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Friday, May 26, 2006

Challenge and honeymoon updates and some common Telkom knowledge

Addiction challenge- week 2
Things are going well so far with my net addiction cut down, and the effect on my productivity has been staggering! To recap, my goals for this week were:
-Check email when I arrive at work, lunch, 4pm and possibly before going home.
-Check RSS streams when I arrive and at lunchas well as while compiling/building. Links may only be followed at lunch, or after work.
-Only check forums and reply at lunch or after work.
-Only IM at lunch and after 2PM.
-Only blog and Flickr at lunch Monday to Thursday, and after 4pm on Friday. During builds preparing posts in a text file is acceptable.
-Update podcasts when I arrive and at lunch. Watch short videos immediately, copy the rest to PSP and listen to/watch them at home.

I've been able to stick to most of these, with the occasional exception when it comes to following RSS links at build time. It turns out those build times are getting really tough to bare. Taking that into account, I'm setting the following goals for this week:
-Check email when I get to work and at lunch and possibly before going home.
-While compiling/building and at lunch. Links may be followed immediately provided reading these articles is limited to actual build time.
-Only check forums and reply at lunch or after work.
-Only IM at lunch and after 4PM.
-Only blog and Flickr after 4pm on Friday. During builds preparing posts in a text file is acceptable.
-Update podcasts when I arrive and at lunch. Watch videos at lunch, copy audio to PSP and listen to/watch them at home.

I think the above is more than acceptable as an adjusted final goal as well, and most importantly, I can see the effect already, not only on my productivity but also in my enjoyment of my work-since I remain focused on issues and have the satisfaction of solving them far quicker.

On a related note I was quite interested in the 'Inbox Zero Challenge' uddertaken by And McCaskey of Slashdot Review this week. His goal is to reach a point where at the end of any given working day there is zero mail in his inbox. Slashdot review is a daily podcast hosted by And in which he reports on some of the top stories from Slashdot for that day. He spends a few minutes chatting about a (sometimes related) topic during each podcast, and this week his discussions have been based around the challenge and his progress in it. While it's not quite the same thing as what I'm attempting, the similarity of making his progress public certainly is noteworthy-and seems to be helping him stick to his goals as well.

ADSL Hearings
This week ICASA held it's latest round of ADSL hearings, in which telecoms users (home and commercial) and providers were given an opportunity to have their say on the state of broadband in SA. The withdrawal of Vodacom, Sentech and the SNO from the hearings was a disappointing turn of events, as they are all important to SA's broadband landscape for one reason or another. Two speculative explanations for this were that they "have either decided that they do not wish to anger Telkom, who they all have to negotiate deals with for international bandwidth, or they do not feel the hearing is worth attending".
Among the comments and suggestions to arise from from attendees (other than Telkom, of course) were that the practice of line capping, which is rare internationally, be scrapped locally; that ADSL pricing in SA is not market related and that it is unfair that Telkom levy a monthly line rental fee to cover infrastructure that has already been paid for (and which was paid for out of public money while Telkom's was still funded by taxes I might add). Of course none of this is new, and it would seem that the powers that be need to be told the same things and shown the same facts a million times over for it to sink into their thick heads.
Telkom, funnily enough, seemed to be incredibly unprepared for the hearings, and seemed to make quite a fool of itself by dodging questions aimed at it and even complaining that it 'could not be expected to answer questions it was not prepared for' despite having been asked the same questions many times before. Only time will tell if this hearing actually leads to anything, or if it is another stall tactic employed by the government (which still earns a healthy dividend from Telkom's operations).

Honeymoon in Croatia: Rijeka
(Photos here)
A week into the honeymoon, and after a relatively tame sunday (and a damned cold nights sleep) we had a simple cereal breakfast and hit the road again. We headed off on the winding little coastal road leading from Crikvenica, through Krajljevica and on to Bakar, which I have wanted to visit since the first time I went to Croatia with my folks. It's a tiny little town nestled on a bay between two montains, with industry lining the bay along both banks. The itself quite poor, and while I doubt it has much on offer in terms of night life it does have an ancient fort as well as an old bell tower, which give it such a distinctive look from the road. The hike up to these is also quite interesting, and the view out on the bay really is something. We had a brief look around and then got back on the road and headed towards Rijeka.

Rijeka is an industrial city about a half an hours drive from Crikvenica on the coastal road. Unlike many of the other cities we visited, there is no part of it that is obviously the old part of the city. The monuments to be seen in Rijeka are quite scattered as compared to other places, and the city is very obviously more industrilized than, say Dubrovnik. We parked our little red Yugo in the public parking area across from the Centar, next to the river running through the city (no, I don't know it's name-but why do these rivers always stink so!?).

We started off our tour by just walking through some of the little alleyways in the centar, and Natalie picking up a fresh bottle of pickles from a supermarket. Guess who got to lug them.. ;) We stopped by at McDonalds for a meal and watched the people coming and going-it's very similar to sitting in a restaurant in a mall at home, and watching people going about their business there. We then headed into the closest thing Rijeka actually has to a mall (in fact the rest of Croatia is about the same)-essentially a multi story flea market, with permanent stalls. Some stores are starting to approach what we might expect to see here, but they really have a way to go. Most of the places were clothing shops, and not even Natz got much pleasure out of that, considering the exhorbitant price of clothing in Croatia. We did spend a lot of time looking through jewellers' stores to try and find the fabled 'moors' at a good price. Apparantly at one point in Rijeka's history, it was aided by the Moors in resisting invasion, and ever since icons and jewellery depicting Moors have been considered good luck, and are classic tourist souvenirs. We didn't really find any, but we did track down a lot of other gifts for the family on the Mall's ground floor.

Once we'd finished in the 'mall' (which didn't take long at all), we headed off to see some sights, which was trickier than anticipated. Between dodging the rain by stopping for a cup of hot chockolate at a Cafe and struggling to actually find some of these sites, it was a little frustrating. We did get to see the City's cathedral. It is an unusual building compared to many we had seen before, and unfortunately was closed to the public when we got there. As we headed back from it, a light drizzle started, and we decided we may as well head 'home'. The drive back was quick and uneventful, we had a quick supper and retired-this time deciding to try our luck in the living room on the pull out couch in the hope that it would be warmer.. it was!


Justin Paver said...

Productivity schmoductivity. A happy browser is a used browser...

tripeak said...

he he - yeah, i think i have the same net addiction issues as you do mate! Minus the forums and games bit.

Checking out those flikr photos shortly!

Anonymous said...

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I did an AllPSPGames Review, a PSP Blender Review and a Satellite TV Elite Review.

Well enjoy and stop by and say hi sometime.



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