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Category Archives: Techie

 

Fake news everywhere!

 

They have even infiltrated memes.

 

While memes are openly persiflage also here errors manage to sneak in.

 

Especially when it comes to quotes a quick check-up is recommended.

 

“Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results” is by, err, who said it?

“Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results” is by, err, who said it?

 

Turns out, that insanity quote “Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results” is NOT by Albert Einstein.

 

It is not clear who exactly said it first, but there is no substantive evidence that Einstein wrote or spoke the statement above.

 

So next time when you want to share something, a quick double check doesn’t hurt to ensure the content is correct.

 

#ThinkBeforeYouPost

 

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Everyone is in such hype about Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

But all I ever experience is how biased it is.

 

I don’t fit in. I never have.

My interests are too quirky. I’m so niche, sometimes I’m the only one expert about a topic.

I’m too green, which includes not falling for cheap consumer products that only create waste.

My sense of beauty does not comprise any of the usually sexist trends in fashion and make-up.

I’m not into gadgets, I only have what I really need, and I ditched the TV and the car a long time ago.

 

So I’m falling through all the categories AI tries to squeeze me in and the result is frustrating.

 

Like when I list my RattieSitting RAT Hotel and Facebook’s AI flags me as selling animals.

 

No, Facebook, I'm not selling animals. I offer pet sitting services for pet rats.

No, Facebook, I’m not selling animals. I just don’t fit into your standardised categories as I offer pet sitting services for pet rats.

 

Seems like Facebook has a strange problem with rats!

Seriously Facebook, give me a break!

 

#DarkPatterns

#UsabilityFail

 

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There are lots of fake profiles out there on social media.

 

A quick and easy way to confirm the validity of a profile is by googling their profile image.

 

LinkedIn is no exception. Having over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn, I get a lot of connection requests.

But my trained eye spots the fake content right away, especially when it involves tits.

 

Yes, don’t be gullible, a profile picture that is drawing attention to bodily features on LinkedIn is always dodgy.

After all, this is meant to be a professional networking site and anyone showing off their tits should be really out of place in this context.

 

Yet, 95 of my connections fell for this fake profile!

 

And it’s so easy and quick to double check:

Simply right click on the profile image and let Google search for this very image.

This is not a professional profile picture for LinkedIn and should immediately raise concern.

This is not a professional profile picture for LinkedIn and should immediately raise concern. Double check the validity of the profile by right-clicking to search Google for this image.

 

The search result reveals:

This big tits picture is used on dating sites and has already been flagged on an anti-scam forum.

Searching Google for this fake profile picture shows that it is dodgy.

Searching Google for this fake profile picture shows that it is dodgy: Not only is it used for dating sites, it already has been flagged on an anti-scam forum.

 

To protect more people from being drawn into this scam, the correct thing to do is to report and block this fake profile.

LinkedIn is very quick in removing fake content and this dodgy profile is already gone.

 

#BeCyberSmart  #GetCyberSafe  #ThinkBeforeYouPost

#CyberTips  #InternetSafety  #OnlineSecurity  #eSafety

 

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Translations don’t work.

I don’t understand why global companies with a global footprint translate and don’t localise.

 

But this presentation of bad Denglish by Windows 10 is just cringeworthy:

So many cringing translation fails in this supposedly German copy in - out of all places - the German language settings of Windows.

So many cringing translation fails in this supposedly German copy in – out of all places – the German language settings of Windows.

 

Besides ‘Features’ and ‘Explorer’ I like ‘Websites’ the most:

The correct term would be ‘Seite’ as in ‘Startseite’, which funny enough is correctly used just to the left in the same copy.

But instead of using the German word ‘Webseite’, just one little letter more, here it’s all of a sudden ‘Website’, the English spelling.

Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that the English invented the internet?

 

Anyway, this copy is still a

#TranslationFail

 

#GrammarNerd

 

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In order to be impartial I have to review all rivals equally.

 

So after getting a hiccup about Google’s translation fail I checked out Windows.

 

And yep, of course I’d be greeted with equal unprofessionalism:

My laptop is supposed to display everything in German. Yet English tech terms are popping up in the German copy everywhere, such as 'badges'.

My laptop is supposed to display everything in German. Yet English tech terms are popping up in the German copy everywhere, such as ‘badges’.

 

‘Badges’ has 18 possible translations in German.

 

None of them explain what ‘badges’ means in this context.

That’s because this is actually a digital badge, a tech term with quite a distinctive meaning.

 

I had to test out what it actually does to understand what this actually is.

 

Also ‘Aero Peek’ and ‘PowerShell’ mean nothing to me besides that Windows seems to be obsessed with trying to sound cool.

At least with ‘Show Desktop‘ and ‘Command Prompt‘ I can deduct from the words what it means.

 

In addition, let’s not forget these are displayed in a German copy.

So how must I understand this without knowing English, as only English definitions come up as search results, because this is an English tech term.

 

I just don’t think reading through English tech term dictionaries should be part of changing settings on a German notebook.

 

But with the current decline of grammar it seems everything goes anyways.

 

#TranslationFail

#GrammarNerd

 

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I always check my spam folder, many useful emails are wrongly identified as junk by Gmail.

 

Sometimes this mistaken categorisation is rather amusing:

 

Such as when this Democratic Alliance (DA) message ‘seems dangerous’ – at least according to Google:

 

This Democratic Alliance message seems dangerous to Gmail.

This Democratic Alliance message seems dangerous to Gmail.

 

Granted, I can’t recall how I signed up for these emails,
but I also cannot see how ‘Let’s make things easier for you’ could be a dangerous message.

 

Fair enough, Google thinks there is a suspicious link, but really the links in the email are just for YouTube and other social media.

 

Turns out there’s an embedded link in an image leading to the Democratic Alliance website, which Google classifies as ‘untrusted’:

 

Google identifies a suspicious link, as it classifies the Democratic Alliance website as untrusted.

Google identifies a suspicious link, as it classifies the Democratic Alliance website as untrusted.

 

Ah well, politics I guess, who can trust politicians, not even Google! 😉

 

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My laptop is in German which means everything on this laptop is by default in German.

 

In an attempt to change this, I have to go through every single programme on this laptop and amend the language settings. A lot of hard work!

 

The reason why I don’t want all these apps to use German as their default language is because the translations are most often appalling.

It is a disgrace to be insulted with such a sloppy job of bad translations.

 

And Google tops it once again, in their very own language settings:

 

Unbelievable: Google uses an English tech term in their German language settings. Total #TranslationFail!

Unbelievable: Google uses an English tech term in their German language settings. Total #TranslationFail!

 

Even in the Google Chrome settings language section Google confronts me with a major Translation Fail:

 

In the German copy I have to stumble over an English tech term abbreviation: UI.

 

So this is also a usability fail, as it should not be assumed that your everyday person knows what the abbreviation UI stands for.

Then the usability fail continues, because your average internet user does not necessarily need to know what User Interface is.

But to top it all, Google uses this English tech term abbreviation in a German copy.

 

An in-your-face lazy and disrespectful mistake, because this is in the settings about languages!

 

How arrogant must Google be to so obviously show they do not care about people who speak a different language.

 

#TranslationFail

 

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Of course, it was about time that Facebook had an overhaul. Its interface stayed visually the same for many years.

 

Now Facebook got a fresh, simpler look

Change is here: Facebook is rolling out its new interface design.

A bit like Twitter.

Just like Twitter Facebook’s desktop interface now looks more mobile friendly, offers dark mode and is less cluttered:

Changing over to the new look: Refreshing my Facebook tabs results in displaying the new Facebook favicon.

But unlike Twitter the internet is rather favourable towards Facebook’s long overdue design update. Maybe because Twitter did a good job as a trailblazer.

So we’re back to different but all the same.

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The avast hack check shows you the accounts that have been hacked and had their passwords leaked.

 

As one of your regular internet safety measures you should update your passwords on a regular basis.

 

If you need motivation to do this, quickly check if your password was stolen.

 

Updating all your passwords across all online platforms can be an exhausting task, depending on how active you are in signing up for internet services.

 

So you know which accounts are the most urgent to start with, check which ones have been hacked:

 

Avast Hack Check shows the accounts of which hackers have stolen and leaked your password.

It’s a great way to actually remember some of those accounts that have been dormant for years.

 

Just make sure the new password is indeed secure!

 

#BeCyberSmart

 

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Microsoft is known for using unfair manipulation methods to trick you into actions that result in something different from what you were lead to expect.

In fairness though, Microsoft has started early to warn about Windows 7 support coming to an end.

But while Microsoft pushed Windows 10 on every computer out there when it launched, if you wanted it or not,
now its ‘solution’ to Windows 7 upgrade headaches is: A new PC.

 

That’s even worse than: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

 

Granted, any computer running Windows 7 is old.

 

And yes, upgrading or clean installing an operating system is not an easy tech task.

 

But to jump straight to: Just buy a new PC! is a bit too much of an in your face money making scam.

 

The joys of monopoly.

 

 

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Another one bites the dust: Photo hosting site Canon Irista is closing down.

 

After TinyPic and Use, even camera manufacturer Canon is stutting down its photo hosting service.

 

With all image hosting sites shutting down, who is left?

 

Facebook and Google. Our ususal culprits when it comes to monopoly.

 

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The United States Embassy in South Africa has selected Silicon Cape, in partnership with HackOn, GirlHype and The Loudhailer, to implement the project: “Hackathons for South Africa: Digital Solutions for Real World Challenges”.

Consisting of four hackathons over a one-year period, with two in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg, the project seeks to build technical, problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaborative skills to create innovative digital solutions for key social, environmental, health, and economic challenges.

 

The first hackathon kicked off on the weekend of 23rd and 24th November 2019 in Cape Town and focused on gender-based violence.

For 2 days we were sifting through shocking statistics and research, heard personal accounts and thought about where the problem begins and what solutions can help to intervene.

The nature of the topic meant this hackathon was emotionally impactful.

Luckily the focus was more on the viability of the idea, so it wasn’t required to hack through the night for a working technical solution.

 

Support was available from the mentors:

 

Friendships were formed:

 

And it all ended with a bang, when the judges chose the winners:

 

It is amazing what can happen when people come together for a common goal.

With overwhelming social issues looming, we need to look for rapid change solutions and a hackathon is just the way to make real interventions happen.

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Social media should be called commercial media.

 

But, there might be a light on the horizon: New social network WT:Social.

 

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales launched a Facebook and Twitter rival to combat the downfall of news.

“The business model of social media companies, of pure advertising, is problematic,” Mr Wales said. “It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content.”

 

Instead WT:Social will rely solely on donations and promises never to sell personal data or run advertisements.

 

WT:Social originates from the WikiTribune platform that was first launched in 2017 as a news wiki where volunteers could write and curate articles.

Similarly, the new social network is news focussed and is aimed at tackling fake news and “clickbait nonsense” by simply allowing users to edit misleading headlines.

“Almost everything on the platform is editable,” Jimmy Wales said. “That alone gives a huge incentive for good behaviour because if you say something obnoxious, someone will just delete it.”

 

Ready to give WT:Social a try?

Click my WT:Social invitation link to get onto the waiting list. 🙂

 

#WTsocial

 

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Facebook has a way of triggering you to stay on their platform by sending you pseudo alerts: Notifications that urge you to click on them and turn out to be nothing.

 

Recently I received 4 of the same pseudo alerts about some changes to the verification of Facebook pages and when I clicked on them I got notified that “this content is no longer available”.

However, the 4 notification alerts did not go away.

 

Trying all options possible to me: Clicking on it, rating it – as worst obviously, would not take away the 4 in red warning on my notification icon.

 

So, I tried to get rid of these pseudo alerts.

Which is not what I want to do, because I like to keep these messages for reference, but I was offered no alternative.

 

But guess what:

After being asked if I want to “remove this item from my inbox” and I have to double confirm: “Delete Message”, this pops up: “This content is no longer available”.

 

 

Yes indeed, Facebook’s loop of pseudo alerts has come full circle and ends in complete and utter nonsense. 

 

#DarkPatterns

#UsabilityFail

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The fourth industrial revolution is coming and Africa needs to get ready.

 

The Africa Future Summit helps accelerating development, as it caters for organisations at grassroots level.

 

Often tech events happen where tech is readily available: in the City Center. However, the CBD is not easily accessible for disadvantaged people.

The Africa Future Summit solved this all too often ocurring non-inclusivity by partnering with the YMCA.

 

In South Africa the YMCA in Athlone was chosen, an area that has been plagued with increase of violent crime over the past years.

But the YMCA is on the outskirts right next to the Athlone Stadium, a good landmark not to get lost. So even a few of the ususally included city people made it out to Athlone.

 

The event itself was packed, people pouring out of the main hall for a break, exhausted from all the information that was presented. And that was just the morning session. The afternoon session was where all the bootcamps came in.

It was a young crowd, full of aspiration and ideas. At the Africa Future Summit they got ignited to actively making the future of Africa happen.

 

The tour teaches fundamentals of frontier tech investments, startup development and ecosystem building via exclusive sessions with award winning local and international experts.

Each country features its own combination of on site workshop training, networking round tables, live Q/A sessions with speakers and sponsors, attendee spotlight features, exhibitor showcase demos and VIP networking.

To accelerate developments within Africa’s tech ecosystem, the agenda curriculum includes training sessions on future technologies (Ai, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Space, Nanotechnology, Internet of Things etc.) and career development sessions on personal branding, digital entrepreneurship and the future of work.

 

Attending the Africa Future Summit makes you future-ready, from the grassroots level up.

 

To join the free Africa Future Tour you can RSVP here:

For interests related to speaking, sponsorships, and partnerships, please direct inquiries to info@africafuturesummit.com.

 

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It’s easy to forget that there are still people out there who don’t have access to the internet.

About half the global population actually.

 

And some of these people live only 10 minutes from the CBD, in the heart of Africa’s leading tech capital: In trendy up and coming hipster Woodstock.

 

At least, that’s what the internet says. And now that there is finally internet in Woodstock, it must be right. 😉

 

 

#DigitalDivide

#CapeTownLife

#LoveCapeTown

 

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  • Comments Off on #CapeTownLife #DigitalDivide: At long last Woodstock gets fibre
  • Posted under Cape Town, Techie

A grey verification badge confirms a Facebook page as authentic.

Now Facebook is doing away with it for rather obscure reasons: Apparently Facebook ‘found that they can be more confusing than helpful’.

I can not see how a verification badge could ever be confusing. It’s pretty straight forward to combat imposters, and general good practice.

But more over, Facebook goes out of its way to inform us about this moronic decision with a huge red warning banner across the top of the page:

Furthermore, I have 4 (!) notifications popping up in my Settings.

Of course, this triggers me to check them out, and it turns out I have 4 notifications in my Page Support Inbox:

This is rather important I would think, so I better click on my Support Inbox to find out what this is about.

Turns out, nothing, nothing at all is going on, as Facebook, like so often, sends me Pseudo Alerts.

In this case ‘This content is no longer available’!

I can see in the background that this pseudo alert was yet again about removing the grey badge and ‘working on better ways to show which Pages are authentic’.

This is not an alert.

This is merely sending me through a maze of unnecessary notifications about Facebook making a decision for no reason with no idea how to provide an alternative.

It’s dark patterns at work, concluding in a total usability fail.

Thanks for nothing Facebook, for yet again wasting my time with ridiculous Pseudo Alerts.

#PseudoAlerts

#DarkPatterns

#UsabilityFail

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I often experience difficulties clicking on the right things, be it with a mouse or tapping it. I miss or I click the wrong button or, as in this case:

I highlight all the times instead of sliding down the scroll bar to the correct time.

Creating a calendar event can be tricky when trying to hit the narrow scroll bar to set the right time.

It is easy to blame yourself, because at first it makes you feel so stupid.

But then again: Just look how much white space there is with no function and how tinsy tiny narrow the scroll bar is in comparison.

Why would they not design this easier by simply having a wider scroll bar that is straight forward to hit the first time around?

To me this is a usability fail.

And as you can see in the background: The hyper slim narrow scroll bar is used everywhere.

#UsabilityFail

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I have seen these around at train stations: Phone charging stations.

At the SA Innovation Summit I encounter them in a conference setting:

Having learned all about creativity at the SA Innovation Summit, I’m happy to see it put to practice.

Creativity means forming new associations.

So taking these charging stations out of its usual context and into a new environment, shows creativity at play.

And successfully so, as everyone was impressed with this excellent service, where tech was put to good use.

It shows the SA Innovation Summit puts the money where the mouth is:

Where great ideas make it! Indeed.

#SAIS2019

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At the Artificial Intelligence Expo you’d expect the programme to read like a science fiction novel: All about futuristic tech appliances and where we’re going to go with the 4th industrial revolution.

 

With 4 Tracks covering Innovation, Platforms & Panels, Case Studies and Demo Zones, Flash Talks, Expo Halls, Innovation Cafés and plenty of opportunities for networking, the AI Expo had it all covered.

 

The more impressed I was seeing real tech serving a real purpose.

 

I don’t want to just hear about how great our future is going to be thanks to tech.

I want to see real solutions where modern tech was implemented to make life indeed easier.

 

Like the idea to use Silent Disco headphones for Flash Talks:

Amidst a buzzing Expo Hall, just by the clinking and froffing catering station that everyone uses for some chats and laughs, a Flash Talk could take place in absolute silence:
Neither the listeners to the Flash Talk were bothered by the activities of the floor, nor was anyone at the Expo Booths interrupted by the Flash Talk.

 

Of course it still takes a clever human mind to come up with new creative associations and collaborations, and it’s reassuring to see that the AI Expo still delivers hands on solid problem solving solutions amongst all the hype.

 

#artificialintelligence #ai #machinelearning #technology #innovation #deeplearning #tech #bigdata #datascience #iot

 

I’m faring pretty well on LinkedIn.

So I’m mostly reacting annoyed when there’s another professional networking site I have to join.

I might register for it, just so I secure my social media handle, but if I cannot pull in my LinkedIn data, chances are low I fill in my profile.

When I was offered to sign up for ‘Opportunity’ I thought at least this platform represents what our priorities are really about:

Business, business, business, business, dating.

‘Dating Professionals’ of course, which somehow sounds more legitimate than just ‘Dating’.

It seems falling back on the more primal instincts is what it takes in order to make it as yet another app on the market.

However, as the old proverb goes: “Never mix business with pleasure.

With all the popular image hosting sites either scaling down or shutting down, I’m researching where to post all my photos now.

It appears there’s still a big choice on offer, but alas, when clicking a link on the list of free image hosting sites, some of them are in the process of going under.

Nowadays you can’t keep up with the rate of picture sharing sites giving up it seems.

And so it happens that ‘Use‘ is closing down.

At quite quite some speed.

I wonder how users are supposed to download all their images in such a short time.

Here in South Africa, that wouldn’t be possible just for low bandwidth reasons alone.

Good luck to everyone out there who has to go through the painful process of saving your photos from the internet!

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Facebook thrives on FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out, it seems.

It’s a known dark pattern that Facebook sends you pseudo notifications to keep you glued to their platform for longer.

But it appears to be overly active with its AI review of content, too:

So it happens that I’m being warned about my own post on my own FB page as spam.

Not sure how a post about my pet rats being cuddle masters can trigger a spam alert.

But to warn me about my own post I’m publishing myself to my own profile as spam is simply Artificial Intelligence gone awry.

Still, I have to make a case that no, I “don’t think my post should be deleted”.

Guilty until proven innocent seems to be the norm when judged by AI.

#AIFail

#ArtificialIntelligenceFail

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Having recently submitted a new visa application, I was asked if I wanted an SMS alert when the result is back in Cape Town. It only costs R20.

I denied and asked how else I would be notified about my visa outcome. I was told I’d have to log in to check for updates myself.

I wondered why I wouldn’t receive an email, but left it as that.

Turns out, I do receive email updates for my visa application.

Just so cryptic, with ‘CRM Admin’ as sender and more weird CRM code in the subject, plus repetitive with almost identical emails in a short period of time, that my email provider regards it as spam.

Luckily I check my spam folder regularly.

Who would’ve thought that instead of receiving no notifications, I’m now being spammed by too many!

#UsabilityFail

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Encounting an error is not a pleasant experience, but to be confronted with a blank page as a result is worse.

Or, in tech terms: A usability fail.

This site offers no help to get out of this error situation.

It completely interrupts the user flow.

Coming to this page is a dead end, with no links to click and no text to comfort.

Good Practice Tip: Even a 404 error can be fun.

There are great examples how to turn a painful 404 error into a fun experience.

Don’t waste a perfectly good opportunity to connect with your customer.

#Good #Practice #Tip by #YoursTrulyJuly

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For security purposes I often get asked by apps if my account information is still up to date.

Diligently I check and update accordingly.

So I did when I was prompted by Microsoft: I thought adding my phone number could be a good idea.

Wrong!

Microsoft, for whatever reason, takes 30 days (!!!) to update your account info.

Good news? Somebody explain to me why Microsoft takes 30 days to update security info in the first place!
Good news? Somebody explain to me why Microsoft takes 30 days to update security info in the first place!

For 1 month I could not login to my Microsoft account just because of this ridiculous waiting period.

Microsoft locks me out of its services because I have to wait 1 month for my security info to update.

While this might not affect Outlook or Skype, it did hinder my work as I could not download the Microsoft app I wanted.

So watch out when these silly security alerts come along.

Some have serious consequences!

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As a general rule I don’t sign up for newsletters and such to keep my inbox free from clutter.

However, as shown in the screenshot below, I could not proceed with the registration when I unticked the opt-in option.

The error message: “This field is required.”

So I’m forced to keep the opt-in checked, otherwise I cannot register.

Also a way to get subscribers.

Seeing this is accompanied by some copy errors that show why it’s so important to proofread, I guess it’s not surprising how blatantly this usability fail goes against consumer protection.

#UsabilityFail

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Another one bites the dust…

Free image hosting becomes less and less possible it seems.

While Google offers free limitless video and photo hosting, other image hosting providers are cutting down or shutting down.

TinyPic is shutting down. You have until end of 2019 to save your pics.

Time to save your images!  #SaveYourPhotos

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When my Login doesn’t work, I don’t necessarily know which part I did wrong:

From usernames to email addresses to passwords, – I’m registered with so many apps I cannot easily recall them all, let alone the right combination.

 

Thanks to AI I shouldn’t have to:

The underlying database knows the correct login, so why not give more specific feedback, as shown below.

 

When I type in my login details, I'm given specific feedback along the way, so I know right away which parts of the login I got right, - in this case my username - and what went wrong - in this case my password.

When I type in my login details, I’m given specific feedback along the way, so I know right away which parts of the login I got right, – in this case my username – and what went wrong – in this case my password.

 

Knowing which part of the login I got wrong, obviously shortens my time of trial and error.

And so it does for anyone who wants to hack my account…

 

But usability needs to start somewhere.

And it’s definitely more helpful to get specific feedback about which part of the login didn’t work.

Especially with kind words offering a solution: I can always reset that password.

 

#Usability

 

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If you are as diligent with your calendar as with your contacts, there’s an easy hack to add birthdays to your Google Calendar:

 

Google automatically shows the birthdays of your Google Contacts address book in its calendar.

 

All you need to do is enable the birthday calendar by selecting it in the My calendars dropdown menu: 

 

In your Google Calendar open the dropdown menu under ‘My calendars’ and select ‘Birthdays’.

 

 

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Everyone’s got an app for that and with easy third party login via Facebook or Google, it becomes tricky to remember all the platforms previously registered for.

 

Yet, when landing on a new site, I often get prompted to log in OR sign up.

 

So it takes some time to try out my email address and password combinations, only to give up and try to sign up, only to be alerted that this email address already exists, so I’m back at the beginning.

 

All the while it is the app that knows if my email address is already in the database.

 

So why not have a single button for login or create an account:

 

While I type in my email, the backend can check if an account has already been created for this email address and guide me accordingly to either sign in or sign up.

 

One button to get in: Either log in or create an account.

One button to get in: Either log in or create an account.

 

#GoodPractice #Tip by #YoursTrulyJuly

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Twitter has redesigned its desktop website, and the internet responded.

 

For 7 years the Twitter’s desktop interface was not updated. An overhaul was long overdue.

 

The desktop version now looks more similar to Twitter’s mobile app, adding features from its mobile app to improve its desktop experience.

 

However, one feature that I enjoyed on Twitter desktop is no longer available: Find Friends.

It was a neat way to import your contacts from other platforms and connect to the resulting Twitter profiles in one go.

wikiHow explains nicely this now outdated feature: Find Friends by Email Contacts.

 

Searching around where this functionality has gone, Twitter Help tells me I can sync my device’s address book contacts.

However, I’m still waiting for my complete contact list, as I’m met with constant scrolling to get to the end of my contacts, which then gets disrupted with the error message: “Something went wrong.” and I can start all over again:

Twitter's 'Find Friends' service has gone and the 'Manage contacts' option is not working out for me.

Twitter’s ‘Find Friends’ service has gone and the ‘Manage contacts’ option is not working out for me.

 

Twitter has a history of gradually disabling other platforms’ API access:

It used to be possible to upload contacts to Twitter from Gmail, Yahoo!, or AOL.

Initially it was allowed to follow Twitter contacts on Instagram.

 

I would’ve thought it’s in Twitter’s interest that I can follow all the profiles I’d like to follow.

But the redesign is another step towards alienating Twitter from other social networks, making this really difficult.

 

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Sometimes, as if it’s not tough enough having to meet the demands of a bureaucratic system,

messy design makes you almost click the wrong button…

 

This form is a mess and represents several usability fails in its formatting and design.

This form is a mess and represents several usability fails in its formatting and design.

