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ADSL in South Africa has been around since 2003 but uptake by consumers and business was really spurred when the download speed was increased to “up to 4Mbps”. This download speed represented a huge improvement on the 1Mbps product previously available. ADSL was more useful and more applications that required this type of bandwidth encouraged sales along with larger investment in infrastructure roll out by ISP’s and Telkom. Although the download speed was 4Mbps, the upload speed was limited to 384kbps. This is about to change with Telkom conducting trials in March were they have upgraded the upload speed of the 4Mbps product to 640Kbps.

This upload speed increase looks imminent and could be rolled out as soon as April, should the limited trial prove successful in March. This opens the door of opportunity for applications such as VOIP and VPN’s that require syncronised upload and download speeds, and effectively doubles the amount of bandwidth available for these types of services.

ADSL 1Mbps = 384Kbps upload. (Current)
to
ADSL 1Mbps = 640Kbps upload. (Future)


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Recently we at RSAWEB HQ were on the receiving end of Eskom’s load shedding and noticed something interesting in the building we occupy. While we have a backup UPS and Generator, and were working happily, none of the other tenants in our Building could work! That means about 1000 people just in our immediate surroundings were twiddling their thumbs for 2 hours. This got me thinking, now that power cuts are part and parcel of doing business in South Africa, how many businesses are re-evaluating their server, data and employee power requirements?

We have been inundated with requests for customized backup solutions and power alternatives, so I thought I would share a business scenario that could help solve the problem and possibly reduce overheads and costs in the process. Lets take a small insurance company with 50 employees and 3 servers all located in one office. Traditionally they would have installed some form of connectivity to the office and built a small server room on site. Now faced with power cuts, how do they invest wisely in order to sustain their business and minimize downtime.

Firstly, they could outsourced their server hosting and management to RSAWEB. This would mean that their servers and data would always be accessible and they need not spend money on expensive generator and UPS solutions. They also now benefit from having their servers accessible at high speed from anywhere over a secure VPN. They no longer need the on site server room, and can now just focus on their employees at the office and their immediate needs. They then install good connectivity to our data center in order for people in the office to work normally, and will be able to accommodate more off site workers who could work with a laptop and a 3G card. Desktop PC’s however still are not safe from blackouts, and there is an increasing trend to systematically upgrade to laptops with longer battery life. The usefulness of a laptop in South Africa is strangely linked to its 3-5 hour battery life, whereas anywhere else in the world it is for mobility reasons that laptops are primarily used.

Increasingly the risk of on site equipment from a security and power perspective as well as the huge initial capital expenditure required needs to be evaluated, when compared to renting equipment and services from ISP’s, who have already invested in power and security infrastructure on a large scale.


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Team RSAWEB Dominates Dusi

January 24, 2008



Pic: Rory at back, Rich up front leading A Batch on day 2.

This past week, Team RSAWEB paddler Rory Van Zyl partnered with Rich McMartin and dominated the Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon. 2008 was a K2 (double canoe) year and Rory set out with friend Rich to enjoy a weekend in KZN. Although Rich carried an ankle injury going into the race, they decided to do it anyway and dominated when on the water, Rory said: “We struggled on the first day with all the running, Rich could not run with his ankle so we walked all the uphills and I tried to run with the boat on the downhill myself, damn hard though with a K2. We ended up 116th after day1 and won our batch every day. We were strong on the water, and did not have one boat coming past us the whole race which was cool. We also only took one swim on day 2 at a section called Tombi, which was a bit of a beast and claimed most boats that went over including Martin Dreyer, the eventual winner.”

Day 3 was the their best day and they shot a rapid call top needle right from the top and made it. 95% of the field had to portage half way down then get in so this gave them the edge and gained a few places. Ending up 74th is a great achievement out of 933 starters and Rory felt the team could have got a top 50 if they had been more competitive in the running legs, of which the Dusi has a lot.

Well done Guys, and Look out for the team at the Argus Cycle tour in Cape Town on the 9th of March where more weekend warriors will be in action. RSAWEB will also have a supporters tent on Suikerbossie, so join us for a drink and enjoy the action with us.


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Sunscreen for your laptop

January 17, 2008


Every now and then I am amazed at what people are able to market and sell. I suppose in todays internet driven society, the lines between business and pleasure are merged.

Take this Lapdome, its a tent for your laptop that alleviates glare and ensures you can see the screen while sunbathing. My first question is: Why on earth you would want to work on your laptop while sunbathing! Clearly some people do and there are enough of these people to make designing/producing/marketing this product feasible.

