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Splish, splash...

Yesterday our water was murky brown. Today, well, today it was gone!

Rumours have it that the towns reservoir pump is bust and that it will take 2 days until we get water again...let's hope this is a rumour!

Any ways, I was chilling, watching Heroes, when I heard this rumbling in the parking lot. A fire truck pulled up...my dear neighbour and friend Carly had phoned the fire department to get some water! Nice one Carls, since nearly all the water in the local shops is sold out.

Am considering how lucky I am having water most of the time, should not take that for granted!

I moblogged some images, which you can find on my flickr account.



20 minutes after I posted this the water came back on...still a little dark thou!

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, October 31 at Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | |

The Student Editor's Forum

Today we (Jo's Toolkit) have launched the student Editor's Forum.

This forum acts as a platform for all student editors to converse and discuss issues surrounding student media.

It will also aid the development and strategic planning for next year's student media Captivate conference.

The forum has the potential to create some really interesting discussions, which will further generate documentations and articles which will be presented on Jo's Toolkit at a later stage.

If editor, or non editor, anybody who has an interest or has knowledge within the field of student media if welcome to log in and add value to the discussions.

A permanent link to the forum is available form Jo's Toolkit.

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By: Gregor | Monday, October 30 at Monday, October 30, 2006 | |

Veeker - a powerful mobile video platform

MobileCrunch just posted an in depth look at the newly launched mobile video site Veeker.

This site allows you to send mobile video clips via MMS, and then delivers the clips to a set of contacts, public and personal pages.

The Veekerplayer is very effective and useful. You use the Veekerplayer to syndicate your feeds and publish them to other sites. It is even possible to deactivate a Veekplayer embedded in a site without having to go and physically remove the code to do so.As MobileCrunch states: by embedding a Veeker player in your MySpace page for example [or blog as in nmy case], you can give viewers of that page an unprecedented level of visibility into not only your own personal life as depicted in the videos you’ve created, but also a view into the lives of your friends. This increases the immersive potential of any social networking site by an order of magnitude.

A series of short clips can be subscribed to by RSS and feeds of clips can be played automatically in an embedded player on another site.And it works like a charm. I can record video from my mobile phone and send it through Veeker and it appears in a player on my blog.

According to Techrunch, YouTube does support incoming video from phones, but there are quite a few steps that need to be taken to reproduce the kind of functionality that Veeker promises.

Veeker’s unique way of contextualizing video into the rich tapestry of your life and that of your friends is highly compelling, highly addictive, and looks to mash up the power of the social network with the compelling feel of real-life reality TV in a way never before possible.To login to Veeker you have to be either invited or send them a MMS video clip, and I was surprised to see my video clip online within a few minutes.

This service is not just a mobile video hosting service, but also a social networking platform. It is simple to use, it actually works, and it opens up a vast amount of possibilities for vloggers and citizen journalists.Try it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! I have added My Veeker player into my sidebar, look out for some of my, and my contacts' weekly veeks!

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By: Gregor | Thursday, October 26 at Thursday, October 26, 2006 | |

Bush and Google - the axis' of evil?

This is a transcript from an interview with G.Bush:

HOST: I’m curious, have you ever googled anybody? Do you use Google?

BUSH: Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see — I’ve forgot the name of the program — but you get the satellite, and you can — like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes.

You can view the interview here. I also searched for Bush's ranch and found an apparent match on Google Earth...lat: 31.570477. long:-97.503966

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, October 24 at Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | |

PageFlakes 2.0 - a great upgrade

Last week I posted about my anticipation regarding the newly launched PageFlakes version 2.0. I have now had a chance to browse through the changes and can only say that I am pleasantly surprised.

The redesign of the interface is firstly a dramatic improvement. Users can now choose their own header color and choose between preset layouts for the widgets (aka flakes).

Adding pages, renaming them and setting them up individually have also been made simple. A feature I have been looking forward to is that of sharing pages. Not only can pages be shared by inviting individuals via email, but they can also be shared publicly. Here the option of allowing others to edit content is a vital and improved one!

Then there are set templates which one can add, predefined by categories such as Web 2.0, business or entertainment etc., another handy feature!

The language support is obviously also a major expansion, which will allow this application to grow in user ship and popularity very rapidly.

There seems to be no updated widgets (I might be wrong here) and I still have not come across a decent calendar flake which correlates with dates and times of the to-do-list, a feature which I would find extremely helpful.

All in all this upgrade seems to be a really effective improvement. I have the feeling I'll be commenting on this personalised startpage system again, especially when $Google and $Microsoft are striking back...or will they just purchase again?

