A week in the life of Jason

What a week it has been. 2 cars and 1 mountain later, things could’ve been much much worse. First lets start with the positives.

Table Mountain

Top of Table MountainYou take things for granted when you live close to them, and Table Mountain is one of them. I’ve lived in the Helderberg area most of my life, and going up Table Mountain has always been one of those “I’ll do it one day”, but you never actually do, do you? So Sunday my girlfriend and I took a trip up the World famous mountain. It really is awesome from up top there. I don’t think I heard one South African voice while up the mountain, but if for every 7 tourists I saw and heard, 1 job is created, I didn’t mind that much that these foreigners were walking on “our” mountain. :-)

I took some photo’s which you can view over at my Flickr account.

Now for the 2 cars.

Firstly, my girlfriend’s Toyota Conquest decided it was time to break its timing belt. This in turn bent the pistons in the engine. R7000 later it was repaired, but what’s worse is that for the next 1000km, we cannot drive the car more than 70km/h. So that means I’m driving the car to work in Somerset West, and my girlfriend is driving my car to Canal Walk.

Secondly, on Tuesday, while on her way home on the N1, she drove my car into the back of a bakkie in rush-hour traffic. :-(. So my car is now sitting at the panel beaters in Montague Gardens going through the motions of quote, claim, assessor, repair, wait, wait and wait. Luckily there is no engine damage, just bumper, bonnet and radiator damage. But my Corsa GSi – which has aircon that I wish I had driving in Cape Town’s heatwave at the moment, is one sick puppy.

One thing I am thankful for is that these experiences could of been much worse. I really have an awesome insurance broker who has helped me get everything sorted. So if you looking for a broker that comes with a really good reference, I’d highly recommend Pieter.

The thing is, it’s not about the money that I’m worried about, it’s the schlep. Having to organise the towing, quotes, repairs, phone calls etc, is so time consuming, not to mention stressful. The old saying of “throw money at it to get it to go away” doesn’t hold true. And don’t get me started on those tow truck vultures. They don’t get their nickname for nothing you know.

No free Dell laptop for me

I just received an email regarding my order I placed for a Dell Inspiron 9400. Due to a glitch in their website, the laptop’s were priced at R0! All I had to pay was R570 for shipping. But as mostly everyone suspected, Dell probably wouldn’t pull through and send the laptops out of pure embarrassment. All they did send was this lousy letter of apology.

Dell Inspiron 640m and 9400

Dear Jason,

I am writing to you to inform you that as a result of a technical error we have inadvertently advertised the Dell Inspiron 640m and 9400 on our web store at R0. This is incorrect. The goods should have been priced at R6,990 and R10,990 respectively. As a result we are unable to fulfill your recent order for these goods. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have already paid for any associated goods, software or delivery charges forming part of your order for the Dell Inspiron 640m and/or 9400 please furnish us with your banking details and you will be reimbursed within the next few days.

We are in the process of correcting these technical issues. We hope to have this store up and running by early next week.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or your account manager if you have any questions.

Yours sincerely

Gavin Slevin
Brand Manager – Mobile Products

Heres a screenshot of my original order.
Dell Order

Im sure Mike Stopforth and the likes are going to have harsher words to say than me about Dell, and their non-delivery, especially after he promised he’d donate all 6 laptops he ordered to Baragwanath. :-)

I’d compare this experience to playing the Lotto. I had a ticket to a free laptop, but didn’t strike it lucky. :-(

Apple’s free publicity

iPhoneIf you have not heard about the latest release from Apple, the iPhone, you’d better crawl out from under your rock. This thing is a beauty. Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at MacWorld – the yearly “check out our new toys” Apple conference.

Apple fan boys around the world are hailing the iPhone as the solution to the worlds problems. Hell it can even cure aids, some have said. Whether it can or cannot do these aforementioned things, one thing stands out. Free Publicity. Microsoft tried to buy that with their Acer Ferrari laptop “giveaway-to-bloggers”, but it backfired because of the way they handled the situation. (requesting reviews, disclosing that they received the laptops, play poker etc.)

