Jack Slack’s Ringcraft: The Art Of The Fighting Stance Martial Arts 12 APR 2015

Don’t be fooled: Mixed martial arts is a world of rebels, moralists, spiritualists, historians, eccentrics, and nerds – men and women dedicated to mastering the fine art of fighting. Fightland is VICE’s take on this ever-evolving culture—exploring the international influences that make up the world of MMA.

In the first episode of the Jack Slack’s Ringcraft series, Jack Slack examines the most basic but under-appreciated element of the fight game: the offensively and defensively imperative stance.

I’ve gone through a number of stances myself over the course of all the different styles I’ve partaken in over the years, and so far I am probably most fond of Funakoshi Karate’s kamae stance as an effective opening fighting stance.

intense muay thai fighter marie choi striking a pad during training

Related Link: http://fightland.vice.com/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDKJSROvgMA

The Ingenious Design of the Aluminium Beverage Can Science & Technology 11 APR 2015

Engineering professor Bill Hammack is a well known science and technology documentarian who has been the face of his engineerguy.com project for quite a number of years now.

This time around he takes us through the engineering choices underlying the design of the worldwide icon that is the beverage can. He explains why it is cylindrical, outlines the manufacturing steps needed to created the can, notes why the can narrows near it lid, show close ups of the double-seam that hold the lid on, and details the complex operation of the tab that opens the can.

In other words, it turns out that quite a bit of thought has gone into the design of our modern day soda can.

indian girl holding a can of fanta orange

Related Link: http://www.engineerguy.com/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUhisi2FBuw

Jessica and her new Bicycle Jessica 10 APR 2015

A couple of weeks ago Chantelle and I surprised Jessica by taking her to Game and letting her choose a new bicycle.

She had outgrown her first bicycle and to be honest, being a second hand buy, it was a bit tired by now – in fact, one of the pedals had even come off the other day! (Not to mention the hard plastic wheels that were now completely devoid of all grip!)

So with the old one out it made sense to get her something a bit bigger and better – which is exactly why I was more than happy to part with my R1,100 and return home with a beautiful purple and white, 16 inch Raleigh kids’ bicycle - accompanied with a bright pink cycle helmet to finish off the ensemble.

IMG_20150325_180226 - jessica lotter on her new purple raleigh bicycle

Well, when I say returned home with, I do of course mean I arrived home with a big cardboard box, which stayed on the dining room table for a day or two before I finally gathered enough strength to open the box, spill out is contents, and attempt to assemble a bicycle.

(Surprisingly, this took me longer than expected – I had some trouble lining up the brakes).

Of course, we immediately needed to take it out for a test drive, and pleasingly a beaming, unable-to-contain-her-excitement, Jessica was more than happy to oblige.

In fact, all the friends around the complex quickly got wind of what we were up to thanks to us tearing about the complex at high speed (seriously, all of a sudden Jessica is rather quick on her two wheels), and soon everyone  was in on the fun!

IMG_20150325_181924 - the girls of country mews on their bicycles

So yeah, I’d definitely say that this was a successful purchase for the Lotter clan! Now I guess the next step is for her to become confident enough that we can start thinking about ditching those side wheels of hers…

How to Change the Remote Desktop Port in Windows Server 2008 R2 Tips, Tricks and Tutorials 09 APR 2015

As convenient as staying with default ports for services on your server is, the sad truth is that thanks to attackers this is probably not such a good idea.

In order to change the listening port for Remote Desktop connections on your Windows Server 2008 R2 instance, you’ll need to first edit the registry and then allow the change in through the firewall.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> Type ‘regedit’ -> Enter)
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\TerminalServer\WinStations\RDP-Tcp\PortNumber
  3. On the Edit menu, click Modify, and then click Decimal.
  4. Type the new port number, and then click OK.

Then, if you are running a firewall, you’ll need to add an exception for your newly selected port so that traffic over it is indeed allowed. To do this:

  1. Go to Windows Firewall with Advanced Security >> Inbound Rules >> New Rule >> Enter port number >> Next >> Next >> Done

With all the values changed and the new firewall rule in place (very important if you are doing this with a machine that you don’t actually have physical access to!), close the registry editor and restart/reboot the server.

Done.

container ship docked at sydney container port

(And if you are working remotely, then enjoy the agonizing wait before you can try to connect again all while hoping that you did everything correctly first time around! Stressful to say the least.)

