Archive for January, 2008

South Africa’s Power Crisis Makes it to the New York Times

January 31, 2008

Link to the Article: Power Failures Outrage South Africa

But electricity shortages, now expected to be a fact of life for the next five years, are more than an embarrassment. They threaten continued strong growth here in a nation that accounts for a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s economic output and ranks among the world’s top 25 countries in gross domestic product.

“What can we do?” said the owner, Panos Avraamides. “We throw out all the salads, all the dips, all the antipastos, I let the employees have a one-hour break. Then they come back and stand around and do nothing.”

“Because of this situation, economic growth just stops,” said Andrew Kenny, an engineering consultant. “In that way, the problem solves itself.”

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The Bandit’s morning sessions a thing of the past.

January 30, 2008

After a stellar run DEREK “TheBandit” Richardson, the man single-handedly responsible for growing the world of dance beyond South Africa’s wildest imagination is packing his record box for one last national tour

“I have had such a wonderful journey and I thank everyone that has supported me through out the years! Life is ever changing and it’s time to hang up my headphones when it comes to live performances. I will continue to produce the finest PODCASTS for the world to enjoy!”

Visit www.soundrepublic.co.za for more details and to catch the awesome dance web radio.

QTrax Broken

January 29, 2008

After a delayed launch, Qtrax is finally available for download. The only problem now is that http://music.qtrax.com is broken displaying the Welcome to Oracle Containers for J2EE page.

Not the greatest product launch ever!

2008-01-29_1356

2008-01-29_1405

Update:
News from Engadget:

The company issued a press release over the weekend saying it has (finally) signed up with Sony / BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner, but Wired did a little bit of digging and found out that Qtrax isn’t being exactly honest — spokespeople from all four labels flatly denied that any deals were in place.

Link to story

Eskom Uplugged.

January 28, 2008

eskom

Very funny.

Cool Google Logo for the 50th Anniversary of the Lego Brick

January 28, 2008

lego08

QTrax Overwhelmed

January 27, 2008

Qtrax, claiming to be the first free and legal P2P music application, was set to launch today.

The site is currently unavailable due to overwhelming demand and asks visitors to check back in 24 hours. I hope they out buying some extra infrastructure.

Due to overwhelming demand, Qtrax.com is currently unavailable. Please check back in 24 hours to download the first, free, and legal P2P music application. Thank you for your understanding.

The service offers unlimited free song downloads which can be transferred to your iPod using the Songbird-like player. Other features of the player include music video downloads, album reviews and song lyrics.

Qtrax originally had to shut down in soon after launch in 2002 to avoid legal action.

Good things come to those who wait.

Update:
Site has been updated to say that the download will be available at Midnight EST. According to Google it is just after 01:30 and still no sign of the download. (1:32 AM Monday (EST) – Time in New York, United States of America)

Update:
Download is available!

Site Review – Pixoo.us

January 26, 2008

Pixoo, currently in private beta, offers a pretty unique service. They claim to be the first digital beauty salon who will rework personal photos that can then be used on any number of today’s social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc.

With everyone being vein by nature and having at least one thing about then that they would like to change, I thought the site was on to something.

After being accepted as a beta tester, I thought I’d give the site a try and submitted a photo of myself. I paid the $9.90 and was looking forward to seeing the results.

originalThe Original

I asked them to clean the photo up, remove the red-eye, change the background and perhaps change the shirt. I also mentioned that I’d like to use the new photo for professional purposes.
finished
The finished Product

This is the finished product that I received after 3 attempts. Needless to say I’m not sold. I only approved the final version to conclude the process as I felt that not much more was going to be done to improve the photo.

I still think the site is a really good idea. Perhaps the original that I sent them was not of the best quality or perhaps there is not much that can be done to a mug like mine.

I have no formal complaints other than I’m not happy with the result and will not be using it on my Facebook profile.

Link

My thoughts on the South African power crisis

January 26, 2008

I arrived back in South Africa last Friday after leaving for Sydney at the end of last year. I’ve heard about the power cuts from friends and reading the news, but I never quite understood how bad the situation was.

I’m sitting at Johannesburg International (OR Thambo) waiting to board a flight back to Sydney and to be honest I very worried about the future of the country of my birth.

There are thousands of examples of how the “Load Shedding” is effecting South Africans but one really made realise how bad things are becoming. Before leaving for the airport, I popped down to our local London Pie to pick up some lunch for the family. The shopping centre where the pie shop is located had their power cut due to load shedding. London Pie were therefore unable to accept debit or credit card payments. With no other way of paying I was forced to look for some lunch at the Spar. Spar was lucky enough to have a backup generator.

How many other potential customers were forced to do the same? With load shedding being a daily occurrence, how is the owner of the London Pie expected to run his business?

There is news today that some of the countries largest Gold and Platinum mines were forced to stop operations due to Eskom not being able to guarantee them power. This in turn had negative consequences for the price of gold and platinum. Earlier in the week, I heard how international hockey games hosted in South Africa had to be changed due to load shedding fears. With reports saying that this will continue for years, one can only imagine how the 2010 soccer world cup will be effected.

I’m not sure what the solution is or if there is any light at the end of the tunnel. There are calls for resignations and explanations, but I’m not sure these will help. The problem is not one that can be resolved over night.

It pains me to say that I’m looking forward to getting on the plane this afternoon.

For an idea of how bad the situation is getting visit http://www.newgate.co.za/eskomstories/top10.htm

South Africa’s Future

January 2, 2008

I read an interesting article this morning by the UK Telegraph about the future of South Africa under the new ANC leader and presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma.

More recently, another high-ranking ANC member told a British newspaper that most, if not all, of the officials who have been handling South Africa’s finances in the 13 years since Mandela came to power would abandon their posts under a Zuma presidency.

At first pass, Mr Zuma is a far from impressive candidate for the job. He is an affable populist with no formal schooling, but an impressive trajectory through the ranks of the military wing of the liberation movement.

His testimony during the rape trial that, after having sex with someone who was HIV positive, he had taken a shower to reduce the risk of infection, beggars belief. And although he was acquitted of rape and the corruption case against him collapsed, his days in court are not over. Prosecutors say they have found fresh evidence of corruption and it seems he will face further charges in the New Year.

Link to the article