Morten in your front room

Or anywhere else, actually!

Remember the groundbreaking video for a-ha’s Take On Me? Of course you do – it was groundbreaking – the best video of the 1980s. Way up there in the Top Ten best music videos ever. Really good and groundbreaking.

Now, Augmented Reality buffs at Trixi Studios have made that very same video come alive in someone’s living room:

Look how real life dives in and out of pencil-sketched life. Just like in the original video. They’ve even managed to get those nasty thugs with their pipe wrenches into the mix.

AR has many wonderful applications, but putting us into our favourite popular music videos was one that I hadn’t really considered until now.

The South African Civil War – a short historical essay

No-one truly believed that South Africa would escape the descent into civil war at some stage – that was sadly inevitable – but I would wager that few of the naysayers and doom and gloom merchants could ever have accurately predicted the source of the conflict. It seems likely that, if pushed, most of them would have plumped for one of the more obvious causes: poverty, inequality, politics, corruption, race. But of course, that wasn’t it.

No-one ever realised that the previously-docile, overtly-privileged, white upper-middle class would rise up after the rumours that the City of Cape Town had threatened to close Newlands Spring. Even looking back, it seems ridiculous that this could be a trigger for any confrontation, let alone a protracted armed engagement between citizens of the Republic, but no-one thought about it. Well, why would you?

No-one foresaw that springing (no pun intended) from an online petition (where else?) set up by local businessman, ex-water collector and now infamous instigator of widespread civil unrest, Riyaz Rawoot, would come an army of discontented middle-aged white people. Never mind that the alleged closure turned out to be an entirely unresearched story put out by a local newspaper in order to incite outrage in an attempt to increase their dismal sales figures. That’s just incidental. It’s history now.

No-one would have believed that a barrage of strongly worded letters from the Southern Suburbs would be all that it took to bring down the elected leadership of Cape Town and the Western Cape, after they were unable to provide a satisfactory response within the 10 working days as promised in their electoral manifesto, prompting mass resignations in the higher echelons of provincial government. We had always thought that the war would be fought twixt electric fences and long knives (or at least machetes from Builders Warehouse). But the pen, it seems, is indeed mightier than the panga.

No-one ever thought that the effect of that sudden power vacuum in the south west of the country would be so disastrous. That it could come to this. That the alleged threatened lack of access to a slightly broken 4 inch plastic pipe at the end of a cul-de-sac in an affluent Cape Town suburb could drag the entirety of Southern Africa into bloody conflict.

No-one ever considered the butterfly effect; the implications of the true powerbase of the country getting swept up in a wave of outrage over a misunderstanding of what was frankly a rather trivial issue anyway.

No-one should ever underestimate how something so small could lead to our collective downfall.

Have a nice day.

The Qantas A380 post

After an impromptu Twitter debate yesterday evening, I have found myself photoshopping this Qantas A380 into various images in any moments of spare time this morning.

It’s a long and actually rather uninteresting backstory, but I have discovered that adding a Qantas A380 to any photo not only makes that photo better, it’s also quite a cathartic process.

Additionally, I got a couple of helpful replies from the legend that is Jules Hudson – presenter of BBC’s Escape To The Country – and all round aircraft noise avoidance technique expert (residential).

Anyway, you can look forward to occasional images with the additional of the above aircraft on here. And then you’ll see what I mean.

Shooting (jelly)fish in a barrel

The weekend. Yesterday, we went to the Aquarium and saw their Pink Meanie, and I found just how difficult it is to shoot jellyfish in a barrel cylindrical poly-carbonate tank.

Then this morning, the beagle got (slightly) eaten at the Beagle Run: ruining my plans for using its ears as coffee coasters once it has joined the choir invisible, and resulting in several (or more) Rands in vet’s fees.

I’m heading for channel 203 and a Black Label.

Other pics: here.

It’s back

After 11½ days, our phone line and internet have been restored.

All hail the technicians who slaved for literally minutes outside our property to make this happen. It’s taken so many “escalations” through various agencies that our connection must be so high that it’s in danger of getting taken out by passing aircraft.

It’s been an irritating, frustrating and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned a few things. Here they are, in no particular order.

We use the internet a lot at home. A lot.

Are we dependent on it? No, not quite. We survived, but only really because we knew that it would come back at some stage. And only then because emails could be written at home and then sent at work. If there had been no outlet like this, it would have been very difficult.

This goes for the kids too. Their school (correctly) assumes that its students will have access to the internet at home. Homework is set appropriately. And so last night, after her music lesson, my daughter sat in the school car park doing her (online) maths homework via their wifi.

It’s simply too expensive to operate on mobile data for any prolonged length of time. Look, mobile is fine for the little things, but then the little things lead to bigger things and suddenly, you’re R200 down after 30 minutes and that’s before you’ve even thought about music or video downloads or streaming. Or blogging.

I know a lot of people, especially in South Africa, don’t have the luxury of the internet at home. Much like electricity and running water (for the moment anyway), I do recognise how privileged we are. But as I mentioned somewhere when we were going through loadshedding – you adapt your life to having these things. When you suddenly don’t have them, you are far less able to cope than those who didn’t have them in the first place. As Phil Collins once quoth:

We had a life, we had a love 
But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it

I have a lot of catching up to do. Mainly music to download, videos to catch up on, but also pictures to upload, articles to read. Updates to update.

According to one source (because there were differing accounts as to what went wrong), our outage was due to copper theft. I was therefore looking forward to getting our fibre connection sorted. That was until I found that the copper thieves often nick that too, not realising that it’s not copper. Ugh.

I’m disappointed that it took so long to fix. And I do wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn’t chased and harried and generally badgered Afrihost and Telkom. It’s been a pain. I’ve been a pain.

I’m not home just yet (writing this during an incubation period on my experiment). But I can hardly wait until I am.