A-Twittering we shall go…

Nico Baird

I READ an article about how social networks like Myspace.com and Facebook.com are experiencing a slowdown of new subscribers. The article asks the question if this is the end of social networks.

I honestly don’t think so. I have always believed that certain social networks have only a limited lifespan. As new innovation in online social networking evolve people and groups of people tend to migrate across various social networks.

One such social network that will hit South Africa very soon is Twitter.com. The pace of our lives are increasing and we do not always have time to blog the events in our lives. Facebook made it possible to quickly update your status and tell your friends what you have been up to. But often people only logged into their Facebook account to set their status and to see the status of their friends.

The main aim of Twitter is to update your status and inform your friends. This update is the length of an SMS and you only get 140 characters to tell your friends what you are up to.

When you go to Twitter.com you can quickly and easily set up your free account.

You search the network for your friends and link to them. When you select friends to follow they receive a message stating that you are now following them, they can then decide if they would like to follow you back.

In South Africa Twitter is big in the tech community, but it is growing quickly. I predict that in a few months you will find articles in all the local papers talking about Twitter and how popular it has become.

When you go and join Twitter remember to add me as a friend.

Twitter will also be quite prominent at PodcampSA this year.

Remember to sign-up for PodcampSA at www.podcampsa.com.

podcamp banner

Huddlemind.net – Great minds gather

Nico Baird

IN today’s changing world where collaboration and social networking have become vital, it is important that you do not stay behind. Huddlemind.net has just been launched and I believe that this platform will be a vital resource and collaboration space for all educators.

The website describes itself as “A network for people interested in collaborative learning, new teaching methodologies and organisational development through education.”  

Our country is faced with unbelievable challenges when it comes to education.

We need to accept that the changes which have taken place around the world will happen here and that there is no sense in trying to stick to old methodologies. I have found that even though the world is filled with digital immigrants and digital natives we are being kept back by “digital ignorants”. Those who are not willing to change and stick with what they know rather than embrace innovation. 

I believe that Huddlemind.net could be the one place where through collaboration and knowledge sharing these educators could start to take the first steps to becoming better educators. The problem with many other educational websites is that they are US or UK based and therefore we sometimes feel that it is not the way things can be done in South Africa. Huddlemind.net is local, it is South African and it is relevant.

Registration is free and once you have signed up you can join in the discussions that are already taking place or create your own discussion on topics that interest you.

Because Huddlemind.net is a social network you can build your own collaborative network of friends. You can also expand this network by forming and joining groups on various educational topics.

If you are an educator interested in new media, new learning, new teaching and staying up to date with trends and innovation in education, visit Huddlemind.net today and register.

After you have done that go to podcampsa.com and register to attend PodcampSA in April. Remember PodcampSA is free to attend.


Podcamp South Africa to be hosted in Bloemfontein – 19 April 2008

DURING November 2007 I attended the first Podcamp to be hosted in South Africa.

Podcamp Cape Town was a huge success and my greatest wish was for Podcamp to come to Bloemfontein, to the centre of South Africa.

I am proud to be able to announce that Podcamp South Africa will be held in Bloemfontein on 19 April.

A PodCamp is a usually free BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals, including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers and anyone curious about new media.

The first PodCamp was held from 8 to 10 September 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. PodCamps   are now being held worldwide.

PodCamp is not just about podcasting.

If you are interested in blogging, social media, social networking, podcasting, video on the net, if you are a podsafe musician (or want to be), or   just   someone curious about new media, this is an event you cannot afford to miss.

PodcampSA is free to attend and at this stage we are looking for sponsors and people in the new media community to get involved, not only to attend, but to spread the word and lend a hand.

I was asked “why Bloem? Why not Cape Town or Johannesburg?” and my answer has always been, “Why not Bloemfontein?” We may not have the biggest new media community, but I think it is because we are not aware of each other, everybody is busy with their own thing, not knowing that there are others in Bloemfontein that could possibly assist you.

If you want to get involved please visit www.podcampsa.com and register to attend this event. The new design of the website should go live soon!

People or companies who would like to help or sponsor any part of the podcamp, can send an email to nico@clicksa.co.za.

Pangea Day

In 2006 the visionary documentary filmmaker, TED Prize winner and founder of Pangea Day, spoke at the TED conference. At this conference she unveiled her wish to change the world through the power of film.

