Proteas disappoint in Champs Trophy

first_imgKirsten may have built a base with his approach, but it’s hard to think that any team minus four world class stars would be able to perform to the standards it would have attained with those players in the mix. He also admitted that the Proteas had been far from their best in the Champions Trophy, saying: “I think if we have to be realistic, in the tournament we ended up with one win. We have been up and down in our one-day cricket for a while. We haven’t been consistent in our one-day cricket. Missing starsQuestioned about the effect of missing Steyn, Morkel, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, Proteas’ coach Kirsten answered: “We’re used to not having our top players playing for us all the time. In fact, what we tried to do is broaden the base of our team, so we’ve had some good players come through into the team. We like to think that we can perform with anyone out there.” Batting strugglesOn a pitch that did a bit for the bowlers at the start of the game, South Africa lost their first wicket in the first over of their innings and their second in the second over. They struggled to recover and by the 23rd over, the Proteas were all but out of the contest at 80 for 8. South Africa exited the ICC Champions Trophy in disappointing fashion at The Oval on Wednesday when, after being put in to bat, a top-order collapse undermined their challenge, allowing England to cruise to victory by seven wickets with more than 11 overs to spare. Minus Dale Steyn, out of the match due to injury once more, it was always going to be a very tough ask for the South African attack to bowl England out. To win, that would be the requirement given South Africa’s low total, but unlike in test cricket, the attack did not include Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander with time to work their opponents over. Inevitably, the c-word, “choke”, was raised about the Proteas’ poor performance. “It’s definitely a dark mist that hangs over South African cricket,” coach Gary Kirsten admitted at a post-match press conference. ConsistencyAnd that, maybe, is the reason why South Africa is struggling in the 50 over a side game. For a long time, the Proteas were one of the most consistent teams in one-day international cricket, from about the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, and the top players played, with not much chopping and changing. Consistent selection of the best players led to consistently good results. David Miller, with an unbeaten 56 off 51 balls, and Rory Kleinveldt, with 43 off 61 deliveries, then gave the innings a huge lift with a partnership of 95. However, 175, scored in only 38.4 overs, was far too little to set England a decent challenge. Praise for KirstenCaptain AB de Villiers praised Kirsten, who will now step down as coach of the Proteas. “He will be dearly missed. He’s a hell of a human being,” De Villiers said. “He’s just irreplaceable. He’ll be missed.”center_img “At some point we have to try and cross the line. We need some real charisma and some real guts and glory to get over the line. It might not be pretty, but at some point we are going to have to do it to get rid of this mist.” “That’s maybe because we’ve explored quite a lot of combinations over the last two years. We’ve rested our test players quite a bit to try and broaden the base of our one-day team.” 20 June 2013 Six catchesEngland wicketkeeper Jos Buttler enjoyed the conditions, snaring six catches, while James Tredwell knocked over 3 for 19 in seven overs, James Anderson 2 for 14 in eight, and Stuart Broad 3 for 50. To rub salt into the Proteas’ wounds, former South African Jonathan Trott played the anchor role for the home team, finishing unbeaten on 82 off 84 deliveries, as England reached 179 for 3 in 37.3 overs. Joe Root lent strong support with 48 and shared a stand of 105 with Trott. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “He means a lot to the team. He took us to the next level, there’s no doubt about it and he’ll be remembered in the side, the traditions and the things he started with the team. It hasn’t worked in ODI cricket, but the freshness of those players, having not played that much one-day cricket, could be a significant part of the reason why South Africa’s test team has swept all before it. “A great innings by David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt at the end, but to have quality batsmen like that not being able to make a contribution was disappointing,” was Kirsten’s assessment of his charges’ batting effort. last_img read more

