Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Daily Links - 30/06/2004

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Daily Links - 29/06/2004

Admin notice:
I probably won't be able to easily connect to the Internet for a few days, so blogging will be light from tomorrow till around the weekend

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Weekend Links - 26/06/2004

Update- 01/07/2004: Slate explains that the condensed Clinton autobiography was pulled after the publisher claimed that it infringed copyright

Friday, June 25, 2004

Daily Links - 25/06/2004

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Pascal loops

For the cousin who phoned earlier, asking for help with Pascal loops, check these links:
  1. Link 1
  2. Link 2
  3. Link 3
  4. Link 4
  5. Link 5
I haven't thoroughly checked these sites out, but they seem OK at a glance.

I got the links from this Google search.

Call me on my cellphone if you need more help.

Daily Links - 24/06/2004

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Daily Links - 23/06/2004

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Daily Links - 22/06/2004

Monday, June 21, 2004


Here's a site that rates national flags.

An alphabetical list of flags and ratings can be found here. South Africa's flag scores 85/100.

[via LRC]

Daily Links - 21/06/2004

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Daily links - 20/06/2004

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Huguenot Toll Tunnel

Here's an interesting press release describing the Huguenot Toll Tunnel in the Western Cape, on the South African National Roads Agency Limited's website.

By the way, there is a proposal to rename the tunnel after Dullah Omar, the late minister of transport.

My own opinion is that renaming a tunnel is a fairly harmless waste of time[1] - the business impact will probably be negligible, since confusion is unlikely to arise. Of course, renaming towns and streets is a more troublesome, because it makes navigation more difficult.

[1]I'm not a conservative, but if I was, I'd welcome the idea of politicians wasting time on meaningless activities.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Daily Links - 18/06/2004

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Bonus links - 17/06/2004

Daily Links - 17/06/2004

South Indian culture in South Africa

Rethabile at On Lesotho links to the story about a Zulu man who went to India to study South Indian classical music, but has had a hard time getting to perform back in South Africa. This story was also linked to by Murray at Southern Cross, who believes that the singer is a victim of anti-black and anti-Indian prejudice.

While prejudice may play a part in the lack of interest in Patrick Ngcobo's music, something that may be overlooked is the attitude of South Africans of South Indian descent toward their culture.

For example, there was an outcry by some South Indian community activists when SABC3 decided to show some Bollywood (North Indian) movies. Yet, according to SABC 3, the South Indian community seems to show little interest at the box office in South Indian movies.

According to these letters, attempts by Ster Kinekor to show South Indian movies, and South African South Indian satellite television and radio channels seem to have flopped, due to a lack of interest.

The South Indian community has been in South Africa for more than 140 years, and I would guess that Ngcobo's predicament is less a symptom of racial prejudice than a simple (and understandable) lack of interest of South Africans of South Indian descent in "their culture"- a culture that they have not been a part of for about five generations.


I was pleasantly surprised to see that I received an invitation to sign up for a Gmail (Google's new email service) account when I logged in to Blogger. Apparently, it's quite difficult to get a Gmail account, with people willing to do strange things, and pay significant amounts for one.

I'm experimenting with Gmail, and I think that the most appealing aspect of the service is the 1GB space limit, which trounces Webmail's puny 10MB. It means that I can store as many photographs as I want to, without worrying about running out of space (although 100MB should be more than enough for me). The built-in search facility is useful.

While there are privacy concerns about the Gmail service, which searches the text of emails to display advertisements, I'm not really worried, since most of my email can already be intercepted by human beings, as it travels across the net. A machine scanning for words is far less threatening, in my opinion.

I'll probably post some more about Gmail, but for now, it's greatest impact will probably be felt by users of other email services, like Yahoo, who will find their storage space increased.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Daily links - 16/06/2004

I'm playing with my newly received Gmail account (more about that later), so there aren't many links today:

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Daily Links - 15/06/2004

Monday, June 14, 2004

Daily Links - 14/06/2004

Internet Explorer crashed as I was about to publish my daily here's what I could salvage from memory:

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Shilowa outlines programme

Although it's a bit of a fluff piece, this article discusses Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa's plans for the province.

The emperor from Algoa Bay

While reading the comments on Crooked Timber about the crowning of the Messiah [see previous post], I found this link, to a story about a man, called Joshua Norton, who declared himself Emperor of the United States, and apparently became quite popular in San Francisco.

The local connection: Norton's parents were 1820 Settlers, and he moved to the United States in 1849 from [what is now] South Africa:

At the pre-emptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of These United States

US Congressmen crown the Messiah

I've linked before to stories about the influence of religious fringe figures on the US government. Here's another example: Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church (the "Moonies"), was crowned the Messiah in a US Senate building. Pictures here. See also this. [via]

Update: Kieran at Crooked Timber seems to have also just noticed this story.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Bonus Links - 11/06/2004

Daily Links - 11/06/2004

More links to follow...


