And… no power!

Cape Town disappeared off the electricity grid at around 11:00 today.  We’re powered by some fairly sizeable generators (when you’re in the ISP business, you can’t let a measly city-wide power outage break your stride), but it was interesting following the reports of the outages and the rumours surrounding it while it was all going on.

And I’m going to start by dispelling the most common one: Koeberg (our nuclear power plant about 40 km up the West Coast) did not do a Chernobyl/Fukushima on us.  Although most of Cape Town went down (in particular, the CBD, Cape Flats, Southern Suburbs and South Peninsula went down), the northern and West Coast areas (Bellville, Durbanville, Table View, Bloubergstrand et al) stayed up.  Trust me, if something ever happens at Koeberg, those guys are the ones who will be the first to know about it – one way or the other.

According to several reports on our local news sites, the issue was with the Eskom supply line from the Muldersvlei area.  From what I’ve heard, there are two supply lines: one was down for maintenance, and while this was going on, the other one tripped.  This isn’t first-hand information, and the South African press is slightly notorious for getting facts wrong, so I’d take this with a slight pinch of salt – that being said, it’s entirely plausible to me.

As I type this, power to the CBD has been restored, we’re off the generators, and other parts of the city are either back online or are being brought up.  I should be fine for World of Warcraft raiding tonight then.  (I hope!)

For those interested in the geeky side of the power failure: Andrew Trench put together a map of the power failure as it was mentioned on Twitter.  It’s quite interesting viewing, and just shows one the impact that social networking has had on our lives (if the Arab revolutions earlier this year weren’t proof enough).

Four seasons in four hours

You’ve got to love Cape Town weather.

Driving to work at around 08:45 – grey skies, and raining quite hard.  Had to switch the fog lights on while getting myself through Hospital Bend because the visibility was that bad.

And right now, just before 13:00 – clear blue skies…

I’m predicting a mix of snow and heatwave by the time I leave the office this evening.

Look, Igor – IT’S ALIVE!

(Oh noes!)

Yes people, I’m still alive, still posted on this very badly neglected blog.

Quite a lot has been happening in my life over the last few months.  Most of the people who read this already know all the details, but for those who don’t – as of July, I have bid a not so fond farewell to Durban’s stifling humidity, and instead settled for the cold, wet and windy Cape (well, at least that’s what the weather is generally like at this time of year). I’m now working as a software developer for Web Africa – in other words, I am making your interwebs a better place. One line of code at a time. It’s great, and I’ve really learned a lot in the short time that I’ve already been there (most notably, how badly I suck at foosball). That being said, I do miss the people I left behind back in Durban, although whether they miss me or not is definitely up for debate… 😉

There’s so much that I’ve already gotten up to here that I could possibly fit into this blog post before I fall asleep at the keyboard (again!), but to sum things up a bit:

  • I was without a car for the first two months and had to rely on Metrorail to get me around the place. It didn’t take me very long to make a rather interesting observation: the automated voice that does the automated announcements at Cape Town station sounds exactly like GlaDOS from Portal. The way that she/it says “Metrorail apologises for the inconvenience” whenever a train was delayed has maliciousness all over it.
  • After two months, I managed to procure myself my own transportation – a Toyota Auris. It’s the one with the F1-syle gearbox, which left DJT all confused the time when I had to lift him somewhere.
  • Seriously, whoever designed Koeberg Interchange should be publicly hanged from one of the bridges. For the non-Capetonians, look on Google Maps for the N1/M5 interchange and you’ll have a rough idea of what I mean; for the Capetonians, you’ll know exactly what I mean. 😛
  • Cooling tower implosions are AWESOME!
  • People in Rondebosch, being of the student variety, generally can’t drive. The local Kauai had a student put his/her/its/blobs car through their front window last weekend!
  • Being without a piano/keyboard is seriously Not Cool! (Problem is that they’re hideously expensive.)
  • Visiting Monty for his 21st was awesome, though I doubt Monty will remember the morning after in the same light… 😉
  • Having Monty then come down, take you out and force you to socialise with the opposite sex was definitely a new experience, although I don’t believe I’m the type to just randomly pick people up, and I’m not sure I’d like to be that type either.
  • Someone PLEASE fix up Domestic Arrivals at Cape Town International Airport – compared with the rest of the airport, it’s absolutely hideous!
  • Taking a nice drive along the Cape mountain passes is nothing short of amazing; it just makes one realise what a beautiful part of the world this is.
  • All Web Africa developers are crazy, and none is more crazier than others.