Geocaching HQ’s Product Team Goes on the Road

first_img SharePrint RelatedGeocaching Employee Spotlight: Product Owner & Avid Geocacher, Ben HewittMarch 13, 2016In “Community”Inside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 6): New Dashboard, Project-GC and Mary HydeMay 10, 2018In “Podcast”Inside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 3): Geocaching® app & retirement of Classic appMay 10, 2018In “Community” Whether you’re developing an app, building a website or designing Tupperware containers, it’s important that you have people in your organization who are passionate about understanding people — people who are committed to discovering what makes the lives of those in their community better. At Geocaching HQ, there is a whole team of folks responsible for making sure we’re building the right tools at the right time to meet the needs of geocachers around the world.Meet the Product Team:These guys!In January, we introduced you to Jayme, our User Insights Analyst at Geocaching HQ. Jayme collects feedback from geocachers about our apps and features by working with playtesters, coordinating surveys and even organizing special games designed to collect feedback. Recently, Jayme and the rest of her Product teammates — the people who work with departments across the company to determine the “what”, “how”, “when” and “why” for everything we build — took their insights-gathering on the road to the Going Caching Mega Event in Rome, Georgia. We asked Jayme to share some of the Product Team’s takeaways from the experience with us:Why did the Product Team decide to take a trip to Going Caching in Rome, Georgia? The first User Insights Games — games designed to collect feedback from geocachers about our features —  were a success at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party, so we were looking for a way to expand the program and bring voices in from other regions and demographics. Geocaching’s Founder, Jeremy Irish, had attended the Going Caching Mega Event the previous year and thought it would be a great place to host the next User Insights Games because the event attracted players with a wide range of experience levels.What were you trying to achieve by taking the User Insights Games on the road?Geocachers participate in User Insights Games at the Going Caching Mega Event.We had a few different goals in mind for these games:First, we wanted to invite geocachers to help us prioritize various community-suggested features for the Geocaching website and apps — and have fun playing a game too!We also saw this as an opportunity to share what it’s like to be on the Geocaching Product Team with the community. When Geocaching HQ makes decisions on a new (or old) feature, we have to consider how people play the game differently across the world and across interests. That’s actually one of the coolest things about geocaching — it allows for you to play the game just the way you like it. But not everyone likes the same aspects of the game which can make deciding which features to focus on (and when) very challenging. All the geocachers who participated in these games were made “Honorary Product Team members” for the day, and were presented with some of the challenges we get to think about every day.Finally, we wanted to spread the word about how we gather feedback about product and ways to stay involved. The games are just one step in the lengthy process of creating new geocaching features. What are the steps to deciding on a new geocaching feature?We usually start with a thread in the User Insights forums and follow up by sending out surveys to the global geocaching community. (Editor’s note: Make sure you’re signed up to receive the Geocaching Weekly Newsletter to be notified about these surveys.) We’ve played User Insights Games with folks at the Geocaching Block Party and Going Caching, as well as with geocachers at Mega-Events in Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, and Sweden. We’re hoping to bring these games to more geocachers around the world in 2016.What happened at the User Insights Games at the Going Caching Mega Event?Geocachers play “Buy a Feature”.We played with 75 different geocachers over a three day period in four separate two hour sessions. Whew! This time, groups were given a set amount of Monopoly money and were then asked to “purchase” various features — and making sure to consider geocachers of different skill level living in different places with different likes and dislikes. They purposefully were not given enough money to purchase everything (similar to how we have to consider resource constraints here at Geocaching HQ) so the groups had to collaborate and make some decisions together. What will you do with your learning from the User Insights Games?As members of the Product Team, it’s our job to be the voice of the geocaching community, based on the insights we gather at games like these. These learnings are shared with others at Geocaching HQ and are central to the product development process, ensuring that we design new features with many different geocachers’ interests in mind.What was the highlight of the event for you?It’s incredibly fun to watch a team of 5-7 geocachers collaborate on a specific topic. They may not agree on everything, but watching them get a bit vulnerable and share their passion for geocaching with each other (and us) is pretty special. Ideas are shared, listened to, and friends are made — all in a two hour whirlwind of fun and games.One geocacher pulled me aside at one point and said, “I was wondering to myself why you don’t just ask us the questions and save the time, and then I thought that probably wouldn’t be any fun. I see what you guys did here. You tricked us into having fun AND giving you feedback. Well played.”Anything else you’d like to add?The whole team would like to give a HUGE thank you to:The event organizers and their crew for working with us to bring User Insights Games to the Going Caching Mega Event. It was the first time we had taken our more formal, organized games on the road and, thanks to their awesome teamwork and planning, it was wildly successful.The city of Rome, Georgia for donating the use of their beautiful ECO Center. We needed a large space to hold the sessions and the ECO Center was an amazing place to play for the week.All the geocachers who shared two hours of their time with us. There were so many things to do and geocaches to find at this event, and we greatly appreciate that they made the choice to spend their valuable time with us!Are you a geocacher? (If not, then you may be reading the wrong blog.) If yes, we want to hear from you! Take this survey to share your two cents on Challenge Caches and check out this blog post for other ways you can give your feedback. Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

