Archive for Lipiec, 2011

Opinion: Personal technology is better than personal computing for achieving goals

By admin, 21 lipca, 2011, No Comment

By Henry Ferreira, Lenovo general manager: Africa

In essence, users don’t care about how what they want to do with their devices is enabled. Technologists can talk as much as they like about concepts such as unified communications and collaboration, platform or anything else as a service, mobile broadband, virtualisation, or the cloud …

All users want to know is that there is some sort of device available that is suited to what they want to do in relation to their life or work or play.

In an ideal world still relatively far off in the future, there could be one end-user device that does everything, including making the coffee, washing the dishes, and ordering the groceries!

But the trend to personal technology isn’t really about a one size fits all device. Certainly, it’s no longer about personal computers. It’s about matching devices to lifestyle choices. It’s about the user being able to plug in at any point on the ever-expanding continuum of technology options that suits him or her.

And enabling that is the real challenge confronting technology vendors right now. They must be part of the technology continuum by offering what everyone else does (or fall behind) while continuously expanding the continuum through innovation.

That’s difficult because ideas, designs, and development tend to happen in pockets, depending on who has the resident genius and who’s prepared to risk paying for something that’s not been tried and tested before. Patents are good for commercial protection but they don’t make for sharing of and collaboration on ideas.

More importantly, perhaps, because development happens in pockets, no-one has really been focused on enabling a continuum of technology that gives users absolutely free choice as to where in that continuum they plug in. After all, you must recover the cost of development and manufacture by selling your own products rather than those of your competitors.

Where’s the computer?

It doesn’t help, of course, that the continuum is so broad and all-inclusive. It ranges all the way from the obvious – PCs, desktops, tablets, and smartphones – to the more futuristic, such as digital TV and digital home appliances.

In fact, the extended range is one of the factors that makes for personal technology rather than personal computing. ‘Computing’ implies working on a spreadsheet, a document, a computer-aided drawing – or anything else we think of as requiring a mouse, a keyboard, a screen, and some software. However, in digital home appliances, for instance, we won’t necessarily see any of those items.

For the user, therefore, the computing aspect of digital equipment of any sort is becoming progressively more opaque and it will simply be ‘technology’. What makes it ‘personal’ technology is that fact that we will have the choice of whether we acquire and use it to do the things that we need in order to meet our lifestyle goals.

Doing is the point

‘Doing’ is the other key that opens the personal technology door. By and large, technology, whether used at work or home, tends to be the territory of ‘do-ers’. People who are focused on getting results of one sort or another will generally use technology as the means to that end.

Sports people, for instance, have to do the swimming or the striking of the tennis or golf ball themselves. But they’ll train using computer analysis of their styles and those of their competitors. They’ll track their performances using computer analysis. And they’ll communicate with trainers, coaches, family, and friends using smartphones.

Teachers use technology aids in the classroom and educational institutions use technology to analyse and report on student results and the institution’s performance. Students use technology for research and collaborative projects.

Entrepreneurs use technology to communicate with employees, business partners and customers, to track inventory, do online marketing, participate in video conferences…

In other words, technology is first and foremost about ‘doing’, usually in relation to very specific goals. Technology is rarely passive.

In the sense, therefore, of all the ‘doing’ that technology enables, it becomes extremely personal – because it is related so directly to what an individual ‘do-er’ wants to use it for. Each do-er brings his or her own highly personal needs to technology and expects to have technology respond directly to those specific needs.

Standardising choice

So, in the world of personal technology, how does the manufacturer operate easily within the continuum and yet retain the ability to differentiate itself from the rest of the market? Ironically, personalisation is its own answer.

Using laptops as an example, not everyone wants the level of performance that, say, a business user would want. That said, someone interested in gaming but who is never going to work on a spreadsheet wants high performance, too.

By the same token, these days, business users want multi-media functionality so that they can listen to music while on a business trip – or watch a movie while they wait for a connecting flight in Europe. Or, indeed, download a business video to YouTube.

So, there’s no way a vendor can say that a machine intended for business use doesn’t need multi-media capability or that a machine intended for a student can do without Instant Resume, which retains a wireless connection for up to 90 minutes, even when the laptop goes into sleep mode.

Does that mean, then, that every laptop must have every capability? Should manufacturers be trying for that one size fits all machine?

Absolutely not. Because there’s the small issue of price. The cost of design, development, and manufacture is one thing. Much more important is what is affordable to the user.

And this is the final aspect of ‘personal technology’. Until we reach the nirvana in which one user device does everything and costs virtually nothing to build and distribute, the level of functionality and performance that will enable a ‘do-er’ to achieve his personal goals comes with a price tag. It is then up to the user to match his finances to the technology most relevant to his goals.

