Friday, 27 February 2009

Send SMSs anywhere in the world for FREE from your mobile phone! Site updated....

Mjoy is an unbelievable service and I use it daily!

Granted, MXit is (very) gr8, but for those that aren't 'hard-wired' (logged in) to MXit all day, SMS is more accessible (but, until Mjoy, more expensive).

I see the site has just been upgraded and I couldn't find the login button on the new site (I could only see a 'Join' button) on the page. :eek:

I managed to find a (temporary, I hope) workaround.... by entering my Country and Cell number, then clicking on the "Join" button,
then an SMS was sent to my cell phone.
I followed the link on my cell phone and the system complained that the cell number was already registered - I clicked 'No' to keep the exiting user,
and then I was taken to the 'Change password' screen.
I entered the old password (twice) and I was then taken to the Mjoy main menu (and I could send SMSs again).

BUT, I logged out again, and then the Login button was still missing.... do I need to go thru the "Join" process again??

{For the record: today there are 83,254 users from 141 countries - 125 new members joined today.}

See here for the orginal HTT MJoy post: Send SMSs anywhere in the world for FREE! (OK, you pay less than 1c for the GPRS costs)

Update: Mar2009: see comments below which include statement from Mjoy indicating that their service is primarily for mobile - so PC users cannot use their browser to login.

I have heard of colleagues using Firefox to login successfully though.... must be an Add on, because virgin installations of Firefox are blocked from logging into Mjoy.

Here's a dump of add ons from a PC with Firefox that does allow logging into Mjoy:

Application: Firefox 3.0.7 (2009021910)
Operating System: WINNT (x86-msvc)
- Better Gmail 2
- BugMeNot 2.1
- Context Search 0.4.3
- DownloadHelper 4.2
- Enrique B. and John S. 0.6.1
- Extended Statusbar 1.5.3
- Extension List Dumper 1.14.1
- Fast Dial 2.22b
- Free Download Manager plugin 1.3.4
- HandyTechTipper Toolbar
- IE Tab 1.5.20090207
- ImgLikeOpera 0.6.17
- Java Console 6.0.11
- Java Quick Starter 1.0
- keyconfig 20080929
- Linkification 1.3.5
- PageZoom 0.4.0
- PC Sync 2 Synchronisation Extension (Nokia)
- RetailMeNot 2.2
- Rewind/Fastforward Buttons 2.1.2008062002
- Secure Login 0.9.3
- Session Manager
- StumbleUpon 3.28
- Tab Mix Plus
- Tree Style Tab 0.7.2009031701
- User Agent Switcher 0.6.11
- View Cookies 1.7
- Web Developer 1.1.6
- wmlbrowser 0.7.18
- Xinha Here! 0.14

Items listed in bold are probably the enabler(s) - if you manage to isolate the add on, then please comment and assist others in using their PCs to send free SMSs.

{For the record: today (21Mar'09) there are 113,404 users from 145 countries - 952 new members joined today.}

Update: 06Apr2009: Seems like all good things come to an end... Mjoy have now restricted the SMS sending of messages to max 5 per day. I got this error message when sending an SMS:
"Sorry, you can currently only send 5 messages per day. To help increase the daily amount of messages, please click on advertisement when using this service."

They still need to modify their message on their registration page which still says;
"Send unlimited FREE Text Messages to any mobile phone in the world. Enter your phone number below and we will send you a message with a link to our service."

{For the record: today (21Mar'09) there are 127351 users from all parts of the world - 483 new members joined today.}

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Can your PC handle numbers with 27 zeros on the end (1 octillion) - don't worry, they've just knocked off 12 zeros (trillion)

I feel for the poor Zimbabweans who have had to deal with numerous currency changes over the past few months. The latest is the removal of more zeros - this time 12 zeros.
See below for a table showing the names of these large numbers eg: Quadrillion = 1 with 15 zeros and Quintillion = 1 with 18 zeros.
Dealers in Zimbabwe had to carry around tables like this to understand what the figures mean!

Here's a report by Martin Fletcher in Harare (published by The Times (UK), on 3 February 2009):

Nothing to lose: how Mugabe’s banker turned Z$1,000,000,000,000 into Z$1

Gideon Gono, widely regarded as the world’s most disastrous central banker, knocked another 12 zeros off the Zimbabwean dollar yesterday in an attempt to bring the national currency back from the realms of the fantastical. In a stroke, the governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank slashed the street value of the Zimbabwean dollar from $250 trillion to one US dollar to 250, because the computers, calculators and people could no longer cope with all the zeros. To counter an inflation rate that economists now estimate to be 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (five sextillion) per cent, Mr Gono has now struck 25 zeros from the plunging national currency since August 2006. One American dollar would now buy Z$2,500,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000 (2.5 octillion) had he not done so.

