Chortau dashboard camera review

Hey people!

After using the A118 for nearly 2 years, I had to look for a new dash cam when I sold my previous car. One of the reasons why I did not want to remove the camera is that I had to remove back the wire running from the cam, across the top of the windshield and under the dashboard till the cigarette lighter. Hence the decision to go for another unit and a newer model. A hell lot of dash cam models are available on the (online) market and it can indeed take much time to go through them, read reviews and assess the pros and the cons. So, if you missed that dash cam introduction and review, do have a look here – Really important stuff that I won’t be discussing in this post.

Today’s post gonna give an overview of the Chortau (yeah, weird name) dash cam and also, the main additional feature to look for.

New dash cam feature – WiFi

When I started looking for a new dash cam, there was one additional criteria to look for : Built in WiFi connectivity in the dash cam. Plenty of new models now allow you to connect directly to the camera to view the clips, download, edit and share them through your mobile (iOS or Android). That’s pretty cool stuff as you don’t need to remove the memory cards or the dash cam itself to copy the videos to your computer. You can still do that if you have to copy the whole set of video clips on the external memory card.

Whenever I have to copy a video, I need to switch on the WiFi on the dash cam, open my mobile app, browse through the cam’s video gallery, select the clip and click the download button.

Overview of the Chortau dash camera

Having a similar wedge form factor as the A118 / B40, the camera is barely visible from the outside and also from the inside since it is well hidden and concealed behind the rear-view mirror.

Other features are quite standard ones, namely:

  • Video : 1080p
  • Photo : 12 MP
  • Sony IMX323 Sensor
  • Novatek
  • Wide angle view (170°)
  • 2 inch screen
  • G Sensor
  • Built in battery
  • and of course, WiFi connectivity

Photo gallery

Points I like :

  • Video quality is very good during the day as well as at night
  • The camera also allows you to zoom in / out so that when you can have the optimal area to record in case your dashboard is largely visible in the video footage.
  • You can switch off the camera’s display screen so that it does not distract you when driving. Very practical feature : My screen is always off.
  • You get 2 extra 3M stickers for the plate which needs to be fixed on the windshield
  • You get a tool (the blue one) to easily install the wiring

I have been using this Chortau dash cam for the past 6 months now and I’m pretty much satisfied despite the areas of improvement mentioned below

Points I don’t like :

  1. WiFi speed
    It literally take ages to download a clip through the WiFi. A 300mb video can take more than 5 minutes
  2. Recording while connected to mobile
    When the camera is connected to your mobile while you are downloading a clip, the camera stops recording. So, you might miss important things.
  3. No emergency lock button
    Unlike the A118 model I owned previously, this Chortau unit does not have a dedicated lock function whereby you can instantly prevent mark a clip so that the camera does not overwrite a specific footage. This lock feature also normally moves that video in another folder. I miss this feature!

Installing the dash cam

No need to look for a technician to install the dash cam. You just stick the camera’s holding plate using the provided 3M sticker glue and then, you run the wire from the camera to your cigarette lighter. So, no wire will be hanging around since it will be neatly hidden on the edge of the windscreen and below your dashboard. It might just take some 15-30 minutes to get this job done.

Built in battery?

Yes, you read it right. I had carefully chosen my previous dash cam because it had a capacitor instead of a battery. This normally means that camera stays on for a few seconds when disconnected from power but the advantage is that the camera should last longer since it doesn’t have a battery whose performance will deteriorate over time. The Chortau’s product specification does mention a lithium battery but strangely, it lasts only a few seconds, just like a camera with a capacitor.

When I reached out the email support recently to clarify this point, they did confirm presence of a battery but of very small capacity.

Video samples

You can watch a short sample file with day and night recordings here :

Photo Sample

Despite that a dash cam’s function is rarely used for taking pictures, nevertheless, here is a sample of picture shot :

My real struggle

I may sound silly but I really struggled with the dash cam for several months.

Going to the menus was really a pain as the menu button did not work. I repeatedly had to use that button for several times, and press everything else before being able to go to those menu to switch on the WiFi or change settings. I even contacted the seller who told me that he does not have such problems and it might probably be a humidity issue.

Then, exactly 2 weeks back, I got in touch with support to figure out if there was an issue. Well, they replied back to tell me that you first need to press the “Ok” button to stop the recording and then, press the “Menu” button to go to those screens. And you know what? It worked! I was like… so stupid for months!

The mobile application

Depending on dash cam models, you might need to use specific free apps in order to connect to the device. This information is normally available in the user manual. I did try numerous apps but none other work except the one specified. This Chortau model connects to an app called RoadCam.

Screenshots of the app :

 

Summing up

Now that I have gone quickly through the main features of the Chortau dashboard camera and also, the dedicated iOS / Android app, RoadCam, it is now time to give a final verdict. Overall, I like the camera despite it lacks the emergency lock button. WiFi speed is also an issue but at the end of the day, it does the job slowly. I guess that we cannot expect much from such devices. I would love to review or get feedback from another similar dashcam with WiFi connectivity. I did not experienced any lag while going through the camera’s menu or even in the mobile RoadCam application. I also loved the responsiveness of the Chortau support through email. They reply to all queries and they are very helpful to clear any doubts you may have regarding the camera.

I did not mention the price yet. I paid the unit GBP 50 + GBP 18, amounting to a total of GBP 68 (Approximately Rs 3200). And it took less than 2 weeks to be delivered after being shipped from the Great Britain. FYI, I paid around $70 for my previous camera 2 years back. I just hope that this Chortau unit will last for some time and it won’t disappoint me.

That’s all for today.

