Jill Bolte Taylor's powerful stroke of insight

This must be one of the most amazing stories someone has lived to tell. The experience described by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor is doing the rounds on the Web because of how powerfully she delivered her story at the TED 2008 Conference. For me it was a fascinating talk because it is east meets west or in her words left brain meets right brain talk. Continue reading “Jill Bolte Taylor's powerful stroke of insight”

 

March 2008 27Dinner Recap

This is the first time I’m writing a review of the monthly 27Dinner meetings that happen across South Africa. These meetings have matured over the last year into a worthwhile meeting place for innovative minds. These are likely to be the entrepreneurs who will steer the direction of business in South Africa for the next 50 years as the baby boomers go into retirement and die off 😉

Wherever Brian Carl Brown goes, I will follow. That may sound quasi-religious but I mean it because he is such a dynamic man, with a ton of energy and he knows how to bring that to the audience or the room. After rumours of a downturn in 27Dinner, Brian through his organisation, Blue Catalyst Network, stepped in as a sponsor and co-host of these excellent events. What struck me as a really positive sign is that these events continue to draw new people, who are not even blogging, into the fold. And I estimate there would a high conversion to becoming active bloggers or at least learning how to blog from these newbies.

After my initial apprehension that 4 speakers were to many for this format event I was impressed by how smoothly it all went. And because these events are hosted in public restaurants (like Primi Piatti in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg) it is difficult to have a Q&A. The speakers all asked if there were question but I noticed very little responses forthcoming.

Continue reading “March 2008 27Dinner Recap”

 

South African born Dr Neil Turok wants the next Einstein to be from Africa

This is the message that makes TED such a powerful platform. As a TEDGlobal 2007 Fellow I am still speechless when I think of the amazing opportunity of becoming a part of this community. In a strange way its a very exclusive club but it’s also making a very public impact since they started publishing these videos on their website.

Dr Neil Turok was born in South Africa. His parents was involved in the anti-Apartheid struggle and eventually moved to Kenya and later to England. He now counts Professor Stephen Hawking as his peer at Cambridge University but it’s his work in Africa, with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) that has won his the very prestigious TED 2008 Prize. The TED Prize is a US$100 000 cash prize, and a TED wish during the acceptance speech.

Remember the next TED Africa conference is happening in Cape Town in September – 1 October 2008. Anyway here’s the video of Dr Neil Turok’s very inspiring acceptance speech at TED 2008:

 

Reducing Technology Stress in a Wireless World

You are invited to a this event hosted by Ramon Thomas in association with BulkSMS. These briefings have been designed to be fully interactive and will be looking at real-life examples, common mistakes and effective ways to reduce technology stress in a wireless world.

The cellphone has become an indispensable part of our working life, but our increased accessibility comes at a psychological cost. The cellphone comes with the blessing or burden of the ring. The phone rings and it needs to be answered or left to bother us or those around us. Our decision to answer the phone, be it at home or at the office, means that we disturb the people within earshot of our conversation. Personal issues could be verbally displayed in and around the office, interrupting colleagues. Work could be discussed in the confines of our homes taking up the precious time spent with family. People should be empowered to control their phone, otherwise their phones will control them.

The increase in cellphone usage for work and private calls or messaging can be a source of irritation. This talk will focus on ways that the cellphone and SMS messaging can be used to improve workplace productivity keeping the, sometimes welcome, interruption that the cellphone brings to a minimum and also ways that current technology can be used to reduce what is becoming commonly known as technology stress.

Dr Pieter Streicher BulkSMSSpeakers include Dr Piet Streicher, MD of BulkSMS and Ramon Thomas, leading authority in the psychology of technology.

Other information:
Participants will receive a comprehensive set of notes relating to the workshop, together with supplementary handouts. Participants will also receive tip sheets, and other supporting information, to take away for future reference. Each workshop will be 2 hours long and cost R150 pp.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include:

– 10 Steps for Cleaning up Information Pollution
– The Mobile Worker in South Africa
– The Multitasking Myth
– Increasing Focus and Productivity in the 21st Century office
– Strategies for the Automated Lifestyle

Cape Town:
Date: Thursday 17 April
Venue: The Cullinan Hotel
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

Johannesburg:
Date: Thursday 15 May
Venue: Balalaika Hotel, Sandton
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

Durban:
Date: Wednesday 28 May
Venue: Blue Waters, Central City District
Time: 15h00 – 17h00 with networking afterwards (drinks & snacks provided)

To register, email Deirdre van Zyl Smit at rsvp@bulksms.com or call her on 082 3244 639 today.

 

Using Skype credit to make calls to landlines or cellphones vs Telkom

About two years ago I received a call from a colleague of mine who was also a non-executive director on the ICDL Foundation in Cape Town. It was strange because I would have assumed calling me from his cellphone would be reasonable priced. For the longest time I’ve had the default belief that landline to landline, cellphone to cellphone and of course Skype to Skype is the best/cheapest way of making calls.

After posting this introductory post about Skype I received several questions about using Skype Credit and Skype Phones in South Africa. This post outlines the answers to those questions and more. Keep posting your questions if you have even more specific questions about Skype.

Continue reading “Using Skype credit to make calls to landlines or cellphones vs Telkom”

 

What's the purpose of getting engaged before marriage?

I have never been married so this post is completely biased. However, I’ve been to many weddings like most people have in their lifetimes. And in 3 cases I have been best man, twice to cousins and once to a best friend from school. I’m not sure if they were engaged but I assume they were because it’s such an excepted part of the wedding rituals. Anyway I received the following email from an American lady…

Continue reading “What's the purpose of getting engaged before marriage?”

