Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time - Tony Schwartz - Harvard Business Review

Just saw this in my Inbox and had to share it, because it is something I fall for all too often.
I am sure you do too!

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time - Tony Schwartz - Harvard Business Review

'Aint it time to change the way we do things?
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe gets Google Doodled today...

If you have an architectural mind, then the Google Doodle today is for you.

It pays tribute to the 126th birthday of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of architecture.
Google used a rendering of the S.R. Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois (one of Mies van der Rohe's masterpieces), within which they embedded the coloured lettering of the Google logo.

Clever stuff guys.
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Automate your life with Nokia Situations - now your phone can do stuff all on its own!

I have been using the Nokia Situations app on my Nokia E7 for a while now, and it is one really useful app to have.
In case you don't know what the app does, it basically allows you to specify conditions under which the phone changes its own settings.

For example, you initially start with a "General" profile - default ringtone, default message tone, Bluetooth off, no applications running etc.
You can then start to add additional profiles - for example I just set one up called "Car".
My "Car" profile is set to turn on as soon as my phone connects to my Jabra Freeway Bluetooth car kit. As soon as the "Car" profile becomes active, my phone Music Player starts as well, so that I can play music from my phone through the car audio system.

Once I leave my car and my phone disconnects from the car kit, the "General" profile is activated again.

Another great way to use it is to automate profiles by time.
For example, I have set my phone to go into silent mode at 18:00, and then go offline completely at 22:00, until 07:30 the next morning.
Very cool. Less cellphone waves buzzing through my brain while I sleep... :)

You can even specify automated profile changes by GPS location or Wireless network, so that if your phone detects that you are in a specific area or within range of a certain network, it will change its profile accordingly.

If you have a compatible Nokia handset, you can grab this super cool app over at:

Damn these new devices are just getting smarter every day.
So how is your smartphone making your life easier?
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Joby Gorillatorch Switchback gets reviewed... and it's pretty darn decent!

This week I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a Joby Gorillatorch Switchback - a bit of a mouthful really :)
When I first heard the name, I too was confused as to what it was...

My confusion did come to an end thankfully, and soon I was able to get up close and personal with this illuminating little gadget.

The Switchback (as I will refer to it for the rest of the review), is a really handy multi-functional torch / lantern / headlamp with some unique and nifty features built in.
It expands upwards from its plastic shell and transforms into a useful lantern that can either be free standing, hung from a hook or mounted on top of the supplied Joby Gorillapod (which attaches to anything it can grip around).

In the box - the Switchback, and the uber-cool Joby Gorillapod...
Decent and even lighting from the "92% ultra-efficient holographic lens"...

Next up on its list of features is the night vision red light, which preserves night vision when in use.
Check it out:
The Switchback is "reddy" for anything... :)

If it's something a bit brighter that you need, simply press the clip on the side of the Switchback, and the bottom releases the battery pack, attached to an elastic strap.
Gently tug on the strap, and you now have a torch / headlamp, complete with a comfy and adjustable head strap - the torch can be used for normal or red light illumination.

The LED's can be angled straight ahead or downwards...

The Switchback is powered by 2 x AA sized batteries, from which you will get 1.5 hours of light on the brightest setting (130 lumens), up to 72 hours of light on the dimmest setting (5 lumens).

Joby also include a really useful adapter for the Gorillapod, which allows you to use it as a tripod for most cameras and video cameras - remember that it's not just an ordinary tripod, but one that can wrap around stuff :)

"Serving suggestion"... camera not included :)

The Gorillapod likes to wrap its tentacles around things...
Battery indicator, main switch & red light switch

Nice touch - "Ethically manufactured in China"... :)

All in all, the Joby Gorillapod Switchback is a great combo lantern and torch, which offers great flexibility and some useful innovations.
It is ideal for use around the house as an extra light source (Eskom load-shedding comes to mind...), or outdoors on camping trips and excursions.

The small print under the box also impressed me - "Ethically manufactured in China"...
I did try to dig a bit deeper on this one, but I can only assume it to mean that Joby does not make use of Foxconn to manufacture its products, if you know what I mean... :)

So where can you pick up one of these cool gadgets?
Right here on Nybbles & Bytes - just drop us a mail or fill out our contact form with your order and contact details, and we will manage the rest.
Current pricing is only R 640 each, so get in touch now while this price (and stock) lasts.

Please take note of our T's & C's below:

No orders shall be dispatched until fully paid for;
All above pricing is subject to stock availability;
Product specifications & pricing may be subject to change without notice;
Please allow 4-6 working days for delivery;
Nybbles and Bytes cc is not a VAT vendor;

We reserve the right to charge a delivery fee where necessary.

Edit @ 21:28 on 28/03/2012:

Got a chance to see this toy in action this evening as Eskom plunged us into darkness...
Very impressive indeed - I discovered that if you hold the main switch down, the light cycles through various brightness levels until you let go, at which point it remains at that set level.

Secondly, if you hold the red light switch down, it begins to flash, alternating between red and white light (great for emergencies, also good for an impromptu disco :).
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Does the average hater (or voter, for that matter) really know anything about Helen Zille...?

Helen Zille - World Economic Forum on Africa 2009
Helen Zille - World Economic Forum on Africa 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)
I don't normally get involved in anything remotely related to politics.
Sure I know more or less who is who, I follow the news and I keep up to date with current affairs as far as possible, but I am by no means seriously clued up on the subject.

Recently though, I decided to start following Helen Zille on Twitter, as I think she has some interesting things to say.

Now in case you are not South African (or maybe you are South African, but have been living underground in a bunker since the NP lost the elections in 1994 :)), Helen Zille is the leader of the Democratic Alliance and Premier of the Western Cape here in South Africa.

Anyway, since she took charge of things in the Western Cape, the city of Cape Town has made huge steps forward in areas such as crime, health, education and service delivery.

Regardless of who you support in South Africa, the facts speak for themselves, and it is (or should be) common sense that someone who is making their city a better place for all, is someone who should generally be kept around, and someone who should be appreciated for all that they do.

It was with surprise then, when I started going through back and forth tweets, that I discovered just how much abuse this lady can take, especially after the Twitter row that erupted over the past few days...
Not gonna get into that one right now though - just Google "Helen Zille refugee"!

After reading some of the comments, I have to wonder just how much the haters actually know about this lady?
How about the average voter?
Is it the common view then, that Helen Zille is just some white lady who heads up the opposition?

Let me leave you with a few interesting facts to think about:

  • Zille was an anti-apartheid activist, and famously exposed the truth behind the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970's;

  • She worked with the Black Sash and other pro-democracy groups during the 1980's;

  • As mentioned previously, her work as Cape Town mayor has achieved great success in tackling crime, drug abuse and unemployment;
Sounds like some solid ideals there, don't you think, haters?

Just saying...

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This man knows how to handle an insane car - I mean 0 - 60mph in 1.9 seconds??? Ken Block doesn't even break a sweat...

I don't really follow motorsport, and until I watched this video, I had no idea who Ken Block was.
After seeing his mind-blowing driving in this clip though, I was very quickly searching for more videos showing off his crazy driving talents...

Just to whet your appetite - take one professional rally driver, add a specially customized 2011 Ford Fiesta, pushing out 650hp (that's 490kW!!!) and capable of 0 - 60 in 1.9 seconds (1.9 seconds??? Seriously?), and send them both rocketing around, in and out of a racetrack in France with banks of up to 51 degrees...

It's just insane. And probably huge fun I would imagine :)


Hat tip to Von for this ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

F106 R/C Helicopter review... Great fun for beginners (like me!) who want to start out with something cheap yet decent...

A few months ago I finally took the plunge and went out on a mission to buy myself a beginners radio controlled helicopter.
Nowadays, this once exclusive hobby has become much more accessible and affordable, thanks to the use of infra-red communication between the remote controller and the helicopter.

