16 March 2012

Free SMS in Gmail comes to South Africa

Finally, it's here! Free SMS in Gmail to South African mobile networks.

If you are a Gmail user (if not, WHY not?) you can now send SMS'es free from your web-based Gmail client to (currently, as of 2012/03/16) MTN and 8ta networks.

I am hopeful that the networks supported will grow over time, so keep an eye on this link and scroll down to South Africa to know when you can hit Cell C, Virgin and Vodacom. A useful guide is located here which has prominent logo's displayed of the currently supported South African cellular networks and also explains how to use the facility.

I already had the SMS lab application running on my Gmail client (for US and Canada numbers) so one day I noticed this pop up on the side:

New! Free SMS in Gmail
Send free SMS directly from Gmail - just enter a phone number and click Enter. SMS replies are sent right to your Gmail inbox.

and realised it was letting me target South African numbers too. In order to use this feature you have to enable the SMS (text messaging) in Chat lab.

Added information on the feature is located here. The basics are as follows:

  • Use the Send SMS box above the chat window and enter a number to send an SMS (or if you have Google Voice credits, to call the number) or select Send SMS from the box of options that appears to the right of your contact's name. If you already have a chat window option select Options and Send SMS.
  • Sending an SMS is free and any replies you receive are treated in your standard Chat Window, and are billed at normal cellular rates.
  • You start with 50 credits and even if you send an SMS to an unsupported number it bills you for one credit. When you hit 0 credits you will be entitled to one free SMS a day. If you receive SMS replies your credits will grow again by five per received SMS, so if you hit 0 credits just wait 24 hours and then send yourself an SMS and you'll be back in business with five credits! The maximum credit at any time is fifty.
For extensive information on this service go here.

Hints and Tips:
  • Save the incoming Gmail SMS number associated from your account because this is linked to your unique Google Account! Any time you send an SMS to this number it appears as a Chat message in the Gmail account. 
  • If you'd like a higher message credit, send yourself an SMS from Google to your phone, and then reply. Every reply earns you five SMS credits. Effectively you are paying your service provider (e.g. MTN) one SMS in return for being able to send another five. If you do this once a day you can get five SMS messages for the price of one.

15 March 2012

Clonezilla SE stuck at loading TFTP

I've recently begun trying out Clonezilla SE on a DRBL-live CD and it works great.

The one problem I've experienced is that clients receiving the DHCP broadcast freeze while loading the TFTP menu prior to loading Clonezilla Client.

It sits at the boot screen for PXE boot menu after it's received an IP from the DHCP server and is about to load the TFTP, with the word "TFTP" and then progress dots ". . ." going on indefinitely.

The solution that works for me is to set the Clonezilla SE IP address to another subnet to the clients; for example the default IP for the clients is 192.168.100.* and I've set the Clonezilla SE IP to a static and it works fine.

Of course, you must agree to set the local ethernet IP to an alias for both IP ranges, if you're using one ethernet card.

Hope this helps someone out there :)

14 March 2012

Today's date is 3.14 - Happy Pi Day!!

Thanks to my good friend (and nerd) Chris for alerting me to the fact that today is Pi Day!!

Celebrate it with all your fellow nerds - get a cylinder of radius Z and height A and enjoy in the full volume of its goodness!*

* If you don't know the volume of a cylinder of radius Z and height A, let me elaborate: Pi * z * z * a = Pizza!

05 March 2012

Register here to express an interest in Raspberry Pi

Heard of the Raspberry Pi?

If not, here's the low-down from Raspberry Pi SBC:

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer board that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It’s a miniature ARM-based PC which can be used for many of the things that a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video.
Picture used without permission from MyBroadBand.co.za
  • Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

How much will this little beauty cost you?


Two hundred and sixty Rand.

If you want to get your paws on one of these beautiful gadgets, you need to pre-register now and be on the waiting list - on a first-in, first-out basis.

Go here to register: http://za.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=raspberrypi