This is the personal blog of Ian Gilfillan – the one who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, not the Australian politician, nor the Canadian member of the British Columbia Marijuana Party. Are there any others out there?
Stuff I do:
- Develop and am a director of the Ethical Co-op – an initiative to deliver organic products, starting in the Cape Town area.
- I run my own media and technology company. It doesn’t do much anymore.
- I’m a moderate chessplayer, who once wrote a chess program that could beat him, which I found shocking, and figured I better learn how to play chess properly. I played club chess for a few years. In April 2009 I launched Chesstape.
- Contribute to Wikipedia, mainly the English version, but occasionally I bumble around in the Afrikaans version with the help of a dictionary.
- Work on translation software to help populate, in particular, the smaller Wikipedias with enough content to help them become self-sustainable. See greenman.co.za/translate
- Practice tai chi, with the aim of being able to teach it (along with of course levitating, breaking bricks by looking at them etc).
- Study Clinical Nutrition in my ‘spare time’ through the IICN. OK, so I made a bad choice, and the IICN doesn’t exist anymore. I’m still studying though, just not without a piece of paper as a goal.
- Meditate. I mainly use Transcendental Meditation, although I’ve learnt lots of other meditation techniques, mostly Buddhist/Taoist, but I find it easiest to do TM rather than sit and think about which technique I feel like today.
Stuff I’ve done
- Had a son, Dorje, born in October 2003.
- Was IT Manager, and previously Lead Developer, at IOL for a few years. I still consult to them, mainly about IOL Technology.
- Bought and sold lots of property in Observatory, thanks to the prompting of a friend. I made enough money to slack off substantially, and have got out of the slumlord business. He now owns 13, at last count
- Wrote Sunfoods, the first online grocery store in South Africa, while working at Krypto Plus, a small ahead-of-its time startup that introduced me to Free Software. They even tried to sell Linux desktops (in 1998)! K+ no longer exists.
- Wrote the book Mastering MySQL 4, and a whole lot of other stuff.
- Travelled for a month wandering around Madagascar, spending Christmas Eve blissfully hungry in a forest surrounded by lemurs, and preparing myself for a similar solitary New Year’s Eve, found myself in another world on the wild east coast dancing the night away.
- Experienced the insights of ayuahuasca in the Amazon jungle of Peru.
- Enjoyed a regularly two-hour walk to work through the beautiful forests of the English Lake District (and two hours back, in the 1am darkness), only to be fired without warning for cleaning dishes too slowly.
- Experienced the joys of working as illegal labour picking strawberries on a farm in England in the days when South African’s couldn’t work in the UK legally, and the bliss of forgetting about it all blowing the days wages at the pub.
- Noticed through the dense mists of French Calais that the sun is the same relative size as the moon.
- Spent way too long formally studying, first IT, with majors in Information Systems and Commercial Programming (the wonders of Cobol), then more interestingly a degree majoring in English and Philosophy at the University of Cape Town.
I write here:
- My blog
- I write most of the posts for the Ethical Co-op blog
- Database Journal
- My son has a blog too. Since he’s 5, it’s mostly myself and his mom who write most of the contributions
- I’m a member of the MySQL Writer’s Guild.