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Social networking – it’s all geek to me, or not!

The 27 Geek dinner does not comprise of 27 spectacle-wearing, pale skinned, nerds, discussing the binary code of the mainframe within the Starship Enterprise, but rather of a community of online and net-savvy people, who share a mutual interest in the development and functionality of the online sphere.

The dinner is held monthly, respectively on the 27th day of each month, alternating between Johannesburg and Cape Town, offering an effective real-life social networking platform. The dinners are comprised of speeches, presentations, free wine, and good food, but most of all a gathering where people who normally converse via IM services and are in contact via various online networks, meet, discuss, laugh, have fun, and entertain the overall specific content of online.

In my opinion, the latest Geek dinner (and the first I have attended thus far) was a great success. Thumbs up to the organisers! I felt comfortable socialising and networking since I have gotten to know most attendants via the contexts of their blogs, websites, ect. Meeting people, who one normally only converses with through online social networks creates a sense of a strong, growing, and exciting online community. It is also refreshing switching phone numbers instead of URL’s.

These dinners will strengthen the ties between the local online communities and thus could have very positive and effective effects within local online start-ups and collaborative projects in future.

What ended at 1am, in Melville, with Aquila, Dave, Carly, and Victoire, was a phenomenal evening, which left me with some really exciting contacts and motivation to blog with and for an audience which I have come face to face with. Looking forward to March 27th!

Have a look on Chilibean’s (Chilibean.Chilibean,Chilibean) blog, there is more info and even a video clip of the evening. More pics also to be found on Aquila’s flickr account.

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By: Gregor | Sunday, January 28 at Sunday, January 28, 2007 | |

It's all a matter of timing

This has concerned me for a while now, not to the extent that I suffer of sleepless nights; however it is an issue that I get reminded of on a daily basis. Find yourself a glossy magazine, and look for the first watch advertisement…or just have a look at the back, normally you recognize Brad Pitt or Cameron Diaz Uma Thurman showing off a silver Tag Heuer.

Now, look what time it is on the watch and then brows through the rest of the glossy and compare the times. 99% of the time you will find that the time on watches in adverts is set between 10:07 and 10:10. The only reasoning I can find for this is that maybe that specific constellation of arms allows for the maximum exposure of the face (not of Brad Pitt, that of the watch). Or maybe it looks nice and balanced.

Whatever the reason is, it is an industry standard to present watches with this specific time constellation and now that you aware of it will haunt you for ever and ever!

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By: Gregor | Thursday, January 25 at Thursday, January 25, 2007 | |

All McGyver Ever Needs …

via neatorama

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, January 23 at Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | |

Time to uncover the truth about Brad Pitt and his wrist!

I conducted some research for my last post about the watch advertisement, to make sure that it was accurate. But then I stumbled over what will possible be the worlds largest scam of all times (excuse the pun)!

My last post was motivated by an advert on the back of a Men's Health magazine, which presented Brad Pitt, wearing the new Tag Heuer Carrera watch. Then I started looking at adverts online and I stumbled over a Tag advert which had very similar attributes to the last one. The pic of Brad was identical to the ad I saw in the Men's Health. Just the watches were different. Now isn’t that just grand!? Not only is that very slack from the advertisers, using the same image twice, I also consider this being highly uncreative. But most of all, Brad Pitt is used to market this, however he doesn’t actually wear it. The watches are digitally edited into the picture, making the image firstly a complete lie, and secondly also confirming that the product is actually not worn by Pitt.

The more I write about it, the more I am shocked by this swindl! Sure, advertising to this degree is based on product placement and using public figures to promote products, but when it becomes apparent that the advert is not even ‘real’, when it becomes obvious that a product has been photo-shopped into a generic image, then that also reflects on the ethic of the company who is advertising the product.

The image of Pitt is nothing more than a false landscape beautifying the actual product. Pitt in this case is no different to the mud-ridden hillside presented in Land Rover ads, or the green background of a Kulula advert.

Brad's wrist in both pics are bare, no watch, just some Pittyful armhair...

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By: Gregor | at Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | |

iPhone, uPhone, blah blah blah – a tactic gone wrong!

Yes, yes, I also like the iPhone, I think it looks great and the features sound amazing. But enough of that, since the hype of the iPhone only to be released at the end of 2007 (inSA) is a little to much for my liking.

