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Facebook acknowledging time wastage with Instagram

I saw in the Version 58 of the updates to the Instagram app that Facebook, who owns Instagram, introduced a new feature.  That new feature is a daily reminder to give you an alert when you have reached the amount of time you want to spend on Instagram for the day.  One can only imagine how horrifying some of the stories they must be aware of are, in terms of how much time is wasted by people scrolling through hundreds of photos of everyone else and having to like them.  I say having to, because if you don’t “like” them, then people will not like your pictures and of course many people just “like” all sorts of people’s pictures so as to attract more followers.  It is an incredibly destructive waste of one’s time.  I am not even going to go into the fact that wonderful, beautiful pictures of nature or actually incredible things never get liked as much as bikini photo’s or women in various poses that I thought were not classy but one of my staff told me are called “savage” pictures and are apparently more and more the norm now.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 30-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Blocking e-mails on Outlook with MimeCast

My IT expert recently installed MimeCast on our office server.  I must say, although I was not excited about it at first, it certainly helped to limit the number of the e-mails we receive on a daily basis.  I receive an extraordinary amount of nonsense and MimeCast will then ask me whether I want to let the e-mail through.   So, for example, on 16 July amongst the e-mail that I was asked to approve or decline was an e-mail from a company asking me to invest with the best managed company in South Africa, another one from Wanabi Wood Flooring, another one from the Attorneys South Africa Online Directory who want me to pay R1 600 a year to be listed with them as well as a company that wants to sell us quality platters for any function, meeting or private party.  I simply chose, on the system, to use MimeCast to block emails from all of these companies.  I do understand that people have to try to get business however they can, but it does get to a situation eventually where it is extremely difficult to deal with those sorts of things where I already get 300 e-mails a day!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The next boom business – marijuana

I think that it is inevitable that marijuana, or dagga as we call it in South Africa, will be legalised.  Whether that is via the Constitutional Court or legislation it is going to happen sooner or later.  Canada has just become the first major economic power in the world to completely legalise recreational marijuana and whether you are talking about gay marriage, environmental protection or human rights, generally countries tend to copy each other as they move forward.  There is no doubt in my mind – whether it takes 20 years for marijuana to be legalised or more, or if it is legalised effectively within a year or two, it will be a huge business in South Africa. 

Most South Africans have not ever walked into a marijuana retail shop.  In other words, a shop just selling one marijuana product after another and it comes as a bit of a shock to most of us conservative South Africans to see it in other societies.  It is not just rolled-up marijuana the shops sell, but it vaporizers and vapes, edibles, creams and everything based on cannabis.  The shops are very strictly controlled, generally they do not allow anybody through the front door without an ID showing they are 21, regardless of how old you look and they are set out just like any other fancy retail shop, except that they are selling a product that is still illegal in South Africa.  

In any event, I believe this is going to be a very big business.  I am not saying that marijuana is good for people – I certainly think that some people do become addicted to it, some people do find it a gateway drug, and it certainly tends to remove ambition from people and dulls the brain, particularly when consumed on a regular basis, but there is just no denying that this will be big money, not only for those who get the first jump in setting up all the legal retail stores when the time comes, but also for the government in terms of taxes.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 24-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Less murderers will get away with it

It is very exciting to see the breakthroughs that are starting to happen with a DNA via genealogy.  Around the world there is a growth of companies like 23andme, which test people’s DNA and tell them who they are related to, etc.  Police are also using those services and a variety of unsolved crimes are now getting solved on that basis.  The police are able to test the DNA that might have been left at the scene of a murder 10 years ago and in some cases 20 years ago and see if any of the genealogy sites have anybody with a similar DNA on it.  

In one case it led to the arrest of a serial killer in San Francisco when the police were able to link the DNA to a family of about 1,000 members.  Of those 1,000 members only about 2 of them would have been the right age and in the areas that the murders were committed and the police decided that one of them was the most likely suspect.  They went out of their way to get a sample of the man’s DNA and once they had done that, without his knowledge, they tested it against the DNA evidence they had from his victims.  There was a match and he was arrested.  The last few months have seen a whole host of these types of cases and I think this is going to be a massive trend over the next 5 to 10 years.  It does not matter if the murderer himself never had those tests done, as long as somebody in his family, and it could be as distant as a cousin or even more distant, gets those tests done, the police and authorities will be able to link that broad family to the murders and then start narrowing their search down within that particular family.