Bye 🙂

 

 

A guide to become lazy with wifi-enabled switches

As promised a few days back, here’s the post which I wanted to write since quite some time.

While browsing on AliExpress several months back for some timer-based lights, I stumbled upon some interesting wifi-enabled switches which allows you to control your lights and any other electrical devices differently. On top of being able to control them from anywhere through the internet, you can easily create schedules to switch them on / off, set repeated timers and even use them through remote controls.

This also means that you don’t need to get off your sofa to switch a light on or off. No need to run to switch off your oven when you feel the burning smell. Seriously, you can do more than that.

That sounded really exciting and I started to look for similar switches on the net. One brand which was constantly popping up in search results was SONOFF. There was a good set of positive feedback around the brand commercialized by a Shenzhen based company named ITEAD.

Range of products

Their official web site gives a very good overview of the different type of devices they sell, ranging from the basic wifi switch up to temperature and humidity sensors or even a bridge device allowing you to register remote control patterns so that the device is able to “mimic” them and make them controllable through internet.

 

Always connected to your wifi router, each of these products communicate constantly to an Amazon cloud server to provide an update of their states and also, to receive instructions to switch on / off according to your planned schedules or whenever you use the dedicated app to switch them. These devices also get firmware updates and installation is done through a single button.

On the basic Sonoff switch and on the light touch switches, there’s a led light which provides feedback on the connectivity state of the device. The light touch switches also have additional led lights corresponding to each light connected. At night, you only have to follow the light… to your switch 🙂

Prices?

 

 

Although you can purchase them through eBay, I prefer going through AliExpress since Sonoff have their official store. Also, watch out for frequent promotional offers. For indicative purposes:

  • Basic Switch – $7 ~ Rs 240
    You can install this switch before or after absolutely any other switch or appliance to control electricity flow.
  • 3 Gang Touch (UK) – $30 ~ Rs 1, 000
    Used to replace any existing typical light switches we have in our homes in Mauritius. Each gang controls 1 light.
  • Remote control (433 Mhz) –  $6 – Rs 200
    You can program a remote control for up to 4 different lights

And yes, if you are planning to buy the touch switch to replace your existing light switch, go for the UK version one. It perfectly suits the existing base you have at home.

A step towards making your home intelligent

 

I have already purchased and installed several of their 3-gang light switches and Sonoff Basic devices, all configured to work over the internet and through remote controls. Working flawlessly for the past months, I’m pretty much satisfied with this concept which easily makes your home more intelligent through

  • Automatic switching of lights at specific times and days
  • Triggering other lights / switches automatically when a specific light is switched on or off
  • Use of sensors to trigger events (Yet to experiment on my side)

A quick guide to install the switches

Depending on what you have purchased, installation will vary but generally, the devices are quite easy to install. For instance, a socket is just plug and play and you should be able to configure it without getting your hands dirty. For other switches, generally, you will need:

  • Time
  • Patience
  • Being able to identify colors in wires
  • Basic electrical knowledge
  • An Android / iOS mobile
  • A wifi internet access and password
  • Finally, some simple tools (screw driver, knife and a hammer in case things do now work correctly)

For example, here’s a shot of a normal 3 gang by a Sonoff 3 gang touch (UK version);

And here’s a Sonoff Basic placed just before a 3 gang switch. So, I’m able to control electricity input to the switch and any physical switch in the “on” position will be switched on / off through a single Sonoff Basic device:

The EWeLink mobile app

Freely available on Android and iOS, the app allows you to register your devices and hence control them from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. You can also share your devices to anyone as long as they have a EWeLink account.

The screenshots below will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Other ways of controlling the devices

Google Home and Alexa are 2 additional ways you can easily switch your lights but I can’t test yet.

It is too bad that Siri can’t do that yet natively but it can be achieved using the IFTTT and iOS Shortcut app as per screenshots below

Thanks to Jason who shared a tutorial showing the steps above. Now, it is even more fun.

Just imagine saying

“Siri, switch on the front lights”….

You can replace Siri with Google or Alexa but remember, I’m nearly an Apple fan boy now…

What happens if they unplug their server one day?

I did ask myself this question too…

As mentioned earlier, each of the Sonoff devices are connected to an Amazon cloud server.  So, what if the server is pulled down or the Sonoff company stops providing this service? Well, your devices will still work through their own switches and also through their remotes.

Now, if you are a geek, this will definitely make things more exciting… No need to wait for the server to go down. You can take control of the devices by flashing it and also, doing simple api requests. This opens endless possibilities of doing things…

And what happens if you don’t have electricity?

Huh. You can’t switch on lights without electricity dude!

Silly question!

What’s next?

Before ending this post, it is worth mentioning that there are several other brands doing the same thing or even more. It is your money. You do whatever you want. The choice is yours. As for future plans, I’m very tempted to purchase the bridging device and also the colored led strip lights. And if ever I get bored for some days, I might try to control the devices directly without going through the AWS server.

So, keep tuned to this blog for more updates.

Ciaow…

 

Things to know : Getting a loan for a plot of land / house

Hey people!

Trust you are all well. Apologies for posting an article after so long. 

It’s been nearly a year since we purchased and moved into a house in Highlands. Since we did not win any lottery, we had to go for a loan to finance the purchase. This post will provide some highlights about the process and the hassle involved but the important thing is that, at the end of the day, the loan gets approved so that you can fulfill your dream…

I just hope that this page will be resourceful and useful to anyone looking for information about the topic. Procedures will surely differ in other banks or financial institutions but at least, this post can give you an overview of the process. Now, get ready for a loooooonnngggg post!