I was surprised by the introduction of this phone before it actually got released, but it might have been market pressure. It seems like there is some form of technological breakthrough with this product, such as the interface and its overall functionality, but since the introduction of the iPhone various other phone models have been leaked and announced to provide similar functionality and ideas.

Chilibean (thanks for the motivation to write this post) posted about the Nokia Aeon which seems to work on a very fancy looking interface as well – and it looks simply breathtaking! Then there is the Google Switch, even though it’s just speculation, this might be the next Googlephone, oh and wait, look, also based on interface technology. Furthermore LG has released a phone which apparently has been publicized as the "first completely touch screen mobile phone".

With the iPhone only being released mid 2007 and end of 2007 in SA, I think Jobs’ strategy was not all too clever. Until the iPhone is available on the market there will be a rise in new phone models boasting the same ideas, with the similar interface and functionality. The iPhone obviously has the upper hand when it comes to marketing and product placement, and the interconnectivity between Apple products - but their potential downfall with this products’ high cost, where asby the time of its release its novelty will be worn off completely.

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By: Gregor | Thursday, January 18 at Thursday, January 18, 2007 | |

The real Google AdSense infiltration

It was just a matter of time until $Google$ release its multi-billion-$-online-beast into the real world. After various speculations how the $Google$ web advertising system, “AdSense”, could be utilized with a variety of online multimedia (i.e. YouTube) the NewScientistTech reports on a patent Google apparently as filed.

Google’s AdSense, which displays adverts for products related to the page being viewed now, wants to do the same for billboard ads.

"In a patent the company has filed, it argues that however glitzy the ads that run on electronic billboards in shopping malls and out on the street, they are all but useless if local stores have not got the advertised products in stock. Google has come up with a system that only advertises products available nearby."

According to the NewScientistTech, stores can purchase advertising time on their local electric billboards which are connected to the clients’ stock-control computers. The ads are displayed repeatedly until the stock-control computer reports a product to be sold out. If this happens the ad is omitted from the cycle until the product is restocked.

One the one hand this kind of advertisement system is really smart, since consumers do like to buy what they see advertised, hoping that the specific product is in stock.

However, within an online environment, where products can be purchased globally, at any time, and at a rate which is not comparable to any local shopping mall’s retail store, the idea of advertising the actual stock seems to be of much more importance. Shops in local malls surely do not really have the vast amount / constant consumer traffic as online shops have. The above mentioned system thus seems to still be more appropriate to the virtual consumerist world.

It is either way interesting to note that the AdSense system is expanding from the online into the ‘real’ consumerist environment and will no doubt be soon visible on our local radar screen.

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By: Gregor | Monday, January 15 at Monday, January 15, 2007 | |

Gregoogle Classifieds?

If anyone's interesting in purchasing the following:

- Nikon D100 Digital SLR + MB-D100 Grip + 1GB Compact Flash + 2x Li-Ion Batteries
- Nikon 18-35mm with UV filter
- Nikon 28-105 with UV filter

Entire Pro Kit has been used by a professional photographer (me) and are in very good condition. Included are the charger and cord, battery, manual, TV cable, USB cable.

Contact me: gregor.rohrig [at] gmail [dot] com

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By: Gregor | Sunday, January 14 at Sunday, January 14, 2007 | |

The scarce blogger

I must apologise for the lack of blogging at the moment. My notebook is still sitting at Rectron for repairs ( over 2 weeks now) and the machine I am using currently is not very user (net) friendly...

Will be back on track soon with some exciting posts and a (hopefully) great new site!

By: Gregor | at Sunday, January 14, 2007 | |

Wild Wired Predictions for 2007

With three day to go before we have to get used to writing '07, Wired has published an article on some of the wildest predictions for 2007.

I have not listed all of them but have chosen my favorites:

Here are some Wild Wired predictions for 2007:

  • GoogleStock Hits $1,000 per Share
  • Second Life Ends a Life: Skullduggery in Second Life - probably digital adultery- ends in a real-life murder.
  • Year o' the Laptop: Half of all new computers sold in 2007 will be laptops of which 20 percent will be Apple's MacBooks.
  • Print to Web: A major newspaper gives up printing on paper to publish exclusively online.
  • PaedoSpace: Sex offenders start their own social networking service. It's popular on Capitol Hill.
  • Greenland Becomes Green: As the ice melts, Greenland becomes literally green.
  • A human embryo is cloned for real.
  • Don't Don't Be Evil: Google drops "Don't be evil" as its corporate mantra.
  • NYT Goes Free:The New York Times opens its archives from behind the paid firewall, realizing it's more lucrative to be the internet's paper of record than charging readers for individual stories.
If you're interested in some 2007 Web predictions have a look here: 2007 Web Predicitons

Let's wait and see what will happen, wishing everyone some great last days of 2006!
Pic by: squidish CC-BY-2.0

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By: Gregor | Friday, December 29 at Friday, December 29, 2006 | |

Intruding festive spirits!