Me, a fanboy?

I got my very first Apple product for Christmas – an iPod nano. Apple build some seriously sweet hardware, not to mention iTunes, which is by far the best Mp3 organiser on the planet. So, am I a fanboy? Well not quite. Maybe if I was given an Apple macbook to test, I’m might fall in love like the rest. What I do really love, is the way that thousands of bloggers – some of whom I read daily, will not touch any Computer related thing, unless its made by Apple.

Back to the free publicity thing

The world might not be littered with Apple macs and macbooks like PC’s are, but every single person that owns or uses Apple products, loves the company. You cannot say that for many (if any?) computer related companies out there. Whatever Apple has done, and I think Steve Jobs has a huge part to play in their success, know how to hype and then deliver on those products.

So I’ll leave you with the free publicity I read this morning in my RSS reader. Enjoy.

My Netgear Router and ADSL

I’ve had ADSL at home for just under 3 months now so I thought I’d post a review on my ADSL experience so far, as well as the tools that allow me to be connected to broadband internet.

The speed of my ADSL

I took the cheapest as well as the slowest ADSL connection that Telkom offers – 384kb/s. When I’m downloading a file using Free Download Manager, I get around 35-50 kb/s download speeds. It isn’t the fastest connection around, but for personal and small business use, this connection speed is optimal.

When browsing the web, I can hardly notice the difference between my connection and the 4mb/s connection I have at work. You really only feel a difference when downloading large files.

I have also experienced 0% downtime, so for those of you using iBurst and the likes – eat your heart out. ;-)

My Internet Service Provider

WebAfricaI’m sharing an internet connection with my office, which is one of the really awesome features that WebAfrica offers us. You can simultaneously connect from 4 different locations, allowing you to work from the office and at home using 1 account.

Their DSL management console contains all your stats and reports, not to mention the interface is really well designed. You can view your account status real time, which for those using Telkom as an ISP cannot do. On top of our 10GB cap, we have the option of purchasing pre-paid bandwidth, that in the event of running out of our monthly allowance, our prepaid bandwidth will save our asses cover us. The prepaid bandwidth carries over from month to month.

We also have had no problems in the 6 months or so that we have been using WebAfrica. I have never phoned them for anything as of yet, not even to signup! It just works.

My Netgear Modem

I purchased my ADSL router through Digital Planet – who gave me a free Netgear wireless dongle to go with my Netgear Router. Pretty sweet I say.

The specs:
I purchased a Netgear Super Wireless ADSL Modem Router with 4-port 10/100 Mbps switch DG834GT. Quite a mouthful. This router combines 5 products in 1. ADSL 2+ modem, router, firewall, 802.11g access point and 4-port Ethernet switch. It has a double firewall in that it uses both NAT + SPI – which I don’t have a clue about, but just that I know it does a damn good job of protecting my connection. My router is also a 108Mbps wireless access point.

The routers interface is also feature packed. The most important thing I’ve configured is to not broadcast my wireless access point, as well as block all network cards except mine from connecting to it. I really don’t need random people knowing I have an ADSL connection – which to some folks also means I just might possess some expensive toys at home. ;-)

The final byte

In conclusion, my home ADSL experience has only been positive. I’m currently paying exactly R344.92 per month for my ADSL connection – bear in mind that this excludes my ISP fees, which my awesome company covers.
The R344.92 is broken up into R99.92 telephone line rental and R245 Home ADSL 384 rental.

It did take around 6 weeks from the ordering of my telephone line to the installation of my ADSL. So that is probably the only negative thing I have to say regarding my ADSL but other than that, having ADSL has completely changed the way I work. I just cannot recommend it enough.

Here’s a pic of my router and free wireless dongle for those interested.

Netgear Wireless ADSL Modem Router

I’m off to go use up our bandwidth cap. Someone has to do it. ;-)