Friday, December 29, 2006

Online Shoppers Overwhelm iTunes Store

While browsing Newsvine today, I happened upon this article about iTunes just about blowing up. 1st, imagine what it must be like to be able to download music and 2nd, imagine having a fast internet connection. Oh, we can just dream. I love the quote though....

"What you're seeing is the tremendous success of the iPod," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director with JupiterResearch. "No doubt it was a very, very popular gift, and no matter how well you plan on the server side of the equation, there are always times when you get caught short."

Check the rest here....

Wii- No. 1, PS3- No. 2, Xbox 360- No.3 in Pre-Christmas Sales

PlayStation 3 and Wii have enjoyed the biggest sales last week end in Japan since their launch in November, due to heavy stocks provided by their respective manufacturers.

According to figures from Media Create Co. Ltd, Nintendo’s Wii was the best-selling gaming console for the week 10-17 December, at 108,237 units. The console was previously known by its project code name of Revolution, and is the successor to the Nintendo GameCube. Although Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, as part of the seventh generation of gaming consoles it competes with the other two on some levels.

The retail market data provider ranked Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 3 in second place among consoles at 70,942 units and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 in third at 17,168 units. The PlayStation 3 is Sony's seventh generation era video game console, third in the PlayStation series. It is the successor to PlayStation and PlayStation 2 and competes primarily against Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii. According to Media Create, 81,639 PS3 systems were sold in the 24-hours of its introduction in Japan. The production cost is estimated to be US$805.85 for the 20GB model and US$840.35 for the 60GB model, so Sony loses a lot of money with every piece of PS3 sold.

The figures mean both the new consoles recorded their best week of sales in Japan in the pre-Christmas shopping season, with the exception of the launch weeks.

Among software sales games for the Wii easily outranked those for the PlayStation 3. Two games, "Wii Sports" and "Pokemon Battle Revolution" made it into the top-ten with sales of 69,923 units and 67,607 units, respectively, for the week. The best-selling PlayStation 3 title was ranked at number 35 in the chart, which is dominated by games for the Nintendo DS handheld and PlayStation 2.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 saw sales drop during the week but they were still relatively good for the year-old machine. During the week, sales of the machine totaled 17,168, Media Create said. That's about half the amount sold the week earlier but well above sales recorded in November. Over 35,000 Xbox 360 consoles were sold in the week from Dec. 4 to 10 thanks to the launch of the Blue Dragon video game.

The game was created by a famous Japanese games developer and had been eagerly awaited in Japan. To push sales of the console Microsoft created a special edition with Blue Dragon face plate and copy of the game bundled with the core edition console for the same price as the console usually sells.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More lists, The 20 Most Innovative Products of the Year

While we are on the topic of lists, PC World have released what they think are the Top 20 Innovative products made this year. The Wii is there as are some really cool Sure headphones, but the surprise is what is at Number One!!!

See the list here.

50 Coolest Websites

Time Magazine has released a list of, what they think, are the 50 coolest websites around. We didn't make the list but I am not surprised really, are you?

Check out the list here and let me know about your top list.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Suns new 3D Desktop

Sun Microsystems this week released "Looking Glass," a 3D desktop interface that provides an OS-neutral version of some of the elements found in OS X and Microsoft's newly-released Vista OS.

Looking Glass, which was first shown off in 2003 and released as an open-source project in 2004, allows users to run a Java-based desktop environment on top of Windows, or on Linux or Solaris. The software allows certain applications to be run in a "2.5D" environment, allowing them to be rotated in 3D space to maximize the available desktop space.

The interface also includes a launch bar along the bottom middle of the screen, similar in appearance to the Apple OS X's Dock.

According to the developers, Looking Glass includes several interesting features not included in either the Apple or Windows OSes: the ability to "fly" left or right to a new virtual desktop, or to use the "back" of a virtual window. Windows can also be organized on their "side," allowing a "bookshelf" view of the available windows.

Users can download the new Looking Glass interface from Sun's Web site.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Phones on Airlines in January

From cell phone use to high-speed Internet access, the connected life is spreading to the skies.

In January, Emirates airline plans to launch mobile phone usage in its planes, making it the first airline to allow passengers to make cell phone calls on its flights.

And Australian carrier Qantas plans to start evaluating technology that lets fliers use their cell phones and PDAs during flight early next year.

Fliers have long been able to keep in touch with those on the ground by using phones built into the backs of airplane seats. But the costs of those seatback phones can be upwards of $10 a minute, plus a connection fee.

In contrast, the cost of calls made in-flight on Emirates will be in line with international roaming rates, the airline said. Those rates vary by mobile carrier and by location but can be as low as $1 to $2 a minute.

But while some upscale, long-haul airlines are installing equipment onboard that will allow for cell phone use, it may be a while before the service makes its way to the U.S.

U.S. carriers don't allow in-flight cell phone calls, although the FAA is reviewing the safety concerns associated with mobile calls made in the air.

The regulatory agency has asked a committee to conduct a study looking at whether portable electronic devices like cell phones interfere with aircraft navigation systems. Findings of the study are due at the end of December.

Furthermore, airlines in the troubled U.S. industry are struggling to survive and new in-flight services may not attract new customers, analysts say.

"There's no economic incentive for them to do it. Domestically they're not going to bring anyone extra on to their airplane with that service," said airline industry consultant Michael Boyd.

A majority of business travelers (61 percent) oppose the idea of being able to use their phones in the sky, according to a global survey conducted by travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel early this year.

But if the technology is there, the service will eventually make its way to the skies, said Chris McGinnis, editor of Expedia Travel Trendwatch.

"Whether people like it or not, in-flight cell phone use is going to become a reality," he said.

Airlines are also exploring less intrusive ways to keep in-step with the increasingly connected lifestyle of their passengers.

According to the annual Airline IT Trends Survey conducted by industry group SITA and Airline Business magazine, 59 percent of airlines plan to offer in-flight Internet access by the end of 2008.

One company helping U.S. carriers make that leap is Louisville, Colorado-based AirCell, which won a license earlier this year to provide exclusive broadband connectivity to U.S. airlines starting in 2008.

Companies have attempted to tap the market for in-flight Internet access before -- the most notable being Boeing, which launched its Connexion high-speed broadband business in 2000.

Several international airlines installed Boeing's system, which cost travelers from $10 to $30 a flight. But in August, Boeing said it was closing Connexion because the market for it hadn't materialized as expected.

AirCell CEO Jack Blumenstein said Connexion's fate doesn't spell doom for the future of onboard Internet access.

For one, Boeing's system was expensive -- it cost about $1 million to outfit a single plane. In contrast, airlines can equip a plane with AirCell's technology for about one-tenth of that cost, Blumenstein said.

Expedia's McGinnis thinks people will take advantage of onboard Internet access as long as it is cheap enough.

"If you can sit there and stream movies and read your email or do research -- it's absolutely something people would use," he said.

Blumenstein said the price of in-flight Internet access offered by AirCell should be comparable to or slightly higher than what users pay to access "hot spots" on the ground.

Accessing a Wi-Fi hot spot at a cafe can run anywhere from $8 for a single day of access to around $30 a month for unlimited access, depending on the service operator.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The Internet has given birth to a quirky range of modern addictions and maladies, the British weekly New Scientist says in its Christmas issue published this Saturday.

They include these:

- EGO-SURFING: When you frequently check your name and reputation on the Internet.

- BLOG STREAKING: "Revealing secrets or personal information online which for everybody's sake would be best kept private."

- CRACKBERRY: "The curse of the modern executive: not being able to stop checking your BlackBerry, even at your grandmother's funeral."

- GOOGLE-STALKING: Defined as "snooping online on old friends, colleagues or first dates."

- CYBERCHONDRIA: "A headache and a particular rash at the same time? Extensive online research tells you it must be cancer."

- PHOTOLURKING: Flicking through a photo album of someone you've never met.

- WIKIPEDIHOLISM: Excess devotion to contributing to the online collaborative encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. (Wikipedia even has a page where you can test whether you're an addict

- CHEESEPODDING: Downloading of a song "so cheesy that you could cover it in plastic wrap and sell it at the deli counter." Cheesepodders are especially vulnerable to soft-rock favourites from the 1970s.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Speedy broadband triple play coming in 2007

2007 should see South Africans accessing a new broadcast offering, with triple play delivered directly into the home via an ordinary wall socket. Service provider Goal Technology Solutions uses power-line communication (PLC) to bring a combined offering of broadband Internet access, voice telephony and television programming directly into the home via an established electrical connection. "In essence this means that you can get all your telecommunications and broadcast packages from a single service provider that enters your home through a single plug point," explains CEO Adrian Maguire.

A licence to provide GTV, a subscription-TV bouquet that will offer video-on-demand and pay-per-view television, is how GTS intends to achieve the goal of competing seriously. "Firstly we must deliver our services at an affordable rate and secondly we need to offer something unique," says Maguire.

