Wednesday, March 31, 2010

IT Professionals: Gone Fishing

Over the upcoming long weekend, many who work in IT will no doubt take advantage of minimal network traffic, and use the time constructively to perform site maintenance.

When back in the office next week, you are sure to hear them brandishing about a whole host of technical terms and possibly won’t have the first clue as to what they're going on about.

For those who are interested in understanding what it is these people actually got up to, we present the following guideline:

Site – Where they pitched the tent
Monitor - Kept an eye on the braai
Download - Got the firewood off the bakkie
Hard drive – The Trip back home without any cold beer
Keyboard - Where they hung the bakkie and bike keys
Window - What they shut when it got cold
Screen - What they shut when they saw a mosquito
Byte - What mosquitoes do
Bit - What mosquitoes did
Mega Byte - What mosquitoes did at the lake
Chip - A bar snack
Micro Chip – What was left in the bag after they ate the chips
Modem - What they did to their lawns
Dot Matrix - Oom Jan Matrix's wife
Laptop - Where the cat slept
Software - Plastic knives and forks they got at KFC
Hardware - Real stainless steel knives they got from Checkers
Mouse - What got into the cupboard and ate the oats
Mouse Pad - Where the mouse took the oats it didn’t eat
Mainframe - What holds up the bungalow
Web - What spiders make
Web Site - The corner of the bungalow
Cursor - The old bloke at the pub who swore a lot
Search Engine - What they did when the bakkie wouldn’t go
Yahoo - What they did when the bakkie did eventually go
Upgrade - A steep hill
Server - The person at the pub who brought the lunch
Mail Server - The bloke at the pub who brought out the lunch
User - The neighbour that keeps borrowing things
Network - When they had to repair the fishing net
Internet - Complicated fish net repair method
Netscape - When the fish maneuvered out of the net
Online - When the fish bit
Off Line - The one that got away (at least a meter in length)

No rest for the weary ……. For an IT professional the Job is never done. :)

Ernest Roper

Monday, March 29, 2010

SMS Scams On The Rise

In Friday’s post I brought to your attention some e-mail/SMS scams that I had in one way or another encountered throughout last week, and begged that you do not fall for them.

As the majority of people in South Africa do communicate via cell phone, SMS scams in particular, concern me immensely. Its e-mail addresses that are conventionally targeted, however with SMS scams now prevalent, the potential victim pool has got a lot bigger.

Cellular service provider MTN warn to be heedful of the following SMS associated scams:
  • 2010 Nokia Yearly Promo
  • 2010 Nokia and MTN FIFA Competition
  • Weekend Away
  • SMS FIFA Competition
  • Nokia Yearly Promotion
  • Airtime Telephonic
  • Airtime Recharge Platform
  • Euro Prize Money
  • Win a Mercedes Benz
  • Birthday Promotion
  • SMS Car Competition
  • BMW FIFA 2010
  • MTN Nigeria Win big on the Game of Life!
  • MTN Subscription
  • RICA – possible scam
  • SMS prepaid voucher
  • Airtime Voucher
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • MTN Lottery Games Consulting
For more information with regard to how these scams operate, Read Our Forum Post.

Ernest Roper

Friday, March 26, 2010

Please Don't Fall For It

It’s been week in which three e-mail/sms type scams have, in one way or another, come to my attention. They say to be forewarned is to be forearmed; I share this information with you in the hope that it prevents somebody from becoming a victim.

A colleague received an e-mail allegedly from SARS informing him of a rebate he was supposedly due for the amount R642, 00. Since the sum was reasonably small and the e-mail looked very legitimate, he considered for a moment that he had in fact come into some money. The branding looked real enough and carried a link to a very official looking SARS website, at .org NOT It also didn’t have any form of reference number which is very unlike SARS.

My better half received an SMS telling her that as a loyal Nokia customer, she had been entered into a competition and had won a R150 000 prize. The Nokia website warns of the scam, and makes it known that they are not in the habit of giving away money. Their article makes for interesting reading and in fact makes mention of an I.P. address traced to Nigeria.

The other day I received e-mail notification that some person in the UK I didn’t know existed, had left me a large sum of money and hence the necessary arrangements now needed to be made. In the last three or so years I have been subjected to several variations of this, which means that I either have a huge, exceedingly wealthy, extremely unhealthy, overseas based family who all want me to inherit their money or, it’s a scam, I’m guessing the latter.

If it’s too good to be true it probably is!
Be Very careful who you give your bank details to!

PS. There is no such thing as the internet lottery.

Ernest Roper


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Course in Sustainable Design

M e s h f i e l d Sustainable Innovation are going to again be running their course in sustainable design and construction in Durban, from the evening of the 20th through to the 23rd April 2010.

They inform us that they had an exceedingly positive response to their last course, and that this course is fast filling up with a group of very interesting people.

