Category Archivelife

life 11 Apr 2023 09:51 pm


Maria Messinis 
(nee Kartapanis)

She would howl!

She really would. A shrieking sound so terrifying that even the cats and dogs of the neighborhood would hide.

“Stavroooooooooooooooooooo!” I would run, and laugh and if on the odd occasion that she’d catch me and give me a brief spanking, I’d say “That didn’t hurt!”

We were young parasites. From the moment we were born, we took from her. Milk to begin with, then, ever-constant nourishment. And always, anything we demanded, she’d give. Like little baby birds, wide open mouths, screaming for food. That was us.

She was always there, whenever we needed her. Even when we didn’t think we needed her but she knew we needed her.


As we grew and became wiser, wilier little shits, we would attempt to manipulate her. Constantly. And, she’d just take it, knowing, instinctively that that was her calling. Then she’d gently nudge the best behavior out of us.

Bringing up six children was no easy feat. Yet, she did it. Maria was legendary, even in her birth-town of Rhodes which she emigrated from at age 16. A woman who embodied the spirit of rebellion, adventure, and motherhood all in one. She was a force to be reckoned with, a true matriarch who nurtured us and taught us to stand straight and take it all on.

She knew that life can be unpredictable, but she never let fear hold her back from taking on new challenges and opportunities.

Though she’s passed on, we still look up to her as a role model, having inherited her adventurous spirit and resourcefulness. She will always have our backs no matter what.

Despite the many obstacles and setbacks she faced, she never lost sight of her goals or her values and with her life’s partner and co-creator George, they were always determined to create a better life for their children.

Through it all, she was a rebel at heart, challenging the status quo and inspiring others to do the same. A true force of nature, a mother, and a role model who showed us all what it means. Our mother Maria formed the pillar of our home.

I remember that shriek whenever I would not do homework or whenever I’d bully my little sisters or bunk school or tell lies after lies to cover up our crap. It was like an air raid siren! Stop! Take cover! Hide!

She just took it all in. Patient, caring she had to give six of everything. She worked six times as hard.

We miss you mom.

I’ve found my Maria, she’s just like you.

Explaining &life 13 Nov 2022 02:40 am

King Aegeus

I’m sitting here thinking about the day we woke our father early one morning to tell him the news.
We sat around the table with a cup of coffee. It was an abnormality. A weekday. We normally met on weekends.
He sat there confused, wondering what brought three of his six children together on a weekday and how we had woken him. His face, expressing a puzzled mixture of happiness that we were all there together but also a weird energy that something was wrong.
Then, we told him.
Our oldest brother Theo had died in the early hours of the morning.
He sat there in disbelief, the very early elements of dementia had been present for a few months now.
He was confused. “What do you mean?”
-“He had a sudden heart problem and passed away. He’s with mommy now.”
He took it all in. His eyes became wet but he held back the tears. In that moment, he probably had flashbacks of many hundreds of images of his first born son, his birth, holding him for the first time, his first birthday, his first day at school, his achievements, his sorrows and his tragedies, our fights, our joys managing a six child family, his wife, our mom.
Parents should not have to hear of the death of their children.There is nothing more tragic.
I remember a time when I was about 6 years old and our parents took us to Cape Sounion.
As we stood on the cliff near the temple overlooking the Aegean sea, my father told us the myth of King Aegeus who’s son Theseus had gone (against his father’s will) to Crete to kill the minotaur, a vicious beast that was considered invincible.
King Aegeus had instructed his son’s captains to raise a white sail if Theseus was victorious (and alive).
Well, Theseus was victorious but his captains, occupied in celebration following their vanquishing of the seemingly invincible minotaur, forgot to raise a white sail and from that very rock, where Aegeus was standing waiting for the return of his beloved son, wanting to see a white sail, Aegeus saw a dark sail and realised his son had perished. In his despair, in that failure of not succeeding to prohibit his son from doing the unimaginable, he threw himself off the rock and died in the sea below.
I was traumatised that day.
A victory turned to tragedy out of a simple misunderstanding. A parent seeing no further purpose for life when losing a child.
It’s the myths and legends that connect us, that give us direction and purpose. My dad threw himself off the cliff the day we told him of Theo’s passing.
Theo had left years before to go kill his own minotaur.
There was to be no white sail.
A parent’s mission is the equipping of their children to become valuable members of society and living long enough to see that work materialise and for them to continue being parents, and grandparents, adjusting, helping, contributing.
We need to give our kids enough to do something but not enough to do nothing.
We all have minotaurs to go and kill. But we should never go alone.
I miss my parents.
If yours are still alive, go spend the day with them.
Take them to Sounion.
You owe them everything.
They’d jump off that cliff for you.

