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No speeding through the animal kingdom

Following a 10 hour drive, some red bulls, dry wors, roadkill, chewing gum, and a kick ass ipod playlist (thanks to Russ), I have reached destination: Johannesburg.

The drive went well, except on our way to Bedford, when a BMW traveling towards us, presented a completely shattered windshield, a crumpled roof and sprays of shiny blood all over the bonnet and windows. The last thing I wanted was a 300kg Kudu on my windscreen so I took it easy on the R350, one of the most hazardous roads I have ever traveled on. It is notorious for its high accident rate due to the large amount for wild animals roaming the area from the surrounding farm lands and game parks. I have traveled that route more than a dozen times during the last four years and every time encountered wild animals either jumping over or alongside the road – once even resulting in a full on emergency stop (damn Porcupine). The area is full of Kudu, Hartebeest, Vervet Monkey, Klip Dassie and small antelope – oh and apparently there are deer too, according to Russ.

On that note – since a lot of us rip Russ of about having seen deer in the Eastern Cape (it sounds absurd since they are not typically African animal species) I found this article which states that the early Settlers brought with them Fallow Deer, also known as ‘Takbok’, to the Bedfords area, over 140 years ago.

All in all, the trip was successful, the car is unpacked, now it is a matter of time getting used to the Jo’burg vibe again – looking forward to some really exciting times here

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By: Gregor | Wednesday, November 29 at Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | |

Time to leave

My blogging has been scarce lately, I know. But there has been numerous things to do before leaving for Johannesburg. Packing itself takes most of the time, and getting rid of appliances and furniture is a nightmare.

So with 48 hours left in this town I have said all my goodbyes, I have packed all my bags (nearly) and am enjoying the last day just chilling with my friends and girlfriend, eating out, having a couple of drinks and taking all of this in for one last time. This is an amazing place, this has been a wonderful and fantastic journey, and it's a good time to leave and move on.

My next blog entry will be from Johannesburg where a completly new life awaits me - see you there!

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By: Gregor | Monday, November 27 at Monday, November 27, 2006 | |

What cameras do flickr users use?

This might interest all the photographers and mobloggers who use flickr. Flickr Camera Finder shows graphs which present the number of Flickr members who have uploaded at least one photo with a particular camera on a given day over the last year.

According to flickr, “the graphs are ‘normalized’, which is a fancy way of saying that they automatically correct for the fact that more people join Flickr each day: the graph moving up or down indicates a change in the camera's popularity relative to all other cameras used by Flickr members.”

This information is quite interesting as it represents various trends, firstly: what type of camera is being predominantly used, secondly: how popular certain models are, and thirdly: how unpopular they become with the introduction of new models.

Another great feature is that of choosing a particular camera model, analysing its specific usage on flickr, seeing an up-to-date price comparison, user’s reviews, camera specs and then even exploring photos that have been taken by that specific model.

Cellphone models are also represented, however are under-represented, as flickr cannot always auto detect the mobile camera used.

The most popular mobile camera used is the Sony Ericsson K750i, where as the most popular camera in the flickr community is the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, also known as the Canon EOS 350D.

For camera enthusiasts, or potential buyers, this could prove itself as a very useful tool, since it is the quality of the image that we strive for when purchasing such equipment. And lets face it, the images presented on product pages are all taken by professionals in highly controlled environments and do not represent the quality of use by the average user.

I think this is very clever and interesting information to add into a social networking platform such as flickr - since it is a network of photography enthusiasts.

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By: Gregor | Wednesday, November 22 at Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | |

"The City of Saints" - that's why!

Wikipedia states on the point of Grahamstown's Religion that

"For historic reasons, particularly the vibrancy of evangelism during Grahamstown's heyday, the City is home to more than forty religious buildings, and the nickname the "City of Saints" has become attached to Grahamstown."

As you could see from my previous post I was also under the impression that the number of religious buildings was between 40 and 50.

So today I took my camera, and continued last weeks mission, this time going to the Grahamstown Information Centre beforehand to get a list of all the places of worship and a city map. The list lists close to 100 places of worship! More than double as anticipated by most people I have talked to and good 'ol Wikipedia. And boy it's been a long day and a mission to find these places - and now I've found 35 worshipping places to be exact, of which 6 are unrecognisable and not on the list I have...

