Est. 2007

Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Where’s my 2 cents Fiji?

In Life on September 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

The RBF as of October is removing from circulation the one and two cent coins. Smart? Maybe and maybe not. Let’s look at the pros and cons and perhaps a few other countries.

Cons:

Well firstly, some inflation? Removal of low denominations ought not to cause inflation but it may it rounding is abused. This may occur in a country like Fiji. Items that a readily bought will have their prices rounded up at the shelf and when mixed with other items at the cashier the prices may be further rounded up; therefore, the stores effectively charging more. Though from research it is clear that it is a non-issue in later years and does not affect the economy when proper practices are in place.

Secondly, beggars aren’t going to be too happy. Usually we would give away our coins to charity or to religious places or to donation drives.

Pros:

Well there are many. Firstly, the one cent coin costs 4 cents to make. Added to that fact is that they are often collected and not tendered back, leaving them in drawers and other places where they will not be utilised.

Secondly, not having to deal with these coins means that labour costs are saved, not only by RBF but also by businesses who no longer have to cater for the floats with these coins. The cashier also does not need to count out and give out the coins saving them precious time.

As stated earlier, the coins have limited use; they are only given out and not taken back as counting a bulk of the coins will again cost the company or bank more money than what the coins are worth.

The value of the cent is so low that no item can be purchased by the coin alone. The FJD cent is of course valued less than the US dollar equivalent. Other countries including the Australia and certain European countries have stopped the minting of some of these low denominations. Sweden would be one of the first and hence were the ones to come up with rounding to solve the problem often caused at the checkout. New Zealand on the other hand has removed from circulation the one cent, the two cent and the five cent coins, leaving the lowest denomination as 10 cents. The ten cent coin is also a copper coin. Needless to say, they went on further to make the other coins smaller and lighter so that our wallets and pockets would not be laden with coins that were far too heavy. They are now some of the most light coins around.

Lastly, some of the things that we do not think about. The coins are small and often get lost, so they are not so beneficial to the consumer. The coins are hazardous to small kids who may find the coin small enough to swallow. Seeing as the coin is now intrinsicly valued more than its face value, it becomes a target for copper extractors who can melt coins to gain the metal components. In my honest opinion, this may be difficult in Fiji but there is no lack of motive. Thieves often loot building sites for copper wire; it wouldn’t be a surprise if they suddenly started selling out coins.

All in all, we’d better get out those money bags cause I know we’ve all been hording some of those coins. Who knows, you might get a couple of bucks richer by the weekend.

The Spray Can

The “Kaicolo” Effect

In Life on September 22, 2008 at 7:14 pm

I have theory. The theory is that of people’s behaviour towards technology. Technology is a big word; it is also a common word in today’s day and age. The problem is that for some it is a norm and they are not so easily amused by the next craze that happens to come along. They know that it takes something very good to make it very big.

How does the “kaicolo” effect come into play you ask? Well, here in Fiji the internet was one of those things that few had till competition and broadband made it cheap enough for average people to have a connection at home. This created a rift; people started to look at the new things that they could do with this. Also at the same time as broadband’s introduction, the new buzz word became Web 2.0. This meant a wealth of new applications like social networks, IM, video sharing and picture sharing. If you know human nature well then you know that people pick the things they love to do; they love to do things that are not so good for them.

The Kaicolo effect is just this. People are consumed in doing pointless things that get them into trouble, let alone the fact that they are wasting their time away and not getting the job done. It is also part peer pressure. Here, in Fiji, it’s social networks and cell phones. I suppose friendliness of the people means that everyone just wants to make friends, but they are just wasting many of their hours simply talking to people they see during the day. It’s a problem not for adults, who are so busy during the day; but for kids who are seemingly free all the time and have no work to do what so ever.

There are always new things to do and sites to visit, which means that time is being wasted on pointless things. It is not like they write about anything good, help out at a forum or do any constructive photographing that it be any benefit to the community or oneself for that matter.

