Techno-wise teens flock to stores for “Twitter-tracking” Apple iPhone gizmo

Melody Brandon WEEKEND POST REPORTER brandonm@avusa.co.za

Apple 3G iPhone South Africa Port Elizabeth UitenhageTHE eagerly-awaited Apple iPhone, released earlier this month complete with all the frills and fancies craved by gizmo-lovers, has seen cellphone stores in the Eastern and Southern Cape cleared out of their stock by frenzied buyers.

Not only are the young- at-heart clamouring for the latest cellphone toy which sells for R9000 for the handset on its own or R2000 and more on a two-year contract, but youngsters are also managing to get their mitts on the prized gadget.

Already some teenagers’ relentless nagging has paid off with brow-beaten parents flocking to stores en masse to buy the product for children as young as 14 years old, according to sales staff.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from Apple (company) fans who are familiar with the brand. The younger age group are our biggest buyers,” said Naasig Seharnick, a Port Elizabeth cellphone salesman at Cellucity. “Parents come in and pay cash for the phone.”

As if a complete library of music or photo albums was not enough, the phone also gives frequent Twitter updates“, short, SMS-like sentences stating what friends are up to throughout the day on the internet, as well as users’ global positioning system (GPS) co-ordinates.

East London cellphone salesman Renier North said despite the option of other cellphones which could do “similar things”, the iPhone was still coming out tops, especially among Apple technology lovers.

George salesman Geovan Theron said his customers chose the handset over all the others available. “With the iPhone you are getting the raw product that you can download applications for, so you can choose what you want,” he said.

And although better-halves might be occupying second place to the shiny toy, they can feel treasured as its handy GPS positioning means they can check up on their loved ones day or night, with their current co-ordinates posted on the internet via Twitter.

But with the lightening release of new technology comes the quicker pace of replacements, with website giants Google on the cusp of releasing their answer to the iPhone, the G1, or Google phone, heading to South Africa next year.

Techno-junkies say it’s bad news for Apple, but good news for consumers.

For those wanting to read a first-hand iPhone user’s account, log onto Justin McCabe’s blog and scroll down to the iPhone blog entry.

source: Weekend Post
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Uitenhage’s Concentration Camp history

Uitenhage Concentration Camp: GHOSTS OF WAR: A monument in memory of eight adults and children who died in Uitenhage’s concentration campBEING one of the oldest towns in the country, Uitenhage is steeped in a rich history. But few know it was home to a concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899 and 1902. Chairman of the Concentration Camp Trust Superintendent Kallie Calitz is working hard to ensure the area is protected and remembered.

“You won’t believe that the majority of Uitenhage’s current residents don’t know about the concentration camp – and it’s in their backyard,” Calitz said.

Situated on the outskirts of the upmarket suburb of Vanes Estate, you will find one lone house with a memorial statue in front of it, which was declared a national monument in 1972. There is another monument made out of high cement walls in memory of the eight children and adults who died in the camp. Calitz said the concentration camp was established because a large number of women and children were dying in a Bloemfontein camp because of extreme temperatures. The new one had to be somewhere near water and a train line.

“Uitenhage was the ideal place because it had an established rail system and there were natural springs,” Calitz said.

The camp was built for 2000 people, but only 1800 stayed there. Although today the site is only four hectares in size, Calitz said they estimate it was about 10 hectares originally. When the concentration camp was built, the town was already 100 years old.

“At first the residents looked down on the people from the camp, but then they realised that these are our people and they started to accept them,” Calitz said.

“For entertainment people went to the camp and played records for the women and children. When the people were given permits to come to town to buy goods, the residents would pick guavas from one of the trees and give them to the children,” Calitz said.

All the houses were made of zinc and wood as opposed to the tents of the other camps. Today, only the house that is believed to have been the commander’s, stands on the site. The rest of the houses were broken down and rebuilt in Port Elizabeth’s Red Location. Peace came in May 1902, but the people stayed in the camp until October. “W here were they supposed to go back to? Their farms (in the Free State) were taken away, their houses had been burned and their husbands shot,” Calitz said.

“Some people moved to town, got married and their descendants are probably still here today.” – By NICOLETTE SCROOBY, source: Daily Dispatch

Jobs boom follows R1bn plan to boost local content at VWSA

UP TO 1000 motor industry jobs could be created in the next nine months in the Eastern Cape following a R1billion investment plan unveiled yesterday by Volkswagen SA and component managers for Uitenhage.

VWSA managing director David Powels said the investments were being taken to “step up to the challenge and opportunity presented by the new automotive production and development programme (APDP) by attracting several key national and international component manufacturers to set up operations in Uitenhage”.

Powels said the R1bn investment came as a result of VWSA challenging components suppliers to “significantly improve processes and productivity levels to both survive and grow in the medium term”.

As a result, five suppliers were already establishing manufacturing facilities in the Nelson Mandela Bay logistics park established by the Coega Development Corporation, adjacent to VW’s Uitenhage factory. A sixth supplier would set up operations at the entrance to the Uitenhage industrial area.

The suppliers are interior plastic components manufacturer Faurecia Interior Systems, metal pressing parts manufacturer Bloxwich Industries, side mirrors and cables manufacturer Flextech, bumper systems manufacturer Rehau Polymer, and headliner and door panels manufacturer Grupo Antolin. Nelson Mandela Bay’s Bel-Essex Engineering was also in the process of constructing a new facility directly opposite the Volkswagen plant.

Volkswagen itself announced earlier this year that it would be investing more than R3bn in its own manufacturing and related activities from this year through to the end of 2010. That investment would also create several hundred jobs, Powels said at the time.

Yesterday, Powels said: “Our company has instituted an unprecedented focus on dramatically increasing manufacturing depth and extent of the local component supplier industry.

“The new APDP presents the opportunity to revolutionise the South African supplier component industry which has a long way to travel before it can claim global competitiveness.

“In terms of cost competitiveness, there’s an approximate 20% gap to manufacturers in Western Europe. The gap widens to more than 30% when comparing domestic automotive manufacturing cost structures to those in emerging automotive power houses such as India, China and Russia. There is only one way in which the automotive manufacturing industry in SA will be able to survive in the medium to long term – by securing much higher levels of local content. This includes the need to introduce new technologies and increase the use of local materials in the domestic component manufacturing industry.”

CDC chief executive Pepi Silinga said the initiative would send a positive message to the auto industry and strengthen the position of the region in the sector. “The positive impact of these developments to the economy of the Eastern Cape will be huge. They will bring dramatic shifts in people’s lives in the metro and in the province far sooner than expected.”

The VWSA announcement comes only days after General Motors in Port Elizabeth announced that it would shed 1000 jobs by the end of year, and Ford, with operations in Port Elizabeth and Pretoria, said it would be shedding 800 jobs.

GM shed more than 400 jobs earlier this year and is now in the process of reducing its head-count by several hundred more, with more cuts planned through to the end of the year.

Source: The Herald, Avusa Group News