Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Woolies vs. Frankie's... do they really look so much alike?

I thought I would jump onto this bandwagon right about now, given the amount of attention that the subject is getting.
Hey, it will do my visitor stats good at the very least :)

What I will not do, is go into the finer details of who copied what, and how they may or may not have done the same thing in the past.
In any case, this whole subject has been totally hashed to death in the short time since it all took to the social network airwaves.
Maybe Woolies are the "big bad corporate", and maybe Frankie's are the "little guy", but it is still quite interesting to see just how the general public have responded to it all, especially since Woolworths is such a well-known, well-loved, high quality brand in South Africa.

In addition, I have to wonder how much free airtime and marketing the Frankie's brand has received, as a result of this little ruckus...?

Back to my original question... which has to do with the similarities between the 2 products.
Firstly, here they are - the 2 contenders in question - click to enlarge, and take a close look at both product ranges:
I am no designer, but in the words of several posts I have read online from other graphically-gifted humans, the 2 designs are in fact totally dissimilar.
Sure, the wording may be similar in places (e.g. "fiery"), but to my ordinary eye, these 2 products look entirely different.
I would certainly not be "duped" into thinking that the Woolworths product is in fact the Frankie's product...

Ever noticed how similarly shaped some beer bottles are? Even the caps on top are the same!!
What about soft drinks? Them too? No way - could they be copying each other???
Of course not for flip sakes - it's how they all look dammit.

The only similar things in the picture above are the clear Cream Soda bottles (oops... might get in trouble for saying "Cream Soda"... twice :), and the word "fiery"... oh and the fact that all the bottles contain a carbonated beverage.

It's business. Get over it people.
Or if you really can't, then just stop shopping at Woolies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looking for a great freeware audio converter? You just found it...

In an attempt to batch convert a whole lot of music folders from WMA format into MP3 format, I recently stumbled across this fantastic freeware audio converter for PC (sorry Mac users...):

A very original and decidedly obvious name... :)

Sure, the program name "Any Audio Converter" might not be the most creative name I have come across, but the software certainly delivers on its promise.
The simple interface allows you to convert audio either as individual files, or as a batch - super handy if you need to convert a lot of folders as in my case.

The software is able to convert between MP3, WMA, WAVE, AAC, M4A and OGG audio formats, and it is also capable of extracting audio from video clips such as AVI to MP3, MP4 to MP3, WMV to WMA and RMVB to MP3.
Head on over to and download your free copy now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Google doodle today celebrates the 84th Birthday of Robert Noyce (co-founder of Intel)...

If you have used Google today (and who hasn't...), then you would have noticed the cool Google doodle - in commemoration of the 84th Birthday of Robert Noyce.

Robert Noyce co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957, and subsequently co-founded Intel in 1968.
You can read more about him here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Will we see the iPad 3 in Feb 2012? Seriously?

Historically, Apple have been very good at releasing new iterations of their products at a rapid-fire rate.
It makes sense that they would want to keep competitors on their toes by doing this.

The problem with this (and this is not only my opinion - just Google it), is that each new product version is not really ground-breaking, so much as it is a general improvement over the outgoing version.
Historically, Apple customer expectations have often been much higher than the final product that they received.

Sure, each person has their own definition of the term "ground-breaking", but for me personally, it means a brand new feature or capability that simply blows the competition out of the water.
Something that has never been done before.
Crazy new innovation.
That type of thing.

The second problem with this (and one which loyal Apple fans generally fail to recognise), is that it is a great way to keep the Apple bank balance happy.
It is the old carrot-on-a-stick approach - one that just keeps the salivating fans coming back for more; waiting for the next Apple branded product to enter the market; more ways for them to show love and support for the brand, and a way to show off their "unique" social identity (along with the millions of other fans ;), in a world full of competitive techno-gadgetry.

The iPad 2 arrived on South African shores in April this year, meaning that it has been available here for a total of approximately 8-9 months.
For the first few months, only the Apple elite could get their hands on one.
Hell, if you owned an iPad 2, then Ferrari's were making way for you in the fast lane...

