Eish!!: March 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

End of an era

Over the past 17 years MNet open time has been a window into the encoded world of Multichoice.

From Sunday this all comes to an end.

Open Time was a vehicle used MNet to firstly entice new subscribers and secondly as a major source of advertising revenue. It clearly worked and helped a small upstart that no-one gave much hope become the media giant it is now 20 years on.

Interesting Multichoice suggest the following two options if you want to continue getting the soaps previously shown during Open Time :

Option 1: Subscribe to the DStv (Premium) bouquet at R439.90 per month for more than 70 world class video and audio channels including M-Net.

Option 2: Subscribe to the DStv Compact bouquet at R199.00 per month for 26 channels plus an hour every weekday between 18.00 and 19.00 of Egoli and Binnelanders

No mention of the gewone decoder!

Ladies, that means no free Egoli ... guys, there goes the rugby!!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bob Woolmer R.I.P ... please!!

According to my definition of 'eish', there is space for me to vent my frustration and outrage so, brace yourself, it's time.

Let's start saying "May Bob Woolmer rest in peace." By all accounts he was a man that led his teams incredibly well, both technically and personally. His death is a loss, a big loss to the cricket world, but more importantly to the family who never got to spend very much time with their husband and dad in the period before he died.

So, now the frustration and outrage.
I was asked this weekend, what my thoughts were on the Bob Woolmer affair. My answer? "I have no idea, and nor should anyone else." It was a short conversation. (Interestingly almost word for word the response from Mike Wills of Cape Talk to a deluge of smses asking for his opinion on the matter). Here's as quick an explanation as to why I say this as I can get.

Late Sunday on the 18th March, the news breaks that Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in hotel room. He is later pronounced dead, and then the newspapers, syndicated news rooms, websites etc start seeing dollar signs. They are fueled by the local police's, seemingly enjoying the limelight, constant press conferences. Does anybody know how many they have actually convened?
We have since heard of blood spatters on the room walls, a heart attack, an inconclusive first post-mortem, a "suspicious death", vomit on the floor, no sign of forced struggle, no possessions disturbed, Pakistani team members finger printed, captain Inzimam Ul-Haq questioned, a betting syndicate involvement ....

No wait there's more!

... a South African betting syndicate involvement, moronic suggestions of links to Hansie Cronje's death(Clive Rice shut your trap!), three fanatical fans seen by CCTV cameras, cause of death asphyxia, a unauthorised meal being delivered, a Pakistani bookie thrown out of Woolmer's room and ... wait for it ... have you guessed it yet ... Al Qaeda involvement! I kid you not. (http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1087673)

My point? Please shut up Jamaican police! Do the flipping investigation, do it properly and tell us what you have found, once you have sufficient evidence that you are able to share with us.
I cannot imagine the hell all this unsubstantiated speculation is causing for his family. As much as I would love to do so, I know it would be impossible for anyone to gag the headline hungry media, but why feed them all this extra fodder?

Have they not watched CSI?

Have you say, comment below.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Most Amazing Show!

What do you find yourself doing on a Thursday evening @ 10pm?
If you have not yet done so, watch SABC 2, yes SABC 2, and check out The Most Amazing Show .
It's a show that's difficult to describe. Silly? Yes. Funny? very often. Deep? They seem to think so! But, you will (okay maybe you won't) find it hard to flick the remote to another channel.
I dare you to give Corne and Twakkie, the main protagonists, a watch this Thursday.
If you like, Corne has a special request for the Eish readers...
'... please just tell those what see your blog
to also vote and to also love you as much as what I do.'
You can do so by popping over to their website, declare that you are not kak and cast your vote. They are desperate for a 3rd season!

You can't lose. At the very worst you will see Twakkie do his very best to 'moer' someone!

Lotsa love, Eish!!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mobile Gmail

I have been a Gmail convert for some time now. The rather large capacity, simple easy to use interface and fantastic search capabilities have made life easy for me and saved my bacon more than once.

By an incredible fluke I discovered the Mobile java application the day after it was launched. Not quite knowing what I was in for, I immediately downloaded the applet to my cellphone. What a little gem! I have been using it daily ever since.

