Zim author publishes chiShona sci-fi

first_imgZimbabwean author Masimba Musozda isadvancing chiShona, with the publicationof the first sci-fi novel in that language.(Image: Dread Eye Detective Agency)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lion Press marketing department+44 784 985 9804RELATED ARTICLES• Young writer to publish 18th book• The Axe and the Tree• Local author gets top sco-fi award• Giving Zimbabwe’s diaspora a voiceMark ReidZimbabwean literature has taken a step forward with the publication of author Masimba Musodza’s book MunaHacha Maive Nei?, the first science fiction novel in the chiShona language.ChiShona, one of Zimbabwe’s two main languages, is Musodza’s mother tongue.The novel, also described as a horror/thriller, is the first in chiShona available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon.com’s Kindle store.This achievement is expected to promote, not only chiShona, but all African languages in the modern world of information technology and new media.The print edition is due for imminent publication by Coventry-based Lion Press Ltd, an independent publishing house that focuses on Zimbabwean and African literature.Young talentBorn in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known then, in 1976, Masimba Musodza developed his interest in the written word at an early age, as both his parents encouraged him to read. He honed his skills by writing in the school magazine, youth magazines and other outlets.Musodza moved to the UK in 2002, and is now based in the Yorkshire town of Middlesbrough. He is the owner and CEO of production company Oriit Films.A member of the Rastafarian faith, Musodza published his first book in 1997, a short story collection titled The Man who turned into a Rastafarian, and is perhaps best known for his Dread Eye Detective Agency series which feature a Zimbabwe-based Rasta brother and sister.Although only recently coming to public attention as an author, Musodza has gained a reputation for his film and television screenwriting, having sold his first screenplay in 2002. His writing covers many genres, reflecting his diverse influences and his own interest in the world around him.He uses science-fiction, drama, horror, mystery, and satire to explore issues close to his heart. These include social development, history and politics, religion and spirituality and the human condition in general.Musodza lists the Dune books and film, the Star Wars film series, and the 1993 South African comedy There’s a Zulu on my Stoep among his favourites.Blending the modern and traditionalMunaHacha maive nei? is a thrilling tale that blends African folk beliefs and the modern world of globalism, sustainable development, genetically modified agricultural produce and political manipulation.Chemicals from a research facility conducting illegal biological experiments contaminate the local ecosystem, causing birds and animals to mutate. Soon a child is attacked by a giant fish, but the villagers, not having the remotest concept of chemical mutation, believe the creature is a mermaid – in their tradition this is the guardian of nature.Because the guardian is obviously angry, they try to appease it according to their traditional beliefs and practices – but in vain, and the situation gets worse.Boosting marginalised languagesAlthough Africa is scattered with hundreds of traditional languages which vary widely from country to country and community to community, the colonial languages of English, Portuguese, French and Spanish – and localised variations thereof – are still the dominant forms of communication in many nations.The promotion of endemic languages is a controversial subject throughout Africa. Some academics are opposed to it and prefer to conform to western standards.Others think it’s time for Africans to promote their cultures and languages without apology and be proud of their heritage. South Africa, too, is one of these countries, with its national Department of Arts and Culture embarking on a drive in the mid-2000s to promote the use of the mother tongue in writing and publishing.The department also launched a multilinguism campaign in 2010, to strengthen the situation of all the country’s official languages.Musodza is a supporter of Kenyan academic Ngugi wa Thiong’o‘s Decolonising the Mind, and firmly believes that African authors need to use their own languages in order to advance their literature rather than the language of their colonial legacy.He says that his target audience is anyone who finds the time to read, and dispels the notion that it is impossible to write “complicated stuff” in a language that is often shunned by the educated back home.last_img read more

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Urban Rustic: Up on the Roof