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By: Gregor | Sunday, October 22 at Sunday, October 22, 2006 | |

Multimedia vs. Multiple Media stories

There are plenty of sites that claim they host multimedia stories, where as in fact they are nothing but multiple media stories.In my opinion there is huge difference when creating a multiple media story or a multimedia story.

Multiple media stories are definitive of their separate media elements. Record video and audio, take images, write text, add all visual and audio elements to view next to the text story, and voilà, a multiple media story. The problem then is, that there is no convergence, that the viewer is expected to read, hear, and see all these separate media separately and make sense of it in the end. There is often no link between the one medium and the other and most of all, text is still dominating the page.

I’m not saying that text should be ignored completely, but rather used effectively within a multimedia story. Text, such as captions, shorts intros, or chapter headlines are an effective means of presenting and guiding a story. Multimedia stories are a convergence of all the above mentioned media joined into one template. It is the collaboration of audio, video, still images, and text. One story is told by using all these media.

Personally, I prefer still images, sometimes animated, with background sounds and either a solid narration or interviewees narrating the story. Video works when the visual is very strong and should only be used for audio purposes if visually weak - rather compensate with some strong still images.

Here is another good definition.

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By: Gregor | Friday, October 20 at Friday, October 20, 2006 | |

Saturated social networks

Generated Image
Web 2.0, mashups and social networking - it seems like it will never end. Every day I find a new platform which offers something new, something clever, and I am on a registration marathon, login-in and testing out all these new apps.

But I sense a collapse within this sudden boom; I sense it approaching silently, and rapidly. Since we are dealing with social networks, I think only a hand full will survive this boom and rise to become as good and as popular as sites such as flickr for instance. The term social network in conjunction with the ideas of Web 2.0 is hypocritical if so many varieties of networks exist without them mashing up with one and other.

The problem is that the over saturation of all these flourishing apps. won’t really create one large social network but a huge amount of scattered separate ones, creating more chaos than an organized mashups. But, do we want less and more dominant apps or does the current vast choices cater for the specific niche markets?

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By: Gregor | Thursday, October 19 at Thursday, October 19, 2006 | |

Any Flickr color you want!

A very useful tool which I stumbled upon. It is called Flickr Color Selectr and allows the user to find photos by their colour schemes. All images that flickr finds for your specifically chosen colour are licensed under Creative Commons, making them (mostly) freely available for re-use. Further, one can rate the image. This tool can be very handy for web designers or any kind of creative work and the colour search results are astoundingly accurate.

Pic by RobbieTV

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By: Gregor | Wednesday, October 18 at Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | |

New pageflakes coming soon...really soon

Pageflakes, a Ajax powered online desktop space which I have been using for a while now is being updated as I write. Pageflakes has been announcing this update since last week and I am looking forward to the new version.

I am hoping for some advanced calender widgets (they call them flakes) and updated page sharing features. It will be interesting to see how and if Netvibes will enhance their applications to stay in the race...

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By: Gregor | at Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | |

A phenomenal story, close to home

As a multimedia producer and photographer, living in Grahamstown (Eastern Cape, South Africa), I have been looking to produce a really informative and effective story, and I found it, but unfortunately didn’t produce it. The Washington Post hosted a multimedia story entitled “WakeUp! South Africa” which portrays some amazing pictures and presents a very powerful story, with some amazing narration and effective background sounds.

This in my opinion is a perfect multimedia story which sets an amazing example of quality research, narration, photography, sound and overall convergence of these media. These are the some issues which I’ll be dealing with on this blog, looking at multimedia stories, commenting on them and watching the development within this exciting industry.

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, October 17 at Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | |

32500 pictures later...

My German logistics have failed me. After freelancing for four years now I have accumulated quite a few photographs, all stored on my external hard drive. Here I have about 63 Gigabytes of images (roughly 20000 19755 images) which have not been sorted, dated or categorized, just lazily dumped into a ‘Pics’ folder. Over an above that I have another 8 DVD’s of images (that’s another est. 12500 pics) waiting to be managed.

I’ve been using programmes such as Picasa for a while now (but mostly for my personal stuff), but never to its fullest potential. A major problem is that many of my images have been shot in RAW format, one which is not properly read by Picasa...

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By: Gregor | Sunday, October 15 at Sunday, October 15, 2006 | |

Bin Laden starts terror on the net, again!

It seems like the Taliban is now terrorising our email accounts. Quickly, switch to DEFCON 1!