Don’t forget! Like, Share and Subscribe to my Facebook Page

Step 1 : Know what you want

Before going forward with the new project, you need to know what you want.

Some options are

  • Buy a land and build a house
    Usually takes more time than anything else and most of the time, it is a really PITA. But at the end, you get exactly what you dreamed of. And of course, you can modify your house design to cater for your current and future needs. If you are buying a land in a “morcellement”, you normally get ready made access to electricity, water, telephone, internet and sometimes sewage facilities.

  • Buy an existing house on a private land
    Less time consuming, you can get a ready-made house (either new or used). You can then tweak things according to your taste, except the existing house design. The good thing is that you can do extension works afterwards if you need to make the house bigger.

  • Buy a flat
    Usually, flats can be readily available for purchase or can be purchased while the construction works are planned to begin or in progress. Flats can be small or huge, depending on needs. Sometimes, people buy a small flat close to offices for easy of access while having a house somewhere else.

  • Buy a duplex villa unit in a residential complex
    Most duplex villas I came across are rather small in size, despite having multiple rooms. They are relatively cheaper than individual houses.

  • Buy a villa unit in a residential complex
    Same as above, except that you pay more to get an individual house for yourself

If you are buying a flat or a ready made house in a residential complex, please make sure that you think well, especially in terms of family expansion. These type of properties normally have contract agreements and you can’t do any expansion works. Sometimes, you can’t even change the color of your outdoor walls. Also, you usually need to pay a monthly “syndic” fees for the maintenance works, security and welfare of the residential complex or the building.

Step 2a : Know how much you are eligible

What are current monthly expenses? What are your current loan commitments? How much money can you save if you review your expenses? How much money can you invest in a new loan?

These are questions that you need to ask yourself. Sit down, write down your recurring monthly expenses. Calculate the amount of money left. If you are married, you can jointly take a loan with your spouse. Your monthly repayment capabilities will be higher along with more chances of getting a bigger loan.

Next, visit your bank along with your 3 most recent payslips, your National ID card(s), your birth certificate(s) and your marriage certificate (where applicable). The bank can advise you accordingly and give you an estimate of the amount of loan you are (jointly) eligible. From here, you will know how much money you can invest in a new property purchase and also, a rough estimate of the monthly repayment for that loan. 

Step 2b : Don’t exaggerate on the loan amount

If you are eligible for a Rs 5 Million rupees loan, think well about the amount you gonna take and the risks associated. On top of the monthly repayment loan premium, you will also need to cater for

  • The monthly premium of a life insurance policy covering that loan. We will get to that later…
  • Any additional and unforeseen expenses for the family
  • Any family expansion plans
  • Kids education

Of course, you gonna get promoted to a better position in some years most probably but remember, better be on the safe side. 

People will always advise you to go for short loan repayment periods whereby you need to sacrifice a lot more just to avoid big interests amount. I don’t agree to that as if you don’t have any money at the end of the month, then you are not living a life. You are working hard to earn some money and you should ensure that you can at least enjoy your life as well as provide a shelter for your family. So, avoid getting over-indebtedness and take big risks. Play safe.

Step 3 : Your employer

Bank or other financial institutions will probably require you to ask your employer to sign a form (SBM calls this the ISP Form) whereby the employer commits to credit your salary in your account at that bank.

Step 4 : The PIN

The Parcel Identification Number (PIN) is a unique ID assigned to a plot of land and used by land surveyors etc. The notary will normally do the necessary to apply for a PIN at the Ministry of Housing and Lands and it usually costs Rs2500.

Step 5 : The sale of deed

A draft of the sale of deed ( Title deed ) is first prepared by a notary of your choice or that of the current property owner. The notary will need ID cards, birth and marriage certificates

It is common practice to put a piece of land as guarantee when you take a loan. Consequently, the financial institution will put a “lien” on that property. It is good to know that you can’t sell anything which has a “lien” on it, unless there’s an official letter giving clearance to sell that property and consequently settle any outstanding amount.

Step 6 : Loan application

As procedures can vary from banks and other financial institutions, the documents might vary and include :

  • 3 most recent payslips
  • ID Cards, birth and marriage certificates
  • Title Deed
  • Site Plan
  • Location Plan
  • Proof of address

Step 7 : The property evaluation by the bank

Once you submit your loan application, the bank will assign a private evaluation officer to have a look at the property you are planning to acquire. This process ensures that the property is correctly evaluated and loan taken accordingly. I think that this also forms part of the risk assessment in case you fail to pay back your loan

Step 8 : Life insurance policy and medical tests

Nowadays, most banks require a life insurance policy to secure the loan in the eventuality that some unforeseen situations happen. This can be death or total / partial disability. In these cases, the life policy will pay back any remaining amount of your loan and the difference to your family. This guarantees that the house won’t be seized, causing any hassle or loss to your family.

There are 2 types of life insurances applicable :

  • The normal one has higher monthly premium but at the end of the loan contract period, you are entitled to get the insurance policy amount (+ interests etc) back. So, it works, just like a life policy. Read one of my old posts for more information : https://www.yashvinblogs.com/life-insurance/
  • DTA (Decreasing Term Amount) insurance costs less monthly in the long run as it depends on the amount of loan due. But at the end of the loan period, you won’t be entitled to any amount that you contributed.

The insurance company will study your application and profile. You might be required to do medical tests at their own expense such as blood test, visit to a doctor, ECG (Heart) or even a stress test. This medical set of assessments allow the insurance company to evaluate your health and risks associated because if ever, you fall ill or worst later on, they will need to pay back your loan with their money. The medical results also allow them to set a monthly premium.

