December 28, 2007

The Lighter Side of Forensics

Forensic Science isn't just about blood and fingerprints and DNA, it is also about real people and sometimes one needs to look at the lighter side.

read more | digg story

Zesty Ginger, Fresh and Dried

Ginger is often used as a staple in Indian recipes and is enjoyed as much for its hot aromatic taste as for the anti-inflammatory healing properties of the ginger root.Fresh Ginger in Indian CuisineIndian cuisine is as diverse as it is delicious. Ginger adds a wonderful zing to all types of dishes, from salads and chutneys to main dishes. Garlic and ginger are often minced together to form the basis of a variety of vegetable, lentil and meat curry dishes.

read more | digg story

December 21, 2007

Chemiluminescent Luminol

Luminol glows in the dark. This chemiluminescent compound is an essential part of crime scene investigation as it detects blood, even invisible blood.

read more | digg story

December 15, 2007

Checkout Google Zeitgeist 2007

There are five categories in Google Zeitgiest 2007 , including the main one: Newsmakers, Showbiz, All the Rage, and Top of Mind.

As Google says: "To get a glimpse of what's been on our collective consciousness, we mined billions of search queries to discover what sorts of things rose to the top. We encourage you to check out our findings to see if you, too, reflect the zeitgeist — the spirit of the times."

It may be interesting to know that the Top of Mind reflects the three most asked questions during 2007 on Google- they are are:

Who is - God ?
What is - love?
How To - kiss?

Social media most captivating topic in Google Zeitgeist 2007 says Gino Cosme on Cosmedia.

December 11, 2007

Who Owns Facebook?

I guess that's a question many of us ask especially when we see stories about takeovers and buy- outs and the like. So, I was really interested when I found this blog called WallStreet Fighter that has a post on this very topic of - Who owns Facebook?

"We all read daily how Facebook has now been valued at $15 billion after Microsoft bought a 1.6% stake for $240 million. This past week Li-Ka-Shing, the world's 9th richest person, bought a .4% stake for $60 million with rights to double his investment, further verifying the valuation."

Read more

December 10, 2007

Forensic DNA

DNA plays an important role in modern forensic science. Today, DNA fingerprinting has become one of the primary methods of identifying people.DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It is the genetic material of a cell. DNA is can also be described as the blueprint of an organism.

read more | digg story

December 5, 2007

You can Digg pics on Photobuckcet

Did you know Photobucket now has a dedicated Digg channel?

Here you can fine the pics people have given the most Diggs, which invariable end up on your Facebook Superwall. I recognized quite a few from the first one or two pages.

Now Photobucket for me is a place where I upload images I need urls's for - you know those you' can't download directly to websites. I've never thought of using it for any other social networking.

As the blurb says: "See our new dedicated Photobucket Digg channel, with the most popular images on Photobucket, as voted by you! Let's see what you come up with when you "Digg" on Photobucket"

According to Mashable: "The new “Digg Images” feature will automatically crawl a submitted web URL and allow the user to select from thumbnail images to choose the one they would like to submit. Additionally, a mosaic view will allow users to browse submitted images. Digg has partnered with Idée for image recognition to prevent duplicates of the same photo from showing up on the site."

How Digg works on Photobucket

Next to all images on Photobucket, you'll see a Digg it button. Images with the most Diggs appear near the top of this page. If you see an image you like, click the Digg it button. You'll need to be a member of Digg to Digg an image. The registration to Digg is quick and easy. If you have questions about Digg, go to

With recently launched competitor Mixx offering an image section and gaining some fans since launching, Digg needed to make a big move, and with Photobucket on board this announcement certainly has some meat behind it.

December 3, 2007

The Oprahbama Phenomenon

Will the Oprahbama Phenomenon become one of the features of the 2008 election or is it just another celebrity flare-up? Watch out for Oprah on the campaign trail.

The Oprahbama Phenomenon - Another Celeb Uniname with Real Power

There was Bennifer, Brangelina and Tomkat and now the latest uniname is Oprahbama, probably one of the most potent mixes of African American power and celebrity ever to hit Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and who knows where else Barack and Oprah will travel on the 2008 election campaign trail

read more | digg story

November 29, 2007

African Path launches The Cheetah Index

I subscribe to many newsletters. Some I just delete when they come in, others I file away, but African Path, is one I read every time, usually from top to bottom.

The beauty of African Path is that you get mostly really well written and smart articles and opinions on various aspects of Africa, which you certainly are hard-pressed to find in the traditional media.

My Africa knowledge has increased bigtime and I have made contact with some very interesting young people across the African Continent. Now African Path has introduced a business site in beta called The Cheetah Index.

The Cheetah Index derives both its name and inspiration from Ghanaian economist Dr. George B.N. Ayittey, author of Africa Unchained. A central topic in this book is the new generation of young African professionals who look at Africa ’s problems from a different and revolutionary perspective. Dr. Ayittey believes that this group of professionals plays a central role in re-vitalizing African economies. This group of progressive, problem solving and action-oriented Africans are called the “Cheetah Generation”.

African Path will build the Cheetah Index into a leading online resource for Africa ’s current generation of decision makers. These will include managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, educationists and other people who influence Africa ’s development. The Cheetah Index site will provide breaking business news, profiles on African entrepreneurs and industry news while making it easier for business people from Africa and other continents to connect and network.

November 28, 2007

Ubuntu and the Busy Durban Arts Scene

You know, I never thought I'd use the words Ubuntu and Busy Durban Arts Scene all in the same breath.

But sometimes things happen that just make you smile.

We live in a cut-throat competitive world don't' we? Well the media are always telling us so. So then an email popped into my in-box from Karen Bradke at artSpace Durban in Umgeni Road - this is where the Ubuntu and Busy Durban Arts Scene - bit comes in.