I also have something more pressing on my mind right now, but that will have to wait for another time when I’m slightly less sleepy…

Where art thou blog?

So, you’re probably wondering what’s happened to me, given my recent lack of activity here. I’m still alive; just got things taking up my time (*cough* World of Warcraft). 🙂

I’m finally done with the hellhole called CTI. Not sure if I passed everything, and to be brutally honest, given the pathetic way that my course was administered I don’t really care. I’m staying well clear now – if I want some more stuff to put on the CV, I’ll look into some Microsoft certifications (someone at my chuch is a trainer, so I have a good contact in that regard).

Then, PCF has been taking a lot of my time away from me as well. I was asked to take over the management of their forums, and started this in the middle of June. Due to some pretty nasty forum issues, it was decided to switch to phpBB 3 – as their database is huge (13,000 users, 1,000,000 posts – you do the maths), it took me all of a weekend to do. The users seem to like it though – yeah, you’ll always get the odd few who bitch and moan, but in general people were happy. Ettienne gave me the best feedback. 😉

I’m also more involved with the FRAG LAN again. You may recall me leaving entirely; however, they experienced website issues and asked me to come back to manage their website, which I agreed to. With CTI now a horrible thing of the past, I’m able to become more involved again. At the event at the beginning of September, I ended up doing the background music as Brendan (who does it normally) has matric exams to contend with. Long story short, all ~200 gamers were treated to a four hour live trance mix, which they actually quite liked. The plan now is for Brendan and myself to alternate throughout the weekend – as I do trance and Brendan does metal, that will give everyone some decent variety throughout the weekend; the problem that both of us have is that we’re too centred on one particular genre, which is fine for us, but not for the gamers.

I’m busy planning my year-end trips to other parts of the country – depending if Little Annoying Sister finds a flat to move into (aka Free Accomodation), I’ll be in Cape Town for a week in January next year. I’ll also be in CPT in May, as it’s Little Annoying Sister’s 21st birthday. So, those of you who want to catch up with me, those are your opportunities. I’m also thinking of making the effort to pop over to Johannesburg for a weekend to catch up with the PCF users in that part of the world – they’re a really great bunch of people. I just need to find someone who can let me crash over and take me around the place; kulula will do a great job of getting me there and back. (No, I can’t drive up myself – I don’t have my own car.)

OK, I think I’ve said enough. I’ll try to remember to check back in sometime soon. 🙂

Calling the Cape Town crew…

I’ll be having a holiday with my family down in Cape Town in January – leaving Durban on the 5th, and getting back on the 23rd. Little sister is off to start her second year at UCT Medical School, so we thought that we’d have a nice long family holiday down there.

This is something that I’m really looking forward to, given my love of the place. I was there for a holiday in 1994, then spent a year there while at UCT myself in 2003. I’ll probably end up moving there one day, although that day is still years off. Firstly, I need enough work experience for a senior developer position, secondly I need to complete my part-time studies (around June next year if all goes well), thirdly I need a car and fourthly I need cash in the back – and I’m currently lacking in all four departments, although they will all come with time. (Then of course, there’s the worrying consideration of Jacob Zuma becoming South Africa’s next president that may throw a spanner in the works of my future plans – but let’s not go there.)

Anyway, I’m planning on what to do with myself while I’m down there for all of two weeks (plus two days getting there and two days getting back – we have a habit of making the road trips part of the holiday, which I consider to be a Good and Fun Thing). I’m trying to organise a movie evening at Cavendish with part of the PCF crew – Jeff (silv3rback on PCF) is helping out here. Then, just before we leave, I celebrate my 23rd birthday on January 21st, and I’m told by my sister that if you go to the Table Mountain cableway on your birthday and bring proof of your date of birth, you get a free trip, so that’s that sorted out as well. Other than that, I don’t have much planned. Yet. I obviously would like to meet up with as much people that I know down there as possible – old UCT mates, old school friends that are down there now, and former Durbanites that have taken the trek down there (jerith, that means you). If you’re interested in any reunions or meetups, you know where to get hold of me – comments, forums, e-mail, IRC, GTalk, MSN, Facebook, yadda yadda.