Sure you can configure most new and not so new phones to fetch mail from your existing pop account, but there are some real limitations. You invariably only download the message headers, you cannot keep too many message on the phone as they clog of the little space you available on the phone, old messages are hard to find etc.
One real advantage of using this little application is that your messages are resident and stay on Google's servers. This means no massive data downloads when fetching that message with a massive Powerpoint presentation you didn't know was attached.
Also, as the mantra goes, you never need to delete your messages which combined with their rapid search option means you can always find that email from months ago that contained John Smith's telephone number you just lost.
They have also made quick number key shortcuts for easy (in fact easier than the web version) navigation. As an example, pressing the number '7' on your keypad twice will delete the message you are currently viewing.

Here's a quick step-by-step guide as to how I set it up so I can use it for both personal and business emails i.e. multiple email accounts.
  1. If you do not already have one, get yourself a gmail account. You no longer need to wait for an invite. Just make your way to http://mail.google.com and sign up.
  2. Set up your existing mail server to forward all mails to your new gmail address. Most ISPs have a setup option on their webmail page to do this. Do not forward from your mail client (eg Outlook) as it makes for a very messy inbox with a whole lot of "fwd's." Also it's difficult to ascertain who the mails are originally from.
  3. Sign in to Gmail and modify the account setting "Send as" options. Add the account you want your recipients to see when in 'Sent By' in their inbox and make it your default. By doing this when you send mail from the Gmail account from your cellphone your recipients can still reply to the email address of your choice. I would also suggest activating and adding a default signature for all mails sent.
  4. Go to the Java applet on your cellphone, sign in, and you are up and running.
As easy as that.

The costs, just the data sent and received. I still use GPRS only and the response is impressive and the cost not exorbitant. Check your data package charges with your provider.


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Monday, March 26, 2007

Give someone an earful

On the the 11th April Stuart Taylor (Going Nowhere Slowly fame) will be having a special fundraising performance as part of his Techni-Coloured tour at the Artscape in Cape Town.

The performance will be raising money for a little boy, Jamie Lewis, who is in need of a cochlear implant. What a pleasant way to help out a family trying to give their little boy a chance to enjoy the aural pleasures we take for granted.

'Best Known as “the guy from Going Nowhere Slowly” Stuart Taylor was the reigning S.A. National Comedy Magic Champion, a title that he held for 3 years. Suave sophisticated Stellenbosch graduate, Stuart started doing comedy to ensure that people "laugh at my jokes and be mystified by my magic - and not the other way around!"' (Excerpt from www.stuartaylor.co.za) To be suave and sophisticated despite being a Matie is an achievement in it's own right!

You free on the 11th April? The show starts at 20h15. Tickets available from Computicket for just R65-00. I have mine.

Hope to see you there!

If you would like to help the Lewis family in any way whatsoever please make contact via email to pmchurch@mweb.co.za

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Cape Epic

They call it the Tour De France of mountain biking. Nearly 900kms of off road cycling along the Western Cape's Garden Route, from Knysna to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West. It's the Cape Epic 2007!

Believe it or not, I was actually offered an opportunity to enter this event. Fortunately I am way to much of a realist to even consider taking this one on.

Today was actually the second day, so around 600 two person teams are already making there way south in the process climbing nearly 16000 meters of mountain passes. The event has grown very rapidly to become a must do event on the global mountain biking calendar. Current leaders are Team Cannondale-Vredenstein 1, Roel Paulissen of Belgium and Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark with the German Team Bull's Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm of Germany. There's a whole bevy of contenders biting at their proverbial toeclips, including Ralph Naef , reigning UCI World Marathon Champion, and team mate Olympic medalist Jose Hermida, last years winner Silvio Bundi and Gion Manetsch and Olympic Gold medallist Bart Brentjens and Rudi van Houts.

Keep tabs of the latest news and results at the official Absa Cape Epic website, and while you do so enjoy be inspired, or like me scared off!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Quiz Time

Something for half time if the rugby game or the 'lunch break' during cricket.

Take this quick quiz and relive some classic South African commercials. Take particular note of questions 3.

You need to beat 9/10! Good luck.

Quiz - South African Ads: Braaivleis, Rugby, Sunny Skies

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

It all makes so much sense!

Ever started something knowing that you were doing too much at one time, too quickly?
I have just reaped the rewards of doing this that. The result was loosing all but one line of today's post.

So, to keep my sanity intact, I have decided to share a little something I received in my inbox this week that I really enjoyed, and the lost post can make an appearance another day.