first_imgInstalling the trussesZach let me stand by the front door rough opening and give the crane operator hand signals. It was a fun way to watch the roof take shape. Once the trusses neared the front door, Zach could signal the crane operator himself, so I was able to get some shots from just outside the construction fence (see Image #2, below).Once the trusses were on, and the guys had a chance to install the final top row of Zip sheathing (up to the bottom of the trusses on the exterior side of the wall), I could move inside to seal all the connections from the interior (see Image #3, below).Because of the cold, the Grace membrane was beginning to lift at the edges in certain spots, so just to make sure it had a nice long-term seal, I went around the perimeter of the house and used a layer of Tescon Vana (3 inches wide) tape to seal the edge of the Grace membrane. Finding the right flashing tapeI tried using rolls of conventional peel-and-stick window flashing membrane, purchased from Home Depot and Mendards, but it performed poorly, even in unseasonably warm temperatures for February in Chicago.I switched to Grace Ice & Water Shield, normally used as a roofing underlayment along the first few feet of roof edge. Because it came on a long roll about 4 feet wide, my wife and I cut it down to a series of strips that could more easily be applied to the wall-top plate connection. While the sun was out, the Grace membrane worked fairly well, especially when I applied pressure with a J-roller.Unfortunately, the sun and warmer temperatures didn’t stick around long enough for me to finish. Within hours, it was back to rainy, gray, and cold — typical Chicago winter weather for February. When the weather went gray and cold again, we started to use a heat gun to warm up the Grace membrane, which had turned stiff and nearly useless in the cold.After wasting a lot of time and effort trying to preheat the Grace membrane before installing it, I finally relented and switched to the much more expensive (but also much more effective) Extoseal Encors tape from Pro Clima. Where the Grace membrane lost virtually all of its stickiness, the Extoseal Encors stuck easily and consistently, with the J-roller just helping it to lay flatter and more securely.It was a case of trying to be penny wise but ending up pound foolish. Looking back, I would gladly pay an extra $300 in materials to have those hours of frustration back (including the time it took to run to the store and buy the heat gun, which turned out to be ineffective anyway).After finishing sealing the Zip sheathing-top plate connection on all the outside perimeter walls over the weekend, it was time for the trusses to be installed. Once the wall assembly details were figured out, and our ceiling setup detailed, the transition between the two became the next challenge. In other words, how to carry the air barrier over the top of our exterior walls.I found an article by Chris Corson published by The Journal of Light Construction to be very helpful.Using a waterproof peel-and-stick membrane to wrap over the top of the wall (going from exterior sheathing — in our case 7/16-inch Zip sheathing — to the interior side of the top plates) seemed like the easiest way to maintain a continuous air barrier at the wall-to-roof junction. The membrane would also have a nice air sealing gasket effect after the trusses were set in place.I also found this excellent Hammer & Hand video on YouTube (one of their many helpful videos).By being able to carry the Zip sheathing up above the top plate of the wall, hugging the bottom of the trusses, meant our 4 inches of Roxul Comfortboard 80 over the Zip sheathing would rise above the top of our walls, so that thermally we would be protected from the exterior walls to the attic, which will be filled with 24 inches of blown-in cellulose.That makes our thermal envelope continuous for the whole house: under the basement slab to the exterior of foundation, to the exterior walls, to the attic (except for one small gap at the footing-slab-foundation wall connection, which I talk about in a separate post).A high R-value wall meets up with a high R-value attic, with no thermal bridging, making our thermal layers continuous. When this is combined with an equally airtight structure, conditioned air cannot easily escape, resulting in a significantly lower energy demand for heating and cooling (and therefore lower utility bills), and added comfort for the occupants. Installing shinglesWe had to wait for shingles for quite some time. First we had to fire our GCs, and then I had to find a roofer and a plumber (to make penetrations through the roof before the shingles went on). But before the plumber could even start, I had to get the Intello installed on the ceiling. And even before that, I had to figure out the insulation baffles, which I’ll talk about in a separate post.It took a while to find a roofer, since they would have to make three separate trips for a relatively small job. The first trip was just to set down the Grace Ice & Water Shield at the edges of the roof, along with a synthetic roofing underlayment (the consensus was that typical roofing felt wouldn’t hold up to long-term exposure). As it turned out, it took weeks before the plumbers made their penetrations through the roof sheathing (literally the day the roofers showed up — a long, horrible story in and of itself that I’ll save for later).The second trip out for the roofer was to install the shingles on the roof of the house. The third trip was to install shingles on the garage roof, but that could only happen after the Roxul had been installed on the exterior of our Zip sheathing (in order to make a proper sealed connection between the wall of the house and the garage roof).There weren’t many roofers willing to work with our unique Passive House sequencing, but Peterson Roofing was kind enough to take it on.Unfortunately, the day after the guys installed the Grace membrane and the synthetic underlayment, we had a cold, blustery day. Once the wind grabbed the Grace membrane, the membrane rolled up on itself, turning it into a real mess (see Image #4, below).Because of our recent past bad experiences with general contractors, I just assumed I was on my own, so I spent a couple of hours putting down new layers of the Grace membrane. When Peterson roofing found out, they were shocked I did it myself, and assured me I could’ve called them and they would’ve come back out. We were so used to people not following through, that my low expectations meant it didn’t even occur to me to call them. BLOGS BY ERIC WHETZEL A Light Down BelowKneewalls, Subfloor, and Exterior WallsLet the Framing BeginDetails for an Insulated FoundationThe Cedar Siding Is Here — Let’s Burn ItAn Introduction to a New Passive House Project RELATED ARTICLES Martin’s Ten Rules of Roof DesignAll About Attic VentingQuestions and Answers About Air BarriersAirtight Wall and Roof SheathingIs OSB Airtight?Navigating Energy Star’s Thermal Bypass Checklist Editor’s note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric’s previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric’s blog, Kimchi & Kraut. Saving a few bucks on roofingWe initially were going to use CertainTeed’s Landmark TL shingles, which mimic a cedar shake shingle profile, but Armando from Midwest Roofing Supply in Schaumburg, Illinois, was kind enough to walk me through the options available. Because our roof isn’t steep, only the neighbors from their second-story windows would get to appreciate the effect. He recommended we save some money, while not giving up on quality or durability, and go with the Landmark Pro product.The shingles went on quickly since we have a relatively small and simple roof (see Image #5, below). In addition to the aesthetic leap that the shingles contributed to the appearance of the structure, it also meant I didn’t have to go around cleaning up the subfloor every time it rained.Although the synthetic underlayment worked pretty well at keeping the rain out, if there was significant wind combined with rain, the water easily found its way under the underlayment where it could then drip and fall on the subflooring below. It was pretty depressing to show up to the job site after a hard rain knowing I was going to spend the first hour just cleaning up and looking for leaks.last_img read more

