Hello world!

Hello back!

I have been absent for about 4 years – I think!

I have learnt to keep my opinions to myself – I’m mellowing out and becoming passive aggressive – instead of just, aggressive.

No more “every problem is a nail, lets hammer it” from me.

Also, I think these idiots from MSN Live and Word Press lost all my photos and videos that they were supposed to have brought over in the migration.



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101 Best Novels of all time (SA voted)

The 101 best novels of all time, as voted for by Exclusive Books customers:

  1. The Lord of the RingsJ.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini
  3. Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
  4. To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee
  5. The Harry Potter seriesJK Rowling
  6. The Poisonwood BibleBarbara Kingsolver
  7. The AlchemistPaulo Coelho
  8. Life of PiYann Martel
  9. The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown
  10. The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy
  11. Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
  12. SpudJohn van de Ruit
  13. The Power of OneBryce Courtenay
  14. The HobbitJ.R.R. Tolkien
  15. Captain Corelli’s MandolinLouis de Bernieres
  16. ShantaramGregory David Roberts
  17. Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte
  18. Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger
  19. Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte
  20. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyDouglas Adams
  21. One Hundred Years of SolitudeGabriel Garcia Marquez
  22. DisgraceJ. M. Coetzee
  23. My Sister’s KeeperJodi Picoult
  24. The Time Traveller’s WifeAudrey Niffenegger
  25. BirdsongSebastian Faulks
  26. Catch-22Joseph Heller
  27. Pillars of the EarthKen Follett
  28. Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell
  29. Cry, the Beloved CountryAlan Paton
  30. The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
  31. A Fine BalanceRohinton Mistry
  32. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night TimeMark Haddon
  33. Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
  34. AtonementIan McEwan
  35. Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
  36. The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck
  37. The English PatientMichael Ondaatje
  38. Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy
  39. Midnight’s ChildrenSalman Rushdie
  40. Love in the Time of CholeraGabriel Garcia Marquez
  41. The Shadow of the WindCarlos Ruiz Zafon
  42. I Know This Much is TrueWally Lamb
  43. A Suitable BoyVikram Seth
  44. Nineteen Eighty-FourGeorge Orwell
  45. War And PeaceLeo Tolstoy
  46. Clan of the Cave BearJean M. Auel
  47. The Unbearable Lightness of BeingMilan Kundera
  48. The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupery
  49. The Secret HistoryDonna Tartt
  50. PossessionA. S. Byatt
  51. PerfumePatrick Suskind
  52. The House of the SpiritsIsabel Allende
  53. ChocolatJoanne Harris
  54. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective AgencyAlexander McCall Smith
  55. Q & AVikas Swarup
  56. DuneFrank Herbert
  57. Wind in the WillowsKenneth Grahame
  58. Fugitive PiecesAnne Michaels
  59. River GodWilbur Smith
  60. Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
  61. Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding
  62. The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeC.S. Lewis
  63. MortTerry Pratchett
  64. Crime and PunishmentFeodor Dostoyevsky
  65. The Blind AssassinMargaret Atwood
  66. East of EdenJohn Steinbeck
  67. The Name of the RoseUmberto Eco
  68. The Other Boleyn GirlPhilippa Gregory
  69. The Boy in the Striped PyjamasJohn Boyne
  70. The Prince of TidesPat Conroy
  71. RebeccaDaphne du Maurier
  72. Bridget Jones’ DiaryHelen Fielding
  73. The Shipping NewsE. Annie Proulx
  74. Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll
  75. Animal FarmGeorge Orwell
  76. The Red TentAnita Diamant
  77. Watership DownRichard Adams
  78. MagicianRaymond E Feist
  79. MiddlemarchGeorge Eliot
  80. The Day of the JackalFrederick Forsyth
  81. We Need to Talk About KevinLionel Shriver
  82. The MagusJohn Fowles
  83. The Remains of the DayKazuo Ishiguro
  84. AgaatMarlene van Niekerk
  85. The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
  86. The Shell SeekersRosamunde Pilcher
  87. The Colour PurpleAlice Walker
  88. The Beach HouseJames Patterson
  89. Doctor ZhivagoBoris Pasternak
  90. Kringe in ‘n BosDalene Matthee
  91. The World according to GarpJohn Irving
  92. Northen LightsPhillip Pullman
  93. MiddlesexJeffrey Eugenides
  94. ShadesMarguerite Poland
  95. Kane and AbelJeffrey Archer
  96. Fiela se kindDalene Matthee
  97. Story of an African FarmOlive Schreiner
  98. Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRoald Dahl
  99. The Magic Faraway TreeEnid Blyton
  100. Things Fall ApartChinua Achebe
  101. Winnie-the-PoohA.A. Milne


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Funny Story: Curry Cook-off

Annual Curry Cook-off

Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg South Africa

Judge #3 was an inexperienced food critic named Frank, who was visiting from America.