A Chrome Extension that makes New Tabs Pretty Software & Sites 08 APR 2015

Google Chrome has kind of wormed itself into being my de facto web browser, and as such I spend a lot of time with it. In other words, I see that blank, expressionless white new tab screen a lot. A hell of a lot.

Which is exactly why I am so particularly enamored with Google’s recently released Chrome Extension entitled Google Art Project.

Developed by the Google Cultural Institute, the Google Art Project extension essentially puts fine art on every new tab that you open. This artwork is sourced from the collections of museums and galleries around the world, and apart just being given something pretty to look at, you might even be culturally uplifted in the process! ;)

google art project chrome extension

Needless to say, I find myself unable to stop clicking the new tab button at the moment!

(Not that this is the first such extension which Google has released before mind you. They also did something pretty similar – also worth checking out – using satellite images grabbed from the Google Maps service, called Earth View.)

Related Link: Google Art Project (Chrome Web Store)

Check if Google Considers Your Website to be Mobile-Friendly with this Tool Software & Sites 07 APR 2015

Google has made it pretty clear that soon (April 21st, 2015 to be exact) they are going to be ranking sites a little differently when searching from mobile devices, in essence ranking mobile-friendly sites higher than non-mobile formatted sites in the returned search results.

Now if your primary audience discovers your website via the desktop then this is all fine and dandy, but as we all know, most traffic sources these days are originating from mobile, given the current pervasiveness of mobile data – meaning that it is probably a good idea to ensure that your site is indeed mobile-friendly, lest you lose any Google brownie points!

To assist you in not losing any points unnecessarily, Google has released a helpful web-based tool to check whether or not your site is indeed mobile-friendly, helpfully named “Mobile-Friendly Test“.

In other words, if you are at all interested in things like this, then it is probably best you quickly nip off and run your sites against the tool.

Case in point:

google mobile friendly test

Related Link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Stellenbosch FASHKOSH 2015 Airshow takes off Next Weekend! Event News 06 APR 2015

If you don’t have plans for Saturday 11 April 2015 and happen to be milling around the Stellenbosch area, then you might be keen to know that the FASHKOSH 2015 Stellenbosch SA Airshow is on the go that day, kicking off at 08:00 in the morning!

saaf silver falcons flying in formation in cape town over the sea and in front of the mountain

The Stellenbosch Flying Club is playing host to this 2015 Stellenbosch Airshow edition, and with tickets coming in at a ridiculously low R40-R60 per person, you would be quite silly to miss it! (You can secure your tickets online via Webtickets)

Sights already confirmed include:

  • SAAF – Silver Falcons
  • Bell 407
  • Eclipse Jet
  • King Air 250i
  • Beech Bonanza G36
  • Skydivers
  • Paramotor Glider
  • Harvard
  • MX2 unlimited aerobatics
  • L39 Jet
  • Yak 55 advance aerobatics
  • Bosbok
  • Glider
  • Model Aircraft Jets
  • RV Aerobatics
  • Gyrocopter
  • Motor Glider
  • Mass Radial Fly past
  • Huey’s and Fire Bombers from WOF

And word is that there are one or two more big surprises up the organisers’ sleeve!

For more information you can contact Alewyn Burger at either alewyn@burger.org.za or on 082 416 1951.

stellenbosch flying club fashkosh 2015 stellenbosch airshow

(Needless to say, given my love for all things with wings, Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I will be there bright and early!)

Related Link: http://www.webtickets.co.za | http://stelfly.co.za/

 

How to Lose Weight if you are Obese? My Life 05 APR 2015

“How to Lose Weight if you are Obese?” – or rather, “Hey, this seems to be working well for me!”.

In my late teens and early twenties I was slim, fit, and had energy for days. However, at around 25 my disposable income had increased significantly enough that I didn’t mind spending money on junk food (hello Coke, Danish, Muffin and Chocolate Croissant, won’t you please all join me for lunch today?), had a job that saw me bound to my desk and slouched over a computer for the entire work day (that hasn’t changed mind you), and I got comfortable in serious relationships which subsequently meant even more food without any regard for its effect on my waistline (apparently this is pretty normal when it comes to young love).

Anyway, at this stage I was still super active on the extramural front though (lots of sports and activities), but as we all know, exercise is not going to entirely compensate for all the sugar and junk you stuff into your face. However, the final nail in my coffin was suffering a relatively serious knee injury back in 2007 that saw me pretty much stop all forms of exercise for more than just a year or two – in fact, that very knee injury still seriously limits me to this very day!