Step 9 : Loan approval

Once all docs have been submitted, the loan is sent for approval. Normally, this is discussed in a board / loan committee meeting and depending on your (repayment) profile, your loan can be fully or partly sanctioned. The loan interest rate is also finalized before this is communicated to you. 

At this point of time, they may also run checks on your profile (No, not your Facebook profile!) but instead on your job and account history. They need to make sure that they are not taking big risks by lending you money. Important to know that according to the law (I think), a person (or a couple) can have a maximum of 40% of the monthly (combined) salary income to repay loans. 

Step 10 : Final sale of deed

Once loan is approved, the notary will be informed accordingly so that he can prepare the final sale of deed.

Step 11 : Bank approval for final sale of deed

This sale of deed goes back to the bank for approval and signature of related documents

Step 12 : Loan disbursed

The loan is then disbursed into your personal account or directly to the notary or through a cheque. 

Step 13 : Signature of final sale of deed

The long awaited day!

Both seller and buyer normally meet at the notary’s office to officially sign the sale of deed and proceed to the payment of the sale, charges and other fees. Once this document is signed, you can consider yourself as officially the new owner of the property.

Congratulations! You can now update your official address everywhere, including on Facebook 🙂 

 

Now, the notary will register the sale and inform the bank once everything is finalized. After some days, both buyer and seller can collect the signed and registered sale of deed.

Post-sale 1 : Taxes, commission and fees

Notary

The notary taking care of the transaction will normally inform you of his fees and any other charges (such as tax) that you need to pay as a buyer. The seller will also be informed of the fees he needs to pay on his side. The notary will also ensure that the charges are paid to the corresponding accounts (including to the authorities). Each notary have their own fees, hence the need to ask them before dealing with the transaction.

Agency fees

If you are buying a property through an agency or a (registered) intermediary (“courtier”), you should know that they charge about 2% of the whole transaction amount. So, if you are buying a land for Rs 2 millions, you need to pay them Rs 40, 000 as fees. (probably add VAT to that too). Important to note that this fee is not included in your loan amount and is paid directly to the agency or intermediary, not through the notary

Bank charges

The bank will also charge you for the loan papers and other associated charges. This will also vary from bank to bank and if you are lucky enough, you might be applying for a loan during promotional sales period whereby some charges are sometimes waived off.

Government taxes

As a seller, you have to pay 5% tax to the government for the transaction. So, when selling any property, make sure than you take than 5% into account as you never gonna get that money. The notary will automatically do the necessary to deduct that amount.

Now, a buyer also needs to pay 5% tax to the government, unless that the buyer does not have any other property on his/her name, including property obtained through heritage. In this case, the buyer is considered a first-time buyer and the 5% tax is waived off. If you are purchasing the property jointly with your spouse, the buyer 5% tax wave off applies if both persons do not have any other property on their names.

Post-sale 2 : MRA exemption

Also good to know that you are entitled to deduct any home loan interest in your tax returns if you have no other property on your name.

Again, if you took a joint-loan (with your spouse), your spouse should not have any other property too.

Post-sale 3 : Property evaluation by Ministry officers

Once the sale is completed, officers from some government evaluation office will get in touch with you after some time. They will request a site visit to see if the property was under-evaluated in order to evade the tax paid to the government.

How long does the whole process take?

Just for indicative purposes, I got in touch with the bank around 10th January with the necessary payslips to get an idea of the amount of loan we are entitled as a couple. Once the property (land and house) has been identified, I started to gather the necessary documents as from the 15th January. Loan application was signed in February. Loan was approved some weeks later, after which loan was disbursed into my bank account.

 Sale papers was signed on 22nd March, for my birthday.

This explains the use of a picture of a set of keys in my birthday post last year! 

I hope to write more often now. Any topic suggestions are the most welcomed.  I might be writing on my wifi-enabled light switches next time, so keep tuned!

Cheers!

Here ends 2018

2018 has been a very unique year.

Just to quote a few : Taking up a new job with its new challenges, unmasking manager sending anonymous mail, establishing trust and faith among team members, moving to Highlands and surviving our first winter months in the cold and rainy weather, travelling to Johanesburg twice. To make the list even longer, I can also add: office relocation, house renovations, selling the Kia and purchasing another car, two office annual / end of year parties. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention: my dad passing away. As you can imagine, it has been hectic all throughout the whole year. I never took so many critical decisions in a single year.

Unfortunately, the passion for blogging has also been neglected with barely a dozen of posts written during the year. I can blame so many things but at the end, I did not invest myself enough into this activity. Same for taking appropriate steps to maintain a healthy life.  I won’t lie to myself by promising to do better next year but I sincerely hope for a better 2019, not for just myself but for everyone around me.

Along with Dhaneesha and my two sons Dhanvin and Divyansh, I wish all of you a merry xmas and happy new year 2019.

Bless you and your family,

Long live Mauritius!

Cheers,

Yashvin

[Guest Post] Environmental studies in our schools – A Must

Hello everyone!

Here’s a guest post by Yo Nature

Yo Nature (as YOur NAture) is about making the environment of Mauritius everyone’s central interest. We are simply nature lovers, who enjoy salt water in our hair and hiking in the woods. No place is better than little Mauritius, yet few take the time to realize what a beautiful island this really is. We want to change that through our website by providing the right information and encouraging you to care.

We hope that our passion rubs off on you!

Anyone interested to write a post and get some visibility are the most welcomed. Just get in touch with me!

 


Environmental studies in our schools – A Must

Have you ever seen a cute little boy eating crisps and then throw the plastic bag right on the pavement in front of his parents?

