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IT based industries have shown great interest in open source software (OSS) over the past few years. The fundamental reason for the exponentially expanded share of OSS products in the industry may seem to be reduced research and development (R&D) costs and time. The visible actual costs associated with OSS at first blush point to licensing costs. What people don’t recognise while using OSS are the hidden costs, which are realised sooner or later… (more)


CSIR SAC’s new 7,3 m X-band antenna was inaugurated on 25 March 2009,  providing another milestone on the road to increasing knowledge about our country. The more we know about ourselves and the better our Earth observation data, the better our policy decisions can be. Earth observation will become one of the central pillars of the new South African National Space Agency, and we all expect that SANSA will motivate a further expansion of South Africa’s satellite engineering and applications know-how… (more)

The Department of Public Administration through the national Government Information Technology Officers’ Council has formulated policy that makes it a requirement, that open source software should first be considered when any software solution is being procured. In compliance with these published policies, the Ukhahlamba District Municipality agreed to the partial implementation of some open source software… (more)

In association with the Electrical Switchgear Association of South Africa (ESASA), EE Publishers is to develop a series of one-day training courses on relevant and topical subjects. Initially one course will be offered per month in Gauteng, with similar initiatives following later in other provinces. The courses will be accredited by ECSA for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points… (more)

The long awaited new Electrical Installation Regulations (not to be confused with the Wiring Code SANS 10142-1) were published in the Government Gazette on 6 March 2009. The regulations become effective on 1 May 2009, but regulation 5(6) will only become effective on 1 April 2010. The draft regulations have appeared in various forms and have been under discussion since 2001, and much acrimonious debate has taken place. However, with one or two exceptions which I will mention below, they are a great improvement on the current regulations that were published in October 1992, and bring a lot more clarity and control… (more)

Audiocast: Interview by Vector editor Peter Adams with Chris Greager of the ECA (MP3 file)

 As a result of the energy crisis in southern Africa, many industries have considered investing in their own power generation. The energy supply situation may well return with improved economic conditions, and users are advised to plan now for standby plant to avoid power shortages in future… (more)

In the excitement surrounding the announcement of REFIT tariffs, the introduction of a “non-renewable energy” tax from July 2009 has been overlooked. This will result in collection of an enormous amount of money, but little thought has been given to how and where this will be used… (more)

At last the countdown to “affordable” broadband has begun, although no one is sure what the various companies that have secured bandwidth on the Seacom cable will be charging ISPs and what cost reduction or, alternatively, increased bandwidth the end-user can expect. The privately-owned Seacom cable will allow the provision of fully integrated network services… (more)

The installation of a state-of-the-art ionosonde at the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, Western Cape will greatly enhance ionospheric research.  South Africa now has four ionosondes; the others are in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. The project was initiated in 2006 by the Department of Communication in partnership with the HMO and Rhodes University with the aim of advancing research in radio wave propagation… (more)

Dr. Mike Rodd stated in the March EngineerIT:  “It is painfully evident that an unacceptable number of large scale so-called ‘IT projects’ are continuing to fail.”   It seems that we just accept that IT projects fail, or do not deliver what was required or are cancelled – it  seems to be the cost of doing business!  Will changing IT into a proper professional discipline – as is the purpose of the IFIP and BCS and other projects – change the situation?… (more)

Telkom CEO, Reuben September, and Ronald E. Spears, president and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, today participated in a ceremony in Johannesburg to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and agreement which calls for both companies to establish seamless connectivity between the Telkom and AT&T networks, so that companies in sub-Saharan Africa can connect more effectively to other global markets. It would also allow multinational companies seeking to establish or expand their operations in these African countries to obtain Internet Protocol (IP) based and mobility services and applications more easily within the continent and around the world… (more)

Audiocast: Interview with Telkom’s Thami Masimango and AT&T’s Ronald Spears by Hans van de Groenendaal of EngineerIT (MP3 file)

If this was the first time such a thing had happened, perhaps it could simply be put down to lack of competence by the relevant SABS laboratory and mark scheme staff, but in fact there have been three previous incidents in recent years, which point to a much deeper problem at SABS Commercial… (more)

The final determination of the renewable energy feed-in tariffs (REFIT) was announced on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) offices in Pretoria. NERSA electricity regulator, Thembani Bukula, delivered this long awaited ruling, which was originally scheduled for 9 March 2009, but was postponed to allow due consideration of the numerous submissions received in response to the consultation document issued by NERSA in December 2008 and the subsequent public hearings in February 2009… (more)

Audiocast: Ruling by NERSA electricity regulator Thembani Bukula (MP3 file)
Audiocast: Interview with Thembani Bukula by the editor of Energize (MP3 file)

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