Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lost during transport

I am referring to me, not luggage though I was more than a bit nervous that would happen.

Let me tell you one thing about driving in Johannesburg: do not take a wrong turn, do not get lost (that was two). At least not without a cellphone, money on your phone account and someone to call who can help you out.

I was on my way from Centurion, small place between Pretoria (Tshwane) and the airport in Johannesburg. I had more than 2 hours before departure of my flight. BUT I took a wrong turn and by the time I realised it was I not only deep in Joburg city but stranded in a massive 4-lane traffic jam!

Lucky for me I got hold of Ishmael who lives down there and got some assistance. It took me 2 visits to a filling station and 2 more traffic jams and more than 1 hour before I found myself at the airport though. Now suddenly late!

So I am stressed, sweaty and thirsty when I get to a check-in that is one big confusion. Manage to get fast-tracked, fine. BUT that does not work on security scan and Passport control that both move at snail pace.

By the time I actually get to the departure lounge the plane is boarding (and it was, believe you me). I just about made it and was more than relieved when my suitcase full of all sorts of items (cheese among them) showed up in Harare.

Lesson to be learnt: check the route and make sure you have PLENTY of extra time if you are flying from Johannesburg.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The year of the virus

For me the year 2007 will be the year the virus became a real problem. I am not talking of any human or animal virus (HIV or bird-flu) but computer virus.

Despite putting more efforts and money in anti-virus software, firewalls, spam tools etc to protect the users I support and work with I have never seen such a flood of malicious and difficult to eradicate virus as this year. Quite a few times I have had to use a bootable Linux CD (google on Knoppix if you are geeky enough to be interested) to save a Windows PC infected by something that is so "deep" in the PC that one can barely do anything without it taking over.

And one very strange thing: the more remote the location, the worse virus. It is like they come from the wilderness somehow! A remote district in Niassa province in Mozambique and the PC is crammed full of trojans, virus and you name it all. Where do they come from when the PC is like the only computer for miles??

Half of the times (it feels like) when my USB memory has been used somewhere and I put it in my Linux PC I see files that should not be there and that are virus. It feels sooo good to just delete them and note they can not even try to get to my system. Though I fear the day will come with the growing popularity of Linux as desktop OS.

Otherwise I have a new laptop thanks to friends in Sweden who helped out with the logistics. I now use a Dell Vostro 1400 and am most happy with it. Have blown the preinstalled Vista all the way to where I think it should be - off my harddisk!

Here is a review by a user, not exactly same config though. No webcam for me (pointless here) and just Intel graphics card.