Juval Lowy talk tonight

Juval Lowy A quick reminder for Juval Lowy’s community talk that is happening tonight at Microsoft’s offices in Bryanston. If you have been dabbling with WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) or you would just like to learn more about what it is, then make sure you register and come on through to meet a Software Legend and one of the world’s top .NET experts.

[tags]Juval Lowy,WCF,event[/tags]

27 Dinner by candlelight

27 dinner powered by StormhoekTonight’s 27 Dinner, 27-15 Jozi, was by no means the usual affair. A bumper crowd was expected but unfortunately our lovely power utility company Eskom decided that its the night to start doing some more load shedding. So sometime after 7pm when the event was just getting underway, the power went out in Melrose Arch. It took a little under two hours until the power was finally restored but it seems that hunger and possibly fear of the dark got the better of most of the people as only about thirty people remained.

Nevertheless it was a wonderful evening with David Theron sharing his new J2ME based mobile phone product called iMob. Justin Hartman revealed the new beta version of Afrigator which aims to categorise and aggregate more social media content like news, podcasts, videos and images over and above blogs. You should be able to try the new beta out over here.

As per usual Stormhoek supplied an ample supply of their awesome wines to get the dinner going. I really enjoyed the bottle of Stormhoek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2003 which complimented my lamb shank to perfection.

[tags]27 Dinner,Afrigator,iMob,Eskom,Stormhoek[/tags]

BizTalk Server User Group Launch

BizTalk Server User Group LaunchRecently a couple of BizTalk developers got together on the SA Developer .NET forums and put together the idea of forming a BizTalk user group and it seems to be happening. I got word from Ryan CrawCour that Microsoft is getting involved and together they are launching the new user group starting off with the first event on the 5th of December.

Calling all BizTalkers!

Discover and share with fellow colleagues how BizTalk Server allows diverse systems inside and outside your business to talk to each other without complex and costly integration – enabling you to achieve a true Service Oriented Architecture, and achieve pervasive business process automation.

Connect with other BizTalkers and share best practices and methodologies around BizTalk Server design and implementations.

Microsoft South Africa will be launching the first BizTalk Server User Group on 5 December 2007 at Microsoft’s Campus in Bryanston. To register please click here.

[tags]South Africa,BizTalk,community,SA Developer .NET[/tags]

Juval Lowy to present WCF for the South African community

Juval Lowy Thanks to Dariel Solutions who are bringing Juval Lowy out to South Africa to present a 5-day master class. Juval is recognised by Microsoft as a Software Legend and one of the world’s top .NET experts. For those that are not so lucky to be able to make it to the 5-day course will be pleased to hear that Juval will be giving a free presentation to the SA Developer .NET community on the evening of the 29th of November as well. His talk is titled “Demonstrating Windows Communication Foundation – Beyond the Endpoints, An evening with Juval Lowy”. Make sure you book your seat early as I’m sure this event is likely to be very popular.

[tags]Juval Lowy,WCF,South Africa,SA Developer .NET,Dariel Solutions,event[/tags]

Xbox Summer Fest 2007

If you’re going to be at the coast this festive season then you might want to catch some of South Africa’s premier rock bands in action. The press release below has all the details about the Xbox Summer Fest 2007, however there are some pre-tour events being held at News Café as well:

Friday 16th Nov Table View, Cape Town Perez
Friday 23rd Nov Menlyn Park, Pretoria The Black Hotels
Friday 30th Nov Rivonia, Jhb The Parlotones

 

The official press release follows:

This summer Sovereign Entertainment and XBOX 360 bring you the XBOX SUMMER FEST 2007, featuring six of South Africa’s premier live rock bands.

The tour is comprised of two separate legs. The first leg features The Parlotones, Perez and The Black Hotels, and the second will feature Wonderboom, Crash Car Burn and Driverlane.

The XBOX SUMMER FEST will visit 12 of the most popular holiday destinations along the South African coastline between Durban and Cape Town from 15 December to 5 January.

The popularity of this line-up nationally is aptly demonstrated by the current and recent chart-topping success of singles on 5FM: The Parlotones’ “Giant Mistake” reached number 1 on the Top 40 and Hi5@5; Wonderboom’s “Best Side” reached number 1 on the Hi5@5 and featured in the Top 40; The Black Hotels’ “Natalie” and Driverlane’s “Regular Flavour” both reached number 1 on the Hi5@5; and Crash Car Burn’s “Serenade” featured on both the Top 40 and Hi5@5.

The XBOX SUMMER FEST 2007 ensures that wherever you are this holiday season you have access to a quality line up of live rock music and a good reason to celebrate!