Maguire guarantees that its broadband service will operate at a speed of 90 Mbps, supposedly 22 times faster than Telkom's fastest broadband offering. This will enable users to enjoy multiple high-definition television channels at the same time as having access to broadband Internet and telephony.

At the helm of GTV is former CEO for ICASA's broadcasting, Eric Nhlapo. "Eighty one percent of South Africans have electricity in their homes and as this is the means by which we can provide them with GTV, there are 37 million people who can subscribe to our services and select particular channels they would like to watch. Eventually we will expand into video surveillance and gaming as well," he explains.

GTS expects to receive its license to broadcast well before the middle of next year and is committed to broadband for all. Maguire says, "Our business model has been developed to ensure job creation and sustainable skills transfer and, above all, to provide all South Africans with a multifarious communications offering that they can afford."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

PS3 Backwards Compatability

This is a shocking video from made to show just how bad the PS3 is when playing PS2 and PS1 games on it. The whole reason I wasn't going to buy an XBox was so that all the money I have spent on PS games over the last few years won't be wasted. Seems as if I must not bother.

Will Sony fix it? I am sure that if there are enough complaints, then they will, but how long will we have to wait?

The price of the PS3 is still very high and I am wondering if I should rather buy Windows Vista, a game box or a really cool coffee machine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More on Windows Vista

Now that the initial hype on the new gaming consoles has washed over, the technology sites on the web are starting up with Windows Vista. The good guys and gals at Wired show that you don't really need Vista, at least not yet.

When Microsoft stop supporting older versions of Windows, then we are going to HAVE to upgrade. It is not going to be cheap as Wired tells us.


With reports of congested airports and busy runways making the news, many would-be travellers are concerned about being on time for flights, as well as to avoid inconveniencing people delegated to pick them up from the airport.

However, this festive season flight details and up-to-the-minute departure and arrival times are an SMS away.

Contemporary mobile download service provider, NXT Mobile, and Airport Company of SA (ACSA) have teamed up in an effort to make travelling to and from South African airports easier, thanks to an innovative service called NXT Flights.

By SMSing the required flight number to 35007, users will receive a reply SMS containing the latest estimated departure time, arrival time, take-off location and landing destination.

“NXT Mobile is pleased to have been able to join forces with ACSA to launch this new and very exciting service to the South African market. With NXT Flights all the flight information is at your fingertips and the thought of missing a flight or hanging around at airports due to delays is a thing of the past”, says Bryan Diamond, managing director of NXT Mobile.

The NXT Flights service supports all local and International airlines and major airports and each SMS costs only R3. For more information on NXT mobile, available downloads and services please visit

Read My Lips AGAIN!!!!

After finding an article the other day that proves that cell-phones do not cause cancer, another doctor has taught these health nuts another lesson.

It seems that parents in the UK would rather have stupid children than have a Wi-Fi connection
at the school. The doctor says that the Wi-Fi is 50 times less than the radiation coming from the cell-phones. Get rid of the Wi-Fi (I hate typing that) then you must get rid of the cell-phones.

At last, people are speaking out about these stupid health nut, tree-hugging morons.

Just as well as my Wi-Fi (I had to type it again) is rubbing my right arm as I type this. My heart could have been in big trouble.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Do you have family and close friends living overseas? Do you yearn to spend Christmas with them to watch them open their Christmas gifts? Are you physically unfit to travel or maybe you can’t afford the airfares? With the weakening Rand, many South African’s will be in this position and need to look at alternatives to spend time with family and friends.

“There is a quick, cheaper and easier way to be in touch and see your loved one’s opening their Christmas gifts in person,” says Cindy White, Microsoft Group Marketing Manager for Entertainment and Devices.

Microsoft Hardware and the Windows Live team have joined forces to introduce a line of LifeCams including the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000. “The new line of webcams dramatically simplifies the video communications experience to let people see, hear and share life’s experiences in an extraordinary way,” explains White.

The LifeCam’s are optimised for use with Windows Live Messenger, the world’s largest instant messaging network. LifeCams meet the growing demand for easier, more meaningful connections. “All you have to do is press the Windows Live Call button located at the top of each LifeCam. Use the buddy picker, a tool that shows only current online buddies, and then simply select your contact’s name and you are on your way in seeing them ‘live’. “Making a video call is really easy even for uneducated technology users,” says White.

These products have a built-in dashboard providing easy access to tools that users need during the video call, including tilt, pan and zoom. The LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise-cancelling microphone to ensure crystal-clear audio performance without adding clutter from extra headsets or external microphones.

In addition, both new LifeCams come with fun Video Effects, such as falling snowflakes and twinkling stars, to personalise and enhance the background of video conversations. The LifeCams also have a Universal Attachment Base for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.

The Lifecams are available at leading retailers at the following estimated retail prices:
Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000: R899,00
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000: R499,00

“Consumers are increasingly embracing technology that supports relationship-centered digital communications. Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and we are glad that we can help bring friends and family living on different continents together this Festive Season,” concludes White.

Monday, December 11, 2006

EA Delivers the Final Word on Speed and Destruction With New Title

Get ready for complete and total domination. Electronic Arts today announced that Burnout(TM) Dominator is in development exclusively for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system and PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) system.

Burnout Dominator is an all-new installment of the legendary and multi-award winning Burnout(TM) series, loaded with intense racing action and dozens of retina-searing World Tour events. Burnout Dominator challenges gamers to face off against a series of hot-blooded rivals in brutal tests of aggressive driving techniques where performing burnouts gives you the advantage and multiplies your score potential. For the ultimate nerve-wracking experience, Burnout Dominator takes you to the very edge of control, punishing the smallest mistakes and rewarding drivers for taking outrageous risks.

"The series was born on the PlayStation 2, and Burnout Dominator is about celebrating the essence of Burnout," said Nick Channon, senior producer of Burnout Dominator. "Burnout Dominator focuses on the reckless skill-based racing and fear of crashing that fuelled the first games."

Burnout Dominator will ship in 2007 under the EA(TM) brand and is developed by EA's UK Studio team in Guildford, UK. For more information about the Burnout franchise, please visit

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The computer helper: Making the switch to Windows Vista

While browsing the web this morning, there are 2 major tech stories from around the world. The one is that Console sales are up in November. Well, DUH!!!! Three new consoles gets released, who would have seen that coming??

2nd is this Windows Vista launch. Early next year, we should be able to buy our own copy of Windows Vista. Is it a good idea and will it work on your 6 month old machine?

The guys at Monster and Critics could help you out here....

Friday, December 08, 2006

PLay XB0x 360 on a REALLY big screen

In a first for South African cinemas, Nu Metro Theatres and Cinevation have joined forces with Microsoft to launch an innovative big-screen gaming competition to be held at selected cinemas in December this year.

From the 8th to 20th December gaming consoles will be placed in Nu Metro foyers at Canal Walk in Cape Town, The Pavilion in Durban, Menlyn Park in Pretoria and Montecasino in Johannesburg. Cinema-goers will have free access for the day to test their Xbox driving skills and register their top Project Gotham Racing score. Those players registering the highest scores will then be invited to compete in the grand finale on the big screen in each region on Saturday 23 December 2006.

Says Nu Metro’s Gavin Caseley: “Gaming is one of the fastest growing sectors of the entertainment industry worldwide. The December gaming promotion will enable Microsoft to demonstrate leading edge gaming technology on a large scale and Nu Metro Theatres to showcase its investment in an advanced digital projection platform nationally.”

John Press of Microsoft adds: “The Xbox 360 is about next generation gaming and what better way to experience the benefits of the next generation than on the “Big Screen.”

“Nu Metro’s digital projection allows us to showcase high definition gameplay that is larger than life and simply breathtaking,” he explained.

Cinevation has a long standing relationship with Nu Metro in that it is contracted to handle the sales and marketing for Popcorn, the company responsible for Nu Metro’s cinema advertising sales. “It is very exciting to be working with such a forward thinking company that has moved so rapidly into the digital era,” adds Marisa Torrani, Director of Cinevation.

“What makes this promotion unique is that the finals will be played on cinema screens making the visuals and sound larger than life – a mind-boggling experience for any gaming fan”.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

LG Mobile Phones get new Lenses

LG Electronics (LG) has signed a contract for technical co-operation with Germany’s Schneider-Kreuznach, well-known for the world’s highest quality camera lenses.

This is the first partnership of Schneider-Kreuznach with a mobile phone company, and solidifies LG’s expertise in the camera phone space. LG’s upcoming handset, “Shine,” will be the first camera phone equipped with a certified Schneider-Kreuznach lens and will be launched in South Africa early 2007.

“Today’s mobile phone consumer demands high-quality camera functions as part of a handset’s multimedia features,” said Kevin Lee, GSM Product Manager, LG South Africa. “With Schneider-Kreuznach’s technical expertise, LG will introduce more premier handset models, bolstering LG’s position in the high-end mobile phone market.”

“With our support, LG will be able to provide the most advanced camera phones to its abundance of multimedia-conscious consumers,” said Schneider-Kreuznach CEO, Dr. Josef Staub.

