Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gadget Review: Denon Exercise Freak (AH-150) Bluetooth in-ear headphones

Denon, the Japanese electronics company, is mostly known for premium AV equipment. In 2012, they released the Exercise Freak fitness headphones. The headphones are wireless (Bluetooth), sweat-proof, and have integrated audio controls.

Opening the box

Front view of the unopened box

The outer cover is off

First view of the contents

From left: Carry pouch, alternate size rubber ear-tips (for bigger/smaller ear canals), carabiner for carry pouch, charging cable, Exercise Freak headphones

Headphones on the run


I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination. My previous head phones (apart from those that came bundled with my cell phones) were all eBay $1 specials. I now know the difference between cheap and expensive earbuds. The base is splendid on the Exercise Freaks, as are the music and vocals. I get a relatively tight inner-ear fit, but can still hear traffic - essential while running on South African roads.


Top view - the part that faces outwards

While researching the headphones before buying them, I noticed many complaints that the Bluetooth connection gets buggy if the media playing device (cell phone) isn't worn on the right arm. Indeed, the Exercise Freak user manual states that the transmitting device should be worn in an armband above waist level on the right side of the body (the antenna of the Exercise Frean is located in the right earphone).
With these complaints in mind, I tried different phone placements while testing out the headphones.
I used a Samsung Galaxy S2 with the Nike+ Running Android app for all the tests.

Right arm, armband (1 hour run)
Connection was perfect throughout the entire run

Left arm, armband (1 hour run)
Connection was perfect throughout the entire run

Right shorts pocket (30 min run)
1 or 2 connection skips (sounds like a record skip), but mostly a great connection

Left shorts pocket (25 min run)
Connection deteriorated significantly. At least one skip each minute.

Gym towel pocket (away from body)
Great connection - started skipping if I walked too far away from my gym towel (10m or more)


'Under' view - the part that sits against your head
The headphones fit well around my ear and the buds sit comfortably in my ear. They don't come loose even during vigorous exercise, and  they are incredibly light. After the first run, I don't notice their presence at all. It's been an absolute pleasure running without a headphone cord slapping and tangling against my back and arms.


Right earpiece showing Play/Pause button

The Exercise Freak buttons work as described in the manual. Volume controls (+ and -) are on the right ear along with the Play/Pause button. Double tap the Play/Pause button to skip tracks; triple tap to skip backwards. I haven't had any trouble using the controls - just took a little getting used to in terms of learning the button locations.

Right earpiece showing volume controls at top, charging port at bottom

 The call answer button is on the left ear. The microphone is perhaps a little too sensitive - it picks up a lot of ambient noise and the party on the other end of the line can have trouble hearing. Phone call clarity on the Exercise Freak side is perfect.

Left earpiece showing call answer button

 Battery life is rated at 7 hours - I haven't tried to run the battery flat and usually charge it after around 3 hours of operation.


Great sound, great fit, pretty good connectivity. Worth the price (just under $150 at the time of writing).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Buying on eBay from South Africa

South Africans, by and large, are not massive users of eBay as an online shopping source. This is unfortunate as almost anything can be found and bought on eBay.
A common misconception is that eBay is a place where Americans auction off their second hand goods (i.e. junk). This couldn’t be further from the truth. While this one of the streams of eBay, far more common are companies using eBay as a store front. This is especially prevalent in the Asian regions, and one can buy electronics, jewellery, watches and accessories for next to nothing. On smaller items, shipping is often free (it seems that Asian post offices don’t charge a lot for their services). Thus eBay is a superb alternative to the goods commonly on sale at flea markets and ‘China City’-type stores.

The local equivalent is BidorBuy. However my experience with BidorBuy is that South African sellers haven't really caught on to the fact that the whole attraction to consumers is that items should be cheaper than buying them from a physical store. For the most part the courier/postal charges take the costs of cheaper items way over retail prices for that item.

I mainly use eBay for smaller, cheaper items such as watches, cell phone accessories and the like, but have in occasion bought bigger, heavier items like paintings and laptop stands all at a fraction of the cost of buying the same items locally.

Herewith is a short guide to buying items on eBay.

What you’ll need:
An eBay account
A Paypal account

The buying process:First off, don’t bid on items you don’t intend to buy. By clicking Bid or Buy It Now, you will be entering into an obligation to purchase, as per the eBay user agreement.

Start by finding what you want via the search bar on the main page:

As an example, I searched for a cover for a Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone.

