So day 7 of Movember has passed and so far I’ve just let my beard grow out. The goal being that I have a good foundation to work around…
Nine days in and I am struggling to think of a winning idea. It is Movember after all, you could just grow any standard mo and be happy that you’ve done your part. For my first Movember last year though, I went all out and set a pretty high standard for myself. I have even been asked what my plan is for this year.
You see as I mentioned in my previous Movember post, I’m taking part in a competition/fund raiser at Chingadas in PE on the corner of 6th Ave and Main Road, Walmer. (https://www.facebook.com/TacheForCash )
I get that it’s a beard, but it can easily be turned into some sort of magical mo. Also it’s a beard that took 2 hours to groom everyday, but since mine will only be trimmed into shape for the competition once it’s grown enough and only be fine tuned a few days before, so I can get it right, I don’t see that it’ll be problem.
Video Interview: MTV Rough Cut Interview – Wes Bentley
Anyway, here’s my progress so far
- A moustache-grower’s style guide to Movember (confused.com)
- No Shave November Begins (ucsc.uloop.com)
- Movember Is Here… (myconflictedself.wordpress.com)
- Movember Mustache Rules – The Gentleman’s Guide to Movember Infographics Dictates What Not to Do (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
Then I saw this video of interviews conducted with voters at a Romney rally in Defiance, Ohio.
In the video description is a scary bit of info:
Election observers believe that Ohio is the state most likely to decide who becomes our next President. These interviews were conducted with Ohio voters at a recent Romney rally in Defiance, OH.
- Obama makes last pitch with Boss, Jay-Z in Ohio – Chicago Sun-Times (suntimes.com)
- A Funny Video || Chris Rock makes a convincing argument that Obama is white (aspoonfulofsuga.wordpress.com)
- Chris Rock: “Barack Obama Is A White President You Can Trust” [VIDEO] (newsone.com)
- Ohio. (thebrennerbrief.com)
I have never been the biggest Chris Rock fan, not that I don’t like him. But in the last couple of days, a video was released via the Jimmy Kimmel Show where Chris Rock pleads to the undecided white voters to vote for Obama.
I’m not American, so I can’t really vote for Obama, but damn it’s funny!
Since last week, the Eastern Cape has been getting a lot of rain. In fact according to the Weather Guru (link below) up to this morning 389mm of rain fell in the Port Alfred area. Click here for details on all areas from last week to now. He also shared this info:
With still 8 days left in October we have not only exceeded the record in Port Elizabeth as being the wettest NON FLOOD year on record and the second wettest year on record since 1955 (when records started at airport)
Reason for calling it a non flood year is that although we have had a lot of flooding, there is no ONE SINGLE EVEN/DATE that stands out like for example 1 September 1968
Comparative figures up until the end of October
1974 966.5 mm
1981 923.5 mm
2012 985.4 mm up until 22 October
For the entire year the total for 1968 was 1068.4 mm. We thus need just over 83 mm before the end of the year to beat that record
Facebook has been buzzing about the heavy rains and people are posting photos like crazy, especially since Saturday.
Where to get more info and updates:
Metro Newspaper: http://www.metronewspaper.co.za/
Follow the Weather Guru for up to date reports: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weather-Guru/192566374124112
Algoa FM Gallery: http://www.algoafm.co.za/galleryphotos.aspx?id=201#!prettyPhoto
Grahamstown Photos: http://penneyspix.co.za/gtown-rain.php
Some Images from Facebook:
This year I decided that I wanted to start growing my own vegetables. There was no specific reason, I just wanted to have fresh, homegrown veggies that hadn’t been sitting in cold storage for weeks or months on end.
Since I’ve started, in about July/August, my little veggie patch has started to finally look like something. Being a bit of a geek as well, I spend a lot of time researching how to do it better, be it by reading articles, watching videos or whatever else.
Naturally, while reading articles and finding resources, you come across some related topics, one of which is GM, or genetically modified, foods. The scary part is that a lot of people wont even know what I am talking about. I just had to share some of the stuff that I’ve come across.
What is GM food?
To understand what all the fuss is about, you first need to understand what GM food is.
For centuries man has been “genetically modifying” food by natural methods, such as selective breeding, where you grow a plot of corn and only take seeds from the ones that were resistant to things like fungus. You would do this year after year until you were left with a crop that was almost completely resistant. Even with chickens, you could find which eggs contained less cholesterol and breed only those chickens until you were left with a low cholesterol egg producing chicken.
With the advent of genetic engineering, scientist have been able to eliminate the trial and error method of selective breeding by simply injecting specific genes into the plant. For example Monsanto produce a herbicide called Roundup (glyphosate based) which kills any plant it comes into contact with. Monsanto then sell seeds that are resistant to Roundup. Farmers can then spray their crops with Roundup and be sure that only the crops themselves are left. These seeds are patented and you cannot reuse the seeds from these crops.
Another example is where BT toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis) are inserted into GM food crops to kill pests.