As Murphy's Law would have it there are 3 events happening in Durban tonight! So what I suggest is this: first go to the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery in Florida Road at 5:30pm to see David Wheildon's paintings, then come to artSPACE durban by 6:30pm for the Annual Affordable Art Show, and then on your way home stop in at BeanBagBohemia for their 12th Birthday bash!!

We have been hanging artworks for the past 2 days with the rest going up today, so please do stop in and see the results!! And remember no artwork sells for more than R2500!!


Now, see what I mean about Ubuntu and Busy Durban Arts Scene?

I guess the message is that here in Durbs we share. There is plenty to go round.

November 26, 2007

Official 2010 Slogan Revealed

Robert Marawa and Jerome Valcke participate in the Asian Draw with Kaizer Motaung at the Preliminary Draw show.

The 2010 Preliminary Launch yesterday was great. Once again I was so proud to be a South African. Durban looked desirable as a holiday destination. The set and the ceremony was faultless for me and I like the new slogan - “Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa's Humanity”.

Ke Nako” means simply "it's time". And, indeed, Africa's time has come to use the 2010 FIFA World Cup to change perceptions of Africa and reposition the continent in a positive light with South Africa as the theatre and Africa the stage.

Said Khoza, “Given that we have been granted this huge opportunity to stage the FIFA World Cup in 2010 by you our friends, many of whom are here today, we felt it appropriate that we develop a message, a theme that would resonate with the objectives of the global football family as well as the intentions and ambitions of the African diaspora.

“In the development of this slogan – our 2010 message – we were also inspired by the outpouring of excitement and joy that we witnessed from villages and cities across the continent when president Blatter announced the name ‘South Africa' on 15 May 2004. To best capture these sentiments we as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa have decided that the slogan of the first FIFA World Cup on the African continent should be ‘Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa's Humanity'.”

Read all about the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup Preliminary Draw

November 22, 2007

Alternative journalism in hostile environments

An alternative weekly celebrates two years of business in South Carolina, after being banned from a dozen locations and having an editor's home set on fire. Unfortunately this is nothing new to this journalist.

read more | digg story

Great list of Web 2.0 Africa sites

When I saw this post about Africa's Web 2.0 sites - with links I was really happy. I always try to take notice of them, but I'm never sure I've got them all.

So here they are Africa's Web 2.0 Sites with thanks to Erik Hersman from White African. For those who don't know, Eric is kind of and "honorary African, having grown up in Kenya and Sudan. He now lives in the USA, but his interest is in technology and how it is changing Africa.

Go to Flickr, where each logo has the link to the Web 2.0 Africa website.

The “To Be Added” list:


November 17, 2007

Personal Security Products

Air Tasers, C2's, concealed weapon handbags, these are a new generation of personal security devices and products on the market, especially for women.

read more | digg story

November 15, 2007

Free Rice Programme Passes Billionth Grain

Free Rice. That's right, Free Rice. All you've got to do is play this word game and for each word you get right they donate free rice through the United Nations to help end World Hunger.

Word games are fine and the Free Rice bit makes me feel better about wasting my time with word games, so I went to the UN's World Food Programme Site to check it out and found that:

Rome, 9 November 2007 - The head of the UN’s World Food Programme Josette Sheeran has acclaimed the phenomenally successful internet-based vocabulary game FreeRice as an example of the Web’s power to mobilise millions of people in the fight against global hunger. Yesterday marked the one billionth grain of rice donated to WFP through an innovative, dynamic online campaign – enough to feed more than 50,000 people for one day.

Come on, the word games are fun and the
Free Rice feeds the hungry.

South African Construction Industry gets Net Savvy

Construction Communication Network - Imagine an efficient, cost-effective and secure electronic communication platform focusing on the construction and property industry that will allow professionals as well as advertisers and suppliers a wide range of benefits including: freeing up of time, opening new channels of distribution.

read more | digg story

November 14, 2007

Free Screensavers for All Seasons

Screensavers are as much part of our lives as the computers they decorate. Downloadable free Screensavers for all seasons are available to satisfy every taste.

read more | digg story

November 13, 2007

Advertising on Facebook, should Google have to worry?

Well it's always fun when there is some competition. The pot gets stirred a bit and things get turned on their heads. It was really just a matter of time until Facebook jumped into the advertising fray and went head to head with the mighty Google. But who will be the winners, and who will be the losers.

Gino Cosme of Cerebra writes:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week announced the launch of Facebook Ads, an advertising system that lets businesses connect with their target audience, roll out viral social ads, and track social activity on the site.

According to this statement, Facebook Ads now makes it possible for “businesses to connect with users and target advertising to the exact audiences they want.” Some of the companies already on board include Sony Pictures, The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, Verizon Wireless and BlockBusters.

Essentially, this is a very logical step for Facebook, and one that makes a lot of sense for advertisers. Think about it. Social networking sites have access to an almost unlimited amount of data about users. This includes their interests, friends, demographics, favorite on-site applications and groups, to name just some. Arguably there isn't a better way for advertisers to reach their target audiences with advertising that speaks to users on a very individual basis. Read the rest of Gino's story

Erick Schonfeld of Techcrunch was there when Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement, and in a liveblogging report stated:

"I am at Facebook’s social advertising announcement in New York City, where Mark Zuckerberg is about to take the stage and tell us all what we already think we know: Facebook is getting into the advertising business in a big way. Much of what will be announced today, such as projects code-named Beacon and Pandemic have already leaked out."

In this great demonstration of skilled liveblogging Erick goes on to tell us:

"Facebook is announcing three things: Social Ads (ads targeted based on member profile data and spread virally), Beacon (a way for Facebook members to declare themselves fans of a brand on other sites and send those endorsements to their feeds), and Insight (marketing data that goes deep into social demographics and pyschographics which Facebook will provide to advertisers in an aggregated, anonymous way). These three things together make up Facebook Ads. Here are the press releases for Facebook Ads, Project Beacon, and its launch partners."