life 03 May 2020 09:17 pm

For Theo

On Saturday 2nd May 2020, Theo’s friends dedicated a 3 hour radio show to him. Host of the show was his good friend John Badenhorst from and the show began by playing his favourite songs and messages from his family and friends. You can listen to it by clicking the play button below. Rest in peace brother.

life 29 Apr 2020 06:08 pm

Theo, 05/01/1971 – 29/04/2020


My earliest memory is of playing pushcars with you on the carpet in that little 2 bedroom house we lived in, do you remember? It was probably 1975.

I remember playing cops and robbers and superheroes, do you remember?

Remember how as we pushed those cars on that carpet, we’d say “Ela fíle, páme fíle, me trákares fíle, den peirazei fíle, páme páli fíle”. Do you remember?

You were my first “fíle” We played a lot back then. We played so much!
Do you remember us setting the couch on fire? We almost burned the house down. They forgave us. They always did. Do you remember?

I remember us racing empty shopping carts around the supermarket because Mommy and Daddy always had two shopping carts and we would each get one to push, do you remember?

Do you remember nursery school where you helped me get on your shoulders and unlatch the door so we could escape and go play at Pappou’s garage? That nursery was shit, Pappou’s was so much better. Do you remember?

Do you remember the long drives to Durban and Daddy stopping near Secunda to show us the “Top Secrets”? Those massive towers in the distance that lit up the sky that produced oil from coal that he helped build and with which he gave us everything our hearts desired, everything and anything.

We couldn’t go near the “Top Secrets”, they were these distant symbols representing hard, hard work and special skills and trust, immense trust. “One day you’ll also build top secrets” he’d tell us.

Do you remember Anstey’s beach and how hard it was at first for us to fit in with the locals? You made so many friends. You made good friends. Do you remember you were first in class? Those years at Grosvenor High were the best, do you remember? Do you remember you captained your rugby team? They called you “Moose”. You were unstoppable. Do you remember when we went to see the All Blacks play? Do you remember?

Remember when you learned to drive?

Do you remember speeding through the streets, getting caught by the police without a license and being brought home and explaining “it wasn’t me speeding Dad, it was the policeman who was speeding trying to catch me!”

Do you remember how Daddy, realising he was losing his grip on his two eldest boys rolled a beat up old Beetle into the yard, gave us a set of ratchets and spanners and said “There, this is your car – take it apart, learn how it works, put it together again. Make it work”

It was his way of keeping us away from the bad influences that surrounded us. We did. So many parts! It ran, we learned. Do you remember? We are the Beetle experts.

Do you remember how hard it was to move away from Grosvenor? You adjusted again and made good friends again but by this time you were out of school and there were new struggles. Harder struggles. The army was a struggle. Something happened in the army that you never wanted to talk about. It changed you. You struggled after the army and we struggled too but I’m sure not as much as you did inside. I was lucky. I never went to that army.

Do you remember how hard it was moving to Greece? You came with your wife and your boy. We were a close family but we struggled. Boy did we struggle. You more than anyone. You made two more boys here. You had a bad hand dealt at that time dear brother. I was the lucky one. I wish it could have been easier for you.