Thanks Grant!


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ching Chong Cha

Quick !! Looking for something to do this Human Rights Day? I bet you didn't know there was a major sport's event happening today.

Unfortunately it's too late to enter, you would have to have done some serious training by now anyways, but it's sure to be a crowd pleaser. Make your way down to 'The Independent Armchair Theatre" in Observatory, Cape Town for the Ching Chong Cha Championships. The only known such event in South Africa. The big event starts at 9 o'clock.
Click here for more info : The Independent Armchair Theatre Ching Chong Cha Championships.

Interestingly it's appears that the name is distinctly South African. The other, more internationally recognisable name being Rock, Paper, Scissors. Our friends down-under in Australia change it around and call it Scissors, Paper, Rock (switching it around like they do with the cricket score) and the Kiwi's call it Paper, Scissors, Rock. According to Wikipedia, they call it Paper, Scissors, Stone in the UK!
Just some education for the public holiday.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SA's Online Video Battle

My first post was inspired by me finding the much publicised FNB advert pleading with our President, Thabo Mbeki, to take some action against our perceived high levels of crime.
I found the leaked advert on a new video at www.MyVideo.co.za who claim to be South Africa's first online video sharing service. I was impressed, it seemed to be very YouTubish, easy to navigate, delivered the video stream rather efficiently and actually had some fun content.

I have since discovered another South African video sharing website www.zoopy.com. This one has a very 'cool' user interface and incorporates a Flickr type photo sharing service. It has some fun local and international content and appears to have great potential. I am looking forward to becoming a regular viewer.
The only problem? A great interface and concept is pretty useless if you can't actually view anything. Still being in beta we will cut them some slack, but I assume they are going to have to sort out the bandwidth required to deliver this type of content.

Now, I have heard that YouTube is developing a localised version of it's service at www.youtube.co.za.
No doubt they are going to become a powerful player. Watch this space!

Now for the reality check.

Their international counterparts simply had to be the first to set up a site, get some fun and preferrably controversial content uploaded and ensure that they had enough capital to afford the relatively high bandwidth costs. (Mainly as a result of the high usage) The populace flocked to them and the big boys paid billions for the right to get access to their users before a competitor did.
I am not sure how this is going to work in SA. Firstly hosting and streaming the content is going to cost a fair whack? Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the users are going to struggle to afford to spend any reasonable amount of time viewing video content. Tiny broadband bandwidth caps, high connection costs and a relatively small broadband market penetration mean a very small local audience. Dialup is no way to try and view online video and corporate firewalls will quickly close access to these sites so those avenues are not going to provide any more viewers.

All power to them, if they keep up and running long enough perhaps things will change. I look forward to the day.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Broken Records Part II

So, you want to see for yourself?

Ag, just to relive a bit of history. Here's the 6-6-6-6-6-6 over.

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Your morning fix

Like so many of you, I yearn for that first cuppa coffee. But there's always the tea time drink, then around lunch time you think "maybe I should switch to tea." Then mid-afternoon .... and finally the obligatory bed time cup of hot chocolate. Let's not even mention those all-nighters I have to pull from time to time!

How good is that for you? Heck, I have no idea, but here's a website that allows you to calculate your total caffeine intake from all your coffee breaks. It claims to have over 200 drinks to choose from (I haven't checked) and you can add them together to get a rather scary assessment.

They even do the same with sweets, chocolate & mints!

See for yourself, and feel free to share your results.


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Friday, March 16, 2007

Broken Records

Two posts, in a day!

Fortunately, I decided to watch the first South African foray in this year's cricket world cup. South Africa were sent in to bat by their opponents, the Dutch.
After a shakey start, De Villiers going out second ball totally unnecessarily, Why he felt it necessary to waft at a ball so wide off the off stump, only he will know. Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis steadied and accelerated the ship until Smith skyed one in the 19th over. 114/2 , Hershel Gibbs comes in and then the fun begins. Fours and sixes scored by both players, Kallis had quickly passed 50 and Gibbs decided to catch up.

In the 30th over all hell broke loose! Dutchman van Bunge gets klapped for 2 sixes in a row by Gibbs, then a third ... and a fourth six flies over deep midwicket. Now all have realised, hey, he could get a full house. Six, sixes in an over. Surely not?
The fifth ball gets hit over wide long off, just one more to go.
The sixth ball gets bowled, hit and lands well over deep midwicket. That's it, six, sixes!