Though it may seem natural to some, others may find it quite unnerving for people to act like this in the 21st century. The sad truth is this: most parents do not themselves respect their environments, so they do not see the use in teaching their children to do so.

What is the environment?

Put simply, our environment is everything that surrounds us, both living and non-living. It also refers to the set of conditions within a specific area as well as the interactions between the organisms and the non-living things. Usually, we associate the environment to nature: trees, rivers and rocks. But it is not limited to that; man-made additions are also considered.

Why should kids learn about environmental management?

Some time back, primary schools used to teach Environmental Studies or EVS; now, this has been divided into science, history and geography. Secondary schools teach Environmental Management at SC and HSC levels. Yet, very few schools in Mauritius offer this option.

While we tend to concentrate more on jamming boring science into children’s heads who see no use of it, environmental studies focus more on the outdoors. Cyclonic conditions, flash floods, climate change make more sense.

5 reasons to study environmental science

  1. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors if you don’t like confined spaces and usual 9am-5pm jobs.
  2. Environmental experts have to move from place to place while working on different projects, one week in the mangroves of Mauritius, one week in the mangroves of Kenya. So, there’s the opportunity to travel and actually see different places.
  3. You get to work right on the battlefield. Our environment is in peril today; industrialization and urbanization are not only wiping away what natural habitats we have left but also impacting heavily on them. Experts are needed to help keep these disasters at bay and to mitigate them.
  4. The study of the environment helps to open doors to more job careers. Most companies are going green and the demand for organic food is also increasing. Depending on where you are, your studies will be useful in some way or another.
  5. Working in nature requires passion. What’s at stake, saving whales or protecting forests, though sometimes may be risky, is more important than the pay at the end of the month.

Right now where we are heading is towards massive changes in our climate. Winters do not even feel cold anymore whereas summers feel like you’re being burnt alive. Something is happening around us; our children have to learn and understand this to be able to come up with the right measures and initiatives.

Islands are more threatened by climate change

We heard time and again of the possible effects and consequences of global warming and climate change; few actually realize that the phenomenon is very much happening now. Little Mauritius, in the middle of the sea, is much more threatened compared to large countries. Why?

  1. Sea level rise
    As glaciers melt, sea levels are rising. Maldives, for instance, is expected to be completely inundated by 2085 without appropriate coastal prevention structures [1]. A general rise in sea level by 80 cm is expected by the year 2100.
  2. Extreme weather conditions
    The temperature is increasing as well as the frequency of cyclones. Warmer waters stimulate the formation of cyclones. Is it not a fact that now we have more flash floods and thunderstorms?
  3. Touristic activities
    Tourism is one of the main economic pillars of the island. According to the Bank of Mauritius, the tourism industry has made around Rs 62.5 billion for the year 2018 [2]. Villas are sprouting over the island like mushrooms, at the expense of wetlands. It is, in fact, due to the filling of these wetlands that flooding is becoming such an issue.
  4. Coral reef deterioration
    The reef that surrounds the island protects us from the fiercer waves of the ocean. As the sea gets warmer, coral polyps die because they cannot withstand high temperatures. What’s more, ocean acidification by acid rainwater accelerates the process. With no barrier, Mauritius is exposed to oceanic threats.
  5. Coastal erosion
    Right now, Mauritius has a population of 1.29 million people. From mountain slopes to agricultural land, houses are popping up everywhere. Obviously, more people means more buildings. However, stronger waves, sea level rise, longer lasting and more frequent rainfall, take away coastal land with them. The population will keep on increasing as will the demand for property.
  6. Fisheries
    For the coastal population, fisheries are still a major money source. With changes in the sea conditions, fishes will migrate or will be destroyed by invasive species.
  7. Social instability
    Don’t we all get annoyed that our once public beaches are now getting restricted? With climate change looming over us, the few beaches that are now public will eventually lose their charm. Who wants the eroded beaches? This is an issue that’s already causing social anger.
  8. Loss of money
    Playing around with our fragile environment will eventually yield the results. Mangrove trees are free, building protective structures costs money. Not to say that it will be a blow to the touristic industry once the word gets around that floods throw their tantrum whenever they want and to beware.

Sustainable Mauritius

At the end of the day, all the elements in nature are linked one to another. We have to be prepared for the coming hard years ahead. And it is not with an attitude that money or technology is the answer that we will do that. Where parents fail, teachers take over.

The future is for children; right now, we have to teach them what we know so that they can come up with the right ideas and solutions to survive. Sustainability starts at school.

References:

  1. Union of concerned scientists. Climate Hot Map – Global warming effects around the world. [online] Available at http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/republic-of-maldives.html [Accessed 14th November 2018]
  2. Statistics Mauritius. International Travel and Tourism- 1st Quarter 2018. Publication. [online] Available at http://statsmauritius.govmu.org/English/Publications/Pages/Tourism_1Qtr18.aspx [Accessed 14th November 2018]
  3. Image source : https://pixabay.com/en/learning-school-outdoor-asia-book-1782430/

 

Moved to Namecheap’s EasyWP WordPress Hosting

Before diving into the topic, let me reassure you.

This is not a sponsored post, so you are guaranteed to get a real feedback.

Current hosting

With my current Siteground.com 2 year hosting package reaching its renewal point, it was time for me to move to a new hosting company. As I posted on Facebook some time back, I usually change host after some time for a main reason : The renewal fee. Normally, new customers benefit from very good prices when subscribing for the first time. And if you take a 2 or 3 years subscription, the monthly fee is very competitive and interesting.

Renewing it again for another year will now cost me $240!

