claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
2016-08-26 01:27 pm

New keyboard

I bought myself a new computer keyboard last week to replace the 11-year-old Logitech G11 gaming keyboard that has served me so well. The replacement is a Logitech G19:


Logitech has stopped making them, and the replacements are not only not very nice, but really expensive. So I bought a G19 online from a site still selling them.

It's got a nice soft feel to the keys. The LCD screen can show a variety of things, but I'm using it as a clock. There are 12 programmable keys; I have programmed them to do things like Cut/Copy/Paste/Undo, and to insert text strings like my name or email address(es), all for convenience. The G19 acts as a USB hub too; it has two powered USB 2.0 ports. The keys are backlit, and the colour is configurable. It has big enter and backspace keys, just like I like them.

All in all, damn nice. Let's hope it lasts a decade, like its predecessor.
claidheamhmor: (UnderworldEvolution)
2014-10-02 11:02 am

Celebgate

My insurance broker popped round last night bearing pizza, and we had a good chat. Something we talked about was Celebgate, with all the leaked nude celebrity selfies. He was saying that people shouldn't be taking nude pictures of themselves, because there's that chance the pics will be leaked.

I'm of a different opinion. If people want to take selfies, that's up to them. If they want to store them on the cloud, fine. Obviously, take a few basic precautions - choose a secure location, enable the phone password, etc.

But there's more to the whole Celebgate leak than just pictures:
  • Apple let those celebrities down, by having an insecure "feature" on iCloud that let hackers repeatedly enter password attempts without blocking access.
  • Many of those celebs, I'll bet, had no idea their phones were being automatically backed up to iCloud.
  • All the focus has been on the nude pictures. That's only part of the story, because what the hackers got were complete iPhone backups. Not just pictures, but email, text messages, contacts, calendar, notes, documents, and more. In other words, if those users had a copy of their bank statement in their email, or any unencrypted passwords typed in, or any personal information, or email addresses or phone numbers of family, friends, or other celebrities, or personal calendar entries, or home addresses... that information has been hacked, and someone has it. That could be a lot scarier than pictures.
To say people shouldn't take nude pics implies that they also shouldn't have any other personal information on their phones (or email, or websites, for that matter). It's possible to live like that, but if you do, why bother having a smartphone? Just get a cheap Nokia.

Personally, I think there's a balancing act between the risk of such information being on your phone, and the convenience and utility of doing so. My opinion: go for it, but take precautions. Use a phone password. Use encrypted password storage apps (like LastPass, Password Keeper, et al). Use secure cloud storage (I use OneDrive and Box). And if your information is more valuable (if you're a celebrity, say), take even better precautions (hey, how about a more secure phone).

claidheamhmor: (Stranger in a Strange Land)
2014-05-26 12:00 pm
Entry tags:

Tramp Royale

I've been reading Robert Heinlein's books all over again, and they're still eminently readable. I'm not sure why they're so readable; I suspect it's because of the conversational devices he used.

One that I hadn't read before was "Tramp Royale". It was not science fiction; it was the account of the round-the-world trip that Heinlein and his wife Viginia (nicknamed "Tickey") took in 1953/54. The book itself was only published in 1992, four years after Heinlein's death (he died on my birthday in 1988).

Tickey had a fear of flights over water, so they booked a trip mainly via ship, travelling to South America, through many of the South American countries, across the Atlantic past  Tristan da Cunha to South Africa, through South Africa (Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Kruger Park, Durban), Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, before hopping over to Hawaii, then back to Colorado.

