Get Blogged by JoKi
The only frontiers are in your mind, welcome to my blog sphere. Your host at jochen.kirstaetter.name is Jochen Kirstätter aka JoKi.
Dive into the weird world of a professional Software Craftsman and follow his daily victories and struggles with modern technology at IOS Indian Ocean Software Ltd. Although living on a tropical island, I'm a business owner and entrepreneur in different industry sectors. Mainly operating in the development of tailor-made software solutions since more than 15 years, I also venture into the world of beauty and body care. You can either meet me at the weekly Code & Coffee meetups of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community or reach me on Twitter @JKirstaetter
This blog is also about Flic en Flac and the beautiful island of Mauritius, my home.
28 June 2015 -
Wow, it has been a while since I managed to visit the author's corner of my blog. Well, quite frankly there had been a variety aspects and quite a number of excuses to avoid coming to this place and I'd like to write a little bit about it. Eventually, this article might be a little bit boring for some of the readers but I would like you to join the comment section at the bottom - maybe after reading the following lines.
Thank you! Stay sharp!
Well, gratefully I have to report that the first ever Developers Conference had quite some positive impact on the local IT scene and we managed to reach out to some international audience, too. Apart from the (mostly) positive feedback of participants, speakers and sponsors alike, I would like to mention that the event received a little bit of media coverage, too. Despite our (short) preparation period of approximately 3.5 months and a small core organisation team of 3 people, I would say that we had quite some fun and hopefully were able to deliver some interesting content. But quite frankly I would like to remind people here on the island that it is about taking action and doing things... don't just sit there, talk about potential ideas and throw them overboard just because one or two people in your inner circle are discouraging and pointing out "so many problems and eventualities".
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and adventuring a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a first single step.
Taking a vacation from my blog
But coming back to this blog, I have to admit that I was simple taking a mental vacation from it. The preparation period of the conference as well as running the event in high gears was kind of exhausting - physically and mentally. And hereby, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to my loving wife, Mary Jane, and my two little monsters for their patience and light short-comings in terms of "paying attention", "being around", and of course "daddy-time in general". Thanks and I love you all...
And of course, there is the business side of the medal. Spending quite some time on arrangements with potential sponsors, having frequent exchange with potential speakers, and getting the conference web site in shape was kind of exhausting. But don't forget, I'm a small business owner, and spending time on such extra-ordinary activities has actually a double-impact. Yes, it does. Any non-productive time, economically speaking, directly implicates less incoming money on the bank account. So, while I was really enjoying the extra-time donated to community and creating more awareness of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community in general, I had to keep an eye on the financial situation of things, too.
You can't just stop doing your daily job...
Well deserved refreshment after the preparations and successful execution of the first ever Developers Conference in Mauritius
Obviously, there had been some catch-up to be done right after the event in order to keep my clients and my chief financial officer (read: BWE) happy. And so, instead of hanging out on the beach enjoying the perks of living on a tropical island, this meant to keep the caps on the keyboard warm and in constant movement. Like a well-oiled machinery that just needs some TLC from time to time I was hacking down lines of code during the last two months actually. Again, I really do love my profession and from that point of view, it never felt like an obligation or burden to get rid off of a pile of queued up work. Aux contraire, it felt great to be "back" and stay focused on coding lines after lines for my customers' requirements.
Lack of inspiration?
Now after roughly seven to eight weeks in, I'm still not sure whether it feels right to finally pick up blogging again. Honestly, due to narrow focus on work assignments - even though being busy with a variety of different contexts - I was waiting for the right moment to write here on the blog. Maybe you might have a similar experience that even though you have a fantastic idea to blog about... that there's a lack of inspiration, or should I say passion?, to actually sit and starting the article. Well, tonight it just feels right. The last two weeks had been great and I'm feeling the energy coming back to me. Right now, I'm again in a position where there's a little extra time... and some light cuddles of inspiration are whispering into my ears. ;-)
Yeah, that sounds kind of awkward...
