Thursday, December 31, 2009

Translate to and from English for free, with Google Translate

How many times have you wanted to know what some foreign phrase or word meant?
Maybe you just wanted to be able to understand a document or book written in a language that you do not read / speak?

Well fret no more - this is not really new but a lot of people do not know about Google Translate.
Now I know there are many other translation services out there online, but I have found Google Translate to be seriously user-friendly and accurate in its translation to English from other languages.
You can even upload entire documents for translation - seriously useful stuff.

You can of course translate from English to other languages too - this is the full list of currently available languages for translation:

Czech Danish
German Greek
Japanese Korean
Swedish Thai

Wow that's a mouthful... (no pun intended :)).
Now go translate something dammit :)

The Telkom Phonebook online - save some paper and some time :)

Do you still go the Post Office annually to pick up your new phonebook for the year?
Well if you want to save some paper and some time, rather make your way to - the online version of South Africa's White Pages.

You can search for residential subscribers by name or keyword and by area.
So no more weightlifting just to find that telephone number :)

Need a compact yet powerful laptop...? Look no further...:

Looking for a decent laptop and wanting to try out the new Windows 7?

Well here's a deal that you should seriously consider - the Dell Vostro 1320 comes pre-installed with Windows XP Pro (in case you don't want to switch to Windows 7 just yet), but it ships with the Windows 7 DVD as well, and the upgrade process is pretty quick.

Featuring a decent set of hardware specs, this is a compact workhorse (weighing only 1.86kg) that will still be going strong years from now.
Check it out:

Dell Vostro 1320

13.3" Widescreen (1280 x 800)

Intel® C2D P8600 2.4GHZ
2Gb (1x2Gb) 800MHz DDR2
250GB HDD (7200RPM)
MS Windows XP Professional
802.11(b/g) & Bluetooth
1.3MP Webcam
Intel® Integrated GMA X4500
WinXP Pro & Win7 Pro Media included
No Bag
MS Works 9.0
3 Year Next Business Day
6-cell 48WHr Li-Ion Battery
Weight - 1.86kg
Current Pricing = R 12250
Order now by clicking here to email me.
As always, T's & C's apply:
- terms strictly COD;
- pricing subject to stock availability;
- please allow 4 - 6 working days for delivery.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some South African GOOD NEWS...! :)

The late Douglas Adams, in his "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, comically noted that spacecraft should be powered by bad news, because nothing travels faster :)
Too true - how often in our day do we get stuck into a really juicy piece of bad news, but fail to pay any attention to the Good News?

Perhaps we even fail to acknowledge the existence of Good News, in our life, our workplace, our society or our country. There is, however a whole lot of Good News out there, if you are open to it.

The website does a fantastic job of spreading the Good News - getting it out there to you and me.
I am subscribed to their newsletter, and when I read the latest edition I felt compelled to include its contents on my blog. The words of the author Ian Macdonald ring true on so many levels.

Take 5 minutes out of your day and have a read - it will be worth your while and it will help brighten up your day :) :

What I've learnt

After 5 years as editor of South Africa's premier good news website, Ian Macdonald is leaving South Africa The Good News at the end of the year in order to pursue opportunities in the renewable energy sector. These are some of the things he has learnt during his time with us:

- South Africans accept bad news at face value, but they will question and interrogate good news.

- It is extremely difficult to convince someone of something that is contrary to their belief.

- South Africa tends to excel when our backs are against the wall. We love to prove the doubters wrong.

- We are blessed to live in times like these. I love that we are reminded every day about the real things in life and how we can live a life of real significance here.

- The mainstream media don't take us seriously because we are biased towards the positive. The irony is that they are biased towards the negative. At least we don't hide our 'agenda' - we're proud of it; we don't pretend to be unbiased and balanced.

- Even though we go to great lengths to acknowledge the challenges and problems in South Africa, we are still accused of being naive, out of touch with reality and ostriches with our heads in the sand.

- It's important to know of all the problems in the world. We need to know what is wrong if we are to fix it. But there's no point in fixating on the problem, energy is much better spent concentrating on the solutions.

- Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, said "He who controls the media controls the mind." The media have immense power in South Africa, as elsewhere, to shape the national narrative and manipulate the national psyche. I don't think that local media appreciate the power they have. If they do, then I believe they use this power irresponsibly, in order to sell more papers.

- When we write about controversial subjects (race and crime in particular) many people seem to miss the point of the article. They are so angry, they miss the nuance, the thread or the tone.

- Climate change is the single biggest threat to us. Nothing even comes close. Not even crime. It threatens our very existence, without prejudice. The time to act is yesterday.

- There is tremendous power in positive thinking. There is opportunity in every crisis.

- We South Africans have made a lot of mistakes over the past 15 years, but there is a lot that we have done well. I am proud of the contribution we have made in highlighting the progress and positive developments in South Africa.

- We are accused of being ANC spin doctors or government sycophants whenever we offer any support of government or acknowledge government for their successes. In order to earn the right to criticise where necessary, one also has to give credit where it is due. Contrary to popular belief, the government is sometimes capable of doing things well!

- Certain South Africans seem to want this country to fail, just so that they can say "see, I told you so!"

- These same South Africans see any negative sign (load-shedding, for example), not as a bump in the road but as 'proof' of inexorable decline in South Africa. They are very vocal and critical when it happens, but very quiet and unapologetic when it proves to be temporary. (Whatever happened to the people that confidently declared that load-shedding was 'just how it started in Zimbabwe' or told us that South Africa would go to the dogs if Zuma became President?)

- Only a small percentage of South Africans are negative, but they are very vocal, creating the perception that the nation is negative. Read the comments under news articles, the only people who seem to bother to write anything are the bigots, the complainers and the idiots.

- We get so wrapped in the day-to-day challenges in South Africa that we forget to celebrate how far we have come - if you would have told someone in the mid-1980s that we would be were we are today, you would've been considered a lunatic

- There are remarkable people working for this country. Through this job I've met some of the change agents that are working to make South Africa the country that we want it to be. These people give me great hope that we can and will become the country of our dreams.

By Ian Macdonald

Source: "South Africa - The Good News"

Right-click, Refresh. Right-click, Refesh. Right-click, Refresh... no it doesn't make things happen any quicker!

Have you ever seen a guy / girl sitting at their PC, frantically right-clicking and refreshing their desktop repeatedly in Windows XP / Vista?

I am not sure exactly what people think the point is here, but the big news is... wait for it... NOTHING HAPPENS WHEN YOU REFRESH YOUR DESKTOP A MILLION TIMES IN SUCCESSION!!

Ok well that's not entirely true. Refreshing your desktop does cause Windows to redraw what is currently on the desktop, i.e. icons etc. So if for some reason your icons are not showing, or if one of them is displaying incorrectly, then a refresh of the desktop might help to fix the problem.

Alternatively, if you have applied a new desktop background but cannot see it for some reason, then a desktop refresh may help.

If, however, you are using some high-powered graphics package and you want to get some nitrous-oxide induced performance boost, then you would be better off upgrading your RAM, CPU, motherboard or graphics card, than right-clicking / refreshing your desktop 3735902347592 times in 2 minutes.

Sheesh - all you are going to achieve is a healthy dose of repetitive wrist strain injury, and a fair dose of odd glances from colleagues who now think that you have developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder of some kind :)

Oh yes, and such an excessive amount of right-clicking has been shown to shorten the life of computer mouses (mice?) the world over. :)

Nybbles and Bytes gets a makeover...

Today I took the plunge and installed a brand new template to give Nybbles and Bytes a new look and feel.
My old template (the default Blogger "Minimalist" template), got a bit cluttered and left me very little space to do anything with, especially down the sidebar.

So thanks to, I now have a cool 3 column layout which allows me a lot more in terms of "screen real estate" i.e. space to place revenue-generating ads, extra widgets etc.