To mark the beginning of this partnership, Skott Ahn and Dr. Josef Staub participated in a signing ceremony at LG Electronics Mobile Handset R&D Centre in Seoul earlier this year. The agreement between the two companies includes joint branding, technical certification and collaborative technical development.

According to IC Insight, a leading market research company, the global camera phone market will reach 910 million units by 2010. The company expects dramatic growth of the camera phone segment, and forecasts that camera phones will comprise 54 percent of the market by 2006, 68 percent by 2008 and 75 percent by 2009.

VIA K8M890 and P4M900 IGP Chipsets Certified by Windows Vista™ Logo Program

As the whole world waits for Windows Vista to be on sale to regular mortals like you and me, it seems that the hardware guys are working overtime to make sure that their products are ready. One of the big things about Vista will be the 64bit operating system and it seems that VIA are more than ready.

The VIA K8M890 and the VIA P4M900 chipsets have passed the Microsoft® Windows Vista™ 32bit/64bit Basic logo tests, enabling customers get ready for Vista with confidence.

This certification means that customers will enjoy the assuredness of digitally signed drivers and the ability to update drivers distributed via Windows® update. The testing involved in the certification program also confirms trouble-free installation of Windows Vista, including Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, Home Premium and Home Basic editions.

In addition, the Microsoft Windows Vista Basic logo verifies that the VIA K8M890 and VIA P4M900 chipsets support functions that take advantage of some of the latest Windows installations, guaranteeing a secure, reliable and stable experience with the new operating system.

The VIA K8M890 and VIA P4M900 North Bridges both feature the VIA Chrome9™ IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) core which provides DirectX® 9.0 graphics support with hardware pixel shaders, supported by a WDDM driver for Microsoft Windows Vista. Both chipsets also offer support for the latest PCI Express add-in graphics cards, giving SIs and OEMs unparalleled flexibility to provide systems for a wide range of market segments.

“VIA is very pleased to have both an AMD IGP chipset and an Intel IGP chipset achieve this certification,” commented Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “This gives our customers confidence in building Vista ready systems for either platform.”

The VIA P4M900 chipset supports up to 1066MHz FSB Intel® processors including the latest Intel Core™2 Extreme processors, as well as support for up to 667MHz DDR2 memory. The VIA K8M890 chipset supports the full range of AMD Athlon64™ and AMD Sempron™ processors, including those supporting the latest AM2 socket.

Both chipsets feature the Ultra V-Link bus for connecting to VIA’s feature rich range of South Bridge chips including the VT8251 which supports high fidelity VIA Vinyl HD audio codecs featuring up to 24-bit/192KHz audio resolutions and up to eight audio channels.

Find out more about the Chipsets and their prices here...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Read my lips, Phones do NOT cause cancer!!

At last, Time Magazine is reporting that cell phones do not cause cancer. Now, we can finally stop those sharks from 'celling' those metal protectors and all those other people going on and on about it.

Use your phone and be happy about it!!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Launching the next generation of energy-efficient computing, AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the transition to 65nm process technology, beginning with the immediate availability of energy-efficient AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core desktop processors. The move to 65nm process technology enables AMD to produce more processors on a 300mm wafer, for increased production capacity, while continuing to aggressively scale performance and reduce power consumption. AMD processors built with 65nm line-widths are designed to deliver exceptional performance when running multiple applications, as well as enable small form factor PCs that complement both home and office environments. By mid-2007, AMD expects to be fully converted to 65nm production at Fab 36. With the rapid conversion to 65nm process technology, AMD is scaling capacity intelligently to meet growing demand worldwide for x86 processors.

“With AMD’s established leadership in desktop and server performance-per-watt, both businesses and consumers can benefit greatly from our energy-efficient AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors,” said Gaith Kadir, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa, AMD. “Customers continue to demand solutions that focus on low-power consumption and quieter operation. AMD is responding by increasing manufacturing efficiency to deliver on the next generation of energy-efficient desktop processors, enabling OEMS to innovate using highly reliable AMD64 processors and without compromising performance.”

Advancing Silicon Process and Manufacturing Technology
Building on AMD’s industry-leading 90nm high-performance, low-power Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology, AMD’s 65nm SOI technology takes full advantage of our 90nm high-performance technology, scalability and power efficiency. The move to 65nm allows for reductions in line widths which enable AMD to produce more processors on a 300mm wafer, for increased production capacity. As a result, AMD can deliver high output volumes and enhanced products for its customers. AMD’s 65nm processes have evolved from a technology agreement with IBM that has been highly beneficial to AMD.

Continued Commitment to Global Environment
Energy-efficient AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors can deliver improved performance-per-watt and reduced power consumption. AMD will continue within the 65nm technology generation to enhance both AMD64 processors and process technology, to offer even more energy-efficient processors that demonstrate AMD’s commitment to an improved global environment. The next generation of energy-efficient processors complement AMD’s award-winning Cool‘n’Quiet technology, allowing a system to match processor utilisation to the performance actually required.

Stable Platform for Innovative Solutions
AMD enables best-of-breed technologies designed for outstanding mainstream PC experiences that result in superior graphics performance, enhanced video quality and minimal idle power draw. Through relationships with leading OEMs and system builders, as well as major chipset, graphics and motherboard vendors, AMD provides an open platform approach that allows our customers to select leading-edge, stable technologies and build differentiated and innovative solutions. Socket AM2- compatible processors are designed to enhance the award-winning AMD64 architecture, enabling next-generation platform innovations such as AMD-Virtualisation technology and high-performance, un-buffered DDR2 memory. Additionally, the use of socket AM2 streamlines the work for motherboard manufacturers, while reducing costs through economies of scale, which can result in better products at lower prices.

AMD64 processors are ready and capable today to provide users with the foundation needed to experience the power of Windows Vista.

“Microsoft and AMD have been working together to ensure customers get the quality, security and computing experience they deserve and expect using the upcoming Windows Vista operating system,” said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president, Windows, Microsoft. “We look forward to processor advances in energy efficiency and performance made possible with AMD's transition to 65nm technology, and expect that they will continue to enhance the customers' experience using Windows Vista.”

Thursday, November 30, 2006


The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) has informed the Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) that VANS (Value-Added Network Services) licence applications submitted to the Regulator from 19 July 2006 may not be processed for up to 24 months.

“The delay means that South African VANS providers planning to invest in infrastructure to help make the 2010 Soccer World Cup a success, will only be able to start implementing their plans 18 months before the event kicks off,” said Ant Brooks, general manager of ISPA.

Already suffering from an unfortunate lack of resources and funding, the Regulator of an industry key to South Africa’s Soccer World Cup plans has attributed this specific delay to delays in finalising some regulatory provisions relating to the new Electronic Communications Act (EC Act), and to an unwillingness to create confusion between licences issued under the old Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the EC Act.

While the move to the new Electronic Communications Act has been lauded by industry, there is no tie-over regulatory process that can keep the cogs of commerce turning in the meantime. “VANS service providers with pending VANS licence applications will be unable to enter into interconnection and facilities leasing agreements with Telkom until they are issued licences,” said Mr Brooks.

Telkom ultimately provides a right of passage to legitimate interconnection and facilities leasing services. Without an agreement with Telkom, service providers cannot offer the benefits of premium and reliable electronic communication services to their customers.

They will also not be able to apply for numbers from ICASA, which will further prevent them from offering VoIP services.

The EC Act seems clear as to the preservation of existing regulations, such as VANS regulations, passed under the former Telecommunications Act. Section 95 (2) of the EC Act holds that ICASA may repeal or amend specific regulations and that these remain in force until they are amended or repealed in terms of the new Act.

“To the best of our knowledge, the regulations relevant to VANS licence applications and the terms and conditions applicable to VANS licences have not been repealed or amended and accordingly, remain in full force and effect,” said Mr Brooks.

ICASA’s current hold on processing VANS licences arises from the confusion caused by section 92 (7) of the EC Act. The clause states that licence application submissions that coincide with the EC Act coming into effect must be considered in accordance with the new Act. ISPA has called on ICASA to resolve this conflict in favour of the preservation of existing regulations set out in section 95 (2) of the EC Act.

Mr Brooks said, “ISPA is concerned that new licence categories and procedures determined by the EC Act may take up to 18 to 24 months to be finalised. If the current hold on processing licence applications continues, no new licences will be issued to potential industry players for this entire period.”

ISPA has noted the same difficulties with regard to applications for Private Telecommunication Network (PTN) licences. ISPA has appealed to ICASA to consider that industry received no prior warning that the EC Act would come into effect on 19 July 2006 and that it would subsequently put an indefinite hold on the issuing of VANS licences.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Broadband consumers have made their voices heard in the 2006 People's Awards handed out at the annual MyADSL Broadband Conference hosted at Vodaworld on Friday.

The Broadband Conference, sponsored by Vodacom and DataPro, attracted over 120 delegates from industry and the broadband fraternity and has become a key date on the yearly broadband calendar.

