Coming up…

I always promise to tell you when I put sponsored posts on the blog. But often, part of the conditions of getting paid for putting a sponsored post on the blog is that you can’t tell people that it’s a sponsored post.

Of course, I won’t let this apply to stuff I’m asked to review: full disclosure for those, right there and then – always.

But sometimes there are posts where all the contributor wants to see is a link to their product or website in an otherwise uninspiring blurb, which you are sent and asked to publish for a phat phee.
There are going to be a few of those coming up over the next couple of weeks, so if you think that something looks a bit weird or out of place, don’t panic: it’s probably just one of those posts. Check down below the blurb, next to the date – I usually tag them under ‘black label fund’, because you must rest assured that if it’s made it onto 6000 miles… front page, I am at least getting some beer money from it.

Science doesn’t pay well. But no science doesn’t pay at all.

Thanks for understanding.

New drones

Bad news. I no longer have the coolest drone on the market.

That’s because last week, DJI released two new Mavic 2 Pro drones: the Zoom and the Pro. There’s been a huge number of comments on these new offerings across the droning community for a while now, but no-one has actually had any hands-on experience with them, because… well.. obviously they weren’t available.

Now they are, and obviously, one of the first to have one (or two) was Casey Neistat – a guy whose opinions on these sort of things I value tremendously. I started to watch his review with my Mavic 1 sitting next to me and an understanding that, inevitably, these new drones would render Florence pretty much defunct as the flagship, cutting edge consumer unit.

Before I continue, here’s his review:

tl;dw: unsurprisingly, two great drones. He prefers the one with the optical zoom (the… er… M2 Zoom), the other one (M2 Pro) is also good, but falls down a little on value for money.

So yeah, my Mavic 1 is now old news.

Or is it?

Because first off, there’s every reason for these models to be better than Florence. They have the benefit of being released 20 months later than her, and in a marketplace which features such cutting edge technology – technology that still regularly astounds people that see my drone – that’s a massive, massive advantage. Not least in that DJI can look at their consumers’ wishlists and react accordingly.

They’re more expensive too. Sure, you’re getting a few more features, but aside from the improved cameras (and you can look at the video for direct side-by-side comparisons), there’s not really that much else added.

The M2 Pro FlyMore package (the direct equivalent of how I bought Florence) comes in a cool R10,000 more than I paid for my Mavic back in January last year. And because of that, Casey suggests that for the quality of picture vs value for money, Florence can still hold her own against the M2 Pro. Boom.

There are two other points to take into consideration as well, and these ones are personal, so I fully accept that they might not be the same for everyone.

Firstly, if you are buying your Mavic 2 drone next month when they get to SA, then enjoy it. You’re going to have an amazing time. But you will have already missed out on the 20 months of fun that I have had. Sure, I could have waited for the Mavic 2, in much the same way that you could have waited for the Mavic 3. But I have had such a good time all over the world with my drone: I have no regrets whatsoever.

And secondly, because money doesn’t grow on trees, my choice of which bits of technology I want to upgrade has to be tempered somewhat. Sure, if I won the lottery tomorrow I’d be at the DJI Store on Wednesday.
But that’s (probably) not going to happen.
A far more sensible approach is to wait until your technology begins to limit what you can – and what you want to – do with it. I’ve done that on a couple of occasions with cameras (indeed, I’m just beginning to get there with my current entry-level Canon DSLR).

I’m nowhere near that point with my drone. I haven’t even scratched the surface. The problem is that it’s just such fun to fly. You head out with the best of intentions to shoot some amazing video or some such, you pop it up into the air and just “warm up” with a few runs in and out over the beach or wherever, and you’re having such a good time that you do a few more.

And then suddenly:

Maybe that video thing can wait til tomorrow.

And guess what happens tomorrow?
I simply don’t have the discipline to overcome the amount of fun I have when I launch my drone.

So, while my Florence is now technologically aeons behind in this exciting, fast-paced field, I’m very happy to keep working playing with my Mavic 1.

It’s still amazing. It is.

Cape Town Loadshedding 2018

I would really rather not be writing this one.

Yep. Loadshedding is back. Not wet coal or no coal or breakdowns or corruption this time. This is strike action, although some believe it should be called something entirely different:

Because yes, this electricity shortage is because the workers aren’t happy about not getting a pay rise this year. But whatever terminology you wish to use, it’s the everyday people of the country that will suffer.