I am still busy adding in widgets, setting up new ad units and generally tweaking the layout to my liking.
Please feel free to comment if you like / hate / love / are indifferent to our new look :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Get up close and personal with some wildlife...

Next time you head out to Harties (Hartebeespoort Dam for the non-locals :) ) or the Magaliesberg, why not stop in at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (formerly or otherwise known as "De Wildt").

The Cheetah Centre was established in 1971 by Ann van Dyk (who still works at the centre daily) and has during the past 40 years bred over 800 cheetah cubs.
The centre offers a variety of tours and excursions during which you can get up close to the cheetahs (as well as brown hyenas, impala, vultures and wild dogs) for some outstanding photo opportunities of these amazing animals.

Recently, to accommodate families with small children, the centre has introduced a 2 hour family tour which takes you around (not into) the enclosures of the animals. This is a wonderful option for kids under 6 years old to see the animals from a safe distance.
Alternatively, you can opt for the "touch experience" (no kids under 6), where you get to actually touch one of the cheetahs... obviously one which is accustomed to human contact and poses no danger :)

You can visit the website at, or you can contact the centre on one of the numbers below.

Tel: (012) 504 1921
(012) 504 9906/7/8
Cell: 083 892 0515

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sorry for the messy Christmas background...

Okay okay - so I used a really busy background for my blog these past few days...

It did make the text pretty much unreadable, I must admit.
And so, without further ado... I present my new background!

Courtesy of :)
Looking for some decent Blogger / Twitter backgrounds?
Check out:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time for some funky foosball...

Who doesn't love foosball?

Okay that was a rhetorical question, because everybody loves foosball.
Think I'm wrong? Well sorry for you, because it's true. :)

One of the great companies I work with, 24 Carrots, recently organised 18 branded foosball tables for an event they were managing.
Check it out (courtesy of Bizcommunity):

24 Carrots ensures a Foozi blast for Standard Bank
Issued by: Foozi Gaming
24 Carrots, event organiser for Standard Bank, recently contracted Foozi to produce 18 Standard Bank-branded foosball tables to be rented for two of the bank's year-end functions.

According to Damon Freeman, Chief Negotiator, Marketer and Overall Nice Guy of Foozi Gaming, demand has grown for rentals from the foosball advertising specialist. "We are currently providing numerous tables, for numerous clients, adding a special touch to many year-end functions," says Freeman.

While 24 Carrots provided the design for these specific tables, Foozi also has its own in-house design specialists for customers that require the service.

For more information about Foozi's branded Foosball tables, visit

Free Professional Blogger Templates

I have been toying with the idea of giving Nybbles and Bytes a bit of a makeover, although it is only a scant 2 - 3 months old...
I think I will save it for later though, because the thought of having to rebuild all of my widgets and custom links is a rather tedious one.
Surely there is a way to simply port widgets etc. into a new template?

In any case, I came across these really decent sites in my pursuit of quality free templates:

There are so many more free template sites out there - I just picked a few that I liked and popped them in here.
Maybe next year I will get up the courage to make some major changes to the look and feel of Nybbles and Bytes :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Compaq 610 Laptop on Special - nice specs at a decent price :)

So by now you have surely heard of Windows 7...

Your colleagues have mentioned it, no doubt you have heard it mentioned it on TV somewhere.
Maybe you read about it in Popular Mechanics...

Now you can get it for yourself with this special on the Compaq 610 Notebook, and if for some reason you decide Windows 7 is not for you, it's no problem because HP will throw in copy of old faithful, XP Professional for you :)

Check it out:

HP Compaq 610 (VC271EA)

Replaces NX553EA
Intel Core 2 Duo T5870 (2.00GHz, 800-MHz FSB, 2-MB L2 cache)
320GB 7200rpm HDD
Mobile™ Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
DVD +/-RW DL SuperMulti Lightscribe
W/Lan 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth 2.1
15.6" HD LCD
2 MP Webcam
3 x USB Ports
1 x ExpressCard/34 slot
1 x Secure Digital (SD)/MultiMedia Card (MMC) slot
Windows 7 PRO 32
Office Ready 60-day Trial
XP Pro Downgrade Option (CD Included)
Including Carry Bag

Current Pricing = R 6850

- Pricing is subject to stock availability;
Pricing valid for 7 working days;
- Terms strictly COD.
- Please allow 4-6 working days for delivery (A delivery fee will be added for delivery outside of Johannesburg)

Drop me a mail here if you want to place an order or for more information on the product.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Erdinger - this beer will change your life! :)

Here's something a bit different - beer has nothing to do with the usual content of my blog, nor can I claim to be any kind of authority on the subject.