Incoming search terms:

 

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

Four arguments for the elimination of television jerry manderThis is an important book because it outlines a cause to so many problems, that is so pervasive it goes unnoticed by the vast majority of people. Television was only introduced in South Africa in 1975, as it happens the year I was born, because the Apartheid government saw a threat to itself loosing control. It would be fascinating to know who finally made the convincing argument to get the government’s approval. This book was published in 1978 or 30 years ago and it’s not hard to imagine how much more entrenched this technology has become, especially given the rise of the so-called reality television programming. Continue reading “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander”

 

Spending the Easter Weekend with Paris Hilton in South Africa

Paris Hilton Jakaranda children's home in Pretoria South AfricaUS socialite Paris Hilton is currently visiting South Africa with her boyfriend, Benji Madden. She has been on the local news and some photographs have already surfaced of Paris playing with school children from the Jakaranda Kinderhuis school in Pretoria. Her boyfriend Benji Madden and his band, Good Charlotte, are to perform at My Coke Fest over the Easter weekend.

As I noticed Paris on SABC television news I wondered if there’s anyone in the world right now who is better at self-promotion than Paris Hilton? I don’t think so because she just keeps popping up. It’s almost like you cannot get away from her brazen image, not even here at the bottom tip of Africa 😉

Continue reading “Spending the Easter Weekend with Paris Hilton in South Africa”

 

When Mom or Dad Asks To Be a Facebook 'Friend'

Matt, 17, and Bob Florian both use FacebookMatt, 17, and Bob Florian both use Facebook, and Bob Florian knew that his son might have doubts about becoming his Facebook friend. (By Susan Biddle — The Washington Post)

Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain “signatures” by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

When Matt Florian signed onto his Facebook account recently to check the status of his 400-plus friends, he had a friend request.

It was from his dad.

The junior at Sherwood High School in Montgomery County didn’t panic. No. He simply took a deep breath and pondered his options.

He could accept it. He could ignore it. He could accept it, but limit the parts of his Facebook profile his dad could see. He pondered more. What were the social implications of “friending” your folks?

Across the country, Facebook users are contemplating similar questions when they log onto their accounts. More and more moms and dads are signing onto Facebook to keep up with their offspring. Not only are they friending (or attempting to friend) their sons and daughters, they’re friending their sons’ and daughters’ friends.

Some, like Matt, take the requests in stride. He ultimately friended his dad. Others are less sanguine, voicing their dismay via online groups that decry parental intrusion and offer tips on how to screen out mom and dad. (“Just go onto their computers and delete their accounts.” “Just don’t add them as a friend or any1 that is a co-worker with ur parents duh.”) Even parenting experts are getting involved, offering their own tips on proper Facebook etiquette.

“I do not know if this has happened to anybody, but this morning I log on to Facebook and I have a new friend request!” wrote 19-year-old Mike Yeamans, a sophomore at James Madison University, on one of several “No Parents on Facebook” groups that have popped up on the site. “I am excited to make a new friend so I click on the link. I could not believe what I saw. My father! This is an outrage!”

When Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, it was designed as a way for college students to connect with each other. Users created a personal page and were able to accept or send out electronic “friend” requests for people to be included in their networks. People who were “friends” were able to keep tabs on people in their network, send messages and even connect with friends of friends. It was like an exclusive private club, since it was open only to those with certain e-mail addresses.

But as Facebook’s popularity soared, its founders sought to expand its audience. In 2005, it allowed high school students to sign on. But it was the 2006 decision to open it up to the general public that drew howls from its original audience — and opened the door for the parental invasion.

In protest, several “abolish parent” groups have sprung up on the site.

Yeamans and a few of his friends started “What Happens in College Stays in College: Keep Parents Off Facebook!” in 2007. They meant it partly as a joke but were stunned when more than 500 people signed on, each with a tale of parental intrusion.

“My mom joined facebook when they first made it public and is mad i won’t approve her friend request!” wrote one indignant student.

read the full story on Washington Post website.

 

Bill Gates asks a question on LinkedIn Answers

Bill GatesLinkedIn has recently upgraded it’s home page and functionality to be more inline with the competition like Facebook. However, I’ve never really perceived Facebook as direct competition for LinkedIn because they focus on different markets completely. As you may know Facebook is more of a student hangout and LinkedIn has always been a place for business people.

So recently Bill Gates created a profile on LinkedIn and also posted the following question on the fantastic LinkedIn Answers service: How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?

So far it has attracted over 3,500 answers and it’s still open and you can post your answer to his question directly on LinkedIn. There has since been a lot of debate because he also deleted his Facebook account after being bombarded by friend requests from fans. Whats amusing is how many questions have been posted about his question. A favourite of mine is: what is the best strategy to get invited to join Bill Gates’ network on Linkedin.

Anyway what does it means when one of the most powerful men in the business world makes such a public move. Think of chess where every move counts because Microsoft recently bought 1.6% of Facebook for US$240 million. LinkedIn is privately owned and there is speculation about Microsoft buying into LinkedIn. LinkedIn would be a much cheaper purchase and in my opinion a better one because of it’s business focus. Bill Gates has always been Microsoft’s best salesman and and his personal moves will always be associated with the their corporate strategy.

There’s so much more to say about this but for me the key here this move by Bill Gates confirms that LinkedIn is the best social networking website for business people.