Thursday, 15 January 2009

Idiots On Our Roads

Over the past six weeks I have had the opportunity to travel between Worcester and Cape Town on the N1 highway on several occasions. Each time I drive that particular stretch of road I am horrified at the disregard paid to the rules of the road by many drivers. I sometimes feel that many of my fellow drivers have no concern about their own safety, let alone the safety of other road users.

Recently I complained to a friend of mine about the fact that I was tailgated in the far right lane of the highway while travelling at 125km/h (5 km/h over the stated speed limit) by a rude man driving a BMW who spent most of his time gesticulating and making it pretty obvious that he wanted me to pull over into the middle lane. The fact that the middle lane was full of cars travelling at speed with no safe means of entering the traffic did not seem to enter his consciousness. I told my friend how angry I was at this blatant disregard for safety and the BMW driver's arrogance at thinking that the road belonged to him - never mind that I was already travelling at the speed limit.

I was gently reminded of the rule which states "Keep left, pass right" and my friend inferred that I should have moved over to allow this moron to continue speeding down the highway. Don't get me wrong - I am all for ensuring that the road rules are kept, but why should I move over to allow some speed demon to shoot along the freeway and endanger other lives?

This incident is but one of many I experienced over these past few weeks and I am left wondering how these fools can be prevented from continuing their unsafe driving habits.

I came across the Arrive Alive campaign's website which has a toll free number to dial to report bad driving - 0861 400 800. Perhaps I will use this next time I witness idiotic driving on the freeway! I also noticed on the site that you can register as a volunteer traffic observer. Now I'm not sure what this entails but I sure hope its more than just counting cars to determine traffic volume!

It also never ceases to amaze me why the country's traffic departments insist on hiding behind bushes with speed cameras instead of parking in visible places on the freeways. Surely this would be preventative instead of punitive and would encourage motorists to slow down? As a regular source of income, speed camera fines are great for the traffic department but do they really encourage motorists to drive more slowly? I honestly doubt it! Of course some drivers will never learn no matter what the traffic authorities do - read this account of a Porsche driver clocked twice at over 200 km/h in one day in Kwa-Zulu Natal!

Then of course we have those "kings of the road" - our mini-bus taxi drivers...but that's another subject for another post...

In the meantime, please drive carefully!

The Arrive Alive road safety blog can be found at http://roadsafety.wordpress.com
- it certainly makes for interesting and sobering reading.

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Desktop Wallpaper Directory Goes Web 2.0

Every so often I decide to change my desktop background on either my laptop or desktop PC. I usually spend some time online searching for decent high-res images. I now have one resource I will return to time and time again - Social Wallpapering.

This site is full of quality high-resolution images in the following resolutions :

1280x960, 1280x1024, 1600x1200, and all other background variations with a minimum width and height of 1280x720 pixels

Users are able to upload their own wallpapers which are then rated by the SocWall community in a similar fashion to the way in which one might rate a site on Digg. All the wallpapers are available for download; even to those who have not registered on the site.

Wallpapers are available for standard and widescreen monitors as well as for a dual-monitor scenario.

This is a great resource which is attempting to become the greatest repository of high-res desktop wallpapers on the internet - a lofty goal which I am not sure will be reached. What I am sure of though, is that this site is clearly a case of quality over quantity and I will certainly be a regular visitor.

Visit it here - Social Wallpapering

Friday, 02 January 2009

African Guitarist Retrospective


With the release of "Francophonic", the Congolese singer-guitarist-bandleader Fran├žois Luambo has finally got the retrospective he deserves. During his performing years he performed as "Franco". He was widely regarded as one of the greatest African musicians of the twentieth century and has been dubbed the "James Brown of Africa" and a "sorcerer of the guitar".

The album starts with a track from his first recording session in 1953 at the age of 15 and ends with a 1980 workout whose title translates as "I Don't Like You".

The two-disc set contains excellent liner notes which give fascinating facts about the music. For example : most of Franco’s international audience assumed the exquisite 1973 recording “AZDA” was a love song; it was actually a jingle for a Zairean Volkswagen dealership!

Links :

1) Buy the album here

2) Read more about the artist here

3) Download "AZDA" for $0.99