Frank: “Recently, I was honoured to be selected as a judge at a Curry Cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking for directions to the Beer Garden when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Natal Indians) that the curry wouldn’t be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted”.

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2– Nice smooth tomato flavour. Very mild.
Judge # 3– (Frank) — Holy sh!t, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These people
are crazy.

Judge # 1– Smoky, with a hint of chicken. Slight chilli tang.
Judge # 2 — Exciting BBQ flavour, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3– Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich manoeuvre!  They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1– Excellent firehouse curry. Great kick.
Judge # 2– A bit salty, good use of chilli peppers.
Judge # 3– Call 911. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drain Cleaner. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting pissed from all the beer.

Judge # 1– Black bean curry with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2– Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a curry.
Judge # 3– I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds?  Shareen, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 200kg woman is starting to look HOT…just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chilli an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1– Meaty, strong curry. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2– Average beef curry, could use more tomato. Must admit the chilli peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chilli had given me brain damage. Shareen saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer
directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off. It really pi$$es me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

Judge # 1– Thin yet bold vegetarian variety curry. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2– The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3– My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. I am definitely going to sh!t myself if I fart and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Shareen. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone ice-cream.

Judge # 1– A mediocre curry with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2– Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chilli peppers at the last moment. (I should take note at this stage that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably).
Judge # 3– You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with curry which  slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least, during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing- it’s too painful. Screw it; I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1– The perfect ending. This is a nice blend
curry. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2– This final entry is a good, balanced
curry. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when
Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the curry pot down on
top of himself.
Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor man, wonder
how he’d have reacted to really hot curry?
Judge # 3 – No Report.


Posted in Humour | Leave a comment

Understanding RSS Feeds

Microsoft Help Files on RSS Feeds:
What is a feed (RSS)?
Feeds, also known as RSS feeds, XML feeds, syndicated content, or web feeds, contain frequently updated content
published by a website. They are usually used for news and blog websites, but are also used for distributing other
types of digital content, including pictures, audio files, or video. Internet Explorer can discover and display feeds as
you visit websites. You can also subscribe to feeds to automatically check for and download updates that you can view

Using web feeds (RSS)
Here are answers to some common questions about using feeds (RSS).
What is a feed?
A feed, also known as RSS feed, XML feed, syndicated content, or web feed, is frequently updated content
published by a website. It is usually used for news and blog websites, but can also be used for distributing other
types of digital content, including pictures, audio or video. Feeds can also be used to deliver audio content (usually
in MP3 format) which you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player. This is referred to as podcasting.
How do I know if a website offers feeds?
When you first view a website, Internet Explorer will search for feeds. If feeds are available, the Feeds button  
will change color and a sound will play.
How do I view a feed?
When you visit a webpage, the Feeds button   will change color, letting you know that feeds are available. Click
the Feeds button, and then click the feed you want to see. To get content automatically, you should subscribe to a
feed – it’s free and you do it only once. 
How does a feed differ from a website?
A feed can have the same content as a webpage, but it’s often formatted differently. When you subscribe, Internet
Explorer automatically checks the website and downloads new content so you can see what is new since you last
visited the feed.
How can I automatically get updated content?
You can receive content automatically by subscribing to a web feed. When you subscribe to a web feed, you set the
interval at which Internet Explorer will check the website for updates. Once you’ve set an interval, Internet
Explorer will automatically download the most up-to-date web feed list.
Does a feed subscription cost money?
No, it’s usually free to subscribe to a feed.
How can I view my subscribed feeds?
You view feeds on the Feeds tab in the Favorites Center. To view your feeds, click the Favorites Center button
, and then click Feeds.
Can other programs display my subscribed feeds?
Yes, Internet Explorer provides the Common Feed List to other programs. This allows you to subscribe to feeds

with Internet Explorer and read them in other programs, such as e-mail clients.

What does RSS mean?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is used to describe the technology used in creating feeds.
What formats do feeds come in?
The most common formats are RSS and Atom. Feed formats are constantly being updated with new versions.
Internet Explorer supports RSS 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0, and ATOM .3, 1.0. All web feed formats are based on XML
(Extensible Markup Language), a text-based computer language used to describe and distribute structured data
and documents.
Discover a feed
Internet Explorer looks for feeds, also known as RSS feeds, on every webpage you visit. When it finds available feeds,
the Feeds button, located on the Internet Explorer toolbar, will change from gray to orange and it will play a sound.
To view available feeds
1. On the Internet Explorer toolbar, click the Feeds button  . 
2. If multiple feeds are available, you’ll see a list of available feeds. Select the feed you want to view. 
When you click the feed, you’ll see a page displaying a list of items (topics and articles) you can read and subscribe

To subscribe to a feed
1. Go to the webpage that has the feed to which you want to subscribe. 
2. Click the Feeds button to discover feeds on the webpage. 
3. Click a feed (if more than one is available). If only one feed is available, you will go directly to that page. 
4. Click the Subscribe to this Feed button  , and then click Subscribe to this Feed. 
5. Type a name for the feed and select the folder to create the feed in. 
6. Click Subscribe. 
To view your subscribed feeds, click the Favorites Center button, and then click Feeds.



Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

WiMAX steps up to ADSL in SA

WiMAX networks step up to ADSL

Cape Town – Internet Service Provider MWeb began trials for a WiMAX network in mid-May, and according to the reports, so far so good.

MWeb was granted a test license by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to trial the connectivity technology in South Africa, having successfully set up a fixed WiMAX network in Namibia in February this year. Namibia became the second country in Africa to boast a certified WiMAX network, following in Mozambique’s footsteps. Mozambique installed a metropolitan WiMAX network in April last year.

WiMAX is able to provide wireless data at rates of up to 70Mbps over distances of up to 50 km. Although the potential high speeds are impressive, it is likely that the actual data transfer rate will be much lower, especially initially, and the distance range lower as well. WiMAX is often referred to as a last-mile access technology, and where networks are set up, it offers an alternative means of broadband access to cable, ADSL and wireless options such as 3G.

MWeb have erected eight base stations, of which seven are fully operational so far. The sites chosen for the trials were Foreshore, N1 City and Plumstead in Cape Town, and Randburg, Sandton City, Soweto, Boksburg and Victory Park in Johannesburg. It has not been confirmed when the Victory Park station will go live. The trials in Cape Town have been successful to date, with 62 trialists, including both home and business Internet users, making use of the WiMAX connectivity. The trials in Johannesburg have been delayed due to an interference problem which has yet to be resolved. 81 subscribers have been registered for the trials.

MWeb have applied for a license to provide commercial broadband services using WiMAX technology. Fixed-line monolith Telkom, their new rival Neotel, and ISPs Sentech and iBurst are already licensed to do so, but have yet to launch commercial packages. Telkom reportedly began customer trials in March, and have brought in Israel’s Alvarion company, responsible for rolling out many WiMAX networks around the world, to assist with their own roll out.

WiMAX is often incorrectly confused with Wi-Fi. While Wi-Fi is a technology that provides short-range (measurable in metres) wireless access to a network which may or may not be connected to the Internet, WiMAX provides access to the Internet across much greater distances.

Once rolled out, WiMAX will provide another connectivity option in South Africa, stirring up further competition in the broadband arena. Because it does not require cables to be laid, it may be especially of use as a last-mile access technology in parts of the country which are as yet, unconnected. In light of Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburi’s recent announcement urging the speeding up of the spread of broadband connectivity around the country, WiMAX seems set to make some progress towards this.


 © 2007 Independent Online. All rights strictly reserved.
Independent Online is a wholly owned subsidiary of Independent News & Media. Reliance on the information this site contains is at your own risk.
Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Time to scrap the internet?

Time to scrap the Internet? 
Anick Jesdanun 16 April 2007 at 11h29

New York – Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government’s blessing want to scrap all that and start over.

The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on September 2, 1969.

The Internet "works well in many situations but was designed for completely different assumptions," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, a Rutgers University professor overseeing three clean-slate projects. "It’s sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today."

No longer constrained by slow connections and computer processors and high costs for storage, researchers say the time has come to rethink the Internet’s underlying architecture, a move that could mean replacing networking equipment and rewriting software on computers to better channel future traffic over the existing pipes.

Even Vinton Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers as co-developer of the key communications techniques, said the exercise was "generally healthy" because the current technology "does not satisfy all needs."

One challenge in any reconstruction, though, will be balancing the interests of various constituencies. The first time around, researchers were able to toil away in their labs quietly. Industry is playing a bigger role this time, and law enforcement is bound to make its needs for wiretapping known.

There’s no evidence they are meddling yet, but once any research looks promising, "a number of people (will) want to be in the drawing room," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor affiliated with Oxford and Harvard universities. "They’ll be wearing coats and ties and spilling out of the venue."

The National Science Foundation wants to build an experimental research network known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI, and is funding several projects at universities and elsewhere through Future Internet Network Design, or FIND.

Rutgers, Stanford, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among the universities pursuing individual projects. Other government agencies, including the Defense Department, have also been exploring the concept.

The European Union has also backed research on such initiatives, through a program known as Future Internet Research and Experimentation, or FIRE. Government officials and researchers met last month in Zurich to discuss early findings and goals.

A new network could run parallel with the current Internet and eventually replace it, or perhaps aspects of the research could go into a major overhaul of the existing architecture.

These clean-slate efforts are still in their early stages, though, and are not expected to bear fruit for another 10 or 15 years – assuming Congress comes through with funding.

