About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

11 October 2013

JPO's 2nd 2013 Season 1st Concert

There was a noticeable influx of youth (well anyone under 50 would be young right?) at yesterday's JPO concert - in the audience, in the orchestra, which was also led by the relatively young conductor Daniel Boico. Daniel Boico brought some amazing energy to the orchestra - especially in the opening piece; Rossini's William Tell Overture. I have heard this piece performed before, but this JPO performance was something special.

Luis Magalhaes played Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 4 next, which was sadly not at the same level. It was a strange piece - and it just didn't have the wow of Rachmaninov's earlier concertos. 

The evening ended with  Dvořák's Symphonny No 8. While it is not as recognisable as his 9th, it was a good mixture of emotional mood and was once again energetically conducted and performed. 

For an orchestra that flirted with its demise due to funding problems, this was the exact statement of revival that was needed. It's a pity that the hall wasn't sold out ...

Sport Development and Diversity

Business Day has a great article exploring why black rugby players who seem to succeed on the field in junior rugby do not succeed as they go up the age brackets.

It is an argument I have made before, in my experience with badminton in Cape Town. Sports development is not only about training and coaches - it is about nutrition, about emotional support, about family support, and a whole lot else. If kids are going to spend hours to get to training, development is not sustainable. If kids are not going to get good nutrition at home, they will physically not develop regardless of the hours they spend in gym as part of their training. If they do not get support in their education and family life (which may be in non traditional family structures) they will have other things to worry about.

That said, I am not sure that boarding school, as advocated, is the solution. In my own experience in Cape Town, the fact that top players (including national players) stayed an played in the community was in itself a promoter of the sport. Ultimately, I think a balance is required and it required support from multiple spheres of government and civil society.

09 October 2013

Trevor Noah: It's My Culture

I bought my tickets to the show in August, and already most of the tickets had been sold out for the 3 week show. Trevor Noah has had a fairly meteoric rise as a comedian - I first saw him as a support act at a comedy club about 5 years ago, and now he has 2 hour shows across the world. 

The content of his act varied widely, and he is a great story teller (and writer); managing to get laughs from even difficult topics. The story about his meeting with Julius Malema was particularly impressive, as was the brilliant story of the arrival of the escalator in Zambia (which is not too say that Zambia is technologically backward). 

Earlier, the show opened with a drummer and a puppeteer with 2 dancing puppets (who put Miley's twerking to shame). It was followed by short act by Dusty Rich; which comprised of commentary on his name and blaming his parents for (in his opinion) various genetic defects. The puppeteer was amazing; Dusty was just ok.

I am not sure that the show itself lived up to its name; but that doesn't really matter. It was a great show that definitely lived up to Trevor Noah's well earned reputation.

07 October 2013

The Price of Prepaid Mobile Data

The Economist has an analysis of mobile data prices (prepaid), with some surprising results. When the average prices are measured against the country's average income levels, SA prices do not come across as too bad - especially when compared to the US prices; and most of BRICS seem to be on par. With the recent announcement of even further cuts to mobile prices due to reduction in termination rates, the mobile data price should get better!

06 October 2013

And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’

The NYTimes has a great article on the design and engineering challenges of building the iPhone, particularly leading up to its unveiling. It's particularly interesting how rough the initial demo units were, and how much improvement was actually done in the 6 months before the actual public availability. But best of all, it is a fantastic discussion on what it takes to deliver a brand new product; and the bets that Apple effectively took to deliver the iPhone (effectively stopping development of all other products to focus on the iPhone). 

There are a lot of articles on Steve Jobs today, and this is probably the best of the lot.