 

Usability Fail 1: Both buttons are in the same colour and design

When a Primary Action Is Positive (for example ‘Send’ or ‘Submit’)
The primary action associated with a form needs to carry a stronger visual weight. Secondary actions should have the weakest visual weight, because reducing the visual prominence of secondary actions minimizes the risk for potential errors and further directs people toward a successful outcome.

 

Usability Fail 2: Action buttons are weirdly aligned

If your form uses a one-column layout, your button will be more visible to users if you align it to the left of your text fields.

 

Usability Fail 3: Wrong order of actions

With the buttons visually separated, putting the action to continue (e.g., OK, Save, Submit, etc) on the right is more likely to match your users’ expectations.

On multi-page forms, you’ll have more than one button. You’ll have a ‘back’ button that takes users to their previous page. And you’ll also have a ‘continue’ button that takes users to the next page.

Because these buttons behave like pagination, they should follow pagination conventions. Continue button goes on the right while the Back button goes on the left. This maps to the direction users want to go when they paginate.

 

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We’ve heard about all those data breaches.

It always makes big news, especially when the big corporates got hit.

They own gazillions of sensitive information: when they get hacked, a big number of passwords get leaked.

 

One of them is probably yours.

That means anyone can log in as you into your social media, your apps, your online accounts,

and access your finances, your friends, your photos.

Or they might just lock it all down and demand a ransom.

 

So wouldn’t it be better to know?

Being internet savvy also means proactively checking if your login details are safe.

 

How to check if your password was stolen

Step 1:

Check if any of your email addresses have been leaked: Have I Been Pwned.

Step 2:

Check if any of your passwords have been disclosed: Pwned Passwords.

 

Have I been pwned? Check if your account has been compromised in a data breach.

Have I been pwned? Check if your account has been compromised in a data breach.

 

If you do find out your account got pwned, treat it like your wallet was stolen: Replace all your passwords and security codes.

 

#BeCyberSmart

 

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When you download your photos from your camera to your computer, they might just get imported with their original image file name, e.g. IMG_number.

 

For good practices it makes sense to follow a naming convention and rename your pictures with a meaningful description.

 

However, doing this by hand is just an impossible feat.

 

Windows Hack: How to rename your pictures in bulk

 

Step 1: Select all pictures in the folder and press F2. Ensure your mouse hovers over the first file.

Select in the folder all images you want to rename and press F2 while hovering over the first picture.

Select in the folder all images you want to rename and press F2 while hovering over the first picture.

 

Step 2: Type the new name for the first image.

Replace the original file name of the first image with the new name.

Replace the original file name of the first image with the new name.

 

Step 3: Hit the ‘enter’ button and all photos get renamed to the name of the first picture, adding the counting numbers in brackets.

When you click 'return' all photos selected get renamed in consecutive order.

When you click ‘return’ all photos selected get renamed in consecutive order.

 

Done! 🙂

 

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Look out for the the orange square with white radio waves to find RSS feeds.

Look out for the the orange square with white radio waves to find RSS feeds.

 

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or previously Rich Site Summary.

RSS is a format to monitor or deliver regularly changing information on the web.

It is is a standardised XML file that can be used for the distribution of content from an online publisher to internet users.

The feed, channel or web-feed can be displayed in an RSS reader.

 

How to retrieve your RSS feed url

 

1.  Add ‘/feed’ at the end of your blog url

This works for every WordPress blog. It’s easy enough to quickly try with your blog url.

For example, Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on WordPress looks like this: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com/feed/

 

2.  Click on ‘Subscribe’ on your own blog

Blogger is not so straight forward. However, you can find the various feed urls Blogspot offers by subscribing to your own blog: Most blogging platforms offer a subscription widget / plugin / gadget. Ensure it is installed and visible to everyone on your blog. Clicking on the ‘Subscribe’ button shows your own blog’s feed url.

For example, Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on Blogger looks like this: https://trulyjuly.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

 

3.  View the source code and search for ‘RSS’

Right-click ‘View page source‘ and search the code for ‘RSS’ by opening the search field with Control + F or clicking on Menu -> Find. You should see something like ‘”RSShref=’ or ‘”Feedhref=’ and the following link should be your blog’s feed url.

Interestingly, this way Yours TrulyJuly‘s feed url on Blogger shows as: https://trulyjuly.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

 

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This looks like a typical post on Facebook. But check the source first before you share it.

This looks like a typical post on Facebook. But check the source first before you share it.

 

This is a typical post shared on Facebook: Nothing out of the ordinary, everything seems legit.

 

And of course it’s flattering to most parents, as most children go through a phase of liking dinosaurs.

 

Obsession with dinosaurs is the second most common intense interest of children. Yet, the topic feels quite specific, like only applying to your child.

 

So it appeals to a wide audience, who readily share it:

59 percent share an article without even reading it.

 

However, in order to combat internet fraud, fake news, scams and spam, we have to check the content and the source of the stories we share.

 

When clicking on the link I’m indeed taken to a solid looking website with a sound article.

 

But why would this particular source be an expert on this particular topic? Did they maybe just repost this story from somewhere, if so, what is the original source?

 

Clicking on the homepage of this source reveals that this is definitely not what I want to share:

What they call “Alternative News & Hub for All Things Weird & Interesting” looks to me like conspiracy theories and clickbait headlines.

 

To confirm I google the source and what others are saying about it.

And indeed: Wikipedia included it in the List of fake news websites, referencing this article: Avoid These Fake News Sites at All Costs.

 

Even if you agree with the content of a specific article, check the context in which it was posted: It might just be a well crafted clickbait story linking to a really dodgy website.

 

#BeCyberSmart  #GetCyberSafe  #ThinkBeforeYouPost

#CyberTips  #InternetSafety  #OnlineSecurity  #eSafety

 

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#Usability #Fail: In this event registration 'Dietary requirements' does not give option 'none'.

#Usability #Fail: In this event registration ‘Dietary requirements’ does not give option ‘none’.

 

In an effort to be politically correct, it’s easy to forget that there are also still people who don’t fall into any categories.

 

Of course, no marketing agency would like to see this, but please for the sake of individuals who don’t fit in, just generally give an option ‘none’.

 

And, as part of creating Value Added Content, do your homework and proofread.

 

I wonder how this event is going to end up doing their catering, as by default you have to tick one of the boxes.

So food is either going to be halal or vegetarian or peanut free, or well, I guess all of them.

No possibility to click ‘none of the above’ or to leave out this question.

 

#UsabilityFail

 

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If you were presented with a new feature called ‘Copy’ do you think you’d know what it does?

Most people are probably familiar with the copy and paste function.

 

Still, when this is offered as a new component in your edit menu, it needs to be announced to the user.

 

Great example: Introducing a new tool

 

WordPress introduces its new copy tool: Need to duplicate a post or page? Hover over the title of your post or page and click “Copy”.

WordPress introduces its new copy tool: Need to duplicate a post or page? Hover over the title of your post or page and click “Copy”.

 

This little piece of content works well, because it contains

 

3 good practices of Value Added Content (VAC):

 

1.  KISS message: A simple screengrab that shows what to expect and a straight forward one-liner with clear instructions is all that is needed to create awareness for a change of the control panel.

 

2.  Call to Action: In case this is not enough explanation, there’s a link to click to learn more.

 

3.  Interaction: For this notification to disappear, the user needs to actively close the pop-up window. This could count as an indiction they saw the message.

 

 

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Media 24 offered a deep-dive into mobile advertising with their first 24.com Mobile Study presentation.

 

The context of the study was that significant mobile growth was noted in the consumption of 24.com, but advertising revenue is still most prominent on desktop.

 

This shows that the user is ahead of the game with mobile browsing whereas the advertising industry is lagging behind.

To eliminate all doubts of investing in mobile advertising, 24.com shared insightful results, such as:

 

In 24.com’s study of mobile advertising campaigns, after significant exposure they ran a survey in place of the ad, establishing an average brand uplift of almost 8%.

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24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

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Best performing media for mobile advertising: Eye-catching moving imagery like Animated GIF or video.

View this post on Instagram

24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

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Brand uplift can be further increased when implementing audience targeting in the mobile advertising campaign.

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24.com #Mobile #Study #Report

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And quite significantly: In mobile advertising there is no relationship between brand lift and CTR!

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Research and Analytics at 24.com, summarises the key takeouts from the 24.com Mobile Study.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Research and Analytics at 24.com, summarises the key takeouts from the 24.com Mobile Study.

 

 

With my new phone I thought I’m being clever and use it in German:

 

Living in an English speaking country, I gather it adds a bit of security and protection if not everyone around me can understand what my phone is communicating.

 

However, what I didn’t consider is that my phone is now doing everything in German: Every app I download is by default set to German, and there’s no option anywhere along the line to choose my language preference.

 

A usability fail from designers who don’t understand bi- or multi-lingual customers.

 

Now that I've set my phone to German all apps are by default in German and I get to see the many crappy translation fails...

Now that I’ve set my phone to German all apps are by default in German and I get to see the many crappy translation fails…

 

And of course the translations are catastrophic, as ‘Tools’ can mean many things, but the chosen translation in German ‘Werkzeuge’ does not:

‘Werkzeuge’ is only what you find in your toolbox, not some extra apps on your phone.

‘Instrumentarium’ or ‘Hilfsmittel’ would’ve been more correct, but I guess it’s too late now for proper language use…

 

Especially in the tech space, any use of another language besides English is mostly a joke.

 

#LocalisationFail

 

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Thanks to the GDPR every website is now asking for your permission on this and that and what?

 

No idea what it says, but I 'Akkoord en Sluiten' then.

No idea what it says, but I ‘Akkoord en Sluiten’ then.

 

Wanting to access an English webpage in a different country, I am forced to first agree (That’s what I can gather with my little dutch ‘akkoord’ means) before this pop-up window closes (I guess that’s what ‘sluiten’ means) and lets me continue to the site.

 

The practice of forcing you to agree to something because otherwise you can’t access the content, is frowned upon and some argue illegal as per GDPR.

 

After all, I could simply access your website while you don’t collect my data, that should be the consumer’s right.

 

But how valid can my agreement really be taken if I made it in a language I don’t understand?

 

For all I know I could’ve signed my life away there thinking it was about cookies.

 

And yet the data collected makes this a perfectly law compliant practice. – After all they’ve fulfilled their legal requirement to get my Cookie Consent.

 

#LocalisationFail

 

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When your content goes viral and people start sharing your post on Facebook, you might want to take note of it.

Spare yourself the hassle of having to scroll through timelines at a later stage in an attempt to find a particular post.

 

Save the permalink of the shared post for your records

 

1.  Find your post on the timeline it has been shared to.

 

Click on the three dot more options menu icon.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘Show in tab’.

Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on 'Show in tab'.

Right-hand drop-down menu: Click on ‘Show in tab’.

 

2.  The post now sits in a tab in the window. Your browser window must be wide enough for the tab to show.

 

Click on the gear options menu.

In the drop-down menu click on ‘See full post’.

Right-hand options menu: Click on 'See full post'.

Right-hand options menu: Click on ‘See full post’.

 

3.  Voilà! Your shared post is shown in the full window, with its permalink.

 

Click in the browser window address bar.

Select and copy the permalink.

The post's permalink shows in the address bar.

The post’s permalink shows in the address bar.

 

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Google Cloud’s Detect Text deciphers the original latin “proferat fructus” as a search result for “ratfucius”.

Google Cloud Detect Text reads the original latin “proferat fructus” as “ratfucius”.

Google’s Detect Text reads the latin “proferat fructus” as “ratfucius”.

 

Coming up with clever ideas to promote that Rats Make Great Pets, I was researching ‘Ratfucius‘. – Because rats have a philosophy of their own and we can learn a thing or two from them.

 

Checking if this already exists around the internet I was surprised to find a Google search result in a book.

I couldn’t believe the mention of a ‘Ratfucius’ in an ancient latin text?!

 

But of course, Google’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) made a mistake and misread “proferat fructus” as “ratfucius”.

 

Interesting to see where the human mind still easily outdoes advanced technology.

 

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The ‘404 Not Found’ error is one of the most recognisable errors encountered on the internet. – So we’ve all been there.

 

It occurs when the web page you’re looking for can’t be found.

 

This can happen for two reasons:

–  You inserted a wrong URL.

–  The website has been removed.

 

Depending on how user friendly the designer of the online presence was, the HTTP 404 error leaves you usually with nothing much helpful.

 

What a wasted opportunity!

 

Turn your 404 error into a customer bonding experience

 

A great example for an Error 404 well done: "Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home."

A great example for an Error 404 well done: “Looks like you got lost. No worries, our rocket will take you back home.”

 

A little effort put into the design of the default 404 error message goes a long way:

Instead of a frustrating dead end, your customer will remember with a smile how you helped them out of a fickle situation.

 

Learn more Content Marketing tips by following Content Coach on Facebook.

 

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I’m a big fan of LinkedIn.

 

It has served me well to organise my networking contacts and get recruited for jobs.

 

Honing LinkedIn has now rewarded me with 15,000 Followers. Wow!

