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Things that raised a chuckle

Paper trail

BY  Ivo Vegter , 2 December 20090 comments

Cartoons by Eddie MaritzCartoons by Eddie Maritz

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As part of a report into corruption at the State IT Agency, a network of companies owned and operated by police officers was uncovered. The damning 613-page report has been handed to government, and a copy has also found its way to ITWeb.

The police’s own sources are not that good, however. It says it has yet to see the full report. Perhaps the officers who’re supposed to investigate themselves are too busy opening retail accounts and buying cars. After all, they incriminated themselves by supplying credit providers with proof of income from their illegal sidelines supplying Sita.

Don’t they teach police officers not to leave a paper trail?

That sinking feeling

Walking on Water was one of the four winning bidders for a new pay-television licence. Because of undisclosed problems with its business, however, this licence has still not been issued. Other licensees have not made much more headway. On Digital Media isn’t on, Super5Media (which used to be Telkom Media) isn’t particularly super, and E-sat changed its mind after it won a licence and now merely provides content on the MultiChoice platform.

According to a recent report on ITWeb: “Icasa would not indicate whether it considered the new pay-TV market a failure.” Nice to know that it doesn’t waste time stating the obvious.

One can’t help but wonder how immensely dreadful the other 14 wannabe broadcasters were, if these were the winners in the licensing race. Either that, or Icasa has demonstrated eloquently that entrepreneurs are not made by government patronage.

Green tip of the day

We received the following green tip of the day recently: Whenever possible, charge your electronics in the car. Having once read of something called “the laws of thermodynamics”, this tip struck us as a demonstration.

A device requires energy to charge, and that energy has to come from somewhere. If your car is to supply it, it must burn fossil fuel to generate it. All this does is transfer the pollution from the smokestacks of the local power station to the car’s exhaust. Except, of course, if you have an electric car. Then a second transfer takes place, straight back to the local power station. This balancing of the books must be what is meant by “conservation of energy”.

As an aside, the energy drain of charging electronics in a car makes very little difference to the performance of the vehicle. This demonstrates just how little energy this process actually conserves. Unfortunately, the rational reasoning of classical physics cannot yet explain fretting about minutiae.

Frankenstein’s monster

There’s something a little pathetic in Parliament’s reported anger at Telkom. It has threatened that it would go out of business if it didn’t charge the extortionate rates it does. This may well be true, but if so, the fault for both the high prices and weak business surely lies with the same Parliament that created the monster in the first place.

Square deal

In addition to releasing shocking earnings numbers, JSE-listed Square One Solutions told shareholders that there was no litigation pending against the company. Turns out that this isn’t true. Perhaps it didn’t think a liquidation application constitutes “litigation”, or that it would be of little interest to shareholders since they’re last in line to get their money back anyway. Perhaps it thought that a suit it expects to win doesn’t really count. Its CEO, Craig Alexander, dived head-first down the emergency escape slide. What’s left of Square One’s management team might consider reading the Companies Act and the JSE rules. Their omission does not inspire confidence in their ability to run a listed company, much less turn a profit.