Something Different

I won a Soccer World Cup 2010 Jersey!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 11/23/2009 - 14:07

1d655f1858f373918f32febe13d70a56 If you do not live in South Africa, you cannot imagine the excitement what next years soccer world cup is generating. In my view it will be one of the top defining moments for South Africa, up there with the ‘94 elections and '’95 Rugby World Cup. To that end I have been doing my little bit as a local to help out people with sharing knowledge on all things world cup at the Dizcus World Cup website.

If you know StackOverflow/ServerFault/SuperUser then this site follows the same design as them except focused on a non-computer topic. For the rest of you readers, it is just an easy to use website where people post questions and others answer. If you successfully answer a question or answer a question very well you get points.

So Mathew, the site owner, put up a challenge about a month ago where he said the top 5 people, based on points, would get a South African Soccer Jersey! Well I was in the top 5 (I think number 2) and so I got the email today saying I had won a jersey! Thanks Mathew for the jersey and the great website!

What is a South African ID number made up of?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 18:03
Update 11 August 2011: Want this as an app for your smartphone? Click here
Update 30 March 2012: Details of the racial identifier can be found at:

Cecil Tshikedi asked a great question - what is actually in an ID number:

  • The first six numbers are the birth date of the person in YYMMDD format - so no surprise that my ID number starts 820716.
  • The next four are a gender, 5000 and above is male and below 5000 is female. So my ID number would have a number of 5000 or greater.
  • The next number is the country ID, 0 is South Africa and 1 is not. My ID number with have 0 here.
  • The second last number used to be a racial identifier but now means nothing.
  • The last number is a check bit. Which verifies the rest of the number.

So for my ID number it would look something like: 820716[5000-9999]0??

There you go, it’s that easy.

Super hero's and villains - who are you?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 04/09/2009 - 13:04

Haven’t done one of these for ages so I thought it was time to find out what super hero and villain I would be.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...
Your results:
You are Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze
Dr. Doom
The Joker
Green Goblin
Lex Luthor
Dark Phoenix
Poison Ivy
You are cold and you think everyone else should be also, literally.
Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

He is back!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 08:49

The  man who has more friends that are robot’s than are human (check the pics on his blog posts), kids who fly supersonic speeds (soon) and has never attempted a Rubik cube is back online with his blog! Yep, Willy-Peter Schaub is now blogging with Microsoft branding ;) Go follow him at - His blog on will still be their but will focus on personal items.

Yes we can!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 12/09/2008 - 11:15

I thought that stealing Obama’s now famous chant to highlight that nothing is impossible within the celebration of democracy would be appropriate for this post. Over a year ago I posted about a blog which I felt was written by the biggest loser in the world (See What A Loser). This idiot was churning out the kind of rhetoric that a small, vocal minority loves to in South Africa about how much they hate it and how bad it it. It’s a narrow one-sided very and those sort of people need to be shipped off to a place they feel is not bad and leave the rest of us, who believe in South Africa and want to make it great to do so. I followed it up with a call to report the blog (See Report the Idiot), and then I forgot about it.

Today someone commented on it and I went to look up what has happened in a year (quick Google search):

Let me say it once more, when it comes to removing idiots from the web the answer is definitely Yes We Can! Now about removing them from here, anyone got a boat to lend ;)


Submitted by Robert MacLean on Sat, 08/02/2008 - 20:46
Last week was a special week, as it was the last week I worked at The i5 Group, and it was the week I started at BB&D in the ATC group. I will definitely be going into more of what that means in the future but for now know it means I work with an AMAZING team in a non-client role :)
Before I finish, I will be at TechEd Africa next week and will likely not be posting until Thursday or Friday. If you are attending come and see my talk on WPF!!

Speaking at Tech-Ed Africa

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 06/27/2008 - 08:46

I can now officially let out one of my many secrets, which is I am speaking at Tech-Ed Africa this year! Oddly enough I am speaking about something I have never blogged about, WPF and building business applications with it. I will be co-speaking with a good friend Simon (from Blacklight) who is an amazing designer. It will be a very fun talk. For more details see the Tech-Ed Africa site at

South African ID Number Checker

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 11:26
Update 26 August 2010: A new and better version of this Excel file has been made available. Please go to South African ID Number Checker in Excel version 2 to get it.
Update 11 August 2011: Want this as an app for your smartphone? Click here
A few days back I wanted to validate a list of ID numbers, and previously I have done the basics (length, date etc...) but I decided to do the full thing this time. So I search for the rules and found this post, which explains it nicely and contains some C# code. However for me C# didn't cut it as I wanted to process an Excel spreadsheet. So I whipped together a nice one which does the following checks:
  • Length
  • Valid Date
  • Date is in the past
  • Gender Flag
  • Nationality Flag
  • Check Bit
I've hidden the calculation cells so you can just unhide if you want to see the calculations. When I ran my list through it the failures came in two forms, obvious failures (things like 1000000000000) or check bit failures. Since I don't know which are real/valid in my list I am not sure if the check bit is 100%, but it did work fine for real ones I put in myself.
Anyway you can grab it below in the attachments section (You can grab the version 2 from the link above).

24 Jan 2010: I have disabled comments on this post as I am getting a lot of people asking me about who ID numbers belong to, how to track people based on ID's or what someones ID is. None of those I can answer as I do not work for the govt, police etc... If you have questions on the technical aspects of ID numbers please contact me using the contact form option.

Trend Micro OfficeScan Password when Uninstall - How to Bypass

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 01/09/2008 - 20:41
This is a great proof of how NOT to protect software. When you try to uninstall it can ask for a password configured by the network admin, but what it the server admin, servers or entire infrastructure is gone basically giving you no chance of getting the password back. Well facing that scenario myself, I hacked around and found a work around.
First off I would not have figured this out if it wasn't for a similar post about bypassing the protection on the server available at
The differences on the client side (compared with article above) start with the location of the file it's in C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\OfficeScan Client. Next the keys are a little different, first you need to find the [INI_CLIENT_SECTION] and in that file, change the following keys:
  • Client_Allow_Uninstall to 1
  • Client_Allow_Unload to 1
  • Uninstall_Pwd to 70
  • Unload_Protect to 0
  • RemoveCTA to 1
Save the ini file and launch the uninstall. Now enter 1 as the password and viola it's gone! From a development point of view this is an example of how not to use encryption. The machine encryption in the patterns&practises Enterprise Library is a much better place to start, and in addition you should also look into using hash to sign files like this, so that tampering with them, invalidates them and requires an update from the server.