If you are in interested in finding out more, please view attachments below:

Greenfield Course Durban 2010.pdf

Greenfield Course Outline.pdf

For course registration or any other Queries, please note contact details below:

Anna Cowen
M e s h f i e l d
Sustainable Innovation
t: +27 (0)21 447 2268
f: 086 590 2887

Ernest Roper

Monday, March 22, 2010

Show Commitment To Reducing Carbon Footprint

On March The 27th -- Turn Off Your Lights And Show Your Commitment To
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Earth Hour is a global initiative of WWF to highlight our ability to
take action on climate change. The Imagine Durban project is encouraging
Durban citizens and business owners to participate actively in EARTH
HOUR. Due to the fact that the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December
failed to deliver a comprehensive global response to climate change, WWF
is challenging individuals to take the lead by pledging to reduce their
own carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment by participating

When: 8:30pm to 9:30pm, Saturday, 27th March 2009

Where: Your home, your business......anywhere you use electricity!

How: Switch off your lights and any other non-essential appliances

Last year the country saved 400MW of energy during EARTH HOUR. In
Durban energy saved was the equivalent to 150,000 14W Energy Efficient
Light Bulbs being switched off during earth hour.

For more information on EARTH HOUR go to

Dorothy Lutchmiah
Imagine Durban


Friday, March 19, 2010

FIFA World Cup: Impact On The Economy

According to information released by the National Treasury the total amount committed by the National Government to FIFA World Cup-related infrastructure amounted to R33billion.

Some 130 200 job opportunities were created in the construction of 10 stadiums ,6 which were constructed from scratch.

The cost of transport upgrading amounted to R12.9billion, including the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transport System and the Gautrain.
The expenditure on safety and security measures amount to R1.3billion

Telecoms and broadcasting expenditure will be R1.5billion.
Host Cities will receive R0.72billion from the National Government for World Cup related activities.

It is estimated that 450 000 foreign visitors are expected and 5 participating National Teams will do their preparation within the Kwa Zulu- Natal Province.
Public health and disaster management expenditure will be in the order of R 0.82billion.

Ports of entry infrastructure attracted R3.5billion.
Volunteers recruited for the event will be 10 000.
0.02 percentage points is the estimated average annual impact the event will have on the real GDP growth from 2007 to 2013.

R4.9billion is what the event will contribute to the real GDP in 2010.

Pieter Rautenbach



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

South Coast Golf Day

It’s that time of the year when we begin planning our annual South Coast golf day and look to confirm sponsorship for this premier golfing event, attended by members and industry stakeholders.

Last years South Coast Golf Day proved to be a tremendous success and we are already receiving enquiries from both members and sponsors who wish to participate.

The decision was taken that all four Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal golf days that take place throughout the province, will follow the same sponsorship format. This will ensure that further to exposure on the day, there will be additional long term coverage on

Since the re-branding of the Association and the launch of the new website our advertising channels and site traffic have grown enormously and we are proud to extend that benefit to you.

With the support of our marketing partners, we look forward to becoming the most sought after golfing event on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast.

For enquiries, contact the South Coast Regional Office on 039 317 4078

Hans Stols
South Coast Regional Manager


Monday, March 15, 2010

Eskom: Special Rates For Two Only

As a follow up to Friday’s Post “Eskom and Cosatu”, Business Day (11 March 2010) informed us that the Public Utility has in fact denied that it was undercharging 138 of its large industrial users. In response to the allegation, Eskom have come out saying that special pricing agreements are relevant only, to two of its principal clientele.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger stated that they had “negotiated pricing agreements” with two of its biggest industrial customers. “These are long-term agreements with escalation clauses which are contractually agreed,” he said.

He made it known that it is untrue, that all 138 key industrial customers were on these negotiated contracts. “An impression has been given that all the big users have these agreements.”

He said Eskom entered into the special agreements with the two customers because of the need for investment in southern Africa. “Investors at the time wanted clarity on future prices. It was a concession.”

Ernest Roper


Friday, March 12, 2010

Eskom and Cosatu

Thursday 11 March 2010, The Mercury newspaper reported that a row between Eskom and Cosatu had erupted after it had come to light that Eskom is allegedly giving preferential rates to 138 of its large industrial users. Apparently 10 of the biggest consumers haven’t been subjected to tariff increases since 1994 and Cosatu, as Cosatu does, are threatening to mobilize on the streets.

Taking into consideration two pieces recently published by the Association, “Middle Class Takes the Pain” and “Eskom's Power Struggle” perhaps Casatu are indeed justified.

In “Middle Class Takes the Pain” we report (based on a Sunday Times expose) that that the middle class can't cope with high bills and Punitive Taxes. The key numbers they provide to illustrate are:
  • A 25% increase next month in the price of electricity, which will double by 2012;
  • Rising petrol prices - from R4.41 a litre two years ago to R7.91 now;
  • School fees, up this year by between 8% and 15%; and
  • Medical aid contributions, up by about 11% this year after a 12% hike last year.
One wonders how many habitual Cosatu detractors, are secretly grateful that somebody is taking a stand.

