Save the Sounds

Save the whales, save a tree, save the long-tailed-brown-paw-spotted-aardvark.  Each and every day there is something new that we need to save. We need to do all this saving for our future generations.
The latest “thing” to save is sounds.  This latest concept is from the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk).  The idea is that you will record unique or endangered sounds from your own neighborhood or country and upload it to the specially created website which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/clicksound .
(The original URL is quite long and I have created a short url at www.tinyurl.com.  You will be redirected to the correct website.)

The website contains a worldmap and you can upload “your sound” to a specific location.  Be it someone singing or the sound of fireworks during new year celebrations.

I do believe that we should really aim to record the sounds of animals in nature and upload it to the website.  This could also be a valuable learning resource for school teachers who are teaching young children about animals.

Record your sound today and upload it to the website.

We will have our first 27Dinner in Bloemfontein on the 27th of October 2009.  We are still trying to find the perfect restaurant or venue so please send me your suggestions.   I will give you more information about this event next week.

In the meantime please visit www.27dinners.com and register if you plan to attend. Remember the event is free to attend and you will only need to pay for your own dinner. I already have confirmation that one of the speakers for the evening will be Ramon Thomas (www.netucation.co.za). Register today and lets make this event a huge success.

(Column September 2009 – BloemNews)

Marketing online

One of the greatest and most effective mediums for marketing that is available at the moment is Facebook (www.facebook.com) . At a very low cost you can place adverts on the pages of Facebook and chances are very good that you will see a good return on your marketing investment.

You pay per click or you can also pay for every 1000 impressions of your advert.  If you have a Facebook account you can setup your advertising campaign in minutes.  You do however not need to pay to market your product or yourself on Facebook.  If you are a celebrity or well know you will probably automatically have a lot of people who add you as a friend in Facebook and through this you build a bond with your audience.  

You can however also create a free fan page for yourself or for your company or product.  This is very easy to do and you will be up and running in a few minutes.  After you have completed the setup of your page you now can send invites to your friends and ask them to join your new fan page.  I must admit that I have a bit of a chuckle when some celebs send out invitations asking everybody to become their fans.  If you are a celeb who are trying to build a fan base you should really rather have someone else create your fan page and send out the invitations.  

If you are building your fan base remember to keep the attention of your fans by sending them updates every now and then.  Send information of performances, specials, anything noteworthy that your fans would probably want to know.

http://www.nicobaird.com – my new personal / innovation in education blog.

 

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27Dinner Bloemfontein – 27 October 2009


On Monday I received an email from Ramon Thomas, who teaches Blogging workshops across Southern Africa (www.ramonthomas.com ). In this email he invited speakers to the 27Dinner which will be held in Port Elizabeth at the end of this month.

I have always wanted to host our own local Bloemfontein 27Dinner but just never got around to arranging one. A 27Dinner (www.27dinner.com) is an event which takes place on the 27th of a month and is an event to bring together entrepreneurs, business owners, designers, developers, geeks, marketers and other tech and web enthusiasts.

The 27Dinner concept was started by Mike Stopforth (www.mikestopforth.com) and Dave Duarte (www.daveduarte.co.za) in January 2007 and has been going strong since the very first event.

The idea is for you to come and share your projects with like-minded people and if you are a company you can even sponsor the event.

These 27Dinners are taking place all over the country and I really believe that with all the developers, designers, web enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and geeks in Bloemfontein we can definitely have our own 27Dinner.

We get together at a venue/restaurant (any suggestions?), we arrange for one or two speakers for the evening (what are you busy with or if you want to share something else you can). If you are a speaker from another region of South Africa please let me know if you would like to give a talk at the event!

There are no costs attached to the event except that each person at the event is responsible for the payment of their own dinner and drinks.

Please send me an email and let me know if you would like me to arrange this event for the end of October 2009, you can email me at nico@clicksa.co.za.

Let’s get together and start something great!

.

EdTechTalk – Repost

 

This week saw the 100th episode of one of my favourite podcasts.  The podcast I am referring to is EdTechTalk and is a wonderful source of information for every educator around the world. 

 

I have listened to the EdTechTalk podcast since the very first episode and in the months that have past I have realized that each educator should listen to it on a regular basis.  The podcast is hosted by three educators in the United States of America and each week for about an hour they go through the latest educational news but mostly the share links to new innovative websites and new technological advances being made in the world of education and educational technology.

 

Throughout the week listeners contribute links to the EdTechTalk Delicious page and then the cream of the crop is shared by the presenters.  The reason I mention it today is because in this 100th show they have the top 100 links of the past 100 episodes and if you need to catch up to what is happening in educational technology this is the perfect episode to do so. 

 

You can visit the website at www.edtechtalk.com or you can go directly to their top 100 links for the past shows by going to http://delicious.com/edtechtalk/etw100 .

 

EdTechTalk is not only about educational technology but there are also a whole list of other educational podcast to listen to. These include podcasts about primary school education and open education. 

 

Visit the website today and please let me know if you make any discoveries there that I should know about.