Read the whole story

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

There is something about the Democratic Party's New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that just makes her look like a sure winner in the 2008 Presidential Race.

read more | digg story

November 11, 2007

Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan

Benazir Buttho is back home and the people of Pakistan are waiting for a General Election to put their favorite daughter back into power.

read more | digg story

Promote your brand on Facebook

Well I really like Facebook. I enjoy the mixture of business and pleasure and the way Facebook has brought old friends back into my life.

I also like the almost playful way one is able to network and get to know business associates and exchange thoughts and ideas.

When I saw this blogpost: Promote your Brand on Facebook, a Step by Step guide, I knew it was a good one. It's all about friends and fans - so give it a go.

Andrew Smith of Ideate explains:

Step 1 - "Brands are friends"

Until now, companies were not allowed to create Facebook profiles and try and pass them as real people. Many tried, but the profiles were removed by moderators. It was possible to create a Group that centered around a brand, but this was a rather limited approach. We created a group for Yuppiechef, but we couldn’t really give a reason for anyone to join it (although strangely enough, about 30 people did!).

This week Facebook launched "Pages". These are essentially like user Profiles, but for brands. Instead of a joining the Yuppiechef group, you now add Yuppiechef as a friend. Well, almost - the correct language is "become a fan of Yuppiechef".

Read more

November 7, 2007

Name Change hearings set for March 2008

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 06 Nov 2007
Title: Name change hearings set for March 2008

By Shaun Benton

Parliament - Public hearings on the standardisation of geographical names are to be held around the country from March next year.

Speaking at the media briefing on the Programme of Action for government's social cluster, Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan said the public hearings would help to reach a national consensus towards procedures that "we all accept and which we all embrace."

Addressing Tuesday's briefing, whose other members include the Departments of Health, Education, Housing, Agriculture and Social Development, the minister said there had been too much controversy around the issues thus far.

Mr Jordan said the legislation governing the name change process has been in place since 1996 and this will be used as a benchmark for the process in the future.

"There are a couple of considerations which always have to be weighed with respect to the standardisation of geographical names. One consideration is the linguistic integrity of indigenous languages."

Dr Jordan explained that many names of places on dated maps, especially those from the apartheid era, have incorrectly spelt names or are simply corrupted versions of the original words in South Africa's indigenous languages.

"A number of names, in fact, I would say the majority of names you have in the old maps and atlases that are derived from indigenous names are usually corrupted. So that's the first thing that has to be attended to.

"The second is names that are offensive and degrading," the minister said.

Dr Jordan said there are certain procedures for changing and standardising names, according to the legislation, regarding the use of words from South Africa's vernacular as part of the process of transformation of the country.

He said a substantial body of the citizens of a place may approach the South African Geographical Names Commission or the provincial geographical names commissions to make a proposal about the names changes.

"It is then up to either the local authority or the provincial authority to then test public opinion on that matter, and having tested public opinion, has then the right to make a submission, either to the provincial or the national Geographical Names Commission," Dr Jordan explained.

The national or provincial commission would then examine "the motivation for the name-change" and then make a submission to the Minister of Arts and Culture.

From that point, the minister would either approach, place on hold or reject the recommendation for the change, according to certain criteria, Dr Jordan said.

"What we would propose to do is to get some sort of consensus around the acceptance of that methodology and those procedures, because it's our sense that there is a lot of incomprehension about the procedures although they've been around for 12 years," he said.

A lot of material has been published about the procedures for name changes, many of which are available at government's one-stop information centres.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya said to popularise South Africa's national symbols, at least 2 000 South African flags have been installed at schools and at strategic entry points to certain cities and towns, as well as government institutions. - BuaNews

Meerkats in the Kalahari Desert

Affection for these small masked mammals grows as the gang recovers from the death of Flower of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.

read more | digg story

November 5, 2007

What PR people should know about Social Media

Great catchy title isn't it: "What PR people should know about social media"? The question is, DO PR people here even know anything about social media?

I'm sure some people in the corporate world know about blogs - well they've heard about them, not quite sure how they work -and many have banned the use of Facebook from their workplaces. But that's about it! As for the PR world, we'll I don't know.

I think one of the basic issues in South Africa is that people still regard doing anything with a computer besides office work as a waste of time. After all you could go play some sport or go for a walk or go to a movie or spend time with friends, but hang out online...that just seems too unhealthy for a South African.

Well, billions of healthy and unhealthy people across the world hang out online and South Africans are actually really beginning to get into it .

Today, the Facebook South Africa network has over 419,000 members up from 35 000 in May!

So maybe South African PR people should pay a little closer attention to social media and how they can use it.

I found this great article by Brian Oberkirch titled: What PR people should know about social media.

He says: "Tired of watching PR people fuck up when it comes to social media? Me, too. Let’s help them out. Here are a few things you should consider if you’re trying to fold social media into your corporate marketing work" Read more.

Internet Marketing - Search Engine Optimization - Google

Optimising your website - what Google wants.

Freshlyground - Doo Bee Doo

So how about a little music this Monday morning to start off the week? How about some freshlyground?

November 4, 2007

Celebrate in Morocco and Egypt

Get away from the crowds and the cold into the warm exotic climate of North Africa. Embrace Morocco and Egypt as perfect Xmas and New Year destinations.

read more | digg story

November 2, 2007

Website Value Calculator

I wasn't going to type my website's url into the Website Value Calculator because I know I've been neglecting it badly, so I decided to take a flyer with this blog and see what it is worth.

The Website Value Calculator proposes a resale value of:

Your site is valued at: $428 - R2 820,73

Well I didn't know if I should be happy or sad - but hey that's what you get when you use a website value calculator.

Make my Logo Bigger Cream

If your logo isn't big enough; doesn't stand out or whack you right between the eyes, you need some Make my Logo Bigger Cream maximum strength!