Ernest Roper

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Best To Share Our Information

A bit of information that might come in handy when using is that we have included an application that makes it very simple to share the page you are viewing, with somebody else.

If you click on the SHARE/PRINT THIS PAGE OPTION you will notice that a window pops up giving you a whole host of options which include the social mediums. Whether communicating using Facebook, Twitter or simply via e-mail, the choice is yours. It’s also worth noting that the print option on the menu prints in a readable format, very often web pages print all over the show.

You are also most welcome to forward on any information you find on our site, to anybody whom it will serve a purpose.

On a non-related note and seeing that I’m handing out useful tips today, for those who are laptop users (just about everybody at Master Builders KwaZulu Natal), herewith five pointers on how to conserve battery life, courtesy of Michelle Govender.
  • Conserve battery by reducing screen brightness.
  • Remove external devices when not in use e.g. USB devices, flash sticks etc.
  • Run off a hard drive rather than a CD/DVD - As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are worse!
  • Don't multitask! Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3's, set your mind to one thing only.
  • Optimize your power settings. By choosing a power plan (called a power scheme in Windows XP) you can extend your battery life.
There you have it!

Ernest Roper

Monday, March 8, 2010

Middle Class Takes The Pain

For those who fall into the middle class bracket, I can’t imagine that yesterdays Sunday Times front page storey “Cash Crunch Nails Middle Class” came as a revelation. The piece simply articulated what most are experiencing first hand, and are desperately trying to navigate a way through.

The strap-line beneath it read “Middle class can't cope with high bills and Punitive Taxes” and what they are saying is, Millions of debt-ridden wage earners across the country - including those fortunate enough to have got a salary increase in the past year - are in financial dire straits.

It really is a doom and gloom article which notifies us that the number of people seeking counseling from debt related depression, has increased dramatically.

Although experts are saying that we are seeing signs of an economic recovery, the Times reports that consumers from Paarl to Polokwane (as they put it) are still struggling to put food on the table once the taxman has taken his crippling cut. The key numbers they provide to illustrate the scale is as follows:
  • A 25% increase next month in the price of electricity, which will double by 2012;
  • Rising petrol prices - from R4.41 a litre two years ago to R7.91 now;
  • School fees, up this year by between 8% and 15%; and
  • Medical aid contributions, up by about 11% this year after a 12% hike last year.
As a result:
  • Nearly three million consumers are over three months in arrears on their bills; and
  • An estimated 250000 middle-income earners have lost their jobs in the past two years.
For persons who may have missed it yesterday and are interested reading the full Sunday Times spread click here and visit our Forum to post your comments.

Ernest Roper

Friday, March 5, 2010

For Woman Over The Age Of 30.

Below is another lighthearted commentary that found its way into my mailbox, we publish it in celebration of woman over the age of 30.

This Has Been Written By A Man.

This is for all you girls 30 years and over.... and for those who are turning 30, and for those who are scared of moving into their 30's...AND for guys who are scared of girls over 30!!!!... This was written by Andy Rooney from CBS 60 Minutes.

Andy Rooney says:

As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask,"What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 30 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.

A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 don't give a damn about what you might think about her or what she's doing.

Women over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 30. They Always Know.

A woman over 30 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a Jerk if you are acting like one! You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 30 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately,it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 30+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress

Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free". Here's an update for you.

Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage!


Ernest Roper

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Find-a-builder Update

As Paula mentioned in her Zululand Regional Round up, the uploading of member pages is an ongoing process which is now fast gaining momentum. I have this week spent time on the South Coast and have since the last Find-a-builder update, uploaded several new pages.

For those who don’t already know what is, and are interested in finding out CLICK HERE.

Pages recently uploaded include:

R&R Construction
GG Glass
Exland Air Conditioning
Ikhaya Lakho Construction
Anthony & Basson
Borwa Development
JT Ross
Khonastone Projects
Dicks Construction

As always, if you wish to jump the queue, you are welcome to contact me on 083 704 0441.

Ernest Roper

Monday, March 1, 2010

Send Us Your Press Release

A reminder to members that should you have a press release you would like uploaded to; you are welcome to forward it to us. Articles are permanently archived in our news and information section and will also, for a period of about two weeks, feature prominently as a click through link on our home-page.

A member that has taken us up on this offer is JT Ross, who has on two occasions, forwarded us some excellent content:

Blackburn Pedestrian Bridge
Top Quality Building Completed on Umhlanga Ridge

What are the Criteria?
  1. It must be newsworthy
  2. It must be reasonably well written
The two JT Ross articles serve as great examples of this.

Submissions can be forwarded to and please keep in mind, this offer only extends to Full Members of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal. Content received will be reviewed and providing it’s of a high enough standard, we will happily upload it.

Ernest Roper