George Carlin RIP: Counterculture’s pioneer comedian

George Carlin RIP 2008I’m not entirely sure who first introduced me to George Carlin because I have found so many people quote him or praise his honesty, his intelligence and his exceptionally funny way of stating the obvious. He is the last of the 3 godfather’s of stand-up comedy to pass away. And he will be sorely missed. My favourite routines include the 10 commandments and religion is bullshit.

Anyway here’s a write-up from the New York Times, republished in The Times:

George Carlin, whose astringent stand-up comedy made him an heir of Lenny Bruce, died this week in Santa Monica, California, aged 71. Carlin gave voice to an indignant counterculture and assaulted the barricades of censorship on behalf of a generation of comics that followed him.

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New Web Addresses to cause confusion among users

domain namesToday I read a post on the New York Times website about a revolution in the availability of new web addresses or what is called domain names in the Internet industry. This shift in the policies from ICANN is going to open up a hornets nest if you are trying to decide which type of domain name to register between the multitude that’s already available.

Domain names is the glue that makes the Internet work. The basic idea is that instead of trying to remember complicated or weird combinations of IP addresses, the numbers that are the unique identifiers of computers and other Internet-enabled devices, people will type in a name that they can easily remember e.g. instead of (the IP address).

The problem with having a near infinate number of domain names is that it is bound to create confusion in the short term. And for businesses it means yet another scramble for domain names linked to your company name, brand names or trade marks. I refuse to buy into this idea that I have to purchase every single variation of my company name: NETucation. I currently own but not, which is owned by some unknown company who have not published a website on the name. And instead it is redirected to the original domain name registrar Network Solutions. There is sometimes a lot of uneccesary stress that is created by domain sqautters i.e. people who specialising in purchasing future potentially valuable domain names and selling them to the highest bidder or blackmailing companies or celebrities into purchase them at exhorbantent amounts of money.

In South Africa we now have a formalised procedure to deal with domain disputes. I highly recommend at the least your register your and your and just keep it reserved. One important thing I want you to note is that you MUST insist that your ISP registers your domain name, in your name, NOT in their name.


The beginning of MXit spam and chain letters

Cellphone spam on the increaseI have been getting more and more of these types of messages sent by my friends on MXit. Maybe they do not realise its spam or chain letters. The same types of chain letters that are sent around the global a gazillion times a day by innocent, unsuspecting people who believe they are doing a good thing. Simply put these messages are a hoax in 99.999% of the cases. Even if that little girl or little boy really looks like they lost a limb or have some incurable disease. There’s very little you can do in the form of attaching your name to a list on an email.

Anyway I’m reposting a common message being circulated on MXit here:

Microsoft has introduced a new mxit mail tracking system in an effort to ensure mxit remains the most popular chat room on the market. This message is a beta test of the new software and microsoft has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process. For each person you send this message to, you will be given R5. For every person they give it to, you will get R3. For every person they send it to you will receive R1. Microsoft will tally all the messages produced under your name over a 2 week period and then message you with more instructions. I know you hate forwarded messages, and i was skeptical myself until last week when i got a real check in the mail for R821. Seriously , it really works. I wanted you to get a piece of the action. You wont regret it.


CS Lewis estate scrambles to take domain from Scottish family

Narnia - Prince Caspian scene This is an example of how parents are getting involved in the online world in a positive way. The results are not entirely unexpected because of the value of the Narnia brand after the success of first 2 movies. The CS Lewis estate is doing what it is meant to do in term of protecting the intellectual property. They along with Disney who released the movies own the domain and now they are after a lesser know or less valuable domain: which these parents bought their son.

Anyway you can read the full details on the Telegraph or read this blog post that tells it like it is about how stupid the CS Lewis estate was in ignoring the domain until now.


Fake Breasts….who really likes them?

A question for guys and girls….

There are two girls sitting at a bar. Both are attractive. The only difference is one has natural small breasts like those of Keira Knightley (an A cup maybe smaller). The other has giant fake boobs. Which one would you take? See what we found…


Join me at 7th annual iWeek conference for Internet industry insiders

iWeek 2008 Internet industry conferenceI have already registered for the 7th annual iWeek conference. Join me at this 3-day conference (at no cost to you) because it is the fastest way for you to get more familiar with the Internet industry. Go here to read my blogging from iWeek 2006 where Mark Shuttleworth was the keynote speaker and attracted more people in one day that attends the entire iWeek conference over the 3 or 4 days it normally runs.