In other words, that moment marks exactly when the downward slope became a proper downward slide into obesity.

overweight craig lotter holding jessica's hand at rico suter country lodge in worcester

Jessica and I, circa 2013 in Worcester.

Although I didn’t weigh myself back then, I do remember weighing in at around 85 kg (187 lb) at a karate tournament, which must have been around 2006/2007. Fast forward seven years or so to 2015 (featuring a job change, more stress, marriage, and two children), and all of a sudden I find myself clocking in at a whopping 150 kg (330 lb) – which given my relatively average/short height translates to properly obese.

Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing in terms of health, practical aspects like clothes, furniture and more importantly, office chair selection, and of course more internal things like self-image. (Not that the last one bothers me that much mind you. I’m not a particularly vain man, nor do I care much for the opinion of others – so I think helps a lot on the self image front! :P)

Anyway, there have been a few short-lived attempts at weight loss over the past couple of years, but nothing that ever stuck, and come to think of it, with the clarity of hindsight, I think I know exactly why this is.

Up until now I had NEVER really wholeheartedly made my own personal decision to lose weight. Up until now, it was almost always someone else’s idea or at someone else’s behest, which almost always then translates into me not being 100% committed to the plan.

But that all changed on the 5 January 2015.

I woke up and it was as if a switch had just been flicked on in my head. My knee was sore and so I simply thought to myself, “I’ve had enough – let’s lose some weight”.

And that is all that it was.

A wholehearted, personal decision that I had made to lose weight.

So practically then, how do you go about losing weight if you are already obese?

Actually, that’s really, really simple. To maintain or increase your current weight the body needs food. Eat less food than this amount and your body will use what it has to try and keep up – in other words, making you smaller.

It really is that easy.

craig lotter in front of mermaid statue in langebaan

I found a mermaid in Langebaan. Circa 2014

Of course, there are a few caveats to this.

One, you really, really should stop taking in all that unnecessary sugar and so to that affect I’ve switched to almost exclusively drinking water, stopped adding sugar to my coffee (of which I still drink a little too much, though it is only Ricoffy so I don’t think it’s too bad), and of course, have pretty much completely given up on sweets and chocolate.

(Not really no, I do still enjoy a good piece of chocolate whenever I can lay my hands on it. But it’s not that often any more, promise.)

Also, it helps that Chantelle no longer bakes cakes to the degree that she used to – in fact, when she does, I make sure to quickly toss all the cut-offs in the bin lest I be tempted to smear on some icing sugar and wolf down everything like I so readily used to in the past!

Secondly, I’ve inadvertently pretty much stopped eating things like bread, rolls, cornflakes and potatoes. This isn’t on purpose or in accordance with some or other plan, but rather simply because eating it makes me uncomfortable and full, and not eating it doesn’t – and seeing as the later is what I’m after, dropping it makes a lot of sense.

So instead, I eat a lot of fruit, yoghurt, and suppers generally consist either of fish or chicken breasts (or the occasional slab of pork) accompanied with a simple, unadorned green salad. Also, we try to eat earlier in the evening whenever we get a chance, as opposed to what was becoming the norm of only having supper around 20:30 once the girls were both in bed!

Boring, yes, but effective nonetheless.

Oh, and portion control is without a doubt another one of the big things here.

If I’m going to have a hamburger (which I still occasionally do), instead of eating two, I’ll only eat one. Instead of eating two chicken breasts like I always did, I only eat one. Instead of devouring a large pizza by myself, I only eat half.

You get the picture.

I do also have one final trick up my sleeve which I haven’t mentioned yet – I religiously weigh myself each and every morning.

Every morning I get up, potter around, and then grab my digital scale and place it down on exactly the same tile on the floor (to try and ensure consistent readings), weigh myself three times to ensure an accepted average reading (they should ideally all be the same of course), and then record it in a weight tracking app on my phone (Libra in this case).

This allows me to keep a thumb on my progress and to make any corrections if necessary – i.e. you had a massive weekend where you threw all of your new eating norms out of the window, meaning that for the next couple days it’s carrot sticks for you! :)

The result?

All of the above has resulted in my thus far losing  15 kg in 3 months – and that is without starving myself, punishing myself, or resorting to any physical fitness regimes whatsoever!