It's fascinating seeing a view of so many countries from 60 years ago, not long after World War II. Here's a quick summary:[personal profile] luthiea
  • They loved South America, finding everything very cheap, the people friendly and helpful, and accommodations comfortable and clean. One amusing anecdote Heinlein used in a book a few years later was getting the spelling of their surname of a South American women; the name was pronounced "Hone-ace", but it was spelled "j-o-n-e-s".Heinlein especially admired Uruguay. Even now, Uruguay has possibly the most down-to-earth leader in the world; José Mujica and his wife live on a small farm instead of the presidential palace, they have no staff, he drives an aged VW Beetle, and donates 90% of his small salary to charity.
  • South Africa: this was an interesting one. They loved the wildlife and scenery; however, even then, 6 years after the National Party was voted into power by only around 5% of the population, apartheid was in full swing. Heinlein commented on the terrible policies, and the effect on the black population, and he said he saw no solution for South Africa (thankfully, decades later, that was to change). He mentioned the beautiful houses in Johannesburg, hiding behind high walls and electric fences, owners nervous about being killed by their black staff. He and Tickey went to the Kruger Park, and had to deal with the terrible rail services (still bad), and the stupid bureaucracies of the government. He really, really didn't like Afrikaners, finding them unpleasant and difficult. One thing that came up several times was that people kept asking why the US wouldn't pay more for South Africa's gold.
  • The Heinleins found Jakarta dirty and unpleasant; they didn't stay long. By contrast, Singapore was clean, had excellent service, and some of the best accommodations they'd ever seen.
  • They caught a dirty ship to Australia, and found Australia riddled with bureaucracy. For example, on landing, they had to fill in income tax forms, and on leaving, had to get export permits for their money, including their own traveller's cheques, stamped in a couple of different places. They people, they found, tended to be friendly, but somewhat tactless. Hotels were awful, thanks to stupid regulations requiring bars to run hotels too and a condition of the licence.
  • Next was New Zealand. 
  •  could probably comment on how NZ has changed. Back then, the people the Heinleins encountered were dour, petty, and unhelpful. Hotels were the worst they'd encountered, to the extent that the best hotel they found in Auckland wouldn't have been as good as the average US backwater motel. Food was terrible; the New Zealanders kept the worst of their food for themselves, and destroyed it with their cooking; boiled beef, boiled lamb, boiled mutton, and for breakfast, boiled bacon. Petty bureaucracy was rife, right down to mealtimes; if your mealtime was 1PM to 2PM, you weren't allowed to be seated in the hotel dining room before 1PM, even if the place was empty, and you were obliged to be out by 2. Heinlein and Tickey saw only a bit of NZ's scenery, thanks to more ridiculous transport rules. At the time, NZ citizens weren't allowed to visit the US, and even if they got special dispensation, they weren't allowed to buy US dollars. The only highlight was a helpful zoo manager at the Auckland zoo.
  • NZ was so awful that Tickey was actually prepared to fly back to the US rather than  fight red tape to get a booking on a ship, so they flew (in sleeper berths on a DC-6!) to Hawaii, which they loved, and from the back to the US. 

Even though Tramp Royale was not published until decades later, Heinlein used bits and pieces from their trip in his fiction; one can see signs of his dislike for petty rules in almost all of his books, and bit and pieces obviously relating to Tramp Royale crop up here and there. 

claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
2014-02-05 01:22 pm
Entry tags:

BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

I got BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 on my phone the other day (by sideloading it, actually, rather than waiting for the official download, since it looked like Vodacom was behind the times). Despite the minor version number increase, it's a huge update, with a bunch of nice improvements. The most major, yet least mentioned, is the ability to directly load Android apps; I loaded Snap, which can get apps directly off the Google Play store, and also got the Amazon and 1Mobile Market store apps to get apps from there. So far, I'm slightly underwhelmed; I downloaded Talking Tom, which is amusing, but just about everything else I can think of, I already have a native app for. I did a count of apps the other day; I have 191 on my phone.

The other day I picked up a micro-USB to USB OTG (on the go) cable. This little cable lets me connect a flash drive, external hard drive, mouse, or keyboard into my BlackBerry. Very handy to be able to access flash drive contents.
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)
2014-02-04 01:27 pm
Entry tags:

Vocabulary test

An interesting little vocabulary test, posted by [Bad username or site: malkhos. @ livejournal.com]

Here's the test.

I got 78%.
claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
2014-01-10 03:32 pm
Entry tags:

Education in South Africa

Education is failing us here in South Africa.

The most recent stats for last year's matrics (grade 12 school leavers) have been published. 78% of the matrics passed the year. This sounds OK - after all, it's better than previous years - but then you dig a bit deeper.

For example:
  • If you actually count all of the kids starting Grade 1 in 2002 who passed matric in 2013, then the pass rate is only 38%. In other words, on average, only 38% of our youth are successfully completing school.
  • The Grade 9 average maths mark was 14%. Only 3% of Grade 9s got over 50% for maths.
  • Only 3% of matrics got a distinction for maths. Only 40% of them scored over 40% for maths. Only 26% got over 50% (which is the minimum requirement for any science or commerce-based university course). Similar result for science.

