Eish!!: January 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How much is your salary worth?

While doing some research on the web, I came across this great site that compares your salary and your current cost of living to that of other cities, either locally or internationally. Using this tool, should you be looking to move you are able to ascertain what salary level you should be aiming for. It uses various benchmarks from property rental and prices to the cost of Coca Cola in it's calculations. To give it a go click over to SalaryExpert.com's Cost of Living Calculator.

If you want to check out how your salary compares to others in the industry, with similar job specifications, qualifications and even experience, I highly recommend Payscale.It uses other surveyees (sic), industry standards as well as job listings to ascertain averages. I was hugely impressed with the depth and the resultant reports, and it is localised. I strongly recommend that all employees make this site a regular visit.
MyWage.co.za provides a slightly different, and in my experience a lot less comprehensive, service albeit more localised. Their salary checker helps you find the average salary being paid in your line of work. There is also a link to the same formatted page in other countries for comparison. Click here to give it a go.

In awesome resource that would be great if it could be replicated here in SA is the Salary Centre at MyCareer.com.au. It hurts, just a little, to praise something developed by the Aussies, but this must be an invaluable resource for the workforce and their employers down under. You are able to find out the average salaries paid to specific jobs and then check out the comparatives down to state and even city/town levels. SA web developers, check this out, there is a definite gap in the SA web space.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free/Legal music downloads too good to be true

It seems that the promise of free and legal music downloads was a little premature. Much excitement has been generated around the online community around the launch of Qtrax. Qtrax claimed to have the buy-in from the four big record labels, for free Peer to Peer downloads of their artists tracks. They went live today. Being a music lover, I took the gap presented by being in a different timezone and downloaded their software and registered this morning. Here's my experience.

Firstly, when registering, although they have some 'obscure' territories like Argentina, there was no South African option in their 'Country' download box. Whether this is done purposefully or not, I have not been able to ascertain.
Secondly, the promise of being able to access artists from the major labels has not materialised. Despite claims to the contrary since April last year, even on their website, Reuters have reported that both Sony BMG and Warner music have publicly denied that they have signed any agreements with Qtrax. The agreements they signed was to test paid downloads and these contracts have since expired. I gave this a test and searched their catalog for Bruce Springsteen, an artist I know is signed to Sony BMG. His catalog is found and itemised, but you cannot download. This function, the pop up claims, will be coming soon.
Thirdly, after browsing the service for about fifteen minutes the service suddenly became unavailable. Server problems? High traffic volumes? Court action threats? Time will tell.

In short, the old adage, of too good to be true seem to apply.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

SARS Tax returns - today could be your deadline!

While those who submit their tax returns manually had to do so some time ago, those of us who chose to submit via the SARS e-Filing, web-based mechanism have until 31 January to so do. However, if you have not completed your registration for the service, you had better do so today! Once you have registered it takes 48 hours to be vetted and activated. That leaves you with one day to comply. So don't be caught out, register today!
For more information click here : SARS E-Filing

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Watershed live (Video)

Last Sunday the family went to watch the South African music institution, Watershed at Cape Town's Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series.

This is not a review, but it should be said, as always Kirstenbosch is a great venue and Watershed have yet to disappoint the many times we have seen them live.

I came across this live version of Indigo Girl, their mega-hit on YouTube. Their live version differs from year to year and understandably is very different to the original album track released seven years ago now.

Those of you in Cape Town, diarise 10 February when another of SA's mega-groups The Parlatones are due for the performance in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

South Africa - Angola highlights

What a goal! Elrio you boykie

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your vote could get Cape Town on the Monopoly board

Hasbro is creating a World Edition of it's ever popular Monopoly game and have decided to open up the list of cities that coulld make it onto the board to a worldwide vote.
68 cities have been pre-selected, of which only 20 (plus a few wildcards) will eventually make it . Cape Town, is one of the 68 pre-selected cities, but we are not doing to well at the moment, languishing in the middle of the leaderboard but well short of the top 20.

