Category Archives: Technology/Internet

The Conundrum

The conundrum is:  Should CapeInfo be putting customers/readers and what’s easiest for them first; or should advertisers come first — and what’s easiest for them?  We’d appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Customer-focusedBecause so few hospitality businesses have a marketing background, there’s often the belief that marketing is telling the customer what you want them to hear, rather than what the customer wants to hear. And equally, businesses often follow processes that suit the business, rather than the customer — losing custom in the process.

When CapeInfo started over 17 years ago, there was no such thing as “online booking”.  The biggest challenge then was just getting people to use email and overcome their fear of adding content online.  Well… for some people, the latter still hasn’t changed.

The advent of online booking systems introduced the ultimate convenience — bookings became automated and businesses could just sit back as business just flooded in… or did it?  Did any successful businesses close their call centres and just sit back?

Online bookings also have the advantage that you know exactly where your business comes from… but do you know how much you’re actually missing out on?

At CapeInfo, we’ve always given advertisers a choice — our Full listing allows an advertiser to provide almost every possible direct link — landline, mobile, fax, email, website, social media, videos, attachments — to make it easier for the customer to get the information they want in a seamless manner.

If a customer wants to make contact or place a booking, they can do so immediately with no waiting, response times or further searches.  Shouldn’t that be the ideal?

Online booking systems are great, but they only cater for a percentage of potential business.  There are a few areas where online bookings do not work:

  1. If you’re also marketing a restaurant, conference facilities or a spa, for example, and you cater for walk-in business too, relying solely on online booking is not going to help you.  Customers need your phone number or email address.
  2. If you’re in a town which has little discretionary tourism and relies largely on business tourism, you’re dealing with a corporate market.  And many corporates need an invoice before they can make a booking.  So they need to call or email you first.
  3. Last-minute bookings usually occur after the deadline for online bookings that most businesses have, so that phone number becomes critically important.  If you’re lucky, they’ll just arrive at your door.
  4. And then there are those people who want to make contact before they place a booking.  It could be about facilities for kids or neighbourhood amenities, or your pet policy.  If making contact is difficult, they’ll try someone else who is less difficult to get hold of.

The downside of business that comes by phone, email or social media is that you don’t really know how it ended up with you.  Even if you ask everyone, you’re lucky if they remember the last place they got your contact details, rather than the first place they learnt about your business.

There are essentially two kinds of portal websites — those who retain “ownership” of the customer and those who put customers directly and immediately in touch with service providers.  And there are some who fit in between these, giving customers direct access to you after they have completed an enquiry.

Whenever advertisers ask for better stats on where there bookings come from, we’re tempted to introduce enquiry forms, but we know that’s not what customers always want.  They want as much info upfront as possible.

What do you think we should do?

Why Google doesn’t have to worry about competition from Bing

While Microsoft’s Bing search engine might get 10/10 for responsiveness, they don’t inspire confidence in their competence as a search engine.

Over the past year, CapeInfo has queried problems twice.  Both times we received prompt and courteous replies, but both indicated that all is not well at Bing.

The most recent query related to a sitemap that hadn’t been processed.  (Google processed it in a matter of minutes.)  Here is Bing’s reply on March 8:

Thank you for contacting Bing Technical Support. My name is Albert.

From what you wrote, the sitemap you submitted in Bing Webmaster Tools is stuck in pending status. I certainly know how important this is. Let me explain.

We have received numerous and similar reports about users experiencing the same issue. We have already reported this to our Product Group and this is currently being worked on. Please check again by the end of march if the sitemap status has changed.

Moreover, we assure you that the sitemap is submitted in the server. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have additional questions, please let us know.

Sincerely,

Albert
Bing Technical Support

This IS worth getting excited about!

The MeerKAT array, currently taking shape in South Africa's Karoo region. Image: http://www.ska.ac.za

If Neil Armstrong’s “One step for man, one giant leap for mankind” defined exploration — and the US’ role in the world — in the 20th century, the Square Kilometre Array Telescope (SKA) will provide the platform for exploration in the 21st century.

If the space programme contributed to the USA’s technological leadership, imagine what the SKA could do for South Africa.  South Africa’s bid to host the €1.5 billion (R18 billion) project is due to be adjudicated upon this month.

The SKA will be a virtual time machine, enabling scientists to explore the origins of galaxies, stars and planets. And South Africans are at the heart of its development.

South Africa, with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia & New Zealand to host an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.

South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia & New Zealand to host an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.