Almost unbelievably this product is available in four different versions, the “Planet Rambler” and “Business”, the “Collapsible” and the “Junior”. The cell pocket on the side is a deal clincher for me, I’m off to buy mine now……

For more classic images check out the product website


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New RSAWEB Website Goes Live

December 16, 2007


Its Alive! We are extremely proud to unveil our new branding and corporate image. The new RSAWEB logo and slogan “Technology meets Life” was unveiled along with the new website at our glittering end of year function, held at the BMW Pavilion in the V & A Waterfront on Friday night. The new website that we feel better promotes our hosting and broadband products includes online ordering for all products, and is far more informative than the old website. The old website that has served us well for the past 3 years has been completely replaced with a dynamic website that stays true to one of our brand values, that is “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”. Let us know what you think, we look forward to hearing from you, and don’t forget to enter our iPod Touch giveaway competition.


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Our Blood is Green

October 29, 2007


Cape Town went Springbok mad today, showing the true spirit of Capetonians. With schools though out the city and surrounding areas closing early thousands of fans lined the streets and greeted the Springboks home after their historic World Cup Win in France 2 weeks ago. It was amazing to see the people going mad in the streets and how appreciative the national team was of their supporters. The open top bus left City Hall at 11:30 this morning and by the time I had hopped on a scooter and navigated the chaotic streets ‘The Big green England Squashing Machine’ had already made the turn from Adderley into Strand Street. The entire city was blocked off to traffic and people left the comfort of their air conditioned offices to go scream and shout at their rugby hero’s. Shosholoza rang out amongst Vuvuzela blasts and every so often a “Jake for President” could be heard. After touring the city streets the Bok’s made their way to Newlands Rugby ground where 50 000 well wishers packed into the stadium. On days like these, its great to be South African. Well done Bokke!

 


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Partnering for Success

October 26, 2007


Partnering with like minded businesses is important to us, and something we encourage. So when one of our partners does well, its an opportunity for us to celebrate with them. White Wall Web is one of our partners who do all of their web hosting through us both locally and in the USA. They were awarded second runner up at the Africa SMME awards last night in the “Young Enterprise” category.
It was a prestigious award, attended by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and presented by the head of SABC International. Peter Flynn, managing director of White Wall Web, commented: “This is a great achievement because 105 companies around Africa entered and only 18 were awarded, this is because of all of our combined efforts as a winning team.”

Well done White Wall Web!


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RSAWEB has a new Team rider, Rory van Zyl. For those of you who dont know, Team RSAWEB is an extreme team of athletes, who participate in their various sports at a very high level while still holding down a day job! So our team includes extreme athletes who love to compete, but its not their full time profession.

So who is Rory then? I interviewed him the other day after a paddling session in Cape Town:

Rob: What sports do you do? Which ones do you focus on?

Rory: Canoeing, Surfski, Mountainbiking, MotoX, Swimminng, Running. At the moment I am focusing on canoeing, mainly flatwater and I do all the major river marathons around SA. Got the Fish river marathon this week then will focus on the Cape Town Surfski season and Dusi in Jan08. I also Enjoy mountain biking, running and swimming for cross training. MotoX is just for adrenaline.

Rob: What’s your day job?

Rory: I am a remote sensing specialist. This involves making maps from satellite and aerial imagery, interpreting the imagery, creating digital elevation models and 3D city models for the wireless telecoms industry.

Rob: What sporting highlight are you most proud about?

Rory: When I was a little younger I obtained WP mountain biking colours for 3 years 1998 – 2000. I also got a 2nd overall in SA champs in 1999. I competed for both the Canondale and Giant Pro Mountainbike teams during that period and am just getting back into the sport now after a 5 year break. On the canoing front I have just got a 2nd at the Tugela canoe marathon 2007 .

Rob: Wow, thats pretty impressive, Why did you never choose sport as a career?

Rory: To be honest, I did not think that I could make a comfortable living off it. There was not much backing from private sector when I was competing back then, and the sports I compete in are not as high profile as the larger team sports in South Africa.

Rob: Im sure you have some hero’s, which athlete inspires you and why?

Rory: Jan Ullrich has always been a cycling hero of mine- he has massive massive quads and is a TT machine. Hank McGregor – He totally dominates in all paddling disciplines and is great for SA Paddling. Michael Rassmusen – He’s a Skinny bugger but can climb hills like no one else. Grant Langston – SA motoX rider making it big on the US and European circuits. He’s the king of BIG AIR.

Rob: Name your poison?

Rory: ICE COLD HANSA

Rob: Why do you love the SA extreme sports scene?

Rory: There is just so much you can do here. The summer is perfect for wind sports, winters perfect for rivers etc. Loads of interest in an active life style. Sport also lets you see so many beautiful places!

