Christmas in Zimbabwe is the time of soft sweet litchis,
plums, mangoes and peaches. It's the time to eat small, sweet purple grapes
straight from the vines and to take turns with the birds for pawpaws and figs.
It's the time when its hazardous to sit, stand or put anything under avocado
trees as the high up, unreachable fruits ripen and crash to the ground at the
most unexpected times.
Christmas in Zimbabwe means towering purple rain clouds,
sausage flies and flying ants. It means rhino beetles and chongololos, large
spiders and even larger snakes. Christmas is that alluring time when flashes of
red, crimson and scarlet tempt you into the ever thickening bush to discover
wild and beautiful flame lilies? It's the time of year for mahobohobo fruits:
sweet, juicy and oh so more-ish and for mushrooms of all shapes and sizes - so
tempting to pick but so lethal to eat.
Christmas in Zimbabwe is that first green maize cob
scalding hot from the
pot: soft, tender and sweet leaving butter running down
your fingers and dripping onto your chin. For some it is chicken and rice, for
others turkey and ham and everywhere meat sizzles on braai fires.
Christmas in Zimbabwe means reunion. It's the time of
year when everyone's on the move. Transport is a nightmare, lifts are like gold
and everyone is weighed down with bus bags and bulging luggage. The roads are
chaotic, buses and kombis overloaded and impromptu police road blocks appear
every ten to fifteen kilometres. The queues outside the passport offices and
the borders grow longer while the bribes get bigger to match people's
Instead of more people staffing home affairs and
immigration offices there are less and the looks on people's faces change from
anger and despair to disgust and resignation. Zimbabwe's new tradition, thanks
to a decade of political and economic mayhem, is the great, international,
annual migration to reunite with families scattered all over the globe. To the
disapora and from the diaspora hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans try to get
together and be normal families, just for a few weeks.
Christmas in Zimbabwe means school leavers. A couple of
hundred thousand O and A level students pour out onto the roads, waiting for
results, drinking too much, playing head banging music and all the while
knowing that there is almost no chance they will find a job in a country where
unemployment hovers around 90%. Those that can will have no choice but to join
the estimated three and a half million other Zimbabweans living and working
outside the country. Those that can't will set up roadside stalls under trees,
wheel and deal, sell airtime, become cross border traders and spend their days
looking for ways to use the education their parents struggled so hard to get
Christmas for MP's in Zimbabwe this year is the car loans
US$30,000 that were given to each legislator which have
been written off by the Treasury at a cost of US$9 million. And on the other
hand, for the vast majority of us, Christmas 2012 is a time when the shops are
full but the pockets empty as we juggle the bills, chase every dollar and
wonder if, by this time next year, our country will have finally become the new
Zimbabwe we so desperately need and want.
To all Zimbabweans and our friends, wherever you are in
the world, happy holidays, joyous reunions and thanks for reading and
supporting my writing and books for another year.
Do you remember those days when you used to go in to a pub with your friends or colleagues and you would be asked if you could leave your credit card behind the bar so that they could keep a tab for you? I remember it anyway!! How trusting were we?
We wouldn’t entertain the idea today such is as our risk averse nature. It would appear that our fears are justified however. Over £530 million pounds a year in the UK falls foul to credit card fraud and a big chunk of this is through on line fraud i.e. somebody accessing your personal details on your computer without your consent.
So how do we guard against this? Well normally we download anti virus software and then don’t give it too much thought thereafter. But which software? There is a big choice out there in terms of anti virus software and some of it is free so it’s a no-brainer isn’t it ? Just download the free one….Now we all like something that is free but will it do the job you are expecting it to do? Let’s have a quick look at the two main differences between free and paid anti virus software;
1.The main difference is the level of support you receive. With paid anti virus software you will have access to a support team of technicians who can handle any problems you may have and deal with your queries. With free anti virus software you are pretty much on your own. Yes you can probably access tutorials and forums but there is no technician on standby to answer your call.
2.Another significant difference is what features are included in the anti virus programmes. With free anti virus software many of the advanced features are removed and then you are bombarded with sales messages from the anti virus software company trying to entice you to upgrade to a paid service.
Sometimes free anti virus software is an ok option. If you only use your computer for playing games and basically anything where you don’t have to access the internet then free anti virus software is fine. In many ways it performs the same as paid anti virus programmes but you just have to be a little more tech-savvy and proactive about guarding against threats. If that sounds like too much trouble and you just want an easy life with some peace of mind then paying for a more sophisticated anti virus solution is probably a safer option.
Like so many other things in life, you get what you pay for. If you fall into that risk averse category and wouldn’t dream of handing over your credit card to a stranger in a bar then a paid for anti virus solution is going to be the one for you!
For advice about anti virus software and any other IT support options contact Colins-IT on 0800 107 7782 or email email@example.com
So what is cloud computing? Should I be embracing it or sheltering from it? Whenever I’m faced with a question like this I always find it comforting to make a list of the pros and cons but before I do this let’s start with some basics.
Cloud computing, in its simplest terms, enables you to store files and software remotely rather than on a hard drive or server in the office. You may not know it but you are probably using the cloud everyday in your life. Services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Skype, YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud all operate in the Cloud.
So if all these services are using the Cloud it should be safe shouldn’t it? OK, it’s nearly time for that list. It’s now possible for businesses to have their own private cloud which incorporates specific services and is only accessible to selected people. Sounds good doesn’t it? Let’s look at the Pros of Cloud Computing:
Employees can access data and files they need even when they are working remotely or outside of office hours.
Assuming they can get onto the internet employees can access information from home, in the car, from customer’s offices, and from their smart phone.
Employees can work collaboratively on files and documents even when they are not together. Documents can be viewed and edited at the same time from different locations.
Setting up cloud computing can be very quick and easy. If you think about how easy it is to set up a Gmail or Hotmail account and be up and running in comparison to installing software which can be time consuming.
Cloud computing can be cheaper – you don’t have to buy and install software because it’s already installed online remotely.
You don’t need loads of disk space. With cloud computing you subscribe to the software rather than own it which means it works a bit like pay as you go. You only pay for what you use and you can scale this up and down depending on your requirements.
Cloud computing can offer unlimited data storage because it is online. It is not restricted by server and hard drive limits and there are no issues with server upgrades etc. If you need more data you just up your subscription fee.
Sounds like a no-brainer so far doesn’t it? With all of the above benefits why wouldn’t I embrace the Cloud? Let’s have a look at some of the Cons of Cloud Computing. After all, every silver lining has a Cloud, if you pardon the pun!
With the Cloud you do not physically possess storage of your own data, leaving the control and responsibility of your data storage with your Cloud provider. So it could be seen that this is a leap of faith.
You could become completely dependent upon your cloud computing provider taking away your freedom to some extent.
Your business continuity and disaster recovery are in the hands of your provider. Do you trust them enough?
What happens with data migration issues should you want to change provider?
What happens if your cloud provider goes out of business?
Can your Cloud provider guarantee the security of your data?
Cloud servers can go down just like normal servers so how do I access my data if this happens?
Cloud computing is only as robust as your internet connection. If you are experiencing internet issues you won’t be able to access your data.
Hmmm, not so sure now. However, it’s still early days for Cloud Computing and as time progresses then some of these issues will get ironed out. The comedian Peter Kay once famously said about Garlic Bread…..it’s the future!
The same can be said aboutCloud Computing. It’s here to stay, it is the future and whatever size your business is, it’s time to start thinking if Cloud Computing is going to be the most cost effective and flexible solution for your future data needs.