Blackberry Bold 9000 extended battery replacement (update)

Posted on July 30, 2010

I posted a week ago around the extended capacity battery that I had ordered off E-bay for the grand total of $10. Just a quick update after a week’s usage.

First foremost, this thing does what was advertised, and the battery life is a HUGE improvement over what I was getting from the the year old 1500mAh original Blackberry battery. The old battery was struggling to get me through a day. Even with some USB laptop charging during the day, with a full overnight charge and the day beginning at 6am, my battery was flat by 5pm.

This battery is new and yes it’s only the first week, however, with the same usage patterns as above (and described in my original post), the extended battery is lasting to 11pm and still having some life left over. Tonight as we speak I still have half a battery charge left. Wow, I don’t think I could go back to the old battery.

That said, the phone still feels HUGE. The new battery cover makes the phone feel twice the size. I read quite a bit on the device using the Kindle App (and that works great) so I had to get used to holding the phone all over again is it doesn’t feel the same. It also doesn’t fit neatly into my pocket with the Nokia E71. So I’m changing the little habits to make this thing work. Some people just won’t be able to get over the size, but for me, I’m sticking with the extended battery and would definitely recommend it to anybody who is struggling to get through a day.

$10 from soonhua_digital on ebay (US) with free shipping to SA, took a week to arrive (from China). Best R75 I have spent in a long time.

MSc/PhD Scholarships:The Dept of Science & Technology and National Research Foundation, Cosmology,Radio astronomy

Posted on July 30, 2010

Thanks to @cecilia_vdm for tweeting about this :

The South African SKA Project is a project of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation and comprises Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope (SKA), the design, construction and operation of the Karoo Array Telescope (MeerKAT) and a youth into science and engineering programme focused on supporting science and engineering students and postdoctoral fellows. Africa has been short-listed with Australia to host the SKA. If Africa is selected to site the SKA,the core of the telescope will be located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape.

Scholarships are being offered aligned to the SKA project. The research focus for the SKA PhD and MSc scholarships must align very closely with specific areas of MeerKAT, SKA, PAPER and C-BASS science and technology where research is required.

For 2011, the research projects must be in the following general fields:
• Observational radio astronomy and cosmology.
• Experimental cosmology
• Radio astronomy engineering and instrumentation technologies

Alternatively, if a student wishes to undertake a project that does not appear on this list, he/she is free to submit a proposal for consideration, together with motivation for why the proposed project is relevant to the design, construction and scientific research goals of the MeerKAT and / or SKA.

Closing date for applications is 31 August 2010.

This project sounds really interesting and there are some wonderful research opportunities here. Go and read up further on their website.

P.S. If you are interested in scholarships being offered around the world in many diverse research areas, follow @infoscholarship on Twitter.

Security and ethics presentation to UKZN MBA class – copy of presentation

Posted on July 30, 2010

On Tuesday evening (27th July 2010) I did a presentation to the University of KwaZulu Natal MBA class. The presentation was rather enjoyable (from my perspective) and with all the questions and interactions with the class we spoke for around and hour and a half or so.We did go a bit over time for the normal end time for the lecture, so thanks to the class for their patience and thanks again for you attention and questions.

Attached is a copy of the presentation for anybody who is interested.

UKZN Graduate School of Business Seminar : Spiritual Intelligence at Work

Posted on July 27, 2010

Spiritual Intelligence at Work : improving integrity, vitality and productivity

The University of KwaZulu Natal’s Graduate School of Business is pleased to advise that Dr Richard Steele will present at a forthcoming Business Seminar addressing the topic: Spiritual Intelligence at Work – improving integrity, vitality and productivity.

The word “spiritual” derives from the Latin word spiritus, which means “that which gives life or vitality to a system”. Spiritual intelligence is the ability to find meaning and purpose in life, and a way of connecting with the underlying patterns of the universe and all within it. The use of the word spiritual in relation to intelligence has no necessary connection with institutional religion.

This seminar will examine questions such as:

  • How is spiritual intelligence (SQ) different from intellectual intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ)?
  • How can we increase our integrity and vitality by connecting with, exploring, and improving our spiritual intelligence?
  • How can spiritual intelligence contribute to organisational wellbeing and productivity?