In other words, while the overall pass rate sounds good, the vast majority of even those who passed are not actually educated enough for anything but unskilled jobs. Most of those getting into university can't get into the science and commerce courses, and as a result, SA is desperately short of graduates in the science and engineering fields.

Of course, because most matrics are not qualified enough to get decent jobs, unemployment goes up; the unemployment rate for people in the school-leaving age category is around 40%. Without jobs, poverty worsens, there's impact on the economy, and people aren't able to help their own children through school. It's a vicious cycle. :(
claidheamhmor: Z10 Scrabble (Blackberry Z10)
2013-11-22 10:08 am
Entry tags:

New cellphone: Z30

 
My cellphone contract was finally up for renewal; this time, on 20 November, I went for the BlackBerry Z30, which was launched that very day.

I posted about my BlackBerry Z10 back in May. Well, the Z30 is similar, with the following major changes:
  • 5" AMOLED screen (same resolution though)
  • Faster dual-core CPU and a quad-core GPU
  • Dual antennas for better reception
  • Stereo speakers
  • Multiple microphones and speech optimisation for improved voiced clarity
  • Huge battery (not removable)

So far, loving it. The OS version is now 10.2, which carries a number of improvements. 10.2.1 is around the corner, with one huge feature: the ability to install Android apps directly. Beta testers are already able to download and install apps directly from a number of third-party store, like Amazon. I really like the operating system; though new, it's solid and intuitive, and feature-packed.

Areas I think the phone could have been better: the camera, at 8MP, is adequate, but not great. The screen would have been better at 1080p resolution (that said, it's a stunning screen - maybe the resolution isn't necessary). More internal storage would have been nice (still upgradeable via SD card of course).

The showcase feature: the sound. It can go seriously loud, and sounds absolutely brilliant. Better than any mobile device I've ever heard. Second best: a much improved battery life.

Another positive for me: my contract with Vodacom is actually cheaper now than it was, and I get a bit of free data (200MB, which compared to my usual usage is actually trivial). They gave me an 8GB SD card with the phone; I have so many, I have no idea what to do with it.I bought a pouch; no official BlackBerry accessories were available, so I got a generic XXL-sized Swiss Army Gear pouch in (fake?) black leather with red stitching.

claidheamhmor: (Mondeo Ghia)
2013-09-11 09:08 am
Entry tags:

Joburg and traffic

The traffic here in Joburg is notoriously bad, not to mention dangerous.

Here are a couple of interesting stats to do with enforcement of traffic law in the Joburg metro area:
  • Over 99% of all fines issues are for speeding, from speed cameras. Almost no moving offences are caught.
  • Only 13% of all fines issues are paid by the infringers.
  • If someone doesn't pay a fine, there are no criminal penalties.
  • There are over R2 billion (just under $200m) in unpaid fines in Joburg and Pretoria.
Those post brought to you in memory of all the people stuck in rush hour traffic this morning.

claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
2013-09-04 08:59 am
Entry tags:

TV shows

There are a couple of TV shows I've been rather enjoying lately.

 
One is Continuum, about a cop in the year 2077 who ends up coming back to present day to hunt down some terrorists. The lead actors are good, and the plot and villains are complex.



The other is The Bridge, set in El Paso, Texas, about a serial killer working both sides of the US-Mexican border. The main attraction here is the ever-lovely Diane Kruger playing a cop with Aspergers, working with a more relaxed Mexican cop, and it makes for an interesting show.




claidheamhmor: (Freudiana)
2013-07-02 10:43 am
Entry tags:

Saintly

Book news:

I recently read Lauren Beukes's "The Shining Girls". It's a book about the survivor of an attack by a time-travelling serial killer, and her attempt to track him down. It's interesting, and fairly straightforward; quite a different style from the uncomfortably choppy style in Lauren's previous book, Zoo City. Enjoyable.

Apart from that, I've been nearing the end of Jonathan Kellerman's "Alex Delaware" novels, and after 25 of them, it's getting a little tiring; the plots a a little too complex, and the characters have become rather static.

