Move magazine interview about other women

Recently I was asked to answer some questions for Move magazine. I normally wait until after they go to print before publishing it on my own blog.

That other women

Question – I met this guy last year in May we started dating in June. The problem started when his ex- girl friend phoned him and yelled at me saying crazy things. one day I was at the guy’s place and when I got there she came and wanted to start a fight with me and when I asked the guy about her he said she just a crazy woman because she even sends his parents sms’s saying stupid things she even calls every day but when she calls she just keeps quiet. Now what I want to know is will she ever get used to the fact that it’s over between them because she has even started threatening the guy.

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MXit responds to offensive lists of shame

In May 2007 the South African blogosphere was shook to its core with the abusive allegations from the SA Male Prostitute Blogger. Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats party, took this personal and raged a campaign against blogging and MXit to be controlled. Now the lists of shame that has been circulating on MXit is likely to cause a similar outcry from authorities, parents and the community at large.

 

In May 2007 the South African blogosphere was shook to its core with the abusive allegations from the SA Male Prostitute Blogger. Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats party, took this personal and raged a campaign against blogging and MXit to be controlled. Now the lists of shame that has been circulating on MXit is likely to cause a similar outcry from authorities, parents and the community at large.

My question to you is whether this reaction may be justified?

How would you feel if the same of your son or daughter appeared on such a list? Whether it is true or not, often the damage done by this uncivilised behaviour can have a lasting impact on the teenagers involved. At that peculiar age of development the sensitivity to outside criticism is higher than before or after.

Here’s 5 suggestions if your children’s names appear on such a slut list:

  1. Remove their cellphone for a week or two because the more they look at it these messages, the worse they feel. And get them doing other activities where cellphone is not important. Avoid the Internet because they are bound to Google this shame lists.
  2. Encourage them to stay in doors with family or get their friends to come over and visit at your house because the more they go outside, people will keep asking them how they feel. And telling people how bad you feel has never made anyone feel good. Give them a break from the barrage.
  3. Ask the Principal for a week or two leave of absence from the school and get a doctor’s certificate if necessary. You must protect your own sanity and your children’s during this delicate stage.
  4. If you can, send them away on a holiday to another city where nobody knows them and get their mind off the nasty things being siad in the messages.
  5. Report this to your local police department and get a case number. Also report it MXit and ask for a track number or reference number. They current are currently revamping their call centre (0861-00-6948) so send email to support@mxit.co.za.

Anyway here’s the official press release from MXit about these issues I discussed on Channel Islam last Friday. They issued this just before going on air and it was read out by the host of the show to help calm down the outrage in the communities.

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Buying The Secret in South Africa is a bad idea!

Last week I went to purchase some ink for my Lexmark printer at CNA. While there I asked the saleslady whether they had a copy of The Secret DVD (not the book!). As it turns out they were sold out. But what really shocked me was the retail price of R450! That is about US$65 and about 3.8 times the retail price the current retail Amazon.com of $17!

When it comes to The Secret, you either love it or hate. And if I had to go by the very heated Amazon.com Customer Reviews I would say that those who love it, cannot stop talking about it; while those who hate it, absolutely loath it. From 1681 total votes at the time of writing this is the overall feelings about those who purchased The Secret DVD:

  • 58% love it *****
  • 13% think it’s great ****
  • 8% though it was average ***
  • 6% didn’t like it **
  • 15% hated it *

For better or worse, the law of attraction is no longer a secret thanks to Rhonda Byrne, the creator and producer of The Secret DVD. What bothers me most is the companies who used to retail this product before it got into CNA or Exclusive Books: Going4Gold and The Secret Online, were both selling it at ridiculously inflated prices. However, as of writing this neither of them stock the DVD any more but they do offer other related products like the book version, which is really just a transcription of the DVD. I refuse to read it because it’s a bad attempt by Rhonda Byrne, wanting to be considered and author. This fake book is a transcription of the ideas of the teachers in The Secret, and even some of them are quoting other sources as well or borrowing ideas liberally.

One female friend of mine swears by the book and is now obsessed with paying over R200 for a gratitude book. She hardly has money for taxi fare to and from work! “My god woman,” I said to her, “use a notepad or a hard cover if you have to express yourself in writing”. It’s simply a waste of money or cash because you can spend less then R10 to get you going with your list of gratitudes or even use some old paper you can surely find in your house. And if you have a computer just begin writing a daily list of gratitudes because that costs you ZERO. And I suspect it has something to do with not admitting that she made a mistake. She would basically be putting her own decision making down.

The point I’m getting to is that experimental psychologist concur that you retain 6 times more information when you learn from a audio-visual source compared to audio only. The studies I looked at don’t make a direct comparison with reading, however, I suspect it is even worse compared to reading depending on the person’s comprehension levels. So it is 6 times better to WATCH The Secret, rather than READ The Secret.

The Science of Getting Rich Scam

Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. WattlesWhile I’m at it let me say this publicly for the first time: I’m absolutely and totally disgusted that Going4Gold and The Secret Online both sell a book, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles, from their websites.