Normally I don't jump up when Father Christmas slides down our chimney, it is a very noisy and messy approach, but since it's Christmas it's expected.

But last night my jump was justified. Whilst watching TV around 1am a metal shatter frightened the living daylights out of me, this was followed by my brother pressing the panic button, resulting in the alarm siren waking the neighborhood.

And for the first time in many years this was unfortunately not a false alarm.

Luckily the festive intruders did not get into the house and no one was harmed, except our wall, and the accompanying barbwire. So after 2 hours of park and property search, security statements and a very wound up family discussion about the houses' security it was back to bed...starting Christmas with a little scare this year!

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By: Gregor | Sunday, December 24 at Sunday, December 24, 2006 | |

Merry Christmas from the groogle!

So it's nearly Christmas, meaning the holiday has started and the blog will take a break till the new year.

So I wish all a very merry and festive christmas, may it be relaxing, exciting, and fulfilling (from all the food of course)!

Found this image on flickr and could not resist. That's the African Rudolf right there :)

Pic: by cobalt CC-BY-SA 2.0

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By: Gregor | Saturday, December 23 at Saturday, December 23, 2006 | |

Local Marketing Podcast announced

Mike Stopforth and Dave Duarte have officially announced the launch of Amplitude - A New Marketing Podcast for South Africans (by South Africans).

Am listening to it whilst writing this post and am impressed with the quality and content of their first (virgin) podcast. What I really enjoy is that it flows and is based on a completely natural conversation. The cast discusses these topics:
  • Introducing the podcast as the first and last show of 2006
  • Mike and Dave chat about what they want to do with the podcast
  • They discuss the Mike Arrington vs. Sam Sethi kerfoefel and how that affects their brand
  • E2 in Regent Road SeaPoint has the Marketing Maneuvre of the week
  • The SA Banking industry is the collective Tonsil of the week
As far as I know Dave was sitting in Cape Town and was talking to Mike via Skype. This could explain a slight quality loss from Dave's side, but it could also just be the microphone he used.

Look out for this podcast, its new, fresh, and boasts a great local feel.

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By: Gregor | Friday, December 22 at Friday, December 22, 2006 | |

Comm-on, just CC your blog!

Adding an appropriate licence agreement to your blog just makes sense!

Forget copyrighting and limiting your content as a blogger, especially if you quote other peoples blogs, like most bloggers do anyway!

This sudden spurt of excitement results from a post I just read by Chilibean , who writes about using a Creative Commons licence for your blog (and thanks to his CC license I can quote him without having to worry about any legal ramifications) :

If your intention, as a blogger, is to have your content and your thoughts distributed as widely as possible, then reserving all your rights to your content is counterproductive.
I strongly recommend reading Chilibean's post as it outlines, and in detail, explains the ideas and the functions behind using Creative Commons licenses as bloggers - and when one actually thinks about it, it seems like a commonsensical idea! Trying to limit your content by using a full copyright statement just is'nt that smart!

Photograph: Getting creative with CC, one of the winners of the CC Swag contest, by Franz Patzig, CC BY 2.O

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By: Gregor | Thursday, December 21 at Thursday, December 21, 2006 | |

Discovering lost treasures!

You can find a new set of pics on my flickr account. Initially called QuickSnap, I have renamed the series to The Photographers as it depicts pictures of people taking photographs. These images have been in my archive for four years now and I stumbled across them tonight - taken with a Nikon F80 (a phenomenal camera).

I began the series when I was in London, being a tourist myself and snapping away, when I suddenly noticed that I was standing in the background of a couple who's picture was taken. I thought to myself that I am probably on quite a few strangers' pics and that that is quite an interesting thought...do you know on how many pictures you actually are, and that you might be gazed upon subconsciously by a Japanese family after their visit to the Lost City? In that moment my focus was redirected, away from Westminster Abbey, to the actual tourist, taking pictures of them documenting their surroundings.

Additionally I edited the pics allowing the original colour only to stay with the actual photographer, symbolically representing the background as the picture taken by the photographer.