Spiritual intelligence at work provides an organisational environment based on respect for life and openness to change. Alignment of core values with business practice leads to a more emotionally healthy working environment which increases staff loyalty, motivation, creativity and productivity and adds depth to the triple bottom line principles of environmental, social and financial sustainability.

Dr Richard Steele is a homeopath in private practice and a part-time lecturer in the Department of Homeopathy at the Durban University of Technology. He graduated from UCT in 1979 with majors in English and Psychology and a teacher’s diploma. Up until 1993, when he registered at DUT for his Master’s degree in homeopathy, he was a fieldworker for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, based in Durban. In that capacity he conducted many workshops and training events related to peace, justice, human rights and non-violent direct action.

Date: 19 August 2010
Time: 16h30 (1 hour)
Cost: R100.00 pp
Venue: GSB, UKZN Westville Campus

To Book Contact:
Ms Debbie Main: 031 260 1627,

ISACA KZN – A tale of two cities – and frameworks

Posted on July 27, 2010

The topic and speaker for the next ISACA KZN Chapter meeting (Thu 5th August 2010 at EY’s offices on La Lucia Ridge) is now confirmed. After much deliberation and debate, the speaker is non other than yours truly.

Topic : ” A tale of two cities – and control frameworks”

Speaker : Justin Williams

This is the same presentation that I gave at the IT Web conference earlier in the year. If you caught the presentation there you are still welcome to come along and contribute to the discussion/debate on the topic.

The meeting will take place at Ernst & Young in the main Boardroom, 2pm start with the presentation kicking off at 2:30pm, we need to be out by 4:30pm.

Attendees please confirm with Nadine (for catering purposes) by no later than 12:00hrs Friday 30th July 2010. Contact:  – 011 803 0803 –

Visualising twitter at Conferences / Interacting with the web

Posted on July 25, 2010

The ISACA South Africa Annual conference is coming up in a few months and I though it would be pretty cool if we could have some kind of real-time visualisations of what the twitterverse (or net) was saying about the conference.

So this morning I was reading up on how best to do this and the first article I came across was 5 Ways to Visualize Twitter at Events which was on the Event Manager Blog :

This starts by answering the questions “A lot of fuzz is being made about if tweets should be displayed at events or not. The answer is simple, Yes! And in a fancy way.” and then proceeds to list 5 options for methods/tools that can be used to achieve this, and gives some pro’s and con’s for each.

Based on this article and the followup comments I whipped through the tools to see what might be suitable and jotted down some of my own thoughts. These are still fairly preliminary and I need to do some more investigation into features being offered and the overall robustness of the solutions.

The 4 tools I took a look at were : visibletweets, wiffiti, twazzup and twitterfountain

The tool we use (if the concept is approved)  would probably run from a laptop with a projector attached and run in an unattended fashion. I wanted to be able to select a few keywords / #hashtags, have some kind of title (or instruction) on the page, be able to add a custom background, and have cool visualisations of the results. I suspect the display is also going to have to run over a 3G connection at the conference, so it will also need to be reasonably bandwidth friendly, but that will have to be tested at a later stage.

My thoughts based on this rough criteria for each of the  options is briefly noted below :

Visible Tweets ( Sample link

  • Supports multiple keywords, tags, and exclusions
  • 3 visualisation options suited for conference projections (looks great) and full screen operation (unattended)
  • builds tag cloud which displays between tweets
  • displays profile picture of tweeter
  • simple to setup and custom URL
  • No header option or custom background
  • Doesn’t seem to support twitpic or other picture services
  • Can make use of TidyTweet service to have filtered/moderated tweets (and prevent profanity/embarassment), $10 /month for non-personal use

Conclusion : Fairly good option, quick and easy to set up, would be better with a bit more customisation and twitpic support

Wiffiti (   sample link

  • Allows custom background to be uploaded
  • Custom title can be set
  • Does censorship (can set rating level)
  • Allows multiple tags
  • Can use pictures from flickr with tags
  • Displays tweets with profile picture, tags and location
  • Accepts mesages directly from website
  • Accepts SMS however is USA based short message code, not clear if could get a South African number
  • Easy to set up, however required signup to “publish” the screen and save it
  • Visualisation looks pretty good with multiple messages onscreen at once, full screen option

Conclusion : Very professional looking service, definitely one that could do the job.

