Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The beauty of a rough collie

Pablo is an 8 month old Rough Collie puppy. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa

Sunday, 19 April 2009

South Africa on the brink of elections

South Africa will vote in its fourth democratic election on Wednesday, 22 April.
The first democratic election of 1994 was hailed around the world as a miraculous transition of power. The totalitarian apartheid regime had participated in negotiating a model constitution and Nelson Mandela acquired the status of great statesmanship.
The ANC was swept to power in the 1994 election and has maintained a strong majority ever since.
But all has not been well within the ruling party. In November 2007 the ANC conference elected a new National Executive Committee with Jacob Zuma at the helm.
Jacob Zuma posed something of a problem. He was under a cloud of corruption allegations. Charges that had been brought had to be withdrawn while the courts decided whether evidence available to the prosecution could be admitted. New charges were laid shortly after the conference.
A number of ANC stalwarts broke away from the organisation to form a new party called the Congress of the People or COPE. The new party showed some promise but it has been plagued by infighting. Alan Boesak - convicted of defrauding his own charity was welcomed into the new party.
All in all there are about 18 parties contesting the election. The strength of the ANC vote is still uncertain. Many ANC supporters see Zuma as a kind of Messiah - he has promised all things to all people.
Some ANC voters are not happy with the new leadership - the big question is whether they will still vote for the ANC.
The other main parties are the Democratic Alliance (DA) that has been working hard to lose its image of a white liberal party. The Inkatha Freedom Party is strong in Kwa-Zulu Natal and will not impact the result of the election significantly.
If the forecasts are correct, the ANC is likely to win a significant if reduced majority. The main problems facing the country is that the president in waiting - Jacob Zuma - still has a cloud of corruption allegations hanging over his head. The charges have been dropped following undue pressure on the National Prosecuting Authority by the ANC.
Wednesday's election results may produce some surprises. The results will be eagerly awaited.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Tips and advice on "going green" in IT for mid-sized companies

Faced with the phenomenon of global warming heralding dramatic climate change, business has come under pressure to "go green". Mid-sized companies are impacted as much as the large corporations but have more limited resources to deal with the problem. As major energy consumers, the Information Technology management have a key contribution to make in the fight against global warming. Many CIOs may be alarmed at how to improve their ecological footprint, but the good news is that going green can result in significant cost savings.

IT represents a significant cost to any business. It may come as some surprise to learn that almost 48% of IT spending is consumed by energy demands. The US Department of Energy reports that almost 13% of commercial energy usage originates from IT. Desktop computers in the US and Europe consume an estimated seven gigawatts of power every day.

Power consumption is not the only concern of IT departments. Computer hardware contains hazardous materials that include barium, beryllium, phosphorous, mercury, cadmium and lead. Disposal of computer equipment poses an ever increasing threat to the environment.

Computer peripherals such as printers pose additional problems in the disposal of spent toner and ink cartridges and excessive use of paper for daily reports.

For a mid-sized business looking for ways to "go green" there are a number of imperatives:

  • The cost of the venture

  • The resources required

  • The size of the investment

But going green may achieve some major benefits:

  • Significant cost savings

  • An improved environment for management and staff

  • Higher productivity

  • Less damage to the environment

  • An improved image as a socially and environmentally responsible company

Going green will involve some or all of the following steps:

  • Reducing energy consumption

  • Reducing waste and improving the life-cycle management of computer equipment

  • Using less paper

  • Creating a more environmentally friendly working environment

  • Considering work from home options

Many of the options to achieve a greener environment require no initial investment.

Power consumption reduction

A significant reduction in power consumption may be achieved by some simple measures.

Configure all desktop computers to use the standard Windows power saving facility. Simply enable the power-saving option on each computer to allow inactive computer to go into standby and to hibernate. Major cost savings can be achieved. General Electric expects to save $2.3 million dollars per annum by simply using these options.

Enforce a policy of shutting down and switching off computers at the end of the day.

Turn off peripheral devices overnight wherever possible. Equipment in standby mode consumes electricity in small quantities. Small quantities become large when a large number of machines are involved.

Data centres may play a key role in reducing energy consumption through the use of server virtualization, storage consolidation and eco-procurement.

Server virtualization eliminates the need for many servers when one can do the job. The number of servers in use is masked from the user who accesses a virtual private server while in fact sharing the resource with other users. This fulfils a dual role of conserving energy and ensuring more effective life-cycle management.