Dates

Leg 1 – The Parlotones, Perez and The Black Hotels

14 Dec, Fri                    The Barnyard Theatre, Plettenburg Bay

15 Dec, Sat                   The Barnyard Theatre, Plettenburg Bay

16 Dec, Sun                  The Deck, East London

17 Dec, Mon                 The Deck, East London

18 Dec, Tues                 Tapas Al Sol, Port Elizabeth

19 Dec, Wed                 Stones, George

20 Dec, Thurs                Diaz Theatre, Mossel Bay

21 Dec, Fri                    Gecko Bar, Hermanus

22 Dec, Sat                   Cape Town (venue to be confirmed)

26 Dec, Wed                 The Soccer Club, Somerset West

27 Dec, Thurs                Hospital Cricket Field, Port Alfred

28 Dec, Fri                    The Bush Pig, Kei Mouth

29 Dec, Sat                   Umshaka Marine World, Durban

Leg 2 – Wonderboom, Crash Car Burn and Driverlane

26 Dec, Wed                 Cape Town (venue to be confirmed)

27 Dec, Thurs                The Soccer Club, Somerset West

28 Dec, Fri                   Hospital Cricket Field, Port Alfred

29 Dec, Sat                   The Deck, East London

30 Dec, Sun                  Umshaka Marine World, Durban

31 Dec, Mon                 Neptunes Festival, Kenton on Sea

2 Jan, Wed                   The Bush Pig, Kei Mouth

3 Jan, Thurs                  Tapas Al Sol, Port Elizabeth

4 Jan, Fri                     Diaz Theatre, Mossel Bay

5 Jan, Sat                     Stones, George

Dates are subject to change. For the latest information go to www.powerzone.co.za

  [tags]Xbox 360,South Africa,music[/tags]

Uncapped local ADSL, not lekker

Sometimes I wonder whether our local communications regulatory body has a clue or a backbone at all. When the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) eventually released their ADSL Regulations last year there was a requirement on local bandwidth which stated:

Local bandwidth usage shall not be subject to the cap.

According to a recent article our incumbent fixed line operator, Telkom, has taken the liberty to reinterpret the intention of the requirement to their own benefit. According to a supposed recent communication from Telkom to their reseller ISPs they state:

It is recommended that service providers allow local only access to continue even after the blended CAP was consumed by the customer.

What concerns me about a comment like that is the interpretation of a blended cap. I can only assume it means that the cap will be enforced based on both local and international bandwidth usage and thereafter their new product offerings can kick in whereby users will have to pay for usage of local bandwidth. The way I understood the ICASA requirement was that local bandwidth usage will not contribute to any cap on the service at all. So none of this blended cap rubbish, just the ability to use as much or as little local bandwidth for a fixed fee per month.

As some of the major ISPs have pointed out, Telkom’s proposed solution to the ICASA regulation is currently what most service providers are offering through alternate mechanisms. I also know a lot of home users that use seperate local and international ADSL accounts and route local network traffic through relatively inexpensive local accounts to avoid accumulating local usage against an expensive international bandwidth cap.

I can understand that international bandwidth is expensive so lets try and keep as many resources as possible local. The major ISPs already implement transparent HTTP proxy servers and some even offer relatively up-to-date mirror servers, but at the end of the day we need to do more to promote the saying that local is lekker.

I think Telkom has once again missed the boat.

[tags]Telkom,ADSL,broadband,South Africa[/tags]

Missing Links

The Missing Links setOn Saturday night my amazing girlfriend took me to dinner and the theatre to celebrate my birthday last week. We found ourselves at the Liberty Life Theatre on the Square to watch Mark Sampson’s production called Missing Links.

I never knew what to expect and found myself laughing my head off. Mark Sampson surely knows how to improvise on stage and often had the house lights up for interaction with the audience.

Missing Links

The inimitable Mark Sampson’s hilarious new show. A roller-coaster taxi ride through 3-billion years of evolution: from microbes to man, via Little Foot, Mrs Ples and a lot of monkeying about. A laugh-a-minute hour with one man and a microphone that will make you see our ancestors – and our present – in a whole new light!

I’m very pleased that Tamsyn didn’t think to take photos or a video with her mobile phone camera when I got hauled up onto stage to demonstrate what the first walk would look like. Unfortunately for me, Mark managed to get on a pair of pink ladies high heel shoes that were about 5 sizes too small onto my man sized feet. I was quite proud of the fact that I didn’t chicken out and that that the flimsy heels didn’t break when I jumped up and down on stage. Strangely enough I felt very comfortable on stage (no I wasn’t comfortable wearing the high heels!) and I think that it was Mark’s laid back Capetonian vibe that made me feel at ease.

Mark Sampson poses after the show I can definitely recommend the show to all that enjoy dynamic improvised theatre laced with side splitting humour.

Be sure to make a booking right now as the national tour ends up here in Sandton on the 3rd of November 2007 and you’ll be sorry if you don’t get to see it. If you don’t believe me, check what Richard had to say about his experience on his blog.

[tags]theatre,humour,review[/tags]

Tech-Ed 2007 day 1

Its the end of day 1 of Tech-Ed 2007 South Africa and I must say it is what I expected it to be. Apparently there are almost 2000 delegates here this year which is an impressive improvement over the 1600 delegates last year and the most delegates at any Tech-Ed event in Africa ever. Are there any other Tech-Ed events held elsewhere in Africa, I’m not sure. Strangely the male to female ratio is still sitting at 10:1 which doesn’t surprise me at all considering women are generally illogical. (I’m going to suffer for that comment, I just know it, but its true.)

