parlez vous victoire?

Thursday, August 31, 2006


this is where my "personal productivity" / business productivity / stuff to do with business in general / whatever-else-you-want-to-call-it interests surface... i'm a big sucker for such sites as 43 folders, the chief happiness officer, and business pundit. i like the idea of happy people at work. i like the idea of happy people using technology - happily. i like the idea of all-round happiness of work things working. i think i'm getting that idea across...

i have recently picked up extra responsibility at work, and have a dire need for organising things. organising time, tasks, people, information, myself, you name it it has to be organised, and organised now! the problem is that i have no set methodology / procedure for this. all along i've managed fine with my spreadsheets and outlook (i am forced to work with ms windows and office suite because of the kind of work i do, having to constantly sync documents with other people, and my belief that ms does indeed provide the best office suite i have yet come across. but perhaps this should be kept to a later conversation).

but now, i just feel like i need something more. i need one place where i can go and see what i need to do, make my lists (as simply and with as little effort as possible), and get things done. with this in mind, i approached one of my bosses, who mentioned a tool that worked for him, as long as he stuck to it, a gtd or get things done tool. so i went to look for it. and discovered it is actually a whole methodology.

before i go ahead, and go to all the effort of learning the methodology... does anyone have any suggestions? anything to add? any tips, tricks, tools (free preferrably) to recommend?

perhaps i should list some of the things i need to do?
  • schedule meetings
  • schedule training sessions
  • a whole lot of stuff to do with preparing for the training sessions
  • draw "pretty pictures", otherwise known as process diagrams and stuff that goes into the training material
  • present training
  • keep an eye on (and track of) other people's progress on their phases which i'm reliant on
  • meetings meetings meetings
  • confirm meetings, confirm training, confirm confirmations
  • gaaaaa! toooooo muuuucccchhhh ssssttttuuuffff!
you get the picture.

make my blog day...

so silentcoder wrote an enticing review on victoire...
Quite possibly the most lamented thing about the I.T. Industry is the lack of women in the field – but I think this is less of a problem in South Africa than elsewhere, we have some amazingly clever ladies in the field. Victoire being a case in point, writing cleverly about technology and the news stories that catches her eye. It's by far the most technical on the list – but well worth it even if you aren't a geek.
i think that's pretty sweet coming from a geek ;) and hooray for women in i.t. in sa! if my blog adds to some awareness about our presence in the market then bonus! although i don't know where aj gets the whole technical thing from. probably the most technical post is the one about tectonic, and most of that was written by the tectonic guys... or maybe i'm in denial... :D

and with that i bring you some stats on blog day from technorati, considering one is asked to use a "BlogDay2006" technorati tag when blogging your blog day post.

  • i retrieved 374 websites (with "any authority")
  • 66 of these were english sites
Posts that contain BlogDay2006 per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

happy birthday!

it's my lil' sis' birthday today! happy birthday sista sista!

she's a super duper information designer, and has been working on a new design for her website, so keep an eye out for it! it's looking really slick.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

every blog has their day...

and it would seem that mine is tomorrow... (although one could argue that mine has lasted this whole week) :)

i received an email[1] earlier informing me that i am one of 5 bloggers to be blogged on by aj venter, aka silentcoder, for blog day. did you even know there's a blog day? apparently there is.

according to the blog day site:
BlogDay was initiated with the belief that bloggers should have one day which will be dedicated to know other bloggers, from other countries or areas of interests. In that day Bloggers will recommend about them to their Blog visitors.

What will happen on BlogDay?

In one long moment In August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

BlogDay posting instructions:

1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting

2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending on them on BlogDay 2005

3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a a link to the recommended Blogs

4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and

5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: and a link to BlogDay web site at


fascinating... i'd be interested to know how many other bloggers actually knew about the day, and how many will be participating. i'll certainly be keeping an eye out for the review tomorrow!

[1] aj wrote a very nice email which i'll leave with you, in case you're interested...
Hi everybody,
Some of you know me, some of you have never heard of me. What you all have in common is that I read your blogs.
Now tomorrow (August 31) is international blogday (see all blogday participants around the world will post an entry linking with a short description to five blogs they reccomend to their readers. Part of the process is to let your chosen five link-recipients know in advance.