Eco-procurement involves the specification of energy-efficient equipment when an RFP is compiled and whenever equipment is purchased. Invest in computers and peripheral devices that are Energy Star compliant as these should prove to be more energy efficient than uncertified equipment.

Waste reduction and improved life-cycle management

The frequent replacement of computer equipment results in a worldwide waste management problem. Achieve a longer lifespan for computer equipment through the purchase of higher specification computers. A top-end computer should provide longer service simply because it has more processing power and more memory than the entry level equivalent. When the standard machine starts showing signs of slowing down, the high end machine will still have life.

Developers may require powerful equipment but many computer end-users will be able to work effectively with older computers. The replacement of developers' computers does not have to result in their disposal. Recycle these to staff with a lower processing power demand. Replace equipment as the need arises rather than replacing every computer at once.

While older equipment may no longer be of use to your company, many organisations can benefit from your end-of-life IT assets. These assets may be refurbished to provide a new lease of life for charity and community organisations.

End-of-life assets that cannot be refurbished should be recycled. Recycling companies are able to recover lithium, lead and a host of other materials for use in new equipment. Recyclers may even pay for the old equipment.

Paper usage

A range of measures that result in saving trees include:

Use recycled paper wherever possible. Ensure that all waste paper is sent for recycling. Set the printing options of all printers to default to duplex Citigroup expects to save $860,000 by enabling duplex printing and copying. Halve the cost of paper again by printing 2 pages per side instead of the usual one!

The working environment

At home, electric lights are generally used at night. Conventional office design means that electric lights are needed whether or not daylight is available. Lights at the office are allowed to burn in every room and every facility all day. Even though a board room may be empty for much of the day, the lights are always on. Low cost sensors enable lights to be turned on when people are in the area and turned off when there is no-one there. The same result may be achieved manually if energy conservation is instilled in the ethic of the company.

An environmentally friendly building can achieve significant savings. Using smaller offices with access to natural light sources is an excellent place to start. There is no need to throw away the air-conditioners, but their use may be reduced by having windows that open to allow for the circulation of fresh rather than recycled air. Insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs within a building. Smaller offices can be heated and cooled more efficiently than large open spaces.

Allow for the work at home option

Many of today's jobs can be effectively designated as suitable candidates to work at home. Some may prove to be far more productive. This will result in lower power consumption at the business as well as reduced carbon emissions from the daily journey to work.

Broadband connectivity using secure Internet access is a viable option. Workers will save the considerable time and energy consumed by the daily return journey.

The work from home option allows for the migration to a virtual office environment. Instead of a desk for each employee there is a virtual work station and conference facilities with plug and play network points providing connectivity and space when necessary.

Video conferencing has become a viable option using a secure broadband Internet connection. Workers are able to meet on-line while working from remote locations.

Going green need not represent a threat to the mid-sized company. Many green initiatives will achieve significant savings at little or no cost. The options that do involve an initial capital investment should produce operational savings from the outset and a positive return on investment within a short time-span.

Saturday, 04 April 2009

What kind of people use an online dating

Visions of all sorts of dangerous characters come to mind when pondering the using on line dating services to find your ideal partner. What about stalkers, weirdoes, scammers and midnight ramblers? And of course, how do you select the right online dating website?

Well, if the truth be known the chances are that you will come across some undesirables. Just as you do in everyday life. There are those that are looking only for sex – and they make it obvious. Some are unpleasant and in possession of dubious intellectual abilities. But of course you have the ability to block anyone that you do not want to communicate with. Of course you can also report those that are abusing the system.

But visit a dating site and you’ll find a lot of normal people of all ages, cultures religions and nationalities frequenting the site. When I was young (a very long time ago) using a dating club was something that you kept very much to yourself. Not something that you advertised!

Online dating has become mainstream. Dating sites are a prime way to meet others. Clubs and bars don’t work for everyone, and on-line dating opens a whole range of possibilities as to whom you can meet.

Before you respond to someone, check out their profile. Don’t simply rely on a photograph. A 23 year old stunner looking for a man of 30 to 80 years is suspect. If the member’s profile has little or no information be sceptical. Using your common-sense on this platform makes a lot of sense! In general, don’t travel across continents or send money to cover air fares to meet your dream partner. Especially as it is someone that you know very little about!

With over half a million members worldwide, DatingBuzz is a great way to meet your match. Just follow the link.

Meet your ideal match at
- Free Membership, Free Matching, Free Photo Upload. Join today!