Being occupied with other activities
Yes, trust me on that one... ;-)
Apart from writing code for customer projects and assignments I have been busy reading a good number of technical books on different topics. Again, I' have a good feeling about writing some reviews during the next couple of weeks. Most titles were of technical nature but there had been one or two titles from different genres in-between.
And, not to forget to mention I also got some event invitations which I had to attend to as well. Honestly, the last two months had been great in all kind of flavours - hahaha, expect for entertaining this blog - and I'm really looking forward to share some of those experiences with my readers. And there are going to be some technical entries, too.
Anyway, I kept my notes of interesting topics I would like to pin down here on the blog, and during the upcoming weeks I'm confident to share my thoughts on various aspects of software development, community activities in the IT world of Mauritius, and of course life in general.
Stay tuned for more chapters to come...
09 May 2015 -
Running an operating system like Ubuntu or any of its derivates, like ie. Xubuntu, comes with some nice treats (and threats?). One of the nice things is that you'll get a scheduled upgrade approximately every six months. Usually, around April and October of each year. Meaning there are two releases per year resulting in those version numbers [Year].04 and [Year].10. Also, ever two years the April edition of Ubuntu is classified as a Long-Term Support (LTS) version which keeps an extended period of time. A nice touch and surely interesting for professional installations of Ubuntu but eventually not too practical for the daily use at home or when you're interested in latest versions.
Preparing the system
These steps are the same every time you decide to upgrade to the latest release. Eventually, you might be interested to update older installation and have a read here:
In general, you should have a look at the official upgrade documentation of Ubuntu. Next, get your recent system up-to-date before you consider to upgrade. Also, take care that there are no pending partial upgrades or packages on hold. This might have a negative impact on the installation process of the newer packages. So, before you think about upgrading you have to ensure that your current system is running on the latest packages. This can be done easily via a terminal like so:
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade --fix-missing
Next, we are going to initiate the upgrade itself:
$ sudo update-manager
As a result the graphical Software Updater should inform you that a newer version of Ubuntu is available for installation.
Ubuntu's Software Updater informs you whether an upgrade is available
Running the upgrade
After clicking 'Upgrade...' or 'Yes, Upgrade Now' you will be presented with information about the new version.
Details about Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)
Simply continue with the procedure and your system will be analysed for the next steps.
Analysing the existing system and preparing the actual upgrade to 15.04
Next, we are at the point of no return. Last confirmation dialog before having a coffee break while your machine is occupied to download the necessary packages. Not the best bandwidth at hand after all... yours might be faster.
Are you really sure that you want to start the upgrade? Let's go and have fun!
Anyway, bye bye Unique Unicorn and Welcome Vivid Vervet!
In case that you added any additional repositories like Medibuntu or PPAs you will be informed that they are going to be disabled during the upgrade and they might require some manual intervention after completion.
Ubuntu is playing safe and third party repositories are disabled during the upgrade
Well, depending on your internet bandwidth this might take something between a couple of minutes and some hours to download all the packages and then trigger the actual installation process. In my case I left my PC unattended during the night.
At the end Xubuntu will ask you whether you would like to remove old and obsolete packages of the previous version.
Time to reboot
Finally, it's time to restart your system and see what's going to happen... In my case absolutely nothing unexpected. The system booted the new kernel 3.19.0 as usual and I was greeted by a new login screen.
Honestly, 'same' system as before - which is good and I love that fact of consistency - and I can continue to work productively. And also Software Updater confirms that we just had a painless upgrade:
System is running Ubuntu 15.04 - Vivid Vervet - and up to date
See you in six months again... ;-)
In case that you would to upgrade to the latest development version of Ubuntu, run the following command in a console:
$ sudo update-manager -d
And repeat all steps as described above.
