September GeekDinner

Looks like the September Geekdinner list is filling up nicely. To anyone on the waiting list, keep an eye on that wiki right up to the last moment: we Capetonians are notorious for dropping out at the last minute, especially if the weather is bad. I’d expect a reasonable number of drop-outs - we thought the last dinner was going to be overflowing, and there was still space at the end.

I’ve just done a round of updates on Planet GeekDinner and I’m glad to see a good sprinkling of new faces (or is that geeks with new websites?). If you’d like your GeekDinner related posts to be syndicated on the planet and I’ve missed your blog or got the wrong website please let me know.

On Eskom

Anybody who resides anywhere near the mother city, will know about the horrific load shedding we are suffering at the moment. (Actually, I think the whole country may be affected, but I haven’t read any local news recently).

This means:

  • Massive traffic jams: All traffic lights turn into 4-way stops, and if that wasn’t slow enough, people crash into each other out of anger.
  • At least 2-hours every day of sitting and twiddling your thumbs, while listening to the screech of unhappy UPSs. (Occasionally this overlaps with lunch time)
  • Having to shout over the roar (and cough through through the stench) of generators when you go out to visit any such-equipped businesses.
  • Peaceful, inky-black skys, and no noise of neighbour’s TV sets at night (if you are lucky enough to be load-shed at night).
  • Cold supper.
  • A flat laptop, unless you make sure to keep it fully charged against such emergencies.
  • Breakage in various systems, when UPSs don’t transfer cleanly, and routers / switches decide to disagree.
  • Various networks (like UCT) become unreachable, because while they have gensets and UPSs, the telkom equipment connecting to the outside world don’t.
  • And, generally, a very grumpy tumbleweed.

I’ve been frequenting computer suppliers in the last week, and seen an insane amount of UPSs first piled up at the dispatch desks, and then vanish. Now is the time to be in the UPS and genset -selling business.

To make things worse, this morning, I decided that I’d have to dismantle my gate-motor, to get out of the driveway. (Because nobody knows where the key for the manual-override lever is. After getting half-way, I worked out that it had a backup battery. Duh!

Gate: 1, Eskom: 1, Geek: 0.

We lost Wikimania 2008

We lost Wikimania 2008, quite badly (by points). I’m obviously sad, because I was hopeful, and had invested the odd weekend into comparative flight pricing, bid editing, and sitting on the phone…

According to the published criteria, we should have done well. Somehow we managed to score lower than Alexandria on “rotation” which is odd because Wikimania has never been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

I’d have liked too see the IRC log from the judges meeting, to see where we lost our points, but of course that isn’t going to happen, so we’ll have to work it out ourselves, by comparing the bids.

In retrospect, our bid wasn’t that great. We were pinning more hopes on our location, and Cape Town’s attractions, then on the bid itself. It was expensive, last-minute, and lacking sponsership & good accommodation. By losing, we got our chance to get it right next time.

The good news, is bidding opens for Wikimania 2009 almost immediately. I don’t know what the chances are of 2009 being in Africa again, but I’m assuming we are going to bid, if everyone can pick themselves up and get going on it. To do it, w e are going to need firm sponsors. Find any friends you have corporate contacts, and twist their arms.

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