Anyway here is the message from ISPA, the Internet Service Providers Association…

ISPA and UniForum SA (the registrars) are proud to announce their 7th iWeek annual conference and exhibition, now widely acknowledged as the premier Internet event on the SA calendar to be held from 17 – 19 September 07 at The Forum, Wanderers Building, The Campus, 57 Sloane Street in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

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Konnects? No! please not another business social network invitation

Konnects a LinkedIn clone in business networking websitesJohn Wilson wrote a great little rebuttel for joining Konnects, a new business social network. He aptly calls it a poor LinkedIn clone. After ignoring previous requests I had to write about this because the person who invited me to join I hold in high esteem: Stan Relihan. In the past I have praised The Connections Show podcast hosted by Stan Relihan here because of the high quality of the guests interviewed and how succinct it is by comparison to other business podcasts.

So here’s the confusion: Stan has positioned himself as a leading evangalist for LinkedIn so this email is unwarrented and unsolicited. What we need is not more social networking websites but rather a better use of the existing ones. The same holds true for MySpace vs Facebook debate.


Non-verbal communication rule fallacy

I have abused this rule in almost all my talks! So I am guilty as charged.

You may have heard people saying what you say only contributes to a small percentage of the impact of your communication and that how a person says what they say has a far greater impact. The rule, which is and has been promoted by many speakers and trainers states that 55% of the meaning of communication is body language, 38% is in tonality, and 7% rests in the words themselves.

Where did this rule come from?

Albert Mehrabian body languageProfessor Albert Mehrabian Ph.D., of the University of California,  Los Angles (UCLA), is credited as the originator of the 55%, 38%, 7% Rule. He and his colleagues conducted two studies on communication patterns and published the studies in professional journals in 1967.

Mehrabian later discussed the results of the studies in two books in the early 1970s. The results of the studies were widely circulated in the press, in abbreviated form, leading to a misunderstanding of the original research and inaccurate generalizations of the conclusions.

Below, an article about the research conducted by Albert Mehrabian.

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Why blogging from your phone in South Africa is not there yet

A Question from a Reader:

Hola Ramon! I got a few problems regarding my new blogging and email site,, which I struggle just to open my emails both on my phone, using Opera Mini, and on my PC, which I understand is way slow to connect to the ‘net even when I use Opera(which is faster than Windows Explorer) because the phone I use(as a modem) to connect is not that fast because it’s only 3G, not HSDPA. It was even slower when I was trying to open my emails at Gmail that it ate all my airtime up and the computer even told me ”you are using a slow internet connection”. But some webpages are a bit faster, like GSM Arena and Webmail. I can’t edit anything on the page because in my opinion my phone is not a smartphone (Nokia 6234 S40v3) which(smartphones) can view and edit PDF files and Microsoft Office documents. Anyway I’m still working on it and I sure will talk to you soon. Thanx for the letter

My Response…

I do not recommend you blog from your phone for now because of the constraints in the user interface, the cost of 3G and airtime. Rather go to a cheap internet cafe (like those in Braamfontein) or others that charge as low as R5 per hour. You can blog and browse to your hearts content from there. However, if you have a smart phone with a full keyboard you could try do so.

Anyway here’s an excellent how-to guide to mobile blogging from David Davies.


Who's who in the non-white Web 2.0 South African Zoo

This blog post was updated for some corrections in June 2012.

Mandy de Waal, a freelance journalist, wrote this article on ITWeb, profiling top social media gurus in South Africa. When I first read it, I found offensive not because it’s inaccurate, rather because it is incomplete. The main reason I take issue with this is because it’s an example of lazy journalism. She interviewed eleven people, all white, asking them about their Web 2.0 dream team is. Maybe she did not have a non-white person on speed dial. Yet she could still have made her point without having to call them the white boys club.