Then, about 1-2 months ago, the rest of us started to experience the iPad 2.
Friends started getting them, you saw them all over the place, geez maybe even you got your hands on one.
Finally, the dream became a reality - oh the joy of beholding a real, live iPad 2 in the palms of your own hands, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, through sickness and health, until drop / steal / crash / other do you part...

Unfortunately, Apple do not believe in fairy tale endings such as these.
Yup, you better believe it... according to some online analysts who seem to know their stuff, we may well see the arrival of the iPad 3 in February 2012.
Sure, here in South Africa it will only arrive a month or 2 later, but that is still a disgustingly short time between the release dates of the iPad 2 and the iPad 3...

I suppose though, that if you consider the original iPad USA launch date - 30 April 2010, and iPad 2 USA launch date - 11 March 2011, then it spaces them about 11 months apart - roughly the same as if the iPad 3 were to launch in February 2012...

I understand very well that human beings today simply cannot keep up with trends, new gadgets and technology in general, but if what the analysts out there are predicting is true, then we may soon see Apple product life cycles even shorter than they already are, and I have to wonder how well that will sit with those loyal to the brand...

The fantastic online comic creator "The Oatmeal", sums it all up in pictures brilliantly here...

Care to comment anyone?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ditching Facebook and waiting for something to happen on Google+...

A few years ago, I deleted my Facebook. It was a bold move, but I haven’t once regretted it. 
Ok, I regret it occasionally when I forget someone’s birthday because I don’t have Facebook to remind me anymore. But the occasions in which I miss Facebook are rare. 
I first created a Facebook account in 2006, the year I started college and used an HP coupon for a new HP computer
Back then, I felt excited about technology and the burgeoning online social networking scene. 
Little did I know that what happened on Facebook would stay on Facebook…forever.

My college Facebook photos and goings-on became the property of Mark Zuckerberg. When I graduated from college in 2009 and started to look for a professional job, my concerns about privacy outweighed my desire to write on the Facebook walls of my friends and upload photos of my fun times. 
This year, when I received an invitation to Google+, I was excited. 
Google+ seemed like a new, better way for me to connect with my friends. And since I’m smarter about social networking sites now, I could make sure that everything posted by me and about me was appropriate and kept as private as the Google+ settings would allow.

So, I got a Google+ in July, added some people to my circles, and waited. A few of my friends began to post links to articles and videos they liked. Some people added photos of themselves and their friends. But it seemed like nobody really knew what to do with their Google+ accounts. 
As months passed, fewer and fewer people posted things on Google+. The whole site started to seem like a ghost town after a while. 
In fact, it would have been pretty entertaining if Google had added some tumbleweed animation to the Google+ main page. 

I’ve had a Google+ account for around five months now. I’m still waiting for something big to happen, and I’m still longing for Google+ to add some kind of wall feature. Commenting on streams and using the Google+ chat feature just can’t compare to Facebook’s wall. 
Recently, Google opened up the social networking site to everyone. So, it’s not invitation only anymore. Hopefully doing so will attract more people to the site, and things will become a little livelier. 

Until then, I’ll keep checking the site periodically to see if anything has happened yet...

Article written by Logan B from the Blog Content Guild.

Nybbles & Bytes gets a new guest writer...

One of the writers over at the Blog Content Guild read my post on Rain Spiders last week, and he got in touch with me afterwards and offered to send some fresh content my way.

So without further ado, Nybbles & Bytes welcomes Logan B as our newest guest writer!
To find out more about the Blog Content Guild and possibly see how they can add value to your blog, check out their website at

Monday, December 5, 2011

FNB's business tips for the holidays.

FNB are always at the cutting edge of banking nowadays, and one of the ways that they keep up to speed, is by sending out informative mailers at certain times during the year.

I just received this one from FNB, outlining 5 business tips to bear in mind as we wind down for the upcoming holidays.
Check it out - it's all pretty useful stuff:

Although you may be taking some time off for a holiday, not all your clients will be. Some will still try to get in touch with you, so setup your voicemail and out-of-office responses accordingly to reflect your holiday times. If a client then calls or emails, they know that there will be a delay in the response back to them.