With speakers from all the broadband providers, except Telkom, the event proved to be a hit with attendees. Speakers from Vodacom, DataPro, iBurst, Sentech, Neotel, MTN, Neology and ITSI (Institute of Technology, Strategy and Innovation) shed some light on what users can expect in the broadband and Internet arena in future.

The MyADSL People's Awards attracted nearly 1 000 responses from broadband consumers and since the awards are based entirely on consumers' votes it fills a vital gap in the yearly ICT awards space.

iBurst was crowned the broadband provider of the year, edging out Vodacom by a small margin. The company's aggressive rollout of services and increased investment in customer service has clearly paid off.

In the Journalist of the Year category, Duncan McLeod was a comfortable overall winner cementing his place as one of the premier journalists working in the ICT field today.

Lloyd Gedye won the Newspaper Journalist of the Year award with Dave Glazier taking the honors in the Online Journalist section.

Web Africa was voted the best ADSL ISP of the year beating the newcomer, OpenWeb, by a small margin. Web Africa has become renowned for their excellent customer service and this result confirms consumers' trust in the company.

The most hotly contended category was the '33.6 Kbps Modem Award' for the organization or individual who was the biggest hindrance to development in the broadband arena over the last year.

ICASA, its chairman Paris Mashile and the Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri all notched up a fair share of votes, but it was Telkom who reigned supreme in this category.

Friday, November 24, 2006

VIA Announces SPI Support Across All Processor Platforms

VIA Technologies, Inc today announced support for the advanced SPI bus in all new VIA South Bridge chipsets.

The SPI bus is an advanced I/O bus that makes the support of system BIOS simpler and more cost effective through an onboard BIOS programming module. The innovative implementation of SPI on VIA-based boards will enable even easier updating, debugging and reprogramming of BIOS, and at even lower cost, by attaching a flash programming module, such as those from leading provider DediProg, to the easy-to-use onboard connector, even when the computing device is powered down.

VIA will integrate SPI bus support into new VIA chipset product releases to support all leading processor platforms, commencing with the upcoming VIA VT8237S chipset South Bridge, which is sampling now, and will provide manufacturers with greater flexibility in product design and support.

“We are excited to work with VIA to introduce the SPI bus into the feature set of the new VIA chipset products,” commented Chong Tsao, Sales Executive, DediProg Technology Co. Ltd. “Increasingly, vendors and manufacturers need innovative technology to manage and introduce new features easily into the BIOS, and the SPI bus enables them to easily do this.”

“VIA chipsets have a strong tradition of integrating advanced key technologies that reflect our commitment to end-users and mainboard manufacturers alike,” commented Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “By supporting the SPI bus, VIA is providing our motherboard customers with greater flexibility in BIOS management and better cost structure.”

Another Example of us being fleased

So, you ran out and bought your R4000 Xbox 360 when it was released. You plugged it in and ran the newsest Xbox 360 game and you were impressed. You read in the manual about the great option of running games in High Definition and you wondered what that was. We here in South Africa haven't even heard about HD, let alone see a real HD screen.

Then you read about the Xbox Live option. Yay, you thought. I will be able to play games against real people all over the world. in fact, the game you bought has a multiplayer option. It costs extra because of it. You KNOW that the game would cost less without the multiplayer option, it makes sense, less code, cheaper game.

But NOOOOOOO. We low lifes here in South Africa are not good enough for the XBox Live option. According to Microsoft, out broadband isn't broad enough. Yet we pay the same price as these people in the US and A who can now download movies and TV programmes to the VERY SAME Xbox 360 that you bought. Doesn't that make you a little angry?

If I had spent R4000 on an XBox 360, I sure would be!!!

But maybe it's a good thing, read this story from The Enquirer about how the downloading of programmes and movies just doesn't work!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Wantitall

It's not often that the good guys at Chumpstyle have something to say that fits on this website, but today that have found a great site that may well be worth checking out.

According to Chumpstyle, it's a site that will order products from the USA for us lowly South Africans. I am sure that they will add a little margin and then I am sure that we are going to have to pay taxes anyway, so the product could cost a little more than it should, but we should now, at last, get our products the same time as those Americans.

Let me know how the system works.

‘Gears of War’ hits South African retail outlets

Hailed as the most-anticipated video game launch of 2006 and punctuated by incredible demand from gamers, ‘Gears of War’ hits South African retail outlets from end November. Microsoft Corp. forecasts that ‘Gears of War,’ an exclusive title for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, is expected to sell more than one million copies worldwide this Christmas, setting a new mark for the fastest-selling original game for Xbox 360™.

‘Gears of War,’ developed by Epic Games Inc. and published by Microsoft Game Studios, made its debut to great fanfare at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005 and has captured the imagination of industry watchers and fans ever since.

The intense, genre-defining game thrusts players into humankind’s epic battle for survival against a nightmarish race of creatures known as the Locust Horde. With its combination of cinematic, visceral gameplay, dramatic storytelling and intense action, ‘Gears of War’ is a seminal title for Xbox 360, providing one of the best next-generation interactive entertainment experiences.

“‘Gears of War’ is a title we know will deliver on all of its promises, and we expect the game to reach one million copies globally faster than any new titles for Xbox,” said Cindy White, Xbox Group Marketing Manager.

“This holiday is an extremely important one for the entire industry, and Xbox 360 will offer the world unparalleled experiences available only on this console. We’ve put an enormous emphasis on bringing new and exciting titles to market, and ‘Gears of War’ is a key example of Microsoft’s commitment to developing original and immersive titles for gamers everywhere.”

‘Gears of War’ has received several highly coveted awards, including the Game Critics Awards’ Best Console Game and Best Action Game of E3 2006, and has already garnered praise in early reviews, earning a 9 out of 10 score from Official Xbox Magazine in the UK and a 19/20 from Console+ in France.

“The reception that ‘Gears of War’ has received has been tremendous,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for ‘Gears of War’ at Epic Games.

“Designing ‘Gears of War’ has been a labour of love, and we’ve poured everything we have into the title. We expect this game to be huge, and it’s exhilarating to see that people are as excited about ‘Gears of War’ as we are.”

‘Gears of War’ from Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios is a third-person tactical action/horror game available exclusively on Xbox 360. Available from end November for an estimated retail price of R549 for a special Limited Collector’s Edition, which will include a collectible embossed metal box, the ‘Destroyed Beauty’ hardbound art book, and a bonus DVD that features the making of ‘Gears of War,’ the ‘Art of Gears of War’ trailer, and the MTV programme ‘Gears of War: The Race to E3.’

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wikipedia can be seen by China

Online enyclopedia Wikipedia was accessible again in China on Thursday after being blocked for more than a year, a move hailed by free media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

The main page of the Chinese-language version of Wikipedia ( could be displayed and searches for apolitical terms turned up results, but searches for subjects taboo to China's Communist leadership, such as "June 4," remained blocked.

June 4, 1989, was the date that China's military crushed a student-led movement for political change centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds and possibly thousands. The incident remains among the most sensitive subjects for the country's state-controlled media.

China routinely blocks access to Web sites it deems subversive and filters Internet pages for sensitive words.

It was unclear why Wikipedia, blocked since October 2005, was again accessible.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she had not heard of reports regarding Wikipedia, but added that China supports the development of the Internet and now has 123 million users, making it the world's second-largest Internet market.

"We manage the Internet according to our laws and regulations. This is the usual practice for all the countries in the world," spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news conference.

Rights groups have accused Western Internet companies of compromising their principles by censoring searches and blog titles in order to do business in China.

But Reporters Without Borders said the example of Wikipedia, whose founder Jimmy Wales has preached a strategy of patience in dealing with Chinese authorities, showed that if a foreign company stood firm, Beijing would eventually yield.

"The Chinese government is pragmatic and does not want to do without foreign businesses in the Internet sector," the Paris-based group said in a statement. "There is therefore obviously room for negotiation for the U.S. companies."

Despite the ban on Wikipedia, which anyone can edit, a small community of Chinese users had used proxy servers and other tricks to gain access to the site.

Analysts have said it was not only the encyclopedia's content that worried the Chinese government, but Wikipedia's open editorial process, which they say has a community-building effect among armchair editors who can quickly mobilize to create content.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Review Stuff and Get paid!

"The following is a paid review:"

It seems to good to be true and it might also throw the world of advertising into complete confusion. OK, it’s been happening before but just not as obviously. New website, ReviewMe, is out to try something that has been hidden under the table for way too long. You, as a blogger, will get paid to write reviews on products, services, websites, just about anything out there.

Advertisers flock to the website and browse through blog, just like this one, and decide to place a product review on that site. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a product placement, just a request for a review. Kind of like you see on this site. Once a review of the product is up, you earn cash, in Dollars, for that review.

Does the review have to be positive? I am still not sure, but I think that human nature will tend for that review to be positive. It’s a win-win for all. Advertisers get a huge viral campaign going and the Blogger gets paid for doing something that he has been doing anyway.