I think this will obviously be tremendous in terms of what it will do for crime in future.  Criminals, murderers and serial killers will be caught far more easily and the only way to avoid being caught is to ensure that they do not leave any DNA behind, which is quite hard if your victim struggles, scratches you, a piece of hair falls out or anything like that.  I think a lot more people will realise that your chances of getting away with that type of crime will be much smaller.  The fact that there are video cameras installed in city centres all around the world and a world where you are watched more now than ever will make it even harder, but what is now coming, with all the DNA testing that is going on and people’s fascination with home DNA test kits, will lead to a dramatic reduction in those types of crimes going forward.  Sometimes we moan that we are recorded on camera’s at work or at shops, but this too actually adds to a our security in many respects. I think we are about to see some dramatic older cases being resolved over the next year or two thanks to a combination of modern technology and genealogy.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 22-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  33 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Unemployment rises to 27,2%

It is disappointing to see that unemployment, and that is the official unemployment figure, has now risen to 27,2%.  So many of the problems South Africa faces are linked to unemployment – starting with the crime rate.  People don’t realise that these statistics firstly reflect a far better position than the reality – they don’t include people who have permanently given up on finding a job.  They only include about people who are still actively trying to find a job.  We also need to compare this type of figure to that of the figure in developing countries.  So, for example, in America the unemployment figure is 4%.

There are many reasons for this and I have grown tired of writing about some of them including the labour laws in South Africa, the CCMA, as well as our reduced productivity compared to some countries, but part of the problem is that those that are in employment are very supportive of policies that protect them while forgetting that it does not help those who are unemployed.  It is a rather narrow approach which forgets that we are all affected, in one way or another, by the high unemployment rate.  It would not be hard to speculate that accident rates would come down if more people were employed, if more money was spent on ensuring that cars were roadworthy and not driven with tyres that can barely get a grip on the road and are ready to explode.  If you just want to stick to the basics, then yes, any country with high unemployment will have a high crime rate.  That crime rate in turn will have a negative effect on the economy.  It is a vicious circle, I don’t know what the way out is, and the ANC merely promising 6 million new jobs every 5 years and then never delivering anything at all is not going to be the answer either.  

I also don’t think that the ANC, and many of those are in employment, want to hear about the mistakes that they made with labour laws in South Africa, some of which were definitely needed because there are appalling atrocities that we sometimes read about, particularly with farm workers and how they are abused.  We have also chased away a lot of international companies that are not interested in sitting through ridiculous CCMA complaints every single time somebody is either fired or walks off a job and then claims that they were “constructively dismissed”!  It is no coincidence that countries that do not have all of these laws also have much lower unemployment rates. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 20-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Bailing out SANRAL, SAA and SABC

The Government is planning more bailouts for a number of badly run organisations in South Africa.  South African Airways, in particular, must be the record holder for the entity that has had the most bailouts.  There has to be a limit, one would hope, as to how many times an organisation has to be given money.  I don’t want to fly in aeroplanes that are not properly serviced, but at some point every company needs to be run properly.  

It is one thing to once in 10 years get a bailout and be given tax money that taxpayers essentially ultimate pay, but for it to happen again and again as it always does with SAA is terribly concerning.  SANRAL will have to be given money to pay off its e-toll debt, which apparently will ultimately be recovered from the Gauteng Province.  That again shows that those, who for example, decided not to pay the e-tolls and not register will be paying for it in one way or another, because our tax money will still go to it!  It shows you sometimes the futility of campaigning against something because yes, you avoid paying for it in a certain way, but all that happens in a situation like this is you just end up paying for it in a different way, because any Government bailout of any entity is after all funded by all of us, the taxpayers.  The Post Office is also short of money and needs more money to apparently improve its software systems.  Apart from that, the Trans- Caledon Tunnel Authority also needs money as it has been struggling to pay for its Lesotho Highlands water project debts.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 16-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  25 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Saving money on the Internet

I am probably a slow learner in this regard, but I recently found out that it is pretty easy to save money on quite a few websites on the Internet.  If you are doing online shopping, generally just searching on the company whose site you are using together with the word “discount code” will bring up quite a few websites fairly quickly that offer you discounts of at least 10%, but quite often 20% to 25%.  In fact, I have not come across a website for which a discount is not available yet and it just makes me wonder why I never did that before!  

