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Category: Rants

Picture the scene. You have spent all afternoon trying to figure out how to install a must-have app onto your smartphone, but get nowhere.

With defeat unhappily accepted, you jump onto Google to search for help. The results arrive milliseconds later promising to aid you in your quest, only to find that instead of finding a nice explanation of what to do, you are instead confronted with some stranger prattling on for 10 minutes in a YouTube video telling you how it should be done.

This scenario is not too bad if there are lots of regular text-based tutorials or webpages telling you what you need to know, since then you can just ignore the videos, but it gets really frustrating if there are no other results, and you are forced to sit through the agony of listening to this self-important guy drone on and on.

Video tutorials are very useful for practical demononstration of what they are talking about that. I think those are a great idea, and serve a purpose, so I not saying all video tutorials are a bad idea. It is just the ones that show a guy talking for however long you have to endure the video that add no value, so for anyone thinking of posting a video tutorial, here are the pros and cons to consider


  • Great for demonstrations (doesn’t count if you are just standing there talking)
  • Useful for people with nothing better to do


  • Take up a LOT more bandwidth than text tutorials (important especially for smartphone users)
  • Takes longer to find info you are looking for – you need to listen through the entire thing, including all the rambling. A text tutorial can be skimmed through
  • Difficult to jump around like in a text tutorial where you can refer to any part at any time.
  • Written text is often easier to understand than spoken text, especially for second-language speakers
  • Do you really think that people want to listen to your voice?

So, in conclusion, unless you think it could actually add value over a simple text tutorial, please don’t post a video tutorial. Write it down instead!


My Swiss holiday has begun on an adventurous note.

We planned to take the City Night Line overnight train to Basel from Amsterdam which all sounded so exciting. The actual trip was something else entirely.

We caught the train last night and immediately we were put off. The carriage we were in had a musty smell, stains on the carpeting, and holes in the upholstery. This did not bode well.

During the journey we also discovered that the train was not well insulated and the lights remained on, so sleep was pretty much impossible.

The real adventure happened at 5am this morning. I woke up smelling a burning rubbery type of smell and a few minutes later an alarm went off with the train promptly stopping at the station in Gundenfigen, near Freiburg in Germany.

We sat for at least 20 minutes not knowing what was happening, and then we were promptly told to leave the train, and again left for ages in the dark on the platform.

Eventually the police and fire department took over and finally gave us information – the train had caught fire!

We stood for another hour waiting for busses to take us to Freiburg to then take another train to Basel, before the train was ok’d for taking us on to Freiburg instead.

We then got a free ride on an ICE train to Basel, which was an incredible upgrade.

We did eventually get to Basel, albeit 3 hours late, and onto Bern by car.

Now in Bern, the relaxing can begin


An exciting start
Claudia and myself had been wanting to joing a ballroom dance class for quite a while now, and then recently, I stumbled upon the website of De Happening dance school in Almere.

Despite the website looking like it last had a design change around 1995 (translated as ugly), I saw on the site that the dance school was offering a new beginners class that was going to begin at the beginning of April.

The first four lessons would cost €39 per couple , which was more than affordable, and would be held on Sunday afternoons. In addition, the added benefit of this class was that it was advertised as an international class, so it would be conducted in both English and Dutch, which would be idea for us.

So, I emailed the dance instructor, saying we would like to join, and in the same mail, also enquired how much it would cost after the introductory month. The only response I was able to get out of them was “By the third week of the classes full details of the pricing for the lessons will be given to us.”

We were really looking forward to it, as we were looking forward to doing something together.

The lessons start
Thus, we attended our first lesson, and were surprised to find that there were only us and one other couple who had arrived. Apparently five couples had confirmed, but we were the only ones who had arrived.

The class itself went quite well, and they even let Cole have an iced tea, putting the €2 on a tab for us, which we would pay the next week, since we had no cash on us at the time.

By the end of the end of the first lesson, they started pushing the full course of lessons already. Since there were only two couples in the class, they wanted to move us to the group that had started dancing in January once our introductory lessons were over.


Anyone who kows me will tell you that I am mad about simulation games, especially business sims.

Last week, I got Hotel Giant, and was really looking forward to giving it a try, even though it is a bit of a dated game. That is when I hit a bit of a snag.

After installing the game, and trying to run it, the game kept on crashing, and thus it was time to go and sniff around the forums.