You are able to vote once a day until the 29th February, so it's your patriotic duty to click over to the Monopoly site and cast your vote, preferably daily. In fact take it as your duty to the continent as Cape Town along with Cairo (doing considerably better @ position 15) are the representatives of the African continent.

According to Hasbro, since Charles Darrow patented the game in 1935, approximately 750 million people have played the game, making it "the most played (commercial) board game in the world.

Now, I wonder what they are going to value our mother cityy should we make it onto the board?

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Leon helps us smile (Video)

Watch more free videos

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vodacom entices subscriber to run up massive SMS bill

Pensioner Hendrikus Wessels from Cape Town South Africa managed to run up bill of R48 000 (over $6,600) in just two weeks in the hope that he could win in Vodacom's "100 BMW's in 100 Days" competition.

The smses (text messages) cost R10 a shot and the promotion has a bonus draw each week for the subscriber that sends the most amount of entries. With a subscriber base of around 22 million, this promotion must be a massive money spinner for Vodacom.

As hard as I try to fell sorry for Mr Wessels, who has subsequently had his account suspended, I just can't.
There are many of premium priced competitions which charge from R5-00 to R30-00 an sms. In my opinion these 'competitions' merely are a very obvious form of gambling, making the companies that run them a hell of a lot of cash.

Eish!! readers, stay away from them.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Free Satellite TV arrives in South Africa ... apparently

Thanks to Chris @ iMod and the Bizcommunity guys I heard about the launch of a new free satellite TV offering called Free2View.
They claim to have MSNBC Africa as the mainstay and "the channels include a full schedule of live news of a world-class coverage and reporting, political analysis and award-winning documentary programming, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
All you have to do is fork out R1400-00 for a dish and decoder and you will have this programming for life.
So I was interested, not having South Africa's 'premier' satellite offering Dstv. I clicked over to their 'website.'
Sorry guys, their is no ways I am going to part with any of my hard earned cash on a media company that has this as their portal to their potential customers and a logo ... Well that red thing in the top left corner is their logo. And I suggest Eish!! readers do the same.

For a case study in bad marketing click here.

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Power problems affecting SA Psyche

It's become increasingly evident that the current power crisis has created a serious dent in the psyche of South Africans. No conversation will be complete without some mention of 'load shedding.' The news media, traditional and new, is abuzz with the latest developments, or lack thereof.
The wave of optimism that has been the prevalent for the past 36 months or so has undoubtedly come to a grinding halt, with a little help of ANC infighting. Posts like this at SA Rocks ("SA Rocks promotes the good things that happen every day in South Africa.") are indicative of the mood of ordinary South Africans. An Aussie immigrant puts it very succinctly in this great post entitled "I have the Sheds!" Local blog aggregator Muti's top tag is by far Eskom and the top voted posts are becoming full of posts with expletives in the headings.
The repercussions are now being felt on a macro level as the rand falls, obviously as a result of a slowing of investment and the acceleration of capital outflowing as investors foresee a long term slowing of large scale infrastructure projects reliant on a constant reliable energy source. The growth rate, currently the fall guy for the crisis, is due to come to a grinding halt. Not to mention the outages now becoming evident in the rest of the SADEC countries as Eskom pulls the plug on their supply as it endeavours to, quite rightly, ensure it keeps is local customers supplied first.

So what is a citizen of this beautiful country to do? Again SA Rocks has a great list of things one can do during power cuts ... er sorry ... load shedding. But we need to find answers so that we don't need to get to use these great suggestions in the first place. Increasing pressure on the utility and government is an obvious answer. However this situation has been brought on by years of non-action by our current administration. Things are been set in motion now, but these are all long-term solutions. Many have suggested, and promised, to sue Eskom and the government. All this will achieve is money going to individuals and corporations when it should and be used to assist in the alleviation of the problem.
There is however something positive that can be gained from all of this. The power cuts effect all of us. The haves and the have nots. Suburban and rural residents. Black, white, coloured and purple population. Those using public transport and those with their own means of mobility. Perhaps other than success on the sports field, this can be the great uniter?

