South African 2017 matrics – public school results mapped

January 7 2018

Maybe it’s because of the pre-Christmas intensity of the ANC’s elective conference, or maybe it’s just because I don’t work a daily news beat at the moment, but it feels a bit like the matric results aren’t quite the news event this year that they normally are. (I suspect it’s the latter, I’m a bit out of the loop…)

Nevertheless, I wanted to scrape the results data for the third year running and update my matric map (you can see last year’s here). I’ve not done as much work as last year to update details on schools which have either changed their name, closed down or opened as exam centres for the first time this year – but I will be revisiting this data at some point in the next few months to rework the maps using R rather than Tableau.

So what’s new from last year? Not a lot – top level analysis is broadly the same but my treatment is slightly different. There’s not as much information on the maps – too many filters slow down the public version of Tableau – but I have included a comparison with last year showing which schools did better or worse overall. I don’t think that there’s a lot to reaad into that at the individual school level – several successful Gauteng schools seem to record lower passrates year-on-year, which I think is likely to be more to do with them increasing in popularity rather than declining in standard, for example. I do think that comparison map gives you an interesting top level view of regional changes, though. There’s a lot of really strong improvements in KZN and the Eastern Cape, but it’s by no means across the board.

The size of the dot representing each school is based on the official “quintile” score relating to the wealth of a school. Richer schools (quintiles 4 & 5) are larger dots.

The lazy man’s guide to email pt 94

June 8 2017

After 23 years of using email I’ve finally caved and put my name in my email sig. It felt wrong and ugly, like a mail wasn’t properly signed unless I wrote my own name. But for the last ten years or so I’ve been signing emails “Ad” rather than “Adam” because it’s quicker to type. Even though no-one has ever called me Ad in my life. Getting used to the new sig is taking time (if you get a mail signed twice, don’t worry) but not nearly as offensive as I thought it would feel.

I love City of Cape Town’s press department

March 14 2016

Even if I were to quite media tomorrow, I would never unsubscribe from Cape Town’s press list. Because this came through this morning:

Just after 04:00 on Saturday morning, a member of the Integrated Roadblock Unit tried to stop a white VW Jetta traveling towards Kuils River without headlights. The driver refused to stop, resulting in a high-speed chase along Voortrekker Road in the direction of Kuils River. During the chase, the driver of the Jetta tried to drive the officer off the road numerous times. Near the Kuils River police station, the vehicle stopped and two young women jumped out before the driver sped off again, but he misjudged and hit a kerbed centre median, blowing out two of the tyres. The driver was arrested for drunk driving, but refused to provide a breath sample. He was also charged with reckless and negligent driving and intimidation, after threatening the arresting officer’s family. It was later determined that the suspect is a traffic officer based at Gallows Hill in Green Point and that the women who jumped from the vehicle were allegedly prostitutes.

Who ya gonna call?

November 29 2014

Just got back from Geekfest, and as ever amazed at the number of people who turned up in cosplay. For me, though, the star was a car this time round. By far the best dressed at the show.

More pics over here.

geek fest 2014_7_1

Lying is the best way to protect your privacy

October 16 2014

So today a data firm I was scheduled to interview  tried to surprise with a personal profile pulled from their internal dataset, which is a combination of publically available information and paid-for data from credit agencies and the like. Happily the plan to shock me backfired. Aside from my name and phone number – which were used to trigger the search – only my passport number was correct. Although incorrectly displayed as a South African ID number.

To be fair, I’ve not lived in South Africa long enough to be on all the databases yet, and many of the fields were close enough to make me uncomfortable – age within a year, address in the right area, salary not a million rand off what I actually earn.

Also, I am unusual in that I habitually lie about things like my address, passport number, date of birth and cell number on non-legal forms which are ridiculously intrusive, and I don’t carry cards of any kind not issued by my bank, so no in-store rewards for me. I also opt out of things like Discovery’s keep fit spyware.

Sadly I can’t be too smug. I read this post about de-deanonymising data from New York taxis after I got home and got all depressed again at the apparent ease with which commuters’ identities were reverse engineered. I’m a passionate advocate of open data, but sometimes it is easy to forget the dangers…

Why wasn’t I there?

August 27 2014


Kate Bush live comeback – the no spoiler Q&A – Channel 4 News.

Slightly unsettling

July 19 2014

Like most journalists, I’ve always had an idea in the back of my head that one day I’d start writing creatively. And like most who are still journalists by my age I’ve started a couple of projects then left them to fester when I discovered how the amount of free time I have is almost entirely too little to actually finish something.

A few years ago I got a bit further than usual and had a rough plan and a few draft chapters of a novel which was crudely premised around the idea of what might happen if Tesco moved into the housing market and started renting flats.

So it was a bit disturbing to read this in the news today. Clearly I need to go back to that manuscript and actually do something about it…

Apparently, I’m an idiot…

July 12 2014

…because I just spent two weeks, R250 replacing, rewiring and testing a motor on my RepRap which didn’t appear to be working. I almost managed to blow the rest of the electronics fiddling and getting frustrated with it.

Turns out there was nothing wrong with the motor at all. The plastic cog attached to it had worn out just enough that it wasn’t turning with the spindle. A 10 minute, virtually cost free job to fix.

Tabby’s sports day

April 6 2014

Last year, Tabby was very nervous at her school sports day. She was shy about running in front of people and had to be gently cajouled into competing (although this being a Montessori school, the competition element isn’t really the biggest part). This year was a different story – except for the wheelbarrow race, which she wouldn’t do, she loved it and couldn’t have been happier.

We assume the wheelbarrow tantrum was to do with being tired as we’ only just got back from holiday.

On a separate note – what happened to being able to share to WordPress directly from Flickr?

All about Tshimologong

November 20 2013

It’s not my headline, but this is the third or fourth time I’ve written about the Tshimologong Precint in Joburg, and definitely the best: The grand vision for a homegrown Silicon Valley in one of Joburg’s most notorious neighbourhoods | ZDNet.