The SKA will consist of approximately 4 000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies. It will have a core of several hundred antennae and outlying stations of 30 – 40 antennae spiralling out of the core. These stations will be spread over a vast area – up to 3,000 km. The combined collecting area of all these antennae will add up to one square kilometre (= one million square metres).

If South Africa wins the SKA bid, the core of this giant telescope will be constructed in the Karoo near the towns of Carnarvon and Williston, linked to a computing facility in Cape Town. However, the SKA is so huge that outlying stations will be spread over several African countries, including Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya and Ghana.

This mega telescope will be powerful and sensitive enough to observe radio signals from the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. It will search for Earth-like planets and potential life elsewhere in the universe, test theories of gravity and examine the mystery of dark energy. A prime objective of the SKA is to probe the so-called “dark ages”, when the early universe was in a gaseous form before stars and galaxies were formed. Scientists are optimistic that the SKA will allow many new discoveries about how the universe was formed and what it is made of.

South Africa is no newcomer to major league astronomy. The Northern Cape is already home to one of the world’s largest telescopes, the Southern African Large Telescope or SALT.

South Africa also works closely with neighbour Nambia on the HESS gamma ray telescope, and is currently building an 80-dish precursor instrument for the SKA, the Karoo Array Telescope (also known as the MeerKAT).

Regardless of whether South Africa wins the SKA bid, the MeerKAT will be a powerful scientific instrument in its own right, comprising 80 dishes each 13.5-metres in diameter. It is being built adjacent to the site proposed for the SKA, in a radio astronomy reserve near the small town of Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, where it is due to be commissioned in 2015.

An engineering test bed of seven dishes, called the KAT-7, is already complete.

In October 2010, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced that it would be installing a R100-million ultra-high speed broadband link between the Northern Cape sites of both the Square Kilometre Array and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the SA National Research Network backbone in Cape Town.

The ultra-high speed link will enable local and international researchers to process data from SALT and the KAT-7/MeerKAT in near real time, and significantly boost South Africa’s bid to host the SKA.

Read more:

“The sole remaining superpower is public opinion”

Events over the past few months keep reminding me of what Simon Anholt said during his interview with CapeInfo last September: “The sole remaining superpower is public opinion.”

An email just received from avaaz.org emphasizes the point:

Dear friends,

Avaaz is on fire. The pace of our activity, our growth, and our victories is intense! Scroll down through this email to see highlights of the last few months — it’s astonishing what we’re building and achieving together.

There are over 8.2 million of us now, growing by 100,000 people per week! Two weeks ago, 650,000 Indians joined our campaign for a powerful new anti-corruption bill, and we won!! We’re racking up major victories every month — fighting political corruption in Italy, media-corruption in the UK and Canada, environmental destruction in Brazil and more. And across the Middle East, brave democracy activists are getting vital equipment and communications support funded by donations from almost 30,000 of us.

From people-powered revolutions in the Middle East to national anti-corruption movements, you can feel it and see it everywhere today — democracy is on the march, and together we are beating the drum. The press is noticing in hundreds of stories, with one 2000 word feature in the Times of London calling us ‘One of the most important new voices on the global stage’. Here’s a quick summary of the last few months in our amazing people-powered community…

From Avaaz.org: SA is in its sights as well

RECENT CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
Anti-Corruption Campaign Explodes in India

Two weeks ago, Anna Hazare, a 73 year old Gandhian activist, declared a fast unto death until the government agreed to let civil society draft a powerful new anti-corruption law. In just 36 hours, an unprecedented 500,000 Indians joined Avaaz’s campaign to support Hazare’s call for sweeping reform. In 4 days, the public outcry forced India’s government to sign a written submission to all of Hazare’s demands! We won!! Today, a new India is being born — and just as last year in Brazil with landmark anti-corruption legislation, Avaaz is helping to breathe life into it.

Breaking the Middle East Blackout
Funded by donations from almost 30,000 Avaazers, an Avaaz team is working closely with the leadership of democracy movements in Syria, Yemen, Libya and more to get them high-tech phones and satellite internet modems, connect them to the world’s top media outlets, and provide communications advice. We’ve seen the power of this engagement — where our support to activists has created global media cycles with footage and eyewitness accounts that our team helps distribute to CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and others. The courage of these activists is unbelievable — a skype message from one last week read ‘state security searching the house, my laptop battery dying, if not online tomorrow I’m dead or arrested’. He’s ok, and together we’re helping to get his and many other voices out to the world.