To find out more about Pangea Day I went to the www.pangeaday.org website and after watching an incredibly well produced trailer. I found the following information.


Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future. In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.

On May 10, 2008 – Pangea Day – sites in Cairo, Dharamsala, Kigali, London, New York City, Ramallah, Rio de Janeiro, and Tel Aviv will be video conferenced live to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music.

I love the fact that if you have access to a venue where a screening can be arranged on the 10th of May you can submit it to the website and it will be listed. Two venues in SA will be screening the event, but I honestly hope that a venue in Bloemfontein will come forward and give their facilities for this cause. Not only will they be doing their part, but they will get quite a bit of exposure around the world. If you have a screening facility available let me know and I will assist you in setting it up.

Let’s put Bloemfontein on the map and do our part. Visit http://www.pangeaday.org today and watch the short trailer and get involved.


Laptop to take world by storm

EACH year during the MacWorld Expo the whole tech community speculates on what the content of Steve Jobs’ keynote will be.

MacWorld has always been a platform for the introduction of new products in the Apple range and this year was no exception. Along with some minor announcements like the upgraded features for the iPhone and iPodTouch and new functionality and features of the AppleTV, Apple launched the new Apple MacBook Air.

Said to be the world’s thinnest laptop, this laptop is sure to become one of the sought-after items in 2008. It is nearly as thin as your index finger, it has a 13.3inch wide­screen LED display and a full-size keyboard.

I love the multi-touch trackpad which is one of those features you can’t live without after you have experienced it. Through finger movements on this touchpad you control the screen. This may sound like the regular touch pad on all laptops, but it is much more functional and as soon as you know some of the gestures, you will see how much time you save by using them. The MacBook Air is also engineered to take full advantage of the wireless world.

Apple has long been at the forefront of innovation in the online distribution of music and now they are taking it to the next level with the online rental of high definition movies. This laptop is also well-equipped to facilitate these services and with its ultra portability this is a product I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Innovation keeps the industry alive and through these advances other manufacturers are also forced to push the envelope. I think we will see many advances in the laptop market this year.




Google just keeps on going

Google is growing beyond any comprehension. The stock price is now more than $700. About a year ago I wrote a column in which I said that it is now the time to buy Google stock as they are almost at the $300 mark and I am sure they will go up to more than $600.

I should have followed my own advice. But sadly I did not. Google is really surprising everybody with the way they are integrating into almost every aspect of our daily lives. Searching the web and earning advertising revenue from that may be their primary source of income but they are moving into many other areas.

They have just released the Google Computer which is available in the United States at about $199 (R1400) and it will surely increase their stock price. Speculation was that Google will announce a gPhone, but Google put a stop to speculations when they said that they will only be going into partnerships with a number of Cellphone providers incorporating an open-source platform for which will provide a number of services to cellphone users.I think that even though the price of Google stock has passed $700 I think that in a few months time we will all be sorry that we did not buy the stock when it was only $700. Speculation is that Google have number of ground breaking projects in the pipeline and I will keep you posted.

I would also like to mention my own little project which has just gone live. Please go take a look at www.datecave.com which I just launched, and let me know what you think. I think if you’re single you may like it more than others.


Paypal in South Africa

I am in the process of developing a number of websites. Two of them are about to be launched but one of the main problems at the moment is that to cover the cost of the development there needs to be a subscriber section. A section with some extras for if you want to really make use of all the features of the website.

Even though it is for very small amounts a payment system is needed. I have gone through the Internet trying to find an affordable payment system to implement. Unfortunately for some strange reason South Africans cannot receive payments through the world’s largest online payment system, Paypal. I have contacted them and asked why this is not possible. They assured me that they would love to add South Africa to their system but it has to do with laws and procedures in South Africa.

I do know that there are many tax implications etc, but all I want to do is accept payments through my websites! I found some local systems but the cost to implement them is enormous. I could not believe it. You really need to overcharge your customers to be able to afford taking their money.

I have a huge problem with this because this is actually slowing down the development and expansion of e-commerce in South Africa. Buying with Paypal is no problem; you can just register and make a payment. The way I see it this causes money to flow out of South Africa – rather than getting money into South Africa.

