine, waiting to serve me in the dark of night …
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What to do on the weekend? When you’ve done everything else it’s time for urban exploring. On Saturday we decided to explore the ruins of the Kings Park Psychiatric Center in Smithtown. You’d think this could be trespassing but signs to keep people out may have been vandalised along with the buildings. We enter where many have gone before …
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I’ve long thought of this country as my own, so it’s finally very rewarding to have completed the process!
In researching my earlier post on the Ideas BBS, I went looking for its inception date and phone number in my copies of old Tac2 newsletters. On browsing the May 1982 issue I was reminded that I served as it’s chairman for a handful of years … in the mid eighties. That was a whole lot of fun!
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The Ideas BBS was South Africa’s first private 24/7 dial up bulletin board. It ran out of my 10th floor apartment at 102 Maxwelton, 6 Goldreich Street, Hillbrow, Johannesburg. The number was +27-11-642-3724. My computer club buddy Steve Cilliers and I collaborated to develop this innovative piece of software in ways that are now considered to be agile.
The Ideas BBS took calls from all around South Africa and even a few from Zimbabwe, Canada and Britain. It connected me with people I might never otherwise have met: Michael Earl a design genius, Willie Esterhuizen the movie maker and Paul Everitt, my best friend.
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Like many before, I came to these shores on an H1B and, eventually, took up permanent residence. Winning “the Green Card Lottery” speeded up the process for us, which had slowed down after 9/11.
Later this year I am eligible for US citizenship through naturalisation. There’s a chance I may get to vote in this year’s election. Yay!
So here’s a reality check. When you write for yourself, few people read your posts. When you write in terms of other people interests you score a ton of hits. Makes sense, right? When you write mostly for your own circle of family, friends and colleagues you’re not aiming for the hits. So why do I get miffed when a post about something incidental gets fifty thousand hits, compared with a heartfelt note about something I really care about barely scoring twenty? Read More »
What the hell is Apple thinking? New Apple patent US20110128384 will allow 3rd parties to disable your camera … Read More »
Found GCM325 “almost conneticut” (sic) up a hill and then, on my way to GC1M7KY “Eikosi” I slipped down a ravine and injured my leg. Hopefully just a sprain. I hobbled back to the the entrance on a makeshift crutch while my wife went ahead to find a park ranger — who came to fetch me in a snow plow truck. Read More »
Headstones with age and initials only: What’s the story behind this interesting find?
There are several aspects of geocaching I most enjoy: In rough order of preference they are the exposure to locations I would not otherwise have visited, the history that goes with it, the occasional opportunity for urban exploration, the follow up research it inspires — and the technology which drives it. Of course many geocaches don’t meet all the criteria, but we look for those that do.
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As a family, we so seldom get photographed together, since one of us is usually taking the pictures. Today we managed to capture ourselves rather well — at Easter, with the Treanors.
Caption: Gisela (holding Tula), Paul, Carolyn & Harry
We take our Spring Break with the Everitts in Florida: Here standing at the end of the runway of their fly-in community, aircraft landing and taking off overhead, land tortoises burrowing under foot. For Gisela we wish miracles!
Huntington, Long Island: Brushing 14″ of snow off my Jeep! Read More »
Straight out of school until she retired in ’89, I voted for Helen Suzman’s Progressive Party. I’ve never voted for a political party that ever came to power, but I don’t ever regret supporting Helen’s unique anti-apartheid efforts.
Helen was not only enlightened but affluent and resisted movements that tried to cripple apartheid by crippling the country’s economy. I witnessed so many people escaping South Africa’s crumbling economy in the mid 80’s — our doctors, lawyers and engineers were welcomed in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA. Concentrating amongst those of us left behind the die hards clinging to white power who couldn’t and wouldn’t leave the country, essentially making the task of liberals edging the country towards democracy that much harder. Helen stayed and used her wealth and influence to change the country.
Helen lived in the elite suburb of Houghton, an enclave of walled in estates which typically epitomised the privilege of the white minority in a largely impoverished black majority country. I recall some conservative students accused her of being removed from the consequences of democracy, that she wouldn’t have to live it the same way that most whites would have to. Rather than defend the moral point, as most politicians would, she simply shot back that she had more to lose than the average white if democracy didn’t work out. So true, to the point and convincing!
Rest in peace Helen, your work is well done!
*Not only was Helen the first person I ever voted for, the party she created and the subsequent forms it morphed into were the only ones I ever voted for. In 2012 I aim to become a US Citizen — opening up a whole new opportunity for me to do some good with my vote. I’m looking forward to that as much as I did when I cast my first vote.
Suggested reading: The New York Times obit “Helen Suzman, Anti-Apartheid Leader, Dies at 91”