technology

Monetising the blue ticks on Twitter

Self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur and angel investor”, Jason Calacanis, is running a poll on Twitter.

The question: “How much would you pay to be verified & get a blue check mark on Twitter?” Possible choices: “$5 a month”, “$10 a month”, “$15 a month”, “Wouldn’t pay”.

As I write these words, the poll has already generated 1 929 195 votes and has five more days to run.

So you want green power? Read this...

I’m doing a bit of light reading this afternoon. (Well, it’s actually a hefty volume that weighs about 4 kilograms.) HVDC Power Transmission Lines Book is an Eskom publication from November 2021 and a copy has landed on my desk, courtesy of one of the principal authors.

If you’re wondering why on earth I would be interested in High Voltage Direct Current transmission; and — more importantly —why you should care, let me give you some bullet points.

The world in sixty seconds ...

Seven years ago last night, I got on a plane from Johannesburg to London. I landed the morning of 1 April,  launched this amazing product I had co-designed with the BBC, did this panel discussion as well as two TV appearances, and flew back that night.

The idea of a news bulletin targeting an educated young audience with a short attention span seems like a crazy idea today. But BBC Minute (or #TWISS — The World in Sixty Seconds as my then team dubbed it) has thrived.

Tracking Russian Satellites

Multichoice has come under flack lately from keyboard warriors after Russia Today fell off the company's DSTV offering.

“Sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union [EU] have led to the global distributor of the channel ceasing to provide the broadcast feed to all suppliers, including MultiChoice,” Multichoice was quoted as saying.

Hmmm, I thought, so why not simply downlink the Russia Today signal directly via satellite?

It turns out Russia Today uplinks to two satellites.

The paradox of progress in the absence of human rights

Some years ago, I drove from Johannesburg to Lüderitz on the Namibian coast for a friend’s wedding.

As I approached the town, the dysfunctional railway line which once linked Keetmanshoop to Bahnhof Lüderitz (as the Germans who built it in 1906 called it), frequently vanished under shifting desert sands. In the town, the station itself was derelict.

Construction of the railway line by the Germans took 9 months. Let me quote a well-documented historical account :