A few years later you left and went back to face an easier struggle. I’m glad you found the path that you wanted. Your path. We promised we’d do our best for the boys and I hope we did. I promised I would and I still will, always. Every one of your brothers and sisters are doing something and we always will.

We had so many fights but you were my first “file”. Do you remember? I have so many memories. So many good memories. Im sorry my boys never got to know you as I remember you. I have so many memories to tell them.

Rest in peace my brother. You’ve had your last struggle. I will always remember you and speak of you fondly. I hope you’re driving fast, in a red Ferrari up there. Give mommy a big hug from all of us here.

Explaining &life 18 Jan 2020 12:30 pm

Letters to our children #3

Dear boys, today I want to write to you about running a family business.

You’ve lived through us running our business almost all of your lives. I’m sure you have your own aspects to reflect upon and perhaps we can talk about how you’ve experienced this at some point in the future. I know your mother will want to be a part of that conversation too.

We Messinis’ run family businesses. It takes a heavy toll on our personal relationships. I know you’ve witnessed this. We’ve had high high’s and low low’s and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster hasn’t it? Rollercoasters are supposed to be fun, right? Who would you like sitting next to you on a rollercoaster? Family! Who can you trust more than family?

When we work with eachother and for eachother, the lines are very blurred. Emotions run hot and during the low low’s of business it’s easy to start laying blame on one another.

In running a family business, it’s hard to form a hierarchy, really hard. The family members often cover for eachother but when things get tough it’s inevitable that stress spills over into the home. I’m sorry it does.

I personally, have been both a good and a terrible businessperson. Good in that I can take calculated risks easily and am not afraid to fail, Bad because, too often, emotions take over and too often, I’ve trusted people who’ve stabbed us in the back. Sometimes too, I’ve taken decisions that have made our lives a bit more difficult.

Your mom has been there to protect me and keep me on track and, I hope, I’ve been there for her too. I’ve taught her and she’s taught me. We complement each-other and keep each-other accountable. If one day you join us in a family business, we’d expect the same from you too. I know you’ve often seen us argue and too often things have perhaps gone too far but we never wanted to hurt either of you.

I think our businesses have given us a relatively good quality of life. I think better than if we were employed for another organisation. I think too that you may have gained some knowledge from experiencing our toils too. It’s a fact that children are more likely to be entrepreneurs if their parents were entrepreneurs too. If they were exposed to the challenges and thrills of running a business, they’ll be more likely to be able to spot opportunities and threats.

Once I suggested to your mom that we write a book about how we’ve done this. About what sacrifices we’ve made and what compromises we’ve had to endure so as to help other families avoid our mistakes. We’re still discussing the idea.

Here’s a few ideas we’ve been working on for chapters: (Note, we haven’t done a few of these ourselves but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. If we had, we may have had a smoother ride, I suppose)

Setting boundaries,
Communicating regularly,
Understanding roles and responsibilities,
The business is a business,
The advantages of family businesses vs others,
Treating each other fairly,
Putting things in writing,
Sympathy jobs and avoiding them,
Having clear management lines,
Fresh Ideas from trusted outsiders,
Planning for when someone moves on or is lost,
Having experience outside before joining.

One day we might get to write this book and perhaps you can contribute a chapter or two as the recipients of our flawed parenting.

Thank you for being such wonderful boys.

Explaining &life 30 Dec 2019 10:17 am

Letters to our children #2

Dear kids, I want to write about “logical explanations” and “basic emotions”

You may remember that I often tried to remain calm and collected during difficult days. There have been quite a few and there may be a few more. I haven’t always managed to remain calm and collected though and, while I sometimes struggled to maintain a cool temper I always wanted a fair outcome. I hope we managed to achieve that with you and your mother on most days.

ALWAYS TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHY something has happened. There is a logical explanation for everything. Even if the behavior or outcome seems illogical, the root cause is there. Keep searching. Ask why, then ask why again and, again. You’ll get to the right answer. During these years, as I dig deeply to understand why certain things are the way they are and why certain conditions exist or why certain behaviors manifest themselves, I can’t stop wondering how you saw all these d difficult situations. Perhaps, one day you might talk to me about them.

Understanding a person’s underlying psychological process that drives an irrational behavior is not always easy. During my life, I’ve tried to learn as much about psychology as possible. I would encourage you both to study psychology at school or university, (or the university of youtube).

While the underlying psychology is key to understand, most often, it is one’s own actions over several days, weeks, months or even years that may have led to a toxic situation. I’ve often thought I can heal pretty quickly and forgive pretty quickly. I guess not everyone has the capacity to heal as fast as anyone else so try to always be aware of the things you say and do. Understand that your actions, words and behaviors may be leaving scars that are hard to heal.

Here’s a diagram of some basic emotions that we feel as people, and their follow on emotions. One of the most difficult emotions to overcome is contempt. For one to reach this level, a whole lot of bad stuff has happened and it’s almost impossible to recover from this state. I say almost, because I’m an eternal optimist and one approach to overcome the stuff from the bottom left (rage, anger, annoyance which leads to aggressiveness and, loathing, disgust, boredom, which leads to contempt) , is to pile on a whole lot of stuff from the top right. (Love, acceptance, trust, admiration, serenity, joy and ecstasy.)

In 1980 Robert Plutchik constructed a wheel-like diagram of emotions visualising eight basic emotions, plus eight derivative emotions each composed of two basic ones.
Source: Wikicommons

Basic emotions function as building blocks, with more complex emotions being blends of basic emotions. To use these basic building blocks one needs to be calm, collected and self aware.

I hope you find this useful in life and your various interactions with each other and your mates.

Much love


life 19 Apr 2016 11:22 am

Another emotional encounter

Facebook post from 19 April at 11:22 · Athens ·

Another emotional encounter this morning:

Walking two streets from The Cube on Benaki str. I encounter a very old man asking someone for help – He’s confused, probably suffering from the first signs of dementia. “Where are the busses, I want to go home” – “Which bus do you need” asks the other man, an owner of a kiosk, not able to give him the attention required.
I intervene.
“Where do you live” –
He pauses, angry at himself “I don’t remember the address but I remember the place I take the bus from and the stop I need to get off on”
A needle in a haystack.
“Do you have children?” I ask, “Do you have their phone number?” He’s very confused.
“I have children but they haven’t seen me in years – where are we? I just came downtown to buy some shaving cream – now I’m lost”
“We’re on the corner of Akadimias and Benaki”
“Show me the place where there’s a dip in the road, the beginning”
“The beginning of Akadimias?”
“Yes, there where the busses leave from. What’s the name of the square”, there’s that confused gaze again.
“Kannigos” I respond – his eyes light up.
“That’s it , there”
So I walk this old man a little further east towards the bus stops
“No the other way – all I do now is go there down that street and my bus leaves from there” – He’s pointing to Solonos street – We walk past the ever present drug dealers and he tells me he’s 93 years old. He has 3 children and 8 grandchildren – he lives alone – the anesthetic used during an operation he had on a broken hip 3 years ago left his mind numb. His children slowly drifted away after he lost his wife. “They have their own lives now”
He was a bus driver – coming to Athens at age 16 “When the Germans came to Kefallonia, I left and came to Athens. It’s worse now don’t you think?” He asks.
“I don’t know, I haven’t lived through a war”
“It’s worse now”, he says
We walked for 10 minutes or so as I took him to his bus station, making sure he knew where he was going. In the short time as we waited for his bus, we spoke about life, love, war and peace, about disappointment, about achievements, about parenthood – about my Father and Mother.
“Your Dad is a youngster” he said
We spoke about Greece as it was and as it is. This old man had so much to tell and give. Yet, he’s abandoned, unable to even use a phone. – I gave him my card.
“I can’t call you”, he maintained.
“If you get lost on the way home, give it to someone, and have them call me – I’ll come take you to your home and install a phone with big buttons – all you’ll do is press one button to call your daughters”
“One button?” The impossible seemed possible.
I wonder how many old people there are that are just like him. Forgotten by their kids, the ones they once gave everything for.
It made me sad. Really sad. We don’t spend enough time with our elderly.