Huge Win on Hilton Hotels vs the Rape Trade
24 hours after 317,000 Avaazers called on the Hilton CEO to sign a code of conduct on the rape trade or face hard-hitting ads in his hometown, we got a frantic call from his vice-president. ‘You’re going to WHAT?’, she asked. Hilton had dragged its feet for months. We gave them four days, and they signed. Now 180,000 hotel employees will be trained to spot and prevent the horror of of sex slavery of women and girls.

UK — The People vs Murdoch’s Media Monopoly
Global media kingpin Rupert Murdoch’s bid to tighten his stranglehold over the UK press faces a relentless challenge from Avaaz members, who’ve run adverts, staged public stunts, delivered massive petitions, and organised phone-ins week upon week in an effort to safeguard public debate. An Avaaz-commissioned independent poll found that only 5% of Brits take Murdoch’s side — and new criminal charges for hacking politicians’ phones are further eroding the momentum of the Murdoch media machine. The government has been forced to extract concessions from Murdoch, and has now delayed a decision on the deal — costing Murdoch billions and giving us more time to stop him for good.

Libyan Massacre Prevented — one million messages to the Security Council
Our messages called for sanctions, asset freezes, and an internationally enforced no-fly zone to protect civilians in Libya. Our voices got through: the UN Ambassador from the US, one of the last hold-outs to back the motion, publicly thanked us for our messages. International action began just as Qaddafi’s tanks encircled the rebel-held city of Benghazi — and is widely credited with preventing a likely massacre of large numbers of civilians.

Berlusconi’s Censorship Bill, Defeated
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, facing souring political winds and a trial for statutory rape expected to coincide with general elections, tried to force a censorship law through parliament that would have silenced his critics on independent TV shows. But Italian Avaaz members fought back — powering a 70,000-strong petition and thousands of phone calls to parliament at the crucial moment that helped swing the final vote. The law was blocked, in a huge victory for Avaaz members and for the future of Italian democracy and free speech.
The ‘Angel’ Tackling Corruption in Spain
This week a Spanish newspaper trumpeted Avaaz as its ‘Angel of the Day’ for battling corruption — one highlight of a nationwide torrent of media coverage of Avaaz’s 100,000-Spaniard petition and theatrical stunts calling for Spanish politicians with records of corruption to be barred from upcoming elections. The rising pressure is fuelling a national debate on corruption, and political parties are feeling the heat.

Brazil: Blocking an Amazon-Destroying Mega-Dam
The proposed Belo Monte dam complex, an environmental catastrophe in the making, has been delayed — thanks in part to the spectacular delivery led by indigenous tribes-people of more than 600,000 petition signatures from Avaazers in Brazil and around the world. The Organization of American States has now joined the opposition to the dam, saying it violates human rights — and the momentum is building to cancel it and focus on clean renewable energy sources instead.

A Million-Strong Swarm to Save the Bees
Over a million people, including 200,000 in France, signed an explosive petition to ban pesticides that are mass-killing bees the world over — and, standing with a team of French beekeepers, delivered the petition to the French Agriculture Minister at a major conference. The campaign continues, building pressure for action in France, the EU, and around the globe.

Victory Over ‘False and Misleading’ News in Canada
Conservative officials in Canada have been working to launch a Murdoch-style propagandistic TV network — but in February, when they moved to strike national journalism standards against false or misleading broadcasts, they brought down a firestorm of opposition. 100,000 Canadian Avaazers signed in opposition, and the outrageous proposal to undermine balanced reporting was withdrawn.

Worldwide Solidarity for Egypt
In the darkest hours of their struggle for liberation from Mubarak, Egyptians told the world they needed solidarity — and Avaaz members answered the call. 600,000 of us around the world signed messages of support carried by Al Jazeera broadcasts straight into Tahrir Square — helping to sustain a movement fueled by hope through some of it’s darkest and most uncertain hours.

Mubarak’s Billions, Frozen
When Mubarak left power in Egypt, he tried to take his stolen fortune with him — but within days, more than half a million of us petitioned the G20’s Finance Ministers to immediately freeze his billions, delivering the message with a ‘protest pyramid’ built opposite the Eiffel Tower during the ministers’ meeting. In the weeks following, the EU and countries around the world agreed to freeze the assets of Mubarak and his top aides.