In order to find the cheapest price on an item, go to the dropdown list and select Price + Shipping lowest first:
In order to see how much it will cost to get the item to here, you need to set your location to South Africa:

Once these items are selected, browse through the search results to find the item you wish to purchase. Click on the item of interest, and you will be taken to the item's list page. The list page will display all information regarding the sale, including:
  • a full description of the item
  • pictures / photos of the item
  • inclusions and exclusions of the sale
  • extra information regarding shipping costs and timelines
  • seller information
There are two types of sales on eBay. The first is an auction whereby various buyers place bids on an item until an auction ends. The buyer who bid the highest price will win the item at that price.

The second is an outright sale at the marked price (Buy It Now in eBay language).

The type of sale will be shown on both the search listings and the item listings. Where a seller is selling multiple identical items, often both types of sale are available for a single item.

Before buying, check near the bottom of the item listing that this message isn’t displayed:

If it is, don’t bid on or purchase the item.

The My eBay section of the website displays all necessary info, including current live bids and recent auction and purchase history. You can also make payments to sellers, leave feedback and manage existing bids from this section.

Once you have bought your item and payment is requested, follow the steps as prompted on the website. You will be redirected to Paypal to make the actual payment.

How do you know who to buy from, and how are purchases protected?
The eBay market place is self regulated to an extent. Buyers rate sellers with a star rating in categories such as item quality, effective communication and speed and cost of shipping. Sellers also rate buyers, usually in terms of promptness of payment.
Each eBay member  is allocated a “Star rating”, and a feedback rating which are based on the number of sales made by a seller in conjunction with the amount of positive feedback given by buyers for that seller. This information is given on the item listing page.

The number next to the star is the volume of items sold by the seller.
As a general rule of thumb, try not to buy from sellers who have less than a 95% rating, or at least read through the buyer feedback to see why the sellers were rated poorly. If there are any disputes, contact the seller and try resolve amicably. Don’t go straight to Buyer Protection (described below) or give a negative rating Sellers are very averse to receiving negative ratings and will often resend or refund when a dispute arises rather than get a negative rating. If you give a negative rating to a seller, expect that they will no longer try to resolve the dispute.

eBay Buyer Protection is in place on most transactions. This covers the buyer for items not arriving, damaged items received or the incorrect item received. The buyer must lodge a claim (not a very onerous process) via Buyer Protection, and eBay will mediate the dispute and refund your monies (including shipping) once all information has been received from buyer and seller.

Some of the items that I have regularly bought via eBay:
  • Novelty cufflinks ($3-$7, versus R150 – R200 at South African stores)
  • Ties ($1 - $4, versus R60 up locally)
  • Cell phone screen protectors ($1 for up to 3)
  • Cell phone covers ($1-$3 each)
  • HDMI and ethernet cables (around a dollar)
There is one drawback to buying from eBay and that is delivery times. The majority of items are posted, and one is reliant on overseas transit times, and then on South African Post Office timelines. So if you're in a hurry for your purchase, then eBay may not be the solution. On average, the wait time from payment to delivery is around three weeks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Post: Mlungu Brett on technology and travel comms

About the author: This guest post is that of a now experienced travel blogger. Brett (and his friend Darren) spent nearly a year traveling the world, all the while posting news, tips and photos on each leg of the journey. In his second guest post, he talks about the best ways to go about keeping touch with friends and family while traveling extensively.. You can find the Mlungu Trek blog at


You may think that keeping in touch while travelling overseas may sound easy for today’s interconnected and small world. Although there are great tools for this like email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and cell phone services like sms, WhatsApp, Blackberry messenger or the similar iPhone offerings, there is one place where the world is still pretty slow and far behind: phone calls and roaming.

Roaming, for those who are not sure, is taking your existing cell phone, that you use every day in your home country, with you overseas and using it without changing sim cards. Coming from South Africa, you can either activate roaming for SMSing or texting only or you can activate it for full use, being, SMS/text, calls and data. SMSing, though expensive, is definitely cheaper than phoning. And, data, the medium through which Whatsapp and other cheaper alternatives work, is generally cheaper than SMSing or calling at home but can be much, much more expensive if used overseas.

But, this is the new world, and there are facilities out there to help curb the cost of communicating while travelling. If you’re travelling with a laptop, smart phone or tablet, your best bet is using free wifi (which is available quite widely in America, Europe, Asia and South America, but oddly not really available in South Africa) to make use of the communication apps mentioned above. Skype is the best for calling and is either free if the person you’re talking to also has Skype or is a small cost if calling a phone.

