What’s up my China?

So what’s up with the search engines today? The local site MyBroadband has an article up about Yahoo! redirecting to the Chinese search engine Baidu and suggested that Yahoo has been hacked. I don’t normally use Yahoo! so I checked it out and after typing in a search term I ended up on Baidu as well. How odd!

TechCrunch put up a post earlier about it and followed up with more detail in a later post. It seems that some of the western search engines namely Google Blogsearch, Live.com and Yahoo! are being redirected for Chinese surfers.

So what is going on? If it is a China only problem, why are South African users being affected? Are South African ADSL users running through SAIX getting access through China?

I’d like to hear from my readers if the problem is affecting you as well. Just leave a comment with the name of your ISP and whether you can search using the sites above. At the time of writing I only get to Baidu when I search using Yahoo!.

[tags]search[/tags]

Wanna abseil or rap jump?

Ponte City abseil and rap jumping Well if you are in Jozi for the weekend of the 13th of October you can join other crazy adrenalin junkies and either abseil or rap jump down the side of the Ponte City building in Johannesburg. Apparently its the tallest building in the southern hemisphere measuring in at 173 metres. The experience will cost you R500 and the proceeds will go to the Creative Inner City Initiative – a non-profit organisation in Hillbrow that trains and develops local artists.

For more information check out the Ponte City site.

[tags]South Africa,sport[/tags]

Are you gonna braai?

 National Braai Day logo On the 24th of September 2007 its a public holiday, Heritage Day in face. But a bunch of people have decided that is really just a great day to have a braai and are encouraging all South Africans to get friends and family together and to cook up a storm in true South African style and celebrate National Braai Day.

Our vision is to create a local day with the same festivities and impact as St Patrick’s Day in Ireland or the 4th July in America. National Braai Day is a non-profit initiative, however to measure the success we need the help of the nation, and this is where you come in.

Show your support of National Braai Day by sending an SMS to 34761 on 24 September with the number of people attending your braai. We will release numbers to the press on a real time basis, and there will be a live counter on this web site.

If you’re part of the official count, we will send you a return SMS with the number of South Africans around the fire with you.

Don’t miss out, start your fire and don’t forget to SMS.

So are you going to get your charcoal and tongs out and have a braai?

[tags]event,National Braai Day,South Africa,holiday[/tags]

Telkom in the dwang for claims

image It looks like Telkom is in a bit of a pickle over its recent “Do Broadband” advertising. A post on MyBroadband details the complaint from a consumer that says its false advertising.

Mr Moorad lodged a consumer complaint against Telkom’s “do” broadband campaign, arguing that the advertisements claims of being suitable for ‘movies, gaming and music’ is misleading.

According to the ASA website, the complainant submitted that the advertising states that one can “do” music, movies and on-line gaming, but only affords the user 1GB. “This is misleading as a DVD-quality movie is at least 4GB and online gaming needs at least 20 GB monthly to play daily.”

While I agree that the “do movies” claim is a little bit of a stretch as I doubt Telkom would promote torrents and illegal movie sharing. They must surely be referring to paid movie downloads, I can’t think why a consumer would want to pay for a highly compressed movies that are sub-DVD quality, can you?

I however don’t agree that to “do on-line gaming” you need at least 20GB monthly of bandwidth. Is Mr Moorad downloading the games before he plays them or maybe he is playing Battlefield 2. As an Xbox 360 gamer I regularly play on Xbox LIVE and its common to work on about 150MB per hour for serious online gaming including voice chatting. So 20GB equates to about 136 hours of online gaming per month which I believe is more than excessive. So the 1GB is quite capable of at least 6 hours of serious online gaming; or perhaps a whole month of online Sudoku.

In its submissions to ICASA, Telkom clearly stated that “Telkom’s ADSL service was never intended for bandwidth-hungry applications, such as gaming or online trading.”

This I find highly amusing to read. Telkom has clearly been caught out in its statements. Its time for the left hand to start talking to the right hand, and oh, while they figure that out, can they sort out the service delivery issues etcetera etcetera…

[tags]ASA,Telkom,ADSL,Xbox 360,Xbox LIVE[/tags]

IPTV one step closer for South Africans

TV The US might have landed on the moon but South Africa took a huge leap yesterday when the industry regulator, ICASA, announced that four new pay-TV broadcaster licenses had been awarded to Telkom Media, MultiChoice, On Digital Media and e.sat respectively. An interesting note is that Sentech has withdrawn their application for a license. This means that Telkom Media are still on track for delivering IPTV and what is most likely going to be the first HDTV channels to the South African consumer market.

Telkom Media plans to broadcast at least five new local channels as well as previously unavailable international channels over satellite, cable and the web. The satellite offering will start at about R100 per month for a basic set-top box with a premium DVR (digital video recorder) version available as well. The cable based solution is expected to make use of ADSL 2+ technology which is considered the next generation of ADSL. According to my sources there are currently test trials running ADSL 2+ and the Microsoft MediaRoom IPTV solution. The web solution will offer Web TV, music and video downloads – the only offering that could have an effect on Internet bandwidth cap usage.

So what does this mean for the consumer? I can sum it up in two words – competition and choice. Competition drives down the prices and choice comes in two forms. Firstly the consumer can now can choose which pay-TV broadcaster(s) to use and secondly the IPTV technology makes bundling easier. Currently MultiChoice offers a few satellite bundles but you can’t pick and choose which channels you want and which ones you don’t want. I for one don’t care about the SuperSport channels and as a result I don’t want to have to pay a premium to watch them. Through choice I’m sure Telkom Media will be able to tap into a new market segment that currently cannot afford or is unwilling to pay for a bouquet of channels that are not desirable.

Unfortunately it seems that MultiChoice is really scared now and has already begun securing the rights to content from the six large international studios and therefore securing its monopoly. However I don’t believe that its only the mainstream content that the consumer wants. Surely there are lesser-known content providers out there.

Personally I’m looking forward to being able to watch high-definition TV channels on my TV, aren’t you?

[tags]IPTV,Telkom Media,MultiChoice,Sentech,Microsoft MediaRoom,South Africa,TV[/tags]

Wanna learn to speak Zulu?

Motherland Language Project I recently got invited to the Motherland Language Project group on Facebook and after much procrastination decided to take a look see what its all about. Turns out its a bunch of South Africans that are trying to teach a million South Africans to speak Zulu in 8 weeks through twice weekly videos released on the Internet. Motherland Isiko TV (MiTV) is running the project and it looks like a very cool idea.

Growing up in KwaZulu-Natal I was fortunate to learn to speak Zulu in school, but unfortunately it wasn’t a subject choice for me. I wish I had taken more time to get to know the language better, maybe one day I could be as fluent in Zulu as I am in C# and Delphi.

So go sign-up, tell your friends about it and become one of the million true South Africans that learns to communicate in a at least one African language.

[tags]language, South Africa, video, learning[/tags]