Twazzup ( Sample Link

  • looks good in a browser for individual use but doesn’t seem suitable for conference projection
  • breaks the page up into different sections giving Highlights, Community Influencers, Live pictures, News, Twitter stream.
  • No custom headers or backgrounds
  • Seems to displays pictures (twitpic etc)
  • Lists common links

Conclusion : This is great way to get a view on a topic, but not for conference projection

Twitterfountain ( Sample link

  • does pictures in background, tweets scaled flying into background
  • gives twitter profile picture, name, tweet
  • link to blog top right (cant seem to remove)
  • banner across top (defaults to twitterfountain) and can be customised / removed
  • options for how messages animated
  • background image allowed
  • can change size of tweets and how they are displayed
  • fullscreen option
  • The URL generated for the fountain doesn’t contain all of the settings so these would have to be set up again each time

Conclusion : Also a viable option, not quite up to wiffiti, and I prefer the visualisation of visibletweets (although twitterfountain has far better customisation and does support the custom backdrops and banner whereas visibletweets doesn’t)

Summary (for now)

Each of these products is great in its own right, having a time and place where it may be the most suitable. For the conference I would tend to think either visibletweets (using tidytweet) or wiffiti would be the best options, though twitterfountain still needs a bit more investigation. More to come later.

Help out an MBA student by completing questionnaire on Phishing

Posted on July 23, 2010

I, RAJAN MUNIEN, an MBA student, at the Graduate School of Business, University of Kwazulu-Natal, hereby invite you to participate in a research project entitled “Internet Phishing – Hook, Line and Hopefully not Sunk…” The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding about online user’s awareness to the problem of Internet Phishing (IP). Through your participation I hope to determine the level of awareness amongst users and to present a strategy in creating further awareness on the problem. The results are intended to contribute towards implementing an awareness programme that will prevent further users from becoming victims to the threat of Internet Phishing. Your participation in this project is voluntary. You may refuse to participate or withdraw from the project at any time with no negative consequence. There will be no monetary gain from participating in this survey group. Confidentiality and anonymity of records identifying you as a participant will be maintained by the Graduate School of Business, UKZN.

If you agree to the above and want to proceed to the questionnaire, please click on the link below. This survey will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete.

If you have questions at any time about the survey or the procedures, you may contact the author hereunder:
Rajan Munien, Cell : 084 – 5800 176, email :

ISACA KZN Chapter meeting, Thu 5th August 2010

Posted on July 23, 2010

The next KZN ISACA Chapter meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday 5 August 2010. This meeting was going to take place at Deloitte, however, there has now been a change in plans.

The meeting will take place at Ernst & Young in the main Boardroom, 2pm start with the presentation kicking off at 2:30pm, we need to be out by 4:30pm.

With the planned speaker having canceled on me I am still busy organising a replacement speaker.  This will be confirmed early next week. Anybody wishing to speak at the event (or having any good ideas for a speaker/topic) is welcome to drop me a mail or tweet me.

Attendees please confirm with Nadine (for catering purposes) by no later than 12:00hrs Friday 30th July 2010. Contact:  – 011 803 0803 –

Blackberry Bold 9000 battery replacement (and cheap chinese shipping)

Posted on July 23, 2010

I really enjoy my Blackberry Bold 9000. It has a nice sized screen and a great sized keyboard. I also use a Nokia E71, and in comparison the small little keyboard is a real pain to type on. Over the 14 months or so I have had it, the battery life has deteriorated significantly,  to the point where I can’t get through a day of normal useage (perhaps an hour of calls, some twitter useage, some BBM conversations and fairly heavy email useage).

I read a little about double capacity batteries being available, did some searching around and found one at a very reasonable price on Ebay, with a new back cover to allow the battery to fit. About $10 later (free shipping), a two week wait and it appeared in my post box. Plugged it in tonight. The new case makes the phone a bit bulkier than it already was (not so great), although not quite as heavy. I had thought the extended battery case would give a bulge at the back, instead it extends the size of the entire back of the phone. Still having doubts about whether this is going to be convenient, but, if it really does give double (of the original) battery life, I think I am going to enjoy this.