It also makes a lot more sense to spend a few hundred bucks on a hobby which takes a bit of learning, rather than spending thousands, only to smash your brand new chopper into a tree on your first flight...

Trust me - I had a few close calls and some pretty spectacular crashes on my first few flights, but thankfully the F106 IR R/C Helicopter is one tough little beast:

In the box - a 4 Channel IR Remote Control and the F106 Chopper...

The F106 in action - best flown indoors (it only weighs 60g!)

Capturing the blades in flight...

It's a good looker, in the air or on the ground...

The F106 packs in 4 channels - now I had to read up a bit to find out what this actually means, but in short, each channel provides a particular function for the radio controlled device.
In this case, there is one channel for throttle, one for pitch (nose up / nose down), one for roll (bank left / bank right) and one for yaw (rudder - i.e. pointing the chopper where you want it to go).

It features 2 rotors that spin in opposite directions which makes it pretty easy to fly, as well as a built in gyroscope which helps to stabilize the chopper in flight.
The horizontal tail rotor provides the pitch function - i.e. the ability to angle the nose up or down.

Flight time is approx. 10 minutes on a single charge, and the F106 charges directly off the remote controller, or via the provided USB cable (which you can plug into any PC USB port to charge from).
A recharge takes approx. 40 mins - 1 hour.

All in all it amounts to a ton of fun - mainly indoors, since the combination of light weight and IR control are not an ideal mix for outdoor flying.
Apparently sunlight somehow interferes with the IR connection - I tried to fly it once in direct sunlight, and it flew about 2 metres and then dropped straight to the ground. Ouch!

I picked up the F106 for R 499 at Outrage R.C. in Broadacres a few months ago.
They were extremely helpful when I purchased it, and when I subsequently brought it back with a broken ski and faulty tail rotor (probably from one of the crashes I mentioned above :)).

You can get in touch with Outrage RC on 011 021 8499, or visit their website at

Look what just arrived on my desk... It's a Motormonkey!

I just sat down in front of my laptop to get some emails done for the morning, and I was pleasantly surprised by a parcel on my desk, courtesy of the fine folk over at Wintec Solutions.

I have to say guys, this parcel was so well wrapped that in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, it would probably be one of the last items left intact (along with the cockroaches, that is ;))

Thankfully though, my trusty pocket knife was on hand and I was able to get through the thick layer of protection, beneath which I found a brand spanking new Motormonkey - the only in-car cellphone charger that you will ever need (and also the world's smallest...!).

Charges a range of devices using various tips...
Please pardon the photo quality - remind me never to buy a phone with a fixed-focus camera again... :)

The Motormonkey sits snugly in your car cigarette lighter socket until it is ready to be used.
When you need it, simply plug in the USB retractable cable along with the required tip and your cellphone, and you are good to go.

Included with the Motormonkey you will find:

  • 1 x Samsung M300 / G600 tip
  • 1 x Nokia and Mini Nokia tip
  • 1 x Micro USB tip
  • 1 x USB retractable cable
  • 1 x Mini USB tip for Motorola Razr, Blackberry, GPS and other USB powered devices
  • 1 x Sony Ericsson K750i wide connector
  • 1 x DC 4.0 connector for PSP
  • 1 x LG Chocolate connector
I was also wondering about iPhone / iPod compatibility, when I realised that the cable provided with your iPhone / iPod simply plugs directly into the Motormonkey's USB port, so it covers pretty much any phone that you may have :)

In case you are concerned about voltages and other facts and figures, here they are:
  • Input: 12V ~ 24V
  • Output: 5.5V 700mA
  • Output port: USB supports iPod
  • Length: 43mm; Diameter: 24mm
  • Weight: 40g
  • Colour: Silver
Well that really is about all I can say for now - I am off to plug my new Motormonkey into my car... once the monsoon outside subsides anyway :)
Once I have used it for a few days I will post another update here, so check back frequently!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tired of traffic fines for talking on your cell while driving? Time to get yourself a Jabra Freeway Bluetooth in-car speakerphone...

