Nybbles and Bytes...

loves good coffee!

Nybbles and Bytes...

wants to know if you need this button on your keyboard...?

Nybbles and Bytes

...loves exotic places...

Nybbles and Bytes

is occasionally old school...

Nybbles and Bytes

loves smartphone debates...!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jub Jub gets a rash...

Who is Jub Jub?

That's the question on a lot of people's minds after watching Survivor SA tonight.
Answer: Jub Jub is a JHB-based musician / hip-hop artist who gained additional fame and exposure by revealing that he had a crotch rash on Survivor SA. Ouch.

So that's 2 deserters already and its only the 2nd episode.
It was nice though to see Nico giving Jub Jub a hard time about leaving - as I mentioned last week, Christina Storm just walked off the island with pretty much no resistance.


I am Jub Jub

As for Jub Jub's injury, I cannot say whether or not he was fit to continue... if it was really serious then I guess not.
I noticed though how he casually called on the medics when he cut his foot on some coral - something rarely seen on Survivor CBS. Over there you have to be dead or nearly dead in order for the cavalry to come and save you.

So all in all I am enjoying this series of Survivor SA a damn sight more than I did the first.
I do have one bone to pick however - the background music is off in my opinion. Just a tad.
To illustrate my point:

- ...and Action!
- 2 Tribemates are secretly discussing strategy and alliances in the tribe.
- the camera zooms in for a more intense point of view of the action.
- cue Star Wars soundtrack as background music.... and VOILA! The suspense is shattered, and the cheese is introduced.

Yup. That's what we have as background music in Survivor SA - a lame cover version of the original Star Wars score... or something similar :)
I suppose it has to do with CBS licencing rights etc. that put a limitation on the kind of music used in the SA version of the show, but I do think that they could have done a better job of creating music that fits in with the general atmosphere of Survivor.

And still more rain... "Vaal flood gates to be opened", says News24.

Further to my earlier post about the flooding in Johannesburg, this news just in from News24.com:

2010-01-27 @ 11:34

Johannesburg - The flood gates on the Vaal dam will be opened because of the ongoing rainfall and will lead to higher water levels along the Vaal river on Wednesday, Gauteng police warned.

"Because of ongoing rainfall that impacts on the Vaal river water system, it has become a necessity for the relevant authorities to start with a co-ordinated opening of floodgates of the Vaal dam," Superintendent Eugene Opperman said.

Read the full article here.

Rain, rain and more rain... this is what Benoni looks like in flood!

For the past week or more, Johannesburg has been pounded by storm after storm, to the point that some areas are actually flooding.
Just check out these pics of Benoni yesterday:












































































































At this rate we will all soon develop gills behind our ears ala Kevin Costner in Waterworld, and we will all have to wear multi-purpose shoes like these...: :)



Got any other pics of JHB in flood over the past few days?
Send them my way and I will put them up here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Download the new version of Avast (free) now...

Over the years I have used many different antivirus packages, some good, some dodgy.
I often get asked which is the best one to use, and to answer this you need to think about several things:

- Price
- Effectiveness (does it perform?)
- Resource Requirements (how slow will your PC run after you install the antivirus software?)
- Ease of use (how confusing is it to setup and operate?)

After many trials and tribulations, much experimentation, and plenty of frustration, I can safely say that Avast Antivirus comes out on top repeatedly.



First off, Avast (Home Edition) will set you back a total of ZAR0. Zip. Free to download at http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download.

Secondly, I have found Avast to be the most effective in removing infections. "Ah but if it's so good then why did the infection get through in the first place?" I hear you ask...
Well surprisingly, viruses can get past most antivirus software if given half a chance. Let's say you skip your updates for a day, a week... maybe a month. That's a window of opportunity right there, to mention only one possible scenario.

Most of the problems I have dealt with in the past are post-infection, i.e. I am called in once the PC has already been infected, despite Nortons, BitDefender, etc. etc. running in the background.
That's where Avast shines - thanks to its boot time scan you can run a virus scan before Windows even starts, and therefore before the virus gets a chance to load into memory.

Thirdly, Avast does not significantly impact the performance of the machine that it is running on.
I am not going to go into the notorious resource-hogging habits of some of the other reputable and well-known antivirus packages, but it is fair to say that a lot of antivirus software kills machine performance.

Fourthly, Avast is setup to go out of the box (not that it comes in a box... you download it :)) - just install it and you are good to go.
The default configuration is perfect for most PC's, and it will give you decent protection from the get-go.

