Latest News & Industry Articles.

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?


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 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.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

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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The Telecoms Action Group, with funding from Mark Shuttleworth and the help of lawyer Michael Alachouzos, is planning to ‘kick Telkom where it hurts’.

Lawyer for TAG, Michael Alachouzos said at iWeek yesterday that the best way people can put pressure on Telkom is to become shareholders of Telkom. By doing so, any person with even a single share has various rights, including looking at the company’s share register and attending its Annual General Meetings.

Alachouzos says that any 100 shareholders can convene a general meeting and giving it rights as shareholders. He stated TAG has lots of shares and has started handing them out to individuals with the end goal of convening a meeting.

So far the TAG has transferred shares to around 70 individuals, but it is an ongoing project which is expected to reach many more individuals in the next few months.

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New Ipod Lineup, Touch It

September 06, 2007

At the recent Apple “The beat goes on” special event, Steve Jobs refreshed the entire iPod lineup. The old iPod’s have been improved and a new touch screen iPod was released. The biggest news of all was the price drop for the 8Gb iPhone, that has been reduced by $200.

So lets introduce the new ipods:

Ipod Nano: the new Nano features a beautiful colour screen and metallic finish. The unit is still extremely small and thin, but the proportions have been changed, so its now a little more stumpy, wider and shorter. The real bonus is that video playback has been added as well as Coverflow, which allows a more graphical music selector. All in all, its a great improvement on Apples most successful iPod, and offers great value for a small device. 4Gb and 8Gb models are available.

iPod Classic: the old iPod as we knew it has changed and now will be referred to as the “Classic”. Being the only hard drive based iPod, the Classic now has the same metallic finish as the Nano, and is available in larger 80GB and 160GB capacities. Battery life has also been injected with steroids and the Classic has 30 hours of battery for audio playback, 6 hours of video on the 80GB version, and 40 hours / 7 hours for the 160GB unit. The iPod Classic is also slimmer than its predecessor.

iPod Touch: the new member of the iPod family, and possibly the most talked about addition since the launch. The new flagship device features a touch screen the same size as the iPhone, while the device is 8 millimeters thinner. Its basically an iPhone without the phone part, and features the “same multi-touch interface”. The best addition is WiFi, coupled with a built in Safari web browser, allowing you to browse the web and watch YouTube video’s. Apple also released a wireless version of iTunes for the iPhone and iPod touch, that allows downloading of music, podcasts and ring tones directly to the device, via the Wifi/GSM connection. The iPod touch will be sold in 8GB and 16GB flavors and will be priced at $299 and $399 respectively. This is a real alternative for people outside the US, who love the iPhone, but could never get their hands on them due to carrier wars. There may not be a GSM connection on board, but WiFi offers faster speeds and really justifies the investment made by many web companies such as Facebook and Meebo, in an iPhone specific web app. I see the Touch being very popular and indicative of where Apple is moving their iPod lineup.

iPhone: the iPhone hasn’t changed, it Just got $200 cheaper (yes, that isnt a typo) . With almost 1 Million iPhone’s sold Apple is phasing out the 4Gb model and has dropped the Price of the 8Gb model to boost further sales. While this penalizes early adopters, its a great move to get more users onto the platform and bring the iPhone in line with the Touch pricing.

The iPod Shuffle has also been released in a range of new colours, but nothings changed in terms of the device’s specs.

So to recap, thats two new full fledged iPod’s, a new Wireless iTunes store and updates/upgrades to the rest of the lineup.


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Gadgets that run on body heat

September 06, 2007

All you warm bodied people may have an advantage with this new innovation. You may soon be able to power your personal devices like mobile phones, iPods, digital cameras and other devices using just your own body heat. Whats best is you dont need to be riding a bike with a dynamo or walking on the treadmill!

The new circuits utilize the principle of thermoelectric generators (TEG) made from semiconductor elements. According to the scientists, from Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits the TEGs extract electrical energy simply from the temperature difference between a hot and a cold environment. Normally, a difference of several tens of degrees would be required in order to generate enough power, but the difference between the body’s surface temperature and that of its environment is only a few degrees. To boost the energy, they combined a number of components that store up the energy until there’s enough to operate the electronic device.

The photo shows a wireless transmitter being powered by the heat given off by a person’s hand via a thermoelectric generator with the output being displayed on the screen.

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All new ADSL customers will need to purchase their modem now, even when doing a self install. Telkom previously ran a special, that gave a free modem to all clients who made use of the self install option, regardless of which ISP they purchased their bandwidth from. The special ran from Febuary 2007 till the 31st August this year.

The ADSL self install option allows you to get your ADSL line setup quicker & faster than before because a Telkom engineer doesnt have to come to your premises. The self install option is still available and I would still recommend it in order to fasttrack your ADSL line installation, however you will need to purchase a modem.

Speak to an RSAWeb consultant to get advice on ADSL modems and how to aquire one with your RSAWEB ADSL service.

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Google MyMaps

September 03, 2007

Google has now made it even easier to embed maps into your website. If you have a coding background and have played with Google Maps intergation via the API, you will know thats its pretty easy to do, and in a day or two you can have a customizable app build, but the average blogger on the web has’nt got the time or the inclination to get that technical. Most bloggers have posted code from Youtube into their blog, so Google jumped on that fact and built Mymaps. Mymaps is an extra tab on the already well known Google Maps page, allowing you to plot markers and even add HTML text into descriptions. The “link to this page” facility has been upgraded to include the iframe text for easy blog insertion. Here is a simple map to the RSAWEB Cape Town office.

View Larger Map

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Rugby World Cup Calendar

September 03, 2007

The Rugby World Cup is almost upon us, and there have been many calendars released in the newspapers detailing when each game is going to be played. Well now you can bypass all the paper, save the environment and import an online one instead. If you are using a Mac, or use Zimbra, you can import an iCal calendar and never miss a game. Zimbra also does all of the time zone changes, so your South African calendar remains up to date.

Click here for the zimbra import, or if you are still stuck with Outlook, you can download it in Outlook format.

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