The bloodbath continues and the eventual result is 353/3. In just forty overs! The start was delayed due to some early morning rain. EISH!!

So, I titled this post 'Broken Records.' Here are they are.
  1. Most amount of sixes hit in a one day innings - 18
  2. 36 runs off one World Cup over - Gibbs
  3. Fastest World Cup 50 - Boucher (21 balls)
There could be more records that I missed.

AB must feel a right charlie now, and well he should. He missed out on a golden opportunity to get some batting practice and confidence before facing some real opposition. The only other negative being that once again the lower middle order have not been given any time in the middle.

Let's see how long the Dutch can last against the SA bowlers. We are counting on an early night.

btw. We watched Western Province (Cape Cobras) try very hard to lose the 20/20 semi-final against the Warriors imbetween balls. They eventually won off a misfield on the last ball. Stalwart Alan Dawson scoring the winning runs to prolong his professional career by one more match.
Scores : Warriors 139/9
Cobras 140/8

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With food inflation expected to hit 20% this year, here is something that may help extend the monthly stipend just a little.

There are some good free anti-virus packages available for download.

I have been using Grisoft's free version of AVG anti-virus for some time now. What made me think of sharing this in today's post was a comments made by well-known columnist and blogger John Dvorak (www.dvorak.org/blog) endorsing AVG in the popular This Week in Tech podcast earlier this week. (www.twit.tv)
If he uses it, with all his resources available, hey, it can't be all that bad.

So my tip for the weekend, surf over to http://free.grisoft.com and download yourself a copy. Not only is it free, but it uses way less resources when scanning and updating in comparison with the other commercial competitors, particularly Symantec's Norton anti-virus.

Another open-source option is Clamwin (http://www.clamwin.com/), I have given it a short-term test, and the only frailty is the lack of real-time scanning.

Bye for now!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Free MTN Airtime anyone?

So, I have never used, or even thought about using the Mxit mobile instant messaging system that has taken off like wildfire and caused such controversy here in South Africa, but ...

They are now giving away 10 000 six month airtime contracts worth R135 every month to their subscribers. Tempting, very tempting!

The catch? Well, you need to be an existing MTN pre-paid subscriber and the R135 is the total NOT per month contract value.
But hey, if you fit into the profile, why not. Go to http://forum.mxit.co.za and click on the 'Tradepost Treasure Competitions' forum for more details.

For the one of you who does not know what Mxit is, it's a cellphone base Instant Messaging system. The attraction being that it allows for test communication using data transfer protocols as opposed to the way more costly sms alternative. A simple download of their program to your cellphone and you are up and ready to chat. But remember it's only with those who have also done the same. I.e. downloaded and activated the chat client on their cellphone.

I use a (in my opinion) much more universal alternative...I must tell you about it some time, he he!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The CycleTour

"30th Cycle Tour one of the best yet!
Excellent weather conditions, thousands of spirited supporters lining the route and the fact that there were no fatalities provided the perfect backdrop for yet another successful Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour.
Just over 30 000 cyclists from around the globe participated in the world's largest timed cycle race, including familiar names and faces like Francois Pienaar and tandem partner, Lucas Radebe, as well as Tour de France greats, Greg LeMond, Jan Ullrich and Steven Rooks."
Quoted from the Argus/PicknPay's website.
Although I can't help thinking the support was a little muted in areas when compared to previous years, the trip around the Cape was a great deal of fun yet againthis year. Yes, the weather helped but then so did the little bit of training!

If you haven't done so already check out www.cycletour.co.za and you will be able to search for your or your friends, colleagues, neighbours etc results. While you are at it click over to www.actionphoto.net and see if the pain has been sufficiently captured by one of the many photographers around the route.

No idea what I am talking about? EISH ... See you next year.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It got out!

Well, I suppose it had to happen. I don't know how but someone managed to sneak out a copy of the ill-fated FNB advert that caused all the controversy. I wouldn't be surprised if it was done on purpose!!

Check it out.

btw this was found on S.A's answer to YouTube, www.myvideo.co.za so if you are having problems viewing the embedded video go to http://www.myvideo.co.za/video/plea-to-the-south-african-president I actually found it played better. They must be using offshore bandwidth!

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