How we say goodbye

People mourn in many different ways.  I have noticed during the past few months how people have now moved their mourning to the social sphere.

Let me first go back.  Funerals have been a gathering place for mourners to celebrate the life of an individual who had passed on.  If you were unable to attend the physical funeral you were often saddened  and you felt that you did not do right by the person who’s funeral it was.  This last moment that you have to pay your respect was missed.

Especially if the person was close to you.  In today’s rushed world we are often not able to attend every funeral of family and friends.  Time is limited and there are also financial implications.

A while back I saw that families would register a domain and create a website with photos of the deceased family member sometimes with flowers all over the page.

I noticed the past few months that Facebook has become a place to pay your last respects to your friends, family and colleagues.  The one place we are all coming together these days to share ideas and thoughts have also now become the place we go to share our last thoughts and feelings.

I was quite taken by the way people post messages to the person as if they will still log in online and read the messages.  I think that this is a good way for everybody who know such a person to share their feelings openly.

When we get terrible news we often need an outlet and we do not know where to go or how to get that release.  Facebook now offers us all an opportunity to for one last time, post to our beloveds Facebook wall.

This may not be what Facebook was created for, but I believe that having this outlet for grief could be of great value.  I would recommend to the family to make sure that they have the account closed after a few months to help with the healing process.

Research and the Internet equals cyber scholar

Mr Nico Baird, CUT; Veronica Masenya, Anthropology (Hons), UFS; Nonini Makhothe Psychology (Hons), UNISA; and Prof. Johannes Cronjé, Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

How to harness the internet in conducting research and in marketing yourself, was one of the topics that were discussed by Prof. Johannes Cronjé, Dean of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Nico Baird, Instructional Designer in the Centre for e-Learning and Educational Technology at the Central University of Technology (CUT), during a session on the Cyber Scholar. This session coincided with the launch of the UFS’s Postgraduate School.

Conducting research and marketing yourself on the internet allow the citation of articles and contribute to gaining an NRF rating. The seminar also explored the various tools available to a scholar on the internet and how to use them best. Mr Baird and Prof. Cronjé also explored the future of the scholar in the quickly changing and evolving technological and electronic environment we live in.

Cybersholarship made easy

The way we are doing research is changing rapidly.  Going to a library to find resources may still be a common practice when doing your masters degree or your Phd, but this is rapidly changing.

This week I co-presented a Cybersholarship workshop at the University of the Free State. The University of the Free State launched a Post Graduate School  and presented valuable workshops for during the week.

I am very pleased that the University acknowledged the fact that finding information online and using online resources as part of your studies is something that should be accepted and not be discouraged.

Let me give you some quick tips! First read more about the topic that you would like to research. This you do by visiting Wikipedia. Even though many institutions do not accept Wikipedia as a valid resource it is a great place to find out what type of information is available about your specific field of interest.

Use social bookmarking websites like to bookmark and find great resources.  Create a free account, find and share great resources online.

If you find blogs or websites that you want to follow go to and create a free account.  Now you can add all the RSS feeds from those websites you want to follow in this free reader and as they are updated the updates will appear in your reader.

The last resource I will share in this column is that you should also immediately join an academic forum or two like  Here you will be able to share ideas and follow the work of other academics in many different fields.  This is also a great place to ask questions from other academics who are possibly sharing your interests.

There are so many tips that I can share, but I hope that these few will help you get up and running in your research project.


Branded email for your School – Schools get Tech Savvy

I AM amazed at the fact that most schools do not have email addresses for each and every learner. I am even more amazed that most schools believe that to do this they will need to install email servers and employ a team of techies.

This is not the case as you can access tools online that will make you a “rock star” at your school or institution.

Google provides many tools for you as an educator to use at your school or institution. You have access to communication and collaboration tools.

On the communication side you have free email and a calendar system that you can brand with your school’s branding. No, you will not be handing out addresses, the addresses will be the same as the domain you use for your website. You only need a bit of technical knowledge to set it up and you will not need to employ anybody to run the system. Each user will receive more than 7 Gigs of storage. There is no need to upgrade your servers if you have more users.