WD 1TB drive now fit in most consumer notebooks

By admin, 21 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Western Digital, a leader in the desktop, mobile, high-capacity enterprise and consumer markets for hard drives, today announced that it has commenced volume shipments of its WD Scorpio Blue 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch mobile hard drive with 1 TB capacity. Designed for mainstream notebook computers, the new WD Scorpio Blue 1 TB hard drive utilises 500 GB-per-platter areal density and is now the highest capacity for 2.5-inch hard drives available in the industry-standard 9.5 mm, two-platter (2-disk) form factor.

WD Scorpio Blue mobile hard drives are designed with ruggedness, reliability and data-protection features that actively watch over data. The WD Scorpio Blue 1 TB mobile hard drive also achieves excellent power and performance, making it an ideal solution for notebook computers and other portable devices that require extended battery life and cool, ultra quiet operation.

“With the release of the 1 TB WD Scorpio Blue notebook drive in a 9.5 mm package, WD is able to offer the greatest storage capacity available for use in portable computing environments,” said Matt Rutledge, vice president and general manager of Client Storage for WD. “Mobile users no longer need to choose maximum capacity over thin and light, WD is ready with storage options, achieved without compromise to performance and reliability, that prove ideal for mobile digital devices of all kinds including PC and Mac notebook computers; external storage; and digital media players.”

WD Scorpio Blue Features:

  • Low power consumption – Advanced power management features and algorithms optimise the way the drive seeks for data, which significantly improves power consumption.
  • Cool and quiet – In a notebook drive, silence is golden. WD’s exclusive WhisperDrive technology yields one of the quietest 2.5-inch hard drives on the market.
  • Reliable – WD’s SecurePark parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down, and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface resulting in improved long term reliability due to less head wear, and improved non-operational shock tolerance.
  • Shock Tolerant – WD’s ShockGuard technology, now increased to a best-in-market 400Gs shock specification, protects the drive mechanics and platter surfaces from shocks.
  • Advanced Format (AF) – Technology being adopted by WD and other drive manufacturers to continue growing hard drive capacities. New drives featuring AF are optimised for operation with the following operating system software: Windows 7, Windows Vista and Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard (PVT models only).
  • Tested for compatibility – WD performs tests on hundreds of systems and a multitude of platforms in its FIT Lab and Mobile Compatibility Lab to give customers confidence that drives will work in specific systems.

Google AdWord campaign advice from Altech

By admin, 21 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Google AdWords – the sponsored links that appear alongside search results and other web content – are the most cost-effective way to advertise on the Net because you only pay when people click your ads.

There is no blueprint for creating a great search advertising campaign. Businesses of all sizes create campaigns which include relevant phrases and words, only to find that click rates are low, or that they simply aren’t being converted into sales. There are several ways to ensure that you make the most of your AdWords promotions.

1. Use a Google AdWords certified company to manage your campaign

Anyone can open a Google AdWords account and start running a campaign, but management of that campaign is a different story. Experienced pay-per-click advertising consultants undergo in-depth training on all things related to Google AdWords to achieve certification.

Pay-per-click gives your business total control over its budget, and allows you to switch your adverts on or off as you choose. It even allows you to target geographical areas and to display your ads at certain times of the day when your target audience is more likely to be actively searching.

Critically, the key to a successful pay-per-click campaign is its management.  Experienced and knowledgeable pay-per-click advertising consultants can help you to devise and plan an effective strategy. Through clever management and monitoring, you can achieve the optimum use of your budget, value for money and a good return on investment. Certified consultants have an in-depth understanding of how important conversion is, and that it’s the difference between profit and loss.

Having knowledge of advanced techniques in keyword optimisation or landing page quality ensures that the campaign’s AdWords quality score is raised.  That’s why the company you choose to manage your pay-per-click advertising must be Google certified.

2. Have a clearly defined strategy

Every campaign has an objective, such as boosting sales or generating leads. You need to know what yours is, and have a plan in mind for which market you want to target, which geographical regions, and who you are up against.

3. Start out small and grow the campaign based on results

Measure the success of your campaign. You need to assign a value to the successful achievement of the campaign objective and understand where money is being spent well. When you have an AdWords campaign that is working, use the platform to gain more insight into what your potential customers want. You can, for example, launch a quick AdWords campaign to see how customers respond. If the response is positive, that will give you an idea of what messaging works so that you can make adjustments that sharpen your ads and give you the best returns. Success must be tracked daily and can be done with Google Analytics.