So we have only have two things are can, and in my humble opinion, should do.
  1. Reduce our power consumption. This alone will not make the problem go away but it makes us good citizens. Less consumption has the added benefit in that it assists in reducing pollution. Click here are some tips to assist you reduce consumption.
  2. It's very important that those in power suffer the consequences of their bad planning. The inevitable changing of the guard must to deflect the our attention. We need to use our vote to ensure a more effective political mix. Those currently in power have let us down and those that replace them need to know that this will not be allowed to happen again.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Van ...

Van has a Petrol station in Poffadder and was trying to increase his sales.
So he put up a sign that read, "Free Sex with Fill-Up."
Soon a local pulled in, filled his tank and asked for his
free sex.
Van told him to pick a number from 1 to 10.
If he guessed correctly he would get his free sex.
The local guessed 8, and Van said,
"You were close. The number was 7. Sorry. No sex this time."

A week later, the same , along with his buddy George, pulled
in for another fill-up.
Again he asked for his free sex.
Van again asked him to guess the correct number.
He guessed 2 this time.
Van said, "Sorry, it was 3. You were close, but no free sex this
As they were driving away, the local said to his buddy ,
"I think that game is rigged and he doesn't really give away free
George replied, " Eishhhhh, it ain't rigged. My wife won twice last

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Friday, January 18, 2008

James Blunt to tour SA

Ex-British Army Captain, James Hillier Blount now known around the world as James Blunt, has announced that we will be touring South Africa in May.
We will be playing three converts, one in each of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

While some may deride is folky-pop sound he sold over 11 million copies of his first album 'Back to Bedlam' and well of 2.5 million of his follow-up 'All the Lost Souls', so there will be no shortage of takers for the R250+ tickets on offer from Computicket.

Oh, and parents memorise the dates and keep your daughters under lock and key. (Explanation here)

Some interesting James Blunt trivia (source - Wikipedia) :
In 2006, the name James Blunt was entered into the Dictionary of Cockney rhyming slang (a 'right James Blunt') in reference to the word c*nt. Blunt is said to have responded, "John F. Kennedy got an airport named after him - I got my favourite part of the female anatomy"

Tour Itinerary
Saturday 24 May
The Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg
Tickets from R250 to R500 (excluding service charges)

Monday 26 May
The Botanic Gardens, Durban
Tickets R300 (excluding service charges)

Wednesday 28 May
The Grand Arena, Grand West Casino & Entertainment World, Cape Town
Tickets from R250 to R450 (excluding service charges)

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Surfs up for man's best friend

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kudos to Zorgvliet

The Zorgvliet Portfolio is a portfolio of boutique hotels, wine labels and property developments around South Africa, with the Zorgvliet Vineyard Lodge and Spa being the initial resort.
I have been a subscriber to Zorgvliet Portfolio's email newsletter for some time now. I probably joined when entering a competition some where and have kept receiving the happily because I am confident that I will utilise one of the special offers in the not too distant future.
This week I was pleasantly surprised to receive a mail giving me an option to keep receiving the mails or be removed from their database. In an age where our email inboxes are constantly being intruded by unwanted spam mails, what a pleasure to have a company pro-actively keeping their clients, and potential clients, on their email list by choice. Well done guys, it would be great if more companies did the same at the start of each year.

For more info click here : www.zorgvliet.com

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Sitting behind a PC? Hows the eyes?