Will keep you all posted.

P.S. Has anybody figured out how the sellers in Hong Kong and China seem to be able to offer free shipping on small purchases as low as $1? I have serious doubts if we could even post them anything for $1 let alone buy the packaging and the actual item for sale. This is fun new retail therapy (for me), and a completely new way of doing business to ponder. If people have time to spare there is no reason to buy these kinds of items locally. Let’s see if the screen protectors, pouches, camera batteries and lense covers arrive too :)

P.P.S. I bought the battery with cover from soonhua_digital on ebay (US)

Presentation to UKZN MBA class on Security and Ethics

Posted on July 23, 2010

I’ll be doing a presentation to the University of KZN MBA class on “Security and Ethics” on Tuesday 27th July at 7pm at the Graduate School of Business Lecture theatre 1, Westville Campus.

I have presented on a similar topic for the last 3 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed the hour or so spent with the class on each occasion. The presentation has generally encouraged some lively discussion and some intelligent questions and discussions.  I’ll put up a copy of the presentation on the website sometime after Tuesday (probably next weekend).

Anyone interested in attending (who isn’t already part of the class :), drop me a note and we can arrange something.

Optimising Audit Command Language (ACL) Coding

Posted on July 06, 2010

I was working with a colleague the other day on trying to debug some Audit Command Language (ACL) code that was doing an interest recalculation for a moderate sized dataset of some 1.7 million records. The recalculation was taking some time to perform, running at around 70 minutes for the calculation. We were getting significant errors in our results and were quite frustrated. We had taken a small sample of records (12 months for two accounts) and had done some “manual” recalculations in Excel so we could see our code was producing the same results on the test check, but we were getting much bigger differences on the full record set.

Debugging was just getting really frustrating given that it was taking over an hour after each change to see whether the difference was sufficiently reduced to give a number that wasn’t material.

After working on the code for a morning, I decided that there had to be a better way to do this, so we started doing some rough profiling of the ACL code. Looking through it, there were a number of duplicated calculations and a number of duplicated recordoffset reads. We spent some time assigning these to calculated variables to reduce the numbers of reads and recalculations. It didn’t make much difference, shaving a few minutes off the overall time.

We looked at our hardware, a Dell E6400 laptop with a high speed SSD connected via eSata. We tried running the data calculations off the lower speed internal drive, and found that it was running at the same speed, which was somewhat worrying. At this point we also realised that a simple summing of the data was taking less than 15 seconds to read all the records and produce a total, so something (other than the data reads) was causing the huge slowdown.

We started hacking our code to pieces (ignoring the interest calculation part for now) and discovered that the calculations weren’t causing much of the overhead, the only thing that reduced the times was removing the recordoffset commands. Removing these commands reduced the times by a factor of 100+.

Now we realised that the code would have to be rewritten, almost from scratch. It took about an hour to recode the calculations into Group by statements, and boy what a difference. The first run through of the new code took a mere 26 seconds. Sure the calculations were way out, but debugging code that runs so much quicker is a hang of a lot easier.

A couple of hours later and the code was now correctly calculating the interest to within materiality.

What we learned :  The recordoffset in ACL seems to be terribly slow and should be avoided for anything but the smallest datasets. Rather invest the time and write the code using the Group by commands. The speed increases are more than significant and in the longer run will reward you handsomely.

The other little catch, don’t forget that it’s not only numbers that get type cast in your initial assignment, it’s also strings. So, using  : Assign previousinterestrate=0.00000 ensures that your interest rate will use five decimals rather than chop it to an integer if you used  assign previousinterestrate=0

Assign previousaccountnumber=”12345678″ gives you an 8 digit account number whereas previousaccount=”xx” will chop it to just two even if you later assign it to fields containing 8 digit account numbers. That one had us stumped for about an hour where the interest rates and previous transaction dates weren’t resetting when the account numbers changed. After fixing our initial assignment (as above), everything worked like magic.

Hope that helps some avid ACL coders out there to do things a little more efficiently.

The work above was performed with ACL Desktop Edition Version 9.1 found here on the website.

%d bloggers like this: