Ships pitch in for 2010

first_imgThe MS Noordam and Westerdam will grace South African waters during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. (Image: Holland American Line) MEDIA CONTACTS • Desmond Windt iKapa Tours & Travel+27 21 510 8666RELATED ARTICLES • Makeover for Durban harbour • Mercy Vision – sight to the blind • Drive to make 2010 spectacular • Get kitted for Football FridaysJanine ErasmusThe 2010 Fifa World Cup will see some visitors flying to South Africa, some driving in, and others sailing in, courtesy of a deal between two travel companies in Germany and South Africa.iKapa Tours & Travel in Cape Town and Munich-based Moltke Promotion GmbH have teamed up to bring two luxury cruise liners to the port cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban during the football spectacular.The magnificent MS Noordam and MS Westerdam will grace South Africa’s major ports for the full month of the 2010 World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June.Both are ships of the Holland America Line, which has regular routes to all continents except Africa.Registered in Rotterdam, both are also relatively new to the water – the Westerdam was christened in April 2004 and the Noordam in February 2006.With 1 617 crew between them and a passenger capacity of 1 918 and 1 916 respectively, the Noordam and Westerdam is expecting to bring between 15 000 and 20 000 football-mad travellers to experience not only the South African passion for the Beautiful Game, but the vibrant culture and traditions of the country.The Westerdam will operate between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, while the Noordam will convey passengers between Durban and Port Elizabeth. The ships’ vast passenger capacity will also help alleviate any accommodation shortages in the three cities.Although there is only one passenger terminal, in Durban, and the others are cargo ports, promotion manager One Ocean Club, a Moltke subsidiary, has booked convenient locations in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbours, and will convert these areas into temporary passenger zones.African sights and soundsA number of day and half-day excursions have been planned to suit every cruise passenger’s taste.In Cape Town, half-day options include visits to Table Mountain and the city, Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch botanical garden, a cultural tour, or a tour of the townships. Full-day choices range from trips around the breathtaking Cape peninsula, to the winelands, up the west coast, or to Hermanus on the south coast.While in Durban, passengers can take half a day to visit uShaka Marine World, the Umgeni River Bird Park, the Indian market, or the surrounding townships. The more energetic can indulge in full-day trips to the Valley of 1 000 Hills, the Midlands, Shakaland Cultural Village, or game reserves in the area.In Port Elizabeth the options extend to half-day tours of the city or townships, as well as museums and art galleries, or the nearby Kragga Kamma game reserve. Full-day trips further afield include deep sea fishing, the Addo Elephant National Park or Tsitsikamma Forest, and a private game reserve.For those who can’t bear to be away from the greens for too long, One Ocean Club will arrange bookings at upmarket golf courses in the three cities.Experienced operatorOne Ocean Club is no stranger to the floating hotel concept.During the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens it organised a similar package with the official German ship AIDAaura. The company has promised visitors to South Africa an even better experience, as it now brings its expertise to the biggest football tournament in the world.One Ocean Club has promised to make extensive use of local resources such as security and technical services, while using iKapa as the official transportation and excursion partner. It will also source fresh food supplies exclusively from local producers, and will stock world-renowned South African wines.The company is offering a variety of packages, ranging from between two and four nights and one group match, or five nights and a semi-final game, to two nights and the final.The semi-finals will take place at Green Point stadium in Cape Town and Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Johannesburg’s spectacular Soccer City hosts the final, while the matches to decide third and fourth place take place at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth.Queries or comments? Contact Janine Erasmus at read more

Twitter Upgrades Android App – Users Still Denied Official Push Notifications

first_imgLast September we interviewed a number of User Experience experts from throughout the tech industry about what push notifications would mean for the iPhone. I think the most important response came from Aviel Ginzburg, UX guy at Seattle-based Untitled Startup, makers of Twitter bulk-conversation analysis tool RowFeeder. I think Ginzburg’s predictions for what iPhone push would mean to Twitter users have proven correct. Check them out and ask yourself, “ought not Android users be offered this as well?”“Those of us who have been using Twitter since the days that it was largely (entirely) text messaging driven perceive Twitter much differently than mainstream users.“Two days ago I was having coffee with a friend of mine, who has been on Twitter for a little over a year (tweets everyday, DMs, @replies people, and even owns an iphone w/Twitter for iPhone) and as my phone beeped over and over again, she asked me if something was wrong. I said no, I just get my DMs text messaged to my phone. Her response was, ‘you can do that?!’“She has been using Twitter like people use Facebook, as a way to consume (mainly) and share content in a ‘on your own time’ fashion. When she uses Twitter, she really uses it, but in controlled bursts when she is physically engaging.“The way that the site has been restructured in the past several months including the new search, celebrity, and brand focus, categories, featured tweets, promotions, etc have drawn in the mainstream in such a way that they aren’t perceiving Twitter in the way that the early adopters do – as a real-time communication platform that will one day replace text messaging, email, and even phone calls. Just look at the Twitter homepage… it’s a text media consumption site.“With the announcement of push notifications, they’re bringing the messaging platform core value proposition back to the forefront, and pushing the mainstream, who joined Twitter for entirely different reasons, to experience Twitter in the same way us early adopters do — as a real-time communication channel that you never disconnect from. The concern of course is: have these users really signed-up for entering a service where the are expected to be available and engaged at all times?“It may seem like a small and logical update (cut out the text messaging middle-man), but really, Twitter is going to be dramatically changing the way its mainstreams users experience and use Twitter.”We asked Twitter for any details about push on Android. Their response, “nothing to share right now.” Twitter announced a new version of its app for Android today, which it says is now one of the top 5 most popular ways to access Twitter. The new version is easier to read updates on without having an account, has more granular search options and interface more like the one iPhone owners see.What may be most notable though is the abscence of new features. Twitter for iPhone got push notifications for @ mentions and direct messages a whole three months ago. Twitter said at the time that it hoped to add push to Android soon, but it’s not in this new version. Also missing: any ability to log in to multiple accounts. Other power-user features may or may not come to Twitter’s official app someday, but the abscence of official push notifications is a real loss.Twitter on Android does perform periodic polling for replies, but it’s not in real time like real push notifications and users complain about the cost to battery life.Perhaps Twitter aims its own app at the most mainstream of users, the people it imagines mostly reading Tweets from famous people and a few friends or family, and assumes the rest of us feature-hungry types will get our fix from 3rd party apps. That could be a good strategy. Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … marshall kirkpatrick Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#mobile#web The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Bureaucrats: Life begins at 60