I'm not kidding you. This Make my Logo Bigger Cream has a clinically proven logo enhancing formula and it says right there on the packaging that it makes your logo up to 1000 percent bigger.

OK, ok... the Make my Logo Bigger Cream is really just a clever ad for Agency Fusion, a web development company, reaching our to ad agencies and designers. Take a look. Theey also offer a free T-shirt.

October 31, 2007

46664 World AIDS Day Concert

Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel top the bill at former South African President Nelson Mandela's 46664 World AIDS Day Concert on 1 December 2007 in Johannesburg.

read more | digg story

October 30, 2007

Nelson Mandela, Elder Statesman

The phrase Madiba Magic was coined at the 1995 Rugby World Cup when then President Nelson Mandela showed up in the captain's number 6 jersey.

Rugby has always been a white sport in South Africa and until 1991; Nelson Mandela had been in prison for 27 years, branded as a “terrorist." One year after the first democratic general elections, South Africa was back in international sport but the people of South Africa were still uneasy; they didn’t know if reconciliation was actually possible.

1995 Rugby World Cup - Madiba Magic is born

Then Nelson Mandela stepped up and supported the 1995 Springbok team and against all odds they won the World Rugby Cup at Ellis Park – Madiba Magic was born. Read this moving 1995 Rugby World Cup Story of Madiba Magic as told by then Springbok Captain Francois Pienaar and vice captain Joost van der Westhuizen.

read more | digg story

Online File Storage

Last week at the hairdresser I heard a horror story about a power surge and a computer that just "frizzed" so now I'm looking at online file storage options.

I do back up some documents onto CD. I guess I should get a removable hard drive, but I have a feeling it might be a good idea to go the online file storage route. offers me an Introduction to 90 Online File Storage Services.

"I personally like the Mozy Remote Backup, which provides 2GB of free backup space. Best of all, you can access an encryption key for your account for adding security and protect privacy for your files."

This list of online file storage services comes from listible. Read more

So I went to have a look at the Online File Storage services at listable and found a much longer list and was also much more confused.

Then I found dropboks, also a free online file storage service. I like the What is dropboks?

Explanation: DropBoks is a little website that allows you to securely store your files online. No bells and whistles, just simplicity.

Size: Your account has 1 GB of storage space. You can upload/download files (any format) as large as 50 MB.

So I think I'll get busy with dropboks this weekend - meanwhile paranoia rules and I'll switch off when I'm not using.

October 29, 2007

Unpacking the Microsoft Facebook deal

Well when I heard about the Microsoft Facebook deal last week I wondered what's up. To me it just looked like Microsoft wanted a captive audience for advertising in a market that they knew already used computers - I mean used them as toys, not just used them for work.

But then I read this article by a serious looking dude called John C Dvorak (a serious name too) on Marketwatch, and he says:

Do the math: Microsoft's Facebook deal makes no sense

"Microsoft is going to place ads, sell ads, broker ads and do some sort of revenue split with Facebook. For that, Microsoft pays $240 million and gets 1.6% of the company. When you extrapolate the valuation of Facebook and run the figures against the user base of around 50 million, it means that each and every user is tallied at $300 a head.
I thought valuing registered users of Web sites got expensive back in 1999, when they were as high as $100 a head; $300 is sky-high." Read the whole article.

Techdirt further muddied the waters about the Microsoft and Facebook deal with this story:

Microsoft's Facebook Deal Might Make Sense If It's An Ad Subsidy... But What About The Hedge Funds?

"It's been reported that Facebook had been looking for $750 million, but those hedge funds don't get any of those additional benefits that Microsoft gets. For them, the best has to be on the fact that Facebook is going to be worth a lot more than $15 billion at some point in the relatively near future. That seems like an awful lot of money to bet on a risky situation without that much upside." read the whole story

Blogger adds subscribe to comments feature

Note from Blogger:

Subscribe to Comments - by email!

Last night we pushed a small-but-crazy-useful new feature for all Blogger blogs: subscribing to comments via email. This makes it a lot easier to stay in the conversational loop after you’ve commented on a post somewhere.

The comment subscription feature allows readers of a blog to receive an email each time a comment is made to a particular post. You can subscribe to a post's comments by clicking the "Email" link next to "Subscribe to comments" on the post page.In order to subscribe to comments by email, you must be logged in to a Google Account.

This can only be interesting. I often wonder what reaction to comments will be. Sometimes it is maybe better to not know!

October 28, 2007

Search Engines and Directories

We all use Search Engines and Directories, but I guess most of us fall into a trap of having one or two favorites that we always use.

When it comes to Search Engines, I'm a devoted Google user, maybe it's just because I like the toolbar and it's convenient. I use Aardvark for South African searches.

Directories are a bit of a mystery to me. I'm always looking for more to submit my websites and my blogs to, and usually find these endless lists of Directories that end up with dead links or complicated registration procedures and paid registration.

So I was quite excited when I found this link called 140+ Search Engines and Directories on Mashable .com. I couldn't wait to see what it had to offer.

October 22, 2007

419 Scams Go International

In spite of the publicity and warnings about 419 advance fee scams, estimates are that $100 million is scammed every year from Americans alone.

read more | digg story

Halala Bokke, Halala!

The World Cup Rugby Match on Saturday night only lasted some 80 minutes and then the Stade de France exploded with lights and embraces and tears and a rather bemused looking President Mbeki being hoisted up on the shoulders of the rugby players - after being shunned by Wilkenson and other members of the England team in the line.

So the Boks have manged to hold on and "bring the Cup" home. The William Webb Ellis trophy belongs to South Africa for the next four years, but what kind of team will we see then? Many of these players are laaities and will still be cooking in four years. Hopefully we will see more black players, now that the old white guys in rugby administration are blessedly dying out from clogged arteries and other ailments of white privilege.