They incorrectly use a photo of Benjamin Franklin on the cover of this book. This is the book that helped Rhonda Byrne recover from her breakdown given to her by her daughter. What you may not know is that this book is in the public domain. That means it is completely free to republish by anyone and you can find many, many copies on the Web. To me this is like daylight robbery because they are selling something free and putting a price on it. And just because they add a new “Foreword” does not justify adding a R110 price tag on it.

So if you have bought The Science of Getting Rich from one of the above mentioned companies I suggest you return the book, ask for a refund, and access on the free copies here.

 

Khaya Dlanga does The Skype Dance

Khaya Dlanga is South Africa’s top video blogger with over 10,000 subscribers to his Youtube channel. His most recent video is a hilarious little dance move he calls the Skype Dance. If you want to know more about Skype, download it otherwise if you want to learn more read this beginners guide for South Africans.

 

The Mobile Menace – Cellphone Matters

Please pick-up a copy of the current issue of Drum magazine, 24 July 2008, and read the two pages 44 and 45 for the article “The Mobile Menace“, which has the following 7 tips I share with parents.

1. Don’t buy cellphones for your child below 13 years old. Electronic wireless devices like cellphones emit radiation that can impact badly on your child’s growing brain. Please read how cellphones develop impacts your child’s developing brain on International Parenting Association website.

2. Limit the amount of time your child spends talking or listening to music on their cellphone. The brain needs a rest and should not be constantly bombarded with stimuli. The same goes for TV as well. Switch them off when not in use, especially while sleeping or doing homework.

3. Lead by example. For instance, do not talk on the cellphone while driving or answer a call in the middle of conversations. You can read more cellphone etiquette tips from BulkSMS.

4. Teach your children phone manners from the moment they are given their first cellphones. Most children and adults have not been taught how to use their cellphones appropriately. Good manners include switching off your cellphone at events like church, family gatherings and if you must, excuse yourself and move into another room.

5. Use technology as a topic of conversation with your children and learn more about it. Ask your children to teach you about the hi-tech world they live in. You may be surprised at how articulate they can be about things they spend most of their time using, thinking about, dreaming about and talking about. Learn more about communicating in terms of other people’s values from Dr John Demartini.

6. Don’t let technology be a substitute for parenting or experience. Spend time with your children doing other activities so they can learn how to do them and in the process bond with you. Technology like television has been described as replacing experience i.e. you would rather watch the days of other people’s lives than live your own life.

7. Don’t be afraid that your children won’t know how to use technology if they are not exposed from the youngest age. If your child is self assured, has high self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities, they can learn anything they put their mind to.

Now if you are concerned as most parents or teachers are about the constant challenges for children in school, you may want to read the 6 Lesson Schoolteacher essay by John Taylor Gatto who will be visiting South Africa for the first time in 2009.

 

Avoiding the uninspiring Flying Solo Unconference

At the Cape Town 27Dinner event in June 2008, Jo Duxbury made a great pitch for people to attend the first Flying Solo Unconference in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I really liked the idea because it was all about sharing ideas on growing your business with like minded people. And the idea of the unconference is that unlike the traditional conference there would be more panel discussions and interaction with the audience.

Over the last 5 years I have experienced various ups and downs in my own business growth. For the most part I was self-employed as described in Cashflow Quadrant. And it’s only in the last 6 months I have taken the idea of working on my business more seriously than working inside my business. This is not something that happened over night and I have bumped my head time and time again trying different things to grow my business. Maybe the best part of the experience is that I have now figured out how to generate cash flow at will. And for the most part this has to do with being clear about my products and services that I offer.

Anyway Jo Duxbury and Pam Sykes are organising this unconference and asked for volunteers to do short presentation on their areas of expertise. I jumped at this opportunity because I get more practise as a speaker in front of a new audience. And with their feedback, I can constantly improve my material. So since the above mentioned 27Dinner event I have been reworking my business networking presentation and more importantly the way I want to deliver that to this audience. In all my other training programms I offer the delegates a free CD with resources I have collected and collated from the Internet. This ads tremendous value because they now have something specific to go through upon completing my seminar or workshop.

What turned out to be a surprise for me was this message requesting a deposit of R200 that goes toward the food and drinks for the day. I emailed Jo and Pam to ask if the speakers also had to put down this deposit – and I received ZERO response from them. I take my presentations and talks very, very seriously as a member of Toastmasters and the Professional Speakers Association. More over I also subscribe fully to the principle of Fair Exchange as advocated by Dr John Demartini in his excellent book, How To Make One Hell Of a Profit and Still Get To Heaven. At the very least I would expect any fees to be waivered for the speakers because I am forfitting my fee and paying for my own travel to Cape Town.

Oh just before I forget to mention this: I fully understand the Wild Fig restaurant is sponsoring the venue, however, forcing people to buy your food is not the way to go. What about all the people who may have wanted to bring their own picnic basket or fast good?