Mr Gono’s announcement came just weeks after the introduction of a Z$100 trillion note, the latest and biggest of 35 denominations that he has brought in since January last year but only enough yesterday to buy half a loaf. "The zeros are too many for our machines to handle," said Obert Sibanda, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. Mr Gono is now ordering Zimbabwe’s red-hot printing presses to produce seven entirely new bank notes ranging from Z$1 to Z$500. Economists poured scorn on Mr Gono’s announcement, pointing out that four months after he knocked ten noughts off last year they had all returned. One Western diplomat suggested that the governor’s reputation would be buried at "Zeros Acre" – a play on Heroes’ Acre, the name of the national monument to Zimbabwe’s independence leaders.

Tony Hawkins, a University of Zimbabwe economist who taught Mr Gono 20 years ago, observed that the governor was not the student of whom he was most proud. "He was a good student but forgot whatever economics he learnt when he became a political player." Mr Gono is not a man plagued by self-doubt, however. In an interview published in Newsweek magazine yesterday he said that he printed money simply so the Zimbabwean people could survive but the rest of the world was now following his example because of the credit crunch. "I had to print money," he said. "I found myself doing extraordinary things that aren’t in the textbooks. Then the IMF asked the US to please print money. The whole world is now practising what they have been saying I should not. I decided that God had been on my side and had come to vindicate me."

Mr Gono, 49, recently published an autobiography – sold only in US dollars, in violation of his own currency regulations – in which he claimed that President Bush had offered him the post of senior vice-president at the World Bank last July. Economists said that knocking off 12 more zeros would make not the slightest difference because hyper-inflation would render the new denominations equally worthless within weeks. The demise of the Zimbabwean dollar will also be hastened because last week the Government sanctioned the use of the US dollar, the British pound, the South African rand, the Euro and the Botswana Pula as legal tender. In effect, Zimbabwe now has two parallel economies, one using foreign exchange and the other using the increasingly irrelevant national currency. This is exacerbating the problems facing Mr Mugabe’s faltering regime because his security forces and the civil service are paid in Zimbabwean dollars. Soldiers have rioted on the streets of Harare, and most of the public sector – teachers, doctors, nurses, municipal workers – are on strike, demanding to be paid in foreign currency.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is trying to make Mr Gono’s removal a condition for his party joining a unity government next week. Mr Gono’s record is also coming under fire from within his own Zanu PF party. But asked by Newsweek if he considered his governorship a success, Mr Gono replied: "I am modestly credited with the survival strategy of my country. No other [central bank] governor has had to deal with the kind of inflation levels that I deal with. [The people at] my bank [are] at the cutting edge of the country." He added: "What keeps me bright and looking forward to every day is that it can’t be any worse."

Click on image to enlarge and clarify:
{Adapted from:}

Monday, 2 February 2009

Buying airtime can be done in numerous ways - HandyTechTipper weighs up convenience with discounts

I was looking for a online site that offered discounted airtime for my prepaid cell phone.
I previously used Discovery Vitality's Airtime that offered 10% discount (now discontinued and handed over to
I now purchase from Pick 'n Pay stores or Clicks.

I was looking for an online alternative - and here are my findings...
Buying airtime for your pre-paid cell phone is easy - go to any shop and they'll gladly sell you the airtime 'virtual' voucher that you can enter into your phone.
Online purchasing of airtime is also easy - if you have a credit card

HandyTechTipper (HTT) did a search for airtime vendors

Discounted airtime is also a bonus for the end user i.e. buy R29 worth of airtime for R27.

HandyTechTipper's ideal place to purchase airtime would be one that offered all of the following:
i) online vendor; ii) accept credit cards; iii) offered discounted airtime; iv) automated airtime credits.

Click here to download: BuyingAirtimeCalculatorFeb2009.xls

Note: not all vendors have been verified - use at your own risk!

Using the spreadsheet:

In worksheet "AirTimeOutlets":
Use worksheet "AirTimeOutlets" to see a summarised view of what's out there
Look through the offers and use the "ShortList" column to filter the offer that you are interested in and so home in on the offer best suited to your needs

In worksheet "DiscountedAirtime":
Use worksheet "DiscountedAirtime" to see what %age discounts are given.
Look through the offers and use the "ShortList" column to filter the offer that you are interested in and so home in on the offer best suited to your needs.