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How Cloud Computing’s Growth Disrupts Hardware & Software Vendors

first_imgHow Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Tags:#cloud#cloud computing#enterprise#saas#Software Businesses are subscribing to software, storage and computing power delivered over the Internet at a jaw-dropping pace, Over the next five years, global spending on cloud-computing services will increase at a pace five times greater than the growth of the information technology (IT) industry as a whole. To survive in this new landscape, technology makers will have to completely redefine their products, business models and culturesInstead of selling direct to the corporations that actually use computing services, hardware, software and infrastructure vendors will all need to pivot to serve the new cloud services new market. That’s the lesson from the latest forecasts by market researcher IDC.The difference is stark. IDC estimates companies will spend $100 billion on IT cloud services by 2016. That compares to $40 billion companies are expected to spend this year and represents a five-year, compound annual growth rate of more than 26%.Software DisruptionHuge disruption is expected in the software market. Salesforce.com, launched in 2000, perfected the Software-as-a-Service market for businesses, and its success has led to big-name companies like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft introducing SaaS versions of their own business software. “You have to be a strong player in SaaS now, if you’re going to survive as a software vendor,” said Frank Gens, IDC analyst and co-authorof the forecast. Delivering software over the Internet will account for almost 60% of the public IT cloud in 2016.Heading into to the cloud means redesigning products and making major business model changes for software makers. The lump-sum software sales prices and annual maintenance fees software makers get today will have to be converted into monthly subscription fees. It’s not at all clear whether those fees will match the totals of the sales and maintenance charges they replace. And they money will come in at a very different pace – distributed over time rather than with the majority up front.In addition, customers will pay only for the software and service they actually use, rather than licensing the whole package. “That is hugely disruptive for the market,” Gens said. “Traditional vendors are all looking at a financial abyss that they’re trying to vault over.”The only way to make the numbers work, vendors and observers agree, is for software vendors to dramatically in increase the number of customers they serve. The days when large vendors could build a robust business selling to just the Fortune 5000 are nearing an end. Instead, most software makers will have to sell to everyone, since success will be measured in volume.“If you just stay with the Global 5000, it’s going to be very hard to be a successful large scale IT vendor anymore,” Gens said. “You have to reach out to and you have to love small businesses, even the smallest ones.”Hardware Vendors Have Their Own ProblemsHardware vendors will also suffer stress in the transition. To a large extent, heading to the cloud represents a continuation of the trend toward virtualization that has dominated IT for the last 10 years. Before companies could run multiple operating systems on virtual machines, servers were often used at 20% to 30% of capacity. With the cloud, on-premise hardware will share computing power with an infrastructure service provider, which will result in companies doubling the amount of capacity they get with their hardware. Assuming equal demand, that’s likely to suppress the need for new servers and associated equipment.To make up the difference in selling less hardware to enterprises, vendors will have to focus on those companies delivering cloud services, whether its SaaS companies or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) vendors like Amazon and Rackspace. Demand from such companies will increase as more businesses of all sizes rent more server capacity in the cloud. Will it be enough to make up the difference?“The market will absorb as much capacity as the industry can throw out there, if it’s cheap enough and easy enough to access,” Gens said.Corporate IT Shops Get Hit, TooThe disruption won’t be confined to hardware and software vendors. Corporate IT shops will also have to deal with dramatic change. Their tasks will shift from managing silos of their own technology resources to working with cloud vendors to get the services they need, properly integrated, at the best possible price.Traditionally, IT shops have been divided into groups with separate organizations taking care of servers, databases, storage or sets of applications. Under the cloud model, the vendors take much more responsibility for managing and maintaining the software and hardware components.Many jobs that focused on individual areas of in-house software will become obsolete. Instead, IT staff will be managing cloud service providers to set service levels and make sure those levels are met. “If that cloud service fails, you’re in deep trouble,” Gens warned. “Suddenly, you don’t control it. It’s your vendor controlling your IT operation.”That’s a big deal for IT departments, since CEOs will still hold them responsible for they the company’s technology strategy and execution, even if much of the actual work gets “outsourced.” On the plus side, they should be able to save money – on up-front capital costs if nothing else – and take advantage of the latest technology and trends without having to make huge investments themselves.As the cloud brings significant risks and benefits hardware and software vendors as well as their customers, everyone will have to work together to successfully navigate the technology evolution. But among the many choices for all the parties, opting out won’t be one of them.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… antone gonsalves Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for …last_img read more

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