Some time back, I tasted a strange pepper-like fruit, which was bought by a female relative. After some Googling, I discovered that it was called the Peppadew (sorry...the "Piquanté Pepper" ). I have since bought Peppadew sauce, although to be honest, I've only consumed half the bottle....I prefer stronger condiments, like Nandos sauce.

Still, the fact that the Peppadew brand is South African, and the way the fruit was discovered, make it an interesting product...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Traffic safety warning

If you are ever driving on the R55 going towards Sandton, be extremely careful near the robots at the entrance to Olivenhoutbosch (a newish township southwest of Pretoria). Drivers coming from Midrand, turning right into Olivenhoutbosch have developed the terrible habit of crossing the solid line and driving facing oncoming southbound traffic in the right-hand lane. The first time I saw this, it was a minibus taxi that did it. Now it seems that private cars are doing the same thing. If you don't stick to the posted 80km/h speed limit on that stretch of road, you may find yourself in a head-on collision, since you won't have time to avoid the morons who do this.

Daily links - 10/06/2004

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Daily links - 09/06/2004

Incidentally, this is the 100th post on this weblog.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Petals Around the Rose

Here's a nice brainteaser called Petals Around the Rose. It took me a few spins to solve it while playing on the simulator, although I was on the right track from the my opinion, the game would have been more fun if the first rule ("the name is significant") was left unstated.

[via Foreign Dispatches]

Update: Simulator link fixed

Daily links - 08/06/2004

Road numbering again

As promised in an earlier post, here are some more sites that can help one in navigating around South Africa.

Selective memory

Natal Fever discusses the muted South African reaction to the D-Day commemorations. [via Southern Cross]

The Sunday Times did have a full-page article on D-Day.

To be fair to those who have ignored the event, there is also an argument that D-Day is overrated [previously linked to here].

Monday, June 07, 2004

Immigration from South Asia

Anecdotal evidence suggests that increasing numbers of South Asian immigrants are coming to South Africa. Apparently, a significant proportion of the population of Indian townships [areas formerly set aside for South African "Indians"] is made up of recent immigrants from South Asia, although there are also stories about these immigrants setting up house in traditionally black areas (lacking apartheid-era hangups about race, they are said to assimilate rapidly).

The implications, particularly in fields like IT, should be obvious.

Weather report

The temperature is a balmy (+)18.5 °C according to the thermometer in a friend's car, although it's winter, and late at night. Although the temperature will probably drop precipitously over the next few hours, it's nice to have warm weather for a short period.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Search engine spamming competition

Anil Dash has entered a search engine spamming competition, and he asks his readers to link to a page on his blog using a unique nonsense phrase created by the competition organizers.

My hunch is that taking part in the competition isn't a particularly good idea, since it should be fairly easy for a search engine that detects the phrase to automatically poison future results from that site, and all the sites that link to it, by assuming that they are link spammers. After all, the sites that use the phrase in question are clearly identifying themselves as would-be result manipulators, with no possibility that they are accidentally linking using the phrase in question.

While I doubt it's a diabolical plot to get link spammers, search engine optimizers and Googlebombers to expose themselves, I'm not going to participate anyway, but if you want to find out more see: [] .

[See also Google's spam result reporting page]

Speaking of aviation...

I read Salon's Ask the pilot column fairly regularly, and I've already linked to some columns. So it's interesting to see that the columns have been turned into a book (excerpt here; interview with the author here).

Here are some good Ask the pilot columns:

[By the way, as is normal with, you will have to watch a short advertisement before you can start read the above isn't too bad, since you only have to watch one advertisement per day to view all the articles on their site.]

Friday, June 04, 2004

Double take

I was driving around near Germiston earlier this week, when I did a double take. There was an SAA Boeing 747 parked at Rand Airport.

After some Googling I found out that the "Lebombo" retired recently, and is now part of the South African Airways Museum collection (page includes pictures).

Update: Here's a link to the SAA Museum Society website

Bonus Links - 04/06/2004

Daily Links - 04/06/2004

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Hard refresh

Tip for the day: if you need to force a refresh on a page in Internet Explorer, press CTRL F5.

Night scopes used by ushers to detect "pirates"

Ushers at every British cinema were issued with night scopes to thwart would-be Harry Potter "pirates". [via Onlineblog]

The wisdom of crowds

A discussion of the book The Wisdom of Crowds.

See also: This Wired article by the author [previously linked to here]

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Daily Links - 02/06/2004

Tuesday, June 01, 2004