But when wifi fails you, or you don’t have access to Skype, there are some other ways of reducing the cost of communication.

The cheapest way of communicating is to buy a sim card in each country you go to and use this. You can let people know what the number is by email/Facebook/Twitter and you can use it for local communication or SMSing overseas or receiving calls. You’ll be surprised how cheap or free sim cards are around the world but you will need to buy airtime in each country.

Another alternative that is less cumbersome than buying a new sim card and airtime in each country is to get a world sim card. An example here is or The disadvantage here is that costs will be a bit more expensive.

The last and sneakiest option requires a sim card in each country and Skype and works as follows:
  • Start by setting up a Skype online number. There is a cost involved here, but the benefit should outweigh this cost if used enough. (At 01 Mar 2012, the cost was about R150 for a number for 3 months).
  • This online number allows non-Skype users to call you anytime from their normal phone and as long as you’re online, then they can chat to you direct. You should set this number up as a land line number in your local country.
  • Next, set up the call forwarding function on Skype to forward calls to the sim card phone number of your local cell phone.
  • This means that when people phone your online number, if you’re not online (either on your smartphone Skype app or on a computer or tablet) then the call will be forwarded to your cell phone.
  • There will be a charge here when the call is forwarded to your travel phone, and you will have to foot this bill, but the end to end charge will be a lot less than a direct phone call.
  • You can change the number that Skype forwards calls to as you move around the world.

This nifty trick can also be used in reverse by setting up an online number for you to phone in the country that you are in so that when you call it, it forwards calls to a number in the country you want to phone.

So, until the roaming charges are reduced, or multinational cell phone service providers start stringing their international services together to help reduce costs – Vodafone is leading the way in this at the moment –get yourself a smart phone for travelling purposes and make sure it’s one that supports Skype (Android or iPhone).

Words by guest writer: Brett Sacks (;

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gadget review: Uniross Power Pod

Uniross, known widely in South Africa for their rechargeable batteries, has designed and is selling a multiple-device charger, allowing one to charge several gadgets simultaneously.
The Power Pod has four ports into which ten interchangeable bits (included with the device) can be inserted and removed. It also has two USB ports into which devices that are too big for the Power Pod, like tablets, could be plugged. The circular design and bit-port placement ensure that gadgets of various shapes,sizes and charging-port locations are easily fitted and don't obstruct each other on the Power Pod.

This device is great for bedside or desktop cable clutter where charging cables for various gadgets twist and tangle constantly. The reduction in plug ports is also pretty handy - one two-pin plug for charging up to six devices at at time.

The Power Pod is well constructed and very sturdy. The bits fit properly into all the devices that I tried out (iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia and HTC phones).  Power to the Pod is provided by a 2-pin radio-type cable that plugs into the base and there is a power toggle-switch placed next to the power cable port. The bits insert and remove easily from the Power Pod and fit well - there isn't any device wobble when they are mounted on the Power Pod. The bits can be removed by tugging them from the top, or pushing the bit release buttons found underneath the Pod.

When the device is powered on, the ring on the centre of the Power Pod lights up in a bright blue hue. While devices are receiving charge, a light in front of the respective charging port also lights up. This is fine during daylight hours and looks slick. However, at night these super bright LEDs cast a great disco-show on the ceiling. This is easily rectified by putting a cell phone pouch over the centre of the Power Pod, however it would probably be better for future models to come with less intense LEDs.

There is only one glitch that I found with the Power Pod. When charging an iOS device, the touch screen functionality can go a little crazy during charging. When one place on the screen is touched, another place on the screen is actually activated. This makes it nearly impossible to type or browse when plugged in. A quick gander on some Apple forums revealed that this glitch can result when using a non-Apple generic charger touch-screen Apple devices. This is obviously a problem when one cannot use a device for the couple hours that it is charging.

All in all, the Power Pod is okay (not great; not terrible). In practice the Power Pod has been very useful and I will most likely continue to make use of it. As stated earlier, the Pod is well designed and constructed but I would still prefer a device on which all my devices can be used while charging.

