Category: History, Science & Technology

On National Passtimes – The Braai

On National Passtimes – The Braai

Yep, you’re not mistaken.  You’re actually getting two posts from me in one day.  Aren’t you lucky?

But that’s symbolic of this day, you see.  For not only is South Africa today celebrating Heritage Day, but also National Braai Day.

Braai is the Afrikaans word for barbecue.  The word is derived from the Dutch braden, meaning “to roast”.  In South Africa the word has been adopted into English, also appearing in the South African version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Continue reading “On National Passtimes – The Braai”

On South Africa – land of many tongues

On South Africa – land of many tongues

Goeiemôre, good morning, dumela, molo, sawubona, salibonani, ndi matseloni, avuxeni, ǃGãi tses, goedendag, bonjour, bom dia, guten Tag, hari yang baik, subaha acchā, subha-ba-khair, marHaban, shalom, Zǎo ān and nzuri asubuhi.

No, I’m not swearing at you.  Today we celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa.  Our country is incredibly diverse in terms of cultures, histories, religions, languages and natural heritage.  The purpose of today is to remember and celebrate who we are and where we come from.

South African flag heritage day

One of the most obvious signs of diversity in our country is in the languages we speak.  To start with, we have eleven official languages protected by our constitution.  Several of those eleven languages have various dialects and there are a couple of pidgin languages as well, combining several official languages into one.  And I don’t even know how many other languages are spoken here, either by descendants of the original European settlers or more recent migrants.

So be greeted today in just a few of the many tongues spoken in South Africa. To learn a bit more of each of the languages used above, click here

On my phones over the years – The Antiques

Writing about the demise of the Blackberry got me all nostalgic about the various phones I’ve had over the years.  Let me share them with you.


My first cellular phone was a Nokia Brick.  Okay, so its official model was the 2110 (though I instantly got a photo of one when I typed “Nokia Brick” into Google).  I also had the extended battery which, as you can see, very nearly doubles its thickness (and which, at four days, lasted twice as long as the original battery (and four times as long as my current smartphone’s…go figure)).  It not only had an external antenna, but you had to extend it to get decent signal most of the time. Click here to find out what else The Brick was capable of

On resolving technical difficulties

So, my day was fun.  As mentioned yesterday, both my pc and my laptop decided they didn’t want to work anymore.  I’ve had computer problems in the past (who hasn’t?) but always just one computer at a time.  This is the first time that more than one ganged up on me at the same time.

After running virus scans, malware scans, registry cleaners, disk checks, a system file check and scrolling through a few hundred entries in the system log I finally found the problem.  Turns out it wasn’t Microsoft taking revenge after all, but the latest update of the program I got from my bank’s internet banking site supposed to protect me against malware and phishing attacks.  Unfortunately part of the ill effects of this update was that it made the computer freeze every time I tried to uninstall it and system restore wouldn’t work either (and in case you didn’t know, you can’t uninstall programs in “safe mode” as the installer doesn’t run there).

clip-art-computers-608372I was weighing my options between doing a clean re-install (which would have meant wiping my hard drive and starting from scratch), taking the pc in to the shop for a repair install (which I can’t do as I don’t have a retail-disc of Windows but only the one that came pre-loaded when I bought the pc), or performing a bit of percussive maintenance by invoking the title of my blog, when I came across  The Windows Club.  They had the answer in the form of an application that could activate the installer from within safe mode and I was finally able to uninstall the offending program.

I am very glad to report that since 12 this afternoon neither my pc or laptop has crashed once and I haven’t had to test whether or not a laptop and desktop pc fall at the same speed when dropped from a fourth storey window.

I still think we should be careful what we say online about Microsoft, though.  I honestly believe they’re way more powerful than the world’s governments and a much bigger threat to privacy than PRISM.

Speaking of PRISM, click here for something funny.  I promise your IP address will be recorded and immediately forwarded to the US Department of Homeland Security along with a photo of you taken by your webcam.

On the demise of the Blackberry

My inbox this morning delivered the news that Blackberry is selling itself as (as The New Yorker puts it) scrap to the highest bidder.  With a share price that has fallen to $10 and the company making a nett loss one can understand such a move.

I’ve never owned a Blackberry (though I had a Nokia E63 which is similar in design).  In fact, the first time I really heard of Blackberry was when I read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol – one of the characters was permanently attached to one (much like President Obama).  Shortly thereafter Blackberry became one of the most popular phones in South Africa (Coincidence?  I wonder.) with many of my friends, relatives and colleagues making the switch. Continue reading “On the demise of the Blackberry”