Invictus – The Poem

The movie Invictus??(Latin for Unconquered) gets its name from the following poem by William Ernest Henley, which Nelson Mandela had written on a piece of scrap paper during his imprisonment.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??- William Earnest Henley

Shaped vs Unshaped DSL bandwidth (using Afrihost & Cybersmart)

I did some test results today comparing Afrihost (Shaped) vs Cybersmart (Unshaped, sorta)

The comparison is not “fair” in a sense, as Afrihost clearly states that they offer Shaped bandwidth. 

Shaped bandwidth means that “typical” web traffic is prioritzed. (Afrihost calls it “the most important web protocols (e.g. Internet browsing and email)”

What is often not said about Shaped Bandwidth is that it only really helps with cached websites. So you’ll be fine when reading CNN.com, but reading your online email or doing online banking is a different story.

Without going into details: If you’re running a business that does online email (e.g. Google Apps, Gmail, Hotmail), make use of Web 2.0 applications (Salesforce.com, Highrise, Youtube, Freshbooks) or do VoIP (Skype, NetMeeting, WebEx) you should NOT use shaped bandwidth. Of course you could weigh up the extra minutes wasted against the money saved. (Afrihost offers R29 per GB Shaped bandwidth, compared to Web Africa’s superior Unshaped service at R125 per GB!) 

A few months ago, Skyrove signed a deal with Cybersmart that involves getting their bandwidth at preferential prices. They don’t classify their bandwidth as “shaped” or “unshaped”, as they’re not using traditional SAIX bandwidth. 

Here are some test results comparing Skyrove bandwidth (provided by Cybersmart) against Afrihost bandwidth: 

1. Download/Upload Speed Test (Cape Town to Johannesburg)

Cybersmart 
003ebd663f2002341dce80178b3abb

(The above was the slowest result of 3, the fastest was 3.45)

Afrihost

67b1e74d2e01971c138b4df51e6477

This was result from the first test, which I found a bit puzzling. There is normally no perceivable difference between shaped and Unshaped when doing basic download tests. I did the test 3 more times, and got the following results: 

Test 2 – 0.49 Mb/s down, 0.32 Mb/s up (down even more)
Test 3 – 3.41 Mb/s down, 0.29 Mb/s up (that’s better, maybe it was just temporary…)
Test 4 – 0.51 Mb/s down, 0.32 Mb/s up (Nope, down again) 

So it looks pretty erratic! I haven’t seen this kind of result before, and didn’t test again at a different time period to see if it’s a general problem. 

2. Download/Upload Speed Test (Cape Town to London)

Cybersmart

5f65dd7f39c3d831d3d02eca6179db

Afrihost

E9966c229f040001e22c9e00a75933

3. Local Ping Test (Cape Town to Johannesburg) – Important for gaming, VOIP 

Cybersmart 
7861905749d92ba111ce15d642ce99

Afrihost
547835ed666e24df01887cf075a1a8

Both ISPs are ‘A’ graded (excellent), as expected, for local ping. For gaming, it’s generally recommended that you have a sub-60ms ping (to the gaming server). Provider the gaming server is in South Africa, you shouldn’t have problems using either Afrihost or Cybersmart. 

4. International Ping Test (Cape Town to London)

Cybersmart
68eced8d93e24db9be664212c496d5

Cybersmart comes in as B graded “Very Good”. Everything should be fine, but “Some online games may not perform optimally”

Afrihost
93debcba836b869eaacb318437863e

Afrihost’s Shaped offering gets ‘C’ graded here. “Acceptable. Your VoIP quality will suffer some, and you will have a disadvantage in online games. Test again to confirm” So basically: Forget about online gaming or having any business teleconference calls via Skype. 

Conclusion

There is a BIG difference between Shaped & Unshaped bandwidth, both as far as speed & price is concerned.Unshaped internet may be more expensive, but if you use it, you’d find that the “experience” of internet browsing is just as good as using it in the US. 

They are so different, in fact, that it should be compulsory for ISPs who provide shaped bandwidth to always append “Shaped” (or even better: “Basic”) to the end of their DSL product name, rather than hiding it away in the FAQs. 

Labeling would be a start, but even better would simply be to ban Shaped bandwidth overall. It’s a deliberately crippled service and is likely done (by Telkom) in order to overcharge for Unshaped bandwidth.

Notes:

1. DISCLAIMER: I work for Skyrove and Cybersmart is a shareholder. These tests are not independent and weren’t peer reviewed (before we have claims of BandwidthGate). Proper testing would involve testing from multiple locations, servers, ISPs, times. 

2. Skyrove does not sell DSL packages, but we use DSL at the vast majority of our WiFi Hotspots.

3. All tests were done around 6 pm on a Sunday. Results will vary during the week during working hours. 

RICA slowing down connectivity to the internet

Just signed up for an Afrihost account. The sign-up process was quick & painless.??

However, before my account can be activated, I have to send a copy of my ID. Luckily, Afrihost allows me to upload it through their online portal.??

Afrihostrica

Even so, I see RICA as a human rights offence. All I'm doing is "talking" using bits over copper & fibre lines, as opposed to using words over sound waves as I would in a normal conversation. It would be ludicrous to expect me to register with my ID before communicating with another human being, so why do this when using a different technology to do the exact same thing???

Any constitutional lawyers out there?

JukeFly.com – It’s Spotify for the Rest of Us

A few days ago I discovered JukeFly.com, an amazing online music service:

Jukefly

Cool things about JukeFly:

1. I'm yet to search for a song or album I can't find. For the picture, I was listening to Jack Johnson, and it listed all his albums on the right. Just clicking on the album would load all the songs to my playlist and start playing them

2. It shows the lyrics! Awesome!??

3. It tries to find a YouTube video (it looks like the better the song quality, the less chance there is of a YouTube video though, which is fine by me, as I'm not really interested in the video)

4. Looks like they're (currently) the underdog. The hype has been around Last.fm, Pandora & Spotify. JukeFly is slightly different, yet every bit as good!??

5. It works just fine in South Africa. No bizarre country restrictions or Digital Apartheid being applied.

Good luck to the Jukefly team! Go check it out: http://jukefly.com/