JNE Overview

Welcome JNE, here we will keep our subscribers updated with new projects and resources which are currently in the “works” subject of course to our customers permission. JNE moved to their previous address back in 1998 , when at that time they were making headway with social signals and industry information . The company then was more than capable of dealing with all the tasks as well as the completion of varous larger scale jobs for clients. JNE sold “Scaleway Signals” in 2006 to concentrate on building a client base and subscriber base that was hungry for quality content, and they soon found they needed larger premises and more staff. Since then they have been looking for suitable new premises to which they could relocate the rapidly expanding business.

JNE new premises at Washingpool farm are about 3 miles from their old offices, on the edge of a village called Easter Compton. When they looked at the new workshop they could see it would need a lot of work to convert it into what the company required. JNE spent over 6 weeks refitting the new office space including the design and construction of upstairs offices. JNE are now comfortable in their new premises with all the resources required to deliver our readers and customers the most unique and useful content.


Turning Engineering Dynamics to Flight

With my nephew, William having left the United Kingdom and now residing in South Africa, our relationship has changed somewhat. In days gone by he would spend his vacations helping me out with engineering of the mini locomotives. The two of us would spend hours on end together, puzzling over the intricate mechanical pieces of a replica steam locomotive, barely speaking a word to each other, both content in our silence. Now that William is living in Cape Town, we communicate far more than we ever did before when we were in each others company. Strange, isn’t it ? Anyways, whether we are discussing model locomotive engineering via whatsapp or sharing interesting articles on Facebook and other social media, William and I have taken our friendship to a new and deeper level.

So, William tells me that when in Cape Town, South Africa, you will notice that there are two different sports that people are doing on a daily basis. These are parasailing and paragliding. There are different reasons why people are doing this but the most common two is for the adrenalin rush and to see the beauty of Cape Town from a whole different angle. But the question that William asks me is what the difference between parasailing and paragliding is, and how does the engineering of the required equipment allow for better harnessing of the winds and thermals ? This is how I attempted to answer these questions for William during our recent dialogue.

flight engineering
When you do parasailing you will be connected to a canopy that looks like a parachute, this canopy is connected a motorboat. The motorboat will then drive into the sea and you will then be lifted into the air when the wind fills the canopy. You will have no control over the canopy because the boat controls the direction that you will go in. With parasailing you are not limited to a solo flight as some have a harness for two people, so you and your partner can enjoy the adrenalin rush together. There is not all that much mechanical engineering involved in parasailing, it’s pretty simple. The canopy fills up with air as you are being propelled forward by some form of motorized vehicle, and ultimately lift is achieved.
With parasailing the only safety condition that you need to go through is that you need to wear a safety jacket, a helmet and you need to be able to have some swimming abilities. Then one should never take of when the wind speed is more than 50mph (80km/h). One should always make sure that the weather is right when you want to do something like parasailing. The weather in Cape Town can change very fast so one should always be on the lookout for weather changes.
Parasailing will be great for people who love water and would like to “fly” over the water like a bird. You never know what creatures you will see when sailing up in the air over open seas. This could just be the adrenalin rush that you are looking for.
When you do paragliding Cape Town, you will notice that this is for the more extreme thrill seeking people. With paragliding you are also attached to a canopy, but the only difference is, you are the pilot of this canopy. You are the one that decides how high you want to fly and the direction that you want to fly in. Paragliding is a solo flight and you need to take of by yourself. The best place to take of is in an open field or from a high cliff. When you want to launch you will need to run down a slope with the canopy behind you. When the wind catches the canopy and fills it with air you will be able to take of from the ground.
The safety conditions with paragliding is that you need to have a few days training with an reputable paragliding school or company that have the right experience to train you how to paraglide. Wind speeds also play a very big role when paragliding. Never leave the ground when the wind exceeds 15mph (24km/h) and never fly in wind that exceeds 25-30mph (40-48km/h). You also cannot take of in wet weather conditions. The level of engineering that goes in to the equipment for this sport is far greater than parasailing. William has been doing his research on local companies that offer tandem paragliding Cape Town and seems to have settled on a well established local outfit called, Skywings Paragliding
Paragliding are for the people who want to be high enough in Cape Town to see the nature and the sea. From the air at that distance you will be able to so much more of Cape Town and it wonders.
Parasailing and paragliding sounds almost the same but in reality it is two total different sport types. When you look at the safety conditions of the two you can decide for yourself with which one you will be comfortable with. William has a saying which is “Try everything at least once.”

So with both these adrenaline fulled sports, the level of engineering required to manufacture and operate the equipment is by no means extremely sophisticated, however, paragliding by far requires a better level of understanding of the environment, winds and thermals in the area which contribute to either a successful or unsuccessful flight.


There’s no stopping this locomotive !

