The New Adventures of Sheepy
Wednesday, 21 November, 2012 at 07:00 - Thoughts
While the rAge Expo has become an institution in the South African gaming and IT community, a growing amount of gamers means that every year there is an ever-increasing number of first time expo-goers. 2012 marked the first rAge for a very special gamer, the Afrihost Brand Team mascot, Sheepy.
Sheepy was uber-excited to get first hand experience of the best that SA Gaming had to offer. First things first though, Sheepy had to get the Afrihost stand ready for the 25,000 plus visitors who would be passing through over the weekend. Luckily the good folks from El33tonline were around to help out, and pretty soon the stand was pumping with excited expo-goers, swarming to win amazing prizes. Sadly, someone had the terrible idea of throwing Sheepy into the crowd, and luckily Sheepy had the foresight to bring his own stunt double. So our fluffy little friend watched as Afrihost and El33tonline gave away 3 Xbox Kinect Bundles, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, Limited Edition Games, New Releases, T-Shirts, and all sorts of freebies. Sheepy was amazed at the amount of excitement generated at the Afrihost stand, and was certain that the chants of "AfriLeet" could be heard throughout the Dome!!
But by the second day, Sheepy wanted to go out and explore, and see what the world of rAge had to offer. Although Sheepy felt that Afrihost's stand was among the most interesting, there was no doubt about the amount of care, detail and effort that had gone into each stall to make this one of the most impressive experiences anyone on two (or four) legs can have in the Southern Hemisphere. Ranging from Console Vendors, PC hardware, Software, Game Houses, comic books and paraphernalia, the entire video game, card gaming and comic book community had put their best foot forward. Sheepy then made his way to the strategy gaming section when players were facing off in everything from Magic to Warhammer and other tabletop strategy/war games. The intense concentration was amazing, but Sheepy was happy that many of the players still took the time to chat and explain their games to him, and pose for the occasional photo.
Next it was off the the LAN gaming area, where some of Sheepy's friends from the Afrihost support team were blasting away on the network. With Afrihost being the Official Internet Sponsor, Sheepy was given an all access pass to visit his buddies and get a sense of the other side of rAge that most expo-goers were fenced away from. And what better guide than Geoff, NAG's Online Editor and All Purpose Game Fundi. Over 2,500 gamers gathered in one area is more than enough to blow the socks off of any uninitiated lamb! What's more, there were beds, mattresses and sleeping bags all over - gamers slept at the venue from Friday to Sunday to ensure they got the most out of their rAge experience. While Sheepy did let off a few shots here and there in Counterstrike and Call of Duty, he had to concede in the end that this was a pursuit for only the most dedicated gamers.
Lastly it was off the the press room, where Sheepy got to meet some of the gaming journalists and personalities, who were enjoying the comfort (and fast ADSL bandwidth) provided by Afrihost. Sheepy also got to meet the awesome team from NAG magazine who are responsible for putting rAge together. It was real pleasure for him to be introduced to Michael and Jacqui, who are the main forces behind making sure that rAge is a resounding success every year.
So all in all, it was a great experience for our woolly little buddy - he had an awesome time giving away amazing prizes, and got his picture taken with just about all of the most colourful characters at the expo. And all Sheepy can think about now is rAge 2013!
Important ADSL Network Update
Thursday, 18 October, 2012 at 13:58 - Thoughts
We are happy to say that our network move was generally successful, however there is still some work to be done to get the best possible performance for all our clients. Right now we’d like to give you a little bit of insight into the who’s, the how’s, and most importantly, the why’s.
We’ve had an awesome relationship with IS over the years, and will continue to work with them for our hosting products. We partnered with MTN to build a brand new network, to allow us a lot more control over how we manage our products. The opportunity to offer better, more innovative products and service to our clients was the deciding factor in the move.
Due diligence and technical research started at the beginning of the year, and our team met regularly with MTN to discuss everything, including the kitchen sink. Every aspect of the move was planned to the finest detail. We also ran weeks of trials and testing internally, as well as an open trial with users from rAge and MyBroadband to get real-user feedback prior to launch. While this was a very helpful process, the bulk of the fine-tuning could only be done once the changeover was complete, under real conditions.
Despite the complexity of the move, it was mostly successful. Our main setback related to the provision of IP addresses on Telkom’s ADSL infrastructure, resulting in approximately 10% of our ADSL clientbase not being able to switch over.
Fortunately, our engineers identified the problem early (in the wee hours of the morning after the midnight switch) and thus we were able to provide an immediate workaround while Telkom resolved the problem (which was completed around midday).
So far a lot of the feedback has been positive, with most users experiencing better performance than before. However, some clients in Cape Town specifically are finding higher latencies than previously due to traffic being routed via Johannesburg at present. This is a temporary measure to monitor and improve network parameters more effectively. Once the network is fully optimised, we will roll out dedicated capacity with our tried-and-tested system in Cape Town to alleviate this.