For me the best thing about this Rugby World Cup was the Green Fever that spread through the land. By Saturday, everyone was well and truly infected - from home owners to car guards; old, young, rich poor, black white - wherever you looked you saw Bok flags and jerseys.

It felt so good - just for a little while - to have over 40 million South Africans pulling for the same side! We still have a long road to walk on our transformation journey, but on Saturday, I was so achingly aware of how far we had already come.

October 13, 2007

Medical Tourism to South Africa

Plastic surgery abroad is a fast growing trend. Medical tourists to South Africa go home with more than a glowing tan after a scalpel safari.

read more | digg story

October 8, 2007

Microsoft offer IE7 to ALL

I thought this was an April Fool's joke when I read it - I didn't think that Microsoft ever gave anything to anyone, but PC World is a reputable website, so why should they be lying? The headline reads:

Microsoft Offers IE7 to all, Pirates Included

Microsoft has removed the Windows Genuine Advantage validation requirement for installing Internet Explorer 7.

FRAMINGHAM (10/05/2007) - Users running pirated or counterfeit copies of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 can now download Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft announced Thursday.

(See PCWorld Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken's take on the Microsoft decision.)

From the moment it released IE7 almost a year ago, Microsoft has restricted the browser to users who can prove they own a legitimate copy of the operating system. Before Microsoft allows the browser to download, it runs the user's PC through a Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation test, a prime part of XP's antipiracy software.

Read the whole story

Is Facebook Going to Open a Music Store?

Well that's one of the big rumors out there at the moment that Facebook is going to soon be opening a big Music store to rival Apple's iTunes.

Tech Crunch has this story about Facebook and the music store. As it says - it might not be the best news for the iLike artist platform that just launched on Facebook. But the story concludes with the well worn phrase :"if you play in Facebook’s sandbox, don’t be upset when Facebook wants to play there, too."

October 7, 2007

Tripoli, Libya - Old and New

Libya is a destination for the connoisseur. The antiquities are awesome and because of its isolation, not many people have visited this fascinating North African country.

read more | digg story

October 3, 2007

Text vs HTML e-mails

Three of my clients are at about to begin email campaigns/ newsletters at the moment so I've been spending a lot of time looking at formats and strategies.

One of the first points is the text v/s html emails and what to do with the subject line.

I believe for a short campaign, a combination of text and html formats works best. If you just want to notify your mailing list, a text email is fine, but if your point is to give in-depth information, involve people and/or drive traffic to the website - you need to go for the html format.

Some people seem to like turning their print newsletter into a .pdf file and attaching that as a creepy kind of email newsletter. I have a sinking feeling those are the same people who believe the copy from their prospectus and annual report should be used for their website - this is one of "my bads" as the American kids say - one of my pet peeves!

And the subject line? You have only 50 characters to catch the reader's eye, to entice him/her to read your mail. So do it!

There has been so much written about the subject lines; you can even find lists of best open rates and worst open rates.

For me it is a case of read and absorb what you can. Know your product and your market really well and be honest at all times (within 50 characters). And watch out for spam filters.

Opt-in News Email Marketing Research Brief shows a clear favoring of html format for B2B marketing campaigns.
Some factors considered when determining the selected format include:
  1. Audience acceptance - Comprehending what email client a list audience possesses and what email formats the client supports.
  2. Time to display - Calculating an audience connection speed coupled with the creative file size to determine the loading time for recipient to view an email message.
  3. Source of broadcast - Depending on the source used for a mailing, what creative formats are supported; costs associated with broadcast; and file location (hosted or embedded).

Marketing Sherpa has just published a fascinating Case Study for a campaign where Text email and HTML are used in a Marketing campaign.

HTML vs Text Email: Which Works Better in a Short Conversion Cycle?

SUMMARY: Event marketers and others who need to convert products quickly can learn from a minor league baseball team who hit an email campaign out of the park.

See how they used text email first (to attract BlackBerry and mobile users) and then HTML to get a 262.3% lift over the rest of the season. Plus, how they landed a corporate sponsor in less than 48 hours.

Read more.

October 1, 2007

I Watched the DSTV Channel Shuffle

I watched the DSTV Channel Shuffle last night. I watched real closely, because I knew that it was going to stuff up my life for the foreseeable future until I could remember all the new three digit numbers.

It was like watching a solar eclipse - noting much happened and I didn't quite know what was happening, when it was happening and if it was happening, but the DSTV Channel Shuffle obviously happened because I must have dozed off and when I woke up it was on Parliament and a three digit number was on my decoder.

I automatically - flicked it over to 51 CNN and got an error message - Oops! 281 and there it was - the reshuffled DSTV.

Now all I have to do is learn the darn numbers and get into the habit of typing three digits into the decoder (which isn't so easy, you know?).

September 29, 2007

2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw

The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup preliminary draw will take place on 25 November in Durban, South Africa under the eyes of over 300 members of the world media.

read more | digg story

Social Networking Not just for Kids

Who says social media is just for kids? OK sometimes I think I'm one of the older people on Facebook, but maybe that's just a South African thing - my generation's men, had secretaries who did their typing and the women- well most of my friends went to university, got a degree, got married and are probably now baking cakes for the Woman's Institute and looking after their grandchildren.

However my contemporaries in the USA and Canada are often doing the same thing - cakes and grandkids, but they have PC's and Internet at home and not only are they social networking experts, they can code and build websites as well.

But back to the Social Networking story. I read this really cool article in iMedia Connection:
Social Media: Not just for Kids, by John Gray.

One of the main points that he makes is that sties that deliver on the need for adult interaction also deliver advertising results.

"A few months ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg surprised online marketers by revealing that since opening registration of his site to the public in late 2006, 50 percent of its user base now falls into the non-student category. It was just the wake-up call advertisers needed to realize that social networking is no longer just for kids.