I got to spend some quality time with the great team over at Wintec this week at their Brand Showcase, where I found out about a whack of incredible new gadgets that are now available, and which you can now order right here at Nybbles and Bytes.

Thanks for the invite guys - it was great to meet your team, check out all your current and upcoming products, eat your food and drink your drink :)

There was food...

There was drink...
Rene practicing his selling skills...

Nina & Megan, pleasantly posing... :)

Some of the Powertraveller products on demo.
Some awesome Jabra products.
See review below for more...

Need a tough cover / stand / keyboard for your iPad? Look no further...

The super-cool hamper that I am going to win as a result of this review...  ;)

I wonder if it's powered by a Powermonkey... :)

As you can see, there are some seriously innovative and useful products entering the market - get in touch with us here for any enquiries.

Now onto the review - something that I have been meaning to do forever is to get myself a proper Bluetooth car kit - admittedly I was fined once a while back for chatting on my phone while driving.
In general (and I think you would agree), traffic fines are no fun, it is massively unsafe to talk on cellphones while driving, and I hereby scold my younger self for being such an irresponsible driver!

Thankfully, with age comes wisdom (so they say...), but there are times when some pretty urgent calls come through while I am on the road, and that is where the Jabra Freeway steps in.

Needless to say, I had to get myself one to try out - and here she is:

Unboxing the Jabra Freeway...

Charges via a standard Micro USB port on the side of the unit...

The business end of the Jabra Freeway... :)

The Jabra Freeway is more than just a Bluetooth Speakerphone - sure, it allows you to make and receive hands-free calls with crystal clarity, but it also combines a Bluetooth connection to your handset, with an FM connection to your car audio system.

Now for anybody who has ever had an FM transmitter on their cellphone, you know what this means - you can stream your music from your phone to the car audio system via this super-nifty gadget.
I have to say that I had my doubts when I set it up initially - I was unsure how the combination of Bluetooth and FM would work out in terms of sound quality...

Thankfully though, it's pretty amazing, provided that you select an FM channel which is fairly free of interference - I have found that 88.10 works well for me.

Setting it up out of the box is simple - make sure that Bluetooth is active on your phone, then switch on the Jabra Freeway.
The first time you turn it on, it automatically enters pairing mode, and you are voice guided through the pairing process.
When pairing is complete, you hear the Jabra Freeway say "Connected", and you are now ready to go.

Having used the device for a few days now, it is very practical and easy to use on the go.
I have yet to really try out the voice dialling feature (phone dependent), but when I did pick a random number to dial on my phone, it dialled the correct one straight away.
Charging happens via the supplied cable and car charger, and the device will hold enough charge for 14 hours of talk time and 40 days of standby time.

Some pretty cool innovations have also found their way into the Jabra Freeway:

  • Features a motion sensor which turns the device off when you leave your car, and then back on when you return. When I got into my car this morning I had actually forgotten about the device, until it suddenly spoke to me saying "Connected"!
  • Syncs to your phonebook - this means that you can dial your contacts (phone dependent), as well as answer or ignore calls, all using voice commands;
  • Features 3 speakers which provide crisp stereo and Virtual Surround sound;
  • Connects to 2 Bluetooth devices simultaneously;
  • Announces the name of the incoming caller;
  • Allows A2DP streaming for playback of music, podcasts and directions from GPS applications;
  • Voice guidance talks you through setup and operation.

The long and the short of it, is that the Jabra Freeway gives you the functionality of a traditional Bluetooth car kit, minus the pain of wiring and installation (and the dashboard scratches that come with it!).
Add to that the ability to transmit music from your phone to your car audio, and you have a winner of a product, guaranteed to deliver outstanding performance and keep you safer on the road.

So if you want to get your hands on one of these, get in touch now - it is currently priced at only R 1700, and as always, T's and C's apply as below:

No stock shall be released until paid for in full;
All above pricing is subject to stock availability;
Product specifications may be subject to change without notice;
Please allow 4-6 working days for delivery;
Nybbles and Bytes cc is not a VAT vendor

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