Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Google!

Google turned 11 years old today, Sunday 27th September, and in true Google style their logo got cleverly tweaked to mark the occasion:

Although Google have used this date as their birthdate for several years now, their FAQ had the following to say:

“Google opened its doors in September 1998. The exact date when we celebrate our birthday has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake.”

Nice going Google! Congrats and may we see many more years of Google innovation all over the web.
For an interesting brief history of the company in a nifty side-scrolling webpage, click here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Make a difference and Go Green with Nokia Green Explorer

Want to make a difference to your world by "going green"?

Well Nokia are now making it easier to be green with their new "Green Explorer" initiative.
Green Explorer provides a shared resource for advice from all around the world, on how to live greener and travel cleaner.
People are now able to share advice and ideas on their travels so that the next time you travel, you too can make a difference by making use of the collective green knowledge provided by Green Explorer.

The Green Explorer website puts it very nicely:

"Treat the world like home, protect the places you love, and remember that sometimes the most exciting adventures happen right in your own backyard. Go Green!"

You can also download the free Green Explorer widget to your cellphone, and follow your own green notebook while you are on the move.

Nice going Nokia - always good to see big names trying to "do the right thing" for the planet.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Lily Allen calling it quits?

Rumours are out that Lilly Allen has hung up her microphone, at least for now.
According to a post on her recently-launched anti-piracy blog at, Allen had the following to say:

"Just so you know, I have not renegotiated my record contract and have no plans to make another record (applause). I do however remain a fan of new music, so this is not some selfish crusade,"... 
..."The days of me making money from recording music has been and gone as far as I'm concerned ... Slagging me, my music and my so-called 'family connections' off, and calling me a government puppet is not going to get anyone anywhere, so stop it. I think people assume we artists are a lot richer than you think we are, please bear in mind this doesn't have anything to do with me or my wealth."...

In an unexpected move, she then deleted the entire blog just hours later (which is why her blog at the above address is currently blank :)), citing on her Twitter account that "the abuse was getting too much."

Whether you love or hate her, you can be sure that the music industry will miss her oddball quirkyness and controversial choice of lyrics...!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pump up your storage with Green Power from Western Digital

It's all about data nowadays - music, videos, photos, audio streaming... you name it, it's out there, and the more you collect, the less space you have available on your PC.

So why not go REALLY BIG with one of Western Digital's Green Power 3.5" Hard Drives - available in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB sizes, you should have enough storage for a while with one of these in your PC!

Available now:


As always, T's & C's apply, and pricing is subect to availability of stock.

To place your order, please drop me an email at - and please be sure to include all your details.

Altech and Seacom announce strategic bandwidth alliance to facilitate cheaper, faster broadband in South Africa

This is something of interest to the tech-heads out there (and indeed any South African who uses the internet!) - JSE listed Allied Technologies Limited (Altech) and SEACOM, last week announced their strategic alliance for the mutual acquisition of bandwidth capacity on two cable systems.
To quote the Seacom website:

“This strategic alliance with SEACOM, and Altech’s investment in the construction of terrestrial networks needed to support SEACOM in bringing its capacity inland, allows us to play a leading role in radically changing the face of African connectivity.
Altech has through the alliance secured the East African region for the distribution of much needed bandwidth. We are delighted to be partnering with SEACOM in this historic venture, pioneering the unlocking of a region hungry for low-cost, high-speed broadband access. The alliance is yet another element perfectly suited to Altech’s overall convergence strategy,” said Altech Chief Executive Officer, Craig Venter.

Read the full article here.

SEACOM is a 1.28 terabits per second, 17 000km undersea fibre optic cable, which links South and East African countries to their European and Asian counterparts.

The cable was officially launched in July 2009 and if expectations are correct, it will be the first of many undersea cables to be completed in the next few years. Ultimately this will greatly facilitate low-cost bandwidth for South and East Africa.

Although public expectations are high, SEACOM will not be selling bandwidth directly to end-users.
Rather, they will provide the bandwidth to African retailers (e.g. Altech) who will in turn sell this capacity to end-users.

Now it's just a waiting game, to see how long it will be until end-users see the full benefits of the SEACOM project...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sampling.. the lazy way to make music

When last did you hear a track on the radio and think to yourself: "Hey I know that tune...!", only to be horrified when you hear the new lyrics of the song, which have simply been pasted over the original tune...
To make matters worse, the new artist then claims the track as their own, and makes whackloads of money out of it!

They call this "sampling" in the music industry, which I think is fine and good when using a short segment of another track.
A good example of this would be the bassline for the early 90's Vanilla Ice track "Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice made use of the original bassline from the Queen & David Bowie 80's track "Under Pressure".

Nowadays, however, it seems the norm is to use an entire song, dump the original lyrics and make up your own.
Anybody who grew up in the 80's will remember a track called "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins - a fantastic tune and definitely a classic.
File:Echo Beach cover.jpg
Now a South African born artist living in London called "Mpho", has released her debut album entitled "Pop Art".
Among the tracks on her album is one called "Box n Locks" - give it a listen and you will very quickly realize that it is essentially the original track "Echo Beach", but with new lyrics sung in a different tune to the original.

