Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Facebook using up your Data?

So, Facebook hLogoas recently added a new feature to the app where it plays all the videos in your news feed automatically.  Even if you haven’t opened them!  This can seriously eat up your data cap and leave you with the bare minimum. We’ve put together a quick how-to guide on changing these settings to save your data!

Save on data by following these easy steps to change your Facebook settings:facebook

Important note: if you’re accessing Facebook via multiple devices, you need to change your settings on each device, to solve the problem.

If you’re accessing Facebook on your PC or Laptop:

  1. Go to Facebook and click on “Settings” (Top right of your screen).
  2. Select “Videos” from the menu on the left of your screen.
  3. Auto-Play Videos: Select “Off” from the drop-down field on the right

If you’re accessing Facebook via your Mobile phone (iOS/iPhone):

  1. Click on the Facebook app.
  2. Go to your “Settings” (Usually the bottom right of your screen and sometimes under the “more” tab).
  3. Select “Account Preferences”.
  4. Select “Videos and pictures”.
  5. Auto-Play Videos: select the “Never Auto-Play Videos” option from the drop down menu.

If you’re accessing Facebook via your Mobile phone (Android phones ie. Samsung etc.):

  1. Click on the Facebook app.
  2. Go to the ”hamburger” icon (3 parallel lines), and choose “Settings” (Usually the top right of your screen)
  3. Select “App Settings”.
  4. Switch “Videos play automatically” to “Off”.

Saving data is now EASIER!!

We hope this helps you to get the most out of your Internet data.

Telkom’s crazy fibre-to-the-home target

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko recently said the company wants to service one million FTTH-connected homes within the next three years.

Speaking at Satnac 2015, Maseko said Telkom will double its investment in FTTH and fibre-to-the-business to achieve these targets.

Telkom currently has 38,000 homes connected to its FTTH network, and plans to grow this number to 70,000 by the end of 2015.

Maseko said that by March 2016, they plan to serve 150,000 homes with fibre – expanding to 400,000 homes in 2017.

Maseko said Telkom is committed to democratising broadband access. “We have set ourselves the objective of contributing to transforming the South African economy”.

While Telkom’s fibre roll-out for large metropolitan areas will continue, the company is working with the government to provide broadband to under-serviced areas.

Very ambitious target

To put Telkom’s one-million FTTH target into perspective, it took the company 13 years to reach the same milestone with its ADSL service.

There is one big difference, though. The ADSL infrastructure – copper lines – already existed and were already installed in people’s homes.

Telkom’s new fibre-to-the-home infrastructure is still being rolled out. This includes both last mile and other network components.

The graph below shows the growth of ADSL in South Africa, and Telkom’s new fibre-to-the-home target.

Telkom FTTH plans

Undersea cable systems in South Africa from 1879 to 2015

Most of your Internet traffic is carried via submarine cable systems from Europe and the United States – here are the cable systems which have served the country over the last 150 years.

By August 10, 2015 7 Comments

African Undersea Cables Map 2014 header

There are currently several submarine cable systems which serve South Africa’s telecommunications needs – SAT-3/WACS, Seacom, WACS, and EASSy. All of these systems became operational over the last 15 years.

However, there were submarine cables long before the Internet was invented. The first submarine cable system which connected South Africa to Europe was launched in 1879.

The photos below, for example, show how a telephony undersea cable was laid in the 1940s in Cape Town.

A hat tip to Telkom’s library services for providing the photos.

Laying an undersea cable in Cape Town

Commencing to haul the cable ashore at Blaawberg in 1944

Main undersea cable systems in South Africa

Here is a summary of some of the submarine cable system which served South Africa’s telecommunications needs since the first telephone service was launched in the country.


1879 – First submarine cable between Europe and Durban

Cable station in 1879

On 27 December 1879, South Africa was directly connected with Europe via Durban and Zanzibar to Aden by means of the East Coast cable of the South African Telegraph Company. This was a single-channel cable.


