Tag Archives: London

What Works (And What Doesn’t) on the Mobile Web, by Webmonkey

Webmonkey by Wired has a special place in my heart. It was my one-stop dev resource when I used to be a coder, working in London at beeb.com in the late 90s. It’s a site that’s been around for ages. In fact, if it was entirely possible for a website to be older than the […]

Interesting people I've met at WAN (Part 1)

Rob Jonas – Google Media & Publishing head for EMEA. Tracked him down in the tent after I chaired his session at the Digital Round Table on Sunday. Vincent and I had quite a long chat about Google documents, Google ads (his lips were sealed on commissions) and the other stuff. He resolved to look […]

The Times: SA's newest online publisher is live

Don’t know how official it is yet, but the new (South African) Times website is now live. I meandered over to the Sunday Times website, just before the clock struck twelve, which to my surprise, had become the new Times website. The design is similar to the old Sunday Times site. We’re eagerly anticipating the […]

Reality can go to hell (1)

After two weeks in the States and the madness of New York, Florida is where we planned to have the holiday part of our holiday. Fort Lauderdale is flat and full of pastel colours. It’s pretty tacky and kitsch, but lots of fun. Reminded me of a combination of East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein […]

Craig of Craigslist

Met Craig of Craigslist, that awesome, minimalist classifieds site started in the US. We were at a cocktail party lastnight in a rather nice Manhattan penthouse suite, near Union Square. Also finally met Mary McBride, the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders organiser who was putting the event on… Craig is an affable, quirky guy with a […]

The thing about New York

Sign from a building, overlooking the Ground Zero site site. Democracy and free speech at work. What can I say: this place is amazing. This is Rome, Centre of the modern world. Wireless internet is plentiful, laptops are cheap. I’m loving my daily read of the New York Times. There are some big amazing buildings […]

The foreign press: Stop patronising Africa

A while back at the We Media conference in London, I became irritated at what I saw was the stereotyping and patronising of Africa. It is often unwitting and borne largely out of ignorance of this continent, with knowledge based on what is seen in the (generally negative) news and the movies. I had something […]

Full speech on media portrayal of Africa by SA deputy pres

Editors and their different media play a crucial role in ensuring success or failure in Africa’s quest to hold the world stage. There is, of course, enough competing news around these days to exert heavy centrifugal pressure away from Africa yet. I would still argue that we deserve and even demand attention for Africa…..

Technorati, del.icio.us added to Mail & Guardian Online


We’ve just added technorati and del.icio.us to the Mail & Guardian Online. I see we are also ranked 152 out of the 40.7 million sites in Technorati, which is nice. The M&G Online is one of South Africa’s leading online publishers, credited as the first online newspaper on the continent.

For those who don’t know what all this is about (you know who you are) — it’ll allow users and bloggers to see who in the blogosphere is linking to Mail & Guardian Online as a site, and particular articles we publish on the site. The idea is to start a dialogue with bloggers and encourage community around the M&G Online — hopefully to encourage bloggers to blog our site more. Blogs are, without doubt, a key driver of traffic for us. I’m not one for jumping head first into the latest trends, but this — as far as I am concerned — is a big part of the future of the net. Really.

I saw Dave Sifry, the Technorati founder, speak at the We Media conference in London this year, where I was also on a panel speaking (about New Media here). Was impressed by the man. If I recall he got into a heated exchange with some provocative old media type while on his panel. Was funny to watch. And good for him.

It’s phase 1 of the implementation which is fairly rudimentary. Next phase we’ll add a bit more customisation in an M&G Online template after working with the dev team at Technorati.

Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. (The technorati links are at the bottom of the article pages)

Here is an article you can try out: Mugabe donates computers ahead of by-election

Citizen journalism, let's keep our heads shall we?

Did this interview with Herman Manson of Media Toolbox a popular media newsletter. Here are the questions:

To what extent is the M&G planning to make use of citizen/participatory journalism?
What are people writing about on your blogging service and how does this influence the content of your website and the paper edition?
Do you think participatory journalism will grow beyond community newspapers (for which it does seem perfect) to national news organisations locally? Internationally the BBC recently announced a move to integrate more citizen generated content into its services.

