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Archive for the ‘Internets’ Category

Be careful what you tweet

This morning I had my first Twitter FAIL. You should always make sure that what you tweet now can’t be linked in anyway to what you’ve tweeted previously. For example:

NOT what you think

NOT what you think

Hat Tip: Matthew Dekenah

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A while back I made a post about Omegle.com, the website where you can just talk to total random strangers. On the internet. This morning, when my body decided that 04h30 was a perfectly acceptable time to wake me up, I used the time to run across this gem:

Priceless.

Priceless.

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Seacom is almost here

That’s right, it’s only a short 42 days away, until Seacom, the underwater cable that will bring 1.28 Terabytes of Bandwidth to Africa, goes live. This is what it looks like:

The width of your hair, wrapped in an enclosure the thickness of your pinky. Carrying 1.28 TB. Credit: @mikestopforth on Twitter.

The width of your hair, wrapped in an enclosure the thickness of your pinky. Carrying 1.28 TB. Credit: @mikestopforth on Twitter.

Currently SA has about 130 GB of bandwidth. 1.28 terabytes = 1 310.72 gigabytes. You do the maths. Let’s just hope it doesn’t all in Telkom’s hands.

Else we’re fucked.

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twitter_logoIt’s tricky to start an article on Twitter. Not a lot of people (read: not enough) know what it’s about, but almost everyone has heard of it. Even my parents have heard of it. So I’m now going to try and explain this Internet phenomenon.

Twitter is a social-networking service, which lumps it into the same catagory as facebook, MySpace, last.fm and sites like del.i.cious. Whereas facebook and MySpace are bloated with all sorts of cool things like applications that make sure you’re awesome, and MySpace is a great tool for musicians to get exposure, Twitter has taken all of that and stripped it down into byte-sized chunks (called ‘tweets’) of no more than 140 characters.

I’m going to attempt to explain the functionality and use of Twitter by comparing it to facebook. Imagine that you strip facebook down so that you can do nothing more than update your status. Essentially, in it’s very simplest form, this is what Twitter is all about. “But I already have facebook!” I hear you shout, “why would I want to update my status twice?” Well Twitter has a hell of lot more features than that:

The Twitter Home Page

The Twitter Home Page

Now with a bit of imagination, the visual similarity with facebook can be seen. However, Twitter has taken a different view to facebook with regards to ‘friends’ (I use this term loosely with sites like facebook). Instead of the usual facebook and MySpace approach of requiring a two-way ‘friendship’ (You know, send a friend request, person confirms, they can see your status updates, and you can see theirs), Twitter has has split this concept in two.

Instead of becoming someone’s friend, you choose to follow them. What this means is that their updates will now show up on your Twitter feed (the white area with all the updates above). Following someone is instant. No waiting for a confirmation, nothing. The person you choose to follow is sent an email to let them know that you’re following them, and whether or not theychoose to follow you back is completely up to them. This is one of the beauties of Twitter, as it means you can follow celebrities, companies, coffee shops, etc. Also, if someone starts following you, you have no duty to follow them in return. In the screenshot, above right, you can see that I follow 52 people, and 80 people follow me.

The idea behind Twitter is that you use it on the go, posting little updates on what you are doing as you go through the day. Twitter was made for mobility. Because the tweets (the updates) are limited to only 140 characters, they are smaller than an sms, and so very cellphone friendly in terms of bandwidth. I did a little experiment to prove this. I’ve been using Twitter on my cellphone for about 5 days, without accessing any other websites off my phone. I’ve only used 4MB in that period. This makes twitter much cheaper than facebook. I tweet (send updates) all through the day, and even use it as an alternative to sms with the friends like MusicLady, who is as hot for Twitter as I am.

Directing a tweet at someone is also easy, by just adding a ‘@’ in front of their username.

Lastly is the powerful search funtion that twitter has:

The Twitter Search Engine - http://search.twitter.com

The Twitter Search Engine - http://search.twitter.com

By tagging your tweets with a ‘hash tag,’ like for example #stelexams in the screenshot above, you can search ALL tweets on the whole of Twitter with this specific tag. I started #stelexams to keep track of what’s happening with people that are tweeting about the Stellenbosch exams. The power of this function was shown on 22 April, election day, by those tagging their tweets with #saelections. This provided a real-time view of what queues were like, where stations were running into problems and so on. This ‘news from the front line’ is faster than any form of media, and is in my opinion, Twitter’s strongest feature.

There are some great people that you can follow on Twitter. Cafe Bello has a twitter account, as does Vida e Caffe, not to mention celebs such as Stephen Fry. Another account worth following is Stellenbosch Student Life, which in a similar vein to the CapeTown account, exists to inform people in Stellenbosch of what’s happening in town via Twitter.

I hope you have found this helpful. Twitter is the future, just no one seems to realise it. The best way to get to grips with Twitter is just to register and use it. It’s fun. It really is.

To follow me on Twitter, click here.

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redditguy I’m a bit of a social networking slut. I’m on facebook, Twitter, an internet forum, flickr, Afrigator, WordPress, Delicious, etc, etc… And I check it constantly, with the frequency of a high school student. I don’t see it as a bad thing. But in between all the checking up of my online life, there’s a lot of internets that goes unexplored.