Even so, I must post something about my own personal favourite - Erdinger.

Erdinger is a wheat beer - and true to my non-beer-authority-ness, I will now proceed to quote Wikipedia for a proper definition: :)

Weissbier (German: "white beer", usually spelled Weißbier; see ß), also known as Weizenbier ("wheat beer"), is a Bavarian specialty beer in which a significant proportion of malted barley is replaced with malted wheat: a wheat beer.

I have come across 3 varieties of Erdinger locally:

- Hefeweiss (in short "Hefe"; literally, "yeast white"): the yeast is not filtered out, giving the beer a cloudy appearance.
- Dunkel Hefeweiss (literally, "dark yeast white"): Produced with dark malts and consequently darker in color, known for their malty, bread-like flavors.
- Kristallweiss (in short "Kristall"; literally, "crystal white") is filtered to remove the yeast, hence clear.

These are usually available at most bottle stores and at most Makro stores.
Don't expect to pay a normal price though - being imported from Germany this beer comes at a bit of a steep price, ranging from R20 - R30 per bottle.

But let me tell you, it is so worth it!
Well, that's my opinion anyway :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Is Avast! producing false positives?

I got a bit of a shock yesterday morning when I received about 5 calls within the first hour of the day, all reporting similar PC virus infections, all diagnosed by Avast! Anti-Virus.

Now Avast! is actually my current anti-virus package of choice, and the one which I recommend to all of my clients and colleagues daily.
The fact that there is a free edition is a huge bonus, and from my personal experience I have found that Avast! detects and successfully repairs infections that a lot of other AV software cannot.

In addition, Avast! is not terribly resource hungry, and it includes a boot-time scanner which is a hugely useful weapon in the arsenal of virus hunters the world over.

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the panicked calls that I was receiving, I was rudely interrupted on my own PC, by none other than old faithful - Avast! AV.
I was warned that a program I was attempting to open was in fact infected by the Win32.delf [Trj] Virus.
Right about here the bells started to ring (in my head only - it's not Christmas just yet), and I recalled hearing the word "delf" during some of the frantic conversations of my morning.

Long story short:- thankfully the apparent virus did not produce any ill effects on my or my customer PC's, which leads me to believe that yesterday's Avast! Definition update was somehow producing false positive results (i.e. detecting infections where there were none).
Simply taking the "No Action" option each time Avast! bleated at me, seemed to do the trick.

After today's update there appears to be no further issue on this front.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had any otherworldly experiences with Avast! over the past few days...?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bugatti Veyron vs. McLaren F1 drag race...

Ok so this is going back a little - not sure which season exactly, but Top Gear aired an episode featuring this epic "clash of the titans" as they call it - a drag race between the technological genius of the Bugatti Veyron, and the "ultimate road car", the McLaren F1.

Back in the late 90's, the McLaren F1 was the pinnacle of what a car could be and do - to quote Wikipedia:

"On March 31, 1998, it set the record for the fastest production car in the world, 240 mph (391 km/h).[1] As of April 2009, the F1 is surpassed by only three other production cars in sheer top speed, but is still the fastest naturally-aspirated production car."

That bit in bold is just crazy - even today there is no quicker naturally-aspirated (i.e. no turbo) production car!

A true work of art.

The specs of the Bugatti Veyron are just staggering - 0-100km/h in 2.5 secs, and a top speed of 408km/h, which made it the fastest street legal car between the years of 2005 and 2007.

Simply awesome!
And now for the showdown...:

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