Are there any advertisers out there who want to make use of this service? Again, I am not sure. I know that there are plenty of Blogs willing to try the service and earn some good cash. Figures of $40 are thrown around willy nilly and I have seen some blogs earning $250 per review.

It’s worth a try. What have you got to lose?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Adding to the woes of electricity-starved South Africans is news that many of us may face information black-outs because some wireless Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are providing illegal Internet access to consumers.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) is cracking down on those wireless ISPs who do not hold an Electronic Communications Service license and are using the public 2.4 GHz frequency band for commercial purposes.

This frequency band cannot be used to build and sell services on because it is limited for use in Local Area Networks (LANS) such as office parks or homes.

“Consumers who didn’t carefully choose wireless ISPs with solid regulatory track records now face disconnection as ICASA cracks down on illegal operators. Many offending wireless ISPs are not even aware that they need a Value Added Network Service (VANS) license to provide commercial Internet access services,” said Antony McKechnie iBurst’s Head of Product Development.

Adding to consumers’ connectivity concerns is the mistaken belief among some ISPs that VANS license holders can build their own infrastructure. According to Mr McKechnie: “An Electronic Communications Service license (previously a VANS license) does not extend to the self-provision of infrastructure such as fixed-lines and networks. This is where many wireless ISPs are found to be held in breach of the law. Only certain operators such as iBurst are licensed to build their own public communications networks."

While wireless technologies have been revolutionary in bridging the digital divide in underserved communities and particularly rural areas of South Africa, illegal operators have hampered the roll-out process of legitimate and regulated services. ICASA has taken a hard line with non-compliant wireless ISPs by either shutting down their operations or confiscating equipment.

The telecommunications frequency spectrum is a limited resource and its use must be carefully managed and controlled. Illegal operators put the frequency spectrum at risk of becoming cluttered and this could result in a flood of interruptions on other frequency bands.
“License conditions stipulate certain minimum service standards and make operators liable for contraventions. Consumers are therefore at risk of paying unlicensed operators for a sub-standard service,” concluded Mr McKechnie.

Consumers unsure of whether or not a certain ISP is operating legally should call ICASA’s Licensing, Enforcement and Numbering (LENA) Department on 011 321 8200.

XBox Supports SA Music

Xbox 360, the new generation entertainment and gaming system from Microsoft, has announced that it will be sponsoring the Go! Summer Tour this December.

The month long Summer holiday circuit, features the best music talent South Africa has to offer and will visit most of the holiday destinations between Durban and Cape Town from the 15th to 31st December.

Nine bands will be on tour with three separate legs. The bands include the Parlatones, Prime Circle, Wonderboom, The Finkelstiens, Scarlet Box, Evolver, Fevertree, Bloodmoney and Driverlane. This tour also marks the return of the legendary South African band, The Springbok N*de Girls.

Cindy White, Xbox Group Marketing Manager said that Xbox will be joining the SA music tour and will add to the entertainment experience by providing concert goers with the Xbox 360 high definition gaming experience.

“We will be placing gaming kiosks at all the tour venues and will have a chill area where concert goers can play their favourite Xbox games. With more than 100 titles on offer by Christmas, gamers will have a wide variety of titles to choose from. The most popular gaming titles include Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero. Gears of War and Viva Pinata will be launched in November and December respectively and Crackdown and Forza 2 will be available early in the New Year.”

“We are really excited to be sponsoring the best music talent that South Africa has to offer. It is an extension of our global Xbox marketing strategy to support local music talent and we are currently also investigating international opportunities for young upcoming music talent,” she explained.

The Xbox 360 is available at all major retailers including CNA, BT games, Reggies, Toys R Us, Makro, Look and Listen and Incredible Connection at an estimated retail price of between R2 699 and R3 699. The games range in price from R199 to R550.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Parents Guide to MXit"

The "Parents Guide to MXit" is now available from today. This concise guide is made available at no cost to all concerned parents or educators, who may have sleepless nights about children using MXit, the popular chat application that enables communication on cell phones at the fraction of SMS costs.

Ramon Thomas, online behaviour expert at NETucation (the leading Black Empowered Online Research company in Johannesburg & Cape Town) produced this guide after a spate of negative publicity and shocking incident, since being interviewed about this topic on Cape Talk/702 in early September 2006.

"This guide explains MXit in plain and simple English for parents and teachers," says Thomas. "Once you understand MXit it very important to note the impact on your relationship with your child, the possibility and probability of addiction and abuse."

MXit Lifestyle (Pty) Ltd, the company who created the MXit application, states the current growth is about 10,000 new users per day. Latest stats indicate 385,000 users between 12-17 and 462,000 users between 18-25. After being released in late 2005, MXit has broken through the 2 million subscriber base in record time. And is the fastest growing cellphone application in South African history. As we approach the festive season when SMS volumes normally spike, MXit usage, and subscribers should continue to increase as rapid pace.

"Parents should realise this phenomenon is unstoppable and education is the key.." says Dr Helgo Schomer, University of Cape Town academic and registered psychologist who runs the Institute of Behavioural Health in Cape Town. He further explains that in virtual environments like MXit, people have no responsibility to adhere to acceptable social etiquette. Rumours can be spread, people can create fake identities, and there is no retribution or consequences to face up to.

The most important aspects covered in the guide is this:
1.How MXit impacts on Relationships
2.Coping with MXit Addiction / Dealing with Abuse 3.Installing MXit on your phone 4.Navigating the "MXit universe"
5.How to report Abuse or Threats

Patrick Hoare, founder of Kids Online, says, "Parents should not take away their children's cellphones because it may give rise to cellphones being used in secret." Parents normally teach us not to talk to strangers, yet we do that online. Do not accept invitations to chat privately from strangers on MXit.

To request your copy of the "Parents Guide to MXit" simply go to or SMS your name and email to 076-191-0405. The author, Ramon Thomas, is available for public talks at schools, churches or non-profit organisations - please call 011 4331034 for bookings.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

HP finally buys Voodoo

HP today announced it has completed its acquisition of VoodooPC, a high-end gaming PC provider located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Announced on 28 September 2006, the acquisition will strengthen HP’s gaming market portfolio by bringing together the high-end gaming expertise of VoodooPC with HP’s research and development and global distribution capabilities.

Effective 1 November 2006, VoodooPC co-owner Rahul Sood will be the chief technologist for HP’s newly formed gaming PC business unit, and co-owner Ravi Sood will be the unit’s director of strategy and marketing. Both executives will report to Phil McKinney, general manager of HP’s gaming business unit and vice president and chief technology officer of HP’s Personal Systems Group.

“HP is delighted to welcome VoodooPC into our new gaming business unit,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. “Combining VoodooPC’s passion and expertise of the gaming world with HP’s R&D and marketing infrastructure positions HP to play a leadership role in all aspects of gaming.”

HP plans to maintain VoodooPC’s current distribution model and brand name along with its marketing, sales, support and development operations. Voodoo PCs will continue to be available for purchase on line at

Monday, October 30, 2006


In its nearly 40 years of operations, Pick 'n Pay has consistently strived to be at the forefront of innovation, providing customers and communities with unique innovations to enhance and enrich their lives. In keeping with that legacy, October 2006 saw Pick 'n Pay announcing the launch of eazySurf, an internet television (iTV) service which provides instant, pre-paid, internet access for Pick 'n Pay customers.

Similar in concept to pre-paid cellular airtime, Pick 'n Pay eazySurf is inexpensive, immediate pre-paid internet access without the normal 12 or 24 month contracts that internet service providers demand. Independent research has indicated that within the cellular market over 90 percent of subscribers are pre-paid customers. Developed exclusively for Pick 'n Pay by a South African company, iSurf.TV, this pre-paid service offers innovative, low-cost, high-value internet access which promises to empower South Africa by bringing the information age to a far broader market.

Aimed at low-income earners, infrequent 'netizens' or the entry level internet market, Pick 'n Pay eazySurf is offered in either Budget and Super surftime options in the form of vouchers which can either be purchased at point of sale tills within Pick 'n Pay nationwide, or, alternatively on the eazySurf website.

Access to a home computer is not a pre-requisite. With a Net.Box 3.6 consol, which is also available throughout Pick 'n Pay retails outlets, and a dial-up telephone line, access to the Internet is immediate, affordable and simple to use. The Net.Box contains an IR keyboard and remote, a printer port, built-in answering and fax machine and is compatible with all television sets. Costs of telephone calls or connections are not included for these dial-up accounts.

The General Manager for Corporate Marketing at Pick 'n Pay, Ms Tessa Chamberlain heralded this innovation. "Pick 'n Pay has a heritage of being passionate about the rights of its customers, and eazySurf will signify a revolution of the Internet industry in South Africa," she said. "eazySurf provides instant internet accesswhich makes it more accessible, and, most importantly, it requires no fixed contract".

"It is essential that South African entrepreneurs, students and our youth in general are empowered by being exposed to the information age; eazySurf is the means by which a broader base can now have access to the Internet," said Ms Chamberlain.

