How long will the Giants’ GM search take?

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — The Giants are in a rush.CEO Larry Baer and vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean expect the club to contend every year, and in each of the past two seasons, the Giants failed to live up to expectations.Baer and Sabean are in a hurry to see the team return to the postseason and they’re eager to hasten the process.The duo wants to oversee a quick turnaround, but to ensure that happens, they know it’s imperative to slow down. After dismissing general manager Bobby …last_img read more

Raiders report card: This season just keeps getting worse

first_imgLet’s have a look at this week’s report card. Brace your eyes. It might be ugly in some spots. OAKLAND — Woof.If you thought the Raiders’ defense couldn’t get any worse, boy were you wrong.A 42-28 loss to the Colts, featuring a third fourth-quarter collapse of the season that turned a lead into a loss, helped stoop the Raiders’ season to a new low ahead of a Thursday night date with the 1-7 49ers. Passing game: A-Derek Carr completed 21-of-28 passes for 244 yards and three …last_img read more

Experience Africa’s oldest sound

first_img17 February 2004In a unique musical combination, the internationally acclaimed Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, the Traditional African Orchestra, and Drumstruck are teaming up to present the African Sound Experience at the Market Theatre on 18-19 February.The project melds voices, drums and traditional African instruments in a way that has never been done before. Some of the instruments to be played on the two nights have not been played for decades, or are played in such remote areas as to be difficult to source.Soweto’s famous 40-strong Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, led by director Gobingca George Mxadana, will accompany the uhadi bow harp, tshikona reed pipe, ixilongwe, kudu horn, mbira, marimba, drum, shaker and clapper.Composer and instrument researcher Anthony Caplan of the Traditional African Orchestra will conduct the performances, which will offer a unique opportunity to explore the depths of texture, power and diversity of African culture on Newtown’s stage.Seating is limited, and bookings are through Computicket.The Orchestra and the Drum Cafe, in alliance with Mxadana, Wendeen Lieberman of the Arts and Culture Trust, and Johannesburg’s CIDA City Campus, have set out to rediscover Africa’s unique musical legacy, and to fuse it in a celebration that is less about the past than a vote of confidence in the future.The project aims to bring together traditional instruments, song and dance to promote and preserve indigenous African music in all its diversity. It also aims to showcase outstanding talent, and to revive the sung and dramatic African traditions.The Drum Cafe, which started off as a corporate teambuilding and entertainment company, has expanded over the last two years and embarked on a range of projects aimed at educating the public in traditional South African music. The Imilonji kaNtu Choral Society, founded in 1983 and drawing its choristers from Soweto, is one of South Africa’s most prestigious choral groups. The choir has performed at music festivals around the world – as well as at the inauguration ceremonies of former president Nelson Mandela in 1994 and President Thabo Mbeki in 1999.Imilonji Kantu’s stunning rendition of South Africa’s national anthem is on almost every CD the choir has brought out, including:Ibuyile I’AfrikaListen to the anthem – MusicaBuy the album – MusicaBuy the album – Kalahari.netHymns – Songs of the PeopleListen to the anthem – click2musicAlbum review – click2musicBuy the album – Kalahari.netBuy the album – MusicaSource: Arts & Culture Trustlast_img read more