3-D Printing Could Help Solve a Housing Crisis

first_imgAre Printed Houses in Our Future?Q&A: Paperless Home Design-BuildRobotics Comes to Homebuilding RELATED ARTICLES Great potential aheadAs the article in Wired notes, architects and construction companies have been tinkering with 3-D printing technology to create buildings for a number of years. In 2013, a Chinese company printed 10 houses in one day, and later a six-story apartment building, and then an 11,000-square-foot mansion.A San Francisco-based company called Apis Core printed an igloo-shaped house for about $10,000 in less than 24 hours at a site in Russia. The head of marketing for the company told Wired that the technology could be used to provide affordable housing for a large number of people in a short amount of time.The prototype in Austin, however, is apparently the first printed house that could meet local code requirements and was ready for people to move in. ICON envisions upgrades to the process that would allow the robotic installation of windows after the walls have been printed, with drones spray-painting the walls. It may even be possible to develop techniques for printing roofs as well, although that’s not possible with materials and techniques currently available.In addition to offering speed and lower construction costs, 3-D printing also makes it easy to create features that would be difficult with conventional construction. Printing complex shapes and curved walls, for example, would be no more difficult than building a plain box.The printer ICON developed for the Austin house had to meet a number of conditions set by New Story, and overcome some technical hurdles in its inaugural run. Lafci told Wired that the plan now is to ship the device to El Salvador later in the year where it be put to work printing its first community of houses.The Austin house is the only one that ICON’s Vulcan has printed to date, so how the printer performs on real job sites has yet to be seen. The process is still being refined, Quartz reports, but New Story hopes it will soon be possible to print an 800-square-foot house in just six hours. New Story, a housing charity based in San Francisco, can build a community of 100 houses in El Salvador or Haiti in about eight months, with each dwelling costing about $6,000. But in a partnership with an Austin, Texas, technology company called ICON, New Story can look forward to building a new home in a single day at a cost of $4,000.What’s putting this within reach is ICON’s 3-D printing equipment that created a 350-square-foot prototype house in Austin earlier this month. The building, described by Quartz as the first 3-D printed house to be code-compliant and approved for occupancy, was unveiled at the South by Southwest conference.ICON’s Vulcan printer dispenses a concrete blend in strands roughly 1 inch thick, laying up the walls of the house layer by layer. The mix retains its shape as it’s placed and allows the printer to continue its programmed journey until the walls are complete. A crew must still install windows and doors, and frame the roof, but the entire process can take place in a day.The houses may not look like high-end architectural award-winners, but they offer a way of providing safe, comfortable housing in regions of extreme poverty, and at a pace and price far superior to conventional construction. Alexandria Lafci, a co-founder and chief operating officer at New Story, told Wired magazine that ICON’s technology is attractive because it can help alleviate a critical housing problem in much less time than conventional building programs could.“There are over 100 million people living in slum conditions in what we call survival mode,” Lafci told the magazine. “How can we make a big dent in this instead of just solving it incrementally?”last_img read more

Help for Coffee Farmers

first_img The money, being made available through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will assist the neediest of the 7,000 registered coffee farmers. Small coffee farmers who have been severely affected by the ongoing decline in the industry will now have access to $60 million, which has been donated by philanthropist and businessman, Michael Lee-Chin and his family. Story Highlights The announcement was made during a media briefing at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries on Monday (September 10). Small coffee farmers who have been severely affected by the ongoing decline in the industry will now have access to $60 million, which has been donated by philanthropist and businessman, Michael Lee-Chin and his family.The money, being made available through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will assist the neediest of the 7,000 registered coffee farmers.The announcement was made during a media briefing at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries on Monday (September 10).Under the arrangement, farmers will indicate to RADA what their immediate needs are in terms of tools and other supplies that can help to boost their productivity. RADA will then purchase the items required.Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, thanked Mr. Lee-Chin for the personal contribution, which will go towards the welfare of coffee farmers by helping them to “get back on their feet and help their families”.He said that this short-term intervention is a welcome boost to the industry, which is “at a cross roads”, having declined dramatically over the past 25 years.“We used to produce 700,000 boxes of Blue Mountain coffee. We are targeting 230,000 or 240,000 right now – that’s a pretty sharp decline,” he said, noting, as well, that 20,000 boxes of High Mountain coffee are now being produced, where it previously yielded 400,000 boxes.With coffee price at as low as $4,000 per box last year, Mr. Shaw lamented that the country’s farmers do not have much bargaining power and have no control over market prices.“It is most unfortunate that while the demand for coffee consumption globally has either been steady or generally increasing, our coffee industry is going in the opposite direction. Something has to be done about it,” he stressed.The Minister noted that even though the industry is now privatised, the Government is still committed to working with stakeholders to ensure the industry is resuscitated.“Government still has responsibility, in our view, for facilitation and for the aggressive promotion of the coffee industry. It’s another one of our unique products; we have to promote it to the hilt,” he said.He said the Administration will ensure the continued integrity of the product; continue to provide technical support, extension services and technology transfer for small farmers; and provide general industry development.The intervention was initiated by Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, the Most Hon. Juliet Holness, who said she approached Mr. Lee-Chin last week to outline the plight of coffee farmers and to seek his assistance.“This one-time gift to the farmers means that many are going to be comfortably able to send their children back to school this term, and many will be in a position to be able to access, through RADA, some amount of assistance,” she said.Mrs. Holness noted that farmers she has interacted with have requested a tractor for them to share between their communities; a truck to transport their coffee to market; and well as pesticides, fungicides and fertiliser.For his part, Mr. Lee-Chin said he is aware that the Government does not have the fiscal space to provide relief, and, therefore, the gift is “a stop-gap solution to the plight faced by our farmers” in an industry that “is in crisis”.last_img read more