Monday, November 28, 2005

Review : Spud by John van de Ruit

In a year that has been full of uninspring books, it is exciting to come across a book as brilliant as Spud. For it to be written by a South African author is unheard of.

Spud is John van de Ruit's first novel and hopefully not his last. The book is set in journal format and recounts the first year of John "Spud" Milton at a private high school in South Africa. This book is the funniest book I have come across this year, and could very well be the best I have ever read. For everyone that went to a similar high school buy this book. For those of you that didn't, still buy it.

As always, buy this book from They are selling it at a great price of R76.00

Edit: Good deals on the two sequels have been added to : Spud - The Madness Continues and Spud - Learning to Fly. If you think they are good deals, Vote them Up. Or Down if you have found a better deal. Or better yet, if you have found a better deal, please Add the deal to so we can enjoy it too.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Google Analytics

Google today launched a new product called Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the resulting product of their purchase of the popular Urchin website tracking software.
Google Analytics provides many new features such as AdWords tracking, Goals, Funnels and a totally new user interface. Funnels are an interesting tracking tool that let you track a specific progression on your website.

As Google Analytics is still gathering data on my sites, I am unable to give further information. I will post an update as soon as the data gathering is complete.

Monday, November 07, 2005

TiVo in South Africa

For many years now I have been interested in owning a PVR. The PVR as we know it was immortalised by TiVo. Since the introduction of the TiVo unit, many other options have become available.

Buying a TiVo in South Africa until now was useless as the channel information wasn't available until now (more about this later in the article)
Building your own was very expensive and generally didn't look the part. The free software available such as MythTV was buggy and complicated to use, let alone install.
Building your own PVR by either using MythTV, Meedio or Microsoft Windows Media Centre Edition did a lot more than TiVo such as DVD burning, weather forecasts, etc which were moderately useful.

Now Multichoice has come to the rescue with their new DSTV PVR. It includes not only one touch recording and Dual View, but also the ability to watch one program whilst recording another, setting the PVR to record the same program every week and replacing your existing DSTV decoder.

At the same time, tivoZA has come up with their own solution. It involves buying a Series One TiVo system off eBay, and then installing some software that allows you to access South African Programming (SABC, MNET, etv and DSTV).

Comparing the two...

Good points about the TiVo :
1. Advert Skipping
2. Access via PC and therefor DVD burning
3. Price is much cheaper than anything else
4. TiVo interface is supposed to be really good

Bad point about TiVo:
1. Can't record one channel whilst watching another
2. Doesn't replace the DSTV unit
3. Seems to require a VCR as well since there is no pal tuner (If you don't use DSTV)
4. Incredible hassle required to Purchase TiVo unit
5. After unit price on eBay, shipping and cost of purchasing DSTV unit, it is not that cheap any more
6. Incredible hassle to set up for SA

That being said, the interface is really important and a lot will depend on the DSTV PVR's interface.
As for Advert skipping, this feature has been built-in but disabled to give advertisers time to acclimitise. It should therefore only be a matter of days until it is hacked to allow it to do Advert Skipping.

If anyone has any information and screenshots of the DSTV PVR's interface, please let me know by leaving a comment