22 November 2011

Stop the Secrecy Bill today!

I just tried phoning Deputy President Mr. Motlanthe to voice my objections to the Secrecy Bill that is being pushed through Parliament today. After a very long wait on the phone (call it persistent), a gentleman answered and told me to email my comments through.

In order to assist everyone else in airing their same concerns, here are the email addresses to consider sending an email to, starting with the infobill one first...
  • infobill@parliament.gov.za
And then also ...
  • idavidson@parliament.gov.za
  • gmagwanishe@parliament.gov.za
  • mmotshekga@parliament.gov.za
  • nntwanambi@parliament.gov.za
  • vcalvert@parliament.gov.za
Here's the gist from Avaaz.org so you're armed with a thorough argument, as well as the message that I sent through:

18 November 2011

Picasa and Picasa Web Albums - Free unlimited storage

I've been on a quest for a long time now to find the best site to backup all of my digital pictures and videos. I thought I had found the answer in Snapfish but a friend of mine pointed out that they charge you to re-download your photo's at their original resolution. No good!

I'm not on Facebook (and can't really comment on their photo storage options but I think pictures are resized) but am quite an avid fan of Google. Picasa Web Albums was limited to 1GB of storage so it wasn't really an option for me either but I've since learned that Picasa now offers a form of unlimited storage for photo's (and more importantly, videos).

In summary, files under a certain size don't count towards your 1GB storage limit and videos up to 15 minutes won't either. If you reach your quota, all future uploads are resized to fit within the free resolution requirements.

17 November 2011

Sending an e-mail to Twitter, receiving Twitter to e-mail

I can get lazy sometimes, and if there's one thing I can guarantee it's that my email account will always be open and readily available. I can't always say the same for my Twitter account. That's because I'm lazy.

I've found a way to overcome my laziness with an e-mail to Twitter solution that allows me to tweet from the comfort of my mailbox.

TwitterMail (@TwitterMail or https://twitter.com/#!/TwitterMail)

TwitterMail allows you to send an email to a specific Twittermail email (for example, abc123@twittermail.com) which then tweets it to your associated Twitter account. Better yet, you can also receive tweets sent to your username (@twittername) via email.

The problem is privacy. For TwitterMail to work you need to share your twitter account with them. For some people, this may be a problem. For others (like me), it's not such a big deal because it's not like a rogue Twitter thief would be able to do much with my Twitter account anyway!

For a bit of piece of mind, it uses The Visitor Widget to authenticate on http://twittercounter.com/pages/twittermail without sharing your Twitter password (which allows the application to read tweets from your timeline, see who you follow, follow new people, update your profile, and post tweets for you; it will not be able to access your direct messages or see your Twitter password). You can also revoke access at any time by going to your Applications tab of your Settings page - good enough?

Additional features of TwitterMail include:

In Your Arms - Kina Grannis

Fan of stop motion?

Ever tried to create a stop motion video yourself?

If you have, then you'll appreciate the immense labour of love that this music video is.

22 months.
1,357 hours.
30 people.
2 ladders.
1 camera.
288,000 jelly beans.

Hotprints is going!!

It sometimes feels like things that are too good to be true just really are too good to be true, and in terms of a free online photobook printing service, poor Hotprints couldn't keep out of reach of the cold icy deathgrip of economic reality, even though they gave a good (two year long) fight.

I only discovered Hotprints a few weeks ago and have already ordered a test sample to see just how good they are for their 'free' pricetag. I'm still waiting in anticipation to see what my photobook looks like if / when it arrives.

The model was simple: you pay $4 for international shipping and get an advertising leaflet in the photobook to subsidise the cost of the prints.

Alas, I had hoped to reveal this modern wonder to the world with an in-depth review of a tangible product but now it seems this venture is pointless. Hotprints closes down at the end of the month, so if you want to try them out you have until end of Friday 18 November to place an order.

Sad. So very sad. It was a great concept and unfortunately just not a sustainable model, it seems.

Give them a try if you want ... You've got one day left.

11 November 2011

In less than an hour ...

The time, date, and so on will read as follows:

11/11/11 11:11:11

(2011/11/11 at 11h11m11s)

That really won't happen again except in 12 hours' time so you have this momentous occasion and only for a second. Enjoy it. Remember where you are and what you were doing when that second passed you by.

10 November 2011

Get your free copy of Eish Magazine - Online!

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> The musical resurrection of Durban's local band Habit To
> We take a trip to Hawaii for the ultimate surf experience with surf photographer, Ryan Janssens.
> SA Fashion Week's business of fashion, read about how it all went down in Sandton.
> Some inside information for the guys...How to get a girl?
> Want to succeed as a freelance photographer? Andrew Brauteseth is that guy with a camera...
> People watching at Follow you Art and Interpret Durban... inside this issue of Eish.

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07 November 2011

Playlist Central - Free music streaming for South Africa on cellphone or PC

[ UPDATE 2011-11-07: 
Under the "more" button at the top you can generate a random playlist from 5 to 50 songs from 'any' genre and year. There is also support for cellphone streaming and ... interestingly ... uploading songs?

UPDATE 2011-12-05:
I noticed a few weeks ago that this site was no longer accessible and now when you go there it says "account suspended" so I guess it's back to the old drawing board, or www.grooveshark.com for your music fix :)


When I was in the U.S.A. I was overwhelmingly convinced that Pandora music service would be the next big thing to hit the world of internet music streaming. When I returned to South Africa I was heartbroken to discover that it's limited to U.S.A. and I would never be able to partake of the juicy goodness that lies in Pandora outside of the States.

Almost two years later, a poor substitute has surfaced in South Africa called Playlist Central which boasts (at time of post) more than 76GB of 64Kbps MP3 music (that adds up to more than 1200 artists, 2900 albums, almost forty thousand songs, or in other language - one thousand two hundred hours [forty nine days of non-stop music]) that is free-to-play online.

Some may argue that forty thousand free-to-play songs online for South Africans isn't a poor substitute but clearly those 'some' haven't tried out Pandora! Since this post isn't about Pandora I won't do a comparison and will focus more on Playlist Central and what it offers in a South African context.

Playlist Central is currently in a beta offering but from what I've tried in the afore-mentioned context of available South Africa services it's fantastic. Sporting a range of artists from A-Z including the likes of Abba, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Adele, and Sepultura there's sure to be something for everyone.

20GB prepaid Vodacom data for R499

Thanks to my subscription to the mybroadband twitter feed I can now confidently declare that Vodacom's latest Mofaya prepaid data promotion is here.

You can now get 20GB prepaid data for R499 instead of the original R3,620.00 - that's quite a decent drop in cost if you ask me (which you didn't, but it's my blog so I'm telling you anyway).

This promotion starts today and ends 9 January 2012. There is no modem and the data summer bundle carries over until the last day of the next month.