The Budget surftime option that eazySurf offers enables users to surf daily between 00h00 and 19h00, while the Super surftime option provides full internet access 24 hours a day. Both options include 4 email addresses and vouchers are valid for a month. A national Customer Support desk is administered by iSURF.TV for online support and registration queries.

"It really is a revolution of cyber proportions," said Ms Chamberlain.

D-Link's new Wi-Fi Flip-phone

D-Link has introduced its flip-style Wi-Fi Phone that combines the cost-savings of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology with 802.11 wireless connectivity in a compact Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based package. The sleek portable D-Link Wi-Fi Phone, together with an Internet VoIP phone service, provides both consumers and businesses a stylish way to dramatically reduce local and long distance telephone charges compared to standard telephone service. VoIP phone calls can be made where there is a Wi-Fi network or open hot spot to the Internet — without the use of a PC.

"Our phone is truly a first of its kind in both design and functionality, and the potential cost savings to be realized from this type of device are astounding. This product will act as a flagship for D-Link in this key emerging market, complimenting our popular wireless networking and VoIP telephony solutions" comments Tobie van Schalkwyk, Country Manager for D-Link South Africa.

Weighing only 3.74 ounces in a compact clamshell design, the phones feature large, bright color displays for easy viewing of numbers as they are dialed, storage of up to 100 address book entries, caller ID and polyphonic ring tones with seven-step volume control, as well as support for redial, mute, hold and text messaging. Users can expect about three hours of talk time and 70 hours of standby time on a single charge of the Li-Ion, 900mAh battery. An external power adapter and mini-USB cable are included.

The D-Link Wi-Fi Phone has the same look and feel of a flip-style cell phone, but is based on 802.11 wireless and VoIP technology. To make and receive calls, users need only an 802.11b, g or n wireless network with high-speed Internet access.

In addition, the phone, which uses a Broadcom chipset for low-power consumption and a small footprint, offers echo cancellation, packet delay compensation and lost packet recovery, resulting in similar or improved voice quality over traditional phones. The D-Link Wi-Fi Phone uses the popular SIP technology and is ready to be used with many VoIP service plans.

For accessing secure wireless networks, the Wi-Fi Phone supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption.

D-Link's new Wi-Fi Phone is compliant with Public SIP Telephone Network (PsipTN), the telephony technology expected to be available in the third quarter this year. Users will be able to make and receive free calls within the network via a firmware upgrade and a one-year subscription. PsipTN also allows users to receive calls from regular phones for free.

Price and Availability
The DPH-540 and DPH-541 is available through Comztek, Mustek and Pinnacle Micro at a suggested retail price of R3,499.00

The unit has a limited lifetime Warranty and 24/7 Technical Support including firmware updates.

Monday, October 23, 2006


The iPod music player marked its fifth anniversary Monday as a must-have fashion accessory which has also helped earn healthy profits for its developer Apple.

The California-based company launched its mini music player five years ago on October 23, 2001 and has never looked back as sales of the trendy gadget have continued to rise and rise.

Apple shipped over eight million iPods during its fiscal fourth quarter, marking a 35 percent increase in such shipments over the year-ago quarter, according to the company's latest earnings statement released last Wednesday.

And the sleek little music player has already become the "first cultural icon of the 21st Century," according to Michael Bull, a media lecturer at Britain's University of Sussex, who is researching the social influence of the iPod.

Apple has shored up the diminutive music player's popularity and ease of use by making it compatible with Windows PCs, and in 2003 the company launched its iTunes online music store enabling iPod devotees to download their favourite hits.

However, industry competition is mounting, and software giant Microsoft announced in September that its Zune MP3 music player will hit US stores on November 14 as it seeks to challenge iPod's grip on the lucrative market.

From BoingBoing: Free online word processor from Google

Google launches free, kick-ass word-processor

By (Cory Doctorow)

Cory Doctorow

Google has re-lauched Writely, the online word-processor they recently bought, in public beta. Writely does everything most things
Word does, for free -- and saves its output as PDFs and even RSS feeds
(subscribe to a word-processor doc!). It features collaborative editing
-- multiple editors on the same doc at once -- and can be used as the
editor for writing your blog, saving out to a post instead of a file on
your machine. This is a great-looking program for people who have
always-on Internet, and for so long as you don't worry about the NSA
demanding that Google turn over its Writely files as part of some
"security" procedure. Also: if I were a Google China user, I'd have
some doubts about this, given that Google has shown that when it comes
to China, keeping the government happy is more important than
delivering the best product it can.

(via Vertical Hold)

From BoingBoing: A free memoir by a London ambulance driver

London ambulance memoir under CC license

By (Cory Doctorow)

Cory Doctorow:  Tom sez, "I've just released my new book under a CC license, this is the first book by a UK author and a major European publisher to be released in this fashion (as far as we know). It is simultaneous with the book being sold in major bookstores." The book is Blood, Sweat and Tea: real-life stories from the London Ambulance Service, based on Tom's blog about his experiences as a London ambulance tech. Link (Thanks, Tom!)

Update: Charlie Stross points out:

Actually, the first that I know of in the UK was Net.wars by Wendy Grossman -- admittedly published by NYU Press, but she's based in London and it went out online in, um, 98 or 99 or thereabouts.

And ACCELERANDO was released under CC with the kind permission of Orbit back in 2005.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

HP Ad's and Reality

I was listening to 702 the other morning and heard a great advert for an HP printer. I forget the exact model number and make, but what I do remember is that the special is only on for a few days. Buy your printer NOW or you will miss out on this deal of the century. Not thier words.

I HAVE to let you know that HP are releasing 30 new products on Thursday evening. I think that the special for the printer is ending on Sunday. Strangley, two days after the release of 30 new HP products and 1 day before these 30 products make it onto the shelves of your local HP store.

I am not having a full go at HP here, dispite the way it looks, but I am sending you a little warning when it comes to buying new IT stuff. ALWAYS be careful. It's not what you see.

No Xbox live, is a simple example.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Google Music Trends

When my son grows up, he will not know it as "The Internet", for him it will be known as "Google".
I am going to check my Google......... (Add word here) Google Mail, Google TV, Google.......

Don't get me wrong, as long as they keep making good stuff, then I am all for Google. I still like Windows, so mabye I should keep quiet.

Google have released Google Music Trends. Using thier Google Chat to keep track of what music you and I play, they have created a world wide chart. Nicole Fox, eat your heart out, this is the Real Chart of what people in the world enjoy and listen to. The info is updated daily from 30 something countries. This chart isn't what radio feel people should be listening to, this is what people are choosing themselves.

Follow the link to see what you are missing out on.

Now all I need is for iTunes to sort themselves out and I will have a PROPER music collection.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It’s Nuts in the Jungle with Buzz!™ Junior: Jungle Party

We all love Buzz!™ and the fastest finger on the button challenge - but quizzes are not for everyone. So welcome to the first kids Buzz! title as Buzz!, courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, ventures deep into the Jungle with Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party packed with a cast of cheeky monkeys, windy gorillas and baseball playing elephants.

Available exclusively on PlayStation®2 from November 06, Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party is the ideal experience for kids of all ages to dive in to. With your easy-to-use Buzzer in hand go head-to-head against up to three of your mates or family to see if you have the skills you need to build a banana empire and be crowned King of the Jungle.

Choose your monkey character with care – each has a distinctly naughty personality – and then take part in one of up to 40 wild and wacky mini games deep in the jungle.

But the secret to success is not just having a laugh, as you find out if you have what it takes to demolish a Totem pole, beat out the craziest bongo beat with your Orang-utan drum instructor or base jump – clutching an anvil! And if you survive all that – not to mention being pelted with coconuts and eaten by Lions - then it’s ‘farty’ time as you sit back in the jungle Jacuzzi and celebrate with your friends and the windy gorilla – just watch out for the smelly bubbles!!

Play is as simple as peeling a banana and the laughs as cheesy as a centipedes shoes. Just choose your character, select the right colour of monkey, enter your name and you are ready for tropical action.
  • Multi-player mode: For two to four players the aim is to earn bananas by competing in individual games and tracking your progress on the monkey leader board.
    Select short, medium, long or custom tournament and don’t forget that in the world of slap-stick cartoon humour sometimes the loser has the best laugh! Whatever happens don’t forget to taunt your friends as they suffer the embarrassment of defeat.
  • Single-player mode: A simplified version of multiplayer, practice those skills and earn a score high enough to get you into the Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party Hall of Fame…

With loads of localistion: English French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Greek and Polish! There’s no excuse not to monkey around with Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party!!!

Vodacom announces lower roaming rates with Vodafone Passport

Vodacom today announced the arrival of Vodafone Passport – the new, innovative and predictable roaming option which allows Vodacom Contract customers to take their home tariff with them, when making or receiving calls while travelling overseas.

