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How is Stellenbosch’s new language policy any different?

When I started my first year at Stellenbosch in 2007, this is how the language issue was handled:

  • The “main” modules (Biology, Physics etc) which basically all first year students in the Science faculty took were separated into classes divided by language. The amount of students made this possible, so I think we ended up with 3 English classes and 2 Afrikaans or something. The practicals were mixed.
  • For smaller subjects such as pure Maths, we were in a single class where the lecturer taught in English. Coincidentally, both lecturers for Maths were English.
  • For even smaller subjects, like Computer Science, officially the policy was that it should be taught in English. So of course, we were taught in Afrikaans. I spent my first year manually translating Afrikaans Computer Science notes to English. I somehow still managed to pass first year Computer Science.
  • All tutorial sessions had English and Afrikaans demis available, but I think that was more luck of the draw than anything else. Students could asks questions in any language, and the lecturer would reply either in English or the language the student had asked the question in. Hahaha.
  • Meetings in res would be in Afrikaans, although officially they were supposed to be in English. So every Monday night at 10pm, I would have to leave my room to waste half an hour listening to girls I didn’t care about discussing the plans for the next social with a guys’ res, all in Afrikaans. There was a R20 fine if you didn’t attend a meeting, which is the only reason I went (this was way before my current assertive phase).

So how is this different now? By my final year, the language issue didn’t even seem to be a thing anymore, which is why I was so surprised to see all this drama this year. From second year, all my modules were in English, regardless of whether the class was majority Afrikaans and even if the lecturer was Afrikaans. The subject where this change was most obvious was Computer Science.

What would annoy me in res, was if someone asked a question in English at a house meeting, and the HK would reply in Afrikaans. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with someone talking to me in Afrikaans, because I would answer them in English and we could talk like that for hours and be fine. It was just the whole underlying “feel” to it, the subconscious exclusion of students who couldn’t talk Afrikaans. That’s why I pretended I couldn’t speak the language and only knew enough to understand it being spoken to me, because honestly, I did not have the energy.

Someday I’m going to write a really long post detailing the nonsense that went on in res. Maybe when I’m older and wiser.

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Things have been a bit quiet around lately

I know, I know, I mentioned this before. For real though, I got sick again (my allergies have really kicked into overdrive this year). Despite the injection really helping, returning to work today (to a unpredictable aircon) set me back a few days.

I spent a good part of the day coughing, but at least it wasn’t the post-nasal-dripping cough of last week. I should survive this time. I’m going through some other stuff as well – seriously, things are just snowballing out of control. I also just noticed as I’m typing that my fingers are starting to their age. Ugh.

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This is the one: fitness tracker edition #2 (review #2)

This is the first time that I’m doing a second review of a device (since I barely even manage to do proper first reviews), but I am agitated enough to write this.

On Monday, my vivofit decided to forget my steps. I synced multiple times (syncing problems with the Garmin software aside), but it was like I never walked at all.

It’s Thursday now, and the steps just haven’t appeared. The same goes for my activities from my heart rate monitor for Monday and Tuesday evening. Even though the vivofit was clearly recording, the data did not sync to Garmin Connect.

What’s surprising is that all my steps for Tuesday was synced, and my sleep data, but not the activity data. Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyy

I am driven by these numbers. They are my primary source of motivation. It annoys me that after forking out good money for this thing, that Garmin knows about these issues, but apparently does not care.

As things stand now, I will probably only make use of this device until My Epic Revamp is complete. When I’m in maintenance, I won’t need to be so obsessive about these numbers any more. I’m sure there will be better devices appearing by that time.

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Another robbery at Canal Walk

The Woolworths at Canal Walk was robbed yesterday. What’s most concerning about this story is that the men were armed and were posing as construction workers.

Not only is Canal Walk undergoing extensive renovation, but my company is building the other half of our delivery centre, so we also have a bunch of construction guys hanging around. We’re situated right next to Canal Walk.

I go to Canal Walk everyday, not only to do price comparisons, but to ensure I meet my step targets. It is frustrating, that in our country, where we know how things are, that this kind of crap still happens.

That is the South African way though isn’t it? After all the robberies, Canal Walk puts on a show, hires extra security which just served to inconvenience actual shoppers, and then once everything blows over, it’s back to business as usual.