Uniross Power Pods are available at Makro and Dion Wired at approximately R399.00.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post: Mlungu Brett on travel blogging

About the author: The guest post is that of a now experienced travel blogger. Brett (and his friend Darren) spent nearly a year travelling the world, all the while posting news, tips and photos on each leg of the jorney. In his first guest post, he talks about the best ways to go about blogging one's travels. You can find the Mlungu Trek blog, and see for yourself how it's done, at

Travel Blogging

The first step in any working class hero’s multi-month travel plans is to get off your behind and have that awkward conversation with your boss that you’re thinking of taking leave...for 9 months! You may not be so lucky as to be awarded this leave request and if it goes this way, and if you’re taking this seriously, then you’ll most likely follow this conversation with a less awkward one that is started and concluded very quickly with a crisp white envelope and contained letter that is slipped onto your boss's desk informing your boss of the start of your notice period and due resignation.

Once that’s out the way, you’re in for an exciting ride of excessive money spending on plane tickets, travel equipment, travel accessories, visas, accommodation and lots of farewell drinks. While you’re sipping on these drinks with all your envious family and friends many of them will most likely ask how they can keep in touch. In today’s connected world of email, Facebook and Twitter, the medium that is farthest reaching, most informative and very simple to use is a travel blog (take into account the less-technology-geared-with-no-Facebook-account people in your lives that you’ll want to update on your travels...generally parents and grandparents).

The travel blog exceeds the simple use of telling people where you are and what you’re doing. It’s a memory bank that you can look back on to remind yourself of your travels, to document any little travel tips that you have for specific places and to look back on when people inevitably come and ask you for help about specific places that they’re travelling to. It also gives you a place to post pictures, videos and thoughts.

As a travel blog enthusiast, you have three options for getting your blog up and running:
  1. Use an existing free travel blog provider (sites like:;;
  2. Use an existing free blog provider (sites like:;;
  3. Create your own website
Using a travel blog provider is the easiest route as they provide a format for your blog and it usually has the quickest and simplest interface for both uploading and viewing. The other advantages are that you become part of a travel community where you can probably interact with other bloggers using the site, quickly see what other bloggers that are in/have been to the same places as you have to say, upload as many photos and videos as you want, get a nice interactive map showing where you’ve been and where you’re going and you can possibly even book accommodation or other things for your trip. Remember they have a captive audience of like minded people to advertise to and offer services to, so they’re probably going to be relevant and helpful to your trip. And at the end of your trip, they’ll probably offer you an opportunity (for a fee of course) to print your blog and pictures and messages into a nice journal. The disadvantages of the travel blog provider is that there is probably little room for customisation and uniqueness as all the blogs follow the same pattern, format and layout. Our particular blog provider had no tracker to show how many people had been visiting the site and had no way of adding Google Analytics to perform this function. Connectivity to Facebook and Twitter were available but not great.

The general blog provider will swap the travel specific attention to the blog for a more customisable user interface that allows the blogger to create something unique and specific to their needs. Another nice thing here is that you can probably add entries that either have nothing to do with your travels or nothing to do with any place in particular – something that we found lacking in our travel blog and that would have been useful. One of the downsides is that you may not have the ability to create photo/video albums on the blog site and might have to link to another provider, say or, for this.

The website route provides the most space for customisation and you can literally create whatever you want here. This is your domain and you are in full control of how it looks and works. The biggest downsides here are: cost of hosting the site; cost of how much you can place on the site if you want to store your pictures and videos on the site; and you need to know how to build the website.

Just remember, the main reason for your travel blog is most likely to let people know and see what you’re doing, where you’ve been and where you’re going. It is also your memory bank that you’ll look back on when you need to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished or you’re asked to help others that are going to places that you visited. The balance of customisation and features you need while keeping this in mind is probably what’s going to determine which of the above routes you will take.

So, get out there, experience the world and let everyone you know and meet travel vicariously through you by following your travel blog.

Words by guest writer: Brett Sacks (;


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gadget review: Golla G-bag

 I have been looking for a good way to transport my iPad since I got it last year. Up to this point I was using a laptop bag, however it kind of defeated the portability objective of having a tablet if I needed a massive bag with which to carry it around in. 
After a little bit (actually a lot) of research (Google) I came across Golla, manufacturers of some great gadget-carrying bags. I was particularly drawn to the G-bag (Golla G-bag 11.6” G1022). It is an upright messenger bag which I like as the main length of the bag is along the body and not across the body like a normal laptop bag.

I ended up buying the bag from (part of the Shop and Ship group). Customer service was great; the purchase process seamless; and the bag arrived very quickly. It was my first purchase from Shop and Ship, but a good experience and I’ll definitely be purchasing from them again. But I diverge. 

