Elon Musk Autobiography review – the man behind Tesla and SpaceX

As an South African, I follow what Elon Musk is up to and I have just read the Autobiography of Elon Musk that was written by Ashlee Vance and I can highly recommend the book to anybody, whether you a South African, whether you in business or just the ordinary man on the street.  Link below to buy the book on Amazon.

See what The New York Times has to say:

Ashlee Vance, in his new biography of the celebrity industrialist Elon Musk, delivers a similar notion of the deflating American soul. An early Facebook engineer tells Mr. Vance, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.” The author quotes the venture capitalist Peter Thiel: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

If Silicon Valley was holding out for a hero after Steve Jobs’s death, a disrupter in chief, it has found a brawny one in Mr. Musk. This South African-born entrepreneur, inventor and engineer is the animating force behind companies (Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity) that have made startling advances in non-indoor-cat arenas: electric cars, space exploration and solar energy. He is all of 43.

Mr. Musk is about as close as we have, circa 2015, to early industrial titans like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Along with his swagger, he totes surprise, style and wit.

Read the rest of the review here.

Excerpt from the inside cover of the book:

There are few industrialists in history who could match Elon Musk’s relentless drive and ingenious vision. A modern alloy of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs, Musk is the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity, each of which has sent shock waves throughout American business and industry. More than any other executive today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as a science fiction fantasy.

In this lively, investigative account, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance offers an unprecedented look into the remarkable life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious businessman. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family, and his friends, the book traces his journey from his difficult upbringing in South Africa to his ascent to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than fifty hours in conversation with Musk and inter- viewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies and to paint a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation–all while making plenty of enemies along the way.

In 1992, Elon Musk arrived in the United States as a ferociously driven immigrant bent on realizing his wildest dreams. Since then, Musk’s roller-coaster life has brought him grave disappointments alongside massive successes. After being forced out of PayPal, fending off a life-threatening case of malaria, and dealing with the death of his infant son, Musk abandoned Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. He spent the next few years baffling his friends by blowing his entire fortune on rocket ships and electric cars. Cut to 2012, however, and Musk had mounted one of the greatest resurrections in business history: Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had enjoyed unparalleled success, and Musk’s net worth soared to more than $5 billion.

At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology, Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle–and even revolutionize–three industries at once. Vance makes the case that Musk’s success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse. Elon Musk is a brilliant, penetrating examination of what Musk’s career means for a technology industry undergoing dramatic change and offers a taste of what could be an incredible century ahead.

 

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future


New York Times Bestseller – Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Audible and Amazon

In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
        Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk–one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history–is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.

New From: $13.10 USD In Stock

How To – type accented caracters on MacOS/OSX ie é in Pokémon

Ever wondered how to type accented characters, that characters with something on top on a MacOS or OSX system.  Solution is very easy.

When typing just hold the character down and a little pop-up menu will appear from where you can select the required character you want. See example for “a”:

osx_tipyn_alternate_characters

So for Pokémon, hold down the “e” and then either click on the second character in the list or just press 2 and voila, you have “é”.

To read more in-depth about it … see Apple Support site

 

 

Crossover @ Work – the good (Part 1)

As mentioned in a previous post, I embarked on a road to apply for one of the roles that Crossover @ Work advertised all over the web on sites like Linkedin and Stack Overflow.

I have done some research and reading on Quora and Glassdoor and the majority of the questions and comments was very negative.  Some from Quora:

From these you will see that it is mostly negative so I thought I have nothing to lose since I happened to be unemployed at the moment.

