The going on holiday post, updater, and the next few months

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So here I am – it’s almost 3 in the morning, the morning before I’m due to go on a short holiday to Greece and Turkey, and I’m still working. My Mom told me to get a few early nights before leaving, so that I could start to unwind… no such luck.

Such has been life of late, although I dare say it’s of my own making. The problem is that I enjoy what I do so much, that I don’t really count the hours as much as I used to – it’s a funny state of affairs.

So here’s the updater…

One of the casualties of the last few weeks has been this blog, so I’m sorry for the lack of any real meaty posts. But I’m also happy to say that life isn’t about “posting on your blog every day, dude”, but about the peaks and troughs, the swings in the roundabout so to speak, so although I may not have been visibly blogging, I certainly have been running things through in my mind – most of which is fundamental to the next 18 months or so, and thus the quality of blog posts here.

My little freelance / contracter practice has grown bigger and faster than I anticipated, so I’m now paying wages, and going to sleep at night just after I mentally do the books. Anyways, the spin off of this is that I’ve been able to finance the development of the prototype for our first web app, and am lucky to have a good friend and trusty accomplice working with me now to get the web app off the ground and into public beta.

Over the coming months I’ll be looking to grow the team into more of a web SWAT team, and less of a web mini-SWAT team; while still doing the client work I’ve been doing of late (mainly backend stuff, with some consulting and project management sprinkled in for good measure and sanity). I’m also going to be setting up a formal business site for my company, a business blog to discuss business stuff that’s important, and quite possibly moving into new shared offices with some other businesses run by mates of mine. So all in all, the next few months are going to be exciting ones to say the least!

I’m going to Greece tomorrow (I’ve never been) and only now do I feel like the kid in the candy store – if I was any less tired I’d probably feel excited. The upshot is that I’ll get some kip on the plane, and then it’s a week or so of rest, relaxation, sunshine and swimming in the Med. I can’t wait – I only hope that my lilly white ass doesn’t scare too many folks away. I’ve charged my camera batteries, had my Lomo fixed, and have a few black and white spools for the F70, so I’m really looking forward to taking some cool photo’s and just forgetting about work – sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that there’s this whole world out there beyond my monitor, mouse and keyboard…

The only negative thing that I can think of for now is that I am absolutely knackered. I have dark rings under my eyes, my eyes have started twitching again (they do at about 2am), and I constantly feel like there just isn’t any more energy left in the tank. If I allowed myself to, I could fall asleep anywhere and anytime (when I was in university, I mastered the 10 minute catnap between lectures so sleeping on the train is easy), so this holiday is coming at exactly the right time. So my intention is to forget about everything, get some rest, and come back to London with a different approach and renewed vigour.

They say that successful captains know how to re-align the ship onto it’s course when the ship starts to go off course – now I’m not saying that I’ve gone off the rails (hardly, just not sleeping enough!); but just that the last few months have made me realise a few things about myself, and also about the industry I work in, the way I conduct my business, the work ethic I have, and the way I want to live and lead my life.

I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that as an entrepreneur, there simply is no nirvana of a 9-5 work-life balance – it’s not possible unless you have seed capital at least – the only balance you can have is to make sure that you don’t work all the time, you get distracted with other stuff that interests you, and that you maintain your human relationships. So on my return from holiday, I aim to puruse all of the above, rather than to the exclusion of… Playing hockey again soon is going to be cool too (I went to my first fitness session of the season yesterday and my body is aching like it should) ;-)

And that about sums it up – I’ve drawn a blank, have a real need for some shuteye, and can’t think of anything more to add here.

Adios, and seeya on the flip side – if I’ve got a mail from you in my Inbox, it WILL get replied to on my return; if you’re in Greece over the next week, look me up – I’ll be the big guy with white legs on the beach oggling all the skimpy bikini’s… ;-) – and if you’re a blogger, stop blogging, go get some air/sleep/food/interaction with other humans!

Drinking with Saffa’s?

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An Englishman, an Aussie and a South African are in a bar one night,
having a beer. All of a sudden the South African downs his beer, throws
his glass in the air, pulls out a gun and shoots the glass to pieces
and says, In Sath Efrika our glasses are so cheap that we don’t need to drink
from the same one twice.”

The Aussie, obviously impressed by this, drinks his beer, throws his
glass into the air, pulls out his gun and shoots the glass to pieces
and says,

“Well mate, in Straaaaailia we have so much sand to make the glasses
that we don’t need to drink out of the same glass twice either.”

The Englishman, cool as a cucumber, picks up his beer and drinks it,
throws his glass into the air, pulls out his gun, shoots the South
African and the Australian and then says,

“In London we have so many f***ing South Africans and Australians that
we don’t need to drink with the same ones twice.”