The most enjoyable books I've been reading lately are Leslie Charteris's "The Saint" series, the series upon which the TV series, starring Roger Moore, was based. The books start back in 1928, and despite the age, don't feel dated. Simon Templar is an amusing character, and the books are surprisingly well written, for what one would consider a lightweight series; Leslie Charteris had beautifully descriptive prose.
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry Logo)
2013-06-21 03:05 pm
Entry tags:

BB10

I'm still really enjoying my BlackBerry Z10. Best feature so far: having my home PC listed as part of the file system (along with internal memory, SD card, Box.net, and Dropbox). So I can, anywhere I can open or save or attach a file, browse to my home PC and get it. Basically, 3.5TB of private cloud storage. If I'm on my home wi-fi, I can even play entire movies on the phone (it's a little slow and expensive doing it on 3G!)

I've stumbled across a few really nice apps; I should probably do some app reviews sometime. Maybe get back to my old BlackBerry-focused blog.
claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
2013-05-08 02:20 pm
Entry tags:

BlackBerry Z10: A review

BlackBerry Z10: a review

 

I got the new BlackBerry Z10 phone a couple of weeks ago, and I've been setting it up and getting everything I like working on it.
 
Rather than provide a long, complex review (there are plenty on the web), I'm just going to jot down things I found relevant, and add a few screenshots.
 
This is coming from a long-time BlackBerry OS user, though I've had an iPhone and I've set up and worked with a number of iPhones and the occasional Android.
 
Hardware

The Z10's hardware is really good. Fit and finish is top-notch, and the materials used feel good. The phone feels durable too, and scratch-resistant.
 
The screen is outstanding. Put it next to an iPhone 5, and it's unquestionably better – not only bigger, but higher-res. User interface elements take advantage of this – the clock, for example, is beautiful. The screen has a much nicer feel to it than my old 9810's screen – maybe it's an oleophobic coating?

The camera is good, but not great; it needs improvement in poor light. I believe there are some software fixes for the camera due out. One thing I do like is that the button-to-picture lag on the camera is very short. The HD video recording is pretty impressive. I like the time-shift camera, but I haven't really used it much.

The input/output capabilities on the Z10 are great. With HDMI-out, I can connect the phone to a TV or decent computer screen and play movies or whatever there. The Z10 has DLNA too, which means I can use my TV to browse the phone and play media off it over wi-fi (and it works really well!). Wireless storage access is available, so I can connect to the Z10's internal storage and SD card over wi-fi; that's very handy. BB 10.1 will add the ability to access network shares from the phone.

Battery life is not bad; I get about 10+ hours on a busy day, more on a weekend. That's better than I got on my old BlackBerry. It does help that I have a really good car charger, the Energizer 2.1 amp dual-port charger; that can get a phone up to usable levels within minutes.
Phone call quality is excellent; there seems to be some good noise cancelling.
 

Function

The BlackBerry 10 user interface works well. It takes a short while to get used to, but after that, phones with physical "home" buttons (and the app in-out in-out paradigm) feel primitive. I love the way the integrated message hub is always only a swipe away, and the way running apps are displayed is cool (especially those designed to show something useful in the minimised app frame – like weather, battery level, album art, etc.). Everything feels quick and very, very slick.

The multitasking is handy; having the apps actually shown on screen makes it obvious. One downside – most of the ported or sideloaded Android apps don't multitask (in other words, they pause when they're not in the foreground).
 

The user interface (more specifically, the icons pages and running apps page) is obviously meant to be used in portrait orientation, but apps go landscape when the phone is turned. 

The distributed real-time multitasking QNX underpinnings to the operating system will probably become more evident over time, as things get refined. I can foresee a lot of opportunity for integration with cars and other systems. The BlackBerry CEO, Thorsten Heins, was quoted last week as saying there may be no need for tablets in 5 years. I think what he means is that tablets as standalone devices may go away. It makes sense to have a larger dumb screen, driven by your single mobile device.
 
Something really nice about the user interface design is that most navigation elements are at the *bottom* of the screen, making it far easier to use one-handed.

I had some issues getting my data from my old BlackBerry to the Z10, but I think part of this was because of a flaky SD card. One annoying thing was that all of my contacts were saved as local contacts on the Z10, then duplicated the moment I added my email account and synched contacts. I had to remove all of the local ones. A clean setup works much better, especially if you have online contact/calendar sync.

I do like the way you can link various contact records (e.g. email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for the same person, and it's all displayed as one contact, showing interactions with that person (like calls, emails, etc.)