4. Ensure proper campaign flow

A campaign does not mean redirecting clients to your website. Have a product specific landing page with call-to-action functionality along with the benefits of your product or service. The call-to-action – buy, order, or sign up – encourages users to click on your ad and ensures they understand exactly what you expect them to do when they reach your landing page.

5. Manage and monitor your ads

Many companies create an AdWords campaign and check it once a week. This is bad practice. To get the most out of yours, monitor it on a daily or even hourly basis. Checking your account regularly to see how it is performing will enable you to add or remove keywords, and to do away with ads which are not performing.

It’s that attention to detail, management and continuous web analytics monitoring, combined with knowledge and experience about website usability and paid search through Google Adwords, that consultants use to fine tune your account to changing market conditions so that you can achieve optimum results.

By Wayne de Nobrega, CEO at Altech Technology Concepts (ATC).

DCC and Makro partner up

By admin, 21 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Drive Control Corporation’s (DCC) has recently concluded an agreement with Makro for the mass market retailer to stock a range of Hewlett Packard (HP) and Western Digital (WD) products. This agreement builds on DCC’s existing relationship with Makro, supplying additional products to the consumer market while leveraging Makro’s extensive customer base and nationwide footprint.

Makro will be stocking a variety of products from the HP stable, including laptops, printers and external hard drives, as well most of the WD range of portable and external storage.

“We have had a great relationship with DCC for more than five years, and we are excited to be extending this relationship with the new product offering,” says Niven Narayan, National Buyer at Makro. “WD is the number one selling hard drive brand in the world, and our customers have increasingly requested these products. We are responding to their demands through the new deal. We have also extended our HP offering because of due to the well known quality and equity of the brand. ”

“As part of our strategy we are aiming to increase customer awareness of the WD brand,” says Anamika Budree, Retail Manager at DCC. “While HP is already a well known brand locally, we are always looking to expand our market with these products, and by harnessing Makro’s footprint and customer base we will increase sales volumes and target the consumer mass market with the WD and HP product ranges. Stocking these products in Marko stores will also provide the retailer’s customers with access to this consumer geared technology.”

This mutually beneficial arrangement will enable DCC to expand its retail customer base, and enable Makro’s customers to take advantage of the retailer’s aggressive pricing strategy and excellent customer and after sales service when purchasing products from the ranges offered by these well known global brands.

SME companies face bi-annual PAYE process

By admin, 21 lipca, 2011, No Comment

The closing date is yet to be confirmed by SARS, but speculation is that employers will have until the end of October 2011 to complete their submissions.

“It is important that companies bear in mind that the bi-annual submission is completed for reconciliation purposes only. Payroll, HR and Finance departments should not issue the tax certificates to their employees,” said Grant Lloyd, managing director at payroll and HR software specialist Softline Pastel Payroll, part of Softline and Sage Group plc.

SARS will inform companies closer to the time if they will release a new version of the online e@syFile system. The e@syFile system must be downloaded and utilised to upload and submit electronic IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificates together with the EMP501 Reconciliation Declaration for the period 01 March 2011 to 31 August 2011.

“Even though the filing season only opens in September, companies can use the time to  prepare for the compulsory electronic submissions with full employee tax details to ensure their houses are completely in order for this second bi-annual PAYE reconciliation,” said Lloyd.

Certificates without income tax reference numbers will not be rejected, but will be accepted as an incomplete submission and penalties will be raised on incomplete submissions. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each employee has a valid income tax reference number to prevent incomplete tax certificates from being submitted during the bi-annual submission period.

Companies should use the preparation season to ensure that their income tax reference numbers that were returned by SARS after the 2010/2011 filing season are captured on each employee’s record.

Companies should obtain income tax reference numbers from employees that were appointed from 01 March 2011 to 31 August 2011. If these new appointments do not have income tax reference numbers yet, register them using eFiling. Before terminating an employee’s service during the period 01 March 2011 to 31 August 2011, companies should ensure they have the employee’s income tax reference number.

Employers who have automated payroll software systems will find it simple to execute the reconciliation process, as they need only capture employees’ information and their payslips.

During the reconciliation process automated payroll software ensures the electronic tax certificates are generated automatically in the required file format. This file can be imported directly into SARS e@syFile. The EMP501 Reconciliation Report to complete the PAYE, SDL and UIF reconciliation declaration on SARS e@syFile can be generated for the period 01 March 2011 to 31 August 2011 directly from the payroll software. This saves businesses considerable time and cost compared to manual calculation and capturing.

