Days of DVD rentals over?

A FEW months ago a friend of mine opened a DVD rental shop in Gauteng.  I asked him why he did this as I truly believe that DVD rental in South Africa will soon be a service that will start to decline.  This will be due to video distribution via the Internet.

Maybe a service like Netflix, which has gaining popularity in the United States.   Needless to say, he was pretty upset with my comment.

I am very excited to announce that things are happening faster than I thought they would.   Last Friday DStv announced and launched their new BoxOffice Service.  Truly a huge step in the right direction.  I do feel sorry for video store owners, as I really think this service will have an impact on DVD rentals in the coming years.  Not only are you able to watch some of the latest releases directly on your television without having to get in your car and drive to the shop, but you are also able to watch the movies in high definition if you have the necessary PVR and television.  I believe that some of the main advantages are that the price for movies (R25) is exactly right.  You will also have 48 hours to watch the movie.

For most people the greatest feature would be the fact that you will not have to remember to return the DVD the following day.  You watch it and your access to the movie is automatically removed after 48 hours.

No late fees and no worries.  I think Multichoice has changed the way we rent movies for ever.


How times have changed

I CAN’T believe how things have changed. I still remember using the dial-up modem to get connected.

Mweb used to sell them by the dozen, and you would wait for the dialtone and then you would hear a screeching noise and then you would be connected. You would wait for websites to load and then you would be amazed at the fact that it only took a minute for a picture to load.

I was amazed when during the week I realised that in our household we have connections with almost every network. I have an MTN phone which I use to browse quite a bit. I have a Vodacom and a CellC internet dongle for when I want to connect with my laptop. My wife has an 8ta Blackberry that she uses to chat with her friends and family and she loves the whole BBM system and then to crown it all I have ADSL at home.

The question that I keep asking myself is: Why?, and How did this happen?. Are we really moving to a time when we need to be connected all the time? I do know that we are nearing a time when we will need to connect all our appliances to the internet. Most of the appliances in your house that you buy today have some type of operating system that will need to be updated.

When will a flashing little light indicate that the software on the iron or vacuum cleaner needs to be updated?

Why not try Google+

THE hot topic online in almost all the podcasts I am listening to is Google+. Most of the comments I read are very positive and it seems to me if you have received an invite and become a member, you love it.

I finally received my invite a few days ago. Getting hold of these invites are still tricky but they are getting easier to get hold of. If you need an invite, please let me know and I’ll see if I can invite you. You will need to have a Gmail account, so get one before you contact me.

Even though Google is still busy sorting out the bugs in this limited release of Google+, I have to tell you that many of the features I have seen are features that were lacking in its main competitor, Facebook. Ironically, one of the most popular members of Google+ is Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook.

One of the features I love most is the fact that you can easily sort your friends into categories.

I also like the fact that your privacy settings are not open and that you need to go and set them. The default is private and only if you give permission your posts, photos or messages will be made available to everybody.

There are of course a lot of people that feel they are cheating on Facebook if they explore Google+. All I can say is that you should give it a fair chance. Google is such a huge part of our lives already and I believe that Google+ will also be part of our lives soon.


Knowledge is a right – Education Week – 2011

THIS week I attended the African Education Week. This is an annual convention and learning expo and is hosted in Johannesburg.

I again realised that the one thing that is constantly coming to the forefront is the fact that if we want to provide educational opportunities to members of our communities, we will need to enhance the infrastructure for online learning.

Creating open educational resources which members of the community can access easily through their cell phones are sure to be one of the areas where content providers will have to focus their efforts.

We are currently seeing how access to mobile internet is becoming more affordable and getting access to content is becoming something that is almost in reach of all members of the community. I want to predict that by this time next year we would have seen another fall in prices.

When the stumbling block which is caused by the cost of access is removed, you will see large numbers of providers step up and make more resources available for our local communities.

The excuse that is being thrown around is that content cannot be developed because the people it is intended for cannot afford to access it.

It is vital that content providers and developers prepare for the demand that will come their way in a year or two.

We can uplift our communities by providing basic knowledge for free. Access to knowledge should be your right. I hope service providers realise this and lower the internet access cost for all South Africans.


(Published BloemNews Friday, 8 July 2011)


Will Facebook meet its match soon?

FACEBOOK now has a reported subscriber-base of about 750 million. Never before has there been such an enormous uptake of any online service. On Saturday, I presented a short talk about using social media to market your business and one of the delegates asked me about the reported decrease in Facebook numbers. I answered by saying when you have such a large number of subscribers you are bound to lose a few here and there, but if you look at the numbers it will be very difficult for any other online service to overtake them very soon.

I must clarify that it would be difficult, but not impossible. They said it would be impossible for any company to overtake MySpace and who even remembers MySpace?

If there is, however, a contender that can give Facebook a run for its money it is a new project that Google has just launched in Beta.

Google is testing their new social network called Go ogle Plus, or Google+ (

I believe this is one network that, if implemented correctly, could easily overtake Facebook in the next few years. We all use Google on a daily basis and being able to connect with all your friends right there will be an easy transition. If it is seen as a social, work, sharing, collaboration and networking space it will be a winner.

I am almost sure that even all those people afraid of Facebook will join this network. Could this be the perfect place for a Personal Knowledge and Collaboration Network?