Hat tip: Ian

Actively looking for South African / African writers and bloggers

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I’m *still* throwing this into the wind to see where the seeds fall, so here goes:

I’m looking to get in touch with anyone who is African or South African (or for that matter interested in matters relating to Africa / South Africa) that is interested in writing and/or blogging on matters relating to Africa/South Africa, especially if they’re not already doing so for technical reasons (as in, they’re not sure how it all works and so they’ve not really got started).

I’m looking for people from anywhere, so they don’t have to physically be in Africa, and I’m also interested in whether they are passionate and want to talk about stuff that is important to them. All the technical bits I can teach, so don’t let that be a limiting factor.

Also, if you’re already a writer, and/or have your own blog and you’re talking about Africa / South Africa, then please do get in touch.

Similarly, if you read and comment on this blog regular like, then please get in touch as well – I’ll probably mail you in the coming weeks but it would be good to get a heads up of your interest anyways.

If you know anyone that fits the above descriptions, then please forward this post to them!

Cool – here’s to the interweb and all it’s magicality ;-)

The blogosphere is over 100 times bigger than it was just 3 years ago.

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David Siry releases the latest state of the blogosphere, which has some ineresting facts and figures

No point in going through them here as Dave goes through them in some detail, suffice it to say that all those who doubted my predicitons a year or two ago should eat their hats, now!

I’m really happy about this, because it shows that human communication is changing in a real way, but also wonder when the trend will start slowing down – my hunch is that there is still a long way to go since most of the world still have no idea what blogging is, or at least some notion that includes MySpace or a visit to a blog at some stage – but surely enough don’t know about it for future growth…

Hat tip to e-Consultancy

Mad IE disappearing list items CSS bug

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I’m working on the frontend for a CMS based intranet at a client, and I’ve been getting the disappearing list item madness again – where the list items are rendered to the page when it is loaded, but when you scroll up or down the page, the list items disappear. Go to another window, or refresh the screen, and they’re back again…

So it’s pretty weird, and after spending about 30mins looking for a solution somewhere I decided to do a complete CSS debug to see if I could weed the problem out… but no can do.

One of the hassles has been that I’m working with user generated code (Can I get that turned into a buzzword please?), so I can’t really change or improve the markup as much as I’d like to – so it’s back to basics, where I basically ended up chucking out the usual list item styling in favour of a background image, which has had far more predictable results, and now that I’ve implemented across all the list item styling, it doesn’t make the site look any the worse.

More to the point, the site actually looks pretty much the same in IE and FF (which for me more than the client is satisfaction, since they only use IE).

Ok, so if you have the problem, then here’s the process I went through:

  1. Adding 100% width didn’t help me since I’m using floated divs and they’re arranged neatly as fluid boxes.
  2. Margins and padding didn’t really do much, and we all know that the effect is different on both platforms anyways…
  3. Position: relative; didn’t really help either.

And this is the CSS that works for me now:

/* unordered list styling ____________________________*/
ul {
list-style-type: none;

font-size: 1em;
line-height: 1.2em;

padding: 0 0 10px 0;
margin: 10px 0 0 0px;
}
ul li {
list-style-type: none;

background-image: url(../layoutImages/images/lists_bullet.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: 0 5px;

padding: 0 0 0 20px;
margin: 0 0 0 0px;
}
ul li a,
ul li a:link,
ul li a:visited{
text-decoration: none;
color: #017BB4;
}
ul li a:hover,
ul li a:active {
text-decoration: underline;
}
/* main-sub-block styling ____________________________*/
div.main-sub-block ul {
padding: 0 0 0 0;
margin: 0 0 0 0px;
}
div.main-sub-block ul li {

}
/* main-sub-block styling ____________________________*/

Hope that helps some ;-)

Web 2.0 London BBQ – Sat 5th August – the Webers have arrived…

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Just a friendly reminder, the next (Web 2.0 / Geek) BBQ is tomorrow, the 5th August, starting around 1pm.

The Webers have arrived, we’ve got enough cutlery to sink a small battleship, and I’m told to expect venison and some other tasty treats that one wouldn’t normally get from the Co-Op…

All you need to do is bring some snacks, drinks, and a fiver – that will get you all the food you can eat, and hopefully a nice healthy dose of Vitamin D.

OK, so here’s the summary:
Web 2.0 / Geek BBQ, done by real BraaiMasters Sat 5th August 20 Farquhar Road, SW19 8DA Doors open at 1pm, make sure you’re there before feeding time! -> Upcoming.org post.

If you’re a rugby fan, we’ll be watching the SA / Aussie rugby beforehand…

Hope to see you there ;-)