Two people I know of have been consumed by at least some part of this effect. Their social presence means that they have hundreds of people to chat with and to update those profiles would also take some time.They are constantly texting or “buzzing” their friends from their cell phones also. They end up wasting the most productive parts of their afternoons doing this. Their teachers and parents became highly concerned about it and their computer usage is now kept at a minimum. I must say that my usage of technology including television, computers and a games console means that my productivity recently has also been declining, but I try to keep that down.

In the end, it’s time that can only fix a problem like this. People will learn how technology is to be best used and not how it is to be abused. This is probably why they still call Fiji a developing country; we are still developing mentally, economically and materialistically.

Kaicolo means becoming crazy about something like you have never seen it before. In this context it can mean obsession.

The Spray Can

Samsung LCDs are a No GO!

In Tech on September 21, 2008 at 8:36 am

Here’s the deal. Samsung is a well known producer of LCD T.V. They are even cheaper than most other brands out there; however, their quality is lacking. Samsung producers many of the same things as most other brands like LG and Philips and Panasonic for example. They even produce some computer parts too. In the computing realm, Samsung might earn itself to be a premium display; its screens are dearer than other brands and often preferred; needless to say, there are other good brands too. The problem though is with T.Vs only.

Having said all that, the problem isn’t with their build quality; but with their picture quality. Basically, the processors that convert all those standard definition images to fit the native resolution on the screen are not very good at all. The image is highly jaggered around the edges and text as well. This is extremely annoying when watching a DVD from a short distance away. The sharpness has to be toned down drastically to attain any good viewing condition. This is really poor quality, you would expect these sought of problems on an unbranded television set, not on a name brand like Samsung.

I suppose it may not be on every model in their range, especially since the one I have is a series 4 model. The picture quality from any High Definition source is very good and the problem does not exist with that. It’s just noticable in DVDs and especially when there are many moving items in the frame; the picture begins to distort badly there. All in all, much can’t be said, the set is still a good deal for its price.

Renewable Energy- Fiji

In Life on September 20, 2008 at 11:03 pm

You know, the Fiji Electricity Authority has just signed deals for a new hydro power facility. A great step forward for all I believe. We are inevitably moving further ahead of some of the more developed nations out there. They all hope to have just a few percent of their entire energy needs come from renewable resources; we have surpassed that already.

On the other hand, those nations have opted at least in some small way to decentralize the process by letting consumers provide their own power through net metering. Consumers produce their own electricity through solar, wind or other resource and use the grid as a power storage device; during the evening, the home draws power from the grid to cater for for their needs. During the day though, the meter clocks blackwards as the home generates electricity.

The point of this is that the electricity company does not have out lay as much capital; both the consumer and producer benefit through some way or another. The consumer gets an equity gain, a chance at a proper back up system, the bragging rights of being “green” and a smaller electricity bill . The producer gets energy back for little capital and again following that all too important goal of being green.

The unfortunate thing is though, this is not allowed here in Fiji as far as I know. It’s a shame too, we enjoy unusually high sunshine hours and not to forget the wind which blows well on coastal areas. The other obstacle is the high equipment cost, the government would need to make it tax free and VAT free. On top of which, a good subsidy would go a long way. This way, people will be encouraged to take it up especially businesses like hotels and other high demand areas like factories that have a motive to be green in this modern world.

All in all, this would be a really good scheme to implement seeing as many developed countries have done it. I also don’t think that with all the energy projects we are doing here in Fiji the energy crisis is going to go away. In the next two years, cars will run on electricity and they will all plug up to the grid. I don’t think we have factored that in really. So a lot more energy will be needed and I think if we all were passive users of energy there would be no problem as such; it would give us that sense of security that we so rightly deserve as a developing country. A good temporary solution for cars though would be to encourage those hybrids, yea the Toyota Prius does come to mind. The thing is though, nothing will really happen, cause no one cares; they never have and never will. We will be stuck right here; stuck in this ever sinking sand.

The Spray Can