The other day, I had left my building and was about to cross the road to Canal Walk when a guy stopped me to ask if he could walk through my company’s property to get to the other side. I turned to point him to the stairs when he suddenly grabbed my arm.

Instinctively, I jumped back because I thought he was trying to steal my phone in broad daylight in front of my building. Turns out he was was trying to push me out of the way because some guy decided to do a u-turn in the middle of the narrow road in front of the building, and he ended up coming almost up onto the side of the road where we were standing.

Once I started walking again, one of my colleagues came up behind me and indicated that he had witnessed the incident. He asked if I thought the guy was trying to mug me when he was actually trying to help. I laughed and said yes. He laughed as well, and then we got sad about the state of affairs in our country. He’s German.

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My experience with the Post Office: an analysis.

I confused myself there for a bitOne of the things I dislike about studying through Unisa is their insistence on using mail. Despite me registering online, paying online, accessing study content online, and indicating everywhere that I can that I only want online correspondence, I still get Unisa content in the mail.

I’ve gotten assignment questions after I had submitted the assignment online. I received a one sentence letter stating that my registration is pending. I’ve received printed copies of all my study guides long after I’ve downloaded them off myUnisa.

It’s irritating to say the least. I received a postcard saying I have a registered package at the Post Office. Off I went to collect it, a small brown envelope. I must have been gone about ten minutes (the PO is about 5 minutes from my house).

When I got home and opened it, I found a CD from the School of Computing, for modules I’m not even taking. I threw it away. When I went to get into my car again to go somewhere, I saw that there were two brand new scratches by the left headlight, like someone had deliberately scratched it in the ten minutes I was at the Post Office (yes, this branch is in that kind of area).

Three weeks later, I received another registered postcard. After brooding for about two weeks, I went back there. I was then cheerfully informed that my package had been returned to the depot. How could this be, when the card said I have 3 weeks to collect it and it had only been 2? No, see, I had taken too long to collect it, so they sent it back.

But I just said that it’s only been 2 weeks since I got the card – oh, wait, she read the book wrong. Turns out the book says I did collect this package a few weeks ago, this card was just a final warning.

So in summary: they had sent me a final warning card for a package I had already picked up, with no indication on the card that it’s a “final warning”, with their records indicating simultaneously that the (already picked up package) had been returned to the depot, but also picked up.

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What is a Digitised Human Essence?

So Selena’s sister wants her hologram to go on tour, or as she put it, her “digitised human essence”.

That sounds like a nice way of saying “Internet ghost”. It’s quite sad really. It’s like when I listen to MJ’s songs, or see one of his videos, or see someone wearing a tshirt with the shoes, it reminds me of the impact he had on the world.

Seeing that hologram of him performing at whatever show it was a while back just felt wrong.

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Taking it easy on the roads

I’ve had a few close calls on the roads in the last few weeks. One incident involved a car from another province who dead braked in front of me at a green light while we were going at just under 60km/h. The reason?

I had hooted at him about 10 seconds earlier for almost scraping into me when he cut across the lane in front of me. I had to perform an emergency stop otherwise I would have crashed into the back of his car. The man in the Toyota behind me actually reversed a bit, I’m guessing because he saw that this other guy was about to do something crazy.

The dude then proceeded to pull away slowly over the intersection while the light was red. I won’t mention the type of car he was driving, because I already have a strong bias against drivers of those types of vehicle, and I really do try to stay logical about things.

It wasn’t a BMW, but the sentiment remains the same

Now that I’ve resumed going to a client’s office about 50km away from the office for one day a week, I’ve decided to approach things differently. Normally, I would leave home at normal time, hang around in the office for an hour and a half, then go 120 up the N1 to the client.

For the sake of my blood pressure (and petrol), the last few times I’ve still left home at normal time, but then taken a leisurely drive to work (80 on the freeway, 90 in the slow lane on the highway). I’ve bought a coffee at the shop, driven another 10 minutes to a breakfast KFC, and sat in their parking lot for an hour while reading. I then go 100 on the N1 to the client with my music up and windows (slightly) open.

The result? A marked decrease in petrol consumption (using anecdotal readings from Bella’s in-built fuel consumption meter): normally ~130km petrol used over 100km physical distance covered, now at ~110km used. Also, I’m much calmer when I reach the client.

I’ve just changed insurance companies as well, so staying calm on the road is in my best interest.