The web browser is stunning – it's faster than any other mobile browser I've seen. In fact, I wish my desktop Chrome were that fast. It supports Flash too. One very nice feature is the Reader mode, which with a click strips out ads and makes an article easily readable.

         
 

Storage handling generally is excellent. There's the 16GB of internal storage, plus your SD card, but if you log in to Dropbox and or Box (where you get 50GB free), you get those too, all shown as part of the filesystem. In other words, anywhere you can open or save a file, you will have Dropbox and Box listed as locations too. This is enormously convenient. The File Manager lets you easily copy/moves files between the various areas.


The Z10's virtual keyboard is brilliant – it's really, really good at predicting text. I've written entire sentences with a single letter and a bunch of swipes. That said, it does need a little more attention than the physical keyboard, and I'm not at the same speed as on physical. On the downside, it's not properly WYSIWYG – it shows uppercase letters all of the time, even when it's about to type lowercase letters.

Sadly, there's just no way of getting some of the efficiencies one has with a physical keyboard, like 20+ single-press speed-dials, or single-press access to most of your apps. It looks like the BlackBerry Q10 will handle those needs for people who value that more than the Z10's screen size.
 

Apps

BlackBerry Maps works pretty decently for navigation. For SA, there's Wisepilot too. I side-loaded Google Maps, but it's a little unstable.

There are plenty of apps available out there. I've been able to easily find either BB10 versions of my favourite apps, or equivalents. I've also side-loaded a bunch of Android apps; there's quite a little cottage industry in sideloaded apps. The ported or sideloaded Android apps, by and large, run very well.

One app I missed from my old BlackBerry was Social Feeds, for providing a single location for Facebook/Twitter/RSS feeds; soon enough I stumbled across Android's Flipboard, which I sideloaded and which works fairly well.


 
 
On my old phone, I used a car maintenance and fuel logging app called Fuel Economy. That's not on BB10, but I found one called aCar, an Android port, which is comprehensive. I spent a couple of hours playing with CSV files and imported 6 years of data into it.

 

Another app I've used for ages is a shared grocery list app, OurGroceries. Initially, there wasn't a BlackBerry 10 app, so I sideloaded the Android version. A few days ago, the BB10 version was released, so I have that loaded now too.

The ported Android app Vivino is quite fun; you can take a picture of a wine bottle, and it has a pretty good go at identifying it and letting you rate it.


 
The Z10's "Remember" app links to Evernote, if you have an account there, as well as to your corporate Exchange server's Notes, and integrates them into a single app. Very convenient. You can of course load Evernote too.

The Last Weather App is brutally straightforward (and surprisingly accurate).


The Compass is pretty

 

Other
The desktop software for synching media, BlackBerry Link, sucks. It's slow and clumsy, and I had to beat it into submission.

"Balance" is a way of separating personal and work data, and it works very well, separating the access to corporate data from your personal stuff, where you may not be so paranoid. Contacts and calendar are integrated, conveniently. One awkward side-effect, however, is that "work" contacts run in the work context; the most visible consequence is that if you tap a contact's address, BlackBerry Maps will load – but in the work area, where it may not have Internet access.

If you have a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you get even more: you can have separate apps for work and personal profiles, with work apps deployed from the server. In the "work" profile, you can access internal resources, like intranet pages, and you can use apps like Work Files to access data off file server shares.

Data is a problem. With my old BlackBerry, I used about 300MB of data per month on BIS. Currently, it looks like my Z10, doing much the same stuff, is heading toward 2GB per month, which I have to pay for; I have a new respect for BIS's compression. On the plus side, internet access is much faster.

Playbook integration has been gutted. On the OS7 devices, Playbook bridging offered email, calendar, contacts, work browser, internet connection, text messages, phone call display, and remote control. With the Z10, all that's available is the work browser, internet connection (now much faster), and remote control.
 
claidheamhmor: (F-111 in the Sky)
2013-05-07 09:23 am
Entry tags:

Best pilot ever

I reckon Eric Brown is probably the best pilot in history. I read his book "Wings of the Luftwaffe" in the early '80s, and met him when he came out to South Africa. I'm amazed that he's still around.

 


claidheamhmor: (Fiday)
2013-05-03 01:15 pm
Entry tags:

Science and Religion

The Bad Astronomer posted an article mentioning links to Science and Religion surveys. Fairly interesting, especially if you read the stats afterwards.

