April 2, 2008

Google SA

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Allan @ 8:57 pm
Tags: , ,

Just got back from the AMASA end of year thing where a talk by Stafford Masie was the main attraction.   Overall he came across well and is certainly passionate about Google.  The bulk of the audience seemed to be somewhat oblivious to what’s happening online (Google Maps street view drew oohs and aahs) so the talk was aimed squarely at them.  All the usual stuff was trotted out about media landscape changing, consumer is in charge of your brand, user generated content – you know the drill.

What was interesting was that he said that South Africa has the most expensive broadband in the world.  OK, I’m with you.  Then he went on to say that in 18 months, South Africa would have the cheapest broadband in the world.  Really?  Where can I sign up….

He mentioned a few things that Google SA would be doing – Google Maps of South Africa in 2008, and GDrive – 20GB of free online storage.  Also demo’d Google Co-op which looks like it could have some awesome applications.

At one point he asked if there were any reporters in the room, but didn’t ask if there were bloggers.  This was after mentioning CNN using citizen journalism a bit earlier.  Little bit of a disconnect there :P

Then, he unfortunately went into demo mode.  I say unfortunately because it’s easy to get caught up in the moment when the audience are easily impressed.   The demos weren’t as focussed as the first part of the talk and as much as the audience were interested and enjoying it, it dragged on a bit.

One thing that did occur to me though.  Stafford was showing street view and saying that they have teams of people out there getting the images.  Imagine if they could combine an image pool like flickr, geotag the images, feed them through a tool like Photosynth and show that as the street view.  Now that would be cool.


March 30, 2008

Cadbury at it again

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 5:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Saw on Faris’ blog that Cadbury have launched a new website and with it a new ad.  This time with trucks.They have also made bits of the ad available for download.  People were going to do it anyway, so why not make it easy.The ad couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, so here then is my first attempt at a remix video: 

February 23, 2008


Filed under: Me,My Life — Allan @ 1:56 pm
Tyler thoughtfully tagged me in the “7 random facts” meme.
<sarcasm>Thanks mate, really appreciate it</sarcasm>
The rules are thus:

  • link to the person who tagged you (check)
  • post the rules here (check)
  • share seven random or weird facts about yourself
  • tag seven random people at the end of the post, linking to them
  • leave a comment on their blog so they know they’ve been tagged
So, here goes, in no specific order of weirdness:
  1. I enjoy writing code.  You probably guessed that from the title of this posting.  I got my first computer in 1984, it was an Atari 600XL and I was bitterly disappointed when I got it home and it didn’t answer questions like computers did in the movies.  It had a tape drive and since I couldn’t afford to buy cartridges for the thing, I managed to get a book of source code for games.  Which I typed in.  40-odd pages of code and you’re going to make a mistake somewhere along the way.  So we actually just ended up playing games on my friends brothers’ ZX-Spectrum.  That same year I did a programming course and wrote my first lines of (working) code.
  2. I wasn’t in Enter the Dragon or Pretty Woman, but some other guy with my name was.  In 2002 he played himself in “Playboy: Inside the Playboy Mansion”.  I’m detecting a trend here.  Downwards.
  3. I’ve co-authored 11 books, all of them on techie type stuff.  If you Google for me you’ll find them all mixed with links to our actor friend.  Writing books doesn’t pay very well at all, but at least my mom has something to show her friends.
  4. I do my best thinking when I’m driving.  I’ve been meaning to get some kind of dictaphone type thing to use in the car because the middle of the steering wheel makes a really crap desk.  If I didn’t hate my phone so much I’m sure I could work out how to do it on that.
  5. I can still remember the IP number from my first real job when I worked at the University of Cape Town.  I do an nslookup on it every now and again – UCT still give descriptive names in their DNS.  When I was there it was  Going by its current name my IP is being used for an ethernet switch now.  Unfortunately, doesn’t have anything of the web site I ran off it back in 1995.  It contained a diary type page that I updated about three times a week (dare I say blog?) and a mirror of unix documentation for people in the office to access.  It was optimized for NCSA Mosaic.
  6. I now live in the same neighborhood that I grew up in.  It’s kinda cool being able to walk around and point out old friends’ houses and what happened there in your childhood. 80’s nostalgia.  Thankfully there are no photos, as the 80’s were not a good time for fashion.  There’s a lot on that list I was guilty of, and no I won’t list them, but I will fess up to a pink tank top.  I wish I could go back in time and slap myself.  I still have my black mesh tie.  But I don’t wear it.
  7. Even though has lost my website, Google still has my first ever posting to Usenet.  4 June 1992, using a friends VAX account.
So that’s the seven facts out of the way.  Now to pass on the misery:
  1. Bruce Lawson.  Accessibility bore and proud owner o the domain. Go read his blog – you’ll learn a crapload about web standards and accessibility and have a good laugh while doing so.  Incidentally, Bruce was editor on a number of my books, so if you think they’re crap, you can blame him :)
  2. Uwe Gutschow.  Thought you could slip away over there to LA?  Uwe was my boss at Saatchi AtPlay before he deserted us.
  3. WhiskeyKitten.  I’ve only known her for about 22 years.  That’s what you get for growing up with her brother.  Go check the site for photo’s of horses.  Millions of them.  Here’s another fact about me:  I don’t like horses.  But she does. 
  4. Faris Yakob.  He was the keynote speaker at a conference where I got to ramble away behind a lecturn for an hour.  His talk was inspirational and I’ve been a religious reader of his blog since then.
  5. Leon Jacobs.  Was Creative Director at Saatchi Cape Town and is now regional CD for Saatchi in Asia.  He likes funny french cars and cats.  He also enjoys singing while playing Wii golf.
  6. Dave Duarte.  I would have expected Dave to have been tagged with this a long time ago, but a quick search on his site for “random” or “seven” didn’t turn up anything.  So consider yourself tagged.  Dave, for those of you who only just turned on the internets and don’t know, is Cape Town’s celebrity marketing geek.  I can’t recall ever spending time with Dave when he hasn’t had something interesting or clever to say, so let’s see what random gems he can deliver.  No pressure.
  7. Ash.  While spending waaaaay too much time on IRC in the 90’s, I bumped into Ash and her husband.  Her blog is all about books and living in Amsterdam.   
So that’s it.  Now to go give people the good news.