Since 1994, when Calgene (now owned by Monsanto) first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato, GM crops now include, but are not limited to soybean, maize, cotton, canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa & sugar beet. In 2010 and estimated 10% of crops worldwide were GM crops. In the US, by 2010, 93% of the planted area of soybeans, 93% of cotton, 86% of corn and 95% of the sugar beet were genetically modified varieties.
What does this have to do with me?
There has never been a long-term study of the effects of a diet including GM food on humans. I am also no expert on these matters, but there are more than a few articles on the possible effects of GM foods.
Genetically modified foods are not necessarily a bad thing (if correctly and openly regulated), but the way things are right now, people have a right to be concerned. Everyone out there should be able to make up their own mind up about GM foods. New Scientist have a rather informative article on the pros and cons of GM foods.
Also see the selection of articles on GM food from New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/topic/gm-food
The article below describes possible dangers of GM foods to our digestive systems. It also has links to various other articles on other dangers:
The Wikipedia article on the controversy surrounding GM food is rather detailed and a must read. As with any Wikipedia article use your own discretion and read the sources.
The WHO has also released a FAQ of sorts regarding GM foods.
The Daily Mail in the UK has also reported that toxins which were meant to be destroyed by the gut have found their way into the bloodstream of pregnant women and even the umbilical cord.
Even though GM crops are meant to be pest resistant, among other things, recently breeds of “super-insects” are now surfacing resistant to the toxins in the crops.
Another problem with GM crops is what they go into from harvesting. How many products on our shelves use GM foods in their production?
There are so many articles, and resources out there, but these are some of the highlights
The following video is a nice summary of the dangers
Who is behind this?
Monsanto are no strangers to controversy, before they became a biotech firm as they are known today, they produced and had a virtual monopoly in the US for Polychlorinated bipyls (PCBs) which were used as coolant fluids in transformers, capacitors, and electric motors, and in a wide variety of other industrial applications. It has been banned since 1979 is the US and worldwide due to it being a persistent organic pollutant. Until it was banned in the US, Monsanto continued to defend it’s safety. Who is to say it is not the same case with their Roundup herbicide or engineered seeds?
Monsanto is also known for its involvement in high profile lawsuits, as both plaintiff and defendant. It has been involved in a number of class action suits, where fines and damages have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, usually over health issues related to its products.
Other controversial products include: rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) which is used to increase cow’s milk production and terminator seeds which ensure only one generation of seeds survive.
Monsanto are not alone, as the controversies between the other companies include: CFCs (Dupont were credited as one of the inventors and largest producer), neonicotinoid pesticide (Bayer pesticide that can kill off honeybees and other non-targeted insects) and countless more. For more details on the controversies surrounding the above companies, have a look at the Wikipedia articles under the relevant sections (links are above).
Unfortunately, these corporate giants have deep pockets and Monsanto especially influence those in power.
What can I do?
Simply grow your own and enjoy fresh from the garden veggies. It is very satisfying to pick your own veggies and enjoy the wonderful flavour and freshness. You don’t need a lot of space, there are lots of ways to use what little space you have.
Follow these facebook pages for some great ideas and info:
Google is definitely your friend in this regard as well.
But if you’re not the gardening type, then just make yourself more aware. See below:
Be more aware of what goes into the food you buy. Learn more here (available via web and mobile):
Find out more about South Africa’s GMO labelling draft amendment to the Consumer Protection Act 68/2008
Goverment Gazette: http://www.acbio.org.za/ACB_35776_9-10_TradeIndustryCV01.pdf
California’s Proposition 37 (November 6 2012), Vote YES
Very detailed article about the proposition: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
The giants push millions into advertising campaign to vote against the proposition: http://www.carighttoknow.org/ad_blitz_pummels_support
Al-Jazeera article for a bit of non-US viewpoint: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/20129257471016420.html
- Genetically modified foods, depopulation, and california proposition 37 (sott.net)
- The World According to Monsanto (panoffolin.wordpress.com)
- When is time for genetically modified humans? (english.pravda.ru)
- 10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods (gmoawareness.org)
- How to Avoid Genetically Modified Food (readersupportednews.org)
- Monsanto makes rats grow tumors; are humans next? Then…Monsanto enters pharmaceutical business, plans to manipulate gene expression in humans via diet (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
- What does GM mean? (eslschoolforenglish.wordpress.com)
- 10 Reasons Why We Don’t Need GM Foods (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
Just over a month back, I blogged about the Woolworths racism saga and how I felt that we can’t blame Woolworths for the BEE policies they need to follow.
Yesterday a Facebook group, which I happen to follow, shared my blogpost on their page and I happened to come across it this morning. There were also some comments on the original post, which I replied to, but there are some comments from the facebook post that I wish to address.
Before I begin, let me just state three things:
- I think Woolworths are wrong in what they are doing, still doing, but the “boycott of Woolies” has been pretty ineffective as far as I’m concerned. Not that it has been much of a boycott, people involved could have spent the energy on more relevant & important things, but it’s easy to basically do nothing else but avoid one particular shop and call it “taking action”
- I don’t think BEE is an effective means of redressing the mistakes of the past. Any policy which is related to giving preference to one race over another will always be met with criticism and even fear. Almost 20 years on and BEE has done anything that wouldn’t have naturally happened anyway in my opinion. If anything BEE has only made a very small minority of the African population much richer and the majority even worse off.
- At no stage did I say I like agree with Woolies, the ANC or BEE. But laying the blame on one company is never going to solve the problem. So Woolies close their doors, then what, do you think that is going to change things? If anything it’s just more ammunition for the ANC to use against white people.
Now as for the comments, Let me address each one individually:
Well Richard, I am definitely not saying you should sit back and eat it up, if it something you feel strongly about, by all means do what you feel that you need to do about something you feel strongly about.
We are not the only country in the world where discrimination occurs, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, yes racial discrimination is happening, but that isn’t the only type of discrimination. What about gender and caste discrimination in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries? What about religious discrimination all around the world. Even when it comes to race, I really doubt we are the worst.
You want to protest, fine, but a quiet boycott by maybe a few thousand white people is barely a start, it’s almost insignificant.
Dear Melanie, thank you for your condolences, but they are however unnecessary and unwanted. From your comment I could assume that you are a narrow-minded fascist bigot, but I cannot know that, so I won’t call you that. The Moral? Don’t make assumptions, simple. In response: If I were brainless, I would not have an opinion, even if it is different to yours. Pinko? I am hardly sympathetic to our socialist government, apathetic maybe, but not sympathetic. My time is spent better on other things. As for Liberal, yes possibly, I consider myself very open minded, so I’ll give you that one…
Hardly… From the end of August, after an initial drop of R400 which was at its lowest on the 10th of September, it has now gone R200 beyond what it was at the end of August (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/WHL:SJ)
I agreed with you until your last sentence. “Whities” are definitely too lazy when it comes to standing up for what is right. And when they do something it is generally something insignificant. Like saying you’ll never shop at Woolies…
Oh Lord, again with grammar and punctuation… Asskissing, uncomfortable? Hardly, and as for liberal, like I said, possibly, because I do consider myself open minded.
The majority definitely love the victim mentality and until everyone stops blaming one another, there is no hope for us as a country.
Mockracy is definitely the right description.
- I Blame Woolworths, No Wait… (myconflictedself.wordpress.com)
- Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much? (dailymaverick.co.za)
- What’s racist about Woolworths’ ‘blacks only’ job Ad? (akanyangafrica.wordpress.com)
As a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?
If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:
There are probably many more but these should give you an idea
While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.
So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.
So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?
Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.
Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?
What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.
Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?
The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?
Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.
- Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much? (dailymaverick.co.za)
- your cracker boycott is bullshit, honky! (pissingblood47days.wordpress.com)
Yesterday I read an article on the BBC website that got my mind spinning. The article is about how the UK Office of Fair Trade (OFT) has decided to launch a study into the high price of fuel. In the UK the price for petrol and diesel went up 38% & 43% respectively from June 2007 to June 2012. There are other factors they are investigating, but the bit that got me thinking was their citizens being upset about the 38-43% increase (Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19489908)
This past month our petrol prices went up to their highest ever levels. A litre of 95 octane petrol now costs R11.97 inland and R11.62 along the coast.
Since June 2007, our petrol prices locally have gone up by a massive 59% for 95 octane unleaded and 65% for diesel! The chart below shows us in a bit more detail how the prices have risen and fallen over the past 5 years. In 2008 you may recall that oil prices rose dramatically, reaching a record $147 during July and then dropping to around $40 in December. However despite the oil price being lower than at it’s peak, we are paying R2 more a litre.
Looking at food prices isn’t much better. I chose six random food products that I felt were quite common among all income groups, being: 1l Full cream milk sachet, loaf brown bread, 1kg whole fresh chicken, 1kg beef chuck, sunflower oil & 1kg carrots.
The increases ranged from 30% (chicken) to a massive 104% (Sunflower oil).
Separately, however, these didn’t make much sense, so I went to a bit of effort and created a weighted average between fuel, food and oil prices and compared them to the trend over the years and this is when it made more sense
If you look at the below chart, you will see red, green and blue solid lines indicating the movement of fuel, food and oil over the 5 year period, while the dotted lines indicate the trend created by this movement.
The purple line (X) is based on year on year inflation over this period, in other words what price increases should look like.
But what do you notice if you compare the 3 trends and the solid purple line? This clearly indicates that fuel, and by comparison food, since SA relies on transport via our road networks, follow the trend of oil prices rather than the actual inflation rates given by government, which granted takes into account much more than I have: house prices, car prices, etc.
I’m no expert in matters like this so if anyone out there can give me a better explanation I will gladly accept it, but as if climate change wasn’t reason enough for us as a species to move away from oil and fossil fuels as a source of fuel and energy, then surely this should be even more reason?
The sources for all the above prices and rates are:
Petrol Prices: http://www.aa.co.za/
Food Prices: http://www.namc.co.za/
Oil Prices: http://www.investis.com/
Inflation Rate: http://www.liberta.co.za
- Petrol Prices: Watchdog Launches Probe (news.sky.com)
- Petrol price warning: Trouble ahead (itv.com)
- Petrol companies too quick to raise prices – AA (nzherald.co.nz)
- Hike in petrol, diesel prices likely after Sept 7 (ibnlive.in.com)
- Petrol price increase could have been avoided (jbaynews.com)
- Record high petrol prices ‘unlikely to ease’ (radionz.co.nz)
- Petrol prices in Germany hit all-time high (english.ruvr.ru)
- Fuel prices do not reflect international costs – PL spokesman (timesofmalta.com)
During the day today I have seen several websites, blogs, legit news sites and even quite a few of my friends on Facebook commenting and/or reposting a photo of a dog fight arena with Heineken banners on the both sides (see photo to the right).
Firstly, let me just say that I love our furry friends, and that I do what I can, when I can. I definitely do not like, support or in anyway condone dog fighting. Also, I don’t even drink Heineken, I don’t hate it, but rarely drink it.
To get back to the point, there are a bunch of idiots out there, including some of my Facebook friends, who decided to jump to the seriously illogical conclusion that Heineken was sponsoring dog-fighting…. srsly??
You don’t think that it could just be a Heineken outlet of some type, a bar, a club or random venue, and that Heineken were not aware of the fact that the venue was used for dog-fights? No, because everything on the internet is true and people don’t use Photoshop to edit photos. Whatever the source of the photo and how legit the photo is, I am pretty damn sure that the least likely option is that Heineken are sponsoring the dog-fight. I’m sure they would have made sure that their branding was removed
Regardless of all my thoughts on the matter, at the end of the day Heineken did release a statement on their website:
Images are circulating on a number of websites showing what appears to be an illegal dogfight with Heineken banners (placed upside down) clearly visible. HEINEKEN is shocked and disappointed by this image. HEINEKEN is not and would never knowingly be associated with illegal activities, including those involving cruelty to animals. This is a gross misrepresentation of our brand and our legal team is now investigating the source of the picture and will take the necessary measures. We ask anyone with information regarding this picture such as the source, or the venue where it has been taken to contact us.
A simple Google search would have revealed this for anyone that had seen the photo and was wondering if Heineken would do something like this.
Even though the last few months have been quiet on the blogging front, I don’t expect to be doing much for the rest of the year.
It all started this morning, whenI managed to get in just short of 1000 words in for NaNoWriMo. Will get some more in before I sleep hopefully. Even though you only need to get in 1333 everyday, like last year, I want to aim for 2000-2500 per day so I have a few days where I don’t have to worry about it. Especially over weekends and the like.
My NaNo novel is something very random this year. Here’s my synopsis so far:
We have discovered other intelligent life, and their shared knowledge has placed humanity on the brink of an era of mass exploration. Meanwhile Kalar, a hitman with very few morals, has stolen a new AI ship capable of almost anything. Of course, the ship doesn’t appreciate being stolen, and decides to make Kalar’s life difficult…
I have an idea about how the ship being able to turn Kalar’s dreams into reality through a glitch in it’s manufacturing, but I’ll figure that bit out later.
Will try check in once in a while, but no promises.
Have a good Movember everybody
- NaNoWriMo (pattisjarrett.wordpress.com)
- ‘Twas the Night Before #NaNoWriMo… (writeami.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo!!!!!!! A FEW MORE HOURS!!!! (raodum.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo 2011⇒ I’m In (laurelrusswurm.wordpress.com)
- Hey everyone NaNoWriMo is mere hours away and… (querkthegroup.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo is Here! (lifesmaze.wordpress.com)
- NaNo-NaNo-WriMo-WriMo… It’s almost here! (writeontheworld.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo – Less than 24 hours to go (lifeatnofixedabode.com)
- It’s #NaNoWriMo time (fictionalgraffiti.wordpress.com)
- Limbering Up for NaNoWriMo (stl16.wordpress.com)
Yesterday (10 October 2011), millions of Blackberry users (tens of millions according to The Guardian) suffered service outages on their Blackberry devices due to server issues at the Slough data centre in the UK. It finally came back up in the early hours of this morning (11 October 2011), but a little earlier many reports of yet more outages, or sluggish connectivity were being talked about on the various forms of social media.
In the US they have been losing the battle for a while now against Android and iPhone. The EMEA region, which the outages affected have been the one area where Research In Motion (the company that develops Blackberry), has been reporting a success in building up it user base.
A quick look at RIM’s share prices shows that share prices have dropped by almost 60% since the beginning of the year (4 January – 10 October 2011). Not exactly making people confident now are they? If you believe the Guardian’s source:
RIM has been ignoring problems with its server architecture that could prove its downfall for years. “They didn’t start looking at scalability until about 2007, when they had around 8m active devices,” the former employee said: “The attitude was, ‘We’re going to grow and grow but making sure our infrastructure can support it isn’t a priority.’ They have their own clunky infrastructure to do something that you don’t really need a clunky infrastructure to do anymore.”
Thanks, but I’ll stick to my Android. According to Gartner, for quarter 2 of 2011, Android devices had just over 43% of the mobile OS market worldwide (compared to 17% for quarter 2 last year). iOS, the OS for iPhones and iPads, were the only other OS to show any significant growth – 18%, up from 14% the previous year. Blackberry dropped from over 18% to under 12%.
I can see this dropping even more after the last two days…
- BlackBerry services collapse again (telegraph.co.uk)
- BlackBerry service crash affects BBM messaging for millions (guardian.co.uk)
- Blackberry Service Crashes for Millions Worldwide (foxnews.com)
- BlackBerry data outage in Europe, Middle East, Africa (news.cnet.com)
- BlackBerry servers crash, millions without BBM (techradar.com)
- BlackBerry Service Crash Affects BBM Messaging For Millions In Europe (paidcontent.org)
Article first published as Which Smart-phone is King? on Technorati.
For months before I upgrade my mobile phone, I will sit and research all the current phones and phones due for release. Firstly, there is no doubt that it will be a smart-phone. According to Gartner, smart-phones accounted for 23.6% of all mobile phones sales in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 85.6% year-on-year. Then it comes down to which of the major smart-phone OSes you support: Android, iOS, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile, Palm or Symbian?
In the last two years or so, a lot has changed in the world of smart-phones as can be seen by the data available from Comscore and Gartner. If you analyse worldwide smart-phone sales from 2009 to present, things are very interesting indeed. In the days before Cupcake (version 1.5) and Donut (version 1.6), when the only Android phone was the HTC Dream (G1), in the first quarter of 2009, Android only had 1.6% of the world smart-phone market. By quarter one, a year later, in 2010, they were close to 10%, and had climbed above Microsoft and all the other OSes. Symbian, iOS and RIM were still the dominant players though. At this stage, Android phones coming out were on the Eclair (version 2.1) release of their OS and Froyo (2.2) was expected by quarter two of 2010. The only significant jump for the iOS was in quarter three of 2009 shortly after version 3.x of it’s OS was released in June 2009. By quarter three of 2010 though, there were two major changes visible in the sales of mobile phones, as both Android and iOS jumping above RIM and Android showing them both the way of things to come by jumping to the second spot, a massive 15.9% climb over 6 months. By the first quarter of this year, Android would be on it’s latest versions of OS, Gingerbread (version 2.3) for mobile phones and Honeycomb (3.0) for tablet devices.
Things aren’t much different if we look at the US smart-phone OS market. For some reason Comscore, who supply the data, don’t seem to consider Symbian to a smart-phone, not that I completely disagree, especially since Nokia have started going to Microsoft for their OS and Sony-Ericcson have been using Android for a while now on their smart-phones, but it would have been interesting to see nonetheless. Shortly after the first Android phones hit the market in 2009, the Android OS only had a market share of 2.5%. RIM was smiling with a market share of over 40%. I’m pretty sure they had no idea how things would change. Fast forward to May 2010 and Android had overtaken (or almost) the previous number three, Microsoft, and number four, Palm, who were losing market share quite consistently. They weren’t the only ones affected either, while Apple were idling along at around the 25% mark, RIM were just starting to lose grip. The trend continued for Android until sometime around November last year, when they overtook Apple for second place. By January this year, Microsoft and Palm were choking on their competitor’s fumes at 8% and 3.2% respectively. More importantly though, in less than two years, Android had grown to the point where it was the number one smart-phone OS in the US. I’m not the biggest fan of Blackberry or Symbian phones admittedly, so it’s no big loss, but with Android and Apple controlling close to two thirds of the smart-phone market in the US and dominating smart-phone sales worldwide (close to 60%), it’s going to take something drastic to change the way things are currently going. Maybe Nokia’s move from their now-archaic Symbian OS to the Windows 7 phone OS could do that? But then what about the rumours of the new iPhone 5/4S or even talk of the iPhone 6. You also cant ignore the fact that all-unifying version 4 of Android’s OS due out by the end of the year.
One of Androids flaws as an open OS, is fragmentation. Manufacturers and operators, even those in the Open Handset Alliance, have, to be honest here, not kept the various phones out there properly up to date. In the case of the iPhone, each time a new version of iOS is released, you can upgrade most of the older iPhones to a newer version. In the case of iOS 5, previewed for developers in June 2011, if you own a iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, 3rd or 4th gen iPod or an iPad 1 or 2, you will be able to upgrade to the new version and that is all there is to it; one standard version with standard features across most devices still in use. If you have a HTC Dream (G1) or Hero (especially the GSm version), chances are you have some sorted of custom ROM on a “rooted” phone instead of an official update, which aren’t happening anymore. This is partly because the only option to keep your version of Android properly up to date is to “root” your phone and install a custom ROM, a modified version of the Android OS, which are community developed to give the option to those of us whose manufacturers don’t or never did release updates, to be able to enjoy the features of the newer versions. Why would you do this and aren’t there risks doing this? Read this guide for a better idea about rooting.
This will all hopefully change with Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4 of the Android OS. This is the version of Android that will hopefully standardise Android a bit. It won’t just be for phones either, the new version will work for tablets and computers as well. They have basically adapted the framework and by adding APIs will help developers optimize it for all various devices. The two most significant changes for me though so far are the following:
- Google has made it’s founding members of the Open Handset Alliance agree to keep their phones up to date for at least 18 months, which gets you pretty close to your next upgrade. How it will be enforced and whether it will work are separate questions, but it’s an important step anyway. There is always rooting, but this isn’t the solution.
- More exciting though is the Android Open Accessory feature. It is a set of APIs that allow 3rd party accessories, such as a training bike, sync data both ways with your device and automatically communicate with the correct app or link you to the correct app in the Market.
It is still too early to choose the king of the smart-phones, it is still an extremely volatile market and it would be cocky for me to say that while the Android is currently dominating that it will in a year’s time, one only needs to look at RIM, in the US, or Symbian on a more global level, a couple of years back to know the top spot is highly sought after and us consumers are hard to please when it comes to our “whole-lives-in-our-pocket” smart-phones. If we are to believe Gartner, by 2014, Android will be close to Symbian on not only smart-phone sales, which if you recall now make up 23.6% of smart-phone sales, but of all mobile devices. I’m not completely convinced, but a geek can dream.
Authors note: This was my first article published on another website excluding my own blog and I’m quiet proud of that.
- Everyone Needs A Little Robot In Their Life!! (tektalkin.wordpress.com)
- Teenage smart-phone use triples in two years (news.consumerreports.org)
- Apple iOS vs. Android OS consumer battle heats up (and BlackBerry OS gets crushed) (venturebeat.com)
- Android gets the OS headlines, but iPhone is most popular smartphone (venturebeat.com)
I used to love MTV, back when Beavis and Butthead, Migraine Boy, Daria, and more recently Celebrity Deathmatch, had me laughing my ass off. Back when there were still nights dedicated to rock music, not just one night or show either. They also didn’t have 12 hours of ads per day…
Okay I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV at all these days, let alone MTV. I watch the movies and series that I like and that’s it. Once in a while at a friends house I might jump across to MTV, but I hardly ever stay there more than 15-20 minutes before I get frustrated.
As if my apathetic view of MTV wasn’t bad enough, at the MTV Movie awards last night (5 June 2011), I was shocked to find that the best movie, according to them, was “Twilight: Eclipse” and along with that they got Best Male and Female Performance (for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). Oh and Best Kiss & Best Fight. WTF? Really… Twilight was their “best” movie? What the hell happened to all the other way better movies, never mind the best performance awards? Sorry MTV, but you now just plain suck…
So I guess this is my goodbye to MTV. As a final remembrance of the MTV I used to love, here’s a video I found of a whole bunch of Beavis and Butthead.
I want to congratulate my friend, Nadine Rose Larter, on the official release of her first novel, Coffee at Little Angels, today. And while I’m at it, here is the post on how to buy her ebook…
Having read the first sample chapter, I can honestly say it is worth every penny.
Okay, granted, I haven’t bought it yet, but after I get paid tomorrow, I will definitely be purchasing my own copy.
Being a wannabe writer myself, it is really and truly an inspiration to see this happen, especially when it is a friend. It goes to show that if you have an idea, just go with it. There may be naysayers, but there always are; most likely they just wish they had the guts to do it themselves.
I wish Nadine all the best and I can confidently say that I am sure it’ll be a great success!
Of course being Zombie Boy, I have a Zombie Preparedness Plan, but how would I adapt that plan to be suitable for any situation. Let’s be honest here anything could happen, China might attack Taiwan, which would force the US to come in guns blazing. Similarly, North Korea could attack South Korea or even launch their alleged nukes. There is just so much that could go wrong these days. Just look at the recent events in Japan to see how quickly things can change…
Most apocalyptic scenarios can be divided into two broad groups being:
1) Acts of God: This can be any type of natural disaster that was caused by circumstances out of our control. Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, asteroids hitting earth, meteor showers and lots of similar events fall into this group. These normally occur with little or no warning. Small scale occurrences such as the earthquake & tsunami in Japan or the flooding in Australia do not count as apocalyptic acts of God. Think of the movie 2012 or the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs.
2) Man-made: Any type of event resulting from our own stupidity, greed or mistakes. Think world wars and viral outbreaks. The Zombie Apocalypse will most likely fall into this group. Generally speaking there should be warning signs allowing you more time to prepare than the previous group.
My Zombie Preparedness Plan has always been very minimalist in nature, because in the event that something does happen, you probably only have a short time to get the initial part of your plan implemented. Don’t expect me to share any details of my plan, but this guide should help with your own plan.
If I look at my plan, it has five basic stages, but to make it suitable for any scenario, I need to trim it down to four stages being: Escape, Survive, Resupply, Fortify.
When the apocalypse comes, the most important thing that you need to do is escape. Get out of large metropolitan centres and head towards mountainous, sparsely populated areas. Make sure you have enough water and food, but water is definitely the priority. Have a couple of those 5 litre bottles on hand and ideally something like the SteriPEN as well.
A decent selection of tools and multipurpose weapons, such as an axe or self-powered power-tools, which can also be used for other purposes, are also a must.
This is not the time for you to worry about other people. Be selfish. See a beautiful lady being attacked, leave her. Families are a definite no, unless it’s your own. The only exception would be if you see someone better prepared and with more supplies than you. Most likely he will tell you to bugger off though, because you will just drag him down.
You also need to have a small, agile vehicle capable of off-road travel. Think of things like motorbikes, small SUVs and small cars with decent clearance like the VW Cross Polo or Renault Sandero. They should be able to handle themselves on any reasonably rough terrain.
If you’re not going to tackle this alone, make sure your posse is also kept up to date with the basics of your plan. Not your whole plan though, otherwise what use are you?
After you have escaped, you will either need to find shelter, or if properly planned you should already have a idea where you will escape to. It doesn’t matter if it is your place or not, but make sure that if it’s not yours, that when you get there you won’t have to fight off a shotgun wielding owner. Look for places inhabited by elderly people or others who would not fight back once you claim it. Depending on the situation and your plan, you can take them under your wing, or throw them out to fend for themselves.
Once you have a shelter, you need to start preparing for long term survival. Plant your own food, go hunting, do everything to last as long as possible. This needs to be at least a few weeks, allowing the panic and chaos to subside a bit. In the case of a World War, this could be even longer, especially if it was nuclear warfare.
Remember no-one, besides you posse, is worth the effort. If it came down to them or you, you will draw the short straw, so screw them.
After a few weeks, shit should be a bit more settled, depending on the type of apocalypse. Don’t expect it to be all nice and cozy though. It’s gonna be chaos out there. At this stage you need to head out though and get more supplies and whatever you forgot. Make sure you are well armed and will be able to handle any attack.
You also need to decide during this stage if your current shelter is good enough for the long term. If not, this stage also involves looking for a proper shelter that you can use for the long term. Stock up on renewable sources of food such as vegetables, livestock, etc.
In preparation of the final stage, also look for anything that will make your shelter a bit more secure – metal sheets, pipes, wood boards, rope and wire, welding equipment and any tools you don’t have. While you are at it, look for books and magazines that will allow you to learn new skills. Don’t know how to weld? Don’t know how to tie knots? Learn.
Now it is time to prepare for the serious long-haul. Secure you shelter as much as possible. Lay traps, reinforce the doors and windows, do anything to make your shelter impregnable. You should be able to survive for a least a few days without leaving your shelter if attacked.
If you leave your shelter for any reason, make sure that no-one can get in there, because even if you decide to leave permanently now, things might change in the future, so always have it as an option. After all you probably put a lot of work into it.
Of course, this guide is nowhere near to a complete plan. You should have checklists and everything packed ready to go. If you’re not going to do it alone, you need to make sure your posse is also ready.
Just having a plan is not enough either, you need to be willing to adapt. You will most likely need to kill at least one person. You will be way out of your comfort zone. Shit will be different.
Be mentally prepared.
- You: US sends aircraft carrier to South Korea for joint exercises (earthtimes.org)
- Apparently I don’t need to fear a zombie apocalypse (akagringita.wordpress.com)
- Japan Tsunami: A Lesson in Being Ready (michaelelynch.wordpress.com)
- And the earth shook… (mentaldebugs.wordpress.com)
- North Korea Threatens To Attack South Korea, U.S. (huffingtonpost.com)
- Violence, Survival, Twinkies: Why is the Zombie Apocalypse So Popular? (themediaexperiment.wordpress.com)
Original Post (8 December 2010, 17:15 UTC)
As of this post, a silent war involving thousands and thousands is happening, but it isn’t the war you were expecting. It’s the war around WikiLeaks and Julian Assange (See my previous post, “WikiWhat?“, for more details on that story). Who knew how just how exciting this would turn out to be? It’s a geek’s dream come true!! *excited*
Paypal has been attacked in the last day or so, as was PostFinance, WikiLeak’s previous bank, but were not bought down, as in Mastercard‘s case and lawyers on both sides of the Assange case have been attacked.
This is the war for the internet baby and you might as well sit back and enjoy it. Massive botnets are attacking each other and the websites mentioned. I ,for one, am getting the popcorn ready
Read the article that isnpired this post here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/avenging-wikileaks-anonymous-hackers-takes-mastercard-site/
Update 1 (9 December 2010 – 8:00 UTC)
Visa is the next company to feel the wrath of Operation Payback being run by AnonOps. This was at 7:40 UTC
However anonops.net is also experiencing issues of their own, their website is struggling and their Twitter account has been suspended.
These articles also shed some light on the matter in more detail:
This is getting more exciting, as there are rumours that twitter.com is next. Will miss it, but it’s so much fun
Update 2 (9 December 2010 – 15:00 UTC)
The latest buzz today with this was AnonOps releasing their Manifesto as below:
But the very lastest on the internet, is that at 16:00 UTC, Amazon will be targeted for the next DDoS attack and while it may not bring the giant down, it will cause some major bandwidth & financial issues.