Sure, it’s a drop in the ocean when I look at how far I still have to go, but I’m definitely on the right path, and when enough weight has dropped I should be able to start throwing in some fitness routines as well – meaning that if all goes to plan, next year I should be waking up pretty close to my previous fighting fit weight! :)

Cheerleaders in Rugby? Seems a bit Unfair and Unnecessary? Sport & Health 04 APR 2015

Recently I was at Newlands to catch a live DHL Stormers game, and as always the rugby action on show was fantastic. Yes, my home team lost against a superior New Zealand foe on the day, but the rugby was played hard and made for a worthwhile spectacle to behold.

super rugby stormers versus chiefs kobus van wyk running with the ball - newlands march 2015

As per usual, all of this Newlands rugby action was accompanied by the DHL Dancers, the cheerleader girls that have accompanied the rugby team for so many years now – and once again, I found myself questioning the role that they actually provide (other than being a source for some cringe-worthy comments, not to mention the occasional little-too-long stares).

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 2

Seriously.

I get that they are a titillating sight, something to look at during the breaks in play, but the whole thing seems well… a bit sexist and not something that should really have any place in today’s modern, more equal society.

If rugby was exclusively watched by men and Newlands was a bit of a men’s club, then I guess it makes sense, but the reality is that if you attend Newlands for a game then the crowd demographics are easily split 50/50 in terms of women and men – after all, most men travel to the stadium with their wives in tow (or vice versa).

Also, a high percentage of attendees happen to be children as well, so again, the half-naked dancing girls intended to titillate adult men doesn’t seem to quite match the stadium audience.

Super Rugby - Stormers v Reds, 25 May 2013

I think the only way you could kind of validate the idea of cheerleaders at a rugby game would be to make it more representative of the crowd in the stadium – and that means including male dancers and perhaps even throw in some kids into the mix.

While we’re at it, to keep it all fair, maybe only allow muscular guys with an aversion to shirts in the group?

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 3

I don’t know.

Cheerleaders. How is this possibly still a thing in 2015?

At Last, Sir Terry, We Must Walk Together Book Notes 03 APR 2015

I read ferociously as a child, going through whatever my local library could throw at me at incredible pace. As a teenager I continued to read, though not quite at the same pace, and by my twenties this frequency had dropped even further. In my thirties, I read even less, maybe one book every year and a half – if that.

However, without fail, you can be guaranteed that that one book is without a doubt something written by Sir Terry Pratchett, a lifelong favourite of mine – indeed a man whose books I read at every twist and turn of my life, and whose books I’ll probably continue to read until the day that I die. (His is also the only author whose books I could actually be bothered to own!)

Sadly though, going forward there won’t be much more of that.

On the 12th of March 2015, at the young age of 66, following a long and drawn out battle against a particularly vicious early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away.

terry pratchett inside every old person quote

His passing was announced on his official Twitter account in the most apt way possible (in his books, Death always speaks in capitals):

AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.

Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

The End.

Taken from the official press release: “Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA1 in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued to write. He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.”

For those of you who are perhaps not so familiar with the name, a quick grab off Wikipedia yields the following:

“Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, Kt, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of about 40 volumes. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and since his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, he wrote two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff was at the time of its release the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.

Pratchett, who has sold more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages, was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s.

Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010.”

josh kirby rincewind terry pratchett illustration

A comical literary legend indeed.

So that’s that then. I’m pleased that I can say that I actually met the man in real life, way back when I was still in school (i.e. sometime back in the 90’s), when good friend Terrance Brown dragged me off with him to Middle Campus at the University of Cape Town for a seminar (where I remember Terry spoke quite a bit on the topic of orangutans) and book signing stint (I remember taking a picture of Terrance and Terry together).

In fact, it was that very meeting that got me started on Pratchett’s books in the first place!

I’ll miss the the clever wit, excellent storytelling, fantastic settings, and colourful characters that Terry dreamed up over the years, but that said, thanks to his prolific writing nature, there will always be such a big backlog to devour over and over again that I doubt he and his contribution to the literary world will ever quite be forgotten!

Well certainly not by me, that’s for sure. Rest in peace Sir Terry Pratchett.

sir terry pratchett walking with deathRelated Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett

Libra – A Great Weight Tracking Android App Software & Sites 02 APR 2015

Part of my current weight loss drive is to track my weight on a daily basis. Thus, I needed a lightweight mobile application that would facilitate this process – which is exactly where Daniel Cachapa’s excellent Libra – Weight Manager comes in.