 

I made it past 15,000 Followers on LinkedIn.

I made it past 15,000 Followers on LinkedIn.

 

Thank you to all my connections on LinkedIn for staying in touch! 🙂

 

Read how to promote your business on LinkedIn.

Learn how to market your business on LinkedIn.

 

Join my network on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trulyjuly.

 

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The Muses were performing live at AfricaCom's Afest.

The Muses were performing live at AfricaCom’s Afest.

 

AfricaCom is the largest African Telecoms, Media, and Technology event that brings together 14,000 attendees, 450 speakers and 400 exhibitors.

 

AfricaCom not only offers all these participants a comprehensive programme on the latest tech developments, it also presents invaluable networking opportunities.

 

The most entertaining of which is probably the AFest: A fantastic line-up of live acts makes this a great party.

 

This year’s AFest again delighted with local talent set to take the world by storm:

 

 

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#Electric string quartet, The Muses, live at #AfricaCom #AFest.

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Swing City, 'SA's Sexiest Swing Act', at #AFest, #AfricaCom

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View this post on Instagram

Swing City, 'SA's Sexiest Swing Act', at #AFest, #AfricaCom

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MoMo South Africa is one of the great networking opportunities happening in conjunction with AfricaCom.

Happening on the evening before AfricaCom, most delegates and executives have already arrived and can start off the media & tech networking marathon in style.

This year at a new and beautiful venue, JET8 sponsored the event and gave some insights to the history of the selfie:

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Talking about #women #power!

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#Momo #SouthAfrica: JET8

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The AppsAfrica awards came with the exciting news that OGLE Digital Media for OGLE Content Download Hotspots (South Africa) won in the Media & Entertainment category.

Congrats to all the winners!

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#Momo #SouthAfrica #AppsAfrica: The winners!

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#Momo #SouthAfrica #AppsAfrica: The winners!

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AfricaCom is happening for the 21st time in Cape Town.

AfricaCom is happening for the 21st time in Cape Town.

 

AfricaCom is the world’s largest African Telecoms, Media & Technology Industries event running for the 21st time this year.

 

I was lucky to nearly attend half of the AfricaCom events, lucky, because AfricaCom offers invaluable networking opportunties.

Just check out my LinkedIn profile: many of my connections I established at AfricaCom.

 

Also this year’s AfricaCom event is packed with networking and learning opportunities:

Headliners: AfricaCom will present a series of top talks from some of the world’s leading experts in their field. The content is free to all registered visitors and should not be missed. The programme kicks off at 09H00 on Tuesday and will be held in Auditorium 2 in CTICC 1.

Hear from the likes of: Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO MTN; Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission; Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, Republic of Ghana; Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Special Advisor, Smart Africa, Former Minister, Ministry of Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rwanda; Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer, MTN; Mohamed Dabbour, CEO, Africa, ‎Millicom; Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, MTN; Siyabonga Mahlangu, Group Executive: Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Telkom; Nicholas Naidu, Managing Executive: Technology Strategy, Architecture & Innovation, Vodacom and Francis Mumbi, Innovation Lead, Stanbic Bank.

Premium Conference tracks: There are a number of in-depth and highly pertinent keynote presentations, panel discussions and meet & greet sessions this year. Make sure you have your delegate or VIP pass to gain entry into these critical conversations, shaping Africa’s digital future.

Technology Arena: Housed here is the AHUB (with an exceptional line-up of panellists and discussions); Africa Video Forum, an array of cutting edge exhibitors; the AfricaCom 2020 – the centre of conversation and informative presentations and of course; the AfricaCom 2020 bar – happy hour from 16H00.

The Connectivity Hall: ­Located as normal in CTICC 1, is where you’ll discover the companies who are the backbone of Africa’s connected communications – the nuts and bolts that make it all happen.

AFest: AfricaCom’s official launch party, will take place at Shimmy Beach on Tuesday 13th November. With a great line-up of entertainment, this is the place for fun as well as important networking.

AfricaCom Awards: The awards will take place on Wednesday 14th November 2018. Notification of winners will be distributed post the event so as not to spoil the news. The after party, however, is free to attend to all registered parties.

 

AfricaCom is an excellent event to gain insights and information, but importantly, it is also a key networking opportunity to make new contacts, conclude business and plan for the future.

 

I can’t wait to meet all my AfricaCom buddies again! If you’d like to connect with me at AfricaCom, register for a FREE visitor pass.

AfricaCom is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 13th to 15th November 2018. Just pop by, visitor registrations can also be done at the event.

 

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

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By default Facebook sends you an email for every little notification.

 

This can quickly fill up your email account.

 

You cannot completely stop this, but at least reduce the amount by choosing to receive ‘only notifications about your account, security and privacy’.

 

How to change your Facebook email notification settings

 

Go to Facebook Settings -> Notifications:

To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings

To view and amend your Facebook settings go to: https://www.facebook.com/settings

 

In Notifications click on Email or right-click open the link in a new tab to get to the Email Settings editing page:

To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in 'Notifications settings'.

To change the amount of email notification you receive from Facebook select ‘Email’ in ‘Notifications settings’.

 

In your Email settings chose to receive ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’:

For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.

For the least amount of email notifications from Facebook select ‘Only notifications about your account, security and privacy’ beneath ‘WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE’.

 

At last, a bit less of the FOMO inducing dark patterns manipulation.

 

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Facebook is filling up my Gmail with notification emails.

 

I was clever enough to filter all Facebook emails into one folder. But I had not expected to get this many notifications!

 

Ooops! I had not noticed that I nearly accumulated 50,000 Facebook emails.

Oops! I hadn’t noticed I nearly accumulated 50,000 Facebook emails.

 

Every little excuse there could be, Facebook uses by default to spam you with their notification emails.

 

If you, like me, are wanting to turn off this clogging up of email accounts, you have to change the default settings in Facebook.

 

At last, a bit less of the FOMO inducing dark patterns manipulation.

 

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English words and their many meanings…

 

Google Translate gets it wrong: 'Abandoned Plot' does not mean 'Verlassene Handlung'.

Google Translate gets it wrong: ‘Abandoned Plot’ does not mean ‘Verlassene Handlung’.

 

Trying to find a precise translation of ‘abandoned plot’ produced a funny result, as ‘plot’ can of course also refer to the storyline of a book or movie.

 

‘Verlassene Handlung’ sounds like having given up on the underlying thread of meaning.

 

Kind of what goes through my mind when I look at the abandoned plot next door…

 

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Wow! 1337 likes on Yours *TrulyJuly*: www.trulyjuly.wordpress.com!

Wow! 1337 likes on Yours *TrulyJuly*: http://www.trulyjuly.wordpress.com!

 

It’s lovely how WordPress keeps you motivated by tracking and celebrating achievements.

 

But when WordPress congratulated me on a milestone for 1337 likes, I had to raise my eyebrows:

 

1337? What an odd number!

 

Not however, if you turn it upside down like you would on a calculator. Then it spells ‘leet’.

 

‘leet’ as in ‘elite’. This is hacker ‘5p34k’ and means someone is very good at a game, or generally at anything. Reaching ‘leet’ level means you’re no longer a noob, as in newbie.

 

You might’ve come across leetspeak when you tried to be clever about creating a safe password.

 

Check out the Leet Alphabet or try out a Universal Leet Converter or the L33t Translator.

 

Thanks for your feedback and likes on my blog Yours TrulyJuly!

I’m really 7h4nkful for that! 🙂

 

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When it looks too good to be true… it probably is!

 

A Google image search gives more information about any picture.

A Google image search gives more information about any picture.

 

A profile picture that looks too professional – like it was done for a PR story – can be an indication for a fake identity.

 

If there’s anything about the photo or the account that doesn’t add up, it’s good practice to check the profile for its validity.

 

One easy step is to google that image.

 

Google will even do the guess for you and assign the correct person to that photo.

 

Once you’ve confirmed it is a fake account, you need to quickly report it.

 

Always report fake profiles.

Always report fake profiles.

 

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Collect your token! Enter the code below & swap them for freebies & discounts.

Collect your token! Enter the code below & swap them for freebies & discounts.

 

What a great idea: Every time I buy my favourite product I can collect tokens and exchange them for gimmicks.

However: A token of 14 (!) characters, all written in upper case to make reading even harder, is what I call non-userfriendly.

Surely the security level required for such a simple voucher scheme can do with half of the characters.

And surely it’s possible to print it in a more readable way, maybe all lower case since our phones automatically switch to lower case, too.

But making the voucher code so complicated that half of the consumers won’t even bother is also a great money saving strategy.  😮

 

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Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media...

Facebook uses dark patterns to pressurise into paying for reach. Nothing social about these social media…

 

I’m not a fan of Facebook’s money making methods, but here’s an example how ineffective it is anyway:

 

Facebook prompts me to spend R150 to reach up to 470 people.

 

On a post that’s already performing well, apparently better than 85% of the other posts.

 

Does that exclude then the previous post which reached 2637 people organically?

 

Why should I spend money on a post that’s already performing well?

 

And for a reach that’s only a fifth of what I normally get, for free?

 

It’s dark patterns at its best, once again brought to you by FOMO inducing Facebook practices.

 

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The Daily News are not ready for GDPR.

The Daily News are not ready for GDPR.

 

Did somebody not do their homework?

Some major US sites did not manage to be GDPR compliant in time and still block their site to EU users.

It’s weird, because it’s not like the solution wasn’t freely available, for example: WordPress offers it free, and ahead of time.

 

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Google Doodle gets it wrong: Googln

Google Doodle gets it wrong: Googln

 

This Google Doodle about Ludwig Sutterlin promotes the invention of the Sütterlinschrift.

However, “Googln” is not a German word.

It is rather “Googeln”, according to the Duden.

That’s why proper localisation is crucial.

 

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Some websites are so good, you don’t want to tell anyone about it, in fear this happens:

Downloads.nl Closed

Downloads.nl Closed

 

A bit late to mention a website that has been shut down already.

But I’m surprised that this is it. – No explanation, no statement, no nothing. Just: Closed.

 

Downloads.nl is not a pirate website, but rather a really good search engine that specialises in finding files for free download.

So if I was looking for a song, and it had been released somewhere on the internet for free, this website would find it.

I could then stream it and first listen if I like it, and then optionally download it. Accordingly the variety of tracks was limited, to only freely available songs. And accordingly it was possible to find some rare and cool stuff on there.

Sounds perfectly legal to me, but for whatever reason it’s now gone.

 

So RIP Downloads.nl, it was a good run from 1999 to 2018, almost 20 years!

Luckily there’s so much free stuff out there, there are still plenty of alternatives.

 

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In a drive to get more subscriptions, many brands lure in new subscribers with the prospect of winning something.

I always felt that was pretty unfair to existing subscribers – after all their loyalty should get rewarded just as much.

The least already signed up customers should be allowed to do, is enter that competition too.

Here a great example of going one step further and proactively recognising and rewarding existing subscribers:

I'm already signed up, but can still enter this competition. - To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

I’m already signed up, but can still enter the competition. – To minimise churn, reward your existing subscribers too.

There are good reasons for marketing automation software to manage your customer engagement.

It works even better when you add a human touch to it: Like you would recognise returning customers, they should feel welcomed by your brand, too.

 

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Wait what? But that’s already past! Why didn’t I hear about it?

After the event and still "Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities."

After the event and still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities.”

Well, maybe because the Safer Internet Day (SID) initiative is still “Awaiting an update on Safer Internet Day 2018 activities” from the South Africa Safer Internet Day Committee – Film and Publication Board.

And there’s no reference whatsoever to the Safer Internet Day 2018 on the Film and Publication Board website: http://www.fpb.org.za/press-statements

 

The only reference I could find googling was this PR info, published on 6 Feb late afternoon: Google partners with FPB to inform kids on Safer Internet Day.

There are a few more mentions, but only from tech publications.

 

This might give an idea why there’s such a digital divide in South Africa: The content it would take to create awareness – if it exists, it’s still not being spread to reach its audience.

Perhaps a bit of VAC could help?

 

The good news is, there’s always another one: The next Internet Safety Day will take place on Tuesday, 5 February 2019.

 

In the meantime, you can still pledge your support of Internet Safety in SA: http://internetsafety.org.za

 

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.co.za is the default domain for companies in South Africa. Why is it not just simply .za?

.co.za is the default domain for companies in South Africa. Why not just simply .za?

 

Is your url ending in .co.za?

 

Do you know why South Africa is having this tongue twister as the default web address?

 

Few countries are using the second level domain .co in their url. It stands for ‘commercial’ as opposed to ‘academia’ (.ac) or ‘government’ (.gov) before the country’s top level domain.

 

One of these countries is the UK, where I first encountered the practice of using second-level domains in the url.

 

It annoyed me back then in the UK and it still annoys me now in SA:

 

Of course it makes sense to create credibility with moderated second level domains such as .ac or .edu or .gov or .ngo, because they help the user identify an official institution at a glance.

 

But .co.za, .net.za and .org.za are unmoderated second level domains, which means anyone can just get them.

