Friday, 25 February 2011

UNISA video studio (mobile post)

Located in the UNISA Sunnyside Campus, the video studio is used by educators to lecture into 22 regional locations over South Africa. Students get the schedules by mail of what would be covered in the broadcast and then have tje choice of attending the closest viewing point.

Recordings are also made and some lectures get repeated later.

Interaction is achieved using simple mail and IRC services with a dedicated machine on the Internet available to the lecturer.



Saturday, 19 February 2011

Omaramba - Feb 2011

Hi All, (Oh great followers of ONE... :-D)

A week have passed since returning from our first camping weekend for 2011 and the return was a joyous one! Sunday evening we basked in the glory of the joy of the weekend, having had some much deserved rest (and I use this term lightly) with great family time.

Let’s start at the beginning, the last blog was ended with the planning for the menu for the weekend. The menu outlay was done with simplicity in mind and least amount of effort required for preparation.

Friday Evening:
Hot dogs for the kids and Boerewors (sausage) Rolls for the Grownups
Saturday:
Rusks for the early morning feeding,
Pita Bread Breakfast (Scrambled eggs, bacon and what not) at about 10am which kept the lunch hunger at bay
Fruits and Snacks for the rest
With chips/crisps here and there Evening: Braai Meats, Braai Sandwiches, Corn on the Cob and Fresh mixed Salad
Sunday:
Rusks and Cookies for the early morning hunger
Breakfast Burgers for Brunch.

------------
We left with great fanfare on Friday Afternoon after picking up all the kids from school with the caravan in tow, this filled the kids with great excitement, which in turn made the 73km trip feel like a 730km trip due to the anticipation.

About 1.5km before the campsite there is a basic convenience “center” with a garage for fuel, the accompanying shop, there is also a butchery, a bottle store and one or two other shops.

Upon our arrival at Omaramba which is situated “across” the road from the Buffelspoort Dam we were able to quickly enter, seeing the access road to the main gate is approximately 200m. In all honesty my first impression of the campsite was that it was past it’s glory years, I am happy to say that my first impressions were way off the mark.

Due to the resort being quite large and this being a normal weekend the resort seemed empty, however we found our campsite with little effort, due to the resort being very rich in trees we had a bit of challenge to maneuver the Caravan into the campsite but thanks to my husband’s logical thought process, good driving skills and clever survival techniques we were able to back the caravan into the campsite without it running away....

Once all the basics were setup we were able to explore the layout of the resort. Here is my summary:

Pro’s:
Basic roads are paved
Rich in Trees
Well maintained Jungle Gym for kids
3 Beautiful swimming pools of which 2 are warm the one a kiddies pool which is about approximately 70 - 80cm deep
Well Stocked Camp Shop from Cool drink to Ice to Meat and all other “small” items (toothbrushes, toothpaste) that may have been left / forgotten at home
All campsites have built / constructed fireplaces
Good Cellphone Reception
Ablution Facilities are clean and well cared for

Con’s
Ablution Facilities not ALL open if campsite is not full (we landed up camping ½ way between the two ablution facilities
Rich in Trees
A lot of cars driving back and forth
Good Cellphone Reception :-)
Not all the campsites have Braai Grids

We had "great fun" on Saturday afternoon when we had a cloud burst, only then we understood the value of statistics. The BIG things we learned was... camping on a stand with 90% red soil results in 150% MUD :-) Having a spare umbrella 99% of the time is not good enough because you will get caught the 1% time you don’t have it. AND having 4 kids in a caravan, under the age of 6 during a cloud burst with extra loud thunder strikes makes for a good entertainment to all BUT those inside the caravan.

Friends came with and it was a good relaxing time for visiting with each other without the duties of house work or maintenance calling. The kids had a good time as they could share their fun. For the first round of camping for this was great fun and a good relaxing weekend was had.

Until next time.

To borrow a great saying from Mr. Zandberg Jansen....

“Nag ou Grote”

Friday, 18 February 2011

We Fear Naught But God


This book is another that I had heard about for a long time, but the original version was out of print and not readily available second hand. Following its republication in 2009, with updates, I finally obtained a copy as I was eager to know more about the ‘Recces’, whose members and operations were covered in half-truths and rumours as much as fact, at least in my own experience during my service in the SADF.

W.O.1 Paul Els served with the ‘Recces’ during his military career, and is therefore in a privileged position, being able to describe much of their history with some accuracy. As a result of this service, he has put together a 401 page history covering the formation and some operations of all the ‘Recce’ units formed, from inception to their eventual disbandment under the new SANDF. Included within these pages are no fewer than 300 photographs, all black-and-white, most of which would be new to readers I am sure.

Let me start my review by saying that this is another admirable effort, and a worthy addition to the history of these elite regiments. The narrative covers all aspects of ‘Recce’ regiment formation, operations and training, descriptions of the latter I personally found particularly of interest. Also, there is the occasional personal account, mainly of men who were awarded gallantry decorations for outstanding service, and the circumstances under which the awards were obtained. Unit heraldry is also covered, including badges, emblems and traditions. The book concludes with a series of appendices, including a Roll of Honour, listing all Special Forces casualties by rank, name, date of death and regiment. There is also a comprehensive list of SF members who were awarded gallantry decorations, entities in support of SA Special Forces and a description of weapons used by them, the latter including photographs.

If there are any negatives to be added, they are relatively minor. However, I personally found that by reproducing so many photographs within the book, the author has perforce had to sacrifice their quality for quantity, and many I felt were too tiny to look at or see properly. Perhaps it would have been better to produce a second photographic volume, to complement the narrative in volume one. That way the photographs would be more clearly visible to even the most visually-challenged reader. These photographs are good, and very relevant to the subject being covered, so why not give them their own volume, or make the book larger? Also, as with any history that attempts to cover such a wide range of subjects in a single volume (all Reconnaissance Regiments) there are some inevitable gaps in the histories, and at times I found the narrative to be a little disjointed, jumping from one topic to a completely different one without any introduction or lead-in comment, which can be a little disconcerting until one gets used to it.

All constructive criticism aside though, author Paul Els has done a great job of trying to bring the ‘Recces’ and their undoubted prowess to the attention of readers at large. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to more updates from the author in future. Again, highly recommended, especially if read in conjunction with the few ‘Recce’ personal accounts that are available, i.e. Jack Greeff, Andre Diedricks, McCallion etc.

Peter Chapman
( peter.chapman1 [at] gmail.com )

Friday, 11 February 2011

Free Online Storage

Now I'm sure there are many other services out there, but here is a quick list of free online storage, sorted by size.

Google Docs - http://goo.gl/vXYmQ - 1Gb
Google Picasa - http://goo.gl/GzPa1 - 1Gb
DropBox - http://db.tt/AbGHhNR - +2Gb
Box.net - http://goo.gl/Ls4dy - 5Gb
Microsoft Live Mesh - http://goo.gl/iDtc6 - 5Gb
Google Mail - http://goo.gl/CW9hv - +7.5Gb
Microsoft SkyDrive - http://goo.gl/gkzAD - 25Gb
Google Storage for Developers - http://goo.gl/1hhsZ - 100Gb

Multiple accounts are possible with some of these services and something like Gladinet helps moving files into and out of this storage simple.

My personal favorite is still DropBox.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mecer LUCID Slate Tablet Multi Touch Screen


I collected my Mecer Lucid Slate last week Friday, and have now had almost a week with it. Here are some of my impressions.

Specifications: Mecer LUCID Slate Tablet Multi Touch Screen (Intel NM10), Intel Pineview Atom N450 1.66GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 11.6" Multi Touch (1366x768) LCD display, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD/MMC Card Reader, 1.3M Webcam, Speakers, Microphone, 2 x USB2.0, Mini-HDMI, Li-Polymer Battery, 1 x Mini PCIe slot, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition, Dimension: 295 x 195 x 14mm Weight: 0.99kg, 1 Year Carry in Warranty

Also Known As: bModo, WeTab, ExoPC and Pioneer ePad L11 HD.

Unboxing: The standard brown box contained the Slate, 19V Universal PSU with 2 point into SA 3 point power cable and a set of Mecer recovery CD's. Also included in the shipment was a Zip case and a touchpad pen. The pen was strange, but I soon realised why....

1st Power-up: Standard Windows 7 1st boot, asking for username, computer name and network information. All this was easy to enter using the Windows 7 onscreen keyboard.

Using it:

It's Windows 7, so nothing strange. The issues around Windows 7 is the GUI wasn't designed for fingers. Hitting that little X to close a window, is not always possible on the first try. Mecer did include an application called "BossaNova2" which tries to give an interface for suited for touch on top of Windows. This however does not really succeed as it still embeds Internet Explorer into its view.

Get around this, and keep that pen that was in the box, and this thing is totally usable. I've already noticed that the 32Gb SDD might not have been enough, as Windows 7 alone takes over 12Gb of that in a running state. The addition of the SD card does help a lot to add quick simple storage.

HD YouTube playback is fine, and only stops when the machine tries to do something else at the same time. The build-in speakers are not the greatest, but are adequate.

The beauty of this device, is using the docking station. Plug your USB Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers and Ethernet directly into the dock, and you have a desktop PC when you dock.

I will be trying some none Microsoft operating systems.

Pro's:
- Load any O/S, without voiding the warranty!
- 11" Screen,
- Mini-HDMI output with included cable,
- SD/MMC card reader, and
- USB Ports.

Con's:
- Intel CPU cooled by fan and does make a noise,
- Only a power button on the whole unit,
- Build quality on the docking station bit lacking, and
- Windows 7.

Overall, I'm happy and very happy I did not need to drop my hard earned money on something from Apple.

Windows 11, but for Web

This guy has created Windows 11 on the web. Have a look at https://dev.to/piyush/windows-11-but-for-web-22h1 Source is over at  https://gith...