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.

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.