My answers over the page

Vodacom HSDPA 3G problems

Update: 13/06/2006 Problem solved Ok I got an SMS telling me the service has been fixed. It has now been working for the last two weeks efficiently. Credit goes to Vodacom for fixing it, however it has taken some time and perhaps their communication could have been a bit better. Now that it works, I am loving the speed. Apparently we were one of the first country’s in teh world to get the HSDPA upgrade. Go South Africa.

Update: 09/06/2006 Still no contact so I wrote an email asking them to come back to me about beginning of this week. Yep, its Friday and have not heard from them. Not terribly efficient service. Vodacom are lucky that they have a such a good product from Vodafone… its a pity they cannot back up the good product by service. I’ll post here if they ever get back to me.

Update: 30/05/2006 It appears that Vodacom fixed whatever problem seemed to be occuring because i now get regular access again. Haven’t received a mail from them confirming this, nor the promised contact from the local network operator guy… maybe I am wrong to expect world class efficiency from company that makes millions in profits.

Written earlier 20/05/2006
Apparently South Africa’s Vodacom is the second biggest network in the worldwide Vodafone group, beating even its own network in the UK.

But I’d like to ask: Is Vodacom the network of choice any longer in South Africa? I have a new HSDPA 3G card (generously traded in by Vodacom for free) and I never seem to be able to connect at certain periods of the evening. I constantly get error 619 or error 31. I used to have the Novatell card and never had a problem from my house in Linden. But ever since changing to the HSDPA card, I have had error after error. Admittedly a friend of mine who also uses an HSDPA card says he does not have any problems.

On the road again

Oh boy. I arrived back at home on Saturday from London, yet I find myself waiting 6am in the morning at Johannesburg International Airport, boarding another flight to Cape Town for an M&G Online board meeting with shareholders M-WEB today.

Dan Gillmor in London at We Media

Bumped into Dan Gillmor here, at Reuters at the We Media conference. Told him I loved his book. I did love his book. I mentioned Vincent Maher, a fellow South African media worker’s, rantings (yet well argued) about citizen journalism “being dead” — which Gillmor said he was aware of and that he appreciated the diverse opinions that challenge him and his ideas.

Technorati founder David Sifry appeals for sanity

Technorati founder David Sifry appealed to the We Media conference in London at Reuters to put the blogger versus big media issue “to rest”. He says we need each other! Bloggers need big media and big media needs bloggers.

Africa: Giraffes, war, famine, blah blah blah

You know it’s amazing. Why do people (particularly the West) talk of Africa as if it is one big amorphous mass — the same thing. Why is it that references to Africa are all about war, famine, poverty? Being in London at the We Media conference… this appears to be Westerners sole way to relate to Africa.

Nitin Desai from UN wants a combined, killer new media and old media combination

Nitin Desai, Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, had a few original words to say on the new wave of “We Media” sweeping the globe. He says that the key challenge – and this is the original part of what he said – is that we face a challenge in finding a business model that can combine the professionalism of the traditional, established media (fact checking; sources; trained journalists; ethics codes and training etc etc) with what we have on the web – the power of collaborative communities, citizen journalism, blogs, collective intelligence, number power etc etc…

Blogs vs traditional media: the Iraq issue

During the first panel discussion of the We Media conference in London a delegate at the conference whose name I didn’t catch stood up and made a very interesting comment. He says he works for a newspaper and that it was his job to review Iraqi blogs for the paper he works for to source stories and comment. He said that ever since he started doing this, he began “losing trust in newspapers” …

We Media Conference Kicks Off

In London at the BBC for the We Media conference and it is sensory overload. It’s a slick, glossy event being held in the BBC studios usually reserved for Top of the Pops, I believe, at the BBC Television Centre in White City. I used to work at BBC so I kind of knew my way around. The big issue is trust. Do we trust new media such as blogs, wikis and other forms of participatory writing and journalism. According to a survey on media trust, presented to the We Media conference — these are the mediums that have the trust of users…

Surviving the great dot.con

As Google embraces the stock exchange, many dot.com kids are rubbing their hands with glee at what could signal a return of the good times. Matthew Buckland has been through dot.boom and dot.bomb and spent lots on expensive therapy to forget it all, but here he reminisces.

Dotcom dating dollars

When the internet arrived, people screamed let’s make lots of money. This new, interactive medium had the ability to deliver content to audiences in innovative ways and make money at the same time. Content would suck readers in, went the theory, and communities would form around these content genres. E-commerce areas would then be built around relevant content and wham bam thank you Ram, your community interacts and you have dotcom dollars.