You five are my list, for an entry which will be posted at midnight, South African time tonight.

In the spirit of blogday, this means that I believe you write something interesting. Of each of you I can say that I agree wholeheartedly with some of your writings and dissagree as passionately with others - which in my mind is practically the point of blogging - sharing ideas and discussing them, with every point of view getting fair coverage.

So then, this is part one complete - letting you all know. Part two will then be posting the actual article tonight.
In case anybody has forgotten (or do not know) my blog is at:

Feel free to take a look tomorrow and see how I described you.

A.J. "silentcoder" Venter

Monday, August 28, 2006

do it like a pro

so i did it... converted to a pro account on flickr... even though i know that there's a free pro account for me to be had over at zooomr... what actually put me off zooomr was the amount of time one waits for the site to load, or for a photo to load, it's ridiculous. also all my photos are already on flickr, and believe me i can like to be lazy! :)

for anyone questioning the need, i'll try to keep you up to date as to how much i'm enjoying the account... so far i have been really impressed by how fast i was converted into pro! like, whoosh, and you're a pro user! i've only created 3 sets, but i found that on the free option i was mentally limited to 2... i felt that i had to keep that last set for something spectacular, which of course never really happened.

hmmm... how's that... being treated like a pro, and blog of the week all in one day... ;)


i'm "blogger of the week" on the south african blog directory! *beam*

i've already started drafting my acceptance speach... "thank you for bestowing this honour upon me, i'd like to thank my inspiring... blah blah... and lastly... blah blah... just one more person i'd like to thank..." i can hear the applause now... :D

anyhoo... michael certainly did a good job of sifting through my entries and coming up with all the juicy bits i had almost forgotten about... i mean kamakis! and who remembers the totally outrageous googlism?

what he forgets to mention is that i am the "feeling lucky" link on google for the all south african super star news reader, our very own riaan cruywagen... i will have to get riaan to do a special appearance on my acceptance night, endorsing my blog of course! :)

correction... i WAS the "feeling luck" link for riaan cruywagen, but i've been replaced by wikipedia... which only makes sense. i am, however, still on the top of the google search, right after wikipedia. thankfully i got that screen capture of when my blog made history...

:) thanks michael for a sterling job, and a brilliant idea!

Friday, August 25, 2006

to flickr pro

or not to flickr pro... that is the question.

i was uploading new photos last night, when i suddenly noticed my photo sets disappearing to my dismay! one minute they're there, the next, they're gone... along with all the photos that were in the sets. naturally i suspected foul play, and that my photos had been deleted somehow. nope, apparently that's not the case at all. since i only have a free account, and i had reached the 200 photo mark, my older photos were hidden on purpose by flickr. unless you have a pro account you can only view 200 of your photos. so either you delete some photos or you upgrade to the pro account. i tested this theory by deleting some photos, and voila! one of my sets came back, along with 5 photos.

the pro account option works out to just under R200 per year, which is not bad i must admit... so now i ponder. i could use my vox account as a photo storage area, but i like flickr. i will probably upgrade to the pro account... what do you think?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

bloggers of sa unite!

i've been mulling over the idea of getting a blogroll of south african blogs together for quite a while now, simply because i have met or know quite a few sa bloggers in real life [1]. it would be interesting to see what sa is doing in terms of blogging...

*drum roll*

... and now you can!

thanks to paul off chilibean, i found out about the south african blog directory, run by michael, and i've already signed up! pretty funky... so if you're a south african blogger, get your blog up there! basically how it works is that michael keeps a listing or blogroll of south african blogs, and then assigns a "blog of the week" every week, based on his opinion of the best blog for that week. this has lots of potential for growth, such as having bloggers vote on their favourites, etc. as well as the obvious bonus of linking sa bloggers.

soon pinky... soon we will take over the world! ;)

on another note, the chilibean article also refers to sa blog top sites. no i'm not putting a link to them. not until they fix up their site! i registered, had a problem with the file size of the banner, and next minute it was telling me that the username had already been used. now when i log in and try to add my site, which was not added in the end, i am just repeatedly told to log in because the session has expired. poo3y to that! how can you host such a prominent site and not have the proper working technology in place?