Additionally, I have been recently getting way too many warnings about exceeded usage CPU limit warnings although there is barely traffic to my blog. They then take the blog down for some hours.

So, personally, it makes sense for me to move somewhere else.

The hunt for a new hosting

After several days of browsing, comparing and reading reviews, I was nearly going to purchase a wordpress.com paid service at around $4 monthly but removed that one from my list because you can’t run Google Adsense to make some money. At the end, I finally opted to go for Namecheap’s managed wordpress hosting solution at $30 annually :

To summarize, it is a cloud hosting package allowing up to 50k visits monthly to a unique wordpress installation with a storage of 10GB capacity.

Before you ask questions :

  • No, you can’t use sub domains to the main installation.
  • No, you don’t have a CPanel (or other panel) interface.
  • No, you don’t have a database access. (Update 21 March 2019 : PhpMyAdmin access is now available. Read last section of this post)
  • No, you can’t do many things that you can normally on a shared hosting or a server you can manage.
  • No, you can’t connect via shell etc
  • No, you can’t use any other domain registrar except Namecheap

So, you have a customized Namecheap panel from which you can only

  • Host one active wordpress at a time
  • Get SFTP access to upload files
  • Launch backups and restores

The hidden advantages

Hide your name from online prying eyes

A free WhoisGuard to protect your real identity to avoid having to display your real phone number or email address.

Simple control panel

Anyone without technical knowledge can run a wordpress blog from scratch, without ever having to think about it again in the future. The built in Namecheap administration panel is very simple and barely has buttons to get you confused.

Performance

Being a managed wordpress service hosted on the clouds above your head, EasyWP is described as being 3 times faster than a shared hosting. Only time will tell if we can rely on the advertised words. But one thing for sure, your hosting site should not be affected by any other greedy web sites since everything is hosted separately.

The hidden costs

Namecheap as domain registrar

If you read the section above very carefully, you probably noticed the thing about the registrar. No? Scroll up and read again. To be able to use your domain on this easyWP package, you are compelled to transfer your domain to Namecheap. You can of course use the temporary secure url they offer you during your initial tests but sooner or later, you will need to move to your own domain. Hence the need to save aside an additional $10 as the transfer fee from your current registrar to Namecheap.

From their own control panel, you can manage your domains, certificates, packages and etc, just like any other domain registrar.

SSL Certificates

The second hidden cost concerns the purchase of a SSL certificate. Popular browsers, for example Google Chrome, now flag any non-https url as non secure. If you wish to move to a more secure https environment, you need to add a SSL certificate.

You can of course, generate your own certificate but you will need to do that very often (probably every 3 months) and it gets quite technical. To simplify things, I decided to invest another $10 for a ssl certificate. As a pure Mauritian, I managed to grab a discounted price of $2 for the first year! However, I can’t guarantee that you can get the same deal at some other time. To benefit from best deals, you should directly buy the SSL certificate when you are either putting the easyWP package or domain transfer in your cart.

So, adding up the costs, you should most probably invest $30 + 10 + 10 = $50 yearly

Configuring your blog

If you are starting a blog from scratch, running Namecheap’s EasyWP should be very smooth. Now, if you already have a blog, things can get a bit more complex. As long as the existing blog is quite small, you can export and import the wordpress files quite easily.

However, if you have quite a bulky blog with a large database, it can get quite complicated. I ran in a lot of issues during the configuration period but finally got the blog running as you can see.

Files can be transferred via SFTP easily and the database needs to be exported via wordpress plugins from your old blog and then imported again using the same (or other) plugins on the new hosting.

Now, since you won’t probably want any downtime, things get bad here because you will be testing using that temporary namecheap url. On top of that, the namecheap servers did get some problems just at the same time, hence making the process a bit longer.

Based on my personal experience, I will advise to follow the steps:

  • Transfer your domain to Namecheap
  • Launch a new wordpress install
  • Choose your freshly transferred domain when configuring the wordpress installation
  • Run a database import process via plugins
  • Once the blog runs on your own domain and blog posts are displayed correctly, open the SFTP access and upload the missing media (photos / videos etc) from the wp-contents/uploads/ directory. If you have a huge number of files, I recommend doing this step as a final step as this will avoid losing time and resources uploading files if you have to scrap the wordpress installation and start over again.

Using the above process, you will probably complete everything in a few hours, without any hassles but your existing blog will probably be down during this period. If you can’t afford putting your existing blog down for a few hours, then, use the temporary namecheap url during the installation and switch over to the correct one after setup. However, good to know that I got many issues when doing this specific setup.

EasyWP? Not so easy at the end of the day

Being a beta version product, the EasyWP has lots of potential, especially at this price. If this hosting formula works like a charm, there is no doubt that Namecheap will probably improve it and add new features at a competitive price.

I personally spent quite some time configuring the new wordpress installation because I mainly lost time switching from the temporary url to my yashvinblogs.com domain and vice versa. Also, as mentionned earlier, the easy wp servers experienced some technical issues just during this period. So, some functionalities were not accessible but once the issues were resolved, everything is running fine. I sincerely think that a (free?) migration service from an existing hosting to Namecheap’s EasyWP servers will definitely improve user experience

Moving away to another hosting server later should not be a big problem if ever things do not work as expected on Namecheap since files can be downloaded again via SFTP and the database backup can be easily generated through plugins.

And lastly, I can see only one problem which might not happen very soon :

So, let’s cross fingers and hope that things run smoothly for yashvinblogs.