 

So why not just go for .za then?

 

Many countries skip those superfluous letters of the second level domain and simply stick to their country’s top level domain. Like the host of my email address which uses only the German country domain, keeping it short and simple: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

Interestingly, the UK has since changed to not only offering, but also swapping second level domains for the shorter and sweeter top level country domain on its own.  As per Wikipedia:

“New registrations directly under .uk have been accepted by Nominet since 10 June 2014 08:00 BST, however there is a reservation period for existing customers who already have a .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .ltd.uk or .plc.uk domain to claim the corresponding .uk domain, which runs until 07:59 BST on 10 June 2019.[7]

 

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Google's New Year Doodle looks like

Google’s New Year Doodle looks like “GO GIF” in the search results thumbnail view.

 

This was funny, at first glance I misread it, but I think it’s still a great way to welcome the new year:

Today’s Google Doodle for 2018 looks like “GO GIF” in the search view thumbnail version or “GO GLF” on the main Google search display.

 

 

Especially the “GO GIF” is worthwhile googling if you need a bit of an upliftment for the new year ahead.

 

So: Happy New Year and GOoooo!

 

You go! :)

You go! 🙂

 

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Surely, the Microsoft Windows Firewall should be familiar with Skype, a Microsoft owned app?

The Microsoft Windows Firewall has a problem with the Microsoft Skype program. Surely it should know by now that Skype is trustworthy?

The Microsoft Windows Firewall has blocked the Microsoft Skype program. Surely it should know by now that Skype is trustworthy?

I just wonder how this company is running when already their tech is rejecting each other?

 

“A LinkedIn connection means you’ll never lose touch”. Exactly the reason why I keep on connecting with my contacts on LinkedIn.

 

The connections you make are valuable. But keeping in touch with them poses a problem: Their contact details can change.

Maintaining a good relationship with potential customers is key to business success, but what if the contact details are outdated?

Or worse: What if your contact details update? You only need to change jobs and the rapport you built over time disappears in the moment your work email is discontinued.

One way to maintain your business relationships is through LinkedIn.

The advantage: You remain connected no matter what happens to the contact details.

 

3 simple steps to import your contacts to LinkedIn

 

1) Export your address book to a .csv, .txt or .vcf. file.

 

2) Go to www.linkedin.com/mynetwork/import-contacts and click on ‘Upload a file’. Browse to and select your contacts database.

 

3) Select the contacts you want to stay in touch with and press ‘Add connections’.

 

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Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.

Whereas I only got South Africa’s desktop theme beforehand, I now have 4 more themes added to ‘My Themes’.

 

It’s like taking a mini holiday at your desktop:

By default Windows lets you see only desktop wallpapers from your region.

But if you activate themes from another country you get to see amazing landscapes right on your screen.

 

1) Unhide hidden folders:

Open Windows Explorer, unfold the drop-down menu beneath ‘Organize’, click on ‘Folder and search options’. Select the ‘View’ tab and ensure ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’ is marked, whereas ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’ is unticked.

 

2) Activate hidden themes:

Go to: C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT

Go into the different country folders that are presented to you and click on ‘Theme’ to double click and run the theme.

It will change your background image immediately. You can change it back to the previous version and reactivate it again later, as it is now saved in your Control Panel.

 

3) Change between themes:

Go to: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization

Click on the Windows Start button and chose ‘Control Panel’. Tap on ‘Display’. Beneath ‘See also’ on the bottom left corner click on ‘Personalization’.

Now you can simply select the theme of your liking and the desktop images update right away.

 

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Really Windows, it takes you 1 day to move not even 2 gigs?

Really Windows, it takes you 1 day to move not even 2 gigs?

 

Of course this didn’t take 1 day. How does the PC even come up with this time frame?

 

The time references Windows presents us are really sometimes quite hilarious, especially when they’re so totally beyond reality.

 

#UXFail

 

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My projection for profile views looks rather gloomy on LinkedIn:

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. ;)

Who knows how these forecast algorithms work, but this one seems to be quite a downer. 😉

 

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It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

It’s like Microsoft resorts to the double opt-out to really prevent you from quitting Skype.

 

If you use Skype you know how difficult it is to close it:

Because when you click the right top red x button it doesn’t close, it only minimises.

And when you go into the Skype menu and select ‘Close’, it doesn’t close, it only minimises!

 

So you have to be really really determined to indeed close Skype:

The only way is by right clicking on the Skype icon in your desktop toolbar – this is not available anywhere in the actual Skype menu, where you can only ‘Close’ or ‘Sign Out’ – and select ‘Quit Skype’.

 

But halt!

Not so fast!

Even if you made it this far, Skype still has a comeback, trying to deter you from finally exiting this program:

 

A pop up window asks quite patronisingly: “Sure you want to quit Skype?”

Followed by a FOMO inducing warning: “You won’t be able to send or receive instant messages and calls if you do.”

 

Dark Patterns at work:

Microsoft is famous for their really bad way of trying to manipulate you.

This one feels like they got it all wrong all together and created a double opt-out when they learned about the double opt-in.

 

Yet, don’t despair: It is possible to quit Skype, you just have to click buttons a few more times than any good practice usability guide would allow, but it is possible, eventually!

 

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The communication between machine and human is a difficult thing.

 

But still, every machine was initially programmed by a human, which justifies a ‘What were they thinking?’ non-usabilityfriendly induced irritation.

 

So here is one of those double blink excusez-moi is this happening for real moment:

 

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

 

When doing some Google research and the page froze, Chrome popped up with an explanation: “The exception”.

 

Great, I’m glad we cleared that one up. I’m sure all of the possible browser errors are exceptions, but it’s good to be told, just in case.

 

And I wonder if one late night the dude who’s still working for free couldn’t be arsed to explain why on earth Chrome messed up this time and simply called the application error “The exception”.

 

‘Nuff said: OK

 

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Being prompted to check out 'New Groups' for nothing: Why am I alerted to 'Suggested Groups' when then there aren't any?

Being prompted to check out ‘New Groups’ for nothing: Why am I alerted to ‘Suggested Groups’ when then there aren’t any?

Lately I’m being prompted all sorts of things on Facebook: To link Instagram, to link groups, to create a new post, to keep up the likes… It keeps me busy.

Especially as half of these alerts are outdated or simply fake:

Facebook keeps on alerting me about the same thing, for example I’m constantly alerted about my inbox, as if it sits on a timer set to bug me at regular intervals. I’ve actioned on that message long time ago, but I’m still being bugged about it.

But the worst is to be alerted about something that turns out to be nothing:

Facebook offers me to check ‘Suggested Groups’. Yet, when I do it tells me: “We don’t have any suggestions at the moment.” The red ’20+’ alert is however still hovering next to my ‘New Groups’, urging me to click on it.

Dark patterns at work. 😮

 

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I’m not very often on Instagram. But I was surprised when all of a sudden a follow request popped up.

 

My profile is public, so I really couldn’t see a reason why I’m alerted if someone is following me.

 

Until I checked out the actual request:

The answer to why I have to approve a follow request.

The answer to why I have to approve a follow request.

 

Ah. Oh. Ok.

 

So Instagram alerts me as I might not want to be followed by vulgar people. I guess thanks are in order.

 

In this case however the profile seems to belong to an artist. And if it’s in the name of art, anything goes, doesn’t it.

 

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Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I'm being presented search results for 'ray'.

Because searching ‘rat’ is too unlikely according to Facebook, I’m being presented search results for ‘ray’.

 

When Facebook autocorrects your search from ‘rat’ to ‘ray’ it can feel very lonely, having pet rats.

Of course, this is just one of their predictable algorithmically calculated assumptions – and it’s working badly at that because I have ‘rats‘, ‘pet rats‘ and ‘wild rats‘ as my interests.
But it shows how the majority of Facebook users tick: They misspell ‘Ray’ with ‘rat’.

Pity they never get to find out that rats make great pets. 😮

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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When I open up Facebook I have gazillions of notifications, and it’s pretty clear that these are in Facebook’s – and not in my – interest:

 

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events. While this information comes to no surprise, it's the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events.
While this information comes to no surprise, it’s the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

 

Today I was informed that a couple of my contacts “are interested in going to an event in Cape Town tomorrow”. What a surprise.

Clicking on this ‘notification’ I land on the events page of a club night. Really not something I’m interested in.

Facebook will regard my click as a success, whereas I find this incredibly annoying. Facebook is not my AI diary. In fact, it offers me such predictable content – like the update to being married leads to ads about babies – that I’m simply frustrated.

 

But now I’m not just bombarded with consumerism, I’m also pressured to be hip and cool and constantly know what everyone else is doing and on top of it best participate in it.

Facebook fuels FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Just another reason to switch off and appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)!

 

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#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated...

#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated…

 

I’d like my mom to read my blog, so I’m researching Translation Add-ons for Firefox.

Unlike Chrome, Firefox doesn’t automatically detect and translate languages. An Add-on is required. This alone makes things highly complicated for my mom, who is technophobic.

To make matters worse, most resources for Firefox are in English, even the ‘About’ section (= ‘Über dieses Add-on’) of this translation tool!

While this Add-on has a good rating, it is completely useless for non-English speakers if the instructions are not provided in their language.

So ideally my mom would have this Add-on installed in order to read how to install this Add-on…

#LocalisationFail

 

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While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you:

While waiting for the page to load, Flickr reassures you: “This is the web page you are looking for.”

In South Africa internet is a joke and most fancy designed websites take ages to load.

Waiting for a web page to load is not only irritating, it’s also confusing if you don’t know what’s going on: Should you reload? Should you start over? How long do you have to wait?

Good Practice is to inform your users where they are and what to expect, so there are no unwanted surprises.

Flickr is doing an excellent job keeping you reassured you are doing the right thing, and they go a step further and make it entertaining.

From “Firing up the engines” to “Questioning the Magic Donkey” to “Herding pandas”, you’ll get all sorts of fun announcements while the page is loading, making it just a little more bearable having to wait. 🙂

Furthermore, Flickr keeps you entertained while waiting for their page to load:

Flickr keeps you entertained while their page is loading: “Questioning the Magic Donkey”. – Certainly something to do when waiting. 😉

 

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Signing up to a social network without uploading a profile pic mostly leads to a default picture being displayed.

Often this is a stylised form of a portrait photo, one with long hair for female and one with short hair for male.

Why such stereotyped gender differentiation?

Here’s a neat solution to keep things simple:

Good idea: Simply convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

Good idea: Simply turn the first letter of a name into a profile pic.

Convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

This is personalised yet completely neutral way to let users sign up without even getting close to touchy topics such as gender.

 

Google translates 'Eier abschrecken' in a funny way. ;)

Google translates ‘Eier abschrecken’ in a funny way. 😉

 

Lol, it’s funny when automated translation doesn’t get an idiom.

 

Eier abschrecken is the process of rapidly cooling down boiled eggs with cold water so they are easier to peel (which apparently is a myth anyway).

 

There is actually a close translation in English:
To shock the eggs, which means to plunge into ice water in order to halt the cooking.

 

So always remember to deter your eggs after you boiled them. 🙂

Deter? Don’t deter me! Not me, man. Deter, what does that even mean, deter? Why would you deter me? What has this world come to, when you get deterred at any given chance. And for what? Is it even worth it? All the deterring? That’s just, who’d want to deter all the time. Just, take a break. And, just not me. Yeah? Just don’t deter me.

Deter? Don’t deter me! :-S

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Build your own website!

Build your own website!

 

You’ve decided that you need a website, but what kind of online solution is best for you?

A straight forward way to determine what web presence works best for you is your budget. Essentially you can get everything, from 0 budget to crazy budget.

As I’m a fan of Marketing on a 0 Budget, here an overview of free platforms.

 

Free websites

 

Free basic sites – no authentic but customised url:

Webs, good examples: http://creativecommunications.webs.com /  http://ranzanitext.webs.com

Wix, good examples: www.wix.leaps.co.zawww.kidz.no

Weebly, good examples: http://deliciouskitchen.weebly.com /  www.aniwell.org.za

 

Open source solution – own coding possible:

WordPress, good examples: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com /  http://fortune.com

Joomla, good examples: https://gsas.harvard.eduwww.linux.com

Drupal, good examples: www.olympic.org/rio-2016www.louvre.fr

 

Social media platforms – easy but limited:

Some would argue that with all the various social media presences available, who needs a website?

The answer is simple: Whatever activity you do out there on the internet you want to lead your potential prospects ‘home’, to a consistent site where all the necessary information is in one place.

Remember that you don’t own your social media presence. If you are deemed to have breached rules, it can be deleted without any warning. A website however, you own and are in charge of.

Still, you might want to try easy no budget solutions first, such as these:

Google Sites, good examples: https://sites.google.com/site/thephotowebwww.petitsgateaux.gr

Tumblr, good examples: https://ratshaming.tumblr.com /  http://webcomicname.com

Blogger, good examples: https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com /  http://accrispin.blogspot.com

 

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“His debugging skills are exceptional.”