Innovative theatre for young minds

first_img15 June 2012 The African Research and Educational Puppetry Programme Trust, or arepp:Theatre for Life, is adding some spark to life skills education in South African schools, using humour and music in its interactive performances to demystify taboo subjects and enabling young people to make informed lifestyle choices. There is a great sense of orderliness ahead of arepp’s performance at the Rhodesfield Technical High School on Johannesburg’s West Rand. The familiar sound of the school bell signals the end of each lesson, prompting pupils to walk briskly along the corridors to their next class, and in the reception area there is serious talk of reports, averages, tests and results. But as soon as the play starts, the school hall – with a group of about 300 grade eight pupils neatly seated in rows on the floor – explodes with laughter, whistling and cheering. Even the teachers who are supervising the noisy group of teenagers can’t help but smile. The performance that follows will undoubtedly be the highlight of every pupil’s day. Targeted at grades eight to 12 pupils, the focus of the Look Before You Leap play series is on choices, problem solving and self-image. It explores how ideas of gender and sexuality affect perceptions of self and society. Arepp’s approach to educational theatre is all about making learning fun and, through the different characters, help pupils make an emotional connection with the content of the play. The award-winning educational theatre group takes learning out of the classroom onto the stage, and there is nothing high-brow about these performances. Instead of sidestepping the serious issues affecting young people in South Africa, arepp’s candid approach and innovative use of theatre highlights difficult social and personal issues such as sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, substance use, HIV/Aids, physical and emotional abuse and gender equality.Learning can be fun Brigid Schutz, director at arepp, says the structure and character development of the plays help pupils to identify closely with the situations portrayed. Unlike traditional theatre, the audience are not passive observers, as the play mirrors their personal experiences on stage. One of the actors, Ruan Zed, says that theatre is a powerful medium that helps people to see issues from a different perspective. “Theatre puts your own life story on stage,” he says. This particular play, Look Before You Leap: Oh Yeah! deals with issues that all high school pupils can relate to – peer pressure and temptation, not fitting in and being different. It also examines the uncertainty of early relationships, being true to one’s identity and self-esteem. “The characters in the play go through an emotional process and because it becomes a personal experience for the pupils, they can identify and connect with it,” Schutz explains.Making life orientation relevant The productions, which run for an hour – the first half is the play, which is then followed by a 30-minute problem-solving discussion with the audience – are specifically designed to be performed as a life orientation (LO) lesson within the school’s daily schedule. LO is a compulsory subject in South African schools for all grades. This new area of learning replaced subjects such as career guidance, physical training and religious education. The point of LO is to enable pupils to make wise choices, understand healthy living, get career direction, learn study skills and become aware of environmental, community and society issues. Although it covers non-academic skills needed in life, Rhodesfield’s LO teacher Elliot Faku says there is a perception in schools that LO is not as important as the more academic subjects like maths or science. “The subject is highly relevant as it deals with what life is like after school,” he says. He is a great supporter of using theatre as a learning tool. “It further entrenches the concepts that the pupils learn in class,” Faku says. “Even though the kids see it as a break from their normal school routine, they are still learning.”Problem-solving through discussion After each performance pupils have an opportunity to ask questions, talk about the issues raised in the play, contextualise the content and debate the decisions made by the characters. The discussion time is important because it encourages open communication. “It shows the pupils that their opinions are valued,” Schutz says. Most of them are not scared to ask difficult questions that they might not usually want to discuss with other adults such as their parents or teachers. Throughout the discussion, the group is encouraged to offer answers themselves, which builds confidence and problem-solving skills. Zed notes that in all the discussion sessions they’ve noticed that the questions and opinions of the pupils are closely related to their own lives. By sharing their understanding of the issues, pupils become more confident to talk about them in the classroom, on the playground and at home. “Arepp doesn’t give right or wrong answers,” he says. “What we want to do is develop resilient youth who can deal with any challenge and know what they stand for,” Zed says.Reaching as many kids as possible Arepp’s life skills and self-efficacy development programmes reach all age groups in schools with four series of shows: Look Before you Leap, aimed at groups between 13 and 22; About Us for 10 to 13 year olds; No Monkey Business and the Monkey Tales series for the groups between six and nine and three and five respectively. “There is a need to do more of this type of theatre in South Africa,” Schutz says. “There are many theatre education initiatives that start up, but keeping it going is difficult because it is very costly.” The organisation relies entirely on external funding to continue its work. Currently it receives support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the STARS Foundation and a foreign donor agency in the Netherlands. Established in 1987, arepp reaches about 120 000 pupils between the ages of five and 18 in 350 schools each year. Feedback from teachers last year showed an increase of 81% in the audience’s knowledge, skills, ability and confidence to deal with issues directly affecting them. The reported percentage of physical and sexual abuse cases in those schools halved from the previous year, to just under 4%, and reported pregnancies declined from 9% to less than 1%. Reported suicides decreased and overall, 80% of audiences indicated changes in their feelings of worth, competency and control with regard to the issues presented in the plays. “This shows that our performances are helping to make a difference,” says Schutz. Last year the company was selected from 976 applicants from 60 countries to receive the 2011 STARS Foundation Impact award in education. The foundation offers awards to charities in the Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions working with children in the areas of health, education and protection. The award is allowing arepp to fund additional theatre projects and perform about 200 more presentations, which will benefit 30 000 additional pupils. Schutz describes the award as an important accolade as it validates the organisation’s work and recognises arepp’s contribution of 25 years to the promotion of human rights in South Africa. “It highlights the vital importance of assisting young people and children to understand, engage with, and contextualise the notions and practical applications of their rights,” she says. Edited version of photograph by Andrew Aitchison, reproduced with kind permission. Article first published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Maverick Awards give recognition to young SA entrepreneurs