The network is currently being closely scrutinised, and we are pro-actively implementing various strategies to maximise performance across all prioritised services like VoIP, FTP, HTTP, etc as well as optimizing gaming speeds (latencies). There may be short periods when performance deteriorates temporarily as these changes are implemented. We will not rest until get we every last ounce of performance out of our network, but bear in mind that it is brand new and being configured for the first time.
We are committed to giving everyone the best service and performance possible, but there are certain restrictions. The capacity of the Telkom ADSL infrastructure, such as copper cable quality and distance to closest ADSL exchange, will have a big impact on performance. For example, on a 4Mbps ADSL Line (even under optimal conditions) you will rarely ever experience a full 4Mbps service as there are overheads in the data transfer, latencies on content servers and DSLAM local-loop congestion. Realistically you are more likely to receive in the region of a 3.5 to 3.8Mbps usable connection (approx. 80-95%). Also, if you have a ping in the region of 15-60ms for local servers it is considered good.
With all of this said, we’d love to hear what your experience has been so far.
If things are good and you’re happy, please drop us a tweet or facebook post, and that will give us a sense of what’s going right. If it’s anywhere between not-so-great and catastrophic, please post a message on our newsroom, email us on email@example.com, call us on 011 612 7200 or SMS Help to 32541 so we can immediately give you assistance.
Around the World and Back!
Wednesday, 26 September, 2012 at 15:22 - Thoughts
We are really proud and excited about sponsoring two lucky Afrigamers to travel to Cologne, Germany this year, to attend Gamescom with the good folks at El33tOnline.
Our lucky winners, David and Matei, were treated to a whirlwind trip, starting with a guided tour of the sights and sounds (and flavours) Cologne, one of the largest and oldest German cities. Thereafter it was off to the world’s largest games event, along with over 275,000 visitors, journalist and exhibitors from the biggest international game distributors.
David and Matei were treated to an exclusive behind the scenes press tour, and had a chance to see and demo the latest that the gaming world has to offer. Once they had touched down back in good old SA, the guys had only positive things to say about their experience.
“The city itself was amazing. I really enjoyed sampling the local cuisine and beer” said David. “We managed to get some cool game memorabilia and some awesome T-shirts”
“My favourite experience at Gamescom was the overall atmosphere of the event. I’ve never been to an event of that size before or seen so many gamers in one place, so that was overwhelming.” Matei commented.
The guys from El33tOnline couldn’t have been happier with the choice of winners, as David and Matei are both avid gamers. They were the perfect additions to the team as they witnessed and participated in the demos, live match events and all of the fanfare from the event.
“We are truly happy that Afrihost could be a part of this wonderful experience for these two Afrigamers, and we’re glad that their experience was nothing short of AMAZING!!” said Tyler Theron, Afrihost’s Brand Manager. “ With our proposed network change, we’re hoping to continue to delight and amaze our Afrigamers with more value and exciting competitions. Starting with our sponsorship and participation in rAge 2012 this year.”
Congratulations again to our lucky Afrigamers!!!
Afrihost Proves we are Red Blooded to the Core!
Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 at 13:25 - Thoughts
We recently hosted a Blood Donor drive at our offices, in association with SANBS, Afrihost clients and a few of our Rivonia neighbours. We are extremely grateful to the kind and dedicated SANBS medical team who took the time and effort to setup in what is usually the Afrihost Gym.
We got the ball rolling (and the blood flowing) early with the first donors trickling in at 09H30. Despite a few needle-phobia’s and dizzy spells, our unrelenting donors persevered and there was soon a queue of willing donors waiting to do their bit to help SANBS in their important mission.
Afrihost’s clients and guests each received a complimentary meal, and will also a free 10GB Prepaid ADSL voucher.
The highlight of the day was our CEO, Gian Visser, rolling up his sleeve with a smile, and doing his part. He was even honored with an award for his efforts (though it might not feature prominently on his mantelpiece!)
All in all, a successful (and fun) day, and we’d like to thank each and every person who participated in the drive. We plan to have many more of these, and there will always be room for more participants in this very worthy cause.
Afrihost is out for Blood!
Monday, 20 August, 2012 at 13:11 - Announcements, Thoughts
We are devoted to giving back as much as we can to this wonderful country that we live in. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) provide a vital service to hospitals and clinics, and we believe that everyone can help to make a difference – no matter how small!
So we’re leading the way –Afrihost style!
Pop into our offices on 28 August between 9h30 and 14h30, and we’ll offer you a free Wors Roll & Cold Drink, as well as a complimentary 10GB Prepaid ADSL Voucher - just for being part of our blood drive.
Please make sure you’ve had something eat before hand so you can give blood. You can check the SANBS website for their basic blood donor criteria.
Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, to make sure that you book a place to take part in this worthy cause.