More than 50% computer users (and let's face it if you work in an office you are a computer users these days) suffer from eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms.
This article at Web Worker Daily reminded me of this phenomenon.
The article suggests making some easy adjustments to your display settings, the most useful being :
"Get Your Ratios Right. Adjust your display’s contrast and brightness so that they’re easy on your eyes, and don’t forget to adjust your room lighting. Many people cite pronounced reductions in eye strain when working next to a halogen lamp instead of fluorescent lighting. Also 10:3 is the suggested ratio for the brightness of the characters on your display versus the background, and experts also suggest room illumination three times brighter than your screen background. (Your mileage may vary.)" For the full article click here.

But there is more that we can, and should, be doing to alleviate this problem for ourselves.
  • Windows XP offers a utility called ClearType. This is a great service that optimizes the Windows display settings to enhance readability. I have found the ClearType Tuner Powertoy the simplest way to use this utility. Download it from Microsoft here. Yes, it's free and is particular useful for those of you using laptops.
  • It's also advisable to increase your monitor's refresh rate. This reduces intensity of the flicker that while not always detectable essentially is the main culprit when it comes to eye strain.
  • Make sure you do not sit too close (or too far from the monitor). You should be aiming to sit around half a meter from the monitor.
  • Get rid of any light sources that may be causing any glare on the screen.
  • Blink more. Blinking helps keep the eye moist.
  • Install anti-glare screens over your monitor screen.
  • Switch to an LCD monitor : LCD's are flicker free
For more info read follow the links below:

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Monday, January 14, 2008

... and the winner is ...

This years Darwin Awards have been awarded, and there are some beauties. "Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by accidentally removing themselves from it."
www.darwinawards.com is a great resource when you need a little pep up. It's great to know that you are actually rather intelligent. You can't help saying 'What the hell were they thinking?" when reading this special resource. And, of course, we will never know. The subjects are dead, of course.

Here's the 2007 winners as voted for by the readers.

THE LAPTOP STILL WORKS (Confirmed True by Darwin)

"Driving is not a time to be practicing your multitasking skills," remarked CHP spokesman Tom Marshall, commenting on a 29-year-old computer tutor's decision to drive along Highway 99 in California while working on his laptop. He drifted over the center line, and was killed by oncoming traffic. CHP officers found Oscar's computer still running, plugged into the Honda Accord's cigarette lighter.

SUPERIOR MOMENTUM (Confirmed True by Darwin)

June 2007, Illinois | Two Valparaiso men tested their reflexes by playing "chicken" with a train. Which man could stay on the rail the longest in the path of an oncoming train? At the stroke of midnight, the contest was decided. The winner, aptly named Patrick Stiff, lost his life. The train continued on, as the conductor was unaware that it had hit anyone.

BARN DEMOLITION (Unconfirmed by Darwin)

January 2007, West Virginia) Three friends set out to dismantle a dilapidated barn one bracing winter afternoon. Speaking of bracing... One industrious man fired up his chainsaw and ripped through a crucial support post. Carrying the weight of a full barn roof, those wooden support beams were all that stood between the demolition worker and structural collapse. It was all fun and games until the roof, sans support, succumbed to the pull of gravity and flattened the man with the chainsaw. As a consolation prize, the deceased was indeed successful at demolishing the barn.

(Darwin notes, this story is unconfirmed, but no disputes have come to my attention, as usually happens with bogus stories.)

MOLE HUNT (Confirmed True by Darwin)

January 2007, East Germany | One man's extraordinary effort to eradicate a mole from his property resulted in a victory for the mole. The metal rods he pounded into the ground and connected to a high-voltage power line, electrified the very ground the man stood upon. He was found dead at his holiday property on the Baltic Sea. Police had to trip the main circuit breaker before venturing onto the property.

WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN (Confirmed Double Darwin Award)

June 2007, South Carolina | A passing cabbie found a 21 year-old deceased couple laying naked in the road an hour before sunrise. Authorities were baffled. There were no witnesses, no trace of clothing, and no wrecked vehicles present. But investigators eventually found a clue high on the roof of a nearby building: two sets of neatly folded clothes. Safe sex takes on a whole new meaning when you are perched on the edge of a pyramid-shaped metal roof. "It appears as if [they] accidentally fell off the roof," Sgt. McCants said.