This is my first Tech-Ed event as I finally decided to take leave from work and cough up the cash to see what its all about. I haven’t bumped into too many people that I know as of yet although the first person that Willie and I happened to stumble upon was Angus Logan. Angus is an Australian now living in Redmond and on the Windows Live team. The great thing is that Angus will be giving a talk for SA Developer .NET in Bryanston just after Tech-Ed and you are all invited to come and hear about the cool stuff happening in the Windows Live realm. Take a moment and RSVP over here.

I must say that the keynote speech was a bit too long; two hours and my butt was asleep and I was surprised that I wasn’t as well. Thankfully it was followed by a Lost themed opening party at the Valley of the Waves. The food was ample, hot and delicious. The pudding afterward was even more delicious with the bread and butter pudding disappearing moments after new trays were put out. Naturally the free beer flowed happily and there was an awesome fireworks and laser presentation. Some random band named Voodoo Child or something to that effect was on the stage for most of the evening thumping out popular covers that really set the mood for a chilled out evening under the stars on the fake beach. All in all, a great start to what hopes to be an awesome 3 day event.

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,South Africa,SA Developer .NET[/tags]

Dinner with Angie

CubañaLast night a bunch of the Gauteng SA Developer .NET chapter members got together for a dinner meet and greet social with the visiting Western Cape chapter lead Angela Gerber.

We decided to try out Cubaña which is a Havana lounge and Latino caffe located in the recently opened Cedar Square mall behind Fourways Mall. The menu is rather limited for choice unless you feel like interesting cocktails like the chocolate chili martini that Andre was drinking. However the food is reasonably priced and I can recommend the baskets as they are great value for money. Overall the restaurant is popular and definitely has a great vibe.

Unfortunately the place got rather packed when the storm outside got a bit too much and the people outside all crammed inside. The only thing I don’t really like about Cubaña is their need to push the volume up as it gets later. Its almost impossible to hold a conversation and resulted in us leaving and heading off to Ciao Baby Cucina for a quiet coffee and some dessert.

I snapped a few pictures of the evening with my mobile phone, although they didn’t come out too well due to the poor lighting conditions. I’ve posted them up here.

[tags]SA Developer .NET,social,dinner[/tags]

Halo 3 doubles weekly Xbox 360 console sales

Halo 3 bubble shield Its not something to be too surprised about when we consider the international success of the franchise, however I think there are still many sceptics out there that don’t believe that Halo 3 will be as successful in South Africa due to the market not really experiencing its predecessors Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2. Microsoft South Africa just released the following press release regarding the international sales.

Johannesburg, 4th October 2007 — Interactive entertainment will never be the same, with the launch of one title that has changed the way the world thinks about video games. “Halo 3” has captured the attention of consumers worldwide and has made history as one of the biggest entertainment launches of all time.

Microsoft Corp. today announced that “Halo 3” has officially become a global phenomenon, garnering more than $300 million in sales in the first week alone. The critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive, which was released in South Africa on Wednesday 26th September, is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

Initial reports from retailers worldwide show console sales have more than doubled compared with the weekly average before the launch of “Halo 3.” With games like “Halo 3,” “BioShock,” “Mass Effect” and “Project Gotham Racing 4,” Xbox 360 has the greatest line-up in the history of video games and the only console where consumers can play all of the year’s biggest blockbusters.

“‘Halo’ is truly a cultural phenomenon, and the launch of ‘Halo 3’ is an important milestone for Xbox 360 and for video games as entertainment and as an art form,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. “‘Halo 3’ embodies our vision for the future of entertainment, where some of the world’s greatest creative minds will deliver a new generation of interactive storytelling.”

“Halo 3” is the conclusion to the epic trilogy and picks up where “Halo 2” left off, answering questions about the fates of the beloved protagonist Master Chief and his artificial intelligence sidekick Cortana as they struggle to save humankind from destruction at the hands of the alien coalition known as the Covenant. In addition to the rich storyline, “Halo 3” continues the franchise’s grand tradition of delivering innovative multiplayer through four player co op.

Developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, the “Halo” franchise is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. “Halo 3” was released in 37 countries and 17 languages. To date, more than 20 million copies of the games in the “Halo” trilogy have been sold worldwide.

Record week-one sales come on the heels of the previously announced $170 million in sales in the U.S. within the first 24 hours of the game’s release, which marked not just the biggest video game launch, but the biggest entertainment launch in history. The Xbox 360 title beat previous U.S. sales records set by blockbuster openings for entertainment events such as the release of “Spider-Man 3” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” In addition, more than 1.7 million copies of “Halo 3” were pre-ordered in the United States, making it the fastest pre-selling game in history, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-sales of “Halo 2.”

It would be great if we could see press releases from Microsoft about how well Halo 3 is doing in the retail channel locally and what the effect is on local console sales.

[tags]Halo 3[/tags]