Simple, lightweight and extremely easy to use, Libra essentially has two views, namely a graph view that plots your weight entries against a calculated trend line, and a list view of all you weight entries (with comments if present).

Data entry is simple and elegant – click on the + button and use the tape measure slider to insert your current weight.

By entering in all your weight details and goals, Libra is able to return a good number of stats for you, and combined with the historic data points it keeps, it does a great job of keeping you on your toes in terms of remaining on the straight and narrow when it comes to your weight loss journey.

There is a number of export and import options for both the database and chart itself (the CSV export is quite useful), and as an added bonus you can synchronize your data with Withings (not that I use that particular service mind you).

As expected, this small app is free and thus ad-supported, though you can of course hand over a negligible amount of money to get the ads removed.

So, if you are looking to track your weight and have an Android device at hand, you really can’t go wrong with this excellent app!

libra weight manager - weight tracking android app by daniel cachapa

BONUS: For those of you who don’t know: Libra was the basic Roman unit of weight; after 268 bc it was about 5,076 English grains or equal to 0.722 pounds avoirdupois (0.329 kg). This pound was brought to Britain and other provinces where it became the standard for weighing gold and silver and for use in all commercial transactions. The abbreviation lb for pound is derived from libra.

The libra is one of the nonmetric units of weight still used in Spain, Portugal, and several Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas.

Related Link: Libra – Weight Manager

Video Piracy made easy: Popcorn Time Software & Sites 01 APR 2015

It’s weird how almost socially acceptable pirating video content has become. It is wrong of course, everyone seems to know that, but for some or other reason, just about everyone that does pirate can come up with some sort of reasoning that it’s a justifiable thing to do – at the drop of a hat.

popcorn time torrent video wall screenshot

Now I’ve seen mention of something called Popcorn Time for probably at least a year now (if not longer), but have never really bothered to make the effort to see exactly what this is all about. However, after a recent article on TorrentFreak made mention of this uber piracy vehicle yet again, I thought it best to go and have a look for myself – you know, to get a first hand view.

The verdict? Wow. Now there’s a major problem for anyone who wants to make a living by producing and selling video content!

In the past, there was always some sort of friction that made piracy not the easiest option around. In the old days of “Sneakernet”, well, you a) needed friends with content and b) needed someway of getting that content on your machine.

Then of course came the Internet and with it the likes of Napster, eDonkey2000,  news groups, IIRC, and those with enough technical know-how could get material just fine, though of course with plenty of application and file handling slog.

Today’s current favourite, in the form of BitTorrent, still requires pirates to search for material via dodgy sites, download them via clients and then move them across to media players – in other words, still not quite as easy as simply turning on your DSTV, firing up Netflix, or simply walking into a video store.

computer lan party - at night

But Popcorn Time changes all of that. It removes all friction that comes with piracy, making it so simple that even a completely technologically challenged newbie could do it without any hassle at all.

At the heart of it, Argentinian-made Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, open source BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player – thereby acting as a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services.

Its interface presents thumbnails and film titles in a manner similar to Netflix, with this list of media fully searchable and categorized. To play a television episode or movie, a user simply clicks on a title in order to initiate the file download via the bitTorrent file-sharing protocol.

As with other BitTorrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts to download a film, it also starts to share the downloaded content with other users (in technical terms, it seeds the torrent to others in the bittorrent swarm.), continuing to make the downloaded content available to others until the movie is deleted – which is normally done automatically but only when the application closes!

And not just that mind you – it’s also rather clever.

Very clever.

By forcing BitTorrent chunks to be sequentially downloaded, Popcorn Time allows you to watch a video file whilst it is still busy downloading, meaning that there is literally none of the classic wait time a pirate faces in first having to download and then move around content.

Also, it’s easy to use, well written, features an intuitive, beautiful interface,and is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and Android.

No wonder content holders are so twitchy about it.

Without a doubt, Popcorn Time MORE than deserves the current giant sized target on its back – because there is absolutely no way content studios can let this one walk around freely for very long!

Related Link: http://popcorntime.iohttp://popcorn-time.se/

What is the Difference between an Abridged and Unabridged Birth Certificate? My Life 31 MAR 2015

It’s reached that point in time where we have to start applying to get Jessica into school, and one of the things on the required list in terms of support documentation is of course a valid birth certificate. However, when I rummage through my files and pull out the birth certificates I get a yellow abridged birth certificate for Jessica (2010), and a white/green unabridged birth certificate for Emily (2014).

