Posts Tagged ‘news’

Irvin Khoza, chairman of the local organising committee for the 2010 World Cup, was bemoaning the lack of excitement around next year’s premier sporting event. There are only 286 days to go but it’s not the fervent topic of conversation on everyone’s lips, is his basic complaint. Does he have a point?

germany-soccer-stadium

As far as I can see, he probably does. There’s an awareness that it’s coming closer, and in some quarters lingering apprehension about our ability to host successfully (don’t worry, we’ll rise to the occasion), but I wouldn’t say there’s much genuine excitement. At the moment I think people are still mostly in “heads down” mode feeling like they’re mostly just trying to get through some crisis or another – take your pick, there are plenty to choose from – and 2010 has meant mainly disruptions because of construction.

That’s an enormous pity, because we really should appreciate the magnitude of the event that’s coming. There are so many reasons to get excited about it: even if you’re not planning on going to the games (still have a spare ticket to the finals, open to bribes – I mean bids), the thought of hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors is intruiging. If you’re wanting to showcase any kind of product, or get a message across (as was said at CLC, we don’t need to go to the nations because they’re coming to us!) or even just be part of a magnificent multicultural experience, the opportunity is amazing.

So what do we do? Don’t quite know, really – your ideas are as good as mine and all suggestions are welcome. But I reckon we start by thinking of some thing ably the event that will appeal to us and then focus on how we’re going to take advantage of the opportunity. As always, let’s focus on the potential for positives rather than those for doom and gloom. Me, I’m going to start by brushing up on soccer knowledge…

— Posted From My iPod

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So there’s been a lot of hope and excitement about the impact of the new Seacom undersea cable which provides us with increased international bandwith – multiple times the speed at 80% less of a cost. I was hoping that we’d see the benefits soon after deployment of the cable (which happened on 23 July), but there’s nary a sight of them on the horizon.

underseacable

One of the reasons seems to be (from a report here) that companies are still tied into fairly lengthy contracts for use of the existing SAT-3 cable ripoff. Makes sense that they would only be able to lower their prices then as they were able to run those contracts out and brought more of the Seacom access into the mix. I can’t avoid the cynical thought, though, that they may just want to keep charging consumers who are already used to paying high prices so that they can pocket the difference all for themselves. Here’s hoping real competition proves me wrong – otherwise the Competition Commission might just have more work to do. If we’re actually to move with the rest of the world into the digital age and use broadband as it’s meant to be used, rather than just as fast dial-up, cheaper and faster access is critical.

Anyway, it seems that lower prices are at least 12 to 18 months away so I’ve had to try to decide what is going to work best for us and it’s been rather frustrating. Usually, I’d recommend ADSL to people but the quality of the copper in our area is so appalling that it’s a no go – we tried that option and had to ditch it. Wireless connectivity options abound, but they are expensive if you’re not willing to be tied into a contract of two years as operators require you to purchase your own equipment (even if they offer it to you on a financed option). Not wanting to shell out R2,500+ for routers from various providers (I want to share my connection with at least 3 machines), I’ve opted for a 3G option tied to using WMWifiRouter on one of my old devices (gotta find a use for them!). It’s actually working relatively well – as long as I don’t use my internet access to compare our pricing with the rest of the world…

I’d be curious to know what kind of setup others are using – let me know.

I’ve been laid low for the past week with flu and then bronchitis – along with the rest of Jo’burg, it seems. Our local doctor was saying that he’s never had a week for flu like this one, with seasonal flu hitting hard and coinciding (as these things do!) with the arrival of swine flu in the city. There are so many cases they’ve basically stopped most testing because the laboratories are under so much strain the results don’t come back in a useful time. And Tamiflu is almost impossible to find anywhere.


My eldest son, who also picked up the flu along with my youngest, was tested for swine flu but the results came back clear. Not so lucky were good friends of ours whose kids all got it – families that share stay together, so they’re now all in quarantine. It’s kind of scary when something you read about as being so feared elsewhere in the world is suddenly a reality at home.

It seems the important thing to do is not to panic about the swine flu outbreak, as highlighted in this mail that they sent round at work:

” The H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) pandemic continues to make headlines and South Africa has just had its first confirmed death. We are receiving ongoing queries from our colleagues across the Group concerning incidents of H1N1 ‘flu and how the bank should position itself.

It is important that we clarify the nature of H1N1 ‘flu.

· The H1N1 virus is NO MORE contagious than normal seasonal flu
· People who have had contact with confirmed cases of H1N1 flu are advised to stay at home only when they show signs of the illness
· H1N1 flu is NO MORE dangerous than normal seasonal ‘flu.
· Patients who are vulnerable to complications arising from seasonal ‘flu are equally likely to suffer complications arising from H1N1 strain of ‘flu.
· Routine laboratory testing of suspected cases is only required for those who develop serious complications (in line with WHO recommendation)
· Routine washing of hands and hygienic practices are still stressed as the best way to decrease the rate of spread
· The virus has become established throughout the country and community transmission is inevitable.

It is critical that we all take a calm view of this strain of ‘flu. Simple precautions will ensure that our work environment is healthy.

We do not foresee that impact of the H1N1 ‘flu will be any different from the impact of normal seasonal ‘flu.

Issued by: Business Continuity Management”

I guess the statement that swine flu is no more dangerous than seasonal flu will be cold comfort to those seriously affected by it, but perhaps one of the lessons is that seasonal flu can be very dangerous and we often take it too lightly. Stay clean, stay healthy and we’ll move on through.

— Posted From My iPod