Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Air Show Disaster - amazing photo...! Warning - not for sensitive viewers...

Clearly this pilot had no control over his doomed aircraft as it plunged towards the earth.
You can see how it narrowly misses a crowd gathered for the airshow and slams into four buildings..:

One can only imagine the horror of the occupants inside those buildings... ;)

Hat tip to Von... ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zip over to Google to see today's doodle... :)

Today Google celebrates the birthday of Gideon Sundback, the Swedish-American electrical engineer who is most commonly associated with his work in the development of the zipper.

Head over to and check it out now.

How flippin' clever is that?
Geez, whatever will Google think of next...? :)
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Unboxing the E-tag... How to get an E-tag... Some thoughts on E-tolling and E-tags...

After much hesitation and some serious consideration over these past few weeks, I finally bit the proverbial bullet today and went out to get an E-tag.

Amid the mass protests against the system (I myself have several reservations - see here), the following occurred to me:
  • Not getting an E-tag means paying rates that are 3 times higher than normal.
    So would I rather be paying R 100 per month or R 300 per month...?
    Um, let me think about that one for a bit...

  • Let's say that I decide to oppose the system outright, not only by refusing to get an E-tag, but by not paying any of the bills that I will receive for using the highways after 30 April 2012.
    Sounds good right?
    Well next time your annual vehicle licence renewal falls due, good luck getting it.
    Apparently outstanding toll fees will be classed as a traffic offence, much the same as an outstanding speeding fine.

  • Thinking ahead, and assuming that the system is implemented as intended, would you really want to be potentially singled out at a roadblock and possibly charged / fined / detained, all because of a silly E-tag?

  • Where will we be in 5 years from now - will we think back and laugh at how obscenely ridiculous that failed E-toll system was back in 2012, or will we maybe wonder what all the fuss was about when it was implemented, and how much stress we could have saved ourselves by just getting a damn E-tag?

  • Do you love Home Affairs? When last did you arrive at Home Affairs and say "Woohoo!!! Awesome to see the 454 people in the queue ahead of me!!!"
    Well if you are considering getting an E-tag, you had better move your butt, because apparently the queues at E-toll booths are already becoming steadily more Home-Affairs-esque every single day, as the implementation date of 01 May 2012 approaches...

  • Even if the whole system gets delayed / is postponed / implodes by some miracle or Act of God, it is certainly quicker and simpler to get your E-tag now, than to wait until hordes of people flood the E-toll booths and empty out E-tag stock at the last minute...

These are just some of the random rambling thoughts that go through my head as part of my E-tag justification process... :)
Just FYI - I have heard many rumours about having to hand over banking details etc. to get an E-tag.
Not true. You can opt to pre-pay via EFT, or at an E-toll booth.
You will also know that your account balance has hit a low threshold of R 45 if your E-tag beeps twice as you pass under a gantry - you can then just login to your account online and manage everything from there.

Getting the E-tag is also pretty simple.
All I had to do was fill out an application form with my basic details (Addresses, Vehicle registration, ID etc.), decide how many vehicles I wanted on my account (you can register up to 4 vehicles on one account - more than 4 is classed as a fleet I think...?), pay R 50 for my E-tag (1 per vehicle), and I was good to go.
Even the vehicle registration is simple - no special documents required - just give them your registration number and they pick up the vehicle on their system.

So what will you be doing?
Will you be taking a bite out of that same proverbial bullet, or will you be holding out in the hope that the E-toll system disintegrates?
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I see orange people... and they want you to pay E-Toll!!

If you have used the highways in Johannesburg recently, you would no doubt have come across a team of E-Toll workers dressed in a distinctive orange outfit, looking something like this:

This guy actually spotted me snapping him, and asked what publication I worked for :)
Regardless, there has clearly been a huge recent push by SANRAL to try and make the integration of E-Tolls seem a little bit less daunting to Johannesburg motorists.