Ever published a post and only afterwards thought of a real cool intro snippet? Or posted a headline you thought was a fun pun on words until you realised you didn’t mean that kind of fun?

Luckily, in the digital world, all you got to do is update your site and nobody will even know you made that faux pas, right?

Wrong!

Your site was probably cached and even though you updated the original version the cached version remains the same.

It might eventually get updated, but if it’s urgent to erase the previous version, you need to debug:

How to debug your web page url

When you share a link on social media, it reads the meta tags and combines them into a nice post mainly consisting of title, description, image.

To force update this content you need to manually ask the social media site to fetch the new information and replace the old version.

Simply enter the link and hit the button:

Facebook Debugger: http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

Google Data Testing Tool: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Twitter Cards Validator: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

LinkedIn Post Inspector: https://www.linkedin.com/post-inspector/inspect

Social Debug gives you a nice overview of how your posts will fare across the main social media sites.

Iframely gives you more insight into the code of the meta tags.

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I don't always make fake Facebook profiles but when I do, I troll the f$%& out of people.

I don’t always make fake Facebook profiles but when I do, I troll the f$%& out of people.

 

Be it is a friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn, or an email complementing you on your online profile, if you don’t know the sender, check them out online before engaging in any way:

 

How to quickly check if a profile is genuine

 

1) Google their email address / username

You’ll quickly see other profiles associated with this identity and if they are consistent and authentic. You’ll also see if the email address has been blacklisted and already has a history of fraudulent activities.

 

2) Google their real name

If their name is very generic you can search it together with the email address / username. If there are no matches it’s probably because it’s a fake profile.

 

3) Google their profile image

If the image is being used or has been used by someone else, it might be that their account got cloned. If the name brings up a different image in the search results than the profile image it could mean this is a false profile.

 

Don’t take anything at face value in the online world. It is not real. It is a virtual world. Just because some of us keep it real doesn’t mean anyone on the internet can be trusted. Be vigilant and smart.

 

You know, like Sherlock:

Fake Profile Sherlocked

Fake Profile Sherlocked

 

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! 😮

 

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Microsoft OneNote comes free with Microsoft Office.

Microsoft OneNote comes free with Microsoft Office.

 

It’s free

Probably a move to compete with Evernote, giving away software for free is very hard to beat.

 

It’s already on my computer

OneNote is already installed, as it comes with the Microsoft Office suite.

 

I’m already signed up

I can simply include OneNote to my Microsoft OneDrive.

 

It works with the rest of Microsoft

I can insert content straight from other Microsoft Office programs and the edits I make are automatically saved to the corresponding file.

 

It offers real-time collaboration

I can start a shared notebook for a group project – all already set up in a template in OneNote New Notebook Wizard – and have a good chance most team members can participate because of the points above.

 

It’s future-proof

As part of the Microsoft Office suite, this program is not going to be discontinued any time soon.

 

It gets better

Microsoft is continuing to improve OneNote with good results and positive reviews.

 

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It took me ages to get that heart into my photo above, so here’s a

 

Quick guide how to insert a special character:

 

1. Use the Character Map

In Windows:

Click on the Windows Start Button -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Character Map

On a Mac:

Go to the top menu bar -> Click on the flag (language) icon -> Choose ‘Show Character Viewer’.

If you can’t find your Character Viewer: Go to the Apple menu -> Systems Preferences -> Keyboard -> Check the option ‘Show Keyboard and Character Viewers in menu bar’.

You can search the Character Map for the special symbol you want to insert.

You can search the Character Map for the special symbol you want to insert. Remember to Select and Copy.

 

2. Use the Webdings or Wingdings font

Somtimes inserting a symbol does not render correctly. You can then type the character in Webdings or Wingdings.

You can type the character in Webdings or Wingdings, just find the equivalent letter in this handy cheat sheet.

You can type the character in Webdings or Wingdings, just find the equivalent letter in this handy cheat sheet.

 

3. Use the Custom Shape Tool

If you can’t find the symbol you need or want to modify it, you can create a custom shape: In Photoshop’s Tool Bar, find the Shape Tools, e.g. Rectangle Tool / Line Tool, and select the Custom Shape Tool.

You can choose from many special characters in the drop-down menu. You can select more symbols when clicking on the right-hand arrow and even load more custom shapes that you can download for free. These custom shapes are rendered as objects and you can easily move and place them anywhere on your canvas.

You can find many special characters in the Custom Shape Tool.

You can find many special characters in the Custom Shape Tool. They can be placed on the canvas like an object.

 

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Dropbox bug: Property Loss - Folder will copy without its properties.

Dropbox bug: Property Loss – Folder will copy without its properties.

 

Beware of this Dropbox bug:

“Property Loss:

Are you sure you want to copy this folder without its properties?

The folder has properties that can’t be copied to the new location.”

 

First of all, check if you’re copying or moving your Dropbox files: Your Dropbox folder works just like any other folder on your hard drive (even if you are offline): files move instead of copy when they are dragged and dropped into or from your Dropbox.

 

Secondly, this is a common error not only applying to Dropbox, but any external hard drive: Your internal drive (where your Dropbox folder is located) uses NTFS, while your external drive most likely uses FAT32. The NTFS file system can store additional properties with a file, while FAT32 cannot do that.

 

So thirdly, check what exactly gets lost!

I made a copy of one of those files to test this. And just like it actually says in the error message, it was the “Date created” that changed:

The original date was replaced with the date of today, when I moved that file.

As “Date created” is not a property of your file that can be changed, this will have a permanent effect.

In my case, not cool, as the “Date created” is significant information by which I organise all my photos!

 

Unfortunately it seems Dropbox is not taking accountability for this bug, blaming the operating system.

For me this means I’m simply stuck now with my files in my Dropbox folder until a solution becomes available… In the meantime I can no longer back up my files in my Dropbox folder, as this error does not happen when I copy my files over directly from my internal hard drive. It only occurs when the files were stored in Dropbox.

 

Have you encountered this bug? What have you done about this? And what’s the official take on this from Dropbox?

Kindly let me know if you’ve found a solution: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Note how the ‘Save image as…’ function is not available on Flickr.

Note how the ‘Save image as…’ function is not available on Flickr when downloading images is disabled.

 

It’s a dilemma every creative is facing:

Sharing your content and getting exposure OR protecting your art work from piracy.

 

Here’s how to get the best of both:

Not all platforms are treating your content with the security measures it deserves to be protected from plagiarism or copyright infringement. A simple ‘copy and paste’ or ‘right click and save as’ can mean your content going viral without any attribution linking back to you.

 

Make sure you stay in control of your content by publishing it on

online portfolio sites you can trust:

 

Flickr

Flickr allows you to set your images as not downloadable to others. While this doesn’t stop anyone from saving a screengrab, it’s at least sending a clear message that these images are your intellectual property.

In addition Flickr offers you to embed your images from their platform, meaning all their security efforts stay intact with your picture.

 

Your own website

Using any third party platform means you are subjected to their rules and could get your account deleted without much you can do about it. Having a home for your content establishes you as the first point of contact for your content. There are many free services for creating an online portfolio website to choose from.

 

Behance

Behance lets you acknowledge the people involved in the art work properly, so there’s no excuse not to give credit where credit is due. Behance makes citing all these individuals really easy.

 

Dribble

Dribble uses small screenshots to let you promote your work. This is a low resolution intended only for quick snapshots showcasing work in progress.

 

DeviantArt

DeviantArt is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts, and promotes a strong Community Etiquette Policy and Copyright Policy.

 

Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

 

Why make a website for blind people?

An accessible website can function like an interactive audio guide, providing people who lost their sight with the information they need, making your website more inclusive.

It might sound odd at first to design a website for blind people, so here’s a list of benefits:

 

1) Digital is more accessible than print

A digital text can be read out by a screen reader. A printed text most likely requires a person to recite.

A relatively small number of blind people can read Braille: Fewer than 10 percent of blind Americans read Braille.

In addition, Braille texts are not easy to come by: Only one percent of published books are available in braille.

According to the AFP just “five percent of printed materials and books are available in a readable form for the blind or visually impaired in industrialized nations, and just one percent in developing countries.”

Once you’re plugged in to the internet however, a wealth of information becomes available.

 

2) There is more digital content than printed content

Digital content is growing at a rate close to crazy: Back in 2010 Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.

We are in the Information Age because of the Digital Revolution. There’s so much information available on the internet, we call it information overload.

User generated content has evoked a data explosion – most of it will never make it and was never intended for print.

Already back in 2011 Amazon sold more ebooks than physical books: 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books.

 

3) Digital is up to date

Even if it’s possible to get alternative forms of content – e.g. Braille or audio – the time it took to produce and deliver means that the information is outdated by default.

The internet offers immediate, real-time updates. Anything can be downloaded in one click. You can subscribe to feeds and stay constantly informed. For anything you could think of – there’s probably an app for that.

 

4) Technology can empower

Anyone willing to try and test online tools and apps, can quickly discover how helpful technology can be.

And if it’s not: Simply providing feedback can be valuable in perfecting it.

Or even better: Get involved in improving it for everyone, for example by joining DAISY.

 

Want to learn WordPress? There are great online resources, all for free!

Want to learn WordPress? There are great free online resources!

 

WordPress is easy to learn

While WordPress is very intuitive and you can get quite far by trial and error, it is helpful to take a step back and invest the time to learn WordPress properly.

There’s plenty of resources, manuals and learning materials out there, here a recommendation:

 

Free online WordPress tutorials

WordPress’ own guides: https://learn.wordpress.com and https://codex.wordpress.org

WordPress manual: http://easywpguide.com/wordpress-manual

WordPress video tutorials: http://videos.wpbeginner.com

 

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WordPress is doing a great job at offering resources to make their blogs and websites accessible.

WordPress is doing a great job at providing resources to make their blogs and websites accessible.

 

Why WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the web, at more than 60 million websites. WordPress is an open source project and is free to use. Its content management system is user-friendly and with thousands of plugins  and widgets and themes capable to do anything.

 

Make WordPress Accessible

In addition, WordPress offers great resources for accessibility:

Search WordPress themes with the tag ‘accessibility’: Click ‘Accessibility Ready’ under ‘Features’.

Install the WordPress plugin for accessibility which helps with a variety of common accessibility problems in WordPress themes.

You can also get actively involved and contribute to the WordPress Accessibility Handbook.

 

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How do blind people see the internet? - Not like this: A blind man is tapping with his white cane at a screen showing a website...

How do blind people see the internet?

 

Making your website accessible is not just about adding the right metadata or choosing an accessibility theme.

It’s really about putting yourself in the shoes of your users and learning about their way of interacting with your website.

Blind people use screen readers to navigate the internet. Here some tips how to design your site to be more inclusive:

 

How to optimise your website for blind users


1) Think linear

When looking at a website, it is possible to grasp many aspects of it at once and directly click on the desired information.

When a blind person gets a website read out, the screen reader always starts at the top and reads out down to the bottom.

While to a seeing person the header image looks like it stays the same, to a blind person it gets read out every single time they go to another page of the site.

To design a good accessible website, we therefore need to think linear, from top to bottom. Follow the flow of the website from the top down to understand how it feels like for blind users.

 

2) Expectation management

We live in a visual world. Websites contain visual cues, sometimes even symbols without any description. These are invisible to a blind person. Make up for this lack of instruction by adding an explanation in the copy what to expect when taking a certain action.

E.g. “Click to download an application form in PDF format.”

This also applies to the content itself: In our fast paced environment no-one has time or the attention span for long-winded copy. Use ‘front-loaded’ content, where the conclusion comes first, followed by the what, how, where, when and why. This way you allow for scanning, skimming and skipping, but still provide more detailed information for the ones interested.

Similarly any media on your website, such as video, audio, sliders or carousels should not simply start by default. Any actions or changes should only occur through clear user interaction.

 

3) Organise your content

The better structured your article is presented, the easier it is to understand. Make use of standard formatting, such as headlines, paragraphs, bullet points, bold, underlined, italic, etc. Most screen readers interpret these correctly and read them out with different emphasis accordingly.

E.g. creating lists with the <li> tag means the screen reader announces how many items on the list to expect before reading them out.

 

4) Be mindful with the use of images

Any image on your website is invisible to a blind user – this includes buttons, symbols, logos, tables, charts, infographics, emoticons, photos.

Unless you fill in the <alt> tag:

The <alt> tag stands for ‘alternative text’, which is provided instead of an image. The tag should be a concise description of the image and its context.

If the image does not have a real function besides being a pretty placeholder, keep the <alt> information at a minimum.

 

5) Use adequate code to help with shortcuts

Blind users navigate the internet with their keyboard. They use shortcuts to skip content or only read out certain information.

We need to ensure we’re using the right html tags for the correct result.

E.g. using the <h> tag for headlines helps blind users skip content and only read out a list of headlines for quicker navigation.

E.g. Give your site a descriptive page title with the <title> tag, as this is the first thing the screen reader announces.

E.g. using <i> for italics looks the same as using <em> for emphasis, but sounds different, as some screen readers accentuate them differently.