In fact, while sites like Facebook and MySpace still dominate the social networking space and much of their audience continues to skew young, social networking is being embraced by Internet users of all ages"
Read more

He discusses leading sites like:, BOOMj, LavalifePRIME,, CafeMom, and MothersClick.

September 28, 2007

African Renaissance

Although President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa first labeled it an African Renaissance, the dawn of the rebirth of the African continent began a long time ago.

read more | digg story

September 23, 2007

Blackout Against Malaria - the Caring Face of Facebook

Social networking has reach that tradition media can only lust for. It also has a lateral kind of creative application that makes we want to sing and dance when I see some of the wonderful things that stream into my inbox.

The latest is a campaign - run through Facebook, called Blackout against Malaria. I was introduced to it though an invitation to an event - in New York. The group's name is One Million Faces against Malaria and this is Project Blackout.

The idea:

Join One Million Faces Against Malaria's Project Blackout, our attempt to make ALL Facebookers aware of the malaria emergency. Yes, close to three million people dying per year from mosquito bites is not a cause but an EMERGENCY. 90% of the three million are under the age of five! Our world leaders are not doing nearly enough, nearly urgently enough to fight it, so your voice and your black profile pic are needed more than you can ever imagine.

All of our action steps are pretty easy:

1) On September 23, today, post a black profile pic.

2) Get invites out to your friends (just hit the invite function on the group page and check the boxes - won't take more than a minute).

There is more to this, so take a look and black out your pics to raise awareness - after all, we Africans know all about Malaria - don't we?

Cannabis Tourism to South Africa

Although marijuana is illegal in South Africa, it is widely produced, used and exported. DP is known by connoisseurs as very high quality merchandise.

read more | digg story

September 20, 2007

African Business Communicators get Award Ceremony

Africa Quill Awards

Exciting news for South African communicators was the launch of the all new Africa Quill Awards, run by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Africa Region.

South African communicators who have entered the Awards rate them very highly in terms of recognition and furthering of their careers. Past winners of the international awards from South Africa include Pietie Mackenzie from FNB, an internal communications specialist, and Sophia Dower, Content Manager of Words’ Worth, an external communications and marketing company providing specialist communications to corporates.

According to Pietie, awards are a good benchmark of success and this is one of the major factors that encouraged her to enter the International Gold Quill Awards in 2006.

“It’s about recognition not only for the individual, organisation or country, but recognition for communication as a profession,” she says.

FNB entered its communication programme around a campaign called Banking on Knowledge: University of Banking, which won a Gold Quill Merit Award. The campaign promoted a two year certificate in banking available at no cost to FNB’s contact centre employees. The focus of the campaign was about turning contact centre consultants into bankers to ensure a great customer experience.

“The fact that over 80% of employees registered was a clear indication that communication played a huge role in the successful buy-in to this initiative,” Pietie says.

Word’s Worth has won four International Gold Quill Awards over the past few years - one excellence award and three merit awards.

“We entered because the IABC commands a lot of respect amongst senior communicators and can be a valuable marketing tool for a small business such as ourselves,” she comments.

This year there is a new opportunity for both Sophia and Pietie to be measured against their South African peers. The Africa Quill Awards will recognise communication excellence in Africa and South Africa. This will be a regional version of the international awards and winners will automatically be entered into the international awards competition.

According to Sophia, the Africa Quill Awards have real potential to give the local communications industry the recognition and kudos that it deserves.

“The international Gold Quill successes have always made an impact on our clients. We have found that the awards have helped to raise the profile of communication and communicators, This level of award catches the attention of the people who count - the MDs, marketing directors, –and other senior management and draws much-needed attention to the fact that good communication has a key role to play,” she states.

“Communication is usually the first area to be affected by budget cuts and often isn't taken seriously enough. The Gold Quill Awards have helped to counter that. I’m sure the Africa Quill Awards will develop the profile to do the same,” she concludes.

According to the IABC Africa Region, the Africa Quill Awards will go to professionals who have proven that their communication programmes effectively furthered the goals of their organisations, boosting revenues, saving costs, rallying employees or contributing in any other way to their organisation’s success. There are 26 different categories spread across the work areas of communication management, communication skills and communication creativity.

September 18, 2007

Three Cows in a Tazz

Heard the one about three cows in a Tazz? No it's not a new music group or exotic dish on some twisted foodie's menu. It's also not software download site. It is exactly what it says - three cows in a Tazz.

Well, I don't know the gender of the beasts so they may not all be cows, but I couldn't really say "three head of cattle" in a Tazz could I? It would sound lame.

A friend sent me the story and the pics and at first it looked like one more colorful urban legend, but I remembered an equally incredible story a read a few months ago about an astounding number of goats in a mini-bus, so this is probably true.

I guess as the Tazz was already rigged for cow- transport these weren't the first three to be transported this way.

Here is the e- mail I received:

This Toyota Tazz was stolen. It was then in an accident. 3 cows were found inside (also stolen) - tied up and squashed in!! See the 1stand 2nd photos. When the cows were removed the vehicle appeared as in photo 3. The rear seats and passenger seat had been removed to fit the cattle in!! The last photo shows the 3 cows after their release - remarkably unscathed!

September 17, 2007

Southern African Destination Weddings

African destination weddings are not only very romantic, they are also affordable. These weddings often include a beach, island or safari honeymoon in the package.

read more | digg story

September 14, 2007

Zoppy Video of Highway Africa Winners

The winners of the 11th SABC Highway Africa New Media Awards were Ishmael Farouk, Kamal Ben, Vincent Maher and Zachary Ochieng.

September 9, 2007

So what were Condi and George W doing on Airforce 1?

(Besides getting hammered.)

Looks a bit, er, disheveled to me!

This post from Democratic is quite funny, but the comments are even funnier!