Under Pressure, South Africa Begins to Confront ‘Corrective Rape’
When a local group in South Africa launched a petition demanding that their government address ‘corrective rape’ — the sickening epidemic of rapes of lesbian women to ‘turn them straight’ — they were, at first, ignored. But when their petition reached 170,000 signatures, the government noticed — and now, with nearly a million of us signed on and massive media attention, the pressure for meaningful action is becoming unstoppable.

Delivering 1 million voices for food safety
Before the ink even dried on an exciting new tool for direct democracy in Europe, over one million people from every country in the EU took part in the first-ever European Citizens’ Initiative — a process where people can lodge official petitions that require a response. Avaaz members called for an immediate freeze on genetically modified crops entering the EU until objective studies free from industry influence could show they were safe. The initiative had a spectacular delivery directly to the EU Commission that flooded the media with coverage and sent a clear message to officials.

… And All of This is 100% Funded by Avaaz Members Worldwide!
All of these campaigns are demonstrations of the promise of people power — of what’s possible when we come together to do what’s right. And all of them were funded entirely by small donations from Avaaz members, including almost 250,000 of us who have donated to Avaaz campaigns and 10,000 of us who have become ‘sustainers’ and donated a few dollars or euros a week or month to cover all of Avaaz’s core costs — click here to join in giving. Because of these small donations, Avaaz doesn’t have to answer to corporate sponsors, large individual donors, or government grantmakers. Instead, Avaaz is accountable only to its members, and all our dreams of a better world for all.

With hope and enormous appreciation for the service of every person in this amazing community,

Ricken, Ben, Saloni, Alice, Graziela, David, Shibayan, Morgan, Tihomir, Emma, Giulia, Rewan, Kien, Luis, Alex, Mia, Stephanie, Milena, Heather, Veronique, Iain, Pascal, Benjamin, Yura, Laura, Saravanan, JC, Alma, Dominick, Brianna, Sam, Mohammad, Tricia, Janet, Laryn, Aleksandr, Maksim, Denis and all the volunteers, translators, and all the members of the Avaaz team.

Watch THAT space!

At 4.13 yesterday afternoon, the Internet Service Providers Association advised CapeInfo that our complaint regarding offensive statements on the site, whalecottage.com, had been forwarded to Whale Cottage’s service provider for action.

The first step in the take down process usually takes 24 to 48 hours, but it was handled by the ISPA in about two hours.  Maybe that stems from the gravity of the situation or the large number of take down requests from various members of the public against Whale Cottage, since CapeInfo publicised the take down process in this blog.

There is going to be keen interest in Chris von Ulmenstein’s Whale Cottage blog and her service provider, Hetzner, who have to decide on the action to be taken.

Hetzner screwed up badly when they took down Martin Hatchuel’s This Tourism Week after a complaint by Chris von Ulmenstein.  Hetzner have admitted that they did not follow correct process before taking the site down but now they want Hatchuel to indemnify them from any actions that may arise from this.  It beggars belief!  Read their email to Hatchuel here.

Von Ulmenstein now has a day or two to decide what to do.

Is this censorship?  No, it’s not.  Complaints to the ISPA are based on “unlawful content” – libel, dishonesty, etc.  Society has laws and processes to protect the community from bad people.

Von Ulmenstein has already conceded that what she wrote about me is unlawful by removing one defamatory and libelous statement overnight.

I have submitted supplementary demands to Hetzner ([Abuse #20101123-G-268] complaint ##389 / Hetzner / Offensive Statements) that addresses the “unlawful content” in her entire article about me.

What are von Ulmenstein’s options?  She can:

  1. remove specific content or blog posts, conceding that her actions have been unlawful.  She has, in a minimal way, already done that.
  2. refuse to act further in which case her whole website, whalecottage.com, will be closed down within days.
  3. move her blog outside the jurisdiction of SA’s internet laws, which is what the infamous “Neil Watson” did with the libellous and scandalous crimeexposa.com.  But that was closed down in the end too.

CapeInfo is examining legal options against von Ulmenstein.  The knock on the door she’s expected for so long with the lawsuit may happen sooner than she thinks.  There’s a big enough victims’ club out there for a class action!

Her fans will be dismayed and will rally to her support – they enjoy their daily soap opera.  And Cape Town’s dinner parties and cyberspace will have less spicy gossip, but it will be so much saner and more constructive.

Poscript

It appears that von Ulmenstein has chosen option 3 and is moving her website with the sole reason being to escape the jurisdiction of South Africa’s internet laws, specifically, the ECT Act.

