Mostly about technology and its application with occasional opinions on humanity and some of the people we have to live with. Not scared to comment but generally I am gentle with it.
Many people doubted that this project would get off the ground and for many months now we in Johannesburg have put up with it's inconveniences. Today driving to work I saw major progress. Oxford Road in Rosebank has been operating on a oneway system while the station was constructed. the left hand side of the road has been flanked by steel construction awnings of drab grey colour. They have now started to take these down revealing the filled in hole that is now a station. It will not be long now before the road is back and returned to the hum of Johannesburg Traffic.
At many sites on the route the progress is rapid with changes visible on a daily basis. It is exciting to see a project coming together.
The trains are running and I have often seen them near Marlboro station from the N3 freeway.
On Wednesday I had a mail from the project office detailing the price for the train effective 8th June when the train will be available on the Airport to Sandton Link.
It will be R100 one way. This maybe shock horror to sme people but for an overseas visitor from the UK he will be laughing at paying only 7 pounds for the trip to Sandton. An Airport taxi charges about R500 for the same trip and it takes an hour in rush hour if you are lucky.
Many said we could not do lots of things from democratic elections, to building stadia to revising transport infrastructure. Wrong Guys! we do do it and do it well!
I work for a company that supplies their own software products but we also resell a very good Document Management System created by KnowledgeTree (http://www.knowledgetree.com)
KnowledgeTree comes in a number of commercial flavours with added features and support. It is excellent software in its commercial version and they also offer a free version as OpenSource under the GNU GPLV3 licensing model and this too is really good.
One of the stipulations of the model is that it is free. From the GNU website you can read all about the license (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html).
In one of the sections is a very nice explanation of what this means:
“Developers who write software can release it under the terms of the GNU GPL. When they do, it will be free software and stay free software, no matter who changes or distributes the program”
So you can use the software but you may not charge for it or for distributing it.
Now imagine how cross a local government organisation in the Free State is today when I informed them that the software they are using supplied with some other equipment and services from a local company, is not the commercial version with the bells and whistles but is the one that falls under the OpenSource license.
They paid over R130 000 for the software portion of the solution. It is not the lack of the functionality that they are cross about but how they have been taken for a ride.
I would encourage anyone looking at a software solution to make sure that what they are being supplied with is licensed properly and that the servic provider is not taking them for a ride as was the case with this unsuspecting user.
As for those people that take free software and then charge for it well you are really making a good argument as to why there should be no free software and this undermines the goals of the OpenSource model.
Less than 30 days to go saw me going through one of the upmarket malls in Johannesburg. This is a mall that adjoins a 5 star hotel, is within walking distance of another and is a block away from a Gautrain station. It is not Sandton City so I will leave you to establish which Mall it is....
Its Monday. Its the day before a public holiday and I am at work. That I am at and able to work is great but the number of people that I have tried to call today to find them on a long weekend is ridiculous.
I like a holiday as much as anyone but having a single day of work before a holiday seems to me stupid and very costly.
Can't Government see that days like this with schools closed (we don't have an education problem do we?) and the economy running in what seems like essential services only mode (didn't we just have a recession?) is just stupid.
I want to have the public holiday but it makes enormous sense to me that they should be on the Monday or the Friday. That way we all get a long weekend. We cut out economic down days like today, get our education on track and the country moving along.
Anyone got any ideas how we can get a groundswell going to get the change moving?
One of the negative sides of being in a sales job is that you sometimes have time on your hands before a meeting. Being out of the office you may not have access to an internet connection. In our office we have 3G cards but they are shared and only used on extended periods out of the office.
This morning I dropped Ridiculously Good Looking (my second son) at school and proceeded to the first of my appointments just a kilometre from his school. I took out the laptop to do some writing and noticed that the wifi had found a wireless network for me to connect to. And I did.
There was no security, I did not have to magically come up with some random 10 character WEP key or worse a WPA one.
Now whilst I am grateful for the connectivity to the Internet, I am wondering is this free access by design or has someone forgot to protect their wireless link? The institution is a well known educational one so I thank you for your generosity if that is what it is.
If not then your stupidity will catch you out one day.