Avast has just released Version 5 of their antivirus software, with revamped graphics, new features and other updates to the software.
Get it here now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The World is just Awesome :)

Yup, that's the word according to this incredible Discovery Channel ad :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Windows 7 "Black Screen of Death" rears its ugly head...

By now a lot of PC users have made the switch to Windows 7, being that it is clearly lightyears ahead of Vista in terms of usability and stability... or is it?


Most recently, the "Black Screen of Death" has made its presence felt among the Windows 7 community.
The result is a machine that boots up to a black desktop with a mouse cursor.
No taskbar.
No icons.
In some cases even CTRL-ALT-DEL does absolutely zip.

Thankfully, the boffins over at Prevx have come up with a patch that should resolve most (but not all) cases of the problem. To quote their site:

1) Restart your PC
2) Logon and wait for the black screen to appear
3) Make sure your PC should be able to connect to the internet (black screen does not appear to affect this)
4) Press the CTRL, ALT and DEL keys simultaneously
5) When prompted, Click Start Task Manager
6) In Task Manager Click on the Application Tab
7) Next Click New Task
8) Now enter the command:

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" "http://info.prevx.com/download.asp?GRAB=BLACKSCREENFIX"

NB: If the Task Manager does not appear after step 4, restart the PC and hit F8 before Windows starts to load, then select "Safe mode with Networking", and continue from step 5.

9) Click OK and your browser should start up and begin the download process
10) When prompted for the download Click run, the black screen fix program will download and run to automatically fix the issue.
11) Now restart your PC and the black screen problem will hopefully be gone.

Hopefully... it certainly worked for me!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Survivor South Africa - the first casualties...

I never really got into the first Survivor S.A. - I think my expectations were way too high after being addicted to the original CBS show for too long.

After watching the Yanks do their thing for so long, sitting through an episode of the first season of Survivor S.A. was like trying to get out of quicksand... I can't really put my finger on it - whether it was the presenter, the audio quality (lack thereof...?), or the ridiculous background music - it all just killed it for me and I can't say that I expected much more from the second season of Survivor S.A.

So I was in for a pleasant surprise this evening when I sat (rather painlessly) through the entire first episode of the new season!
Big kudos has to go to the new presenter Nico Panagio (of Top Billing fame) - he just looks more the part, and it doesn't feel like he is trying too hard to be Jeff Probst :)
I mean Jeff Probst is one tough act to follow, but I think that Nico does a fine job of it.


Jeff Probst flashing his signature Survivor grin


Nico Panagio trying to out-suave Jeff Probst

As for the contestants, it's a mixed bag of local celebs all roughing it on a deserted island somewhere off Mozambique.

First to go (voluntarily) was supermodel Christina Storm - understandably she was missing her child, but as they say - she knew what she was in for so why did she bother getting involved?
Also, rather unlike the American series, there seemed to be little resistance to her early departure - in the past on Survivor (CBS), contestants were put through hell if they tried to wuss out of the game early.
Not so for Christina - she just had to shed a few tears and thats was it. Gone.

Next off (surprisingly) was Garth Collins, better known to some as "Granite" of Gladiator fame.
I felt a bit sad to see this hulk of a man limping around helplessly, after sustaining a leg injury during the opening stages of the game.
Not surprisingly though, his teammates figured that a semi-functional giant may be more of a liability than an asset.
Goodbye Garth.

Can't wait to see what next week holds in store!

Monday, January 18, 2010

David after Dentist... this kid is on some strong stuff!!

If you haven't already seen the "David after Dentist" clip on YouTube, check it out below.
You can read the background to this hilarious clip at http://davidafterdentist.com/ - the site even features a D.A.D. (David after Dentist) store where you can buy merchandise such as T-Shirts, stickers, logos etc.

Isn't it amazing how something so simple can become such an internet epidemic?



Crazy stuff!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Amazing photography - in my humble opinion at least... :)

I have added a new site to my cool links on the right - http://www.aurelm.com/

Manea Aurel is a Romanian Computer Graphic Designer, who is also pretty handy with a camera - to see  just how handy, pay his site a visit or check out these beauties:



























I also included some of his awesome landscape shots in 2 of my earlier posts, here and here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is one awesome card trick...!

Check out this nifty card trick by magician / actor James Galea - very cool!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Let's get artistic. Not that I know anything about art...

I recently received an email about a photographic artist by the name of Chris Jordan.

Specifically, it centred around one of his books called "Running the Numbers", which, to quote the author, "looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on."

I am not sure about the legalities involved in posting his photos here, so just head on over to his site and see what I am talking about.

Well worth the visit - trust me, it's impressive and thought provoking stuff.

Amazon gets smart...

Down the right of my blog you can see my Amazon affiliate ads, which I though would display specials of the day, good deals etc. - that kind of thing generally.

So I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I saw how Amazon had cleverly picked up the context of my blog, and added in products related to topics I have recently blogged about, i.e. Bas Rutten, Global Warming and Bear Grylls.

It works in the much the same way as Google Adsense does, in that it crawls your site and checks for keywords, upon which it bases the content that it then displays.

Clever stuff.
What will they think of next? :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nybbles and Bytes E-Store goes live

Recently I joined the Amazon Affiliates Program, which allows me to create my own online store, powered by Amazon themselves.
In other words all orders, payments, tracking and delivery is handled by Amazon - I just act as the referring party, and I select what categories or products I want to include on my site.

I have added an "e-store" link at the top of Nybbles and Bytes, where you can now go to order anything you need in terms of computers, gaming equipment, cameras & accessories, DVD's, Electronics, Kindle Books, MP3's, Software and Wireless accessories.

Click here or use the "e-store" link above to get started.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aaaaah The Maldives... OMG is that an island made entirely from trash???

The Maldives... the mere mention of the name conjures up images like these:



































Wow what an amazing place - crystal clear seas, not a wave in sight... paradise!
Except for one little thing called "Thilafushi", and it 'aint so little either.

Thilafushi is an attempt at the solution to the ever-growing waste problem of the Maldives' capital city, MalĂ©.
Since 1992, rubbish has been shipped to the island and dumped into its' lagoon. The island today covers an area of 124 acres and is growing at a rate of 1 square metre per day, and it looks like this:


















So there you have it - a little-known feature of the Maldives which has certainly made me think a bit differently about the place, and about the way we live in general.
To think that every tourist produces 3.5kg of rubbish and requires 500 litres of water a day...!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finally some updates :)

I have been meaning to add some more meaningful stuff to Nybbles and Bytes lately, and to start I have added some links to my sidebar:

Vibrasphere - an awesome Psychedelic / Melodic / Progressive Trance act from Sweden.
If this is your kind of thing, you need to hear some of their stuff. A lot of their music is inspired by the Scandanavian landscape, weather and landforms. The album cover below should give you an idea of what I mean.


Bas Rutten - a legendary (now retired) Dutch MMA fighter. He was the UFC Heavyweight Champion, a three time King of Pancrase world champion, and finished his career on a 22 fight unbeaten streak (21 wins, 1 draw).
Look out for him on YouTube as well - his self-defence training videos can be quite a laugh!



Skeptical Science - "examining the science of global warming skepticism" is what the site description says - quite self explanatory! The site goes on to say "...this website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?..."
Basically a site dedicated to debunking the Global Warming denyers out there.



Bear Grylls  - he's the crazy guy from Ultimate Survival on the Discovery Channel. He jumps off crazy things, eats crazy things, goes to crazy places, and generally does some pretty crazy things. In spite of all his craziness, I think he is one hell of a brave guy. Vegetarians proceed with caution... this man will eat anything. Literally.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Google's search term predictions can be pretty funny... :)

We all know that Google's Search Engine is pretty clever as a whole.
Their layout is simple and clean yet it renders very useful results.

One of its' features that can produce some rather funny results is the predictive feature when you type in a search term, for example:

- Type "dog" into Google. You will now get a list of suggested search terms, e.g. "dog names, dog breeds, dogs..." etc. etc.
- Now type "how can"... and wait a second for Google to guess what you want to type in.
I got this coming up:



Try it out yourself by asking Google questions like "how do", "can i", "why do", "what is", etc. etc ...you get the idea!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year everybody! 2010 is going to be one amazing year... :)

So there it is - 2010 has arrived and it promises to be an awesome year for South Africa!

Among other things, the FIFA Soccer World Cup will be held here in June 2010 - an event whose true scale I believe will only become apparent closer to the time... It's gonna be seriously huge!

Looking around Johannesburg, there are also clear indications that parts of the Gautrain project are making good progress - trains already running up and down certain sections of the track, electric station name boards up and running, all kinds of exciting things on the go!

All in all, I think 2010 is going to be one fantastic year for the country and for Johannesburg :)

Happy New Year everybody!

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