first_imgAshok Mohan ChakrabortyIAS officer Ashok Mohan Chakraborty retired as chief secretary of West Bengal on April 30, 2010. Soon after, he sought permission from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the cadre controlling authority for the IAS, to join the Essar Group. After taking the advice of the state,Ashok Mohan ChakrabortyIAS officer Ashok Mohan Chakraborty retired as chief secretary of West Bengal on April 30, 2010. Soon after, he sought permission from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the cadre controlling authority for the IAS, to join the Essar Group. After taking the advice of the state government and other agencies concerned, the DoPT gave him approval to join as resident director on October 7, 2010. Chakraborty rules out any impropriety. “There is no question of any conflict of interest since the government, before giving permission to any officer, looks in to all these factors. I had to wait for five months to join Essar,” says Chakraborty.Click here to EnlargeAccording to DoPT sources, there is a queue of officers who have sought permission to join private companies after retirement without completing the mandatory cooling-off period from the date of retirement. Using Right to Information Act, India Today has accessed a list of around 100 such bureaucrats who, since 2001, have sought permission to join private sector jobs. Until January 1, 2007, the mandatory cooling-off period was two years from the date of retirement. It was reduced to one year after hectic lobbying by IAS officers.According to the All India Service Rules, “A pensioner shall not accept any commercial employment before the expiry of one year from the date of his retirement, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.” There is no need to seek permission from the DoPT after the cooling-off period is over or if an officer resigns from the service.advertisementP.V. BhideClick here to EnlargeTake the case of P.V. Bhide who retired as revenue secretary only on January 31, 2010. The DoPT has given him permission to join five companies – NOCIL Ltd, Heidelberg Cement India Ltd, Tube Investment India Ltd, L&T Finance Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Some more applications are under consideration. Bhide believes there is nothing improper about joining the private sector soon after retiring. “Why should there be conflict of interest? There is no conflict unless we share government secrets,” he says. “I have run a fertiliser company while I was in the public sector. The private sector will now utilise my experience.” Bhide adds, “I can still work but the government does not need my services. Therefore, I chose to join the private sector.”Naresh DayalClick here to EnlargeNaresh Dayal, who held the post of secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, retired on September 30, 2009. Soon after that, he filed an application for permission to join GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health-care as a non-official director. He got permission on May 21, 2010. “I have handled every government assignment efficiently. Here in the private sector, I will do the same,” says Dayal.Other officers who joined private companies before the end of their mandatory cooling off period include 1973 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer Ajay Shankar who, after retiring as secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on December 31, 2009, joined Tata Tea as a director. The DoPT gave him approval for the job on May 25, 2010. Anil Baijal, a 1969 batch Union Territory cadre officer retired as secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development on October 31, 2006. He was given permission to join the Infrastructure Development Finance Company as advisor and chairman of its PPP initiative on June 22, 2007.While some officers join private sector after retirement, others choose to join after taking voluntary retirement. Ashok Kumar Khurana, a 1976 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer, took voluntary retirement in November 2007 while serving as additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Power. He was granted approval to join JPSK Sports as vice-chairman in April 2008. O.P. Arya, a 1975 batch officer of Uttarakhand cadre, took voluntary retirement in May 2008. He joined the JP Ganga Infrastructure Corporation Ltd as its CEO after getting permission from the DoPT in January 2009. These officers are getting salary between Rs 10,000 per sitting as director and Rs 1.70 crore per annum.The list would be even longer if it were to include officers who have taken permission only from state governments for post-retirement jobs. Officers below the rank of secretary who have been working continuously for three years in a state government are only required to take permission from the state government concerned, not the Central government.At the Centre, the DoPT, which reports directly to the prime minister, has been liberal in granting such permissions. According to sources, only four officers have been denied permission since 2005.Not all former IAS officers are pleased with this new wave of post-retirement jobs in the private sector. Says N. Gopalaswami, a retired IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre and former chief election commissioner, “This one-year cooling-off period is not enough. This should be at least three years or even five years. These officers must not be allowed to join companies whose work has been related to the government job of that particular officer.”advertisementThe reality, as this exhaustive list shows, is quite the opposite.last_img read more