September 8, 2007

Why StumbleUpon is good SEO

I've been a devoted stumbler (that is a a regular on StumbleUpon or SU) for about eight months and I can personally attest to the fact that it is a great social networking site to boost traffic to blogs or websites.

But it is also quite a critical forum, polices by the stumblers themselves. If they notice that you are using StumbleUpon purely to promote yourself and not contributing to the overall information sharing experience, you'll be in hot water.

Tadeusz Szewczyk alias "Tad Chef", Germany's most notorious white hat SEO consultant, web developer and online publisher has written an interesting article about StumbleUpon when he presents seven reasons why StumbleUpon traffic is the best there is.

He says: "Do you think Digg or Reddit is the place to go nowadays? Never used StumbleUpon until now? You should, both as a user and a webmaster. Users get highly relevant content that matches their preferences, that’s the way of social browsing. Webmasters get substantial and steady traffic. Especially new and small non-profit blogs like mine can get a regular, even daily traffic boost. That’s not all though to say about StumbleUpon, it’s not just any traffic, it’s the best and most targeted traffic I have ever seen!

Catch his seven reasons why you should sign up right now and become a committed stumbler.

Go Back in Time in Sunny Ethiopia

Vibrant and diverse Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, Africa's oldest nation, where ancient historical traditions have been preserved in remarkable ways.

read more | digg story

September 1, 2007

Heard of Orkut, Google's Social Networking Arm?

Anyone ever heard of Orkut? It is Google's social networking arm. Yes, Google is into social networking as well, and believe it or not this very Orkut, beats the pants off Facebook.

According to a recent analysis by comScore Media Metrix, Google's Orkut social network, which many had written off as dead on arrival, now draws 38.2 billion pages views per month worldwide. Facebook totals about 7.8 billion worldwide page views.

In the last quarter, Google reported $1.24 billion in foreign ad revenue, nearly double the amount it reported for the same period in 2006.

According to a report in, Google is looking to better leverage Orkut in the U.S. by giving the site a redesign that ads flavor and sex appeal to an otherwise blank template.

"Until now, Orkut has been an also-ran in the U.S. because it's been neglected by Google," Greg Sterling, a consultant with Sterling Market Research told Forbes. "But with just a few tweaks and redesigns, and in combination with all of Google's services, it has the potential to really differentiate itself from MySpace and Facebook."

August 31, 2007

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve Africa - Luxury Private Game Reserve in South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa is owned by the well-known Oppenheimer family and gives a new meaning the phrase - luxury private game reserve.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, covers 1000km2 (100 000 ha) of land on the edge of the mysterious desert wilderness that is the Kalahari. The largest private concession in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tswalu boasts 70 species of mammal including lion, cheetah, desert black rhino, sable and roan antelope. There are also more than 200 bird species. Tswalu is the historical home of the San people (Bushmen).

Tswalu has its own air shuttle that flies direct to the reserve seven days a week from the Anglo American hangar at O R Tambo airport (ex Johannesburg International).

read more | digg story

Elle MacPherson Intimates - Very Different Campaign

Elle Macpherson Intimates has launched a very different tv advertising campaign

The Glue Society helms this unconventional campaign for Elle Macpherson Intimates in what are arguably the first lingerie ads to tease your brain with something other than the scantily-clad model. The ads are sexy and fun and a long way from the usual high gloss ad agency products.

August 30, 2007

10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog’s Brand by Commenting on Other Blogs

Back to my old friend ProBlogger today for a great blogpost - 10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog's Brand by Commenting on other Blogs. What it really is all about is the fact that there are ways to comment and ways not to comment.

Ja, everyone says commenting on other blogpost will help you build your blog, because you get known and people will link to you and all that, but there are ways to comment that attract people to your blog and other ways that make them run a million miles.

As Darren says: "Much has been written about commenting as a strategy to build traffic (because used correctly it is a powerful tool) - but very little has been written on the dangers of it."

He then names 10 danger areas and asks bloggers to comment. What do you think?

August 29, 2007

Yahoo mail lets e-mailers text-message

In an effort to stay in the leading pack, Yahoo Inc has announced that it is giving its e-mail users more ways to reach friends and online contacts by allowing them to trade messages with mobile phone users.

"The Yahoo Mail overhaul is part of a drive to transform its e-mail franchise into more of a social activity that blends the convenience of instant communication with the implicit network of relationships found in one's online address book."

read more

TrekStor Beats Blacks...Then Changes Product Name

Adrants is one of my favourite newsletters. I had to smile when I saw this post about a really badly named German product - or maybe the rumours of the rise of Neo-Nazi's is not that exaggerated after all?

In an unfortunate and amusing product naming mishap, German company TrekStor had named one of its MP3 players i.beat blaxx. upon realizing the not so nice meaning of that product name, the company has since switched the name to a less culturally agitating and more simple blaxx. One wonders who looks at this stuff before it goes out?

August 28, 2007

Check the URL First

Proofreading starts with the URL. Please believe it, or you'll have a disaster on your hands. I cannot tell you how many horror stories I've heard of people having costly documents printed where every inch was carefully proofread, but because the URL doesn't look that familiar, it is glossed over.

Result - thousands of spectacularly printed and varnished brochures, programmes, annual reports etc are printed with an incorrect website address.

I smiled to myself this morning when I found this article in MarketingSherpa and decided that I had to blog it, because I know that no matter how many warnings we sound, people will still forget that proofreading should start with the URL.

Proofreading Starts with the URL - the Pain of Typos

By Anne Holland, Content Director

Admittedly, our B-to-B Marketing Summit Brochure was brochure-from-hell from a proofing standpoint. The marketing department had to get 29 different speakers' names spelled properly (this must be very easy in places, such as Sweden, where you have a limited pool of names to deal with, but in multicultural America you always have to double-check.) And we had to make sure the right headshot went with the right speaker, which can be easier to screw up than you think.