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By: Gregor | Wednesday, December 20 at Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | |

Flickr-ing away!

So I used to have a flickr account for my social development project here. Then there was the Blogging Indaba for which I was taking the official pics, and they where hosted here. For over a year now I have been a dedicated flickr pro member and have finally transferred all my images onto my main pro account. A little frustrating since the images had collected some commentary on the other accounts, but now they are at least all together, under one roof and much easier to manage.

So if you wondering why the latest pics are dated back to mid year it's because they where taken then :)

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, December 19 at Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | |

Best time in JHB

Is it because everybody is doing their last minute xmas shopping? Or are people going later to work, or generally chilling somewhere on SA's coastline?

The weeks before and after xmas are normally the most tolerable in this city. I speak from a drivers perspective here. My drive to work literally takes half the time than usual and I arrive way more relaxed and in good spirits since I did not have to dodge cars squeezing in-front of me, nor speed up to rid those fog lights sticking to my bumper. There is a real sense of calmness on the roads at the moment, making me wish that these few holidays weeks could go on for ever.

What scares me though are the amount of people in shopping centers...did they all walk there?

How the traffic in your city?

Pic: poagao ny-nd 2.0

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By: Gregor | at Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | |

Unsound podcast - rather use your voice!

Curious as to what is happening on the quiet campus of Rhodes University (and waiting to check my final results) I visited the Universities Studentzone, finding my way onto the StudentZone news page.

And surprisingly I find podcasts under every news entry.

Now, I really don't know if they have been purposefully created to humour the idea of podcasts, because the actual podcasts consist of text-to-speech generated content. A text-to-speech program has been used to 'read' (and horridly mispronounce many phrases) the content available on the site - offering an extremely boring, monotonous and sometimes undecipherable podcast.

A quirky idea to try out , but definatly no means of catering for an audience who enjoy the idea of podcasts - have a listen here and decipher the message.

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By: Gregor | Friday, December 15 at Friday, December 15, 2006 | |

"Local is Lekker"...

.. is what chilibean says after announcing having had bookmarked South African blogs on his del.isio.us account for quite a while now. And it is indeed "lekker" (lekk-irr with a rolling r - SA slang for nice, good, great, cool or tasty) because the list offers a very wide verity of local blogs and also shows that the SA blogosphere is quite large and expanding!

The ever growing del.isio.us list and the popular SA blog directory offer some great resources!

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By: Gregor | Tuesday, December 12 at Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | |

iCommons podcast coming up soon

So today we produced the first iCommons podcast. The day began by driving around town finding a decent microphone, not an easy task since we were looking for a multi-directional mic and ended up purchasing a standard desk pc mic. It picks up sound and is part of the experience of trying out various technical equipment until finding the perfectly suitable one for this kind of recording.

As I write this, the podcast is being recorded in the office. Reuben Goldberg has introduced the team, including Heather Ford, Rebecca Kahn, Matthew Buckland, Paul Jacobson, and Whispa, the winner of the recently held ccmixter competition. Topics discussed are the ccmixter competition, the idea and a review of open source movies and a story of a successfully used Creative Commons license.

The podcast seems to be going well, the mic has to be passed to the person speaking but everybody is eager to discuss and add their point of view. Once the podcast has been edited and added to the iCommons site I'll provide a link, it sure is worth a listen and is the beginning of a series of interesting podcasts to come.

UPDATE: visit the iCommons site to find and listen to the podcast!

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By: Gregor | Friday, December 8 at Friday, December 08, 2006 | |

A short update

It's been a long, but good week(oh, it's not over yet!). Working for Creative Commons is very rewarding. The work at this stage is always interesting as it is something new and always part of some larger project / idea. I've been doing some web development this week, also laying out website wire frames, collecting content for databases and reading through quite a bit of legal guidelines for upcoming projects. I'm involved with a South African podcasting project which will prove itself highly beneficial in close future, or so I hope. Last night was the iCommons xmas party, with a lot of good food, drinks, and interesting discussions. It is so nice meeting new people (most of whom where Rhodes alumni, but so am I now I guess) and getting acquainted with the office staff on a more social and relaxed level.

Furthermore, Gregoogle is now active in Second Life, flying around and trying to figure out how what works and why – next mission is to visit the Creative Commons Island to meet some commoners - then again, my avatar is quite a scary looking fellow :P

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By: Gregor | Thursday, December 7 at Thursday, December 07, 2006 | |