Interesting to note is the distribution of these churches. Within the city they are spread out quite evenly, unlike in the Township where one can find up to six churches lined up next to each other.

The flickr set is now filling up slowly, but it will take a good couple of days to finish this list.

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, November 21 at Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | |

Seeking churches - the pilgrimage begins

So after receiving a good idea from Peas, to document the churches in Grahamstown, over and above the general documentation of this place, I set foot onto the roads today and started my search for the 40-something 56 (thanks Alex)churches close to 100 religious places of worship scattered around the area.

This task is not as easy as it sounds, and I walked a couple of hours from one end of town to the other (yes I know it sounds fast, but this place IS small) only documenting 10 religious structures, and getting stuck in a Herbal Healing shop looking at snake and Jackal skins...

On the list thus far is the Hindu Mandir, Trinity Church, Grahamstown Baptist Church, His People Christian Church, St. Clement's Anglican Church, River of Life Church, Commemoration Methodist Church, St.Patrick's Catholic Church, Chirst Church, and the former Synagogue which is now and attorneys office. You can view all images on my flickr set.

Next batch of pics coming soon, need to organize me a map of this place to find more churches...also keep an eye on the general Grahamstown flickr set for newbies.

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, November 14 at Tuesday, November 14, 2006 | |

A goat on the parking lot

When one has to describe Grahamstown one can name various distinctive scenarios, such as the donkey carts that every so often cause traffic jams on our way to lectures, the vast amount of religious structures, the numerous street kids and parking meters lingering on High Street, the persistently varying weather patterns, or the herds of drunk students stumbling across News Street towards Mr Burger or Friar Tucks at night.

So I started my little mission today, which is to document the town, its places and people (pics can be found on my flickr account). I'm going out daily and capturing a few images which I can relate to from my experience here.

And when I came back this morning I felt like I had not really captured a typical Grahamstown scenario, when I suddenly discovered a bakkie parked outside my place, with a man in a suit getting out of the vehicle, which was loaded with a goat. I have no idea where the man went, but for a good 15 minutes, I was sitting in front of my computer, starring out my window, at a goat on my parking lot. Could not have chosen a more typical scenario: random, very random, that = Grahamstown!

Watch my Grahamstown flickr set for new pics throughout the week, enjoy!

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By: Gregor | Friday, November 10 at Friday, November 10, 2006 | |

New addition to Jo's family

We are happy do announce that Jo's Toolkit has a new student editor. Peter Barlow will be dealing with all student and academic related submissions and contributors for the website for the next year.

Peter was the former chief designer and later editor of the Rhodes University Independent student publication Activate and has an unbelievable passion for the development of student media. Carly and I will continue as managing editors focussing on soliciting content and contributors from the professional media sphere.

I wish Peter the best of luck and am excited to welcome him on board Jo's family!

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By: Gregor | at Friday, November 10, 2006 | |

Online to print Convergence – a one way street?

It seems like we anticipate the online media to adapt what the print media is throwing out there. The convergence between print and online is difficult but here is an example which I find very interesting.

What the Mail and Guardian has done is insert a side bar on their second page of their print edition, presenting a list of the top 10 most-read stories on the MG Online from the previous week.

It is interesting to note that the latest edition (November 3 -9) presents a lot of South African content, compared to the previous edition (October 27 – November 2) which presented a lot of international stories.

I’d like to know how precise and representative this list is. Are these the top 10 stories read by local users or international users, and maybe find out what the difference in numbers between local and international readers actually is. How many local and how many international readers are there and does that reflect on what this top ten list presents?

Over and above the question of how this sample is being taken, I do think that this is a great way of starting the online-to-print convergence. Since most convergence is often focussed on print-to-online and not the other way round.

This sidebar firstly promotes the online content, as these stories are not to be found in the latest edition of the paper, and readers will have to go back to the website and find the specific article.

It is also interesting to note what kind of content is read online compared to the frontage stories of the print publication. Here it becomes obvious that the importance of the cover story is not necessarily the same in the online edition. The reason for this I would assume I that the front page of the newspaper is chosen by the editorial team, where as on the online edition the reader chooses what is most important to read.