Although in recent times, with the rise of technology and gadgets like Iphones and Ipads, there has been a decline in model railway hobbyists, there are still people that dedicate themselves to this art form. Playing an online game like Railway Tycoon doesn’t count ! My nephew William recently graduated from University with his degree in civil engineering and found himself at a crossroads point in his life. William has spent the last sixteen years of his life firstly completing his schooling and then his degree in civil engineering. A friend of his who graduated from University as a child psychiatrist had recently decided on completing an internship in India, so William decided to look into the possibility of doing something similar, and started to investigate completing an internship of becoming a volunteer in Africa. After doing a lot of research on the internet, he came across a company called African Sunrise Volunteers, an organization based in Cape Town, South Africa, that specializes in assisting people like William find the correct project to participate in, a worthy cause that could put his studies and experience to good use. Volunteering is mostly about giving up your efforts to a worthwhile initiative, free of charge. It is an opportunity to help other folks in need that hopefully will gain from your schooling, skills and know-how. It is particularly popular with European scholars to go to a distant African country like Mozambique, Malawi or South Africa and give unreservedly of their selves, working with local community ventures and helping the needy and poor improve their lives.

engineering intern in africa

African Sunrise facilitates their volunteers and interns by ensuring all of them suitable residence whilst staying in South Africa. Where African Sunrise is really good, is placing interns and volunteers in the courses best suited to their individual skills. Folks who have trained in social work or are interested in nursing, will be enrolled in a project which best benefits their education and learning or perhaps their interests. William obviously looked at several different volunteer and intern placement agencies but was particularly impressed by the standard of work and level of commitment that was apparent to him after browsing the African Sunrise website. The company was founded nearly ten years ago by Swedish national, Tania Sincic, and South African resident, Carina Roper. Together the pair of them have worked tirelessly to establish one of the best volunteer and intern placement agencies on the continent. Because of Tania’s ties to Sweden, the agency facilitates the placement of a large number of Swedish students and scholars in volunteer programs or internship positions in the projects with which African Sunrise is affiliated to and supports.

Tania and Carina have strong relationships with some of the most dedicated local initiatives that are committed to aiding those in need. For example, they work with The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training & Advocacy. This organization collaborates with the South African government in assisting asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa with the many difficulties they face. Legal matters, education for their children and finding work and accommodation. The organization is also proactive in lobbying for the rights of refugees, creating awareness of refugees in South Africa’s rights and combating Xenophobia. Because there are still several war torn countries on the African continent, South Africa is often the first choice of refugees seeking asylum, due to its reasonably solid economy and infrastructure. Unfortunately, in recent years, a strong anti refugee sentiment has developed with many of the local population, feeling that they are losing their jobs to foreigners who in some cases will work at lower than the minimum wage.

William has since decided to travel to South Africa in order to volunteer in Cape Town and participate in the local feeding schemes and places of shelter for the homeless. Carina, Tania and their team have helped William along every step of his journey, from assisting with travel documents to placing him in the perfect project that best suits his nature and arranging him comfortable and safe accommodation for the three months that he is set to be in Cape Town. I think what also really appeals to him is the fact that he can take time off from the projects he is involved in, and do some travelling and exploring of the country whilst he is there.




Social Engineering – A Psychologist’s Perspective

It’s become more and more difficult for companies and businesses to safeguard their confidential data from the ever increasing rise in malicious attempts at security breaches. Southern suburbs psychologist Anita recently discussed the relatively new technique that has been utilized by hackers and others trying to breach the electronic defenses of businesses. Social Engineering which we touched on in our previous article has become one of the most effective means of gaining covert access to the confidential data stored on the servers and networks of companies.

For many years hackers have attempted to breach the network security measures employed by big companies and corporations by using port scanners and network scanners, pinging away at IP addresses on the network for hours searching for flaws and weaknesses in the system. Virtually every weak, new vulnerabilities are discovered in operating systems and server technologies. These are known in the computer hacking underworld as 0-day exploits and are extremely valuable to hackers. Valuable because they can be exploited for as long as they remain undetected. At which point the software manufacturer or distributor will make a “patch” available that essentially fixes the problem. In many cases system administrators do not pay enough attention to these updates and it’s possible for the vulnerability to remain unmatched for months or even years.The psychology behind the concept of social engineering is so simple which is why it is proving to be the most successful means of penetrating company data security measures.

