Day 230, part 2 – How the turntables…

Here’s a headline:

31st August this year. You can see that.

Here’s another headline from today. I make that 72 days after the one above:

Yep. Ace has (finally) been charged with fraud and corruption over a R255 million asbestos audit tender in the Free State.

Great chance for the ANC to live up to their word and put him on leave: missed.

Maybe because Cyril is scared of this?

Day 169 – New camera

Not a fancy Canon or Sony or whatever. Just the lens and sensor from my Mavic drone.

Well, I say “just”, but it’s quite a big thing for me to get it replaced.

I think I might have mentioned on here that there was a bit of an issue with the old one: there seemed to be some delamination under the front lens cover and that made the images smeary and yellow. It was evident in the top image that I shared on this post – despite my best efforts with the editing software.

The photo was taken at the beginning of the year and gradually, the problem got worse until I had two choices: stop taking photos with my drone or buy a new drone.

Actually, I was forced into the first one – the distortion and discolouration became too much to overcome with Lightroom. I mean – just look at this:

Ugh.

And I seriously considered the second choice as well; but then the virus happened and – having a bit of extra time on my hands – I looked at the price of a new drone.

Wow. Ouch. Eina. Lawd!

And while the new drones have a few extra features here and there and yes, they are HIGHLY desirable, in all honesty there was only one issue with my current drone. So instead, I looked into getting a camera replacement done. It seemed possible, but no-one was at work at any of the repair places during lockdown because they’re not classed as “essential services”.

Unless of course you want your drone camera replaced.
In which case they are quite literally the dictionary definition of “essential”.

Fast forward to this week and I finally bit the bullet and got round to taking Florence to Fixology in Sea Point, who sorted it within an hour while I walked on the Promenade:

Yes, rather expensive (the camera replacement, not the wander on the Prom), but not outrageous and better than having an otherwise lovely piece of precision technology sitting on your desk doing nothing.

Anyway, it was a bit breezy last night, but I did have a low level test flight around the garden and the images from the camera look spot on (as they should).

With plans for the next couple of weekends, I’m rejuvenated and looking forward to getting some decent footage and images of activities and landscapes.

Watch this space.

Day 165 – Hasn’t it been wet?

Well, no. Not really.

Even though our dams are at a very healthy 95.6% of capacity…

… a far cry from the panic of literally running out of water not so very long ago, this has not been down to this being a particularly wet winter. In fact, this winter has been decidedly average.

graph from here

That’s the 8 months of 2020 so far in orange. Thankfully, not like 2011 (that’s the low line), but also definitely not like 2001 (that’s the very, very high line) either.

So yes, a few things like borehole augmentation, clearing of inflows and a reduction in alien vegetation around the dams will have helped, but it’s the fact that Capetonians are now using only just over half as much water each day as they used to which is making the biggest difference. We’re using just over 630 million litres per day, as opposed to the almost 1 billion litres per day prior to the nastiness of the drought in 2016-2018.

That’s a superb effort.

But…

One of the City’s methods of reducing water usage was to increase tariffs. This probably did have some effect, but now that the dams are nearly full for the first time in 6 years, isn’t it time to reduce those tariffs? The problem is that the City is selling much less water than it used to, while the efforts aimed at avoiding Day Zero two years ago were costly, and the plans to safeguard the city’s supply in a uncertain future doesn’t come for free.
Also, reduce the price of water and it stands to reason that consumption will go up again, which won’t help anyone, but might make up the shortfall in revenue.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg says:

Regarding tariffs: as previously stated, a reduction in tariffs will be dependent on an increase in consumption. Currently, the City is selling approximately 30% less water than before the drought, but is facing additional costs that come with increasing our resilience. It is important that the City cover its costs to ensure that the maintenance and augmentation programmes can be carried out. Should the amount of water we are selling significantly increase this will be factored into the tariffs, but given the uncertain impact of climate change it may not be wise to actively encourage such an approach at this stage.

So. Use less water so we don’t run out, but use more water so that it costs less, so that the City makes more money to make sure that they can replace the extra water you used because it was cheaper to use more water than when you were using less water.

 

Got it.

Day 145 – UPSd

There’s likely to be a lot more loadshedding coming our way over the next few months (and beyond?). So we purchased a UPS to keep (some of) the internet going so that the kids could continue to do their schoolwork while we got loadshod. But as soon as we bought it, Eskom said that actually, everything was ok and there wouldn’t be any more loadshedding ever again that day.

Unperturbed, we plugged in the UPS and immediately, Eskom said that there was going to be some loadshedding again. I’m not saying that it was our fault that there’s loadshedding, but it probably was. Well, that and the years of corruption, mismanagement, looting and general negligence. So not all our fault then.

Anyway, I’m writing this on UPS-powered internet, which – for the moment at least – seems to be working exactly as we had hoped. Even though the kids have finished their schoolwork for the day.

Let’s see if it can last the 2 hours.

I’ll keep you informed.

 

UPDATE: Hmm. Iffy. Switched off halfway through loadshedding for no apparent reason. And the supplied voltage and battery levels were all over the place. Better than nothing, but far from perfect.

We’re running a few more tests on it, but I don’t think this is the droid we’re looking for.
A return seems imminent.

Day 142 – Cyril leaves it late

Here’s confirmation that cyril is leaving it pretty much as late as he can before address that lapsing National State of Disaster.

Just to be clear, if the National State of Disaster does lapse, it doesn’t mean that the nation won’t be a disaster.

That’s going to to take quite a shift in direction and an awfully long time to sort out. Not 4 hours.