A man in the know speaks

There’s no doubting that SA is in a bad place at the moment regarding its power supply. Years of corruption, mismanagement and poor maintenance have left us in a deep hole. What I didn’t know was quite how deep.
Fortunately(?), expert Chris Yelland has now filled us all in.
(The hole, however, remains very much unfilled.)

1. SA is out of diesel
2. Pumped storage dams low
3. No power from Mozambique (2 lines down)
4. 5000 MW (8 generator units) down due to boiler tube leaks
5. Three units running but with boiler tube leaks
6. Other unplanned outages

and on point 3:

Both HVDC lines (1420 km, total capacity 1400 MW) from the Cahora Bassa hydro plant between Tsongo substation in Mozambique & Apollo substation in Gauteng are down due to the tropical cyclone. Damaged lines inaccessible, Extent of damage unknown. Time to restore lines unknown.

Oh dear. About as bad as it could get then.

Chris has also come up with a 6 point plan to try to help us climb out of the hole: click here for curated thread, which no-one with any authority will pay any attention to. This attitude is at least some of the reason we’re in this mess already.

Struggling with speed

Here’s the situation Chez 6000 this morning:

This being South Africa, we don’t have the creature comforts of speedy internet at reasonable prices. Sure, could have speedy internet at extortionate prices, but then we wouldn’t have money for other essentials like food and Castle Milk Stout.

Still, the balance that we have found between internet speed and beer money should result in us getting speeds over twenty times as fast as we’re seeing this morning.

Remember my old adage:

Things go wrong. It’s how you put them right that makes the difference.

Our ISP offers help via live chat, whatsapp, email, phone and social media. But they have been conspicuous by their absence from every single one of these: crickets, rien, dololo, niks.
South African customer service on point, once again.

And thus we are still in the dark about whether this is our problem (well, I mean, clearly it is our problem, but you know what I mean), their problem or some upstream component that has gone awry. Not that it really matters which of these it is because whichever one it might be, the internet isn’t working. Again.

I’m very irritated. Again.

Twenty Nineteen

I’m a great believer in being positive. Not to the exclusion of all reason: I’m a realist before an optimist, but I’m very much an optimist ahead of a pessimist. So with that said, I’m both hopeful and not ever so hopeful about the year ahead for South Africa.

Hopeful because I feel that the vast majority of people here are decent, honest and willing to work towards making this a better place.

Not ever so hopeful because the loony fringes of left and right are out to make any meaningful progress harder than ever.
And to be honest, despite their small numbers, they’re still in the pound seats right now. They have a miserable public to speak to, there’s an election coming up real soon now and a clear lack of leadership at the top of the two leading political parties, while the guy in third place – currently holding 6% of the vote – is happily directing matters via a seemingly sycophantic media hanging on his every rant.
The economy is in tatters, with the promise of more bad news to come in the months ahead, unemployment continues to increase, and the government seems unable or unwilling (maybe both) to do anything about any of it.
Our newspapers and news sites are filled with biased, puerile, inaccurate and sensationalist crap and yet still people read and believe every word. There are a million bandwagons lined up like free Ubers just waiting to be leapt upon and an increasingly depressed and desperate population needing a ride.

But despite all this, I still believe that there is hope. We just need to avoid being dragged down by the really dreadful stuff to the exclusion of all of the good things and good people that there are out there.

Clearly, that won’t happen. But it would be nice if it could.

And let’s also look elsewhere before we bury ourselves in self pity. Not that it improves our situation at all, but it’s not as though we’re alone in having struggled through the frying pan of 2018 only to be shown the fire of 2019.

So I completely accept that things are some distance from rosy as SA heads into 2019, but I don’t think it’s the cataclysmic end that so many people seem to believe it will be.

Unless I’m wrong of course, in which case, we’re completely buggered.

Have a lovely 2019.

 

December 2018 Cape Town Loadshedding Links

Like a poor sequel, loadshedding (you may remember it from such terms as “Rolling Blackouts”) has returned, and once again, we are regularly being plunged into darkness.

Being plunged into darkness is never good at the best of times, but if you don’t know that it’s coming, it can be particularly irritating. So, best that you know when it’s coming then, and we’re here to help.

The good news for those of us in Cape Town is that some degree of loadshedding is often mitigated by our spare generation capacity (the hydroelectric unit up at Steenbras).

If you’re going to work out when and how much you’re going to be loadshod, you need a few bits of information. First off, you need to know whether you are supplied by the City or by Eskom and you need to know what stage loadshedding we are on.

To see what stage the local loadshedding is on, check this page.

To check for who your supplier is, look at the map here.

If you’re not in one of the cheerfully coloured areas, you’re an Eskom customer, and you should go here to view the appropriate schedules.

If you are in one of the cheerfully coloured areas, look at which one and then head here to see when you’re going to be cut off.

And that’s it. Loadshedding isn’t an exact science, so no promises made as to what might actually happen on the ground at the time, but this is as good a guideline as you’re going to get.

Loadshedding should last for about 2½ hours a pop. If it goes on much longer than that something has gone wrong (or it wasn’t loadshedding in the first place – other electrical problems are also possible), talk to the City on 0860 103 089 or Eskom on 086 00 37566.

Or do some online shouty stuff:

Don’t forget to not tell them where you live. That’s always helps.

Other useful links:
City twitter
Eskom twitter
Khulu Phasiwe twitter – Eskom spokesperson – DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER.

Presets

Before we begin, let me say that I’m a big fan of Peter McKinnon. He’s jut over to the right in the blogroll. I like his photography, I like his vlogs, I like his attitude, I like his down to earth personality.

(there’s a but coming up, isn’t there?)

BUT…
(told you so.)

His latest pack of presets for Adobe Lightroom is priced a little steeply, I feel.

$30 is R436 today. And that’s a lot of money. But it’s not just a lot of money because Cyril broke the economy again. It’s a lot of money because $30 is a lot of money to begin with.

With all those lovely qualities I mentioned above, it’s no surprise that PMcK has quickly reached 2.5million subscribers on YouTube (and 1.2 million on Instagram). But is that really enough to be charging thirty bucks for a 38.7kB file? And that FALL 2018 tag opens it up nicely for four packs a year.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate his undoubted talent. I understand that he’s probably put a lot of work into fine-tuning them to make them exactly as he wants them to look. But is there really any justification for that exorbitant price? I just feel that some settings for your photo editing software are massively personal and unlikely to be for everyone.

Full disclosure: I bought his last lot of presets, but only because they were on offer – down from $10 to $5. I likely wouldn’t have considered $10, let alone $30. I’ve probably only used a couple of them.

So, this feels a bit like like someone cashing in on his fame. And while I appreciate that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a bit sad the first time someone you thought wouldn’t be into that sort of thing, does that sort of thing.

I know the answer – don’t buy them – and I won’t buy them.

It just seems like commercialism hit hard and he’s testing the waters to see what he can get away with. Maybe I’m way out of touch, but it feels like he might have pushed too far.