If companies are allowed to use the world’s largest payment system to accept payments for services online I am sure it will have a huge impact on South African companies. If someone could send me a reason we are left behind please let me know.


Elektroniese nuusbriewe meer

Unwanted Gifts

EK word gereeld gevra om mense te help met die opstel van elektroniese nuusbriewe. Dit is iets wat ek ­geweldig geniet en wat my opgeval het, is die toename in hierdie ­versoeke.

Daar is vandag soveel opsies ­beskikbaar vir elektroniese nuusbriewe en van hierdie opsies is outomaties. Wanneer jy clickkliek se webblad besoek, sal jy ’n blokkie regs bo in die hoek sien waar jy jou e-posadres kan invoeg.

Elke keer wanneer ek nuwe inhoud op die webblad sit, sal daar outomaties die volgende oggend ’n nuusbrief aan almal gestuur word wat ingeteken het. Die beste hiervan is dat dit ’n gratis diens van Feedburner is. Indien jy dus ’n blog begin vir jouself of jou maatskappy sal ek dit sterk aanbeveel dat jy sommer dadelik ook by Feedburner gaan aansluit.

Skole, kerke en ander organisasies kan honderde rande spaar deur al hul lede op hul nuusbrief te laat inteken. Indien daar nuwe nuus is, kan die nuusbrief outomaties gestuur word.

Ek onthou nog die dae toe ons elke paar dae ’n omsendbrief by die skool gekry het en dan moet Ma of Pa dit teken om te bewys dat hulle dit gekry het. Die groot probleem was dat ek nooit onthou het om dit vir hulle te gee nie, maar as Ma of Pa internettoegang het, kan hulle ’n elektroniese omsendbrief ontvang. Indien jy ’n grafies ontwerpte nuusbrief wil uitstuur, kan dit werklik in enige program saamgestel word. My aanbeveling is slegs dat jy die finale produk in ’n algemeen beskikbare formaat sal plaas. Die Adobe Pdf-formaat is baie gewild en werk uitstekend.

My aanbeveling is dat jy altyd ook ’n paar gedrukte kopieë van die nuusbrief beskikbaar maak.Nico Baird is ’n direkteur van Dreamagineers Internasionaal.


Bfn-webontwerpers beïndruk


Win a trip to Mauritius

DIE afgelope naweek het ek ’n openbaring beleef. Aan die einde van Oktober kom Rowan Polovin van myvideo.co.za hier in Bloemfontein ’n werksessie aanbied oor hoe om op die web ’n onderneming te vestig en ’n goeie inkomste te verseker.

Ek het besef dit is die ideale werksessie vir almal wat webbladsye in Bloemfontein ontwikkel. Ek besluit toe om ’n paar uur te bestee en op die web na ontwerpers in Bloemfontein te soek. Ek het verwag om dalk ’n handjievol te kry, maar groot was my verbasing toe ek nie minder nie as 20 webontwerpers opspoor.

Ek kon dit nie glo nie. Vir my was dit ’n warm gevoel toe ek van die bladsye besoek en vind die ontwerpers van Bloemfontein het nie nodig om vir enigiemand terug te staan nie. Omtrent 90% van die webontwerpers in Bloemfontein se bladsye is nie net indrukwekkend nie, maar is ook funksioneel en voldoen werklik aan die huidige neigings wêreldwyd.

Ek meen die plaaslike pryse is dalk nog ’n bietjie hoog en dat baie van die ontwerpers vereis jy moet jou webblad op hul servers stoor. Ek stem glad nie daarmee saam nie. Die rede hiervoor is omdat baie ontwerpers dieselfde produk herhaaldelik verkoop en nie wil hê iemand moet dit namaak nie. Ek verstaan dit ook, want ek skep self webbladsye, maar indien ek betaling ontvang daarvoor, is dit die eiendom van die een wat daarvoor betaal het.

Dit is regtig al probleem wat ek met van die plaaslike ontwerpers het. Die gehalte van die werk wat ek gesien het, is na my mening werklik van ’n internasionale standaard.

Indien jy enigsins daaraan dink om ’n webblad te ontwerp wil ek jou vra om beslis eers ’n ontwerper in Bloemfontein te kontak. Die werk van die gemeenskap sal jou voorwaar beïndruk.

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