Schools require an unabridged birth certificate which then raises the question: What is the difference between an abridged and unabridged birth certificate?

baby-on-white-background-with-republic-of-south-africa-coat-of-arms

In South Africa historically there were two types of official birth certificates, namely the abridged and unabridged versions. Although distinct documents, both are considered authentic and thus you could previously make do with just an abridged version as long as you are a natural citizen and live in South Africa itself.

Issued by the Department of Home Affairs, an abridged birth certificate is a document that contains details about the birth of a person such as his or her identity number, full name and country of origin. An abridged birth certificate is issued within minutes or hours (i.e. you can pretty much get it straight after the birth, useful for signing up for medical aid and so forth), whereas it takes between 6 weeks to 6 months to issue an unabridged birth certificate.

The difference? An unabridged birth certificate contains everything that the abridged birth certificate does, but adds to that content the identity information of both registered parents.

Up until 2013, you would get an abridged birth certificate following the birth of your child, and then later go and apply for the unabridged version, but since then, the Department of Home Affairs have streamlined the process and now unabridged certificates are issued on the spot, thereby reducing the turn-around time being experienced when applying for the abridged birth certificate at that time.

In other words, the difference is the added parents’ details on the unabridged version, and more importantly, it would seem that I now need to make a trip to Home Affairs in order to organise an unabridged birth certificate for Jessica because in the end, that is now the only one that matters!

Oops…

XBOX 360: Games with Gold: April 2015 Games Notes 30 MAR 2015

Officially kicking off way back in July 2013, Microsoft’s Games with Gold programme has since then steadfastly been rewarding gamers who fork out their monthly XBOX Live subscription with two or more free games a month – a pretty decent reward in my book.

microsoft xbox 360 games with gold call to action banner

Some months are certainly better than others in terms of the free games being given away,  but if you are an XBOX 360 owner with an active XBOX Live account in April 2015, then you’ve most definitely got some pretty decent freebies to look forward to!

(To be fair though, March 2015 was pretty damn good too – the superb Tomb Raider (2013) from Crystal Dynamics was available for the first half of the month, followed up by the excellent BioShock Infinite (2013) the latter!)

To celebrate the Games with Gold programme as a whole, Microsoft is giving away an unprecedented four free XBOX 360 titles for April, three AAA releases and one hit indie title.

This is the list as it stands right now:

As it turns out, I’m scoring big time because I haven’t before played any of the four!

army of two the devils cartel guns blazing

I’m not particularly interested in Terraria (in other words, I don’t bother with Minecraft), but I am VERY interested in Gears of War: Judgment and Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel for their co-op value (time to lock and load, Ryan!) – and then of course there is the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag… seriously, what’s not to love, based on setup alone!

So yes, it looks like my backlog is about to grow a bit again…

assassins creed iv black flag pirates walking

Afrihost: More Mobile Data, Same Price Tech News 29 MAR 2015

For some reason, ever since the MTN takeover of Afrihost back in June 2014, it seems to have become kind of been cool to moan about Afrihost’s services and customer service – none of which makes sense to me because I’ve been using them for a good five years now and I have absolutely nothing to complain about at all! In fact, I’ve pretty much thrown all my Internet eggs in their basket because of their fantastic systems, support tools and customer service – ADSL, web hosting, mobile data… they all just work!

afrihost-mobile-data

Anyway, if you have a mobile data contract with them then you would have been pleasantly surprised to recently receive an e-mail from them during March 2015, announcing that their Double Data promotion was in essence back – but this time for their mobile data offering (it is already in place on their standard capped ADSL packages).

All existing clients get 100% more data than what they currently receive for their spend, so for example, a client with a 250MB package for R29 per month will now receive 500MB per month for the same amount (which affects me, seeing as I hang on to the 250MB mobile data as a backup to switch over to when my ADSL line falls over – relatively often thanks to all the loadshedding). Clients on higher packages will also receive more data, for example, clients receiving 2GB per month will now receive a total of 3GB per month.

So in other words, pretty handy, quite appreciated, and definitely a move to try and win back some customer sentiment and perhaps drive more people to take up their Afrihost Plus+ membership (which I don’t really see the point of just by the way).

Thanks Afrihost. I continue to be coloured impressed with your service and products!

Related Link: https://www.afrihost.com/mailshots/2015_mobile_data_signup_more_data/