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Showing posts from March, 2008

DesignMind. Africa's first Social Network for Design Professionals...

Right. News out about the big project we've been working on for the last couple of weeks. The Virtual Works proudly presents: Africa's first social network for design professionals. And we're pretty proud of it.

There is a huge gap in this market. Design Professionals are actively involved with the purchase decisions of pretty much all manufactured products that get used within the built environment. Yet there is no real collaborative portal for them to engage with their own industry, trend watch, pontificate and do all the other good things designers like to do.

Hence the launch.


Feedback has been fantastic so far. 150 members and climbing in just over a day. Where I think this product will make a difference, is in the approach.

Usually (and let me generalise here for a second) - social networks, niche communities, content portals etc. etc. get started with a bright idea, pinch of passion and some caution-to-the-wind. DesignMind is a bit different.

REASON 1: We've been ru…

Windows Vista SP1

Ah. I really did think I'd got away with it! 67 mb download. 1 hour install. Not too shabby. No blue screens, no nothing.

Then, I noticed IE froze up a little - and changed design somewhat? Sigh. Click the image for full size.

FaceBook for old people...

Old. But good. Click image for a nice big 'un.

Gunfights and Twitter. An African Perspective.

Isn’t South Africa just the most fun? We live in a land that is marked by one of the most incredible digital divides. Forget Third World South America, or Middle Africa. That’s different – technology just never got off its feet and it’ll take many years, plenty discarded US laptops and OLPC’s from heaven before the situation changes. South Africa is different.

Many people have written about our unique combination of First World business and technology with Third World infrastructure, politics and crime. But this dichotomy never really hit home till an experience I had the other night.

I live in a fairly safe neighbourhood – Craigavon. We have a wetland, and a sign that says: “Home of the Bush Baby and the Giant Bull Frog”. It has its Summercon’s, like most places in Joburg. But all in all, it’s a friendly little suburb.

On Tuesday night, I was peacefully digesting some rambling chapters of Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries, when I heard the pop-pop of distant gunfire. It happens. Except t…

M-Net Extra - TV for the Eskom Generation...

Brilliant. Just noticed this while channel flipping. M-Net are going to start showing repeats of popular shows... based on load shedding schedules. So, Eskom takes you down - fear not, because the latest episode of the late 30s hormonal housewives or whiny promiscuous doctors is just a channel-click away.


Seriously though. What a clever programming idea. Kudos M-Net and DSTV. Considering we went down in Sandton, again today (this time for 4 hours from 10h00 to 14h00) - this idea should get some sparky traction quite quickly. Channel launches 22 March at 14h00. Chances are Sandton will be down.

The lesser known Cote d'Ivoire spam scam...

Ah, they really are getting better and better. Grammar is tightening up. Countries are being more obtuse. This is Princess Diaries in a scam. Don't ask me how I know about Princess Diaries.

I think where this spammer's email segmentation methods went just a touch of course - is his assertation that we have a stable economy. OK. I'm 100% passionate about South Africa - but my recent foray into Standard Bank shares doesn't make me think the I personally could help enrich this poor widow.

I am SO glad to see the money is free from drug / laundering offences. Last thing I need is Brett Kebble's ghost on my ass.

Mr Winterfield. Bring it.

Dear Friend,

I am a financial consultant based in Cote d'Ivoire. I have a client (a widow) who has $25 million dollars with a private equity investment trust company for safe keeping only. She wishes to invest in a stable economy.

Her interest is in companies with potentials for rapid growth in long terms. My client is interested in plac…

New local tech podcast launches... ZA Tech!

A new local tech podcast has launched (The ZA Tech Show). Always interested to watch these things as they grow. This one, especially. For two reasons.

1. Most of the motley crew are well-read tech journalists.
2. They drink Heineken or Windhoek. I just couldn't listen to arrogant Urquell wombats.

Seriously though, it's a good listen. I'm fortunate enough to know a couple of the chaps and got to sit in at the first 2 recordings. Isn't podcasting great? Couple of mic's, a mac and some informal chatter to educate the masses.

ZA Tech features Simon Dingle from Hypertext Media, Duncan McLeod from the FM and FM Tech, Jon Tullett from IHS, Benedict Kelly from Finweek and Brett Haggard also from Hypertext Media. (Ed's note - if they had put links to their own personal blogs, this lazy blog would've copied them. But they didn't. So I didn't.)

Check it out. It's not quite TWIT china, but local is lekker. :)

Here's a mini-scoop. Cellphone snap of the show be…

Yahoo embraces the semantic wot?

Just a quick one as I'm running out... Announced on TechCrunch just now... Yahoo embraces the semantic web. Big industry move. Big waves caused by the search giant with "lead boots" (according to Monsieur Laporte on a TWIT podcast).

Read the article here. TrackBack. And check out the Twitter coverage...

For those confused, here's some Wikipedia info on the SEMANTIC WEB. Learn the buzzword - it'll be everywhere soon.
The Semantic Web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which the meaning of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content.[1][2] It derives from W3C director Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the Web as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange.[3]At its core, the semantic web comprises a set of design principles,[4] collaborative working groups, and a variety of enabling technologies. Some elements of the…

New optional benchmarking feature available in Google Analytics...

I want it. But it seems this is just a teaser. A blank teaser at that?


Even the tech-gods hit SEND too early :)

UPDATE: Thanks to Avi - who cleverly got the mail off his BlackBerry (no clue as to how the GMail send went haywire...) Here it is... Go read Avi's blog here.