Anita Prag, psychologist southern suburbs Cape Town explains that social engineering relies on the inherent willingness in human beings to help each other. The social engineer will literally engineer a scenario that allows them to get their target, often a low level employee, off balance. The psychology behind the use of social engineering is brilliant. We explained an example in one of our earlier posts where the social engineer researches the target and is familiar with their likes and dislikes and what their particular emotional vulnerabilities might be. Another example would be that of a handsome, confident social engineer approaching a shy receptionist of a large corporation. The research will have been done in advance, creating a psychological profile of the intended target. The receptionist in this case will have been identified as being shy, single and insecure. Psychologically insecure and somebody that would easily be flattered by an attractive man needing help from her. The end goal is fairly simple. To get the target to insert a flash drive into the company computer, this flash drive would contain a harmless looking PDF file and malicious code that is automatically executed once the flash drive is inserted into the computer. The social engineering aspect is the aim of bypassing the training that the employee may have received regarding this type of approach to a security breach.

In order to protect sensitive data and valuable company intellectual property, it is important for companies and businesses to continue to educate their employees and raise awareness levels of the dangers imposed by socially engineered attempt at a security breach. These attempts are so successful because they are well crafted psychological scenarios that if implemented correctly will almost always deliver results.



What is exactly is engineering ?

So what exactly does the term engineering mean ? There are various sources on the internet that will give similar explanations, some more complex than others. Engineering in simple terms is the act of utilizing information or evidence, be it scientific, mathematical, social, political or economic, and then applying this knowledge to create, improve upon or redesign something, which could be a physical structure, a scientific formula, an organization, a chemical compound, or somethings as simple as a locomotive train.

Lets use the example of locomotive trains and carriages. The engineering knowledge and expertise required in the design and manufacture of a full scale locomotive train is obviously quite extensive. There are functionality design elements required to ensure that the locomotive is powerful enough to draw the carriages attached to it, It should be capable of drawing those carriages when loaded to their full specified weight capacity, whether they are fulled with goods being delivered from point A to point B, or whether the carriages are filled with commuters using the rail sytem as a means of public transport. The term “Locomotive Engineer” actually refers to the driver of the locomotive or person who is responsible for ensuring that the locomotive leaves its departure point and arrives safely at its destination. The engineers behind the actual designing of the locomotive are a completely different brand of men. These engineers are inventors, scientists, men of reason who thrive on the challenge of solving engineering problems. The basic principle of a steam locomotive is the conversion of heat energy into mechanical energy. In most cases a boiler is utilized that generates steam. The steam is channeled into an engine where its pressure and force drive the engine’s pistons. Once the engine’s pistons are pumping, the that mechanical energy is then translated into the locomotives wheels turning and voila, the locomotive is moving forward.

For several decades there has existed a a large group of model railway and steam locomotive enthusiasts and hobbyists. These folks are fascinated by the subject of locomotives and the railway systems and will spend endless hours building and replicating railway systems on a miniature or model scale. In reality, there is little difference between the engineering involved in designing a full scale locomotive and its railway system, and the construction of a model, scaled down version of it. The model railway enthusiast community is made up largely of men, it seems less women have a penchant for this more mechanical type of hobby. I suppose this does make sense, even in the larger scale engineering community we find that there is a far greater percentage of male engineers as opposed to female engineers.

engineering forms

Enough of the locomotive engineering analogy for now. The basic premise, is that an engineer is a man or woman that has an interest in applying knowledge or factual evidence to transforming or creating something new and better with that knowledge. Again, engineering is not just limited to the kind of engineering that most of think of immediately, the traditional mechanical or chemical engineering. In the modern landscape where there are literally new advances and technological developments being reported each week, there is a new breed of engineer on the rise. These engineers are in the fields of marketing, software application development, data security, computer networking and so on. There is even a term recently coined as a “social engineer”. What is a “Social Engineer”, you might ask ? Social engineering is a means by which people with the motive to steal or gain access to a company’s confidential information might employ. A social engineer relies on the basic human traits of compassion, empathy, willingness to trust and help. Here is a scenario that a social engineer may concoct. Let’s for sake of ease refer to the social engineer as “Bob”, and the company receptionist as “Shelly”. Bob approaches the receptionist looking a little flustered, carrying a CV that has been soiled with coffee. Bob has already done his homework on Shelly and knows that she is a single mother of two young children. He quickly builds a rapport with Shelly by telling her is a single father and was late in dropping his kids at school that morning. In his haste, he ended up spilling coffee on his CV for the job he is applying for on the 5th floor of that same building. A job he desperately needs to take care of his children. Immediately Shelly’s guard is dropped, she feels a connection with Bob and compassion for his situation. When he asks if she could please use his flash drive in her computer to reprint his CV, her instinct to help another person overrides the cautions she has been given from the her company to never do something like this. Shelly inserts the flash-drive into the computer, malicious code is executed whilst she reprints his CV, and just like that the security of the company has been breached. The social engineer and his accomplices now have a backdoor into the company from which they can begin exploring the company network.

Engineering has evolved over the years just like any other industry or profession. With the advances being made at the pace they are in this century that we live, there will continue to be new kinds of engineers and areas of engineers created.