Mark Jen has a new job

Well, after all that drama, Mark Jen has a new job for a company known as Plaxo.  Jen seems pretty excited about the new job:

anyways, enough commentary and on to the results! as most people expected, i interviewed with the big tech companies: microsoft, yahoo and amazon. i also interviewed or chatted with a ton of start-ups (including places like technorati, filangy,
etc.). in the end, i was looking for a very specific mix of attributes
that would constitute the perfect job for me. the company had to have:

  • commitment and transparency to customers
  • a passion for revolutionizing the end-user experience
  • an open environment where people are free to be different and fosters creative expression
  • the ability to be nimble, ship solutions quickly, and adjust to market changes
  • extremely talented people and cohesive, productive teams
  • awesome mentorship opportunities

after getting quite a few offers, i sat down to consider my options. in the end, plaxo
had everything i was looking for and more. as a bonus, they fully
support my blogging activities as well – they recognize the power of
keeping the door open to the community through blogs.

i’m super excited to be at plaxo. for those who are wondering, the HR orientation presentation was approximately 5 minutes. now that’s efficiency 😀

Continue reading “Mark Jen has a new job”

Google Desktop Search supports Mozilla

A short while ago I posted something about a desktop search application called "Copernic", specifically the beta version 1.5 which now indexes Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.  At the time, Google’s Desktop Search didn’t index Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.  Google has just taken Desktop Search out of beta testing and, lo and behold, it now supports Firefox and Thunderbird.  I was going to post the news on SFX but I was beaten to it.

Engadget posted the news yesterday and asked a pretty good question:

Please note that it is now 2005, and prior to this we’ve seen precious few effective tools for implementing

full desktop search — and may we respectfully say, what the hell has taken so freaking long?!

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The biggest LCD TV so far

20050307t112504z_01_nootr_rtrjonp_2_indiEngadget has reported on Samsung’s new 82-inch LCD TV.  This would certainly go down well in my home.  My test for these sorts of things is how cool it would be to watch Star Trek or Star Wars on them.  I reckon this TV would hit a cool 9.5 on the Cool-O-Meter!

Personally, I think a salad display is wasted on that TV.

For more info, have a look at the Reuters site.

Gordon Smith on Carte Blanche

My regular readers will know that I went to see the psychic and medium, Gordon Smith, a couple weeks ago.  It was quite an experience seeing him work in person.  Last night a local actuality TV show broadcast an interview and reading with Gordon Smith.  G and I were going to watch it but we forgot all about it.  Fortunately a friend of mine reminded me and I located the transcript from the show.

Reputed to be one of the most gifted mediums in the world, Gordon’s
abilities have often been put to the test. Using his special connection
to the spirit world to help comfort the grieving, he refuses to charge
for his sittings as a medium, and still makes a living as a hairstylist
in his Scottish hometown.

We bought his two books and G is just about finished them both.  I am looking forward to reading them.  As soon as I finish them, I’ll let you know what I think.

Skills shortage in South African corporate law firms

Moneyweb has published an article titled "Reflections of a legal eagle".  It looks at the views of the chairman of one of South Africa’s biggest law firms, Werksmans, and the issue of skills shortages in corporate law firms.  Here is a portion of the article:

“Corporate lawyers, between 40 and 55 with lots of experience are few
and far between. There are probably only 20 in the whole country. And
all of them are white. What is needed is skills transfer, to train
black lawyers and expose them to this level of corporate work,?? says

Stein gave the example of his firm’s experiences when working on the
Telkom listing. The firm partnered with five small, black-owned firms,
which gave those lawyers exposure to a high-level corporate deal, and
at the same time, ensured that experienced lawyers were on hand.

Part of the problem in skills development is that young lawyers are not
generally exposed to top-level corporate deal making, because that type
of work only goes to large firms with big experienced, corporate law
teams. So to become a good corporate lawyer a newly qualified lawyer
has to work for a major firm. And such firms cannot hire everyone.

Continue reading “Skills shortage in South African corporate law firms”

Kevin Spacey to play Lex Luthor

I am probably the last person on the Web to find out about this!  Kevin Spacey has been cast opposite Brandon Routh in the new Superman movie to play Lex Luthor.  This movie is going to be directed by Bryan Singer of the X-Men movies (which were brilliant).  I am looking forward to this movie even more now.  Kevin Spacey is by far one of my favourite actors.

Of course got to this story way back in November 2004:

It appears Superman has his villian and it’s the usual suspect! That’s right Kevin Spacey will be Lex Luthor. A reliable source has informed us that Spacey is a lock for Lex. Rumours have been circulating for a while but Spacey’s year long term as Artistic Director at the Old Vic has cast some doubts. Latino Review recently reported that the actor has tested with Routh and Spacey himself confirmed he has been offered the part.