Guru Parulkar, who will become executive director of Stanford’s initiative after heading NSF’s clean-slate programs, estimated that GENI alone could cost $350-million (about 2,5-billion), while government, university and industry spending on the individual projects could collectively reach $300-million. Spending so far has been in the tens of millions of dollars.

And it could take billions of dollars to replace all the software and hardware deep in the legacy systems.

Clean-slate advocates say the cozy world of researchers in the 1970s and 1980s doesn’t necessarily mesh with the realities and needs of the commercial Internet.

"The network is now mission critical for too many people, when in the (early days) it was just experimental," Zittrain said.

The Internet’s early architects built the system on the principle of trust. Researchers largely knew one another, so they kept the shared network open and flexible – qualities that proved key to its rapid growth.

But spammers and hackers arrived as the network expanded and could roam freely because the Internet doesn’t have built-in mechanisms for knowing with certainty who sent what.

The network’s designers also assumed that computers are in fixed locations and always connected. That is no longer the case with the proliferation of laptops, personal digital assistants and other mobile devices, all hopping from one wireless access point to another, losing their signals here and there.

Engineers tacked on improvements to support mobility and improved security, but researchers say all that adds complexity, reduces performance and, in the case of security, amounts at most to bandages in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse.

Workarounds for mobile devices "can work quite well if a small fraction of the traffic is of that type," but could overwhelm computer processors and create security holes when 90 percent or more of the traffic is mobile, said Nick McKeown, co-director of Stanford’s clean-slate program.

The Internet will continue to face new challenges as applications require guaranteed transmissions – not the "best effort" approach that works better for e-mail and other tasks with less time sensitivity.


Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Fight the real Anti-Semites

He isn’t an anti-Semite. He’s right!
Micheal Ray Richardson said Jews are ‘crafty’ and adept at security. Correct on both counts.
By Zev Chafets, ZEV CHAFETS is the author of "A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists and One Man’s Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance."
April 3, 2007

UNTIL LAST week, Micheal Ray Richardson (that’s how he spells it) was slightly famous for having once told a sportswriter that his team, the New York Knicks, was "a sinking ship." When the writer asked how far the ship might sink, Richardson replied, "The sky’s the limit."

That remark, however, wasn’t what got Richardson into trouble; repeated drug use did. He wound up banned from the NBA, a vagabond basketball player in Europe. Lately he has been making a comeback as coach of the Albany Patroons in the Continental Basketball Assn.

But the comeback hit the skids on Wednesday. Once again, sportswriters were involved. Asked about his contract negotiations, Richardson said he didn’t expect problems because "I’ve got big-time lawyers. Big-time Jew lawyers."

Alarmed, the reporters warned Richardson that his words could be considered insulting because they fit the stereotype of Jews as crafty and shrewd.

Richardson didn’t even blink. "Are you kidding me?" he demanded. "They’ve got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They’re real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they’ve got to be crafty. They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean? Which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they’re run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they’re run by Jewish [sic]. It’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

For these observations, Richardson was suspended by the Patroons, forbidden by team owner Ben Fernandez to even attend practice. Predictably, Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, praised this punishment and demanded an apology: "Micheal Ray needs to understand that when he suggests that all Jews are crafty, that Jews have a lot of money and power, he is conjuring up classic anti-Semitic stereotypes…. We hope that Micheal Ray will realize the pain his words have caused to many people and make clear that he understands why his remarks about Jews were so inappropriate and offensive."

Excuse me, but Richardson didn’t say anything offensive (and while we’re on the subject of offensive, what’s with the "Micheal Ray"? Are he and Foxman first-name buddies?).

In fact, Jews, as a people, are smart, in my experience. And they’re proud of it (especially the dumb ones). Wake up a Jew in the middle of the night and he can rattle off the Jewish Nobel Prize winners in alphabetical order. Believe me, I’ve been a Jew for 59 years, and I know what I’m talking about.

What other hurtful things did Richardson supposedly say? That Israel has the best airport security in the world? This is both true and something Israel itself brags about. That Jews are hated and need to protect themselves? That’s the founding premise of the Anti-Defamation League itself.

Sure, Richardson exaggerates when he says that Jews own most sports teams. As far as I can tell, Jews (about 1% of the population) only own about half the teams in the NBA (and a pretty fair proportion in baseball and football too). So what?

As to the observation that Jews run a lot of successful businesses, no kidding. Jews are very likely the most economically successful ethnic group in the U.S. What’s the matter with that?

Richardson, who was a popular player in Israel during his NBA exile years, is guilty of nothing more than free speech. Even if his observations were wrong — which they are not — there’s nothing at all insulting about them. What is insulting is the notion that you can’t speak honestly about Jews without getting into trouble.

At the moment, Jews have real enemies in the world: Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the mullahs of Iran, to name a few. You want to fight anti-Semites, fight them.

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