The position I applied for was for a Program Manager for a company called Ignite – http://www.ignitetech.com/. I applied for this via the Crossover site on 25 May 2016.  On the same day I received the following response:

Thank you for applying for the Program Manager – Ignite position. We look forward to helping you connect to your next Tour of Duty.
As mentioned previously, the companies we represent receive thousands of applicants for every available position. Simply relying on your resume is probably not a winning formula. So to help you differentiate from the crowd and to really help us determine who is the best-of-the-best, we designed a series of ‘real-life’ assessments specifically related to this role. This will help you rise to the top and become 1 of 5 – instead of 1 of 1000.
The custom assessments, however, are very challenging and require commitment on your side to really show us your skills. If you are not willing to put in the time to complete the assessments – no problem – we understand and will end your journey here. But if you are willing to differentiate yourself to see if you are the top 1% of talent globally – we’re excited to have you continue forward.
Here are the next steps in the process:
  • We conduct a Written Evaluation where you will receive scenario questions related to this position. These questions were specifically designed by the hiring manager to evaluate how you would handle scenarios you’ll likely encounter in the job. Answer these questions to the best of your capabilities to demonstrate to the hiring manager your expertise. We will send you a separate email when we are ready for you to begin your Written Evaluation.
  • After reading your responses and reviewing your work experience, the hiring manager will select a few candidates to interview. You will be contacted by a Crossover Account Manager to coordinate the interview.
  • Upon successfully passing the Written Evaluation, work experience and interview(s) – you will then be contacted by a Crossover Recruiter and be offered the position.
Best of luck and we look forward to learning more about you.

I received the link for the written evaluation on the same day, 25 May 2016. At this point I was faily impressed with their quick response.

To be continued …

Comments and/or questions are more than welcome.

Crossover @ Work – the good and the bad

I have embarked on applying for a position as a Crossover @ Work contractor for a Program Manager position for a United States based company.  Over the next couple of posts I will give an honest view of the process and how it is going.

I have read and seen some very negative views about the process and rather than just take everything at face value, I have decided to experience it first hand and document my views here.

Feel free to leave your views and comments below.

2012 — The year that was and looking forward to 2013

2012 was one of those years that was not that bad (well the world did not end) at all but I cannot say that it was great either.  So what happened during the year:

  • Work — I changed jobs.  I started the year off working for Fundamo/VISA and during the first half decided to make a change.  I got an offer from Internet Solutions and accepted the offer and started working for them on 1 July.  Must say that it was probably the best decision I made all year.  I have a great team and IS is a great company to work for and I am very excited to be part of them.  To see how the internet in SA operate is a real eye opener and I believe over next year or so we will see lots of change particularly around Fibre and wireless technologies like LTE and WiBand.
  • Children — My son completed his Chemical Engineering degree at Stellenbosch University and obtained his degree on 13 December.  Was a very proud moment for myself and I am so proud of my son.  He is now looking for work but it is tough going so if anybody has some contact or know of something, then please contact me and let me know.  My daughter is still studying for her B.Sc (Human Sciences) degree and hope to complete next year.  I am so lucky to have 2 great kids that is doing very well.
  • Personal — My son was in an accident with my car and the car was written off, my son was fine.  This meant that I had to go car hunting and eventually decide on a Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Sedan and must say that I am very surprised how well it is behaving.  It has all the bells and whistles as standard and after driiving it for about 8 months, I do not have any complaints.  Little bit loose on the road in windy conditions but I have now got used to it with all the wind here in Cape Town.
  • Social — On the social front nothing realy changed.  Now that work has been sorted out and children are mostly done with studies, I want to spend some more time in 2013 socially and have a more balanced life.  Time to meet new people and make new friends.
  • I have to add something (and the people that know me will enjoy this) about technology.  2012 was the year I started using a Mac (MacBook Pro 13inch) and must say, I am getting used to it and it is way better than Windows I used for work.  I am a Linux person and the Mac allows me to still get to the underbelly where I can tinker and where I still have some control over what I do on my machine.  On the cellphone side, I upgrade to a HTC One X and am very happy with the phone itself.  However I am very disappointed with the support from HTC South Africa particularly in rolling out Android Jelly Bean to their user in South Africa.

I am looking forward to 2013 and make it the year where I spend more time on myself and what is important to me. I do not make new year resolutions since we break them in any case.  I just want it to be a year of happiness and prosperity.  Oh and hopefully will get some time to take out my golf clubs and get on the course again.  This is something I realy neglected in 2012.