Update : 08 November 2018 : 

Namecheap have finally introduced new packages of 50 GB and 100 GB but the renew prices are quite high :

Update : 21 March 2019

After having left comments on Namecheap’s blog post about EasyWP and on their Facebook page, I got a very good surprise in my mailbox on the 13th March 2019 :

As you can read from the screenshot above from the Product Manager :

  • Namecheap is reimbursing my hosting charges I paid for the current year.
    Woooooo! That’s nice!
  • EasyWP is now providing PHPMyAdmin for all users.
    This is a great news, as I have written previously on this same post, it was quite a problem for geeks when they need to set up their blog or migrate an existing post.

Thanks again for reading.

Cheers!

[Video] Terre Rouge Verdun entrance to Ebene – Just invent your traffic rules

What I will show you today is not unusual if you use the Terre Rouge Verdun road every morning.

While the majority of drivers queue up to enter Ebene, a bunch of drivers prefer to

  • Drive on the motorway layby
  • Come in front of vehicles whenever they like
  • Change lanes along solid white lines
  • Change lanes on roundabouts

All these above, just to show that they absolutely do not give a fuck to all other law abiding drivers.

Case study : Toyota Yaris – 4442 JU 15

This guy really annoyed me this morning. Fortunately, I have my dashcam recording and when I came across him on the roundabout, I informed him to have a look at Facebook. With chances, he will probably read this post. So, a big hi!

Here’s the video:

If he ever thinks to complain to the police? Please do. Don’t forget to bring a copy of this video too.

Case study : Peugeot 208 – 4513 JU 14

New video captured today by the dashcam!

This car was lady driven and changed lanes on the roundabout itself while tens of other cars were queuing up.

 

Impacts?

As mentioned in my earlier post, education is indeed a failure in our society. Such persons need to be penalized and fined but unfortunately, the above scene happens everyday, even with 2 to 3 police officers posted there but without much help as one of them is regulating traffic on the roundabout while the other one just stands among the traffic cones.

So, what really happens :

  1. The huge traffic chaos and parking problem right in the “cyber” city Ebene causes a long queue to build up onto the Terre Rouge Verdun road everyday. And as shown above, a large bunch of drivers do not care about having to wait like other drivers. They feel that they are more superior, hence their own decision to bypass rules and breach laws. This p*ss*s off other persons who are waiting on the right lane.
  2. With cars waiting to enter the right lane, the traffic on the left lane comes to a halt. Now imagine 10 vehicles doing the same thing. That halt can sum up to several minutes in worst cases. This prevents road users on the left lane to pursue their road towards the motorway in the direction of Trianon. This traffic jam on the left lane is pretty un-necessary, purely caused by the above mentioned drivers. And this pisses off people on the left lane too.

Results: Every driver (whether on left or right lanes) gets p*ss*d off!

What actions need to be taken?

It doesn’t take really much to solve this problem. The existing police officers just don’t care because they were never assigned the duty to fine these drivers. However, just post 1 or 2 additional police officers at this particular spot and you will notice the difference. Suddenly, everyone will prefer waiting in the queue. But please, these police officers should look out for these drivers, not just stand there like the one who can nearly be mistaken for a traffic cone just on the Ebene flyover.

I will also push this video to the Citizen Support Unit and the Mauritius Police Force to see if any action is taken as many drivers prefer to ignore these as*hol*s to avoid getting into any fights or verbal threats but unfortunately, these as*hol*s just don’t care. As days go on, the number of as*hol*s will increase as they can see that nothing is being done to solve the problem, so why should they wait in the queue??? That’s logical and at the end of the day, we will end up with more as*hol*s because of the inaction of the authorities and police! This is why the situation gets out of control and ends up in road rages and accidents, just like in Goodlands some days ago. Read the article here if you missed it!!!

Please don’t forget to share!

Thank you for reading. Cheers!

Anou faire rallye

Avant mo commence mo l’article, anou presente bane figurants dans video ki l’express ine poster :

Sa video la ine faire 1 vraie buzz depi ki li fine poster lo facebook, alors nu bisin remercier sa dimoune la. Sans li, l’ampleur de sa cas la pas ti pu aussi enorme.

Policiers victime d’aggressions

Sa caporal la, c’est pas sel policier ki fine gagne batter. Boukoup lezot ine passe par sa.

Par exemple, imper l’annees de cela, mo loto ti involved dans 1 hit and run, kot 1 policier ti blesser kant p essaye arrete soffer lot machine la. Et lerla, ti met 1 case contre boug la akoz line blesse ene policier pendant so duty. Lire l’article la.

Seki sa solidarité montrer azordi, c’est aussi ki morisiens pas envie bane la gueles sales kouma sa bane kakes lik* la lo nu simer. Zot 1 danger publik et la polis bisin renforcit zot presence lo simer pu decourage bane rallye illegale. Imagine zot, si sa figir kakes f*sse la ti gagne accrochage r 1 membre publique, b longtemps li batte dimoune la, et consequence pas ti pu pareille. Li ti pu zis ene cas kouma lezot.

Aussi, nu membre publique

Recemment, ene nageur professionel ine passe par sa situation la pres r Jumbo Phoenix. Ene soffer van lecol ine aggresse li ziska disang couler. Malheuresement, pas ti ena videos pu temoigner et dimoune ine fini blier tout. [Lire lo 5Plus.]. Malheuresement, zot tous p nek focalise lo cas sa caporal goodlands la.

 

Rallye illegale fini lo pilone camera excess

Aussi, c’est pas premier fois ki p faire rallye illegal lo nu chemin. Mo encore rappel ene cas kot 1 motocyclette ti batte r bordure chemin et fine truv la mort parti Camp Chapelon, Pailles. C’etait 11 Janvier 2012.