Ramon Thomas “dream team” of black Social Media experts:

Vinny Lingham SEO guru Internet entrepreneurVinny Lingham: This is the one person I assumed Mandy de Waal would interviewed for her piece. Maybe she skipped him because he moved to San Francisco Bay Area for a period of time. I’m not sure where he was based at the time the initial column. Vinny is a master at raising start-up capital for his Internet business ventures. Beside his SEO background I believe his experience naturally leads him to role of business development. Persuading other people to invest their cash into your business is a crucial factor to business growth.

Khaya Dlanga youtube video blogger Khaya Dlanga: A video blogger on Youtube has over 10,000 subscribers on his Youtube channel. I first met him at the annual Digital Citizen Indaba, a blogging conference, at Rhodes University last year. In his day job he works for an advertising agency, according to his LinkedIn profile, the Jupiter Drawing Room, one of the top agencies in South Africa. Another feather in his cap is that Khaya is one of the contributors to the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader group blog. What I would like from Khaya is to produce a weekly video blog for myself and in turn I would like to help commercialise his videos. There is a great potential to create a DVDs (like the Ask a Ninja DVD) based on his videos and sell this online, direct to home or to video rental chains in South Africa. His outstanding quality is his sharp sense of humour and wit.

Rafiq Phillips SEO guru bloggerRafiq Phillips: Cape Town based SEO expert, hardcore technology blogger and Internet evangelist blogs at WebAddict. He is the co-creator of iDrive a portal for finding driving schools in South Africa. Both of us represented South Africa as bloggers at the TEDGlobal Conference in Tanzania last year. The iDrive platform was accessible on MXit until recently. The innovation from him has led to him being featured on a Carte Blanche segment in March 2008. Rafiq would be the obvious person to run search engine campaigns and also act as the lead blogger to drive traffic and attention.

Charles Ash webmasterCharles Ash: The founder of the community portal for multiracial or mixed race people. Charles has a technical background in the IT industry and started this community website while living in Cape Town a few years ago. Its been a labour of love for him and I was once more directly involved. He has built a 10,000 strong user community and a website that generates over 3.5 million page views per month with zero funding or institutional support. Since he started his own hosting company, Charles would be my choice to run the technical back-end from hosting to system administration.

Nur Ahmad Furlong designerNur Ahmed Furlong Cape Town based WordPress guruNur Ahmad Furlong: A web strategist and graphic designer also based in Cape Town. He blogs at Nomad-One and also at TechLeader. From what I can tell he is a fantastic designer but what really strikes me as unique is his ethically motivated approach to business. The fact that he has been spearheaded the launch of WordPress meetings in Cape Town is a testament to his passion for getting the good word about the WordPress open source blogging platform out and bringing together the growing community of enthusiasts in South Africa. I look forward to having him redo some professional blog designs for me in the near future and maybe some other branding work that requires a sharp eye for detail.

Yusuf Mahomedy Worksucks authorYusuf Mahomedy: Author, work radical and blogger at Worksucks and Work911 on The Times. His professional track record is impeccable as a Tax Consultant at Ernst & Young and Senior Manager in HR at MTN Group. What impresses me about him the most is his output: he has published 2 books (Worksucks & Smart Reward Strategies) and contributes to trade journals like HR Future. Since 2007 we have delivered several seminars together and most recently this Internet Cafe workshop. What I would like from him is help in self-publishing my own book, and also putting all the business processes in place, especially those who focus on human resources as I continue grow my business and move from casual to full-time employment of people.

Mario Olckers copywriter graphic designerMario Olckers: A multi skilled web developer, blogger, copywriter, graphic designer at Hogsback Media Networks. Mario was first introduced to me by Charles Ash, and even though we have not yet collaborated we have had numerous conversations. His skills in copywriting are what I need the most. You can also follow him on Twitter since I deleted my account.

Consider some statistics from TechLeader group blog in terms of contributors by race:

Race Contributors Percentage
white 54 88.52%
black 2 3.28%
coloured 0 0.00%
indian 5 8.20%

What about me, Ramon Thomas? Interested in my contributions to Web 2.0 or Social Media in South Africa. Read or listen to the following interviews:

Sometimes I wonder will South African media ever, ever be more representative. When white people own most of the media companies, produce most of the radio or television content, publish (edit) most of the newspapers, magazines or websites, what do you expect?