Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mean Mother - Isuzu KB 300

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Die Heuwels Fantasties - Sonrotse


Love this song, and the dreamy holiday vibe from the video.

Note to regular readers of this blog: I will be on the road for about a week, taking in parts of the Garden Route, snow covered mountains and Kruger Park. Watch this space next week for pictures and stories fresh from the road.

Viral Media Sites: Universal Principles

SHOOT: Once again Mashable comes up with excellent and very useful advice on the most relevant of social media topics, how to get your content to go viral.
clipped from mashable.com

1. Content is Everything

2. Simplicity

3. Emote

The brain is very good at making associations. If your content is able to get people to respond emotionally, get people to laugh and enjoy themselves, you’re gold. That emotional connection serves as a sort of glue, binding the association between your content or site and enjoyment and with each exposure to entertaining, funny, or otherwise emotionally provocative content, that association between “your site” and “totally amazing” becomes stronger and stronger.

4. Own Your Space

What do sites like Texts from Last Night, Urban Dictionary, My Mom is a Fob, and FML have in common? They’re all masters of their own space.

5. Share It

6. Protect Your Content

Set Google Alerts for your site’s name and even for popular content (if it’s text-based) so that you can be alerted to copycat websites or apps.

7. Listen

8. Don’t Force It

9. Love it, and Let it Go

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Did you know these 10 fun facts about Google?

By all accounts, there are many wondrous sights to be seen at the Googleplex, but one of the most arresting is surely the gigantic T-Rex skeleton — nicknamed “Stan” after a “real” dino found nearby — that looms menacingly at Googlers in Mountain View.

SHOOT: Fascinating. I wonder, is Twitter the next google?
clipped from mashable.com

1. The First Google Doodle

2. Interesting Figures from the Google IPO

3. The First Google Storage Was Made From LEGO

4. Google’s First Ever Tweet

5. Google Rents Goats

This one isn’t actually one of Google’s infamous April Fools’ Day jokes: Google rents out goats. Yes you read that right. It rents goats from a company called California Grazing to help cut down the amount of weeds and brush at Google HQ.

6. Google’s Impact on Language

7. Google Is Dog-Friendly

Google is a super dog-friendly company. It proudly names “company dogs,” like Yoshka (described as a “free-range Leonberger”) pictured above. Yoshka accompanies Urs Holzle, senior VP operations and Google Fellow to the Googleplex. Less senior staff are also allowed to bring their dogs to the office.

8. Google’s First Ever “Company Snack” Was Swedish Fish

9. The Google Logo Was Not Centered Until 2001

10. Google Has a Company Dinosaur

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Michael Jackson died after a sleepness night following an exhausting performance

The rehearsal ended around midnight Wednesday night with a performance of Earth Song. The singer hugged his dancers, thanked the crew and wished them a good night. "God bless you," Patterson and Grant recalled him saying.

SHOOT: How awful. I know the desperate panicky feeling when one desperately needs to rest but can't.
clipped from www.news24.com
Soon after Jackson arrived home, he started complaining of fatigue and that he needed sleep.
Murray, according to a police affidavit, was concerned Jackson was addicted to propofol, a powerful anaesthetic normally used only in medical settings with special equipment on hand. He told police he was trying to wean Jackson from propofol and had not given him the drug for two nights.
At around 01:30 on Thursday, June 25, he again tried this approach, giving Jackson a 10mg Valium tablet. The anti-anxiety medication had no immediate effect and about a half hour later, the doctor gave 2mg of lorazepam, another medication from the same family as Valium, administered through a saline drip.
When Jackson remained awake, Murray administered a 2mg dose of midazolam, another sedative, at 03:00, then another 2mg of lorazepam at 05:00.
By 07:30, Jackson remained awake. Murray told police he injected another 2mg of midazolam into Jackson's drip.
Still, Jackson could not sleep.
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Social media noise: tips on how to communicate correctly

Two messages per day is a minimum unless you want your messages to get lost in the background.

SHOOT: I think there is a greater risk of not contributing than contributing too much. I'd add another tip to these from Alistair Fairweather, and that is, be consistent. A consistent volume is more likely to be tolerated than one that appears random.
clipped from memeburn.com

1. The platform matters

All social mediums are not created equal. Twitter is essentially a public forum whose posts are limited to just 140 characters. This makes it relatively noise tolerant because its users don’t see it as an inbox (which must be actively managed) so much as a global stream of consciousness.

RULE OF THUMB: On public channels like Twitter eight or ten messages a day should be ok. On private ones like Facebook, more than four is pushing your luck.

2. Age is important

Users younger than 25 years old are generally more noise tolerant, regardless of platform.

RULE OF THUMB: If your audience is between 30 and 45, tone your frequency down by about 25%. If they are older than 45, reduce it by 50%. Conversely if they are under 16, experiment with pumping it up by 25%.

3. Brand attachment counts
RULE OF THUMB: New brands need to post less often and with more impact.
4. The value of the message is vital
5. Less is not always more
6. It’s a conversation, silly
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Lonely? It all depends on your perception

The study of 265 adults ages 19 to 85, showed that stress serves a crucial function for those who reported being lonely. Lonely people were prone to have fewer close connections, were less apt to manage daily stressors well, and tended not to keep up on their health. Also, lonely people don’t get adequate sleep.