Here is what I just got per mail, CC’d to a dozen other peeps:

PLEASE INFORM EVERYONE: Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it! If you get an email along the lines of "Osama Bin Laden Captured" or "Osama Hanged" don't open the attachment. Be considerate & send this warning to whomever you know. PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS: It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer. It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

Now, check here, here and here!
(...by the way, this mail has been circulating since July 2004)

This is what I often don’t get. We receive emails that warn of potential viruses, some promise you millions of Nigerian $dollars or ask for you to petition against rape victims and starving children. All I want to say that this here is a perfect example of how the responsibility of net users is diminishing. If it’s on the net it must be true, eh? It takes a minute of searching around to find out that these emails are hoaxes. Granted, it looks scary when this bright red message pops up on your email but the content gives it away.

Use these tools: Google Search or McAfee to double check before swamping please!

UPDATE: Russ and I just decided, the real terrorists are those who forward these hoax emails, not Osama! Bah!

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By: Gregor | Thursday, October 12 at Thursday, October 12, 2006 | |

Get well soon Masks...I'd be distressed

Originally uploaded by gregor.r.
Ok, the idea here is thoughtful; making the typical sterile looking white gauze mask to look more cheerful and funny while still serving its purpose. The result comes directly from Japan, printed masks with animal-snout patterns on them, transforming a human face into a hybrid vermin. I’d be quite bothered having to witness a horde of medics chasing around a clinic with these masks on them.

Medgadget (thanks for the link by the way) states:

“Just imagine yourself emerging from anaesthesia, high on narcotics, benzodiazepines and barbiturates, and seeing your anaesthesiologist, as a tiger-human hybrid. Probably not for patients with high-grade coronary stenosis.”

By: Gregor | Monday, October 9 at Monday, October 09, 2006 | |

Anti-Mullet campaign takes city by storm

Vincent pissed off a city the other day. He wrote about his latest experience he encountered in Port Elizabeth (sometimes known as "The Friendly City") and received some interesting feedback, an entire editorial on MyPE.co.za, and even a dedicated forum topic entitled "Does PE SUCK?". One of the main issues here is that of 'mullets' and since I also think of these hairdos as quite horrid I made Vin a "I Hate Mullets" badge! Please join in and support this anti-mullet campaign by adding this badge to your blog!

"Urban legends have the mullet dating back to 19th Century fishermen, who wore their hair long in the back to keep warm..."

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By: Gregor | Friday, October 6 at Friday, October 06, 2006 | |

An HIV/Aids movement with spark

I was asked to photographically document an applied theatre project presented in various schools in the Grahamstown townships, for the Rhodes Drama department. My passion lies in documenting people and their livelihoods so I was very interested participating. This is not my first shoot of this nature; I have been documenting applied theatre in the township for two years now and can only say that it is one of the most fulfilling photo shoots I could hope for.

For instance, there is nothing more exciting and pleasing than to hear a large group of school children sing during their morning assembly before class starts. There is an energy around these kids which in indescribable, with the projection of their songs drumming through every classroom and corridor. It leaves you with goose bumps!

Then there are the applied theatre productions. Drama students develop interactive theatre, aimed at raising issues around death, dying, (indeed very gloomy topics) disclosure and the role of hospitals and other helpful organisations. Yes, it’s mainly about HIV/Aids, a topic which urgently needs attention, but one which in this case is tackled in a very creative and very effective manner.

One observes a transformation of the kids and the understanding within just a few hours. Issues are raised and debated in a form of dialogue or acted scenarios, always incorporating the audience.

When we face our horrifying HIV/ Aids statistics, when we have to deal with the uselessness of our own government to implement actions to combat this disease, when all this seems too large to control, suddenly a glimpse of hope arises. There is a youth that cares, there is a youth that is listened to, there is a youth educating the youth.

When returning from these shoots I am both inspired and humbled, it is an experience no one should be left without and my gratitude goes out to those who are organising and presenting these theatre projects and have invited me to be part of this movement.

Have some pictures posted here (more to come).

By: Gregor | at Friday, October 06, 2006 | |

Politicians to face the net!

The front page (yes, I do still read the newspaper) of yesterdays Financial Times presented a very interesting article about how politicians need to wake up and face the realities and the power of the internet and its users.

Google’s chairman and chief executive, Eric Schmidt (with an estimated wealth of $4.8 billion, so listen to him) says in this article that “Many of the politicians don’t actually understand the phenomenon of the internet very well.”

Schmidt also predicts that within the next couple of year’s truth predictable software will emerge. This kind of software would allow voters to check the probability of politicians ‘factual statements’ being correct, by comparing claims with historical data. This does not sound to far fetched and is a matter of converging and mashing-up data which is online anyways.