Rob: The real question, why do you paddle in a skinny hollowed out log when Man invented Jet Ski’s?

Rory: Its all about getting the shoulders in action and being out there on your own or with a bunch of mates enjoying nature. I know its corny but I love it.

Rob: Thanks Ror, good luck for the Fish river marathon this week.

 


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Office Productivity Gets Easier

September 19, 2007


Some things never change, and our reliance on a word processor, spreadsheet application and presentation tools has made Microsoft a lot of money. “Office” as we all know it resides on most PC’s and we use it all the time. I know I couldn’t live without Excel and its formula’s take a lot of strain off my frontal lobe.

Well, now the other big players in the enterprise productivity space are throwing resources behind “office clones” and developing their own suite’s.

Who are the players, and how can you get involved?

Google:
Google began developing Google Docs and Spreadsheets actively last year and yesterday they launched an addition to the suite, namely the much anticipated Presentation application. This product is entirely web based and acessible by anyone who has a Google email account. They have also simplified the name to Google Docs. I have tested the presentation module, and I’m impressed! It integrates seamlessly with their storage and document management and is very easy to use. It remains true to their vision of “keeping things simple” and doesn’t have all of the power features that are available in traditional offline products. The major benefit is that its web based and can be accessed from anywhere, which will capture the student/traveler/nomad market who don’t always sit down in front of the same PC. Click here for a demo.

My Rating: 7/10 Potential to own market 7/10


The Google Pack is a free downloadable collection of Windows software that includes StarOffice. StarOffice is built by Sun and is a great alternative to the incumbent office suite. It works great and is almost ready to replace Microsoft as my default office suite. The suite includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and more. The pack also includes most of the free software that is essential to todays workplace such as Adobe Reader, Firefox, Norton and Spyware Doctor. All this for free in one easy download, makes for a great alternative at an even better price.

My Rating: 8/10 Potential to own market 5/10

OpenOffice:


OpenOffice.org 2.3
incorporates an extensive array of new features and enhancements to a pretty well established product. The fully featured suite has been a resident on my desktop for the last 2 years, and is a favorite for Linux users. Unfortunately with Google’s endorsement of StarOffice, I think they may struggle to gain mass appeal in the future. The product is very clean, has all the advanced features and interpenetrates nicely with Microsoft formats. Its a great alternative and one worth watching if you are keen on an off line application.

Rating 6/10 Potential to own market 4/10

IBM:
Launched today IBM’s Lotus Symphony Office Suite is the newest entrant in this very competitive industry. IBM has a lot of brand equity in the enterprise market and they will be hoping to leverage this in order to gain mass adoption. From my limited testing, the product looks good, features are impressive and their approach to automation and document management is something to watch. IBM has also joined forces with Google, so we may see Lotus Symphony included in the Google Pack very soon.

Rating 7/10 Potential to own market 7/10

So whats the silver bullet, how do Sun, Google and IBM plan to topple Microsoft’s dominence in this space? The answer is the OpenDocument format. OpenDocument Format is based on an Internet-era protocol called XML, short for Extensible Markup Language, which enables automated machine-to-machine communication. Microsoft has the same goal of software automation, but it endorses its own document format, called Office Open XML. Earlier this month, Microsoft failed in its initial effort to have Office Open XML ratified as a global technical standard by the International Organization for Standardization in Geneva. The opportunity the others propose is one of an open standard while still including support for existing Microsoft file formats. Through collective development and offering these products for free, it will be a hard long road, but these 3 companies believe they have a product worth supporting. Only time will tell, but its great for the consumer and productivity in general.


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iBurst gives you 500 Mb free

September 17, 2007


iBurst will give away 500 megabytes of free data to every subscriber who regularly connects to the wireless broadband provider’s network via the iBurst Dashboard Version 2 during October 2007.

The free data will be credited to qualifying subscribers’ accounts at the beginning of November 2007. The remainder of the free data unused at the end of November will be carried over for one month subject to a maximum of the normal data carryover limit.
iBurst’s Dashboard version 2 graphically presents network connectivity information in a way that is easy to read.
According to the wireless provider the revamped interface improves on the original version and allows subscribers to monitor their monthly data usage, check upload and download speeds as well as monitor their signal strength, amongst other features.
The iBurst dashboard can be downloaded free of charge and is also available on the latest iBurst installation CD (released 01 April 2007).
The iBurst dashboard is compatible with Windows 2000 and XP for all iBurst modems. For desktop modems, the connection has to be made via the USB port.

How it Works

For a Subscriber to qualify for receiving 500 free MB he/she must have logged into the iBurst network via the Dashboard not less than five times during October 2007.
Contact a RSAWEB consultant for more info.


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