first_imgThe awards were held in Edenvale, to the east of Johannesburg on 26 June, with 19 finalists vying for awards in 10 different categories, as well as for the overall Maverick of the Year AwardBevan Ducasse, the CEO of wiGroup walked away with the inaugural Maverick of the Year Award, which seeks to “recognise, acknowledge as well as celebrate the entrepreneurial genius and prowess displayed by young, hard-nosed entrepreneurs”.Ducasse also won the the Technology Innovation award for wiGroup, which is a platform provider the specialises in point-of-sale mobile transactions, that includes money transfers and payments, coupons and vouchers, and loyalty programmes.The awards were held in Edenvale, to the east of Johannesburg on 26 June, with 19 finalists vying for awards in 10 different categories, as well as for the overall Maverick of the Year Award. The Awards were hosted by Under 35 Mavericks, a 100% youth-owned specialist enterprise development consultancy focused on the sustainable development of young, innovative, high impact, high growth entrepreneurs throughout Africa. Sponsors included Brand South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Mercedes-Benz South Africa, South African Airways and others.The MC for the night was Sisa Ntshona, the former head of enterprise development at Absa, with the main speaker for the night being Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure and Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza. Other speakers included Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang; Mercedes-Benz SA group corporate affairs manager Mayur Bhana; Wits Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship director Chimene Chetty; and under 35 Mavericks founder Bokang Seritsane.Winners in the categories included:The Emerging Maverick (Entrepreneur) Award – Lize Fouche, founder of Number 1 Foods, a Port Elizabeth-based foodstuffs company that manufactures muesli.Employment Creation Award – Josh Cox, founder of Trade-Mark Trust, a non-profit organisation (registered as a Trust) that connects homeowners wanting to do renovations with the very best, handpicked artisans from the townships.People Planet Profit Award – Misha Teasdale, founder of Greenpop, a social business that plants trees and invites everyone to join the “treevolution”.Without Borders Award – Misha Teasdale, founder of Greenpop.Marketing Innovation Award – Gareth Moll, founder GroundUp Media, which provides photography and videography services to both small and large businesses.Service Innovation Award – Alex Fourie, founder of iFix, a South African company that specialises in repairing Apple devices and RiCharge, a designer and manufacturer of mobile charging solutions.Green Innovation Award – Brian Mpono, founder of Khwezi Oils, which refines waste cooking oil into biofuel.Technology Innovation Award – Bevan Ducasse, founder of wiGroupBlue Ocean Innovation Award – Murray Legg, founder of SA Cardiosynthetics, a venture financed business that is pursuing the commercialisation of a patented heart valve design.last_img read more

Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon vs. Skydrive: Which One Is Fastest?

first_imgCloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… If my tests convinced me of anything, it is that Skydrive is a work in progress and has a long way to go. I even had trouble setting up the tests on Skydrive.My tests also revealed a number of odd results. When testing files saved from Word, strange extra files sometimes showed up on all the cloud drives except Dropbox. The file names always began with the characters “~$”. Sometimes the mystery files disappeared and sometimes they hung around.Cloud Drive RecommendationsSo here are some quick recommendations:First, do not treat your cloud drive as one huge dumping ground. Create folders and try to force a little organization on yourself.If you save a file to the cloud in order to work on it from another computer, quit the application or close the file on the first computer after you have saved the file to the cloud drive.Make sure you have a local copy of important files in your documents folder – not just the replicated cloud folder on your computer. Interesting things sometimes happen when cloud files get updated or deleted from another computer. When you come back to the computer where you first created a file, you could be in for a nasty surprise.If you cannot get a cloud folder on your computer to update, trying quitting the cloud application or rebooting your system.Dropbox and Amazon appear to be the most reliable solutions with only occasional delays. Google isn’t far behind, and I can’t imagine that Microsoft won’t work hard to improve Skydrive – the company’s subscription model depends on it.Even so, I have no plans to throw away my USB thumb drives. Fighting The Randomization FactorAfter running the tests a few times, I noticed what can only be described as random operating system differences. Sometimes the file would pop up first on my Mac and other times it showed up first on my Windows 7 laptop.In order to eliminate the operating system differences, I restarted the tests and this time stopped the timer when the file showed up on either my Mac running Mountain Lion or my Windows 7 laptop. I also reran my tests with a variety of sizes and types of files. In all I ran twenty-five sets of tests.The differences were significant, if not overwhelmingly huge. The fastest synchs took less than 3 seconds, while a few others took several minutes. The biggest chunk of tests clocked in between 10 seconds and one minute. A few synchs never completed. But which service recorded the best times with the fewest problems? david sobotta Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#Amazon#Cloud Providers#cloud service providers#cloud storage#Dropbox#google drive#Microsoft Dropbox FTW!Dropbox ended up being fastest 56% of the time. Even more importantly, it was slowest only 4% of the time.Skydrive brought up the rear. It was fastest on 12% of the tests, but but slowest on a whopping 80% of the tests. It also had two files that never showed up on the Mac and one that never showed on the Windows 7 laptop.The Amazon Cloud slightly outpaced Google Drive – which had one file that never showed up on the Mac and another that took a very long time to complete. How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud As cloud computing services become ever more popular, you might begin to wonder how much you can really trust them to perform when you need them? I decided to find out – by testing the top file-transfer/file-storage/file-backup services.In many ways, getting a file from one computer to multiple computers is the most challenging task for the cloud. And because I like to use multiple computers running multiple operating systems, including Linux, Windows and the Mac, that function is particularly important to me.Cloud Services Can LagI am pretty agnostic when it comes to cloud providers – as long as they are free or close to it. However, as I was moving files around while preparing my most recent book A Week at the Beach The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide I was a little surprised at the lags I sometimes experienced using the big-name cloud-based file-transfer services.More than once when I wanted to use a file from one computer to another, I was disappointed by my cloud services. There were a few times that I got so tired of waiting for a file to show up on my other computer’s cloud drive that I resorted to sneakernet using a USB thumb drive.After my book was published, I decided to go back and run some simple tests to see just how long the four best-known file-transfer/backup services actually take to put the files where you want them.To compare Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, and Microsoft’s SkyDrive I started by exporting a 500K JPEG test image from Lightroom on my Windows 8 computer directly to each of the four services.last_img read more