Plus, there were 500+ past attendee company names to spell correctly, including some with caps in the middle (Sherpa included, unfortunately) and some without, which also makes guessing impossible.

And, of course, all those session times ... for some reason putting sessions into the proper slots is also always harder than expected. Like children, they wiggle about and bump into each other instead of lining up in a nice, quiet, orderly fashion.

So, when the marketing team proofed the blue lines the printer sent over for our big August campaign, they had a lot to review.

Which explains how everyone totally forgot to proofread the response URL. So, we ended up with tens of thousands of brochures that read, Go to "," which was typed in as a placekeeper copy early in the process and never updated.

When the team alerted me about this, I said, "No problem, just go buy and redirect from it!" Which would have been lovely except for the fact that NutriSystem already owns it.

Read more.

South Africa pushes 'e-skills'

The South African government is to establish a council to oversee the development of "e-skills" in the country, while a number of leading local and international IT companies are to set up new training centres in SA, it was announced on the weekend.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with an advisory council on information society and development in Kwazulu-Natal, President Thabo Mbeki said that improving South Africa's information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure would be futile if people did not possess the necessary skill to use the technology.

The new e-skills council, comprising members of government, business and academia, would "very rapidly" drive the process of improving ICT skills in the country, Mbeki said.

Mbeki, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri were among those who attended the latest meeting of the council, set up to advise the government on ICT trends and ways of encouraging economic development.

At the meeting, a number of corporations outlined their plans for contribute to skills development in South Africa.

Hewlett Packard (HP) announced a R150-million initiative, dubbed the HP Business Institute, designed to provide subsidised training to small black-owned ICT companies.

Ken Willett, MD of HP Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, said the institute would provide its students with comprehensive training, including not only traditional IT-related training but also general business training in areas such as marketing communications and business management.

Microsoft, Cisco and Oracle also announced proposals for the launch of centres to provide ICT training and job placement.

Oracle said that, according to industry statistics, the demand for skills in South Africa's ICT sector - which currently employs approximately 200 000 people - would exceed the supply by as much as 24% by 2009.

"The skills shortage in the manufacturing sector alone will lag by 14 000 ICT specialists in 2010," the company said in statement. reporter and BuaNews

Go to Source:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.

August 27, 2007

Create a Forest - Act4Trees

Create a virtual forest. It sounds like great fun and it's for a good cause - saving the rainforest.

On this game-like website people can build and name their virtual forests and then invite their friends to help them Act4trees - in real language - put leaves on the trees, by clicking and clicking and clicking.

I came to hear of this via a cyber friend Cate, an environmental and animal rights activist, who has named a forest in memory of her son Eben who died earlier this year.

At Act4Trees you can plant a tree in a specific forest or create a forest of your own.

What happens is you are only allowed one click per day and will give 10 000
Euros for each million clicks to Aquaverde, a Save the Rainforest organisation.

So give Eben's forest some clicks, or create your own, but bookmark a forest and visit it once a day for a click. Why not?

August 25, 2007

Vote Now in the Saatchi Showdown Knockout

There are 12 winners from the Saatchi SHOWDOWN rounds that now enter the knockout phase.

The two artworks with the highest vote will enter a final head-to-head to decide the overall SHOWDOWN winner.

My personal favorite in the Showdown is Chicago artist -Alice Mcmahon White's "Chains"

So vote now!

The Joy of Tech

August 24, 2007

Virgin in Africa - Virgin Vacations in Egypt Tanzania Kenya South Africa an

Virgin Vacations has a great selection of African vacation packages with an inclusive return flight on the Virgin Atlantic Airways Carriers to London and further.

read more | digg story

Meeting Other Bloggers in Africa

I enjoy reading blogs from other African bloggers - that is how I came upon Oluniyi David Ajao, so I did a blogpost about him in my other blog at Suite101- Meet Oluniyi David Ajao - and it turns out that he had done a similar thing with a South African blogger Israel Mlambo a while ago.

Now while this may look to some like some type of blog-link incest, I think this is what blogging is all about. It is not really about the ratings or the stats, it is about reaching people and connecting, on whatever level you choose to connect.

My connection with Oluniyi David Ajao, who is a young entrepreneur who runs a web hosting business in Accra, Ghana was for a weekly blog I write to go with my African travel articles on Canadian content website Suite

I said there that I believe that before people traveled to Africa (anywhere as a matter of fact) they should become acquainted with local bloggers and local blogs to understand more about the real people and the heart and soul of the countries they were going to travel to.

Hey the bloggers might even give you great tips on where to stay and what to do so you don't get ripped off by brochures and travel scams.

(The image is from Mr Ajao's blog)

August 23, 2007

Archive Your B2B E-Newsletters for SEO Success

Newsletters are an essential component of websites, and when archived can serve many SEO purposes.

OK, I'm biased toward newsletters because I'm a journalist and I believe that no matter how much technology or gizmo's you shower people with, the cornerstone is still good old fashioned communication.

It you keep in touch with people (your clients, your market) and keep them informed you're ahead of the race.

As I was skimming though ClickZ Expert's newsletter I found this article by Karen Gedney , Archive Your B2B E-Newsletters for SEO Success

I like the way she started:

Right off the bat, I have to tell you I'm no SEO (define) expert.

Yet I consistently generate highly qualified leads from my Web site using what my colleague, Dianna Huff, calls the SEO secret weapon -- the e-newsletter archive.

I'm so tired of experts! Everyone is an SEO expert. It must be one of the fields with the most experts.And then no matter what all the SEO experts do do say, Google tweaks its parameters and everything changes.

Anyway the secrets are - according to her and Ms Huff - Fresh Content, Keyword rich content, Linkable content, Reprintable content, Reusable content and Conversations.

Read the whole article and optimise your "SEO secret weapon"