Anyway what do you think is fair exchange for speakers to speaker at no cost at this event or any other?

 

Invitation to Yahoo Groups Power User Program

I have been a user of Yahoo Groups since about 1998 when it was called eGroups. Somewhere during 1999 it was purchase by Yahoo and I have managed or moderated various groups since that time. Here’s some of the groups I have created and some stats:

  • Credo Mutwa Discussion Group: 171 members since March 2002. This has been my most successful group to date because the topic is so esoteric and specialised. There are members from all over the world who have read the books of Credo Mutwa and actively discuss his philosophy.
  • Suanne Braun Fan Club: 42 members since August 2000.  This is a group that lost a lot of steam because Suanne has stopped acting in tv shows that are widely available to South Africans. The one other member who used to post regular updates has either lost interest or moved on.
  • Uitenhage High Alumni group: 39 members since November 2000. This is an alumni group for people from my old high school. However, the Facebook group already has 46 members. What’s wrong here? A clear purpose and also someone who can stimulate discussions not necessarily about the school but things that are important to the members post-high school. Many schools have a well organised old boys or old girls organisations that would allow such an online discussion group to florish.
  • Viva Divas Music discussion group: 39 members since October 1998, started by a friend of mine who asked me to help moderate the group. The problem with this group is that there is no longer any active discussions. Most of the emails are news about new albums or singles. This group used to be much bigger a few years ago when the discussions were more stimulating.

Why should you consider Yahoo Groups?

  • It has a track record of more than 10 years.
  • Your email messages to the group is automatically archived
  • You can assign moderators
  • Your moderators can have different levels of access
  • You can automatically moderate all or only new members
  • The interface and the emails are highly customisable
  • This is a great way to add interactivity to your website or interest group without spending a cent.

Anyway I was surprised to say the least by this email from Yahoo. Even through I am also running groups on Google Groups, which is very similar in functionality, I value the archived messages on Yahoo Groups.

Dear Yahoo! Groups owner/moderator,

You’ve been selected to be a part of the Yahoo! Groups Power User Program. This program rewards the owners and moderators of some of our top Groups. You have dedicated a lot of time to making your group great, and now we want to give you something in return.

As a first benefit, you now have free access to 24-hour online customer care chat support. To access this service, visit our Contact Us page and look for the Chat with us live now link.

If you’d like to be notified about future benefits as a Power User, please join the Yahoo! Power User Group. Click here to learn more.

Congratulations, and thanks for creating such an outstanding Group.

The Yahoo! Groups team

 

Upgrading to WordPress 2.6 improves your blog usability

A reminder to the blogging community to upgrade to WordPress 2.6, which was released 3 days ago. Today I upgraded 26 WordPress based websites or rather blogs that I am hosting at Hostgator. It has been years since I bothered hosting websites inside South Africa. And the Fantastico script manager allows you to seamlessly install open source web-applications like WordPress, Joomla or Moodle.

The biggest compliment I have for the WordPress theme is how it continues to make it easier and easier for non-technical people to become masters of their own domains – no pun intended. You can read the official announcement on the WordPress blog here or simply watch the video about the new features below:


 

Fathers, Sons and questions from reading Manhood

Noel Murray and Raymond Thomas circa 1975Last weekend I spent some quality time with my best friend Bradley Minnaar. He’s mother passed away recently and now moved back in from a granny flat into the main house. All his sisters are married with kids and his one brother is married with kids, while the other became a missionary after his wife passed away only a few years after getting married. Sometimes while growing I envied to luxury, as I perceived it of having both your mother and father available to you.

One of the things we discussed was the missing father syndrome in so many families, including my own. One obvious thing for me is how strong the link is between poverty and missing fathers. I grew up primarily with my mother in Uitenhage, outside of Port Elizabeth, and probably one of the poorest towns in South Africa. The biggest employer is Volkswagen, Goodyear and some other factories, all which remove fathers from the household.

Anyway back to my own story. Until my father married his 2nd wife, when I was about 12 years old, I used to visit him for extended holidays in Johannesburg. I recall the feelings of trepidation I had when I realised my father was having another son i.e. my brother. The love that comes with a new born soon replaced whatever insecurity or anxiety I had about his arrival. Looking back, maybe the biggest disappointment for me was when my father could not make it for my 21st birthday in 1996. This was also the same weekend I graduated with a BSc degree, becoming the first person in my extended family to complete a university degree.

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Where is Facebook in the workplace?

Ramon Thomas Facebook profileFacebook is a social networking website dedicated to user-generated content and global connectivity. At its heart is the individual user, who creates a profile and then searches for friends already on the network. Complements to that initial concept include groups dedicated to a multitude of interests including religion, sport or even profession. Applications on Facebook created by users, and more and more by companies, allow users to add even more interactivity into their profiles. An entire software development industry has sprung up supporting these applications, which allow for greater participation and often as a ‘get to know you’ for strangers who meet on Facebook.

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