Which brings me to my next point: if you are in Cape Town, when might you be likely to suffer?

Here’s the information you need, in handy PDF form.

To work out when you might expect the lights to go out. And the TV, during the World Cup. Or the rugby, you smarmy egg-chasers. Yeah, that grin disappeared pretty quickly, didn’t it?

Using the schedule isn’t exactly rocket surgery. Use the map to find the numbered area in which you live or work (or intend to watch the sport), then match the date on the timetable below to see when you can expect the misery of a rolling blackout.

If you’re outside any of the gaily coloured areas on the map, then you need to go to the Eskom website to get your schedule.

They are taking the piss

With the (government regulated) fuel price reaching a new record level today, that same government (the one that also imposed a 1% increase in VAT, a 7% increase in the Fuel Levy and a 18.4% increase in the Road Accident Fund Levy just a couple of months ago) tweeted this:

Sure, it might look like they are trying to help us cut our petrol use, but it does seem a bit like the school bully giving you a plaster for your bleeding knee when he was the one who tripped you up in the playground.

They’re taking the piss, right?

I mean, check that incredible starter:

Make Fewer Trips

Wow… Revolutionary.
Thanks, Einstein.

A better way of saving South Africans money on petrol would surely be to revisit all those recent tax increases or tackle corruption and run the economy a bit better so that the currency wasn’t always struggling against the USD oil price benchmark.

But given that neither of those things is ever going to happen, I guess that I’ll just have to “accelerate smoothly” and “close my windows”.

FFS.

Tweets I thought I’d get in more trouble for than I actually did

Number 1 in a series of… well… probably quite a few, to be honest.

This ended up on my timeline yesterday evening:

Local “musical” act “The Kiffness” is referring to the Afrikaburn festival, which took place in the Tankwa Karoo this past weekend. It’s the South African equivalent of Nevada’s infamous Burning Man festival, and the final acts of the event involve the burning of some of the large artworks.

“The Kiffness” makes the point that the materials used in those installations that are burned could be put to better use to help rebuild shacks in townships which are regularly affected by fires.

And he’s right. Perhaps they could be.

But…

If we’re going to choose to police what people can do with their private property and money, if we’re going to choose to police free thought and art – however destructive it may be or seem to be – then let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Because it wasn’t so long ago that “The Kiffness” voluntarily posted this on one of its social media feeds:

Yep. There’s our protagonist outside one of Cape Town’s more salubrious venues, with a fistful of dollars and a hashtagged promise to #makeitrain*.

An image which I included in my reply to his original tweet:

Yep. Surely, if there are better things to do with the materials used in the construction of flammable artwork, then there were also better things to do with that that R600 – especially in Cape Town’s CBD in the middle of winter?

Some would argue that even if there were no local poverty or homelessness, there would always be many better things that you could do with R600 than spend it at Mavericks.

But I’d say that what “The Kiffness” chooses to do with his money is his choice. Just that his Afrikaburn thoughts might gain better traction were he to practice what he preaches. I’m reliably informed that “The Kiffness” does “jazzy dance and electronic music”, but apparently it doesn’t draw the line at delving into HipHopcrisy.

Sorry, not sorry.

I thought his legion of fan would come after me for pointing this out, but evidently, it was busy doing other stuff yesterday.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that the Afrikaburn organisers do support a number of local charities, including:

The Bergie Bag Project
Bags of food, clothes and medical supplies to homeless people in Cape Town.

I’m sure R600 would go a long way to supporting the cause of those sleeping rough near Mavericks on Barrack Street, and beyond.

 

[For the record: I have no affiliation with Afrikaburn, “The Kiffness” or Mavericks, and have happily, repeatedly and successfully avoided all three during my time in South Africa.]

 

* I am of the opinion that this should likely read “make it rain” – a popular culture reference described thus: “When you’re in da club with a stack, and you throw the money up in the air at the strippers. The effect is that it seems to be raining money”, and not “makei train”, which is the railway route between Minsk and Kalinkavichy, funded under Department of Transport and Infrastructure Minister (now Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Vladimir Makei.

I hope this clears things up for you readers.