So am I the only one who thinks that all the sampling going on nowadays is a bit fishy?
I mean cover versions are one thing - there is a clear reference and credit to the original artist who actually created the track, whereas sampling allows anybody to create their "own" music by using the creative property of somebody else!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Winston the pigeon vs. Telkom... what's your take?

So by now you have probably all heard about the much publicized Pigeon Race 2009, where Winston the pigeon took on our beloved Telkom, and won by rather a large margin.
If not, go check it out at

The race started in Howick, where 4GB of data was sent over an ADSL line to an office in Gillits (Hillcrest).
Shortly afterwards a pigeon named Winston was dispatched from Howick, with an SD card strapped to his leg (containing the same 4GB of data).
The end result was that Winston's data arrived in Gillits in little over 2 hours.
Meanwhile back in Howick, the 4GB of data was only 4% sent.

So the result was conclusive and the message is clear!
Or is it?

Truth is, the whole race was rather contrived to begin with - work out the pigeon numbers and you get an ETA for Winston of approx. 1 hour (taking into account the average speed of a pigeon).
Then work out the Telkom numbers and you get an ETA of approx. 24.5 hours (using the "theoretical" max. Telkom ADSL speeds, and including upload and the download times).

Which proves what exactly...?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TED - Ideas worth spreading

Ever heard of TED?
No, I don't mean the guy next door or the Transvaal Education Department...

I am referring to in short broadcasts "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world", to quote their site directly.

It is well worth a visit to their site - try out the "Rated jaw-dropping" link down the left-hand side.
Your jaw may well drop.

Just don't forget to pick it up again... :)

Western Digital Passport External Hard Drives - get yours now!

Running out of space on your PC, laptop or Mac?
Maybe it's time to get rid of some of the clutter and archive some of your work...

Well help is at hand - enter the WD Passport series of external hard drives. Plenty of storage space in a compact and stylish package.
Making use of your USB port for power, there is no need to have a wall plug nearby.

Now on special until next week, pick the size below that suits you, and finally reclaim that lost space on your PC!
- 250GB @ R   950
- 320GB @ R 1050
- 500GB @ R 1300

As always, T's & C's apply, and pricing is subect to availability of stock.
To place your order, please drop me an email at - and please be sure to include all your details.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nokia to release next Firmware update for the N97

One of my biggest reasons for supporting Nokia is the fact that they listen to their customers, by releasing frequent software updates for their new phones.

Barely a month after the update for the N97, a new one is in the pipeline for October '09, and it is being punted as quite a biggie by Nokia.
Some of the new features and improvements include:

- kinetic scrolling in contacts, menus and elsewhere. For those of you who do not know what kinetic scrolling is, it is the ability to flick through a list on your screen, rather than using a traditional scrollbar.
- new memory allocation, freeing up 20-30MB in the system memory
- visually enhanced music player and photo viewer
- improved keyboard functionality; holding down a key for 1 second will activate the alternative character
- new homescreen widgets
- upgraded OVI Maps
- support for VOIP

Good work Nokia - an already awesome phone is about to get even better!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some little known features of the Nokia N97

So you have read up on the Nokia N97, checked it out on, and you are pretty clued up on all the bells and whistles that it packs.

Until you actually use the phone, however, there are some nifty features hidden away deep under that sturdy exterior that you may never know about:

- to silence an incoming call, alert or alarm, simply flip the phone over to face down. The built-in accelerometer will detect this motion and silence the offending audio.

- if you upgrade the standard Nokia Maps application to Ovi Maps 3, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of 3D buildings for selected towns and cities. Navigate to the centre of JHB for example, and you will see the Carlton Centre in all its 3D glory! Give it a few seconds to load, mind you!

More to follow...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Powerline - setup a LAN without any of the cabling hassles...

So you want to setup a LAN at your home or office...

You don't want to go to the trouble of drilling holes, balancing precariously in the ceiling, getting pretty dirty, burning your skin off on the glue gun etc... you get the idea!

You also can't use Wireless because the walls are too thick, you have multiple levels / storeys etc... again, you get the idea!

Enter Powerline - something I only recently came across on the net.
Several manufacturers offer a similar product, but for this post I have chosen to use D-Link as an example.

To quote the D-Link Website:


Powerline and Coax Adapters upgrade your power and cable wires so you can use them to transmit network data in addition to power or cable. Instead of adding new wires to your network, take advantage of your home's infrastructure and connect devices using these adapters.

How amazing is that??
In plain English:

- plug a Powerline adapter into a power point in your home / office;
- plug the other end into your LAN router / switch;
- plug another adapter into any other powerpoint(s) in your home / office, and then plug the other end into your PC / Mac / Laptop etc..
- Voila! Instant LAN!

Check it out:

What will they think of next???

well what can I say?

So here goes my first post on the new Nybbles and Bytes Blog...

Up until now I had a blog running at where I chatted about various IT-related things:- PC's, cellphones, software, networks etc. etc.

So I will try pick up here where I left off there - not that I had a huge following on my old Blog!

Wish me luck..


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