life &work 24 May 2015 12:11 pm

Best thing read

I’ve been posting a regular update called “Best Thing Read Today” to my Facebook recently. It’s normally a short text from a book,newspaper or site I chanced upon that strikes me as important. Here’s one I think is profound given Greece’s current situation and the root causes of these outcomes :


Sounds a little like Kennedy’s  “Ask not” speech.

life 24 Apr 2015 02:59 pm

Time to complain

This image expresses it perfectly. 

Today I had a coffee with Menelaos, someone I consider very highly. He said something that I wanted to share with all of you.

“If you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t have time to complain”

I’m probably wasting time on low impact things that inevitably make me complain. No more. I intend to do it right and not have time to complain.

How about you?

The next few weeks will be hectic – with a visit to San Francisco and Boulder, helping my friends from do some great things with Sparkfun and some US schools, it will be a lot of fun and we’ll make some impact. I hope too to have some time to attend TiECon  – I met the awesome TiE folks when they did their summer retreat here in AThens a few years ago. We helped them put together a great entrepreneurs bootcamp here and I’ve been invited back to do the same for their next summer retreat in Dublin. So, the following week, I’ll be closer to home, in Dublin doing that.

So, no time to complain – trying to do it right. Can I convince you to join me?


life 03 Sep 2010 10:04 pm

Positive Scaffolds

Times are tough. The experts say they’re going to get tougher. I’m encouraged by the fact that in many conversations I’m hearing people offer eachother the phrase “How can I be supportive?”. It comes early in the conversation, probably the second question asked. Right after “What are you working on currently?” Most respond with an empassioned rant on their current project. Some answer that they’re not working on much but are looking for an opportunity. The response is still fitting.

It’s great that people are interacting like this. Using the word “support” rather than the word “help” implies success rather than failure.

In tough times like these we need to be scaffolds for eachother.

life 22 May 2010 04:37 pm

Importance of siesta’s without clocks

I’ve just woken up. It happens so often that I wake up during sleep and wished I’d had a notebook by the bedside to jot down what I, at that specific point in time, think is an incredible idea. I don’t have a notebook and naturally, overcome by the desire to nap for a few more minutes or get back into that nirvana mode where I came up with that idea, I forget the idea. Today, I beat nirvana and jotted down an incredible idea.

I get my best ideas while sleeping, that’s why siesta’s are important.
I wish I had more of them!

life &work 02 Apr 2010 10:28 am

Be professional but be a little amateur too – Don’t lose the love

It’s been a tough couple of weeks and we have been at the mercy of some cold, hard balled professionals and the impact has been devastating but we will overcome. I wanted to make a point regarding professionalism vs amateurism and how one without the other will most likely lead to failure of some sort. The last few weeks’ events have resulted in a few people being hurt, productivity is in the doldrums and work morale is at almost zero. It’s going to be an uphill battle to encourage the troops again and some valuable soldiers are likely to desert.

To make my point: The difference between professionals and amateurs is that amateurs exhibit love for what they do.

Yesterday, I advised a young colleague with a bright future that while being professional is important, it’s equally important to be a little bit of an amateur. A professional places less value in the human cost of decisions than an amateur will. I hope he takes my advice and when it’s his turn to advise those more senior than him on the best course of action, he’ll be a little bit of an amateur as well as a professional. This will transform him from a good manager to a great manager and eventually into a great leader. A leader who will have troops that return that love and will be ready to follow him into any battle. Battles that’ll then be easier to win because love is hard to beat.

There are too many professionals around lately. They’re not really producing more than the amateurs were. I’m seeing more destruction and less construction. Play a little tetris people.