It seems that the following services come up tops for me: due to the highest discount and 26th voucher free offer [buy 25 of R12 vouchers for R287.50 and get airtime to the value of R312.00 [= 7.85% discount]].
image due to the random discounts and specials offered eg: R1,100 for R1,000
Pick 'n Pay and Clicks give small discounts (or ClubPoints), allow credit card purchases - but don't sell airtime online :(

Banks like FNB, ABSA are very convenient (no registration forms), online, 24x7, and transfer airtime immediately.

eBucks: gr8 to use up those bucks for airtime too.

Watch out for those "services" that require registration fee and transactional fees.

So, either go through the pains of registering and paying using EFT (and wait for your topup) to get your discounted airtime,
OR purchase online via your bank for immediate topups (but no discounted airtime).

Update on 7th April 2009:

I would love to be able to verify all the vendors listed but I do not have such funds (and time) at my disposal – for a proper verification of all services I would need to purchase at least 30 vouchers from each vendor and then calculate what the overall costs and savings were. This would (sort-of) then take into account the varying/random discounts and come up with a better comparison. But, even then, random prizes (eg: free cell phones, etc.) could not be taken into account…. I’d say that was an extra bonus that the end user shouldn’t bank on.

I have also noticed that have an ongoing offer of R1,100 airtime for R1,000.

Updated on 14July2009:
MTN users can now buy prepaid on credit (directly from MTN).
See here for more details: ITweb article

Update on 7th September2009:
Another service that accepts credit cards online is: BigTimeAirtime
There's also a small discount of R1 or R2 on amounts over R100 or so.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Firearm license renewal... if you're born from 1Oct to 31Dec, then you have until 31Mar 2009 - here's a summary of what you need to do....

Here are some step-by-step explanations for the various options as well as some answers to FAQs.: I) keep it and license it; II) dispose of it at SAPS; III) dispose of it by selling it.

If you were thinking, "What about me - I was born in the period 1Jan to 30Sept - when can make my firearm legal??" - well, it seems that you've missed the boat! You've had from 1Jan 2005 to 31Mar 2008 to process your firearm license! If you have a good reason, then head over to the local DFO (Designated Firearms Officer) now and plead your case!

If you decide not to renew your current license (or have missed the deadline), then it will remain valid until the 30 June 2009. It is recommended that you should sell or ‘hand in’ either to a licensed firearm dealer or the police station in your area, before that date.

For those that this article is aimed at: South Africans born from 1Oct to 31Dec, here are your options and other info:

Captain John Newman ( is acknowledged with all the information that I have summarised below - I recommend that you refer to his full document after you've understood the summary below: LegalTest117705.pdf)

I) Keep it and license it: Steps to renew your license:
1a) Call at an ‘Accredited Service Provider’ (eg: Malakai Firearm Training) for assessment of your knowledge of the Legal requirements, as defined in the Act 60 of 2000, as specified for SASSETA under the ‘Unit Standard’ 117705. This is encompassed in the International Training Academy “Legal Test” manual, or the Afrikaans version named “Toets op die Wet van Vuurwapenbeheer”. Then “the new firearm applicant” will move on to the Practical components required, such as the Unit Standard 119649: ”Handle and use of handgun”. For more details refer to the detailed explanation (click here to download:
LegalTest117705.pdf) as written by Captain John Newman from Malakai Firearm Training).
1b) Purchase the manual to obtain your 'K' number - found on the front page - that will be used on all application forms and certificates.

2) Page to the centre core of the manual between pages 13 and 14 and remove this inclusive and pull out from the staples. The ‘Questionnaire’ consists of 55 questions to be filled in - each with a page reference to the answers. Now find each answer and fill them in and prepare for the closed book examination.
3) Make a booking for the examination at an Assessment Centre.
4) Take the test and get a Temporary Certificate which is stamped and signed as confirmation for the Police. Fill in your details for the ‘Registration of Learner on Firearms Skills Programme’ …. FCA 01 & 02. You will also need to sign in the ‘Assessment Register’.
5) Have 5 (five) photocopies made of your official ID book certified (at the local police station).
6) Take the 5 copies of your ID book, and your Temporary Certificate to the local DFO (Designated Firearms Officer). After showing your certificate to the DFO, you can then request your ‘Folder of Forms’.
This folder will contain:
i) your Competency Certificate (517);
ii) the Renewal application form (517e);
iii) 2 x fingerprint forms (91A) (fill in your details before the fingerprints are done at a Police Station); Note: the address field (after place of birth) is meant for your current address and not the address where you were born. Sign in the box at the right side of the form. Do not bend these two forms, as they are ‘folded’ in a specific way by the Police during the fingerprint processing.
iv) 1 x Sworn affidavit (confirming completion of the Assessment, demonstrating knowledge of the act 60 of 2000);
v) 1 x (each firearm) Firearm Description form, Annexure A: inspect your firearm and list all the markings and engraved details such as maker/manufacturer, including the address ....every name or description on the barrel, handle or frame must be included on the form as required.
vi) 1 x Computer read out on list of Firearms, held by you (as held by Central Firearms Registry).
vii) 5x certified copies of you I.D: 4 (four) of these will be included with your submission of completed forms and 1 (one) must be given to the Assessment Centre where you received your certificate on completion of the Legal Test (this would be the moment when you would receive your official certificate).
7) You need to add the following to your 'Folder of Forms':
i) 4 x photographs, specifically sized “Firearm Licence” in colour. On each of the 4 photos write in ‘Black ink’ your full names and ID numbers at the back of each picture;
ii)1 x Reference List (3 persons who will vouch for you) detailing their full names, full addresses, ID numbers and a contactable telephone number that they can be reached at during office hours, so that the police may interview them telephonically (please advise them that they will be contacted in due course);
iii) 1 x Motivation letter (on the rear of the firearm description form),
8) Fill in the forms.
9) Create a motivation letter: there is a space of 4 lines for you to state your reasons for wanting to keep your firearm(s). This does not provide sufficient space to write a convincing motivation, which should be not less than 350 words (That is less than an A4 page with large header and footer margins). Refer to Captain John Newman's article for a sample letter.
10) Use a paperclip (no staples anywhere!) to attach two photos to the form (as indicated).
11) Make your submission at the DFO: take your official ID book, all firearm licences, 'folder of forms' and money for payments: R70 for Competency and R70 for each and every firearm licence to be renewed.