THE ENEMA WITHIN (Confirmed True by Darwin)

May 2004, Texas | Michael was an alcoholic. And not an ordinary alcoholic, but an alcoholic who liked to take his liquor... well, rectally. His wife said he was "addicted to enemas" and often used alcohol in this manner. The result was the same: inebriation. And tonight, Michael was in for one hell of a party.

Two 1.5 litre bottles of sherry, more than 100 fluid ounces, right up the old address!

When the rest of us have had enough, we either stop drinking or pass out. When Michael had had enough (and subsequently passed out) the alcohol remaining in his rectal cavity continued to be absorbed. The next morning, Michael was dead.

The 58-year-old did a pretty good job of embalming himself. Toxicology reports measured his blood alcohol level as 0.47%.

In order to qualify for a Darwin Award, a person must remove himself from the gene pool via an "astounding misapplication of judgment." Three litres of sherry up the butt can only be described as astounding. Unsurprisingly, his neighbors said they were surprised to learn of the incident.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Need a Facebook status?

For some it's imperative that their Facebook status is always up-to-date and their friends are always aware of when they take care of their ablutions, brush their teeth, have perceived brilliant thoughts etc. Others never update their status. Then their are others ...

How about these?
  • lamenting the death of canoodling accumulations
  • secretly yearning for talcum-powdered pyjamas
  • intimidated by overrated bananas
  • composing a haiku about mouthwateringly succulent proctologists
If these resonate, click over to the "Facebook Status Generatr" and confuse the hell out of your buddies!

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Hout Bay Sentinel (pic)

Driving home over Chapman's Peak Drive just just before Christmas, I glanced over at Hout Bay Sentinel, the peak that guards Hout Bay harbour, and saw the scene below. For the few minutes this cloud formation lasted it appeared as if Hout Bay was experiencing a volcanic eruption.

Links :

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Wild ring tones

Tired of shrill electronic ring tones? How about the something a little 'environmentally friendly?'

RareEarthtones.org offers authentic sounds and images of various endangered species. You are free to download sounds made by threatened birds, owls, frogs, toads and marine mammals.

The site is brought to by the Centre for Biological Diversity as US based organisation focussed on preventing further extinction of species around the world.

While the call of the Short-Eared Owl may be ok as a ring tone while sitting in an office, I can't imagine it would be that effective when you are walking outdoors. But it's always fun to have a few more options when selecting a new sound on your phone.

While downloading take some time to read about the state of our planet's ecosystem, it makes for interesting, if not depressing reading.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Keep track of your New Years resolutions

So, you have made your News Years resolutions?
If they are more quantifiable than my suggestions, do yourself a favour and sign up at Joe's Goals. This free web resource assists you in tracking your progress in attaining these resolutions. You can even keep a journal and share your progress with your friends and family and even post to your personal blog or MySpace page.
Having a constant reminder of the challenges you set yourself for the year ahead makes the attaining of them that much easier and more likely.
Joe's Goals has an extra feature that creates a daily score, so it's easy to see how you are progressing.

Good luck

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Australia to lose unrestricted internet access

Australia is to receive China-style internet restrictions. In a move announced before the elections and reiterated this week Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy has said that it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material.

"Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road," he said.

"If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree."

While I personally have no problem with the measures to get rid of the child pornography scourge on the net, knowing a central government has the power and will to restrict what I can see on the net would worry me. TechCrunch rightly raises the point that websites or blogs could find themselves blacklisted when contrary comments are posted to their sites. More importantly who knows what those in power might decide as being appropriate. With more and more governments looking at adopting this approach in terms of what it's citizens are able to post and view on the internet, it seems that cyber space is very rapidly going to loose it's allure as the ultimate vehicle true democratisation.

Let's hope South Africa remains a beacon of individual rights.

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