About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

13 September 2014

Movie: Lucy

I wanted to watch Lucy after the trailers, and expected the standard sci-fi plot line - a person gains super-human powers, and there is some ticking timebomb that the heroine needs to stop. That the powers come from ingesting a new synthetic super drug, and the timebomb is a set of a Korean gangsters makes this plotline a bit mundane. But where, the movie really fails is in the pseudo philosophy discussions it tries to disseminate as what holds the movie plotline together. It is scientifically dubious (to put it politely) and nowhere as compelling in other sci-fi plotlines that have tried similar tricks (Matrix comes to mind specifically). Even Morgan Freeman, as the aged genius scientist cannot really rescue this movie - the trailer is the only really good thing about it.

10 September 2014

Initial Thoughts on Apple Pay

There is not much detail available on Apple Pay, announced at Apple's keynote yesterday - but my first thought, was that it resembles an update of Secure Electronic Transaction (SET). Like Apple Pay, SET theoretically allowed for a system where a payment transaction could be conducted without the merchant knowing the payment details and the bank knowing what was purchased. SET and other token based systems (such as a credential based payment system I developed in my PhD) haven't really taken off - although one can argue that Bitcoin is also an evolution of such a system.

The advantage Apple Pay does have, over all others before it, is the massive install base of iPhones and the Apple brand. As long as Apple itself does not fall prey to payment card breaches (and Apple Pay's design of keeping card data on the phone itself, mitigates this risk); Apple should have better success compared to previous attempts. Furthermore, if Apple Pay does work, extending the service to include non-credit card type transactions - such as integration with bank accounts - should not be a challenge either.

07 September 2014

The Otter Trail - Day 5

In the various guides I have read about the Otter Trail, the details of Day 5 seems to be particularly brief. This is a great pity - while the walk itself is relaxed and relatively easy; it was some of the most scenic parts of the hike.

The walk starts off with crossing a gentle stream - Kilp River - that runs next to the rest stop. The biggest challenge in the day's walk is the steep climb up the gorge to the top; a strenuous walk in context of the previous days' efforts.

Most of the walk from here is on the top -  mostly flat with a few ups and downs - along the coast. There are absolutely gorgeous views of sea as it crashes into the rocks below at the bottom of the cliffs, lots of sea birds and the fynbos and proteas in bloom. It is a very scenic walk.

The hike ends with a very steep decent on to the beach of Nature's Valley - a long golden stretch of sand. It is still a bit of a walk to the car park, where we thoroughly enjoyed the hot showers on offer. We finished off our stay at Nature's Valley's (only?) Restaurant with some burgers for lunch - before starting the trek back home.