Vodacom opens up a world of affordable voice communication to business and leisure travellers by providing its customers with access to 16 Vodafone participating networks in 16 countries. Once Vodafone Passport has been activated, customers travelling overseas will be charged only a once-off connection fee when receiving a call. The once-off connection fee plus their home tariff call rate will apply when making calls to South Africa and within the visited country. Calls made to other countries will be charged at the once-off connection fee plus their home tariff international call rate.

Chris Ross, Managing Executive: Products & Services, Vodacom South Africa, explains the key benefits and convenience of Vodafone Passport: “While international call rates can sometimes be high and unpredictable, Vodafone Passport enables users to exercise personal or business budget control, without being inhibited from making and receiving calls internationally.

“One of the clear benefits to business travelers is the affordability and transparency of the call charges when using Vodafone Passport. Customers are able to estimate call charges more closely, manage expenses and carry on with business as usual, making it an essential business tool for remaining productive and accessible, as well as keeping in touch with colleagues and customers,” says Ross.

“For leisure travellers Vodafone Passport is an affordable and convenient way of staying in touch with family and friends and sharing experiences while holidaying – with no sudden surprises of high cellphone bills at the end of their holiday, as customers are familiar with their local call rates and can easily calculate what each call will cost.

“Through its alliance with Vodafone, Vodacom opens the door to the biggest mobile community in the world, and Contract customers travelling abroad can now experience the benefit of affordable, hassle free communication without borders”, he concludes.

For more information on Vodafone Passport please visit

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gamer's Manifesto

With all of this hype around the next generation of Gamer's Boxes, I found a great site with a Gamer's Manifesto. Things that we want from people that make these boxes and the games. Well worth a read...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Give that man a hand! Literally! (from Wired News)

Painting by Roy Blumenthal

So. A bunch of American soldiers have been rolling home from exotic Middle Eastern war playgrounds with limbs missing due to battle injuries.

Which has prompted DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the US to make some funding available for some pretty far-reaching research. Their first handout is US$7.6 million to be shared by two teams of scientists spread across several of America's elite universities. They can spend this money in the first year of research. More follows if they meet their milestones.

Their mission?

To help humans to grow back their own limbs.

War has its uses, huh? Here's to the US getting it right, and then spreading the love to the rest of the world, dispensing new limbs at all branches of KFC and MacDonald's.

I wonder if they'll be able to generate a new brain for Mr Bush?

Read the Wired News story here: 'Grow Your Own Limbs' by Kristen Philipkoski

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Telkom, Microsoft and Record Labels

How much longer can these people hold us to ransom in South Africa? Is it not time to speed things up? Move things along? Increase productivity and make all of us have a better life? I haven't even mentioned the prices yet....

The XBox 360 has now been on sale in South Africa for just short of a week. How many of those 1st buyers have tried and failed to log onto their Xbox Live Silver account that they got for free with thier purchase? Microsoft say that there is no South African option because of the lack of bandwidth. I say that I am willing to try. At LEAST let me use the VoIp to talk to people. At least let me purchase upgrades and small fun games. At least give me the option. Who are you to tell me what to do?

Wait, as soon as they find a fault in the XBox 360, and you know they will, Bill and the gang will give us access very quickly. How else are we supposed to install the security patches?

After a long time, I have recently brushed off the dust on my iPod and downloaded the new iTunes software that is actually quite neat. TV, Movies, Radio, Podcasts, all are there. How many of these great things can I download? JUST THE PODCASTS. Apple say that the record labels in South Africa haven't given them the go-ahead to allow us to download songs. I think that someone needs to do thier damn job! I WANT to download songs. I don't want to go to a CD shop and buy a CD. I don't want to go to Musica and purchase THIER songs. I want my songs for my player when I want it!

Who are you tell me differently?

I think that if Apple are willing to sent me a glorified CD player, the least they can do is make sure that I can get the Tuesday Free Song that I see every week, but NOOOOO, I am not important enough to get even that.

So what do we do? We go the illegal route. Not me, but other people. We download our songs from file-sharing programmes, we copy and paste, we rip and share. At this moment in time, South African musicians are planning a concert to raise awareness of pirated music and movies. What is the bet that the CD that gets released to coincide with the concert will be online in a couple days, if not hours.

Another way of getting around the "No South Africa" problem, is to give your mate's UK or US address, then all is great. My question is why? WHY? MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!

How? I have no idea. Maybe you do?

Another XBox Killer App

Kids aiming to persuade their parents to buy the PlayStation 3 have some new ammunition -- donating their PS3's down time to researchers could help cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or mad cow disease.

This November, Sony's PS3, with a price tag from $499 to $599, will challenge Microsoft's XBox 360 and Nintendo's Wii in a battle royale for holiday dollars when it hits stores in the United States and Japan.

The PS3 uses a powerful new processor called the Cell Broadband Engine to run highly realistic games like "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07," "Metal Gear Solid 4" and "Full Auto 2." It also has a 20GB or 60GB hard drive (depending on the model) and can connect to the Internet either wirelessly, or with an Ethernet hookup so gamers can download new programs and take each other on.

The PS3's chip is the same one IBM is using in a supercomputer it's building for the Department of Energy. That computer is expected to reach speeds of one petaflop, or 1,000 trillion calculations per second. (Full story)

"It has so much horsepower and, of course, when you're playing a game all that horsepower will be used for the game. But there are a lot of times during the day when somebody's not playing the game," said Sony's Richard Marks. "It seemed like a good idea to be able to use that horsepower for something else that is, in this case, good for mankind."

Sony worked with Stanford University's Folding@home project to harness the PS3's technology to help study how proteins are formed in the human body and how they sometimes form incorrectly.

Improperly formed proteins are linked to a number of diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gherig's disease, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as mad-cow disease.

"What you can imagine is that if a machine was assembled incorrectly, it can do damaging things," said Vijay Pande, who runs the Stanford project. "You can imagine a car that's screwed up and someone tries to drive it, then maybe it crashes into things and causing problems."

Proteins start out in the body as long strings of amino acids and have to assemble themselves into complex shapes -- a process scientists call folding -- before they can do anything. The challenge for scientists is that folding is difficult to observe because proteins are so small and the process is so fast -- about 10 one-millionths of a second.

Scientists are using computer simulations instead, but that has its own limitations. It takes about a day for a computer to simulate a nanosecond (one-billionth of a second) so it would take about 30 years for that computer to complete one simulation.

Folding@home uses a network of about 200,000 personal computers to simulate how proteins assemble themselves. Dividing the complicated calculations into smaller packets enables the computers to do jobs that would strain the most powerful supercomputers.

"These calculations that we have to do are very challenging. Even if we were given all of the supercomputer resources in the country we still would not be able to do the types of things that we can do with folding@home," said Vijay Pande, who runs the Stanford project.

A network of PS3s would run even faster. Pande said that a network of 10,000 PlayStations would increase speeds by a factor of five, and 100,000 would be 50 times faster than what they can do today.

"It turns two years into one month, and that's a huge thing for us," he said. "It's more than us just being impatient, there are calculations that we don't run right now because any calculation that would take more than two or three years, we don't even start it."

To participate, users will just download a program into the PS3's hard drive. Then they just need to leave the machine on when they're not playing. The Folding@home team will divide their complex calculations into manageable chunks and then send it to the participating machines. The program and data will take up 10 to 20 megabytes - or about the size of a handful of MP3 files, Pande said.

When the PS3 is done processing its chunk it will send the data back.

Makers say the program won't run when someone is using the PS3, because it might bog down the game.

Sony says it plans to sell about 2 million PS3s in the United States and Japan before the end of the year, and 6 million worldwide by next March.

Since all of those units are pretty much the same, developers did not have to make compromises that would slow the Folding@home program down.

"You don't really know what you're getting on any given PC, so you have to write the program in a general way so that it will run on weaker machines and stronger systems, Marks said. "They have to write programs sort of to the lowest common denominator, whereas on our system it can be finely tuned to completely leverage what we have."

The PS3 also has a graphic chip that lets users watch the protein as it folds and from different angles, said Klaus Hofrichter, another Sony developer.

"These interfaces are very nice looking, very scientific in a certain way. ... You can use the controller and navigate around," Hofrichter said.

That might make people more likely to download and run the program, Pande said.

All PS3s connect to the Internet, and Sony plans to make it easy for gamers to get the program when they go online, Marks said.

"What we want is for people just to have to make the decision to contribute electricity and benefit mankind," Marks said.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Xbox 360, My Opinion

Is it worth spending over R4000 on a new Xbox 360? That is the question that SHOULD be going through your mind right now. Are you willing to part with the cash to buy a machine that is really, in essence, another Playstation? Sony have done a great piece of marketing with the PS and then the PS2. They killed Sega and have wiped out just about every other gaming system out there. One could even argue that the PC gamer is only the ultra geek now; the one who has cash-a-plenty and will splash out all of his hard earned dosh for a new super-cool graphics card or water-cooled processor.

What about people like you and me? People who enjoy killing a few aliens before supper or driving exotic cars in exotic locations around the world before bed. Is this the answer? Let me explain a few things before I answer that.