 The G-bag is honestly awesome. It is much smaller than my laptop bag, yet it is big enough to carry my iPad and day-to-day accessories (cables, headphones, Leatherman, pens, stylus etc.) and has plenty space to spare. The ‘gadget compartment’ is designed for a netbook (11.6 inches) so it will hold tablets, most netbooks and even the Macbook Air. 

The main compartment is closed magnetically, and doesn’t come loose even with vigorous shaking. It is divided into two parts – one to hold your device and the other to hold other stuff. There are also two smaller side compartments that close with zips. It’s very well padded meaning that your electronic devices will be well protected. The shoulder strap is adjustable so you can tailor the hang length for your height. It feels comfortable being carried cross-shoulder or handbag style.
If you are looking for a good way to carry your netbook / tablet – this is it.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - new daily specials site

There is a new kid on the block in the daily specials neighborhood, giving some competition to the likes of One Day Only and 24 Hours Only.

Catch of the Day offers a new product (almost) every day, at some pretty good prices. They feature some very different items like blade-less fans and deluxe corkscrews. I have found that their prices are pretty good but what really makes them stand out is their customer service.

I have personally ordered twice from this site and the first order arrived ON THE SAME DAY that I placed the order. The second order arrived on the next business day. I am a regular online shopper and I have never before received orders that quickly.

I also had some queries about an item that I wanted to buy so I gave Catch of the Day a call - the representative to whom I spoke was professional, courteous and knowledgeable. He also returned my calls when he said he would - pretty much a customer care first for me.

A few days after placing my order, I got a courtesy call from Catch of the Day to check that everything was in order and that I was happy with my purchase.

An all-round great experience from a new online store.

You can find them at

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A brief beginners guide to Twitter

First off, apologies for the month long posting hiatus. Between studying for an exam and starting a new job, blogging kind of took a back seat.

Compared to other aspects of the Internet, and indeed social networking, my exposure to and usage of Twitter is relatively minimal. I, largely as a result of ignorance, shied away from the platform as I felt it was a means by which people could update their every movement from brushing teeth to driving to work to eating lunch. I felt that I had no time for the mundane and inane chronicles of my networks' lives. Also, I felt that Twitter was just a replica of a tool in my social network that I already had – the Facebook status. While it is true that they share some similarities – for example a character restriction on each – there are a multiple fundamental differences.

 I created my Twitter account last year as it was the method by which to enter a Jack Daniels competition. One needed to, if I remember correctly, send through via email one's Twitter username. The first few to do so would win a Jack Daniels tasting pack. I am a HUGE fan of Jack Daniels – it’s my whiskey of choice. So I put aside my prejudices and signed up, entered the competition (and was one of the winners). 

In order to discuss Twitter fully, it is necessary to update the less knowledgeable on some of the concepts and buzzwords used.
A tweet is a message generated by a Twitter user, and is posted to their central Twitter stream. Each tweet is limited to 140 characters, so being brief is essential.
A retweet is the instance in which a Twitter user re-posts the message tweeted by someone else.
Usernames in Twitter are preceded by the “@” symbol. So when referring to another user in a tweet, one does so like this: @username. This creates a direct link to the referenced Twitter user from the tweet, allowing the reader to view the referenced user’s Twitter profile.
A fundamental part of Twitter is generating topics (referred to as trends) of tweets. The method in which most users mark their tweets as referencing a particular trend or news topic is to hash tag (#) the keywords in their tweets. For example, if my tweet is about a new cell phone technology, I would include #cellular #technology somewhere in my tweet.
Following a Twitter user is akin to subscribing to their tweets. When opening your own profile, all the tweets and retweets of the users whom you follow will appear.

Something to keep in mind is that Twitter, like most other social networks is not restricted to use on a website through a browser. Many applications have been developed specifically for Twitter to be used on desktops, smartphones, tablets etc. One can thus be connected at all times; everywhere.

As I mentioned before, my preconception of twitter was that it was used by people with little better ways to spend their time other than updating every aspect of their boring lives. I could not have been more wrong. Twitter is a tool that is being used on so many different fronts. I will discuss some that have impacted on me.

A new type of journalism has emerged through Twitter. Gone are the days where journalists had to lug in cameras, microphones, notebooks and the like to report on events. The delay between filming news pieces (for TV), recording sound bites (for radio) and writing and submitting articles (for newspapers/magazines) has been eradicated completely. A journalist armed with a smartphone can report on a news event as it unfolds, fact by fact; happening by happening. These events are picked up by followers of the journalist, broadcasted and disseminated faster than any other news medium.