 

 

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New Products from Google and Apple – Repost

 

 

Dit voel deesdae vir my asof ek net altyd oor Apple of Google skryf, maar dit is hierdie twee maatskappye wat deurlopend nuwe produkte bekendstel en wat gereeld in die nuus is.

 

Die afgelope twee weke het Google hulle eie telefoon bekend gestel wat reeds in voorverkope die verkope van die iPhone verby gevat het.  Anders as die iPhone word die foon deur verskillende vervaardigers, soos HTC, vervaardig.  Die platform waarmee die foon werk is oop en kan deur enige ontwikkelaar verander en verbeter word.  Hierdie foon sal ook binnekort internasionaal beskikbaar wees. 

 

Soos met die iPhone het die G1 (Google Phone) ook ‘n magdom programmetjies wat jy kan aflaai en op die foon installer.  Ek glo egter dat die hoeveelheid van hierdie programmetjies baie meer sal wees aangesien Google nie soos Apple ‘n beperking op die ontwikkelaars plaas wat dit ontwikkel nie. Die platform is ook gratis en kan van enige webblad verkoop word. Apple laat ontwikkelaars slegs toe om die programmetjies deur iTunes te verkoop.

 

Apple het ook Dinsdag hul nuwe reeks MacBook en MacBook Pro rekenaars bekend gestel.  Hierdie nuwe rekenaar se omhulsel word uit een soliede stuk aluminium gesny en is ongelooflik dun en lig.  Apple het ook baie geleer met die ontwikkeling van die MacBook Air en hierdie nuwe modelle is visueel baie mooi en sal die droom wees van enige gebruiker.  Die sleutelbord is ook baie meer gevorderd as enige vorige MacBook.  Apple het die kliek knoppies van die muis op die MacBook weggelaat en die hele “touch-pad” dien nou hierdie doel.  Soos met alle Apple produkte is hierdie nuwe MacBook rekenaars weereens ‘n groot stap vooruit. 

 

Apple weet wat hul gebruikers wil he en deurlopend verbaas hulle met innoverende ontwerp en funksionaliteit wat ongekend is in die algemene rekenaarmark.

Gaan kyk gerus na die nuwe rekenaars by www.apple.com.

 

 

 

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Photoshop CS4 Launched – repost from 2008

This week saw the launch of the new version of Adobe’s Photoshop in South Africa. This powerful photo editing package / graphic design programme again amazed with its new features.

From a long list of amazing features I want to just mention two that blew me away.  The first is the new 3D object painting feature.  It is now possible to easily work with 3 dimensional images as easily as you would with regular images.  Adding reflections or logos and blending it with the 3D images has never been this effortless.  You can now paint directly onto 3D models and this used to be quite a bit of work in the past.  Designers will love this new tool.

The second new feature I want to mention is the Content-aware Scaling tool. I hate it when people take photos and squash them to fit into a specific space.  Usually it distorts the image and either turn normal human beings into long thin alien looking beings or short flat round shaped beings.  With the new content aware scaling feature you can now scale images without destroying the main subjects of the image.  The background will scale but not the people in the foreground. This to me is an amazing feature which will make the lives of many graphic designers just a whole lot better and easier.

There are a huge list of new features in the new Adobe Photoshop CS4 package, and I am unable to mention them all, but please visit www.adobe.com and take a look at all the new features.  There are also short video clips to show you exactly what these new features can do.

Adobe has also arranged a launch in Bloemfontein during the beginning of November and if you are interested in attending you can email me.  The date has not yet been set but as soon as it is available I will let you know. Please let me know if you would be interested to attend this free launch event. 

 

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Nuwe iPod – Repost

http://za.offerforge.com/z/14923/ZA1256

Dinsdagaand het apple ‘n verbeterde iPods aan die wereld bekend gestel. Apple het die afgelope paar jaar opspraak gemaak met uitsonderlike nuwe produkte en dit wil my voorkom asof hulle steeds vooruit gaan beweeg met innoverende ontwerp en funksionaliteit.

Ek gebruik 80% van my rekenaar tyd ‘n gewone Windows PC, maar wanneer ek werklik iets spesiaal wil doen is dit asof ek altyd oor beweeg na my Apple.  Die ontwerp en spoed waarteen grafiese werk op ‘n Apple gedoen word is net uitsonderlik.  Hierdie rubriek handel egter nie oor my gevoel teenoor ‘n Apple rekenaar nie, maar eerder oor die nuwe iPods wat weereens ‘n groot stap vooruit neem.

Die nuwe iPods is die nuwe iPod Nano wat ‘n uiters bekostigbare en kompakte iPod is.  Met ‘n groter skerm en beskikbaar in 8gig en ook 16 gig is dit ‘n wonderlike manier om jou musiek en video te geniet.  Iets wat ek nog nie in ‘n vorige iPod gesien het nie is dat indien jy hierdie iPod skud sal hy jou musiek in ‘n nuwe volorde terugspeel (ook bekend as random of shuffle mode)

Apple het ook hul nuwe iPod touch bekend gestel.  Ek gebruik die afgelope paar maande my iPod Touch en elke dag is ek verstom met wat hierdie produk alles bied.  Met ingeboude WiFi, en ‘n gebruikersvriendelike beheer meganisme is hierdie een van daardie produkte wat jou alles bied. Die nuwe Touch het nou ‘n ingeboude luidspreker wat die vorige weergawe nie gehad het nie.  Verder is dit beskikbaar in 8GB, 16 GB en 32GB.  Apple het ook die pryse van hierdie produkte aansienlik laat val.  Dit sal seker nog ‘n tydjie neem vir die verlaagte pryse om in Suid Afrika sigbaar te wees.