I like the idea of exporting content from the online sphere into that of print. It is an interesting step of media convergence and I would be interested to see how much other online content can be transferred back to the print format.

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By: Gregor | Wednesday, November 8 at Wednesday, November 08, 2006 | |

Water is overrated - I'm over not having water!

So we have moved (since last week) from no water, to dirty water, to toxic water, to cold and dirty water, to no water again , to warm water only, to non toxic water, to no water again, to dirty water again, to only cold water and now no water at all - again!

I'm speechless, maybe cause I'm dehydrated and my vocal chords have dried out, never the less, this is unacceptable...

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, November 7 at Tuesday, November 07, 2006 | |

Blogger Challange by Intel

Here is a potentially insightful project. Intel Launched a Blogger Challenge providing laptop machines to 6 rising stars in the blogosphere. In return for these machines, the participating bloggers agreed to contribute to a group blog over the course of 5 weeks sharing their honest opinions and responses to a series of questions about blogging, the blogosphere and technology. The aim of this blog is meant to stimulate discussions and bring bloggers together regardless of their “categories.”

The bloggers have hit Week 2 now and the content is very interesting. Reason for this is also the fact this project is run by such a diverse choice of bloggers - the participants are:

During the first week, the participants were asked why they blog and what they have accomplished through blogging. The question asked in the second week questioned the participants what kind of advice they would you give to others considering starting a blog, and to bloggers who want to make the most out of their blogs?

It sure makes for an interesting read and I’ll post some of my favourite quotes when the project has been completed.

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By: Gregor | at Tuesday, November 07, 2006 | |

Gregoogle is ready - time to sprint!

Whilst everyone around me is going manic due to exam stress I have been revamping my blog, yes that is the beauty of not having to write exams any more, there is suddenly a lot of time.

Enjoy the new gregoogle menu bar at the top that will take you to my various online presences and a newly set out sidebar, with my all time favourite veeker mobile video player.With the start of a new life comes a new look. What does that exactly mean? Well, I am done with my studies. Finished! Four years of successful studies are completed and the real world is calling.

Life is moving fast now and in a few weeks I’ll be back in Johannesburg starting an internship at Creative Commons South Africa which I am highly excited about. (and check who is featured on the saCC website, hehe)

I will keep you all updated on the intriguing projects they have set out for me to undertake. What comes after that will have to stay a surprise!

Good luck to all writing exams! YOU CAN DO IT!

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By: Gregor | Monday, November 6 at Monday, November 06, 2006 | |

The water update: no more splish splash

I just received this email from the Director for Communications and Development Division at Rhodes University. Here are a few important points:

  • Please be aware that serious concerns have been voiced over
  • the toxicity levels of the municipal water supply.
  • According to Martin Davies of the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries
  • Science, over 35 000 fish at the University's Experimental Fish
  • Farm have died over the last few days as a result.
  • The deaths of these fish together with behavioural abnormalities which has been observed are indicative of the presence of heavy metal pollutants in the water.
  • The particles are extremely toxic to human beings and cannot be removed through cooking or boiling water.
  • In the meantime you are requested NOT to drink water from any taps on campus (or at home) and not to cook with this water if your home or residence was affected by the recent water outage.
  • The University is making plans to bring further supplies of bottled drinking water to Grahamstown for distribution to residences.

  • Well, most people I know, including myself, have been drinking the water at some stage during the last three days...but what about the people living in the township area, are they being warned and provided with bottled water?

    Furthermore, what about those residents who do not have the luxury of a network connection and who do not receive this warning email? The local municipality really did a stuffy job at warning Grahamstown residence about this dangerous water problem...

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    By: Gregor | Thursday, November 2 at Thursday, November 02, 2006 | |

    gregoogle's facelift coming up..

    I have been operating all day on a new template for my blog. Russ and Jason scrubbed in for a little while, but now I'm back in the OR, hacking away. I've chopped up the blogger template quite a but it's gonna be worth it...look out for a new gregoogle...

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    By: Gregor | Wednesday, November 1 at Wednesday, November 01, 2006 | |