 

6) No repetition of content

You might intend it as a friendly gesture and for better orientation include your website menu on the top and then repeat it at the bottom again.

For a blind user this can be confusing, as hearing the same content being read out again might prompt them to think they’re back where they started.

 

7) Home Page: Make it a Welcome Page

Our ever changing world demands real-time updates, which we literally feed to our home page via an RSS feed.

A blind person who visits your website for the first time might think they somehow landed up on the wrong site if they encounter news content that veers too far off form what your website is about.

Ideally you’d have a short introduction to your website with hyperlinks to the most important menu items.

 

8) One long infinite scrolling page

Rather than linking out to many different micro sites, stick to one long consecutive page with all the relevant information in one place.

List anchor links at the top, so it’s possible to skip ahead and get to the desired information quicker.

Rather than providing links to the next page, offer infinite scrolling, where the user can continue reading without having to click on any links.

Keep the amount of clicks it takes to get a specific information at a minimum: Adhere to the three-click rule.

 

9) Announce the bottom of the page and offer further navigation

The screen reader does not know it has reached the bottom of a website. It simply stops reading out. It is up to the blind user to figure out the reason.

Therefore add the information to the bottom of every page that this is the bottom of the page and offer to click on links to go back / go back to the top / go to the home page.

E.g. “Bottom of page. Click to go back to the top. Or return to home page.”

 

10) Announce and explain all links in the copy

Correctly coded links are announced as links by the screen reader. That still doesn’t help a blind user much, if they are not guided about the purpose of the link: Always outline what the content is and where it links to.

E.g. “Click to read more about us.” works better as explanatory text than “Click here”.

This is especially important if the link takes the user outside of the current page.

E.g. “Click for more information on screen readers on the Wikipedia website.”

 

 

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Testing a screen reader: How does it pronounce abbreviations, such as “St” in “St Dunstan’s”?

 

A screen reader is a computer program that reads out what is on the screen.

Some do this more cleverly, by interpreting the formatting of text, e.g. underlined / bold / italics, and reading hidden code, e.g. the <alt>  tag, which provides a text description for images.

In order to make a website accessible for blind users, it’s important to optimise it for screen readers.

Watch this video to get an idea how screen readers work: Introduction to the Screen Reader.

Read up on how screen readers interpret symbols: Why Don’t Screen Readers Always Read What’s on the Screen?

Learn more about navigating a website with shortcuts: Basic screen reader commands for accessibility testing.

 

If you see this: '#' and remember 'number sign', then this article is for you. :)

If you see this: ‘#’ and remember ‘number sign’, then this article is for you. 🙂

A hashtag is a way to categorise your content on social media.

Just like in a supermarket where you have all sweets in one place, if you hashtag your content with #sweets, you can also find everything relating in one place, e.g.: https://twitter.com/hashtag/sweets.

And just like in the supermarket, the lure of #sweets can be abused:
Even the Oxford dictionary warns in their definition of hashtag:
“Spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them.”

As social media are all about interaction, hashtags are a way to enter the conversation online: By tagging your content with a certain keyword, motto or phrase you give others interested in this topic the chance to read your opinion and respond to it.

Most social media platforms support hashtags, so they’re worthwhile exploring for Content Marketing purposes.

But make sure you follow Best Practices for hashtags to avoid a hashtag PR disaster such as #Susanalbumparty. 😉

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'123456' and 'password' once again top the list of the 2015 Worst Passwords.

‘123456’ and ‘password’ top the list of 2015 Worst Passwords.

 

How original is your password?

While some might see this as a mindless task or scary security issue, most of us are frighteningly predictable:

SplashData’s ‘Worst Passwords List‘ for 2015 shows people continue putting themselves at risk with “123456” and “password” once again on top of the list.

 

How often do you type your password?

Here’s a little mindfulness exercise: Count how many times you log in with your password every day.

If you’ve set your computer to automatically lock when idle, you know how this can add up throughout the working hours.

 

Why not make your password something inspiring?

So why not make it something uplifting? With such frequency you can make it your mantra. Throw in some numbers and symbols or write it in slang and abbreviations for security. Just make sure the message remains.

And yes, this better be a short one to fit within the character restriction, but that can help you narrow down what is important to you in your life.

And with the regular frequency of having to update your password you get to refresh this outlook every time and re-evaluate what matters to you.

 

Tip: Make your password something unique and empowering! 🙂

And most importantly, make your password secure! 😀

 

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Skype introduces Mojis: Oh please

I don’t understand why WhatsApp is so popular, Skype has always been the better app.

Like when everybody went nuts that WhatsApp offers VoIP and it’s like: Skype has done this for like ever!!!

Finally there’s a reason to choose Skype over all the other IMs, and it’s a really cool one: Mojis!

Mojis are short clips from popular movies and TV shows that you can put directly into a Skype chat like emoticons. Just better. Because video.

And, because the content is worth it: Disney quality style, with customised Muppet Mojis, cult status style with BBC clips, and more hilarious quotes, Hollywood style.

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A red tag with 'Access All Areas' written on it: What is reserved to VIPs in the entertainment industry bears the question in the media industry: Is your website optimised for accessibility?

Access All Areas: Is your website optimised for accessibility?

 

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.” – Wikipedia

 

How many of your customers need accessible websites?

“One billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, and disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.” – The World Bank

According to WHO, there are 285 million people worldwide who, due to some disability (i.e. they are suffering with low vision), cannot read all content on a website. 39 million of those people are blind and cannot access any of the content via sight.

Additionally, there are 360 million people suffering from hearing loss worldwide.” – SitePoint

“According to the Office for National Statistics, in May 2015, 27% of disabled adults had never used the internet, compared to 11% of non-disabled adults.” – The Guardian

 

Being web accessibility compliant is easy

There are numerous guides with best practices and tips:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has not only a whole section on accessibility, but also run an entire Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

They have a list of requirements for providing text to act as an alternative for images. They also provide tutorials how to best make images accessible.

Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) has a useful article on designing for screen reader compatibility.

web-accessibility provides a guide for people with hearing impairment.

W3C also published an overview on how people with disabilities use the web.

 

Checking if your website is accessible is even easier

Nothing can replace the feedback of an actual human being, but for a quick check where your website might be not accessible, there’s a list of easy to use, web-based accessibility evaluation tools.

 

Blog name and social media handle go hand in hand - Find me: @TrulyJuly :)

Blog name and social media handle go hand in hand – Find me: @TrulyJuly 🙂

 

Your social media handle is your virtual nickname. You can make it up of your own name, or you can modify it to represent your internet identity, like your username.

Your social media handle becomes important when you want to be found on the internet, e.g. as a business, brand or product name.

 

Purpose

Identity: To be recognised immediately as the official brand in order to achieve consistency with image and online presence.

Security: Owning the official social media presence prevents fraudulent imposters.

SEO: Search results improve with a consistent social media presence.

Findability: With a consistent social media handle the audience can guess and find the brand on other channels and platforms.

Reach: Keeping the social media handle consistent makes it easy for others to mention / link to / tag the brand, which increases reach.

 

Best Practices


It is advisable to agree on one consistent social media handle
, as per Pamorama ‘Find and Reserve Your Social Media Name’:

“A consistent social media identity across the Web is crucial for brands. Whether you’re trying to develop your company’s personality or your own, having many different names creates confusion and dilutes the impact of all of your social media marketing activities.”


It is advisable to secure your social media handle across all social media
, as per Bicycle Theory ‘What’s Your Handle? Protecting Your Brand’s Name Online’:

“The key advantage to this tactic is that it enables people to find your brand easier.

Securing your name first also protects your brand by making it harder for others to use it.”


It is advisable to reserve that social media handle before anyone else does
, as per Social Marketing Writing ‘6 Tips to Choosing the Perfect Twitter Name’:

“Try and get in there early and try your best to find the best Twitter name you can. If you’re thinking about a new Twitter name for you or your company – stop thinking about it and start acting. Each day 460,000 people sign up for a new account. This means about 319 people sign up for an account every minute. So your favourite name could be gone any second now – find and reserve your favourite Twitter name as soon as you can.”


It is advisable to have a short social media handle, especially on Twitter
, as per For Dummies ‘How to Choose a Good Twitter Username’:

“Use a short Twitter username. Tweets are only 140 characters, so when people are replying to you, if you have a longer name, you leave them less room for message content. Twitter limits your username to just 15 characters for this very reason.”


It is advisable to not use strange symbols, especially on mobile social networks, in your social media handle
, as per ITeachBlogging ‘What’s in a Twitter Name? Everything that You Can Fit into It’:

“Avoid numbers, strange characters or underscore. These items are more difficult for all us smart phone users out there and they are just awkward.”


It is advisable to consider upper and lower case combinations in your social media handle
, as per The Legal Hokey-Pokey ‘Make your Social Media personal!’:

“When you consider a Twitter handle, remember the handle is case sensitive.  So use case to your advantage!  If your handle was @robertespinozaesq, it might be more easily read if you wrote @RobertEspinozaEsq.”

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'Like & Win' is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

‘Like & Win’ is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

Everyone’s on Facebook and everyone knows running a competition attracts attention.

However, there are legal implications that many Facebook users are not aware of.

This can potentially cost you your carefully crafted Facebook page, as Facebook can – without any warning – shut you down, if you’re in breach of their Terms & Conditions.

So I researched how to run a Facebook competition. As I see many prize draws on Facebook are in breach, I urge you to read these resources to make sure you do it right:

 

-Overview-

I. South African Law

  1. South African Consumer Protection Act – most relevant sections from the original
  2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers – a summary of the rules by the Law Society of South Africa
  3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010 – a summary on promotional competitions by BDO

II. Facebook Law

  1. Facebook Pages Terms – restrictions of competitions on their platform
  2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know – insider tip by Social Media Examiner
  3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page – a handy overview by Hallam Internet
  4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition – a sample for release of liability by Blaze Digital

 

-Detail-

I. South African Law

 

1. South African Consumer Protection Act:

Promotional competitions, Section 36.

(3) The promoter of a promotional competition—

  • must not require any consideration to be paid by or on behalf of any participant in the promotional competition, other than the reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device;
  • must not award a prize in a competition to—
  • a winner of the competition if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner, but this subparagraph does not preclude awarding a prize to a person merely because that person’s right to possess or use the prize is or may be restricted or regulated by, or is otherwise subject to, any public regulation; or
  • any person who is—

(aa) a director, member, partner, employee or agent of, or consultant to the promoter or any other person who directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by, the promoter; or

(bb) a supplier of goods or services in connection with that competition;

and

  • must—
  • prepare competition rules before the beginning of the competition;
  • make the competition rules available to the Commission and to any participant, on request and without cost; and
  • retain a copy of the competition rules for the prescribed period after the end of the competition.

(5) An offer to participate in a promotional competition must clearly state—

  • the benefit or competition to which the offer relates;
  • the steps required by a person to accept the offer or to participate in the competition;
  • the basis on which the results of the competition will be determined;
  • the closing date for the competition;
  • the medium through or by which the results of the competition will be made known; and
  • any person from whom, any place where, and any date and time on or at which—
  • a person may obtain a copy of the competition rules; and
  • a successful participant may receive any prize.

(6) The requirements of subsection (5) may be satisfied either—

  • directly on any medium through which a person participates in a promotional competition;
  • on a document accompanying any medium contemplated in paragraph (a); or
  • in any advertisement that—
  • is published during the time and throughout the area in which the promotional competition is conducted; and
  • draws attention to and is clearly associated with the promotional competition.

(7) The right to participate in a promotional competition is fully vested in a person immediately upon—

  • complying with any conditions that are required to earn that right; and
  • acquiring possession or control of the medium, if any, through which a person may participate in that promotional competition.

(8) The right to any benefit or right conferred on a person as a result of that person’s participation in a promotional competition is fully vested immediately upon the determination of the results of the competition.

(9) A right contemplated in subsection (7) or (8) must not be—

  • made subject to any further condition; or
  • contingent upon a person—
  • paying any consideration to the promoter for the prize; or
  • satisfying any further requirements other than those stipulated in terms of subsection (5).

(11) The Minister may prescribe—

  • a monetary threshold for the purpose of excluding competitions with low value prizes from the definition of ‘‘promotional competition’’;
  • minimum standards and forms for keeping records associated with promotional competitions; and
  • audit and reporting requirements in respect of promotional competitions

 

2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers

Page 59: Any document disclosing a promotional offer must clearly state the following:

  • The nature of the prize, reward, gift, free good or service, price reduction or
  • concession, enhancement if quantity or quality of goods or services;
  • The goods or services to which the offer relates;
  • What the prospective consumer must do in order to accept the promotional offer;
  • The details of the person from whom or the place where the consumer may receive
  • the benefit advertised in the promotional offer.