04 May 2015 -
It took me quite some while to decide whether I should write about this culinary topic or not. In general, I try to keep it like Thumper - "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all..." but unfortunately this won't change the situation in the first place and second, it's not recommended to hold back (constructive) criticism in order to assist to improve things. In case of Mugg & Bean at Bagatelle particularly it's already since a very long time that I'm saying nothin'...
Bright and shiny opening
Mugg & Bean isn't new to myself at all. I've been to M&B in South Africa several times and having the news that there'll be a franchise in Mauritius was very welcoming. Even though I skipped the opening period on purpose for various reasons I have to admit that the initial service, offerings and gusto was to my personal liking. Surely, a place to recommend among friends and family. We have been there on several occassions and the overall experience right at the beginning was positive. You know, this typical feel-good feeling after having had a nice meal and pleasant waitron service.
Where's light, there're shades
Unfortunately, M&B's lucky strike didn't last for long and personally I had the impression that the decline started as soon as the initial management and trainers from South Africa left the building, or better said flew back. The first disappointing visit happened for a lunch break together with my BWE and my dear mother. Well, you know lunch break, you'd like to go out and instead of grabbing a sandwich from the super market or picking some snacks from the merchants on the street, we decided to stop by at M&B to have a quick bite. Hm, talking a quick... it was only our patience that went away quickly. First of all, in an half-filled restaurant with many empty tables left we were seated but not asked for drinks. Finally, after roughly 20 minutes someone of the waitron staff remembered that new guests have arrived and brought us menu cards and asked for the drinks. It's not like we were hungry and eventually might have limited time for a lunch break but okay at least we a waitress now. The drinks were brought after another 20 minutes in, and then we were finally allowed to place our orders for food. Seriously? Round about 40 minutes just sitting there and waiting for soft drinks and/or juices? And obviously, we were not the only ones. A couple two tables next to us had to wait approximately 30 minutes for their drinks. Alright, as we were sitting nicely and had some topics to talk about we waited patiently for our dishes... Oh boy, you might have guessed it. Another 35 minutes later the first two plates were brought over, and then another 5 minutes later the missing third one. I won't go into the details but there were bits and pieces wrong and we couldn't be bothered because of being too hungry to argue. Besides having a second, more weird waiter which seemed to have a personal pleasure in terms of sneaking up on guests from behind repetitively, all three of us had probably the worst lunch ever. And to close that horrible lunch "experience" we had to wait another 25(!) minutes between asking for the check and finally being allowed to pay.
Regular location for meetings of MSCC and LUGM
Well, surely this lunch event must have been an exceptional experience you'd might argue. Hm, I wished it would have been... Let's talk a little bit about my involvement in local IT communities, namely Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) and the Linux User Group of Mauritius/Meta (LUGM). We have this habit to organise little get-togethers of six to ten people and meet at an easy accessible location. Frankly, some love the bottomless caffee at Mugg & Bean and therefore we arranged quite a number of meetings over there. As the kids are with me on Saturdays I have to take care of their well-being and nutrition. Okay, the food selection even for children is quite tempting and after all it's about having a good time. Despite the business generated for the restaurant. Personally, I'm a fan of milk-shakes... and it would have been great that M&B would be able to deliver but quite frankly over a period of at least six (6!) months I was always told that the machine is broken and that milk-shakes cannot be served. Okay, I can understand that things break and it takes a little bit longer to get them fixed up here on this remote island but... more than six months? A well-known brand like Mugg & Bean? And the shakes are still offered according to their menu cards? Come on! Just put a blank sticker over drinks or meals you cannot serve...
But that's not all... choosing other drinks or menus randomly from the menu ended up in a simply answer by the waitress: "Sorry, it's not available". I finally gave up, and started to ask what's available today without even bothering to look at the card anymore. And despite the declining trend of drinks and dishes it became obvious that the standards of cleanliness followed the same trend. Guests had to leave the restaurant in order to lighten their pressure around the hips - for several weeks or even months because the rest room upstairs was in a bad state! Sitting near the big window panels with a view on the fountain outside revealed a disgusting observation of grease on the door panels in the cake and tart section. Cups, plates and cutlery usually had a stain from previous meals, too. And finally, one of our MSCC members got some extra nutrition in his pot of tea which submerged in his cup after pouring the final drops of green tea... boiled cockroach!