South African journalists have really picked up on this tool and are using it to great effect. The best example that I can think of is Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener). She covered the Jackie Selebi and Glenn Agliotti fraud trial by Twitter. By following her, one could get live updates of the courtroom proceedings as they unfolded.  Due to the 140 character restriction, she has become a master of the succinct – she gets the hard facts out there with no unnecessary embellishment.

Another great example is Stephen Grootes (@StephenGrootes). The poor guy seems to be sent by 702 Eyewitness News to all the seriously, seriously boring government and political press conferences. Now, while these are important, and much crucial information is disseminated at these gatherings, not many people could bear to listen to the ramblings of spokespeople and politicians for hours on end nor are many people willing to read through transcripts of the proceedings to gleen useful information. This is no longer necessary. Thanks to Stephen and others of his ilk, one can read just the important details via his tweets.

There is also a trend of radio presenters using Twitter to communicate with audiences during and after their shows. The most active of those I follow are without doubt 5FM jock Gareth Cliff (@GarethCliff) and 702 host Kieno Kammies (@KienoKamies). Other interesting 702 presenters active on Twitter are John Robbie (@702JohnRobbie ) and Bruce Whitfield (@brucebusiness).

Citizen journalism
Users of Twitter that happen to be at the scene of a newsworthy story can now broadcast the events to the world. One of the most famous to date is Sohaib Athar (@reallyvirtual), a resident in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. He tweeted in real-time the targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden by US Seals. He was unaware of it at the time – he just happened to be awake in the early hours of the morning when there were helicopters flying and explosions occurring in his neighbourhood. 

Interests and pastimes
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Twitter for the mass market is the ability to follow news, articles and opinions of one’s interests. Whether you are interested in current affairs, politics, celebrities, astronomy or a myriad other topics there will be a bloggers, writers, journalists and others tweeting and linking to these topics. Technology, obviously being one of my interests, results in my following some of the South African gadget gurus. They have and make extensive use of their Twitter accounts – they tweet their impressions on gadgets, trade shows and industry trends. Some notable examples are Simon Dingle(@simondingle), Toby Shapshak (@Shapshak) and Aki Anistasiou (@AkiAnastasiou).

The 140 character restriction means that Twitter cannot be used to write articles. Thus one has the ability to include links to web pages in a tweet. There are even services which can reduce the size of your URL should the length of said URL be causing you to exceed the Twitter character limit. Thus, one can tweet a short comment on a topic, and link it to more comprehensive information contained on the internet. Most news services make use of this option, tweeting news headlines and linking to the associated articles.

Advertising and brand building
There are a few approaches to advertising on Twitter. A company can open an official Twitter account and use it as a communications platform. Special offers, new products, company news and the like can be tweeted to followers. This is a great way for companies to build up brand loyalty and get their names more widely known. A great example in the South African context is Dion Wired – a premium electronic goods and appliances store (@DionWired). They regularly give information on new products in stock, gadget reviews and they run Twitter competitions Dion Wired also interact with customers and answer product questions and queries. On the smaller side, and proving that any business can use Twitter, is Dave Sheer Guns (@DaveSheerGuns) – a Johannesburg based arms and ammunition store.

Another approach to advertising on Twitter is getting well known people, celebrities or others with a large following on Twitter to give brands/products a mention – for a fee of course. It’s a type of product placement if you will and it can be really effective. A famous person punting a product on Twitter can have effects similar to that of Oprah’s book club picks on book sale numbers.

Social responsibility
The uprisings in the Arab world were widely reported on in the normal media channels with an acknowledgement that social networking, especially Facebook and Twitter, allowed citizens to communicate, organize and coordinate their activities to such an extent that they could overthrow their oppressive regimes. In countries where all other media and communication platforms were censored and restricted, Twitter allowed free dissemination of information to an extent never experienced by these peoples before. 
On a less revolutionary scale, there are many initiatives which are propagated via Twitter. These can range from events and charity collections to awareness campaigns. Two examples are #TesticleTueday and #BoobieWednesday where Twitter users spread messages about administering self checks for testicular and breast cancer.

There are many more aspects to Twitter, and many further ways to utilize the platform than those I have mentioned. But being both brief and a beginners guide, the above should serve for now.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Group buying site aggregator

It had to come eventually... a website that scrapes the deals from the various group buying sites.
You can now (sort of) see all the available coupons in one place instead of visiting each site individually.
See it at

I wonder what the todaysdeals owners gain from this?