[1] here is the list of bloggers, in case you're interested (perhaps i'll fill you in on how i know them at a later date, or i'll just leave you to figure it out yourselves... :) ):

martin @ d2
paul @ the gecko media network
axkd @ axkd writes (and wrongs - but don't we all)
daan @ doi
adi @ stfi
ashley @ ashley
brandon @
herman @ sizeight
jen @ the life and times of jen smit

hmmm... have i forgotten anyone? it's late and i should be heading home...

if the oogle's google's...

why is only showing signs of google-ism now, if it's been google owned since 2002? not that i am questioning the ownership, just the logic... why did google leave blogger alone for so long? why are they only developing their own google-blogger now (or i assume that's what they're doing, considering the new blogger will require a google id login)? questions questions...

Monday, August 21, 2006

more google to oogle over

i've heard rumours of google buying, but until now it seems everything's been business as usual... until the other day, when i saw a little orange square inviting me to convert my blog to the new blogger beta... it is really i tempting i tell you, especially for a google addict as myself... however being the cautious gal i am, and being warned that one cannot "undo" the transformation from blogger pumpkin to google princess, i continued reading, having cunningly distracted my mouse from the glowing "continue" button.

first the good news... there are lots of funky new features like:

  • New ways to customize your template (Drag and drop page elements and easily change your template's font and color scheme)
  • Private blogs (Create a blog visible to just your friends and family, not the whole world)
  • Labels (Give your posts a category label so that you and your readers can easily sort by topic)

now the bad... my there are a lot of known issues for blogger beta! this one in particular annoys me enough (and is sufficiently vague) for me not to convert - "here's what's missing: -Edit HTML mode for Layouts". I need to edit my html. that's where all my template functionality hides. imagine if i converted and suddenly half my functionality couldn't be implemented! imagine my fury! (or rather not... i'm told it's rather frightening)

so i will wait. with baited breath. for the google blogger extrodinaire version to whisk me away to my blogging delight.

Friday, August 18, 2006

tectonic - end of an era

i received an email yesterday from the tectonic team stating that they have had to stop publishing their magazine. this is a great pity, however i have really been getting into their email newsletter and am really glad that they will be able to concentrate on this. i can see good things coming from these guys in the future.

here's the letter in case you're curious...

Dear Tectonic reader

Free Speech Publishing cc, the publisher of Tectonic Magazine,
regrets to announce that it has decided to discontinue publication of
the magazine.

The decision to close Tectonic Magazine is not one we wanted to make
nor a decision we took lightly. The encouragement and positive
response from readers has consistently exceeded our expectations and
has made us proud of the magazine and glad that we could play a role
in the growth of free and open source software in South Africa.
Unfortunately the financial burden of producing and distributing the
magazine has made its continuation unsustainable.

The website will, however, continue to operate and
with renewed focus is expected to continue its exponential growth.

The website has grown from strength to strength and today boasts more
than 75 000 unique readers a month, serving up almost half a million
pages and receiving 1.7 million hits a month.

With the website growing exponentially and the financial strain
placed upon us by the high cost of running a magazine, a decision was
made to halt production on the magazine and focus on the website.
Since we are a small operation, running both simultaneously was not
doing justice to either publication.

We concluded that although our readership was ready for a magazine
focused on open source in the marketplace, the advertisers are not
yet ready to support open source. We would like to thank those
advertisers who did support us, including Sybase, the Team Linux
cycling team (Oracle, Intel and Dell), African Legend Indigo,
OpenVoice, Tangent Systems, SevenC Computing, SmartSource,
LinuxWorld, Linux Holdings, Lead, Impi Linux, Yellow Penguin, Synaq,
Amppol IT, OpenLab, Connection Telecom, Go Open Source, Obsidian
Systems and Intoweb.

We will continue to assess the marketplace and may revive the
publication in some form in the future. Until then, we would like to
thank our loyal readership and ask you for your continued support of
the Tectonic web site.

We do ask that all subscribers who paid for a subscription after May
2006 please contact us so we can arrange a suitable refund with you.