Etymology of Amateur
In Greek: Erasitechnis < erasi- (eramai-to love) + -technis (techni) In English: 1775–85; < F, MF < L amator lover, equiv. to ama- (s. of amore to love) + -tor -tor, replaced by F -teur (< L -tor-, obl. s. of -tor); see -eur

life &work 03 Aug 2009 01:13 am

And what matters is:

My (slightly modified) view on what matters is:

* An alternative culture, a brighter light
* A tight relationship with stakeholders, partners and the wider community that all give us permission to talk with them
* Doing business in a remarkable way that’s worth talking about
* A story that spreads, a tale that sticks
* Leadership

life &Social Nets &the net 16 Mar 2009 04:17 pm

MediaCamp Athens ’09

We vs Me - The defining statement

We vs Me - The defining statement
credit to peter michel heilmann

It’s been 2 months since I lasted blogged and I apologise for that. Tonight has been special in that I have had the privilege of attending MediaCamp Athens ’09.

I took a lot of photo’s, some quite good, others not too good. They’re on Flickr so take a look if you like.

For the most part I have enjoyed the event (and although there have been one or two negative points upon which I’ll expand on below) first: a few notes on what was presented on this second day and what I enjoyed “consuming”

Morning demo sessions I followed were Udrive,,, greekstartups. All good but was exceptional. Better than Google. Real potential here. I loved the bit about placing advertising in a 3D live rotating view. The execution of this will be tough though, someone mentioned that advertising might appear on the Acropolis, imagine that!

The round-table Social Networks “A model for analysts” provided some heated discussion. As far as I understood, we have the potential to become less social by using social networks. (fair point if you consider we might have less physical contact if we’re constantly tweeting.

Joomla dominated today while apparently Drupal dominated yesterday. The uptake of Joomla seems fantastic. Greek company is well placed to provide services.

Vicky Kolovou and I held a discussion on TeachKidsTech – interest was good and we’re going to have a followup meeting in a couple of weeks. Join the Facebook group Teach Kids Technology if you’re interested.

And now for some comment.

The Web Startup/New Media/Social Network community or family in Greece is growing. This is a relatively young family and it is growing fast. Naturally, as families grow, the children develop and mature. They get opinions, they prefer more independence and don’t really like sharing toys. There are growing pains, jealousies and intrigues that develop too. Sometimes there are bullies about.

There is clear evidence of this happening in this family. It’s natural and there is nothing to worry about. Evolution and natural selection will occur.

Evolution is a wonderful thing. In the meantime, let’s spread the love people. Try not to be a blue meanie. The events that provide value will endure. They will survive. We should try not to stand in the wings and criticise, if we see something we don’t like, let’s lend a hand to fix it. I spoke to one person last night who felt it could have been better, but he stayed to the end, and contributed from the beginning. If you’re irked by a naturally obnoxious self promoting person or someone you feel constantly talks total crap (and there are some of those around believe me(perhaps I may be one of them)). Let the system phase them out. It will happen. Don’t worry.

I must say well done to the organisers (all of them) for their hard work in setting all this up. It was very well run. The sponsorships came through, the event was fun. Some opinions were questionable and there are more “experts” than letters in this post but you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I’ll be there next year – for sure.

Did you attend? What did you think?

General &life 04 Aug 2008 09:20 pm

Never again will they “Just not get it”

triangles.jpgI have resolved to never again say that someone “Just doesn’t get it”. Saying someone “doesn’t get it” implies that you’ve decided that you won’t take the time (or any more time) to convince them of the merits of your position and thereby proving that it’s the superior one. If your take on things is indeed better then you should provide enough evidence to convince. This can sometimes be very difficult, especially when the person has a fixed view or the person lacks sufficient knowledge in the subject.

So, turning it on it’s head, no more “they don’t get it”. From now on it’s: “I haven’t explained it well enough yet.”