To all my friends, family and whomever read this, I wish you all the best for 2013 and may it be a great year.

Google IO 2012 – Nexus 7, Nexus Q and Jelly Bean from a South African perspective.

As most of you might know, I am a fan of Open Source, Linux and what Google is doing so Google IO is something that I follow.  Although I am not a developer anymore, I would love to attend Google IO someday and yesterday I did the second best thing by watching the full 2 hours of the day 1 keynote address live thanks to a 4MB uncapped account.

There was a lot in the 2 hour keynote but I only want to touch on 3 things and how I think it might play out here in SA.  this is not a review, there is enough around, just Google for it.

Nexus 7:

From what I have seen, I think the Nexus 7 is an ideal media device.  I would have preffered a slightly bigger screen size but the 7 inch will do.  This is a real Kindle Fire killer and I think Amazon might get a bit worried.

At the pricepoint of $199/$249 depending on the storage, either 8GB or 16GB, I think this tablet will do great in South Africa if the rand price is kept in the region of R2500.00.  The question remain whether we will actually see this in South Africa since for the time being it is only sold out of the Google Play store and hardware sales are not available to South Africa.  Here is hoping that somebody will bring the Nexus 7 to SA like is being done with the Nexus Galaxy. If and when it becomes available in SA, I will be first in line.  Otherwise I will have to find a way to get one from overseas.

Nexus Q:

Nexus Q is that round ball in the image to the right. This was totally new to me, one of the things that was not leaked to the world before the conference.  Nexus Q is like Apple’s Airplay and steam media content to your speaker/sound system and HD TV.  It either stream the content from your mobile device or from the cloud (ie Google Play).  One thing that I like is that it is totally social so when your friends come to visit, they can easily add their content to the playlist, that is if they have an Android device.

It seems a bit pricey at $299 and it is also only available in the Google Play Store which means it is not available in SA.  Since we in South Africa cannot store our music or video collection in the Google Play cloud, I do not think this device will get much traction in South Africa.  Defnitely not on my wishlist at the moment.

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean):

The next version of Android called Jelly Bean aka Android 4.1 was also officially anounced. It has a lot of things under the hood like major performance enhancements but what stood out for me is the new Notification system.  It shows a lot more information and lot of the actions can happen right in the Notifcation area without opening the particular app. 

Search also received a major update with a feature called Google Now which learn what you doing and where you are and in real time update you about information that are applicable at that point in time.  It was good to see the demo about this but I would like to see this working in real life and applicable to me.

Jelly Bean whill be available on the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7 during July and I would assume that at the same time that manufacturers like HTC will also start working on it for their devices.  I have a HTC One X which will probably be one of the first in line from HTC to get Jelly Bean but the major question remains, how soon will it be available in South Africa.  Looking at the system upgrades that I have received over the last month (3 in total), I am hopefull that we will see the 4.1 upgrade for HTC One X soon after the international release in South Africa.

Overall I believe that Google is making the likes of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft sit up and take notice. Yes the demo of Google Glass was amazing but I do not think that we as the man in the street will see this for maybe another 3-4 years.  Google+ is slowly getting better and the new Andoid app is awesome.  Lets see how many weddings gets planned via Google+ Events.

I would like to hear your comments on my views and Google IO 2012 in general and if you are attending the event as a South African then let us know in the comments and what your experience are.

HTC One X — Screenshot without ROOT and APP

Let’s start again after our elastious electricity company decided to switch off the power and I lost the previous incarnation of this blog post.

Yesterday I spend a couple of hours searching for an APP that will take screenshots on my HTC One X without ROOTING my phone only to find out that there are 2 ways to do it build into the software that came with the phone.  The one is stock standard with Ice Cream (Android 4) and the other is from HTC and is part of Sense 4.  I will describe both methods and indicated what one I prefer.