SHOOT: Loneliness is a state of mind, sometimes.
clipped from holykaw.alltop.com

Having oodles of friends on Facebook—or followers on Twitter—won’t do much to stave off loneliness if those relationships lack any kind of strong connection, new research finds. Even worse, superficial relationships can not only result in feelings of detachment, but also contribute to certain health-related problems.

“Loneliness is the discrepancy between your achieved and desired level of social contact, and that has important implications,” says Stacey Passalacqua, a researcher at the University of Arizona. “The portrait of a lonely person is very difficult to paint because what is really important is what is in your head.”

Full story at Futurity.

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The View from my Bicycle [COLUMN]

Sport reflects life - by Nick van der Leek

Let's face it, sport and football fever in particular, is good for us.  It gets us out of dull routines, out of self-imposed solitary confinement, it gets us to socialise and enthuse and connect to the community in common cause.  That's precious. No president or politician can achieve the sort of unifying force that sport like this, on the scale of the World Cup, brings about.  I could leave my keyboard right there, because this is a wonderful affirmation happening in our country right now, and the most important one.  But, of course, I'm not going to stop there.

The image above represents something I find quite quirky about football.  Some supporters will go nuts, not because they won, but because they didn't lose.  Our own Bafana Bafana were treated like champions, and winners, after their 1-1 draw with Mexico.  It was these celebrations that I think took their eyes off the ball, leading to their defeat to Uruguay. Supporters left the stadium in droves and Uruguay went on to score a third goal behind the backs of the exiting fans.

Meanwhile a cursory glance at the news shows you that South Africans are not only still hoping, but also praying that their team does well, after all, the Lord works in mysterious ways right?  SABC3 news right now is talking about 'die hoop vlam op vir 'n wonderwerk' [literally: hope flames up for a miracle].

Meanwhile:
  • Many believe that when charismatic preacher Angus Buchan - of Faith Like Potatoes fame - talks to God, He listens. In a real leap of faith, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands farmer told Weekend Argus in an interview on Friday ahead of his trip to Cape Town that he was praying very hard for Bafana Bafana. More.
  • A Cape Town sangoma says Bafana Bafana will make it to the World Cup semifinals. More.
  • “Muti works,” said Miriam Lethaba, a 62-year-old domestic worker from Ratanda, a township outside Heidelberg in Ekurhuleni . “It will make Bafana strong.” More.
Now there are some who will snort at the idea that muti and witchdoctors are worth the investment in time and perhaps - probably - someone's money, and there are others who may say even Christians are wasting their time [and money].  Because the root of it is this: you really really want your team to win and you will do anything, short of running onto the pitch, even running into the changing room, to influence the result in your group's favour.  In a more general sense, people of every culture and creed, are quick to turn to any handy superstition when something that is important to them is not under their control.

Cyclists, cricket players and yes, footballers, and their fans, are all well known for their superstitions.  And let's be clear, a superstition can be a private ritual which one practises entirely independently of religion, but which has no less importance at the time one practises it.

When the investment in a superstition or faith is not rewarded in reality, of course, it is quickly forgotten, dismissed.  Of course when things turn out, unexpectedly or not, in one's favour, those comforting rituals get reinforced.

Even the players themselves represent this oh-so-human tendency towards superstition by kissing rings, tattoos, shirts, crossing themselves or looking up to the heavens, because, of course, God - or the gods - has smiled on them.  The arrogance of this, naturally, is quite appalling; why should God favour one player and not another, or worse, one team above another, but no one seems to notice this anomaly in the logic [or lack of] in belief, because they are so fully subscribed to wanting some particular result themselves.

The drama at work on the field of play is also worthy of a mention.  Let's face it, plenty of acting and exageration is happening, in the hope that the referee can be tricked into offering up an advantage, not entirely earned.  In this sense football is as farcical as wrestling. But the crowds don't seem to mind, the important thing seems to be that that most basic of ego gratifications is satisified - a win [whether by fair or foul means].  This tendency towards co-operative deception and play-acting, drama and pretense towards a shared objective also says a lot about us.

The teams also say a lot about their countries.  Take North Korea.  They have an ultra-conservative, ultra-defensive style of play.  The idea is to choke attacks, and then, on the rare occasion when the opportunity presents, make opportunistic counterattacks.  Naturally, this tactic of defense is the best offense usually does not work, hence the team is ranked lowest in the tournament, and the country itself employing similar tactics is, as everyone knows [except perhaps many North Koreans themselves] an impoverished backwater in comparison to most other countries..
Then the French team, passionate, and emotional.  Of course passion can work for you, but it can also have a dark side when it becomes the master, rather than the servant.  Anelka could easily have apologised to his coach after telling him to 'go f*** yourself' and gotten on with serving his team and his country, but chose a more arrogant stance.  Thousands of other players in France would have given everything to be in a position Anelka apparently is too good for.