II) Dispose of it at SAPS: Steps to hand in your firearms to SAPS:
Voluntary handing in of firearms to the South African Police Service can be done as follows:
1) Take the following with you to the relevant Designated Firearms Officer or designated member at the police station:
- Your original official identity document
- Your original firearms license, permit or authorisation for the firearm that will be handed to the SAPS
- The applicable firearm and/or ammunition that will be handed to the SAPS
2) You will be required to complete the relevant sections of the SAPS 522(a) - Surrendering of firearm item form.
3) The Designated Firearms Officer or a designated member at the police station will take possession of the firearm and/or ammunition and the relevant license, permit or authorisation.
4) Ensure that you receive an acknowledgement of receipt as proof that the firearm and/or ammunition and the relevant license, permit or authorisation have been handed to the SAPS.
5) The firearm will be deregistered from the SAPS Firearms Register System.
6) The firearm will be destroyed by the SAPS.

No cost is incurred by a person who voluntarily hands in a firearm and/or ammunition to the SAPS for destruction. Any person who destroys or alters a firearm will be committing an offence and may be criminally charged.

III) Dispose of it by selling it: Unwanted Firearms:

Any person who no longer wishes to possess any licensed firearm may dispose of it in any one of the following ways:
1) Sell the firearm to a licensed dealer.
2) Sell the firearm to another person who must successfully obtain a license to possess the particular firearm.
3) Have the firearm deactivated by a licensed gunsmith after approval has been received from the SAPS.
4) Hand the firearm to the SAPS for destruction.
5) Have the firearm permanently exported.
6) Sell the firearm to an accredited business.

Sample letters:
1) Reference Providers Letter:
See here sample letter:

2) Motivation Letter:
See here sample letter: LegalTest117705.pdf

FAQ’s as listed and answered by Captain John Newman:

Q) Do I have to do a ‘Legal Test’ for each type of Firearm I own?
A) See here for the answer: LegalTest117705.pdf

Q) What if I am late with my submission for renewal, two years or so?
A) See here for the answer: LegalTest117705.pdf

Q) If I decide ‘not to renew my firearm licence’ will my firearm be illegal?
A) See here for the answer: LegalTest117705.pdf

Q) My wife is also a licensed firearm owner; can she use the same manual once I have completed my requirements?
A) See here for the answer:

Q) Question 8 of the manual shows a picture of an individual who appears to have a fully automatic rifle - is this correct?
A) See here for the answer:

Q) I can’t find the answer I need in the relevant Chapter, how should I answer this question?
A) See here for the answer:

Q) I would like to keep my rifle for display, without having to renew my licence, can I weld up the breech and barrel to de-activate it?
A) See here for the answer:

Q) OK then, I will just go to the beach and throw it away in the sea!
A) See here for the answer:

Q) Where can I surrender my unwanted firearm other than the Police Station?
A) See here for the answer: LegalTest117705.pdf

Q) What if I have more than one firearm, will I have to hand the others to the Police for destruction?A) See here for the answer:

Q) This procedure is too involved and I would rather ‘hand in’ my firearm, its less trouble!
A) See here for the answer:

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Copyright © 2008 HandyTechTipper. All articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 South Africa license, unless where otherwise stated.