Monday, May 31, 2010

Ever wondered what 400 Volts looks like...?

Here in South Africa, our wall plugs push out about 220 Volts normally.
If you are really clued up on how to reconfigure a substation though, (let's say by removing a few cables here and there), then you can boost this meagre figure to 400+ Volts...!

....which is exactly what happened to a client of mine last week....
It went something like this I believe:
  • Thief sees substation.
  • Thief enters substation after dark.
  • Thief switches off substation.
  • Thief steals cabling.
  • Thief switches substation back on....
  • = 400 Volts sent through all major appliances, computers, fax machines, alarm systems and pretty much anything plugged into power at the time, for a radius of approx. 400m around the substation. Nicely done, Mr cable thief.
....and the final result?
Lots of this:

The sad, charred insides of a now toasted fax machine

...the moral of this story?
It may not be the worst idea ever, to unplug all of your office / home electronics each evening, unless you have a super foolproof surge protection system in place.
It's just not worth the risk!

Friday, May 28, 2010

FIFA still offline for ticket sales...

So I spent the better part of this morning playing the waiting game at several FNB branches - some had no ticket application forms, others had forms but it was no use since the FIFA ticketing system has been offline the whole day.
I wonder if any tickets at all have been sold today?
FNB Park Meadows ran out of these babies... not good when you have a horde of soccer-crazed fans at your door!

After witnessing some "mob-mentality" style tactics at FNB Park Meadows (people went crazy when they realised there were only 25 ticket application forms available... first grab first get :)), I decided to head off elsewhere before it got too hectic.
Waiting my turn @ FNB Park Meadows

...and more waiting...

Thankfully things were more civilized in Primrose, where the FNB staff even brought out mints and cooldrinks for those of us patiently waiting for FIFA to get their butts out of the gutter...
FNB staff served cooldrinks to patient ticket-wanting-customers :)

Kudos to FNB for trying to ease what could become a tense situation - people get pretty worked up around events like this, especially when their prized tickets are on the line.

The system went online for literally about 4 seconds, and everybody sprang up as if Bafana Bafana had just scored the winner in the Final... and then it all died again :)

Fun times! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why the Nokia N97 is still a strong contender against the iPhone 3GS...

I have had my ups and downs with the Nokia N97, mainly due to the instability factor in the Symbian software - the primary issue has always been the random reboots that the phone does whenever it gets the urge to do so.
Firmware updates have certainly helped out on this front, but I still cannot report 100% stability.

Even so, there are some features that the N97 packs that make it an outstanding piece of Smartphone hardware, and a very worthy contender to the ever-popular iPhone 3GS.
Don't get me wrong - the iPhone is a spectacular little machine, but it does fall short in a few areas against the N97:

1. The 5MP Carl Ziess Camera
The camera on the N97 produces seriously decent photos, and fair quality video as well.
Check any review or comparison online and the verdict is always the same - it's a fantastic camera.
When compared to the camera on the iPhone, there simply is no contest.
Apple definitely did not stretch themselves in that department!

2. The QWERTY Keyboard
When you want to punch out that looooong email in record time while you are on the road, there is simply no substitute for a QWERTY keyboard - the one on the N97 does an admirable job of handling rapid-fire style text input.
Once you are comfortable with it, it becomes second nature and you will be amazed at how fast you can get text typed out - far superior to the "tap and pray" onscreen keypad on the iPhone.

3. The FM Transmitter
This is effectively the same as an iTrip - it allows you to play music on your phone and then transmit it over your chosen FM frequency, so you can listen to your music on your car radio, or any other FM radio for that matter.
Nuff sed.

4. Multitasking...
This is always going to be something that iPhone supporters will hold over Apple - while the iPhone does most things very well, it can only do one of those things at a time (up until iPhone OS 4.0, that is)
Enter the N97 - you can quite comfortably have Mail, Music and Web Browsing running at the same time. Trouble is, some people don't realise that their N97 can multi-task, and they end up with 10 different apps running in the background, and one very slow N97...

5. The huge amount of storage 
Sure, the iPhone also packs 32GB onboard storage, but the N97 ups the stakes with a micro SD slot capable of packing in an additional 16GB = 48GB in total, which is a whack-load of storage space.

