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.

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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.

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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.

lifehack.org 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.

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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?).