Also, over this period, why not link your email to your phone? This will allow you to deal with any matters that may need urgent attention.

If you have been invited to any holiday parties or other festivities, make sure that you take some business cards along as you may meet potential clients or contacts. In the New Year you can follow up with any contacts you may have met.

December is a good time to reconcile your books. Go over your budget and actual revenues and expenses to help plan your finances for the upcoming year. Take the time to see where you are overspending and adjust accordingly to make sure your business is on track in 2012.

For some the holiday period is bustling and for others it's an idle period. Whatever situation your business may be in, you can take advantage of that fact.

If your business is bustling, why not invest some of your extra cash back into the business or into an investment account which could later give you great returns?

If your business is in an idle period and business is very slow, why not make use of an overdraft facility to help you get over the slump?

Take a step back in December and reflect on where your business was a year ago, where it is today and what you envision for the future.

If you are not happy with your situation, take time to re-evaluate your plans for the future and get them back on track. Perhaps you can also relook your business plan and adjust it to suit your current situation.

If you are happy with where you are, think about how to carry this momentum into the New Year. Put some plans into place to help upgrade your business in the New Year.

Have you ever tasted Hershey's chocolate...?

I love chocolate. Let me get that out of the way right off the bat.

Cadbury's, Ferrero, Lindt, Toblerone, Nestle... I am now busy drooling on my keyboard, and these are just the readily available retail brands... don't even get me started on the crazy "gourmet" chocolate brands out there.

That is why, when I was lucky enough to visit the USA recently, I was super keen to try some of America's finest - why Hershey's of course!

Hershey's does, after all, boast the largest chocolate factory in the world, in the quaint and aptly named town of Hershey, with a floor space of 200,000 square metres!

In addition, Hershey is one of the oldest chocolate companies in the USA, and an American icon for its chocolate bar.
So as soon as I set foot on American soil, off I headed to the nearest place I could spot the Hershey's logo, to sample a piece of the American Chocolate Dream.

Little did I know what awaited my unsuspecting tastebuds...
I should have done some homework on the matter - after all, look what Google's predictive search feature has to say about Hershey...:

Man oh man, I really don't want to bring down such an iconic brand, but seriously, either we are massively spoiled here in South Africa, or I just have some dodgy tastebuds in my mouth.
Then again, if it were just my tastebuds, then Google would probably not be associating Hershey's with vomit...

The thing is, it all starts off pretty well, just like one would expect from chocolate.
Then about halfway through, some pretty odd flavour emerges and begins to overpower all in its path, until all you are left with is a decidedly unpleasant aftertaste, and a puzzled expression on your face.

So puzzled was I in fact, that I had to do a double take, and then a triple take - I thought that I had just happened upon a bad batch of Hershey's...
Ah but alas, this was not the case.
Hershey's just tastes odd, and that is putting it mildly.

Happily though, the same does not hold true for some of their other brands - for example Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are just fantastic, but then again I am a peanut butter fan of note.

Have you ever tasted Hershey's chocolate? Was it nasty or nice?

This is why snow globes should be made out of plastic...

"Oy! Where's my globe gone?"

You would think that ornaments would be made tough - after all, they will eventually find their home somewhere in plain sight for you show off to family and friends alike.

Add to that the logistics of getting said ornaments from their place of purchase, to your home - especially if they are purchased in some far-off exotic country. Bubble wrap and all those other soft things.

Inevitably then, during their short life, ornaments are exposed to an assortment of knocks, drops, kids, pets, and numerous other terrifying safety threats, all of which could end their pretty existence in a second.

Take Mr Teddy Santa Snow Globe above, for example.
He too, was a peaceful, chilled out and laid back Christmas ornament once upon a time.
Just look at the poor guy now. What a shame.

Believe it or not, there is a point to all of this - and that is an appeal to ornament makers all over the world (a.k.a. China), to make your damn ornaments out of something just a tad stronger than the thinnest glass you could find.
How about clear perspex instead of glass? It's less likely to break when dropped, and it would sure as hell be a lot safer, because if it did break, you would not have microscopic shards of glass to worry about...

Just a thought... :)

Popular Posts