"They want me to do it, but it’s just a question of timing and scheduling. I’ve got the things I’m doing with the Old Vic [theatre], but I’d love to work with Brian Singer again. You do those kinds of movies because they allow you to do these (referring to Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea)."

S-V can now exclusively reveal that Spacey has sorted out his scheduling problems and will take time off from his role at The Old Vic to shoot Superman in Sydney next year. This will reteam Spacey with Bryan Singer and mean that Brandon Routh will be battling it out with a two time Oscar Winner who is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors!

CBC Arts reported on this development in January:

LOS ANGELES – Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has been cast to play the villainous Lex Luthor in the upcoming
Superman remake.

Spacey will play opposite little-known actor Brandon Routh, who won the title role.

Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey at the London premiere of ‘Beyond The Sea.’ (AP photo)

The film starts shooting March 3, but Spacey will not join the
production until the summer because of his commitments at the Old Vic
Theatre Company in London, where he is artistic director.

When director Bryan Singer took over the project, he and
scriptwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris apparently always had
Spacey in mind for the part.

OpenOffice 2.0 Beta disappoints

OpenOffice 2.0 Beta has been released to mixed reviews.  Some these reviews reflect disappointment in the direction the development of this important software seems to be taking.  This office suite is probably one of the few feasible alternatives to Microsoft Office so the hope is that OpenOffice will become not just a feasible alternative but a preferred alternative to those who don’t wish to or can’t afford to use Microsoft Office (my reason – Microsoft Office is simply too expensive).

I am going to wait for the final version before I attempt the 83MB download (on Windows).  I have downloaded most of the releases since version 1.9.65 or so and I also have the latest stable version (version 1.1.4) installed for when my current pre-2.0 version crashes.  Overall I am not too excited about the Beta version just based on what I have read.  Then again, this software is free and for free software, the guys at Sun have done a great job!

Most sites seem to be quoting the review on Newsforge which published a fairly lengthly review: has always been conservative with
version numbers. Enough minor releases have boasted enough new features
that the current release could easily be 3.0 or 4.0 instead of 1.1.4.
Given this record, it’s hardly surprising that version 2.0, for which
beta code is set to be unveiled very shortly, amounts to a major
rewrite of the software. Although key functionality remains largely
intact, version 2.0 promises dozens, possibly hundreds, of changes.
Many times during our testing of the pre-beta release, we felt we could
almost have been looking at an entirely new piece of software.

Continue reading “OpenOffice 2.0 Beta disappoints”

Way, way overpriced

Moneyweb has reported on an independent report commissioned by the South Africa Foundation has found South Africa’s “international bandwidth costs to be 399% more expensive than the average country surveyed“. Wow!

Here is just an extract from the article:

Sarah Truen, analyst from G:enesis Analytics, the body that conducted the research, said the findings on international bandwidth were the “most extreme?? of the product range that it had studied. But, on almost all other counts, South Africa also fared very poorly.

The report was commissioned as part of the ongoing efforts of business and government to encourage the development of the call centre market, an area that has been identified as having huge potential for the country. A McKinsey study recently found that business process outsourcing (BPO), which is predominantly the call centre industry, could generate up to 150 000 jobs in South Africa. South Africa Foundation executive director Michael Spicer said a “range of focused interventions?? had to take place in order for this potential to be reached. One of the most significant barriers was found to be the high cost of telecoms, but due to the contested nature of some of the other research into this subject, it decided to commission an independent study.

In order to obtain a representative sample of countries against which to compare South Africa, Truen said G:enesis had carefully chosen countries with effective telecommunications sectors, constructing an index of telecoms competitiveness including penetration levels in internet and telephony, investment and prices. Best practice peer group countries chosen included Brazil (probably the nearest comparable country to SA), India, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines and Thailand. Countries chosen as examples of international best practice included Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea and the United States.

On most fronts, South Africa was more expensive, and in most cases the most expensive, of the comparative countries. This included pricing on services like business ADSL (always on broadband), domestic leased lines, international leased lines (international bandwidth), retail ADSL (always on retail broadband), and even retail data (local ISPs, where there is competition, but the ISPs still have to buy international bandwidth from Telkom at retail, rather than wholesale prices).

On ADSL costs, Truen said G:enesis had included Telkom’s latest prices, after cuts earlier this year. But, although Telkom’s prices had come down, South Africa became less competitive over that period because other countries dropped their prices even further.

This study seems to vindicate a recent complaint by the industry laid with Icasa, and around which public hearings were held, into Telkom’s high ADSL pricing. Telkom argued that its broadband pricing was fair.

Anyone surprised?

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