- 4chan’s hackers come to the defense of WikiLeaks by attacking its enemies (venturebeat.com)
- The Hacker War Over WikiLeaks Rages On | 80beats (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- WikiLeaks as a Preview of All-Out Cyberwar, Part 2 – The Escalation (voipsa.org)
- No more MasterCard payments for WikiLeaks (geek.com)
- Visa suspends all payments to WikiLeaks (usatoday.com)
- WikiLeaks cyberwar on Visa and MasterCard disrupts Christmas shopping in Operation Payback (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wiki War: Is Twitter Next On Hacker Hitlist? (news.sky.com)
- WikiLeaks’ hackers ‘Operation Payback’ cyber war targets Swedish Government (dailymail.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks cyberwar on Visa and MasterCard disrupts Christmas shopping in Operation Payback (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wiki War: Is Twitter Next On Hacker Hitlist? (news.sky.com)
- WikiLeaks’ hackers ‘Operation Payback’ cyber war targets Swedish Government (dailymail.co.uk)
Most of us wouldn’t have heard of WikiLeaks up until a few weeks ago, then all hell broke loose. As it stands today, wikileaks.org, the original website is down and founder Julian Assange, has been arrested and denied bail by the British authorities, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by Sweden in an alleged sexual assault investigation. I have to admit, that up until the last week or so, I knew very little about WikiLeaks. I knew they existed, but besides knowing what they did, knew very little else. That was until 28 November 2010.
WikiLeaks started announcing from the 22 November 2010, via Twitter that they would be releasing cables from a collection of over 250,000 leaked United States embassy cables, in what is the largest set of secret and confidential documents to have ever been released into the public domain. Even just before the scheduled release of the the cables, there were DDoS attacks on their servers, which were alleged to have caused an additional 4-6 Gb/s of traffic to their site. The release went ahead as scheduled though with an initial 243 cables being released, along with simultaneous press coverage from El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Guardian (United Kingdom), and The New York Times (United States). The plan is to release the cables over an extended period, for their full effect to be felt. Since the start, they have been releasing a steady flow of cables, with a break recently, possibly as a result of their various issues.
Browsing the cables available is a bit of a nightmare but The Guardian has an really awesome interactive database of all the cables released so far, which splits them into several categories and sub-categories. The actual cables are available to read and some of them are pretty scary stuff, with many international and domestic issues covered, ranging from nuclear weapons to the financial crisis and even specific characteristics of ministers and diplomats.
Since the first cables were released, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa have stopped payments to WikiLeaks and Swiss Bank Post Finance have closed their accounts. Yet each of them maintain it is nothing to do with politics, and have some bullshit story about it violates rules, blah, blah. On top of this several other companies have begun distancing themselves from WikiLeaks, including Amazon; even Twitter seems to have censored their trending topics.
Their founder and editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has also had a really bad day at the office. It started with the news that Sweden were looking into issuing a warrant for his arrest. He later turned himself in to British authorities and was subsequently denied bail, and will be jailed until 14 December 2010 for his extradition hearing. According to The Guardian article:
The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have “forcefully” held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her “express wish” that one should be used.
A third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on 18 August.
A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom
Am I the only one that thinks that sounds a bit dodgy? If it is in fact not just trumped up charges, which I think they are, I apologise, but seriously? The US are also waiting for this to finish, so that they can find some charge from the US Espionage Act or something that will stick, but will be difficult due to their First Amendment.
As a contrast, and while I understand that it is by no means the actual winner, as it stands, he is the current favourite in TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year poll with a average of 91 out of 100 rating. Reuters even wrote an article about him today which illustrates the mixed feelings about the man. WikiLeaks has turned out not to be just one man, as they have promised to continue releasing cables as time goes by. They have not left themselves vulnerable I might add either; a heavily encrypted 1.4GB file was released via torrent and has been downloaded by thousands of supporters and if they feel they are losing the battle and are unable to hold against the pressure, a key will be released which will open the flood gates.
The whole saga has turned into The People vs several world Goverments and their puppet Corporations. I won’t even try guess where this is going but things will never be the same after the dust settles. The amount of information out there is mind-boggling and my intention of this post is to simply show what I have found and to make some sense of it… which is appearing impossible I might add. Today alone there were at one stage nearly 3000 sources covering the stories relating to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange and as of 7 December 2010, at 20:12 GMT, Wikileaks was mirrored on 1005 sites.
Will it turn out to be nothing but a huge bubble? I definitely don’t know, but it’s one hell of ride to be on.
- WikiLeaks: Mirrors List - http://wikileaks.cc/mirrors.html
- WikiLeaks: Entire WikiLeaks Archive - http://wikileaks.cc/file/wikileaks_archive.7z
- The Guardian: Interactive Database - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-wikileaks
- The Guardian: Data Downloads & Analysis - http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-data
- Wikipedia: Current Events Page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak
- Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/wikileaks
- Twitter - http://twitter.com/wikileaks
- Julian Assange arrested, reports say (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denied Bail (mashable.com)
- WikiLeaks to keep releasing cables despite Assange arrest (guardian.co.uk)
- Factbox: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested (reuters.com)
- Julian Assange refused bail over rape allegations (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks: US Senator Joe Lieberman suggests New York Times could be investigated (guardian.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks to Continue Releasing Cables Despite Assange Arrest (mashable.com)