This is not all. You will also be able to use a large number of the other Google services in your school, and I think one vital tool for any school is Google Docs. There is no need to buy licences for each computer for word processing, students just sign in and immediately have access to a feature-rich system.

Teachers can even build quizzes and tests in Google Docs. There is too much to tell you, so please go and visit the website for more information.

Click here for more information

A ‘delicious’ way to explore

THE internet is a big place. Keeping track of what you see and, most importantly, what you like, can be an impossible task.
Yes, you can add a bookmark, but after a while it is very difficult for you to have a manageable index of what you have bookmarked.
Doing quite a bit of research, I have been a huge supporter of This free bookmarking website has been an incredible knowledge base.
If you are a regular explorer of the internet, I highly recommend you create an account for yourself immediately. It is free and extremely easy to use. All you have to do is install a plugin into your browser (both Internet Explorer or Firefox) and when you find something you like, you just click on a button and the page will be added to your index page. I highly recommend this if you are busy with studies or research. You can easily find bookmarks in Delicious through easy word searches and tags.
Delicious was owned by Yahoo!, but they decided to close down the service.
The users, me included, were quite upset. Luckily for us, the creators of YouTube stepped in and bought the service from Yahoo!.
I believe in the coming months we will see new features in Delicious. During the time it was owned by Yahoo!, very little development was done to Delicious, but I believe this very dynamic team will make huge improvements and add many features to the service.
If you want to see what I read or what I find interesting, you should go and take a look at my delicious feed. You will find it on
Share the websites you like with the world and explore other interesting sites through Delicious.

The new iPad is here

THE new iPad is finally here and this time we are getting it a bit faster than the first version. When the first iPad was launched, it took about a year before we were able to buy it locally. This was quite frustrating to most tech enthusiasts in South Africa and some desperate souls had to buy these through websites who made it available through direct imports at three times the purchase price.
This time those websites were caught out and the iPad was made available quickly at a very competitive price. You may ask yourself why you should consider buying this appliance. First of all, you must realise that the iPad is not a computer replacement. It is an additional appliance for you to consume and create content easily.
The strength of the iPad is the fact that you can run thousands of applications on it. These applications are very affordable and I am sure you will find an application to satisfy most of your needs.
From business to education and even just for reading books; you will be able to use the iPad.
Ever thought of editing a video or recording an album? Well, with the iPad you can install the applications to edit a video professionally in High Definition, adding titles and themes. You can download applications that will replace the drums, the guitars and the trumpets in your band and record each track individually. After you have recorded your track and mixed it on your iPad, you can go to a party and through your DJ application have multiple tracks running to the DJ system.
The applications are limited only by our imaginations. The cost of the iPad is very competitive and it should be on your shopping list. For more information on the iPad, please visit

TravelInform – Travel made easy

FOR the past few weeks, I have been involved with the development of a new online travel network. This network is free to join and provides loads of information to all its members. It also gives you a chance to be a couch traveller. is a Bloemfontein-based social network and I am inviting you to join today. The idea behind the network is for members to access resources, information, travel tips, stories, photos and a whole lot more. You can read about the different countries you want to visit and plan your trip properly. The best part about the network is that you can share your own experiences, photos and travel tips. This is a brand-new network and even though there are many articles loaded on the site already, it is vital for you to share your own experiences. One of the things I like most about the network is the large number of photos that are loaded already. You can really see what the cities and countries look like. The photos are taken by people like you and me and are not the photos you usually get in travel brochures.
Not only do I want to ask you to join to get the information, but I also want you to send me ideas to improve the network. I really like it when these types of innovative websites are started in Bloemfontein.
I love to travel and I would love this free network to grow into a resource without any equal. Go to today and join. Share your travel experiences, photos and tips!
Nico Baird is a new media expert and can be contacted at