Besoek gerus www.apple.com om meer uit te vind van hierdie nuwe produkte.  En onthou as dit wat jy op die webblad lees jou asem wegslaan, sal jy jou asem heel verloor wanneer jy die produkte in jou hand het.

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Sandsteen Festival 2008 – repost

One of my favourite photo editing programmes is Adobe’s Lightroom.  This small but incredibly powerful programme is a must for any digital photographer. Whether you are a professional photographer or just someone who loves to take photos of family and friends this is one program that I can highly recommend. It does not merely assist one in managing your photocollection by using keywords and ratings, as well as outputting your photos to the web, print and presentations.  The first time I used it was   at a PhotoSafari that I attended a few months ago and since then I have  been using it  with most of the photos I have taken.

On Tuesday I attended a free information session by Igno van Niekerk , who runs the Adobe user group in Bloemfontein, on some of the new features of the latest version of Lightroom and I must say that I was hugely impressed. 

After you import your photos you can make changes to the lighting in the photos, change the exposure and change colors with just a few easy clicks.  There is even a gradient tool available which can assist photographers tremendously with photos taken in “tricky” light.  Adobe really did not seem to hold back on this upgrade. 

Scott Kelby , the world’s best selling computer and photography author for five years in a row has written his second book about the use of  Lightroom, The Lightroom 2.0 book,  and next week will see its international release.  As part of this Igno van Niekerk also arranged a photo walk last Saturday and you can view the photos of the group of photographers who attended . You can just visit  www.bloemadobe.com and just follow the link to the Flickr group where the photos were uploaded. Bloem was well represented with 29 photographers taking the walk and having an overall fun experience.

The next photowalk that will be done by the user group will be during Paul Roux’s Sandsteen Festival on the weekend of 12/ 13 September.  The Sandsteen Festival is indeed something to diarize as it takes us to the Eastern Free State when the willow trees are turning into their spring-splendour green and all kinds of activities are being arranged.  For those who want to know more, have a look at www.sandsteenfees.co.za .  From a barndance to dinosaurs – that seems to be part of the menu of a great festival.  Hope to see you there – and feel free to join us on the photowalk – hopefully there won’t be any dinosaurs!

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Setup your Blog today

 

 

The Internet also has its waves. There was a wave of Blogs, then a wave of Wikis we are currently in a wave of social networks and now it seems that the Blog is coming back for a second round.

 

In these financially troubled times it is the blog that is predicted and seen to be on its way back to the main attraction online.  Content is still king and because Internet users can easily create their own free blog and post to it without high bandwidth demands, knowledge and news can easily be shared with anybody that is willing to read.

 

I believe that in South Africa we will see an increase of bloggers in the next two years.  Internet access will become more affordable and this will give birth to a new era of content creation we have not seen in the past.  I also believe that content creation in Southern Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa and other South African languages will become very popular.

 

Traditional knowledge is an area that will most probably be a money earner for anyone who gets on board early.  Remember you can have a blog about anything.  If you want to make a living by blogging it can be done.  You do need a topic that people are interested in, you need to update constantly and you need to give information that is relevant and something that people would like to come back for.

 

You can monetize your blog through advertising networks or even through a subscription service.   The most important thing however is to keep at it and create a following. 

 

Do not expect to become rich over night.  You have to build a brand.  Go to one of the free blogging platforms, www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com, online and start today. 

 

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Times are changing

I am sitting in a coffeeshop and I realise just how times have changed.  I have just ordered my coffee and now I am sitting here typing my column on my cellphone.

  A few years ago I would have had to go and sit down in front of my desktop computer at home to be able to do this. A few years back I would have had to sit in front of a typewriter and each time I made a mistake I would have had to get the tipex or maybe start over.

  Now I am sitting here typing on my cellphone which has a full keyboard. Best of all I am using word.

  If you think about it, you realise that if I need to check a fact I would have had to go to a library. Now if I want to check something I just go to Google which is completely integrated with my cellphone.


This morning I was sent a PowerPoint presentation and I went through it on my phone. I can also connect my phone to a dataprojector to give a presentation to a large group of people.  Our cellphones have really become powerfull little computers with many of the features we would only expect from larger computers.

  I do believe that this functionality of our cellphones will increase exponentially. With built in GPS the cellphone is no longer just a nice to have item but in todays rushed lifestyle which we all share, we can get where we need to go and get done the things we need to do there without having to carry around large computers or laptops. Will the students of tomorrow carry books or laptops or maybe just their cellphones?

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