It turns out that Hotel Giant is not at all compatible with Windows XP SP2 and upwards, and having Vista, this meant that I was affected. Worse still, there was no patches or hacks to get this to work.

Now, the fact that an oldish game has issues running on a more modern machine is not unsurprising. What is surprising is that the game is still being sold in the shops, without a single warning or disclaimer stating that the game won’t run on newer machines.

This is what really annoys me. JoWood, the game’s publisher, has made no effort to fix the situation, so unwitting consumers such as myself end up out-of-pocket a few euro for what amounts to an expensive coaster.


I hate spam with a passion. As a blogger, people will spam my comments, which is why I am very glad I got my spam blocker in place to keep things sane.

I found a most interesting comment the other day, sitting in my spam list. A spammer had posted a comment a few days earlier, and now the same spammer had reposted the comment, and also asked why the spam comment was removed.

Well, Mr. Spammer, the reason the comment was removed is because I do not want spammy comments on my site.

I just do not understand why bloggers (and other website promoters) are willing to post spam comments on blog posts just to push up links to their site and drive a little traffic.

I am not against bloggers putting links to their site on comments when it is applicable, and the person shows that they actually responding appropiately to the article, but it is definitely not right to just comment everywhere saying things like “Love what you have done with your site!”.

I actually found a site that promotes this. On, the vast majority of tasks to do (for a small payment) are to post comments linking to some site, so the spammers are outsourcing their spamming as well.

Who knows, maybe those spammers asking why I removed their comments are the ones who get paid per link, and I am making them lose some earnings. Well, that is their problem, not mine…


A few days ago, I was having a look at whether or not online surveys could be a viable source of a little extra cash. The result of my investigations – don’t believe the hype. It borders on being a scam.

First off, after spending an entire evening just finding as many survey sites to list myself on I was feeling a little frustrated. If you are living in the Netherlands, there are not all that many that will allow you to register, and of those that do, they are not all they are cracked up to be.

For one thing, for all of the sites I found, there is a minimum level at which they will pay you out , usually set to around $50. This might not sound terribly high, until you find out how much you are likely to earn.

For each survey you fill in, you are likely to get anything from $0.50 to $5. The real kicker here is, the survey companies do not pile hundreds of surveys on you, enabling you to rake in the cash.

For me, after 2 weeks, only ONE site, out of about half a dozen that I joined, sent me any surveys to complete at all, and even then this site has only sent me 3 surveys.

From these 3 surveys I have so far earned 25 “points”, but need 1000 points to cash out and get $50 – making those 25 points worth roughly $1.25. The entire amount of money I have been able to earn in 2 weeks is $1.25.

Frankly, I have much better things I can waste my free time on than fill in online surveys.


South Africans are a bunch of avid genealogists. So much so, that the family trees of the early settlers is very well established, and for most of the white (and coloured) families in South Africa, the kinship can be proven easily and most South Africans have common blood. Heck, even I am provably related (albeit distantly) to just about every Afrikaans person in the country.

Now this is all very good for working out genealogical links, but South Africa in general has a rather large genealogical brick wall, and that has to do with beginnings of the Cape colony.

South Africa is a relatively new nation, only first being settled by European colonists at the Cape in 1652 – just over 350 years ago. And, yes, I know there were indigenous people here before that, but they play little part in my story, since I have found no trace of them in my ancestry.

South African genealogy is very well established up to the founding of the colony, but then the records go silent.

South Africans seem to be content in finding the “stamvader” (or “stammoeder”) – which roughly translates as “founding father” – which would be the first person of a particular lineage to immigrate to South Africa. So for example, one my ancestors, who is also a “stamvader” is Jacques de Savoye, who came to the Cape in 1688 with his family.

Now it is all very well and good knowing that, but then how do you go back further? Most of the settlers came from Germany, the Netherlands, France and later England, but most of their genealogies are not very well known.

There are exceptions though, such as the du Plessis’s, whose ancestry can be traced to the French aristocracy (and from there to royalty and nobility throughout Europe), and the Laubschers, who hail from Switzerland. Quite a few more can be traced back two or three generations in their native countries, but for the vast majority, the trail stops at the moment they stepped on South African shores.

Is the problem the fact that obtaining records for these people here in South Africa is difficult, since researching these families would requite digging through genealogical records scattered across Europe, or is it just that knowing who their “stamvader” was is good enough for most South Africans?

The answer to that, I do not know…