Bafana Bafana also say a lot about South Africans.  Emotional, capable of performing, but quick to change state - from tangible fire and passion to self defeat and depression. And thus ultimately lacking substance.

Of course, as any sportsman knows, the real way to influence your chances is through simple hard work, and preparation.  There are other realities at play, including luck, including uncontrollables like the weather.  But superstitions do little more than settle the nerves, and perhaps aid in creating false but helpful affirmations.  The problem comes in when our focus is on the miracle mentality, and not on steeling oneself to disciplined effort.  Faith in an unknown tomorrow lies at the heart of unhealthy delusion.  It's a gamble that usually, unfortunately, doesn't pay off.  Hard work on the other hand does, and the hardest worker tends to be rewarded as a matter of course.

In South Africa the quintessential instrument used to support the teams and players [and let's face it, if the players had a choice, they'd ask their own supporters not to] is the Vuvuzela.  Many aren't sure what they think of it, but one thing is certain, sentiment has changed for the worse as the World Cup has gone on.


I believe the Vuvuzela will start to run out of World Cup steam after Bafana exit the first round on Tuesday.  While a win against 9th ranked France is virtually inconceivable, there are longer odds facing the team irrespective of their result: Mexico have to beat Uruguay.

Personally my objections regarding the World Cup are the same as they've always been.  We've set our standards - both for ourselves and in terms of the team - far too low to present a tournament that we can truly participate in, or do so with even a clear conscience, and thus we can't honestly be proud of either our team or our country.  Sadly. If you can honestly be proud carrots and noddy badges to you. But that said I am sure many visitors are actually enjoying, nay loving our crisp fresh air, and the plenty of wide open spaces that our country affords.  Including certain parts of our cities.  I know firsthand that many can't get enough of our delicious and inexpensive food, and many more of those other things one does not really consider firstoff when rattling off a countries' tourist attractions.

So let's revel in the exposure and the fellowship of having so many visitors in our midst.  It reminds them and us that we are, after all, in it together, and capable, possibly, of influencing the result, as long as we at least make the effort to try.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Toys Are Us

NEARLY 2,000 years after St. Paul of Tarsus wrote his poetic epistles to the people of Corinth, we still equate our capacity for selfless love with the putting away of childish things. That is to say, the time comes for each of us to grow up and pack up our toys.

SHOOT: Excellent New York Times article on the inner workings of Toy Story.
clipped from www.nytimes.com


The ennobling, terrifying drama of outgrowing toys has played out many times in stories and songs — most recently in this weekend’s Pixar release, “Toy Story 3” — and these well-loved tales tell us at least as much about the times in which they were created as they do about the time of life when children abandon their dolls and action figures.


Indeed, for all the toys’ talk about the glories of being played with, very little screen time is ever devoted to showing Andy actually doing anything with them; when we do see Andy flopping Woody around like a bean bag, neither of them seems to be having much fun. In Andy’s presence, the toys are inanimate — polyethylene, wires, patches of cloth. Only when he leaves the room, when the toys are not serving him as impassive objects of his fancy, do they come alive.

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Celia ushers in Hurricane Season for 2010

SHOOT: Celia ought not to be a threat, although there is a large system brewing on the Atlantic side, currently moving over Cuba, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.
clipped from www.nhc.noaa.gov
TC Activity
clipped from news.yahoo.com

MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Celia howled toward the open ocean, away from Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday.

The first hurricane of the 2010 season had maximum sustained winds of about 75 mph (120 kph) and was expected to gradually strengthen.

A Category 1 hurricane, Celia was centered about 365 miles (590 kilometers) south of Acapulco on Sunday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm was moving westward at about 7 mph (11 kph). That course would take Celia into the open Pacific, and forecasters said there was no immediate threat to land.

Dario Rodriguez, a forecaster at Mexico's National Meteorological Service, said Mexico would not be affected by wind or rain from Celia because it was too far out to sea.

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What did Nicolas Anelka say?

The French are regarded as one of the most powerful nations in world soccer, having won the World Cup as hosts in 1998 and finishing runners-up to Italy in 2006 when the event was last held in Germany.

SHOOT: Apparently all Anelka had to do was apologise, which he didn't do. Pride comes before the fall, but the media seem to have worsened an already tense situation. Find out the answer to the above question below the fold.
clipped from www.goal.com
Nicolas Anelka (France) - (Panoramic)

Chelsea forward Anelka was dumped by France on Saturday after an apparent dressing room bust-up with manager Raymond Domenech during their 2-0 defeat against Mexico on Thursday.
Reports suggested that Anelka had reacted angrily to Domenech’s questioning of his first half performance and that led to him being taken off at the interval. It had been reported that Anelka told his manager to "go f*** yourself".
Anelka was also absent from training on Saturday which fuelled rumours that his World Cup was over and that was later confirmed by the French Football Federation (FFF)
But now it seems Anelka has stepped away from the national side for good.
clipped from www.sport24.co.za

"We deplore the incident that happened at halftime against Mexico but we regret even more the fact that an event that belongs to our group and is inherent to the life of a competitive team was made public," the statement read.

"The players are unanimously against the French Football Federation's decision to expel Nicolas Anelka", it added.

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