I have to say that I generally don't enjoy people whining on and on about things which are going to happen anyway, but the more I learn about the looming E-Toll system in Gauteng, the more I have to question the system...:

  • When a highway in Gauteng becomes congested by an accident or rush hour traffic, cars take the first available offramp and try use the backroads in an attempt to escape the congestion.
    All that this really achieves is a gridlock on the backroads.
    I imagine that people trying to save money by using backroads more often will have the same effect... Great job SANRAL.

  • Have you used the N12 between Edenvale and Benoni anytime recently?
    In short, it requires some hectic concentration in order to stay alive. The road surface is pockmarked and half-completed, the road kinks, narrows randomly, changes levels and pretty much tries its level best to make you soil yourself, all in the name of the "Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project ("GFIP")", to quote

    Now tolling on a decent 4 lane highway is one thing.
    @SANRAL - please explain to me how the hell you can charge any kind of toll on a road in the state of the N12?
    Will it honestly be completed and in pristine condition before the tolls come into effect on 01 May 2012? That I gotta see...

  • The announcement yesterday of non-E-Tag highway users being charged up to 3 times the normal rates, is a pretty nasty bullying tactic being used by SANRAL to try and force motorists into registering.
    Adding insult to injury, this was done without any form of consultation with the very people who will be paying for the system.
    Not cool, SANRAL.

    You also gotta love the pathetic retort given by SANRAL, in reference to the DA's opposition to the E-Toll system:

    "Responding to the DA, Sanral said: “By continually encouraging users not to register, it is actually the DA that is going to end up costing road users significantly more than they could otherwise have been paying.”"

Anyway, the long and short of it is that the E-Toll system will come into effect at the beginning of May 2012 whether we like it or not.
I have heard some apparent rumours of massive protest industrial action, in the form of truck drivers blocking up major intersections sometime in the coming days, but rumours like these are almost always the product of some over-active imagination with piles of time to waste...

The economical thing to do is to get an E-Tag - at least that way you end up paying less than you would without one (a third of the price), however the principle of the system still does not sit well with a lot (most?) of Gauteng motorists...
Of course, if you do not get an E-Tag or you refuse to pay the bill you get for using the highways, you will be treated as a traffic offender - when the time comes to renew your car licence disk, it will be withheld on the grounds that you have committed a traffic offence and have not paid for it (much like an outstanding speeding fine).
Adding fuel (pun intended) to the fire are the recent petrol price hikes, and not in small increments either...

So let me leave you with some points to ponder as we embark on this interesting exercise in "how to get even more money out of the already cash-strapped middle class"...:

Will you be using more backroads now, in order to save on E-Toll?
Or will you be using highways and pay E-Toll to try and save on petrol?
What's it gonna be - are you going to get an E-Tag?
Have you already got one...?
Maybe you plan to boycott the system entirely in the hope that it will fail completely?

We wanna hear from you on this hot potato topic...
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Download inSSIDer and Discover the Wi-Fi Networks Around You...

This is one seriously cool freeware tool if you need to be in the know about the Wireless networks around you - it gives you all of the most important info (SSID, Channel, Strength etc.), in one easy to read summary screen:

Download inSSIDer now :)
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Friday, April 13, 2012

My rant for the day... Use proper English please people!

I feel like ranting today.

Here's a line that I see all over the web that is used incorrectly all the time:

"I could care less..."

should actually read:

"I couldn't care less..."

Note to the offending parties - saying that you "could care less" indicates that you have some interest in the matter, whereas saying that you "couldn't care less" indicates that you have absolutely NO interest in the matter.

Glad I got that off my chest... :)

What is this man doing...?

As we drive through the streets of Johannesburg daily, at some point motorists usually have to take evasive action of some sort, as a result of people wheeling trolleys around with huge bags of stuff mounted on them - something along these lines...:

Road hazard notwithstanding, clearly this poor guy is in need of something and is trying to better his lot somehow.

Essentially, he is rifling through trash in search of something - presumably something that can be used I would think?
Can anyone shed some light on this phenomenon?
Is it all about recyclable materials, which can somehow be swapped for cash?
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