Once upon a time, people played cards and dice and Monopoly to pass the time. It was generally a public gathering and social environment. People laughed, drank and had a good time around the kitchen table or around a fire. Adults, children, grandparents, everyone would have a good time. Then came the TV and things changed. People no longer talked to each other but shouted at the stupid TV programmes. That was before SA Survivor, so you know the programmes weren’t that bad.

One clever person saw the TV and thought it was good but could be better, so they created games that could work on the TV. Simple games, like the Monopoly of it’s time. Games where you hit a square ball from one side of the screen to the other. These games worked and they were good. People started talking to each other again. Ok, there was some shouting and swearing but people still seemed to have a good time.

Then along some lonely old fart who predicted that processor’s would double their speed every two years. Mr Moore just had to proven correct by game creators and newer and faster machines came out and the TV game nearly died. Gamers could save their games on the new PC’s. Graphics were colour and the games were cong out thick and fast. You could jump, shoot and duck in 2D all you liked. In fact, you could even go 3D and fly airoplanes and helicopters and nothing the gaming consoles could do could get people away from their desktops.

That was until SEGA popped up on the scene with Sonic the Hedgehog and people flocked back to their TVs. Gaming was fast, interactive and more than one person could play at the same time. Sony saw the gap and created a thing called a Playstation. Plug it in and it worked. No driver issues, no mouse and keyboard and and and needed. Just a good TV and you could do everything the little PC could but with everyone in the house having a go too. The TV screen is big and loud.

But let’s jump to today. The PS2 pushed the Sega option out of the window and only a little Japanese upstart, Nintendo, kept up the pressure. Along came Mr William Gates. Will, or Bill, had more money that you and I can ever imagine. Bill decided to create a new gaming platform and the Xbox was born. It wasn’t very good but it was another option for those who were bored with the PS2 and liked MACS. Why? IT COSTS SO MUCH.

The new Xbox 360 is great! It is a Microsoft product, so be careful of that. In South Africa you get NO Xbox live! Let me say that again, the biggest selling feature of the gaming system is not available in South Africa at the moment. They blame Telkom for not giving us enough bandwidth. I say, who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?

Games are numerous and the titles are varied. Graphics are better and you can rip your CD’s to the Xbox hardrive. You WILL have to upgrade that in the future and you know Microsoft know that, so they have made it easy to change. You can’t use your old one as a slave, so you throw it away.

Sound is great, if you have surround. But would you spend R4000 on a machine if you don’t have surround sound? Me thinks not.

So let me answer the question I raised 700 words ago. Should you spend R4000 on a new Xbox 360? If you have it and you really really want one, then yes. Otherwise, buy eight new PS2 games. They are going no where for a while and, although the launch of the PS3 is still far away, you KNOW that your PS2 games will still work on the new box. You may as well throw all of your PS2 stuff away. For example, my really cool steering wheel I bought for GT4 is useless on an Xbox 360.

Your choice, boet, your choice.

MWEB teams up with iBurst

MWEB has announced that it has teamed up with iBurst and will now offer iBurst wireless broadband solutions to business and home customers. This is the second wireless broadband product offering from MWEB, following the announcement of MWEB’s Vodacom 3G/ HSDPA offering in July. The partnership with iBurst will enable MWEB to offer users a wider range of broadband options, namely fixed line (ADSL), and wireless (3G/ HSDPA and iBurst).

Rudi Jansen, CEO of MWEB ISP, says small and medium sized businesses, as well as home users are often baffled by the number of broadband options available to them. “As the Internet experts and having the variety of broadband options available, MWEB can give customers completely objective advice on the best solution for their needs as we won’t be pushing one kind of broadband at the expense of another. All the broadband options have different benefits and are suited to different applications and usage patterns, so we will assess these before advising a customer on the best solution.”

Thami Mtshali, CEO of iBurst, commented, “We’re confident that our partnership with MWEB will see the benefits of high speed wireless broadband rolled out to even more business and home users. According to a recent poll, iBurst remains the most affordable wireless broadband with the best after sales service.”

Jansen added that more and more users need Internet access on the move, while small businesses often can’t afford to wait for ADSL to be installed. “Wireless broadband such as iBurst is ideal for users who don’t want or need a Telkom line but who need high-speed Internet access. iBurst currently covers South Africa’s major metropolitan areas and the capitals of all nine provinces plus dozens of smaller towns and cities across the country. Access is via either a desk-top or laptop modem and because there is no waiting for a line to be installed, users can be up and running within 72 hours of ordering the service.”

MWEB’s launch offer for iBurst, available for two months from 1 October 2006 includes two free months when signing a 12, 24 or 36 month contract on any of the iBurst packages. The packages start at R279 per month for a 36-month contract including a 210 megabyte data cap and a laptop modem.

MWEB customers will also receive the following unique benefits:
  • 1 Gig MWEB mailbox
  • 24 hour technical support
  • 300 free Wi-Fi minutes per month (provided that the user is in an MWEB joint-venture hotspot)
  • Monitoring and alerts (related to data caps and limits)
  • Single point of contact for all technical, hardware, Internet and billing queries
  • Exclusive MWEB content, tools and services

Monday, October 02, 2006


US President George W. Bush this week is expected to sign a bill making it harder to place bets on the Internet, a practice which already is illegal in the United States.

Bush was expected to act quickly after Congress approved the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act making it illegal for financial institutions and credit card companies to process payments to settle Internet bets. It also created stiff penalties for online wagers.

Billions of dollars are wagered online each year and the United States is considered the biggest market.

"It is extraordinary how many American families have been touched by large losses from Internet gambling," said US Representative Jim Leach, the bill's main sponsor in the House, in a statement after its passage early Saturday.

The bill's chief Senate sponsor was conservative Republican Jon Kyl, who, like Leach, has said he believed Internet gambling was a moral threat. He has called online betting as the Internet version of crack cocaine.

"Gambling can be highly addictive, especially when it's done over an unregulated environment such as the Internet" he said this year.

"If Congress had not acted, gamblers would soon be able to place bets not just from home computers, but from their cell phones while they drive home from work or their Blackberries as they wait in line at the movies," Leach said.

The US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board will jointly develop implementing rules for the new law, while financial institutions have nine months to incorporate its provision.

Leach cited research which showed that young people who tend to spend hours of leisure time on the Internet, are particularly vulnerable.

A 2005 survey by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 26 percent of male college students gamble in online card games at least once a month, while nearly 10 percent of all college students gambled online at some point last year.

"Never has it been so easy to lose so much money so quickly at such a young age. The casino is in effect brought to the home, office and college dorm.

"Children may play without verification, and betting with a credit card can undercut a player's perception of the value of cash, which too easily leads to bankruptcy and crime," Leach said.

Experts said the vast majority of bettors are placing wagers on poker.

"Everyone loses if this industry continues its remarkable growth trends," Leach said.

Republicans tucked the measure into a bill aimed at enhancing port security, which passed early Saturday.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Xbox 360™, the new generation entertainment and gaming system from Microsoft®, is now available in South Africa at leading retail stores. Xbox 360 was unveiled at midnight at rAGE, the gaming and entertainment Expo held at the Coca Cola Dome in Northgate. Local celebrities, Microsoft EMEA representatives and media were amongst the 360 VIP guests that attended the launch event.

“The initial reaction of the South African public has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Cindy White, Xbox Group Marketing Manager. “Hundreds of local gaming enthusiasts were queuing from late yesterday afternoon to be the first to purchase their very own Xbox at leading local retailers, some of which stayed open until after midnight for its launch on September 29.”

“Xbox 360 leads interactive entertainment, and has brought the industry’s best entertainment experiences, storytellers, franchises, and the most-anticipated IP to the platform. We’re offering something for every interest, budget and age,” added White.

”With Xbox 360, gamers can enjoy high-resolution gaming experiences, best-quality DVD capability, and great media features such as the ability to stream video, music and photos from a PC to the living room,” said White. “But perhaps the most important thing we are offering is choice – it’s at the heart of what we offer gamers this generation, and we enable consumers to have the gaming and entertainment experiences they want to have.”

“The white, green and grey console has a high attraction factor and is a great fashion accessory for any living room. The movie-quality, high-definition graphics and spine-tingling surround sound makes this a must-have purchase for those seeking an extreme gaming experience,” she added.

“More than 50 gaming titles are available for Xbox 360 to meet all tastes and age groups. The most popular gaming titles will be available at launch and in the coming weeks and months, including Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero, Gears of War, Crackdown, Viva Pinata and Forza 2.”

“We have worked closely with our partners to ensure Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core System offer great value to consumers, whether they are recreational players or serious gamers,” she concluded.

The Xbox 360 is available at all major retailers including CNA, BT games, Reggies, Toys R Us, Makro, Look and Listen and Incredible Connection at an estimated retail price of between R2 699 for the core system and R3 699 for the Xbox 360. Xbox 360 titles carry an estimated retail price from R199 to R550.