Page 63: An offer to participate in a promotional competition must be in writing and must state:

  • Benefit of the competition
  • Steps to take in order to participate in the competition
  • Basis upon which the results of the competition will be determined
  • The maximum number of potential participants and the odds of winning the competition
  • How participants will be informed of the results
  • How, when and where the successful participant may collect the prize

 

3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010

Page 9: Promotional competitions

Promotional competition means any competition, game, scheme, arrangement, system, plan or device for distributing prizes by lot or chance if the competition is conducted in the ordinary course of business for the purpose of promoting a producer, distributor, supplier or the sale of any goods or services.

The promoter of a promotional competition must not require any consideration to be paid by a participant other than reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device. The promoter must also not award a prize if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner but does not preclude awarding a prize to a person because that person’s right to possess or use the prize might be regulated or restricted. Rules for the competition must be prepared before the competition commences and those rules must be available on request without cost. Any person who is a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant of the promoter or a supplier of the goods or services in connection with that competition may not participate in the competition.

 

II. Facebook Law

 

1. Facebook restrictions of competitions on their platform

E. Promotions

  1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
    a. The official rules;
    b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
    c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
  2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
    a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
  1. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

For more info read what Facebook Page administrators need to know and Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

 

2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know

Note that you can “encourage” people to share your post or contest, but you can’t require it for entry.

 

3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page

According to Facebook’s own post, the updates rules mean that:

You can:

Ask people to LIKE a post to enter

Ask people to COMMENT on a post to enter

Ask people to PRIVATE MESSAGE the page to enter

Ask people to POST on YOUR page to enter

You cannot:

Ask people to SHARE to enter

Ask people to INVITE to enter

Ask people to TAG themselves in content they are not depicted in to enter

These are the basic rules to abide by – but as is to be expected from Facebook there are some more terms and conditions you need to know about.

 

4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition

Facebook requires a complete release of liability by each entrant. – Sample copy:

By entering and participating, entrant agrees to hold harmless, defend and indemnify Facebook from and against any and all claims, demands, liability, damages or causes of action (however named or described), losses, costs or expenses, with respect to or arising out of or related to (i) entrant’s participation in the Sweepstake, or (ii) entrant’s participation in any Prize related activities, acceptance of a Prize and/or use or misuse of a Prize (including, without limitation, any property loss, damage, personal injury or death caused to any person(s).

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

 

Written on 24/02/2015.

Validated on 05/11/2015.

Please double check for latest updates, as Social Media are constantly changing.

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Telkom Data Terms & Conditions

Telkom Data Terms & Conditions

Dear Telkom Mobile,

You offer a pretty good deal on your 60GB + 60GB Data Bundle.

Of course, you didn’t include that it only works with your own dongle, for which you charge a whopping R399 extra.

That is like advertising a biltong packet for R100, but at checkout clarifying that it has to be carried with a plastic bag that costs R25. And no, no other carrier bag would work.

And yes, you have prepared for these eventualities with a very ambiguous “Tariffs exclude any other contract/device costs or charges not mentioned in this brochure.” as found in the Telkom brochure’s Data Terms & Conditions – which pretty much renders any prices on your brochure pointless, as you never know: there might be some other “charge not mentioned in this brochure”.

In addition you put an expiry date on your prepaid products.

That is as if you sell a packet of biltong, but at checkout tell your customers if they don’t consume it within the next 10 minutes, you’ll take it back and sell on whatever is left over.

So I pay the full amount in advance, but you get to tell me when I ought to have used it by? I paid for it. – I can use it whenever I want!

Luckily the Consumer Protection Act is on my side. – Section 63:

(2) A prepaid certificate, card, credit, voucher or similar device contemplated in subsection (1) does not expire until the earlier of—
(a) the date on which its full value has been redeemed in exchange for goods or services or future access to services; or
(b) three years after the date on which it was issued, or at the end of a longer or extended period agreed by the supplier at any time. 

Hawkeye explains gift vouchers’ expiry rules in terms of the Consumer Protection Act:

It is against the law to include an expiry date on a pre-paid voucher, card or any similar item. These may only expire after being fully redeemed or after three years.  Section 63 of the Act lays this out clearly, stating that non-compliant businesses could face a R1m fine or 10% of their annual turnover.

They also outline what is fair according to the Consumer Protection Act:

The Act also states that any consideration paid for such voucher remains the property of the bearer until redeemed. Should a voucher be for a specific product rather than a set value, the supplier may reasonably ask for an inflationary adjustment should the price have changed or be able to cancel the voucher by exchanging it for a cash equivalent.

And they confirm that according to Section 63 prepaid vouchers include airtime, SMS bundles and mobile data:

This section of the act has impacted the cell phone companies who cancel unused calls and data bundles. This matter is still under discussion between the National Consumer Commissioner and the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

However, as National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala had clearly outlined the interpretation of Section 63:

Our reading of Section 63 of the act is that the value represented by the voucher does not expire until the date on which its full value has been redeemed in exchange for goods and services or future access to service, or three years after the date on which it was issued, whichever happens earliest. This includes vouchers for data bundles.

Mamodupi Mohlala has repeatedly said unused data must carry over for three years and cannot expire any earlier:

All data and minutes accumulated from last April must roll over for a full 36 months, and operators will be forced to comply with this section.

I therefore kindly ask you to NOT expire my data and let me use up what I paid for in my own time.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours *TrulyJuly*

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 God: “But I’m omnipresent.” Angel: “Apparently it’s not enough anymore – nowadays you’ve got to have website as well.”

Like seriously: Do you?

With home page visitors declining and from what is left, a third coming from social media, plus websites being still unavailable to the majority in the world and inaccessible to many:

Do you really need a website?

To facilitate the decision process, here is a brief list of questions that help you define if and what website you need – Ask yourself:

  • Do I have something to say?

If you struggle with the answer, perform a Content Audit to learn about your content expertise and content gaps.

  • Do I know how to say it?

An online brochure is not a brochure that was put online.
There are best practices for web writing and online content.

  • Can I reduce business processes?

If you get asked the same questions again and again and again, you might want to compile an FAQ page.

If you are tired of emailing the same information over and over and over again, you might want to make it available online and have order form, downloadable PDFs, map / directions and such on your website.

If there is a standard procedure of filling in an application form, you can put it online and save yourself a lot of time by letting your customer do all the typing.

  • Are my customers online?

If you want to be customer-centric you need to reach out to them in the way they prefer. The standard response to most questions nowadays is: Google it! Only if you have a website, can you get found.

  • Can I maintain it?

Like with most things: It’s not just about having one. It then needs to be looked after. Information can get outdated, teams / services / products change, news need to be updated.

Do you have internal resources who are keen to test their techie knowledge? Can you set aside a budget? Don’t worry, there are even free options for having a website. If you have the money, but not the time, you can go with a fully outsourced website maintenance package for a no-hassle option. You need to be dedicated to your website in some way.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then congratulations: You are in need of a website! 🙂

Coming Up Next: Guidelines for choosing an online presence.

Follow my blog and learn more about Content Marketing.

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Dear Facebook, more 'invite all' buttons please.

Dear Facebook, more ‘invite all’ buttons please.

Why does Facebook offer lists to sort all your friends in?

But when it comes to inviting friends to an event you have to select them one by one?

This is where those lists could come in real handy. Why isn’t it possible to just select a friends list and tick all of them in one go? Where is the ‘invite all members’ button for this?

Facebook has nothing really to say about this topic:

However, it is possible to invite your entire group to an event:

So the functionality is there, maybe Facebook is just withholding it for paid for services only…

Anyhow, this site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/INVITE-ALL-FRIENDS-SCRIPT-2011/101029569982725?v=info offers a quick hack that works.

So no more click, click, click, click, click, cl… almost click, click again, click, scroll, and repeat. 😉

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The team of the #bitswap event – from left to right:
Spinsista Mitzi, Julia Ranzani, David Robert Lewis, Stanley Edwards

 

As a protest against the lack of accessibility and affordability of the internet in South Africa, file sharing took to the streets in form of a #bitswap event.

ZA-FREE took the net to the streets at Open Streets Cape Town, which aims to engage everyone in re-designing and re-working the use of public streets.

The bitswap event was one of the interventions of 100 in 1 day, a civil action day where people take ownership of their city and create a better place to live.

While the rest of the world’s economy is thriving on uploading and downloading content from the cloud, South Africa is so behind with its broadband infrastructure that accessing the cloud is not affordable for a large group of people.

The ZA-FREE initiative encourages a DIY approach to file-sharing:

“We are promoting radical alternatives to costly Internet services. South Africans can home-bake the Internet, we can do it for ourselves, in our own backyard. No more expensive downloads, we urge users to embrace free file sharing and swapping of bits and bytes via wifi hotspots, mesh networks, bluetooth and USB.” states David Robert Lewis from Ubuntuponics.

At the bitswap event computer facilities and an open wifi network were set up right on the street to invite passers-by to swap content.

Security measures were implemented to prevent illegal file sharing:

“There’s enough free content out there, plus the focus is on local content. We have so much talent in South Africa. Budding creatives and entrepreneurs are in need of spreading their content to create awareness and thus give some of it away for free.” explains Julia Ranzani from Creative Communications.

A free content library was set up on the day in collaboration with Ogle and Spinsista Mitzi.

Ogle is operating educational and entertainment content kiosks in an effort to close the last mile gap of content delivery: http://oglemedia.co.za/our-solution

Spinsista Mitzi is a well-established Capetonian DJ who generously donated some funky tunes in form of podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/spinsista

Interest about content swapping and internet accessibility was high and the team spent most of the day providing information. The photos show how much fun it was: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.523796234377372

For more information and to be part of the next bitswap event join ZA-FREE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/58254549200

The bitswap event was kindly sponsored by Gandalf’s who offered access to their facilities and Dial a Nerd who donated the computer equipment for the day.

 

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Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Facebook pulls the classic copy and paste repetition mistake. That’s why you proofread your copy, always!

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Scrambled Up Letters

It’s all scrambled up letters to you? Modern technology can help.

 

1) Turn on your automatic spellchecker in your internet browser

 

2) Write everything in a word processing software first. Then copy and paste. You might have to strip the formatting though.

 

3) Use your computer’s Speech Recognition to let it read out long texts for you. Windows even offers you a training, which makes it really easy to learn.

Go to: Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Speech Recognition and then select ‘Train your computer to better understand you’. This video shows you it’s child’s play to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1vL2-5kThc

 

4) Promote the 3 sentence rule: http://three.sentenc.es

 

5) Ask people to send you an explainer video for complicated matters rather than lengthy emails.

 

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Facebook’s Send Message Rip-off

If you don’t know how to call it, ‘Other’ will do…

Did you know this? If you’re in no way connected to a person on Facebook and want to send them a message, you have to pay for it! Otherwise your message lands in the ‘Other’ folder. Ever checked your ‘Other’ folder?

I understand that Facebook needs to make money. To let advertisers pay for sending a Facebook message is reasonable. And this might avert spammers.

But I have found messages in my ‘Other’ folder that were important. Who is Facebook to decide what lands in my inbox and what doesn’t?

Messages from pages I’ve liked don’t make it into my inbox. I thought that’s why I liked them, so I can be kept in the loop.

On top of it, Facebook does not allow me to customise my filter preferences for my messages. I can only choose between ‘basic’ and ‘strict’. ‘Basic’ left me with over 100 messages (‘99+’ to be precise, can’t they simply display the actual number?) in my ‘Other’ folder that I had no idea I had received. (Sorry that I’m a human being and only checked my inbox for new messages, how silly of me…)

I use Facebook for business too and am welcoming messages from people I have not yet connected with. How else can they introduce themselves? It used to be possible to add a message to a friend request and provide context of why you want to connect. Now this is not allowed unless you pay?

There are enough options to flag messages as spam. Not that any messages in my ‘Other’ folder were spam. So what is the benefit for me?

I know what’s definitely not cool for me: That I have to keep checking that ‘Other’ folder too from now on…

myspace logo-BracketSo, MySpace. What’s the story. We have been asking for a while.

MySpace was one of my earliest social media networks. Okay, it’s all about music. It’s still social media. I had my blog on there, you could describe your mood with a funny smiley. I connected loosely with people and was open to new connections if we shared a common interest in music. People posted interesting photos. It really had it all.

And then came Facebook. All of a sudden MySpace was forgotten. I also turned my back on Myspace, maybe I was just too busy checking out this Facebook.

I return relatively frequently to MySpace, as it contains my music library. At work I enjoy listening to music and on MySpace I collect all my favourite bands and musicians. So it gives me inspiration what to listen to. Like a quick visual overview of the music styles I like. And then I can listen to it right there and create my own playlists. Nice.

Until I log in and find myself on the ‘new’ MySpace. And, oh, catastrophe! None of my info is on there. Where has it gone? My first panicked thought.

When I finally realise: The old stuff is still there, just on what has now become the ‘old’ MySpace.

Now every time I want to get to my music, I have to choose. As my ‘new’ MySpace is linked to my Facebook, I have some stuff on there too now. So I really have to decide and think about what I posted where and for what purpose I want to be on MySpace now.

WTF.

Just merge the two and be done with it.