On Friday I received the following notification from the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA):

“Resolution of complaint COC.#389 / Hetzner / Offensive Statements

“The client – whalecottage.com – has decided to terminate her hosting with Hetzner. She is in the process of moving her domain to a different hosting company.”

I queried a number of issues with ISPA, including whether the site should be taken down until that transfer is effected.  ISPA’s response was:

“If they decide that they are willing to keep a site up while the site-owner arranges for it to be moved, they are entitled to do so (and potentially incur some legal risk in doing so).  ISPA cannot compel anyone to take down a site — permanently or temporarily.”

I replied to ISPA’s official notification:

“This complaint is NOT resolved.

“Unlawful content is still on the internet at www.whalecottage.com which Hetzner continues to host at this time.  I request that an Independent Adjudicator be speedily appointed in terms of your process where complaints are not resolved.

“I maintain that, by its actions, Hetzner has made a mockery of the ECT Act and now has legal liability for the unlawful content.  I also question the fact that a legal process that is underway can be halted by moving – or indicating the intention to move –  the web site in question out of the jurisdiction of South African Laws.

On Sunday, www.whalecottage.com’s IP address was 188.40.0.245 which is held by Hetzner Online AG, located in Germany.

But a ‘whois’ search for www.whalecottage.com shows the following details:

Registration details for www.whalecottage.com showing Hetzner SA as the service provider.

So now one just has to wait for the appointment of the Independent Adjudicator and the outcome of that process.

188.40.0.245

The bane of Cape Town’s hospitality industry

“I’m such a nasty person,” she said with glee.  One can laugh it off but in Chris von Ulmenstein’s case, it’s become a fact.  And she went on to say how she waits for knocks on the door bearing lawsuits.

But her latest action shows that she is in fact, in her own small way, a threat to democracy.  She convinced her hosting company, Hetzner, to take down another site which they also host.  Hetzner has not responded to CapeInfo’s email so we find hard to believe that the process is fair and, indeed, constitutional.

One prominent Cape Town hotelier called Hetzner to complain about its actions, but Hetzner’s Gunther Breuninger explained that they were instructed by the Internet Service Providers Association to take down the site.  Now if you look at the ISPA’s take-down process, you will see that it’s not the ISPA that issues any instruction, but Hetzner would have decided for itself.  So did Breuninger tell a blatant lie?  One must wonder if Hetzner is a trustworthy company.

Was Hetzner right or wrong?  Vote in our poll on the right.

The site taken down is Martin Hatchuel’s This Tourism Week – a highly-regarded business-to-business publication and an important part of his livelihood.

One tourism organisation official – who prefered not to be identified – had the following take on all of this: “Martin is an excellent journalist and This Tourism Week is one of the better tourism news sites out there. I find it incomprehensible that his website was shut down because of comments from readers to a vitriolic posting by von Ulmenstein. This action by Hetzner does appear unconstitutional.”

You can read the posting here.

Why the anonymous quotes?  Many people are scared of von Ulmenstein and none want the nastiness of her vitriolic attacks that are sure to follow.

Chris von Ulmenstein has become the Julius Malema of the hospitality industry – a loose cannon who always knows better; she’s happy to criticise but balks at any criticism of herself.

Whale Cottage blog tags

The tags say it all. Von Ulmenstein’s writing is purely a promotion of herself and her Whale Cottage Portfolio. From www.whalecottage.com/blog/

I started von Ulmenstein on her blogging career.  She came to me in 2008 when someone had opened a website with the sole aim of criticising her and her business (Whale Cottage Portfolio) after a bad experience at one of her guest houses.  The problem was, if you googled “Chris von Ulmenstein”, this slagging website was at the top of the first page.

So I advised that she makes as much “noise” as possible – using Facebook, social media and other websites and blogs.  And I even offered her a blog on CapeInfo which she started.  The offending website was pushed off Google’s first page fairly quickly.

This is super – I Google’d “Chris von Ulmenstein” last night, and saw it at no. 8 I think, beating the horrid website, which is now at number 10.  I have to get it off the first Google page.” CvU’s email on 29/8/08

Von Ulmenstein took to blogging like a duck in a downpour.  Unfortunately, this was the time when she’d also just been booted out of Fedhasa – her industry association.    So she used the blog to air her personal grievances (something a professional writer never does) and slag off Fedhasa’s leadership.

Now I now that Google spiders CapeInfo very efficiently and it usually takes between three and six minutes before a blog post is indexed on Google.  But the worst was waking to von Ulmenstein’s emails (often written at about 3am), asking if I’d seen her latest post slagging Nils Heckscher or another victim, and how it’s already at number three on Google’s first page for a search on the person’s name.