February 22, 2008

us is watching you!

Filed under: Mobile — Allan @ 9:42 pm

picture-2.png cunningly avoided the grammar police :)

February 6, 2008

and here comes ooVoo

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Allan @ 9:02 pm

In case you haven’t come across it before, ooVoo appears to be Skype on steroids.  With up to 6 people chatting face to face in a video conference it looks like an awesome piece of software.I’ve had it installed for a while now, but haven’t had a chance to get round to actually testing it out.  Until now.  It seems ooVoo are going on a bit of an awareness drive and they’ve taken it straight to the social media space.  My ooVoo Day let’s anyone who wants to, grab ooVoo and sign up to spend some time in a face to face conversation with the bloggers that they read.I’m busy working through my current batch of neglected RSS feeds and so far I’ve come across 3 bloggers that I read who are signed up for the gig.  What an excellent way to generate some buzz and get people actually talking, while at the same time giving something back to the communities that keep the blogs alive.I’m off to sign up, who’s with me? 

January 18, 2008

Church of Scientology, meet the remix culture

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allan @ 2:59 pm

Yesterday I managed to watch the Tom Cruise Scientology video before it got yanked off Youtube by their lawyers.

Better than that though it seems that those clever people who love remixing video content snagged themselves an offline copy and have been hard at work.

I couldn’t find it on Youtube, so you’ll have to head over to to check it out:

If you can’t get enough of his maniacal laugh, head on over to Youtube.

December 18, 2007

New BBC site

Filed under: Technology — Allan @ 5:56 pm

Was poking about the new BBC Beta site now and it looks damn sweet.  Lots of DHTML goodness and they’re using jQuery to do it.  Nice.

December 10, 2007

Service levels

Filed under: My Life,Technology — Allan @ 3:10 pm
Tags: , ,

I just went out to do two tasks: renew my car license and buy a wedding present from a bridal registry list.  And what a difference in service between the two.  The Traffic Department with the infamous eNatis system, and Boardmans. (more…)

old dog, new name?

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 1:31 pm

Was just reading an article on AdAge that Bravo in the US are piloting a new “L” shaped ad space on TV.  I’m wondering how this is different from a traditional squeeze back?

September 2, 2007

When publishing from MS Word goes bad

Filed under: Technology — Allan @ 10:10 am

This morning in search of the address and opening times of the local waste dump I discovered just what the copy checkers of the City of cape Town’s website thought of it:


There’s more, but thanks to the way it’s laid out I can’t read it properly without digging in the source and besides, it’s in “fuchsia” which offends my sensibilities.
Solid waste….

My bad, I was viewing it in Safari. Clearly it was meant for viewing in Internet Explorer:

solid waste in IE

Someone needs to go explain to whoever is responsible for publishing this stuff onto the site how to remove the reviewers comments. I tried but their feedback page doesn’t let you do that. You can view it in it’s full glory for yourself here.

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