Kind regards
Alastair and Jason

Thursday, August 10, 2006

life, love, and everyday adventures

wazzup friends and friendly blog readers! considering that this blog's main aim is to keep my buddies across the world, country, region, city, and hallway informed about what i'm up to, there has been very little personal posting going on here. hopefully this post will change that a little...

well now. where to start...

i'm enjoying a very chilled and much needed break from routine... all because of the women's day public holiday yesterday. when i finally realised on monday that the holiday was on a wednesday, i thought it a perfect opportunity to take 2 days off work and enjoy an extended weekend. so far it's been great... and now i have some time to blog too! hoorah for mid-week public holidays!

i'm a regular at the botshabelo babies' home now, over the past 3 or 4 months visiting once a week for 2 to 3 hours to play with the little ones, and lately helping to feed the very little babies too. they are such sweet little souls who just crave love and attention. it's incredible to watch them growing up right in front of my eyes. some of those that were babies when i first visited are proper little people now, and most of the babies are starting to walk! it's just awesome to see. it certainly isn't easy being a parent, what a huge responsibility! they have taught me so much including patience, compassion, and the ability to just plain love without asking questions or judging on whether they 'deserve' it - some of the naughtiest need the most love. not only that but i've learnt so much about myself! one of the little girls was adopted earlier this year by a dutch couple, which is so encouraging i really hope that all of them will go on to loving homes sometime.

i started going to a new church at the end of march, and am enjoying getting involved with helping out wherever i can. i go to the "youth club" on fridays, and before you say it, nope i'm not too old... the cut off age is 30! it's great getting to know others, around about my age, with the same kind of frame of mind as myself.

i haven't been cycling much due to various factors such as "not enough time" or "can't i just sleep in once in a while?" :) i do miss it though, a lot. i'm hoping to start cyling with some people at my church on saturday mornings, it should get me fit again and give me an opportunity to get to know them better.

pottery is going well... i'm almost done with my ice cream bowls, although i managed to break another one just as i'd completed glazing it! argh! i'll have to re-glaze it and hope that it'll stick together in the firing process. i can't wait to just be finished with those bowls. my next project is slab work, and i've decided to make a teapot. if all goes well i'll make an entire tea set. of course maths has stuck its head out, with me having to work out angles and proportions to make the templates for the slab teapot pieces. i never really believed my maths teacher when she went off about maths being an integral part of everyday life...

i have decided to attend my high school reunion. i even helped out with setting up a mailing list using google groups, and a blog using the opera community blog portal... which i am mildly impressed with. i would've preferred using blogger, or something similar... but couldn't find anything free that allowed for multiple authors. so far there are no posts on the blog, other than the one that i made as an introductory welcome. i'm not sure whether this is because no one else is able to post, or whether they don't know how, or whether they don't want to. but oh well. the reunion mailing list has me thinking about whether mailing lists work if they don't have a very direct theme... so far only reunion type stuff has been discussed. i don't know what other topics to engage in.

i had a bit of a scare with an absyss in my jaw a while ago... believe it or not this is not new to me, i have had numerous dental problems over the years. a re-do of a root canal on a tooth that had already been crowned seemed to sort it out. there were threats of me having to undergo the trauma of another apisectomy, right as i had finished the official healing period (5 mths) on the one i had earlier this year. i am so glad to have avoided this. the last one was bad enough. the good news is that dr stoney has started preparation for the crowns i have been waiting for, and i already have the temporary ones in place! woo-hoo! i was really getting very self conscious about my teeth. now i can smile as much as i want again! ;) i should have the final crowns in place well in advance of my little sister's wedding.

yes, that's right, my sis is getting married! coincidentally today happens to be p & b's 2 year anniversary (happy anniversary you two, love you lots!). they're getting married in november. i am responsible for organising the hen party and i have no idea about what to do! anyone have any suggestions on something fun (and clean) for a few girls to do? some of the ideas i have are to spend a day/night at a spa getting pampered, getting a limo to drive us about the town to a concert or a play or a restaurant, or something and then have a slumber party at a really nice hotel. something out of the ordinary, not exhorbitantly expensive, and fun. hmmm...

i was planning on doing a whole cook-up tonight with roast chicken, homemade bread an all, but considering p & b are going out for dinner to celebrate it'll have to wait for saturday lunch... i wonder what i'll make for dinner for one... speaking of which, i'll be moving out by myself at the end of the year, which i'm rather looking forward to... i'll be moving my piano in with me and it also means that i'll have an excuse to get a pet. heh heh... single twenty something, plays piano, has cat... gotta love it ;)