Here they are:
Science quiz
Religion quiz

I got 15/15 for the science quiz, and 14/15 for the religion quiz (I got the last question wrong).
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)
2013-03-05 02:35 pm
Entry tags:

The Wheel of Time

I  bought and read the final book of Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" series, A Memory of Light. In many ways it was nice to get to the end of the series (though perhaps I should go and read the last few books again to get to grips with it properly), and I enjoyed seeing what happened to all of the characters, but on the downside, most of the book was about the Final Battle, and all the fighting really did take ages.

Still, I'm glad it's done. I will miss the anticipation of what was going to happen with each character though. What an amazingly complex series.
claidheamhmor: (Green D20)
2013-02-05 09:15 am
Entry tags:

Chocolate dice!

 I want a mould to make chocolate dice!!!


claidheamhmor: (Blackberry)
2013-02-01 01:57 pm
Entry tags:

BlackBerry 10 launches


BlackBerry launched their two new smartphones on 30 Jan: the Z10 (touchscreen) and Q10 (QWERTY). This has been a long time coming; RIM (now renamed BlackBerry) knew they had to move away from their old Java-based phones, and they've spent the last couple of years coming out with something really good. While the old CEOs screwed up their long-term strategies and nearly sunk the company, the new CEO, Thorsten Heins, has done an amazing job of keeping BlackBerry going while developing the new devices and OS.

The BlackBerry 10 OS is the key to it all. BB10 is built on top of QNX, a very highly available, highly multiprocessing operating system kernel used as the basis for all sorts of devices where the cost of failure is very high (for example, nuclear power plants, manufacturing systems, high-end Cisco routers and switches, and automotive management and infotainment systems used by companies like BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Acura, and many others). QNX supports 32 or 64 processors or more, even distributed across multiple devices. There are stories of QNX systems running for 15 years 24x7 without a single second's downtime (in that particular case, it was 15 years only because the Pentium 3 PC it was running on got stolen).

QNX is that ultrareliable core. BlackBerry "trialled" it in the Playbook tablets, and Playbook owners can tell how solid it is (I thing I've had to restart my Playbook fewer than 5 times in almost two years). It's ready for plenty of future expandability. Apple's iOS, by contrast, is old and tired, and it's multitasking capabilites (such as they are) are a poor afterthought. Android is being developed rapidly, but it's huge (as a comparison, the Android kernel code runs to around 14 million lines; QNX is only about 100000).

Here's an interesting article: History of QNX and its Implementation in BlackBerry 10

It looks like the BlackBerry developers have done a really good job of building an innovative and productive interface on top, and BlackBerry has done an outstanding job of getting developer support, launching with over 70000 apps (probably a lot more - in just the last couple of weekends, 34000 apps were ported to BB10), including almost all of the big apps needed by consumers.

There are changes, of course, to BlackBerry's BIS infrastructure, and to how things work, but they have an excellent base to build on for the next few software generations.

Here are some links:
If there were a fire, which of Stephen Fry's phones would he take?
BlackBerry 10 Operating System Review & Walkthrough

The only thing missing is that I don't have one; I am going to have to make a plan about that. Maybe I should be given one at work because I need to support them...
claidheamhmor: (Ladyhawke)
2013-01-28 03:54 pm
Entry tags:

Alpine food

 We were invited by friends to lunch yesterday, to the Alpine Restaurant, in Linden. The restaurant is owned by Bulgerian brothers, and they have a really diverse menu, including a Bulgerian section, and an Abyssinian menu too. The food's excellent, and well presented. Yum.
claidheamhmor: (EF-111 in the sunset)
2012-12-23 06:47 pm
Entry tags:

Clouds

I love clouds, especially clouds at dusk or dawn. Here's a pic I took in June, at dusk.
 
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)
2012-12-04 02:08 pm
Entry tags:

School results

It seems that the average maths mark for South Africa's Grade 9 students was 13%. 

That's actually pretty frightening. When you consider that so many issues in the country (like unemployment, productivity, middle class growth, the economy) can only be addressed by a large dose of education, it's shocking. These students are going to be another lost generation - uneducated, and unemployable for anything more than menial labour. And yet the government either doesn't care, or can't be bothered to publicise their educational initiatives.

Hayibo had a cynically amusing take on it.