I guess it is similar to the principle if you don’t ask you don’t get, but this is a lot easier than asking and it is a similar principle that I always tell my staff – and that is not to simply tell me what something costs, but to phone another company and get a competing quote.  There are so many businesses, especially those who you have been working with for 1 or 2 years that are slowly starting to put up their prices and don’t react in any way until such time as you tell them about a quote from a competing company at a much lower price than what they are charging you.  I don’t think attorneys compete as much on price.  In the personal injury field they all pretty much charge the same amount, although of course there have been people who have been involved in charging abusive amounts, some of whom have left South Africa and others who are subjected to litigation with regard to their fees.  I personally think the attorneys by and large compete on results and service and in that regard I have been shocked by some of the big cases I have seen, under-settled by other attorneys against the Road Accident Fund, not to mention cases where the attorneys seem to never update the clients, not more than once a year anyway. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 14-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  30 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Basically slavery

I must say I was devastated to read about a man who retired in October last year, aged 84, and was left with nothing, by the name of Mokgwabone Kleinboy Dinake.  He apparently worked as a farm labourer his whole life at Nooitgedacht in North West, in the employ of Mr Boet Terre’blanche.  He earned R300 a month when he retired and was left with nothing.  I don’t know how people can pay R300 a month.  It is absolutely appalling.  

I would never want to, on any of my trips to overseas destinations, have to explain to somebody that some people in South Africa, after working for years for an employer, earn as little as about $20 a month.  Paying somebody a salary like this is basically no better than treating them as a slave and the biggest tragedy is after he was awarded money by the Department of Labour in an amount of R50 000 he died.  Apart from anything else there is a minimum wage for farm workers, which from 1 March this year was R3 169 a month.  It is things like this that make a lot of people lose sympathy with some South Africans when there is talk on nationalisation of land or of houses, etc.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 10-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  33 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
USB plugs should be everywhere

It drives me nuts, whenever I am travelling, and I travel quite a bit, to struggle to find USB plugs.  Just about everything you need to charge these days requires a USB plug and while some hotels have put little portable USB chargers in, and some of the seats on aeroplanes now have the USB charges and many of the older planes, hotels and houses don’t have them.  I would not build a house now without putting one or two USB chargers in every room and quite frankly if you are running a restaurant or any industry involving hospitality, you need to have one or two basic chargers, in particular an iPhone charger.  I have written before about how my iPhone battery pack is indispensible – so much so that I now have three of them, which I keep in different locations and they become very useful.  

Many of us have become addicted to these screens, but in their defence sometimes quite often the phone does take on the role of your computer.  In other words, one spends quite a bit of time answering e-mails on your phone and actually attending to work.  Not everything that I do on my phone is “playing” or surfing the Internet!  I reply to staff e-mails, I send WhatsApp messages to a number of people and you need to be able to charge your phone often during the day and not struggle to find a USB plug.  I have however accepted that many people do not have these and I bought myself a number of mini-USB plugs so that if I go somewhere that don’t have a USB charging plug built directly into the wall, as many of the more modern plugs do have, I can at least use my portable USB plug and plug it into a normal power socket and charge my phone there and then.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 06-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Eating healthy

I can’t say that I am the healthiest eater, but I have certainly tried, if nothing else, to cut out sugar from my diet as much as possible.   One of the books I have been reading recently is called The Clean 20 by Ian K Smith who previously had a number one New York Times bestselling book called Shred.  He lists a number of healthy foods that one should eat, which he calls the clean 20 foods and he includes a lot of things we know that are good.  In particular, amongst the things that I eat quite a bit of are avocado’s, quinoa as well as lentils.  As he stresses, not only are lentils inexpensive, they are relatively quick and easy to prepare and are absolutely full of nutrition.  

So much of what we eat is not really good for us and some of the more expensive things, such as red meat, are not that great for us either whereas some things that cost so little, like lentils, are actually far healthier for us.  It is just something to bear in mind the next time you are preparing a family meal!  Save some money, buy something cheaper like lentils and actually eat healthier!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 03-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  34 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The United States get the World Cup again

It was interesting to see that the United States, where soccer is far more popular than many would imagine, has once again won the right to host the World Cup Soccer.  The World Cup they will host, easily beating Morocco in the bid to host, is to be held in 2026.  This time it will be held in conjunction with Canada and Mexico, but you can rest assured that the final and the most important games will be held in the USA.  Soccer is a far bigger sport in America than many South Africans believe - just as many don’t really appreciate how big rugby is in Japan.  A number of major cities, like Seattle, have their own soccer teams that regularly fill up stadiums with 50,000 or more people and while the quality is obviously not as good as that of the English Premier League or EPL, it has been growing in leaps and bounds.  The USA soccer team is in any event rated higher than the South African team, so we must be careful before we are too dismissive of their ability to play soccer!   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 01-Aug-18   |  Permalink   |  30 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00

 


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