Where the iPhone shines...
In my personal experience, the iPhone provides an excellent all-round experience, mainly due to the very slick navigation that the OS sports.
While the N97 tends to lag at times, I have never seen an iPhone hesitate or lag in quite the same way.
The UI just seems to flow and work a whole lot better than does the Nokia's.

Then again, that is where Apple shines in general - quick, slick, intuitive interfaces are what they are all about. The 600MHz CPU in the iPhone certainly helps out as well, while the N97 is stuck with a somewhat pedestrian 434MHz brain...

So what's your flavour between the two?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Aurel Manea strikes again... stunning Iceland photos

I think that Iceland must now be the most-photographed place on the planet after all the volcano-related photos that have flown around the net.

There are some awesome ones to be found - I even posted a few here.
Just today though I came across these beauties by photographer Aurel Manea, the work of who I have blogged about before.

Not too much I can add in here, just look on and be amazed :)

This one isn't volcano-related... I think it's just an awesome shot!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't hold your breath for Cell C... 3G is only coming in August now (apparently...)

So after all my expectant blogging about Cell C soon launching 3G, it seems that the whole process has once again hit a major speedbump.

Earlier today I heard news that the launch has now moved to sometime in August (2010 I hope...!).

Oh well, nothing more to do here but wait and see... I wonder if Cell C really will deliver on this one?
Quite honestly I will be surprised if anything happens anytime before 2011...

For now then, I trudge onwards at a snail's pace on EDGE... *sigh*

Cruise ships are just becoming insane...

I recently read about one of the latest (and now the largest) pleasure cruise ships in the world - the 225000 ton Oasis of the Seas.

Check out this behemoth:

The ship can carry in excess of 6000 passengers, which is just crazy.
Add to that 2000+ crew, and you have a floating megamall for loonies who like to spend megabux while getting sunburnt and drunk (a lovely combination :))

Don't get me wrong here - I had the opportunity to travel aboard the MSC Melody a few years back, which weighs in around 35000 tons... that's a dwarf ship by comparison.
Travelling aboard the Melody was great fun and totally unique, in that nothing can quite be compared to the cruise experience.

I cannot say, however that I express any kind of fascination with a cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, which is essentially a super-huge entertainment centre on water (it is 5 times the length of an Airbus A380!!)
As some tourists have already noted, a trip aboard the Oasis of the Seas is anything but a getaway... more like a continuous frenzy I would expect!

One thing I do like though, is the fact that the ship is decidedly more "green" than those preceding it.
Apparently the ship processes all of its own waste onboard, meaning that nothing is dumped into the sea.
This is a huge step forward for pleasure cruise ships, although there is still much work to be done in order to make future cruise ships as environmentally friendly as possible.

What say you? Think you would be keen to cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How much power is your car losing on the Highveld?

I am no auto-mechanic, nor can I claim to know an extensive amount of stuff on the subject, however this is something that a lot of people don't realise about living in Jo'burg (or other cities at a significant elevation above sea level - JHB sits at around 1600m above sea level).

Up here on the Highveld, or the "Reef" as it is often referred to, an internal combustion engine loses power due to the higher altitude (and therefore the reduced amount of oxygen available for the engine to "breathe").
This is more severe for naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engines, to the tune of approx. 15% power loss at JHB altitude!

So if you drive a car with 100kW engine power output (on paper), you are actually only getting around 85kW up in JHB... that's a lot!

So next time you go on holiday to the coast, take note of how your car performs at sea level, and enjoy becoming a boy (or girl) racer for a short while... :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ok that wasn't too bad...

Hmm ok - so I was right about the oddly placed image in my previous post.
Apart from that it looks ok - at least the photo was submitted successfully.

So it's onward and upward with more mobile blogging trials.
Hopefully Nokia or Google will soon release a dedicated Blogger app for the N97... Unless it already exists and I am just not aware of it perhaps...?

If you are an N97 owner and you know of such an app, or any other way of posting to Blogger other than via email, I would love to hear from you - please drop me a comment below!

Trying my hand at some mobile blogging ...

Ok, so after a bit of a blogging break, I decided to try out some mobile blogging from my trusty Nokia N97 (which has been somewhat less than trusty in the past... :), and this is the result...

Now the plan here, is to try and insert a photo right about now:

What I think might happen though, is that the photo might end up somewhere random in this post...

Let's see how this goes...

FYI, the photo is one that I took with my N97, in Umhlanga... Awesomeness!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Popular Posts