1889 – First West Coast submarine cable from Cape Town to Europe

In 1889 the first West Coast submarine cable from Cape Town to Europe was established. The cable went via St Helena and the Ascension Islands.

Cape Town telegraph office in 1889


1968 – SAT-1

SAT-1 cable laying ship in 1969

The SAT-1 cable was laid in 1968, and stretched from Melkbosstrand in South Africa to Sesimbra in Portugal. The submarine cable was a co-axial telephone cable manufactured by Standard Telephone and Cables Ltd. The cable carried 360 telephone circuits, opened for traffic in February 1969, and was taken out of service in June 1993.


1993 – SAT-2

Laying of SAT-2

Construction on the SAT-2 cable started in May 1992, and ran from Funchal, Madeira to Melkbosstrand in South Africa. SAT-2 was a fibre optic cable, and was the first submarine cable constructed to enable commercial and private use of the Internet. The SAT-2 cable opened for service in March 1993, and replaced the SAT-1 cable.


2001 – SAT-3/SAFE

SAT-3 cable

SAT-3 is a fibre submarine cable linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, while SAFE connects South Africa to Asia. SAT-3 had an initial design capacity of 340Gbps, while SAFE had a design capacity of 440Gbps. The system’s capacity has been upgraded since launch. The SAT-3/SAFE system was built by a consortium of operators, which included Telkom.


2009 – Seacom


Seacom is the first submarine cable system to connect South Africa to Europe via the East Coast of Africa. The 17,000km submarine fibre-optic cable system was launched in July 2009, and at launch had a design capacity of 1.28Tbps.


2010 – EASSy

EASSy landing

In July 2010 the 10,500km Eastern African Submarine Cable System – better known as EASSy – was launched. EASSy has a 2 fibre-pair configuration, and links South Africa with Sudan via landing points in Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti. In 2011 the design capacity of EASSy was increased to 4.72Tbps.


2012 – WACS


The West Africa Cable System (WACS) was launched in May 2012 with a design capacity of 5.12Tbps. The 17,200km WACS fibre optic submarine cable system spans the west coast of Africa, starting at Yzerfontein near Cape Town and terminating in the United Kingdom. WACS is the first submarine cable system to make use of Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching to provide advanced in-system restoration of wavelengths – increasing network resilience.

Taken from on 11/08/2015.

Elon Musk: How a bullied boy became a man who can change the world.


Genius, billionaire, philanthropist … Elon Musk is not Tony Stark, but he’s getting close.

Musk, who has a 10-second cameo in Iron Man 2, was the inspiration for director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey jnr’s big-screen Tony Stark because he’s at the cutting edge of technology and is shaping its impact on humanity.

The adventures of the South African-born Musk are documented in a new biography by Ashlee Vance, a Bloomberg journalist who hounded him into co-operating with him.

The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity is one of the most recognisable figures in the world. In his book, Vance details the boardroom battles and workplace fistfights between brothers Elon and Kimbal when they launched their first company, Zip2, later sold to Compaq for $300-million – as well as the inspiration and sheer force of will that were part of Musk’s often turbulent trip to the top.

Much has been made about his adventures in Silicon Valley. He co-founded PayPal and made a mint when eBay bought it for $1.5-billion.

Through his companies, Musk is pushing the boundaries of technology to achieve lofty goals: he wants to build a future that will see humankind weaned off fossil fuel (SolarCity and Tesla) and have us become an interplanetary species – SpaceX aims to get us to Mars to build colonies. Like, seriously? Where does he get the chutzpah?

Aware of his own myth, Musk recently tweeted: “The rumour that I’m building a spaceship to get back to my home planet Mars is totally untrue.”

He’s not from Mars. He’s from Pretoria. And therein lies some of the answer to the chutzpah question.