Rallye illegale vs Motards la police

Et tres recemment, En juilliet 2017, ene adolescent accuse bane motards la police d’aggression kant sa bane derniers la ine barre zot la route akoz zot ti p faire rallye illegale lo Ring Road, Pailles. Article ici.

Responsabilités parents? Vo mieux pas kozer. Dans cas ring road, papa la dir, li ti p dormi kant so piti ine prend so moto.

Bane lezot ti bases seryer…

Et pas bisin to ene policier pu remarque bane rallyes illegales. Terre Rouge Verdun, Jin Fei, Bypass Triolet – Ironiquement, pas manque bon chemins dans moris… [Foto defimedia]

La loi?

Ki sentence maximale ki sa piti la cpv gagner? Mo pas truv personne ine koze sa ziska lere, meme pas la gazette. 1 mois prison? 2 mois? 6 mois? Sa montrer ki la loi pas severe ditout.

Update : Max Rs25000 l’amende et ziska 2 ans prison si charged under section 159 of Criminal Code : Assaulting a police officer in the lawful execution of his duty.

Nimporte ki sane la permette zot al attaque policiers kant zot senti zot en groupe.

Policiers, malgres zot uniformes, zot bisin subir bane consequences.

Sa bane pitis ki p faire l’actualités la, zot bien koner ki zot fine faire. Batte policier, al craze so lakaaz et lotos… Sa zis montrer 1 sel zaffaire. Zot pena leducation ki bisin. Sorry mo servi sa bane mots la, mais guet zot la guele fini truver ki zot pas eduquer…. [Photo]

Solutions?

  • Dans l’immediat, si vraiememe autorités ti decide met fin à bane pratiques similaires, zot nek ena pu poster zot unités dans sa bane lendroits la place avoye zot veille metro leger.
  • La piste rallye? Mais eski sa pu solve probleme la? Personnellement mo pas croire. Sa bane la piste la, c’est bane chauffers amateurs, bien equipées et en regles ki pu servi sa. Bane kakes lik*, kouma mone appelle zot, zot sirement pena meme license pu roule sa bane mobillettes modifiées la.
    Zot nissa, c’est zot envie roule vite entre zot lo simer, pas dans 1 la piste rallye.
  • Eski bane policiers suffisamment equippés pu gere bane cas koume sa? Et si sa vilain la guele la ti tire 1 fizi, ki policier la sipposer faire? Gallouper?
  • Faire la loi pli severe? Oui, li forme partie 1 moyen pu decourage bane kk lik*s faire rallyes mais li pas pu resoudre probleme la.

Bon, mo envie mentionne ene zaffaire. Kant ene dimoune ena 1 loto tuned avec so bane gros stickers etc, pas veut dir li gagne droit declare mari lo simin. Seki rappel, ene fois, ti ena ene rallye pu emission MBC Infozen, et kot ene machine avec numero J 2222 ti p prend li pu mari et kot bane motocyclettes ti p prend zot pu motard la polis et arrete loto au milieu simin  pu laisse rallye passer.

Education ! Education ! Education !

Sa ki manquer dans nu société… Nu system ena boukoup manquements.

Mo pas p denigrer tout dimounes mais parfois kant mo truv 1 soffer taxi, van ou camion p faire zig zag lo simin, p foncer pu rente devant moi, mo calmer mo meme par dir 1 sel pharse :

Si azordi to ti eduqué, to pas ti pu conduire 1 taxi, van ou camion!

Sorry encore 1 fois, mo pas p vise tout soffer van ou camions mais sa evite mwa desan pu al batte dimounes! Et sa solution la marser!

Mo croire poste la imper long, mais mo ti pu dir zot ki mo bien pisse r zot mais comme mo ena ene bon education, mo prefer dir li en anglais: f*ck you! 😛

[Infotech 2018] La foire Pailles, monter, monter!!!

With thousands of visitors going to SVICC every year, Infotech was the annual rendez vous for technology enthusiasts who were looking forward to have some hands-on demo of latest technologies and discover latest trends in ICT. However, since several years now, the event is more comparable to the other “Indian Expo Fair” or “Salon de la maison” type of events.

Hey people, welcome back!

With thousands of visitors going to SVICC every year, Infotech was the annual rendez vous for technology enthusiasts who were looking forward to have some hands-on demo of latest technologies and discover latest trends in ICT. However, since several years now, the event is more comparable to the other “Indian Expo Fair” or “Salon de la maison” type of events. With increasing number of companies displaying their products (along with “infotech” discounts), the “La Foire Pailles” is unfortunately mainly crowded with visitors who want to grab some good deals on mobile phones, screens and etc.

Without exagerating, I think that barely 10% of the total space occupied are really centered about latest technology advances :

  • Mauritius Research Council showing off their cube sat project. The real-size 3D printed model was displayed today (30 August 2018) but one of the guys there told me that a real demo unit should be on display as from tomorrow.
  • The Robotics Club of College of Saint Esprit which is displaying some of their own made robots

What’s in there more?

To sum up what you can see and experience in the La Foire Pailles during the next few days :

  • VR Sets
  • Drones
  • IP Camera systems
  • Solar Panels
  • Laptops and mobile phones

And if you want a better plan for your weekend, drive to Bagatelle Mall. On top of all the above, you get hypermarkets, candy shops, practically all brand shops of the island and a large variety of food. You will probably get the same promotional discount too! If ever you get bored (at Bagatelle), you can even watch a movie at the cinema!

Please vote!

It is without surprise that I pressed the red button. So, don’t hesitate to do the same if you share the same view!

Cheers Cheers Cheers !!!