What pisses me off about the internets is that it’s so damn big. And it’s filled with total and utter shit. Seriously. In 2007 there were almost 30 billion websites on this gigantic monolith of information. Most of it probably porn.

So exactly where do I find all the cool things that I randomly blurt out at inappropiate times? reddit.com. Reddit is essentially a stripped down version of Digg, just way way cooler…

Essentially what it is is a website where other people can share different web links, of cool things that they’ve found on the internets. Sometimes it’s a news story. Sometimes, it’s a cool youtube video. Sometimes they even ask the site a question, and get other users to answer it. I truly love this website. It’s bloody brilliant. And self-governed.

So how does one distinguish the good from the crap? Like I mentioned, it’s self governed, and user ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ what’s hot and what’s not. Good stuff get’s up-voted, and all the bilge gets down-voted.

What also sets the website apart from anything similar, like Digg.com, is the site’s users. One almost gets a sense of community amongst them. But the comments left on links posted is the absolute best. The screenshot I have is too big for WordPress, but click here to view it on flickr. And the comments are like this on just about every link posted.

I’ve mentioned the similarity to Digg, and for April Fool’s this year, reddit had possibly the best prank of them all. The rivalry between Digg and reddit is fierce. Reddit users hate Digg, and Digg is too far up it’s own ass to care. So, on the 1st of April, when I logged in, this is what I saw:

Most epic April Fools internet joke.

Most epic April Fools internet joke.

Reddit is awesome. Try it. You’re bound to get hooked.

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In all honesty, I’m growing a little tired of all the beef between Helen Zille and Jacob Zuma. This time it’s even gotten to the point where the ANCYL is threatening to ‘mobilise’ (this has to be their most-used word ever) and make the Western Cape ‘ungovernable.’

We’ve recently learned in Criminal Law that the State rests absolutely ZERO duty on you to report a crime should you see one happening. That’s right, should you find yourself walking along the street and see someone getting mugged, as a civilian, you have NO duty to do anything. You can, in fact, just stand and watch. Maybe get some popcorn and your camera if you’re a tourist. (Please note this extends only to civilians. Security guards, policemen, etc, you’re a different story.) There is, however, one exception to the Civilians-don’t-need-to-do-anything-rule: Treason. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but does threatening to make a government ‘ungovernable’ not count as treason? Somehow I doubt the Stellenbosch police station will take me seriously.

I decided that the best way to settle this was in the age-old internet tradition of a googlefight. Let’s see what the results yielded:

Helen Zille v Julius Malema:

Helen wins.

Helen wins.

So hopefully this result will shut the ANCYL up for a little while, as every time they make a statement, it either results in some form of the word ‘mobilise’ coupled with some form of ‘whites hate us, sniff sniff’. Please. Grow the fuck up. (@Julius – please note that this is just my opinion. There is truly no need to ‘mobilise’ against all the people of Stellenbosch. BTW, can I please call you Julius ‘mobilise’ Malema? Please? I’ll buy you cake).

Right, time to see how Helen does against the leader of our country, it’s time for Helen v Jacob.

And Jacob takes Helen, exactly 2-1

And Jacob takes Helen, exactly 2-1

Right Helen. So you have got quite a way to go. It would seem that Jacob is twice as strong as you are. But how does your organisation measure up?

DA vs ANC:

ANC fails

ANC fails

So what does this blogpost say about our political landscape over the next five years? Well, not much. But hopefully it took your mind off the fact that our politicians are nothing more than schoolchildren, who have nothing but empty threats about taking lunch money and who resort to petty name-calling. Seriously. This is meant to be a democracy!

Grow up.

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As from the first Saturday in May, Saturdays on this blog shall be devoted to something I have a geeky soft spot for, and like to refer to as ‘internet culture.’ It really boils down to things that I find on the internet, which would not have existed was it not for the internet. This is best explained by sites such as Omegle.com, an application that allows you to talk to random strangers, or LOLcats, or finding the giant pink bunny using Google Earth.

This week, I came across YooouuuTuube.com (http://www.yooouuutuuube.com/), which upon the outset doesn’t look like much:

It doesn't look like much, does it?

It doesn't look like much, does it?

But what it does is quite spectacular. Type any YouTube video’s address into the appropriate fields on their home page, and viola! Trippiness ensues. The video is scaled down, and frames are repeated at a small interval onto a massive grid. This works particularly well with music videos. Try it, you’ll probably be amused for hours. And as it uses your computer’s own processing power, not a lot of bandwidth is stolen. I like it. I like it a lot. Here are some of the better ones:

The Beatles: Come Together. Awesome. Click on the image to go to YooouuuTuuube. Original can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axb2sHpGwHQ.

The Beatles: Come Together. Awesome. Click on the image to go to YooouuuTuuube. Original can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axb2sHpGwHQ.

Alice in Wonderland. This is postmodern Art. Seriously. Click the image. You have to experience it. Original video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAwR6w2TgxY

Alice in Wonderland. This is postmodern Art. Seriously. Click the image. You *have* to experience it. Original video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAwR6w2TgxY

You have to experience this to believe it. Click on the images above to get an idea of what it’s all about. Then try it for yourself.

This is the best thing I’ve found on the internet in a long time.

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