I hoped that she’d move on and concentrate on providing the insight that she is so good at.  But no, when I said I was unhappy with her direction she opened a new blog – Fedhasa is a Farce, where she really let rip.

So I was forced to set conditions, which she would not meet, and I felt obliged to close her blog on CapeInfo.  There was no outside influence and I took the decision completely on my own.  I cannot allow CapeInfo to be used as a platform for malicious vendettas where integrity is a foreign word.

I’ve known Chris for a long time.  She and her company, Relationship Marketing, became a tenant at the V&A Waterfront in the early 90s.  Then, she was one of those people one rather avoided.  She always knew better and nothing was good enough.

In subsequent years, I had a good relationship with her while she was on Cape Town Tourism’s board, lastly as deputy-chair when the old CTT was disbanded in 2003.

She was a passionate champion for tourism in the days when tourism wasn’t the glamour industry it is today.  But as the old CTT was being closed, after the City Council withheld funding, I had to wonder if she wasn’t too passionate and if there wasn’t an element of surrogacy in her possessive relationship with CTT?  With imminent closure as funds were running dry, von Ulmenstein reportedly handed over a cheque for over R100,000 to keep the organisation going.  They gave the cheque back to her.

She never made it onto the new CTT board so focused her attention on Fedhasa, where she served on the Western Cape exco until tensions with fellow exco members saw her expelled rather publicly – the first time I’m aware anybody has been expelled in that manner.

Is Chris von Ulmenstein a paragon of virtue in the realms of her chosen hospitality industry?  Well, one thing is clear, she is seriously lacking in the karma stakes.  Her nemesis website in Google, dirtywhale.com, is still there and back up to fourth position; her presence in TripAdvisor (which she calls “the bane of the hospitality industry”) and HelloPeter is hardly salutary.

The latest five Tripadvisor posts about Whale Cottage Franshhoek are:
Whale Cottage Franschhoek – a dirty run down dump.
Whale Cottage – a health risk
An agressive owner, no service, no telephone and a dirty pool..not a 4*
A squalid hovel with horrendous staff and owner
A filthy run down and disgusting dump Do…

On HelloPeter.com there is one compliment and five complaints.

If anything is the bane of Cape Town’s hospitality industry, it is von Ulmenstein’s Whale Cottage Blog.  She’s reportedly been banned at scores of restaurants and was forcibly evicted by police from trendy, upmarket Beluga, when she was refused right of admission and refused to leave.

Yet she riles on and on, sparing no-one she disagrees with.  Her page-by-page criticism of Crush magazine is one of the most embarrassing examples of journalism I’ve ever seen.

Von Ulmenstein seems to have one set of rules for herself, but another set for everyone else.  She wrote the following email to me on October 31, 2008:  “It would be most unprofessional for you to attack me, when we are “colleagues”, so to speak. You sound like a self-righteous policeman, and in judgment of things that do not concern you, as you are not part of my business.”

So, if I started Chris von Ulmenstein on her blogging career which has caused so much distress, I must apologise.

But as one of South Africa’s most esteemed professionals said, “One comfort about being attacked by the Whale is that there is such a large ‘old boys/girls club’ of victims.  Sad little person.”

Postscript
It was actually very sad writing this because I was friends with Chris at one time.  If it was not for her malicious and vindictive rabble-rousing, she would be a great blogger.  Her blog was recently nominated in the SA blog awards in the ‘most controversial blog’ category.  One hopes that this doesn’t inspire her to new heights, or should that be “stoop to new lows?”

Postscript #2
The ISPA has drawn my attention to the following:

  1. It is the ISP that decides on a take down and not the ISPA.
  2. the ECT Act is fairly clear on redress:  77(2) Any person who lodges a notification of unlawful activity with a service provider knowing that it materially misrepresents the facts is liable for damages for wrongful take-down.

NOTE ABOUT POSTING COMMENTS
Due to violations of CapeInfo’s Terms of Use where fraudulent email addresses are being provided ([email protected] for example), we have introduced the requirement that only registered, logged in users may post comments.  This is common practice and followed by The Times and Mail&Guardian, for example.  We do not censor comments to promote a particular point of view and all points of view on the topic are welcome.

Where someone is prepared to provide a fraudulent address, the rest of their content is just as questionable.

The registration link is near the top of the page.  For assistance on registration, please click here.

The New CapeInfo

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