Dear Google Analytics users,

We're happy to announce a new, commonly requested feature: industry benchmarking. Industry benchmarking is a feature that lets you compare your metrics against your industry vertical and many other industry verticals.

To take advantage of this optional new feature, the administrator on your account will need to enable data sharing on the new Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings page. When you log in to your account, you will see a yellow Data Sharing Settings box. Click on the "advanced settings" link within the yellow box, then specify that you would like to share your data "Anonymously with Google products and the benchmarking service" by choosing the second check…

Buzzfuse February Payments

Very, very interesting. Go early adopters!

I'm particularly fascinated to see how this model rolls out as traffic increases. Do you make it really worthwhile for your top 20? Or do you Googlize and pay the tail - smaller amounts...

Here are Feb's top earners at Buzzfuse. From my side - thank you kindly!

Top earners

1. Rico Schacherl - $1,075.19
2. Stan Faryna - $942.86
3. Gareth Ochse - $840.76
4. Richard Jones - $651.97
5. Cardio Girl - $522.84
6. Andy Hadfield - $239.88
7. James Wolfaardt - $202.58
8. Doug Vining - $87.58
9. Tyson Williams - $60.21
10.Alexander Hay - $43.32

Knowledge Resources Direct Marketing Conference - The TWITTER Cast

Attended Day 2 of the Knowledge Resources Direct Marketing Conference, hosted at The Forum (@ The Campus). Entertaining conference, and even more entertaining since I conducted a little Twitter experiment.

What is Twitter?

Watch this video for nice, simple explanation...


Now that you've been introduced to the viral micro-blogging craze that's sweepin' the nation... have a look at the following article. I was attempting to test how well the Twitter platform would work for covering live events. In this case, the conference on Direct Marketing.

It was a really interesting and entertaining experience - highlighted by the potential of some really good "external" audience interaction. Some thoughts:

1. It was trickier than I thought, trying to get the Tweets off Twitter.com. I suspect subscribing to the RSS feed would be a better option in future. This time, the RSS feed only had 20 items available and I could only go back 10 pages on the Twitter "Recent" tab. I m…

Stormhoek. A social media "loan"...

From the original Biz-Community article by Eve D.

If your company's outsourced contractors were in a R6 million financial crisis due to no fault of their own, and you wanted to help them out, who would you turn to for help? If you are Stormhoek winery, you dodge the bank manager and turn to your biggest fan club – your customer base.

Stormhoek has been making marketing waves ever since, in 2005, it used the blogosphere to promote its product. In the tough wine sales industry, where even the biggest market share owner only owns 2% of the market, local Stormhoek reputedly grew its UK sales six fold to 300 000 cases per year. All this, on a mere US$20 000 annual budget, which is only about R15 000 per month. Not bad for a local brand with global recognition.
What an innovative idea. Read Eve's full article for details - but the jist of it - is using a viral / social media campaign to ask for a "public loan" to bail Stormhoek out of supplier difficulties. Loan to be repaid …

The Benefits of Blogging / Social Media - Part #3

The last part in this series examining the solid marketing benefits behind this centuries newest form of media. Summary article to come! (That's the one to Digg apparently - I've been reading multiple articles about having the phrase "Top 10" in your post - almost guarantees you an instant digg-fest. Bring it on.)

SIX. Using blogs as a sounding board for product launches / feedback. What better form of instant feedback can you get than the comment mechanism? It's fairly easy to use, so the irritation barriers are low. You can post anonymously if you fear reprisal.

Certain people just need to learn to switch on public posting, especailly on Blogger Blogs (too many instances of blogs that require a blogger account to post a comment).

How to generate valuable feedback and sift through large volumes could prove trickier. Not impossible - just having the comments there in the first place is a step in the right direction...

Take some local examples. Social blogs (where you…

Buffet tops Bill as World's Richest Man

Hell. Bill is sinking down the list (although, to be fair, he did GIVE away half his cash - and the Microhoo deal didn't help the share price much).

Congrats to Warren Buffet. Now the World's Richest Man.

1. Warren Buffett
2. Carlos Slim Helu
3. Bill Gates

View the full list here.

VOTE Cowboys at the SA Blog Awards

...And from way outta left field. AndyHadfield.com (aka Cowboys & Engines) got nominated for Best Technology Blog at the SA Blog Awards. I'm truly honoured!

Dear Readers, do your philanthropical best and go vote for andyhadfield.com at the voting page here! While you're at it, another one of my blogs - PakisCorner.com (primarily written by ex-Saffer USA 7's player Dallen Stanford) got nominated in the Best Sports Blog category.

If you like 'em - make your click heard!

Rumour: Telkom Router Spaghetti

I heard a rumour that Telkom sometimes sends net traffic from Joburg via Pretoria or Durban? HUH?

In the worst case, my source tells me, traffic will get sent from Joburg to Durban and back again before going international?

What gives?

Great Quotes #2 - Jack Handy

Not all great quotes can be used in presentations eh?

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams . If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, 'It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver'."
- Jack Handy

Rumor: Microsoft about to unveil web-apps strategy

Just a rumour - but read an interesting piece the other day...

Microsoft, the giant beast with two lead shoes - is stirring... About time too.

Put your ears to the ground, my friends, for the Beast of Redmond may be stirring. I've heard that Microsoft has begun briefing its large enterprise clients on an expansive and detailed strategy for moving its software business into the cloud. If the report proves correct - and I make no guarantees - the company will unveil the strategy to the public either next week or the week after.
Read the full article here...