What also needs to be acknowledged are the political blogs out there. They are amongst the most popular blogs worldwide and could create a sense dependability as they voice an opinion from the average citizen and not from a sleazy politicians mouth. The American political blog, Daily Kos, for instance receives around 20 Millions hits a month, that’s a large audience one can influence. On a local level we have a variety of blogs, such as Politics.za and The Nervous Voter, who are probably rapidly gaining readership on a daily level, especially in the light of our chaotic political structure and our constantly trialled politicians.

Oh, and I actually did find an electronic copy of the article after reading it on the ancient scripts of print :P

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By: Gregor | Thursday, October 5 at Thursday, October 05, 2006 | |

More games from the Google Widgets

By: Gregor | Wednesday, October 4 at Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | |

Google Gadgets Set Free - Let's Widget!

Widgets which you could have only accessed via Google Desktop are now freely available for your web site. More than 1200 Google Gadgets (widgets) have been set free today for embedding on any web page. Techcrunch reports that site publishers can now make it even easier for their visitors to get driving directions, view Picasa photo albums, play hang-man, use a multi-video player widget or check live sports scores or a police and fire map.

Widgets are going to pop up everywhere as “they help non-technical site publishers pull in rich, dynamic data from all around the web and place it on one page”.

With these widgets, the Google logo will of course also rise through the ranks of web sites and blogs and will most probably become the dominant feed for these applications.

Browse through the Google widgets here.

By: Gregor | at Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | |

Get the Badge! Maher goes balistic!

"In my latest attempt to win the arrogance competition with Jarred Cinman and Mark Comerford, comes the I KNOW VINCENT MAHER Web 2.0 badge. They come in many likable flavours so download them and use them to link your blog to mine", sais Vincent Maher on his new web site.

Yes, Maher (and from now on I am adding him on my Blogger labels) goes for a knock out punch. I wonder what tactics Jarred and Mark will adopt to counter this, a tag team?

Vince made a badge for PEAS to...hehe..

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, October 3 at Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | |

How to create Elephant Dung paper

I stumbles over this example on how to make Elephant dung paper and wanted to find out more. Well, I was glad to find a dedicated Elephant Dung Paper site which also presented some interesting facts about the production process.

  1. On average an elephant will eat 200-250kg of food a day of which 50kg of dung can be gathered.
    One elephant provides enough dung to make 115 sheets of paper.
  2. Elephant dung does not smell that bad. If it does smell that bad then maybe the elephant is ill.
  3. An elephant's dung is just fiber. Elephants are poor digesters of their food over 50% of what they eat comes straight out the other end.
  4. It's 100% bacteria free.
  5. Dung is a waste product if no one makes paper from it it would be pollution.
Creative Paper Onlines advetise their Dung papar as wollows:

Genuine Elephant Dung paper from Africa. Completely sanitized, this unique paper has been created with the Elephants doing the work of including the plant materials! Each package of 6 sheets is different from any other. Includes 6 envelopes (not Elephant paper) to complete your stationery set.

A set of African dung paper costs around $9 compared to those cheap Asian elephants, their dungappaer costs only around $3!

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By: Gregor | at Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | |

Web 2.0 Validator

Yes, yes, another Web 2.0 post. But is your site worthy the Web 2.0 tag? Check out the Web 2.0 validator. You will notice that it does reffer to some strange categories thou.

Gregoogle only scored 11 out of 52, then again I never considered it being Web 2.0. But here is the problem...who defines Web 2.0 (since there are like 678 different definitions) and to what extent can one say a site is Web 2.0? Can any site be 100% Web 2.0?

Oh, by the way, Flickr, which is generally reffered to as Web 2.0 scored 4 out of 51. Gregoogle is more Web 2.0 than Flickr!

I wonder what my score will be if I mention: Chinese Forehead, Less is More, Dave Legg, architecture of participation, Web 2.0 Validator's ruleset, Nitro, Ruby, The Long Tail, podcasting, RDF, and the Semantic Web...

(I validated after posting this post and scored a whopping 22 out of 51!) haha


By: Gregor | Sunday, October 1 at Sunday, October 01, 2006 | |

Hyperlinks vs Paraphrasing!

I am currently writing a paper on Web 2.0, and am noticing that I automatically hyperlink various terminology as I am so used to doing this when writing online posts. It makes so much sense just hyperlinking than painfully paraphrasing. Since hyperlinking, and the idea of free attribution is part of the Web 2.0 notion, I want to propose handing these papers in as online texts! Then again, procrastination during work allows me to think about these things, so back to work…

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By: Gregor | at Sunday, October 01, 2006 | |