General &life 22 Jul 2008 05:50 pm


crowd1.gifCrowd trust is the trust I place in the crowd that has gone before me and not been burned. For example: EULAs. I never read them fully, I trust someone before me has already read it and if there was something there that was so wrong the crowd would make a fuss and get it fixed. What do you think about this?

life &Technology &the net 22 Jun 2008 10:12 pm

Psst … Something wonderful is happening … pass it on

Take 4 minutes to view this great video.

Now if that has whet your appetite, take a look at this: Charles Leadbeater at TED talks

life 10 Sep 2007 08:31 pm

Great Quotes #303 – On Freedom

The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.

Eugene McCarthy, Time magazine, Feb. 12, 1979
US politician (1916 – 2005)

Full of Myself &life 25 May 2007 06:39 pm

A Quick Sketch Biography of Stavros Messinis

Chris Brogan had a great idea about letting readers of our blogs know more about who they’re reading. Here’s my attempt at a personal Quick Sketch Biography

  • The thing most people know me for is…My passion for technology and innovation, I’m always looking for a quicker, easier, cheaper way to do something. Sometimes I do it successfully, sometimes not
  • The people I associate the most with are…My family and those who inspire me
  • People who have influenced my life are…My parents, my brother, Mr Claasens in std 9, Michael Dertouzos, PaulW
  • One challenge I took on and overcame was…Swimming an open water long distance race without training, fueled by 12 dishes of spaghetti, 32 sachets of corn syrup and a bit of courage.
  • My early years, before you probably got to know me were…well protected from all foreign influences – I escaped to Europe at age 24 where my eyes were opened suddenly.
  • You might not know this, but …I was once a budding artist, photographer and electronics hobbyist.
  • I’m passionate about…Maria, Panos and George Jr II, Technology and my workplace
  • In the next year or two, I hope to…Run the Athens Classic Marathon and Buy a house

life &Technology &work 20 May 2007 07:47 am

Mouse to the Left

wrist painRSI (repetitive strain injury) is playing up really bad this week. I’m changing hands for mousing and switching mouse buttons to give my right hand a little rest. Rest is the only way to recover. Some really good software for helping a recovery of RSI by reminding you to take frequent rests and do stretching exercises is WorkRave but you need to be disciplined enough to use it.

I wish I was.

General &life 17 May 2007 02:23 pm

Measure Everything

speedMeasure everything Important – you’ll never know how fast or slow you are going without a speedometer. If you need to speedup to overtake or slow down to keep from crashing you need to know about it so remember metrics are everything. You need to be able to prove the value of something you are doing compared to something else someone might impose on you. Metrics are everything. Whether it’s time or cost or even a ratio of both. Measure it, date it and measure it again. Put these values in a matrix and use these matrices as your tools to sell your ideas.

life &work 15 May 2007 12:42 pm

Faster Meetings

boring meetingsWhat if, at our next meeting, everyone around the table actually was ready and had anticipated everything that might come up? Wouldn’t it go faster? Or better? What if we tried something completely new and had the meeting standing up. That might make it go faster.

Meeting participants should only have 3 things to say.

1) What progress do I have to report since the last meeting

2) What do I plan to do before the next meeting

3) What potential problems do I foresee arising before the next meeting that I may need help with

life 27 Nov 2006 03:43 pm

27 Nov 2006 14:15 Dad Again !!

P1010575sm.JPGWe have a burly young gentleman of 4.1kg. Born by CS. I’ll put pics up as soon as I take them. M has been super. First night was a little easier than with Panos two years ago. I guess we knew what to expect. Thanks to all friends who came to visit, called or sent messages. We will be home as of Friday. Baby G is exactly 2years, 2 days and 2 hrs younger than Panos.

life 01 Nov 2006 10:19 am


everywhere.JPGHeard today that “Die Groot Krokodil” is dead. Apparently he died peacefully. Personally I can’t imagine he was very peaceful given all that happened under his rule. Still RIP PW.