His prodigious natural – some might say unnatural – talents aside, Musk suffered the kind of adversity growing up that frequently leads bright sparks to achieve beyond the dreams of most.

He has successfully battled goliaths in two sectors notoriously hard to crack: the motor and aeronautical industries. And he’s done it before; along with Kimbal, Musk founded (later PayPal), initially conceived as the world’s first internet bank, beyond the secure internet payment system it was relegated to when bought by eBay.

The brothers have profited from their talents. But those talents could not have borne such glorious fruit were they not combined with an appetite for risk way beyond the norm, coupled with the motivation of wanting to escape an unhappy childhood.

Musk turned four a few days after the Soweto uprisings. He travelled abroad regularly with his father, Errol, and Vance notes the young Musk “would have gotten a flavour of how the rest of the world viewed South Africa”.

But despite being raised in a well-off, whites-only suburb, the Musk boys and their young sister Tosca did not have a happy childhood. Errol, an engineer, was not a happy man and could “suck the joy out of any situation”.

Musk and his first wife, Justine, have agreed that their children will never meet Errol. Musk ‘s mother, Maye, a former Miss South Africa finalist who was won over by Errol’s determined wooing, will not speak of what the family endured. The couple divorced when Musk was about eight . Maye moved to Durban with Tosca; Musk and Kimbal opted to live with Errol.

It would certainly be accurate to say that I did not have a good childhood. It was not absent of good, but it was not a happy childhood. It was like misery

“I don’t want to tell you stories. You know, you just don’t talk about it. There are kids and grandkids involved,” Maye told Vance. The book details how Errol would sit the boys down and lecture them for three or four hours without them being able to respond.

Kimbal told Vance: “He definitely has serious chemical stuff [imbalances]. Which I am sure Elon and I have inherited. It was a very emotionally challenging upbringing, but it made us who we are today.”

Musk called his father “an odd duck” and said: “It would certainly be accurate to say that I did not have a good childhood. It may sound good. It was not absent of good, but it was not a happy childhood. It was like misery.

But it was not just at home where things were rough. At school, Musk, already the nerdish know-it-all, was tormented by bullies. Vance writes that the “Afrikaner culture so prevalent in Pretoria and the surrounding areas had an impact on Musk”.

“Hypermasculine behaviour was celebrated and tough jocks were revered.” And the jocks decided that Musk, a compulsive reader since childhood and prone to “dreamlike states”, did not belong. The books of JRR Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, and his childhood favourite, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, provided an escape, but the small world he lived in was stifling.

Vance writes that Musk bounced around a few schools and encountered serious bullying at Bryanston High. One afternoon, he and Kimbal were sitting on the top of a flight of concrete stairs eating when a boy crept up behind Musk, kicked him in the head and pushed him down the stairs. Musk said: “I think I accidentally bumped this guy at assembly that morning and he’d taken some huge offence at that.”

After he’d tumbled down the stairs, a bunch of boys jumped on him, kicking him in the side while the ringleader smashed his head on the ground. “They were a bunch of f***ing psychos,” Musk said. After a week in hospital, he had to return to school. But the bullies did not relent. Vance writes that they beat up a boy whom Musk considered his best friend, until the boy agreed to stop being Musk’s friend.

The author notes that “while Musk enjoyed a level of privilege, his notion that something about the world had gone awry received constant reinforcement, and Musk, almost from his earliest days, plotted his escape”.

Musk had an American dream and spent much of his time plotting to get to the US. His dad tried to teach him a lesson by sending away the housekeepers so the young boy would have to do all the chores – to let him know what it was like “to play American”.

It did not work. Musk got to the US via Canada in his 20s, helped by his mother’s Canadian citizenship.

Would Elon Musk be Elon Musk without the adversity of his formative years? Would he have chased a dream in Canada and the US if all his needs had been met in South Africa? Probably not. Probably he would be living a life far less

Article taken from: on 02/06/2015. Sunday Times.