HTC (Sense 4):

First an example screenshot:

To use this method, press and hold the POWER/LOCK button and then press the HOME key (middle one at the bottom).  Message will be displayed on the screen indicating that the screenshot was saved.  The screenshot will be saved in the same directory as where your Camera shots get’s saved which I do not like.

 Ice Cream (Android 4):

First again the example screenshot:

This method is not so easy to get working and I had to try a couple of times to get it working correctly. The trick is to press the POWER/LOCK button and the VOLUME DOWN button at exactly the same time.  Then release both again exactly at the same time and the screenshot will be taken.  An image of the screenshot will be flashed on the screen and an Icon will be displayed in the Notification bar as shown below:

The screenshot will be save in the directory /sdcard/Pictures/Screenshots/ which I prefer since it is separate from my Camera shots.

Except for the different directory, the 2 methods produces identical screenshots.  Both have a size of 720×1280 and is saved in .png format.

So no ROOT required, no separate APP required, just use either one of the methods above to capture your screenshots.  Another reason to make the HTC One X your preferred Android phone.  Let me know in the comments what you think.

HTC One X soon in South Africa

As I posted before, I am due for a new cellphone and top of the list is the HTC One X.  I have just noticed that it will be at MTN soon.  See front cover of the May 1-17 MTN Catalog

Now lets just hope that it is actually in the stores also.

PayCity.co.za major Fail .. my experience over the past couple of week – #fail #paycity

As it happens to most of us, we tend to drive to fast from time to time and pick up some traffic fines that needs to be paid.  In the past there was a site www.payfines.co.za which worked just great and one could easity pay one’s files.

During November 2011 I got 2 fines on the same day (be carefull when you in Stellenbosch) and I tend to let it lie till the second notice before I pay the fines.  Why should I give my hard earned money to somebody else if I can hang onto it.

During March when I wanted to pay my fines, www.payfines,co.za did not exist anymore and was redirected to www.paycity.co.za.The first issue I had was that I had to re-register since my payfines.co.za registration did not work anymore. I did the register part and had to email some documentation to get activated which was done and a couple of days later my access was given.

When one sign’s into the site the following screen is presented:

When you select the “View and pay your traffic fines” (marked in red above), the correct list of outstanding fines are listed to be paid:

Selecting what fines to pay and clicking the PAY NOW button works as should be.  One is presented with the input fields to make your payment via Credit Card as expected.

After entering all the Credit Card details and click the PAY NOW button, everting just fails:

Clicking OK removes the Dialog box but the site just hangs and the only way to recover is to close the site totally.

This has now been going on for more than 2 weeks.  I contacted PayCity.co.za vie email, telephone and even twitter but have not received a satisfactory response at all.  I did get a response via Twitter

As can be seen, this was more than 3 days ago and the PayCity.co.za system is still not working.  I am glad I do not depend on the system to buy electricity or some critical service since the service and quality of their site is pathetic.  Payment integration services are not difficult to do and if they do not know how then I highly recommend that they get somebody that can sort their problems out.

The irony is that in the latest TygerBurger (dated 4 April 2012), PayCity GM Jean-Claude Allegrucci claims how much money people can save by using their service.  Mr Allergrucci, before making claims like that, please ensure that your site is working like advertised and provide a decend and acceptable service if something goes wrong.

Off to go pay my fines the manual way at some counter or if you aware of another online service which will allow me to successfully pay my Stellenbosch fines, then please let me know in the commenst.

Time for cellphone upgrade — HTC One X is the front runner — but when in South Africa

My current cellphone contract has come to an end and I am due for an upgrade.  It will definitly be an Android phone and the current front runner is the HTC One X.

I am a MTN contract subscriber and have tried to find out if and when this phone will be available on contract in South Africa. So far I could not get any answer on this.  If somebody have an idea then please comment below.

From what I have seen in the reviews, this is a awesome device and I am praticularly impressed with the 8MP camera and video taking capabilities.  Have a look at the below video.

The only thing that I might miss is the absence of a SD card but with 32GB of internal storage that should be much of a issue.