On a funnier note, while surfing following on from reading the PW article I stumbled across the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission website.They have a list of applicants who had applied for amnesty crimes/atrocities committed under apartehied. Some granted some denied. Im taken aback by the sheer volume of killings that took place. One site actually lists operations undertaken by the ANC during that time. WOW almost every second or third day they were actually blowing stuff up. In some cases very near to where we were located. Anyway this post is actually about one guy, ROBIN HOUSTON HOLMES, who applied for amnesty to overturn a conviction for “illegal production, printing and distribution of banned T-shirts” !!! One shirt titled “We are everywhere – Even in the kitchen” I’ll give him one thing – at least his action was non-violent and apparently he didn’t even make a quick buck on the back of the struggle.

life 12 Sep 2006 12:32 pm

Brain Overload – Need a Holiday

brain-mapping.jpg“Memory failure owes more to interference from irrelevant information than to an inability to focus on relevant information”

I am tired. My brain is full. I either need a reboot (not a boot to the Head) or a memory upgrade. Since the upgrade’s not available yet, I’ll settle for the holiday (kind of like a reboot). I am literally unable to remember more than 3 digits at a time when noting down a phone number. The other day the boss stood accross the room and quoted a number for me to dial into the phone. I got it wrong three times in a row. He took over. I hav since reverted to carrying a large blue notebook around everywhere I go, noting things down, moving them off my RAM. Seems to be working and my productivity is slightly up – still, time off after the 25th for a couple of weeks.


life 03 Sep 2006 11:10 am

Panagiotis – Named at Last !!

panos christeningBeen a long time coming and his hair was getting really long (for the orthodoxically uninitiated: we cant give him a haircut before he’s baptised) The ceremony was great, a really cool priest who seemed high on something or other, a great group of family and friends as guests and vast quantities of food and wine thereafter. Thank you all for coming and thanks so much for the wonderful gifts.
pcitures are at

life 31 Aug 2006 11:33 am

Building Clever Web applications – Bad Teachers, and 2 failures: Great Quotes No.1

bIn mathematics, we are usually concerned with declarative (what is) descriptions, whereas in computer science we are usually concerned with imperative (how to) descriptions. — Abelson, Sussman, and Sussman in Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, p.22


Bob Gouldie, you were a dick but you were right, calculus would have been useful. Pity we had a pair of failures. I failed to learn it and you failed in teaching it to me. Nevertheless, my attitude has always been “If you want something done, do it yourself” so here goes.

life 11 Aug 2006 10:20 am

Christmas is Coming – get your wallet out


So I’m gonna be a little cheeky:

If you’re inclined to buy me an Xmas prezzie this year, here are a few suggestions:

Magazine Subscriptions: Get me the Electronic version and we’ll save some trees or Get me a paper magazine and I’ll promise to donate the mag(s) to the local school.

Popular Science
Popular Mechanics (cheap!!)
MAKE Magazine
Nuts and Volts

Geek Energy:

Rechargable AA and AAA Batterries, preferably over 650 mAh – do they last a little

More Geek Energy:

A portable solar panel


Gee thanks !!

General &life 11 Aug 2006 09:23 am

This is for you D.

Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg says: If your business idea fails, at least you will make the contacts and gained experience that will help you to make a success the second time round and unless you’re totally incompetent, you will still have enough trust from them to help you succeed.

life 03 Aug 2006 12:46 am

Fear of Running out of Ideas

braniacZeFrank said some cool stuff a while ago:

One way to ensure that you never run out of ideas is by never executing them. Tell yourself you don’t have the time or resources to do them right. That way they stay in your head. It feels good to be full of ideas. Like “Brain Crack”, no matter how bad things get, at least you still have those good ideas. That “Brain Crack” is really addictive. Some people hold on to an idea, planning every detail of how perfectly that idea should be executed. I prefer to execute an idea immediately. I dont want to get addicted to that “Brain Crack” and chances are i’ll get it wrong at least three times before I get it right. But I’ll still have three times more experience than the guy addicted to “Brain Crack”


Great stuff ZeFrank


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