Smath's blog

If i were to make a new year's resolution now...

4 January, 2009 - 17:37

... it would be to make my point more clearly and using fewer words. Seth Godin wrote a blog post on copywriting that has made me think a bit.

Less use of the nutritionless filler words.

Around the world: Round Two

8 November, 2008 - 15:34

The first flight of my second round-the-world trip in as many years (I can't believe it either) was Johannesburg to Sao Paulo. I have spent a lot of time flying but was still more than a little surprised to recognize the flight attendants on this flight. They appeared to recognize me too: at one point I asked one if she'd mind if I had some tea, and she said "Sure, help yourself" and directed me into the attendant's galley where I helped myself.

But not without feeling very odd about it.

So far I've found the service on South African Airways flights to be very friendly and helpful, I'd recommend them on that basis. The admin side of this flight was a different story though. Dealing with SAA Voyager, for example is absolutely atrocious and makes me think that actually, reporting an incident at the South African Police maybe isn't as bad as I'd thought.

My flight was not a proper connecting flight (different carriers. And I'd like to say right now, again, that I am not impressed with the SAA call centre. NOT impressed.). This meant I had to go through passport control, clear customs and be re-frisked. I was very glad that South Africans can enter Brazil without a visa or else I'd have had a big shopping to do when I get into Argentina, because I wouldn't have been able to collect my luggage - one has to clear through passport control before you can do any luggage collection!

I'm sitting in the Sao Paulo airport now at my gate killing time until its time to go to Buenos Aires. A guy looking exactly like Andre Ellis has just walked past and weirded me out again. It's 19h08 and the sun is still in the sky, and I'm sipping a fruit smoothie that tastes like drips of heaven. Aaaaah :)

I don't really have any expectations for this trip beyond chilling out a lot. I'm so looking forward to it..

I am stressed.

11 October, 2008 - 19:58

I re-acknowledged this a few days back when I got a piece of Bic splinter in my lip. This is a small selection of the stationery that has fallen victim to the present episode. It is a bad habit.

After our final exams at school I noted-to-self that at no point in the future should I ever own a metal pen again or my teeth would be gone before I reached 30.

I have not yet lost any teeth.

I am also not yet 30.

Using javascript for evil instead of good

24 September, 2008 - 22:13

I take it personally when a website does what the site in the screenshot below does. When ctrl+w'ing to close the tab, it:

  1. blocked me from closing the tab (or doing anything else in my browser), and
  2. presented me with a message in a popup window saying, "Sorry, you do not have permission to press this key.". Huh??

It does this when one presses either shift or control though one can bypass this by clicking in the browser's address bar so that the focus is not on the web page itself.

As web developers and designers it really is our job and our responsibility to build sites that are as comfortable for a user to use as possible. I hope that Verizone gets with the program and realizes that their message is not going to stop people from copying anything on the site (not that I'd ever want to).

Google Analytics desktop application for people

30 January, 2008 - 15:08

It would be really useful is if there was a tool like Google Analytics, but for people rather than websites.

I'm envisioning either a desktop application or a Firefox plugin that tracked what websites I went to, how much time I spent on each website, entry time, exit time and stopped timing after a certain time of inactivity. A desktop app would be more effective because then it could also track time spent in, for example, your text editor

This should put paid to the woes of time logging, and many of the inaccuracies too.


23 January, 2008 - 21:04

I have selfishly usurped some of my time, which is in fact not my time at all until sometime in February, and created myself a website.

Thank krishna.

Update 28 May 2009: A further year and some has passed inbetween when I first wrote this and when I'm actually getting out and publishing anything here. Since I am a web developer I just didn't feel right by putting my own site live without its own custom theme. In the interrim I have been writing here and there - half-written blog posts in .txt files have littered my computer and it's been an interesting time reading things I wrote for my non-existent blogs as long as two years ago. Some awesome house-keeping!

Update 14 February 2010: Another year has gone by now. I've done more projects than I can feasibly list on the portfolio page, and now, for real, I've designed and made a theme that I'm actually happy with! Sooon that splash page on is coming down! So soon.

People in New York fall down

2 November, 2006 - 07:50

For all the months that it's taken me to get any of this online I've been thinking about what might be worth mentioning and always one thing comes to to front of my mind: People in New York fall down!

It's something I've told to all the people I've spoken to back home so far. For the first week that I was in New York City, PEOPLE FELL DOWN! Right in front of me! At least one person every day. And not the usual little barely-noticeable loss of composure petit-trip. I'm talking olympic standard falling down. They fall down stairs, across the pavement, UP the pavement. I have never seen anything like it in my life. These are the things I'm traveling to learn about though, no?

My new New York friend claims never to have witnessed the thing that I'm talking about. It must be me.

First round-the-world flight

3 October, 2006 - 04:29

The first leg of my round-the-world trip was an SAA flight which turned out to travel via Senegal. I was a bit confused at the stop and still freshly irate at having had my dry underarm dry-stick deodorant confiscated. Dove (symbol of peace!) - they feared that I might bring down this Boeing with it. I suppose the terrorists might charge at the pilots of the plane with just such a dry stick as what I had had confiscated, and rub it in their eyes so that they wouldn't be able to see clearly where they were going for 24 hours (only the best dry stick would do for this cause) causing them to crash the plane and kill us all.

When we landed in Senegal I asked the air hostess whether we would be leaving the plane at all. She laughed and said, "Don't be mad - if we did that we'd surely return find the wheels stolen from the plane.".

I had been told all sorts of terrifying stories about arrivals in New York about power-tripping officials that made my skin crawl. And I was expecting to be cavity-searched. A full cavity search may have been more pleasant than what I actually got: a greasy official at passport control called Ramos (I am unsure whether this was his first, last, or /only/ name) hitting on me. After inspecting all my documentation, scanning my important bits (eyes and fingertips) he yelled across passport control to his friend: "HEY, check this out! From South Africa traveling alone around the world!". The friend came over, they both looked me up and down and paged through my passport, and Ramos offered his sevices to me as a bodyguard. Since i was not officially through passport control yet, I held back on my urge to hiss and cuss at the guy, and forced a smile, snatched back my passport and left.

Finally in New York City. First time in the United States! Such a muddle of thoughts and feelings: excited and overwhelmed, exhausted (and feeling kind of icky due to confiscation of dry stick), a little lonely and a lot confused. The start of the most massive adventure of my whole life.

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