Not surprisingly, any meetups of both user groups were done at other locations in Bagatelle. And there are plenty of other blog articles and photos documenting on that one, too.
New management - maybe a fresh wind of service?
During the MSCC meetup on entrepreneurship back in August 2014 one of the attendees mentioned that he's very close to the current manager of Mugg & Bean and that the new person in charge would like to meet and listen to our previous experience. Alright, we agreed on a time and location somewhere else in Bagatelle and had a great conversation about the stories you just read in the previous paragraphs. Funny side-note: The M&B manager had a fidelity card from that other cafe. Which might tell you a lot actually...
Honestly, I didn't bother to follow up on any kind of improvements but only by listening to other MSCC craftsmen about their recent visits, gave me enough information that it wouldn't be worth to spend any further time at that place. Not now, not in the future.
Granting a wish...
... I guess that might be the only explanation why I finally agreed this morning to give it another shot. My BWE was already "chasing" me since weeks that she'd love to have a proper breakfast in the morning compared to the range of small bites at Vida e Caffe, also at Bagatelle. Since months, the weekly Code & Coffee meetings of the MSCC have been carried out at the little cafe opposite the Emtel showroom, and so far it had been always great. Even though the music might be too enthusiastic sometimes but the staff is always friendly and pays attention to their clients' demands.
Anyway, judgement day at Mugg & Bean... all those months I could convince my BWE that it wouldn't be an option to have a meal there anymore. I can't say what was the key aspect during the drive to Bagatelle but I accepted that we should give M&B another shot. Maybe things might have improved since last time. Okay, okay... let's give it a try.
Oh boy! What a fatal mistake!
Despite having six people from the waitron staff lurking around near the main entrance or the kitchen passage we didn't get that much attention. The kitchen was not yet ready... I mean, yeah, why would a breakfast place need to have a ready kitchen in the morning? Okay, let's wait for some 15 to 25 minutes then...
And let's see about the drinks? My BWE asked for a cup of regular black coffee... "Sorry, we don't have coffee right now". What? You have coffee-themed wallpapers all over the place and you cannot serve a simple cup of plain black coffee?
On the other hand, my first choice of drink from the menu... "Sorry, it's not available". What the flipping banana? Am I cursed in terms of food selections? And no it wasn't a milk-shake! That would have been a good choice as they somehow managed to fix their shake machine. Luckily, ordering our morning dishes wasn't an obstacle at all, just waiting... and waiting...
I didn't run a stop-watch but roughly after 45 to 50 minutes later we got our food, well partly. The South African Farm breakfast with additional Beef Strips came first, not my choice and some minutes later I was finally served with a portion of Mexican Scrambles and an additional portion of Country Fries. The beef was not seasoned and tasted blunt after all, the fries had tepid temperature rather than being hot, and taking into consideration that the scrambled eggs might have been put into an oven or microwave judging on the amount of liquid in the small gratin bowl. Honestly, disgusting look and even more horrible taste!
Mugg & Bean world-wide - No, thank you!
Seriously, it is not my intention to blackmail a brand with this posting but frankly speaking after all those months of continuous negative experience at Mugg & Bean in Bagatelle, I won't have another meal for a very long time in one of their branches. No matter where it is located. And believe me, Mugg & Bean isn't the first franchise I completely ditched for more than a decade. McDonalds' back in Germany had (and still have) that bad habit of putting too much salt on their french fries. And so, I went to spent my money somewhere else.
Please share your experience with either Mugg & Bean (Bagatelle or somewhere else) or other food places. Thanks!
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