In addition to the EMP501 Reconciliation Report, Pastel Payroll offers customers the ability to import a file containing employee income tax reference numbers from SARS e@syFile. These income tax reference numbers would have been generated by SARS during or after the 2010/2011 PAYE filing season and returned to the SARS e@syFile application as part of the bulk registration process.

Limited Edition Coins by SA Mint on bidorbuy

By admin, 19 lipca, 2011, No Comment

The special circulation coin sets commemorate ninety years of the South African Reserve Bank and are the first auctions by SA Mint on bidorbuy.

The SARB 90th Anniversary Gold Set consists of a proof R5 circulation coin, a proof R5 sterling silver bi-colour coin, and a £100 2oz 24-carat gold bank note replica. This set will be the only one on offer to the general public direct from SA Mint and is on auction online on bidorbuy from 19 to 30 July. The opening bid is R22,000, and there is no reserve price.

The SARB 90th Anniversary Sterling Silver Set consists of a proof R5 circulation coin and a £100 29 gram sterling silver bank note replica. The Silver Set is on auction for two days only, from 19 to 20 July, and with the rock-bottom opening bid of R1. This auction is also without a reserve.

The SA Mint created the two sets to celebrate 90 years of the South African Reserve Bank. Both are collector’s pieces and are minted in limited quantities, of 500 for the gold and 4500 for the silver set.

What makes the sets that feature on the bidorbuy auctions truly exceptional and unique is the fact that they are certified as first in their respective ranges. The gold set is number 001/500, and the silver one is number 0001/4500.

The South African Mint is the official mint of the Republic of South Africa. SA Mint manufactures coins on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank. It also supplies coins and coin blanks to many countries around the world.

“The Coin category is traditionally one of the biggest on bidorbuy. We are very proud that the SA Mint is appearing on the site for the first time, and with such exceptional items too”, says bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker. “Each month, transactions in rare and collectible coins on the site reach between R3.5 and R5 million. It is estimated that this represents about 30 percent of the total volume of trading in collectible coins and notes in South Africa.”

The public will have the opportunity to view the SA Mint’s SARB commemorative sets at the Johannesburg Coin show, to be held on 30 July 2011 at The Michelangelo in Sandton. The entrance to the show is free. One day earlier, on 29 July, the SA Mint will host a conference at the same venue with the aim of opening the world of coin collecting to the previously disadvantaged sectors of the population.

Jaco Jonker says that coin collecting is not for the rich only. “While we have seen on bidorbuy some rare coins or sets of coins achieve prices in the range of hundreds of thousands of Rands, even people of modest means can build an impressive collection over years. It is, of course, more challenging to build a coin collection on a shoe-string budget, but it is also more rewarding”, he says and adds: “In this respect, online marketplaces like bidorbuy can be or great help to both aspiring and experienced collectors.”

Pastel LegalWrite now compliant with CPA

By admin, 19 lipca, 2011, No Comment

The Consumer Protection Act and Companies Act, which both came into effect earlier this year, will have radical implications for business owners and how they operate with customers and suppliers. LegalWrite product manager, Saul Symanowitz, himself a qualified attorney says, “LegalWrite is a user-friendly, practical tool that can assist business owners in navigating the potential mine field of legal complexity.”

Containing over 100 legal templates that are easily opened and edited in Microsoft Word, the program covers the full spectrum of legal requirements faced by businesses. Embedded and clear instructions on how to personalise documents with names, dates and signatures empowers users to do it themselves. The language is simple English and any complex legal terminology is explained in a full glossary.

Examples of some of the more popular templates include shareholders agreements, partnership agreements, confidentiality agreements, letters of demand, service level agreements, employee contracts, various property agreements and power of attorney to name a few, all of which are fully compliant with the Consumer Protection Act and the new Companies Act. Mr. Symanowitz believes that labour is an area of the law where South African businesses face particular risk.

Softline Pastel, part of the Sage Group plc, is the country’s leading developer of accounting and business solutions. Its LegalWrite product comes complete with a labour guide containing information sections on 20 key areas of labour law, including dismissals, pay slips, health and safety, affirmative action, leave, wages, occupational injuries and diseases , the CCMA, trade unions, contractors, skills development levies, UIF and more. In addition Legal Write incorporates a complete suite of standard labour policies, documents and agreements ensuring your business will always be fully compliant.

The updated program has a comprehensive library of documents including guides on the new acts detailing the appropriate steps to ensure compliance. These simple to understand manuals also cover topics such as BEE, labour laws and tax requirements and provide bullet point facts and definitions for each legal matter. The Companies Act guide contains a useful comparison table with a side-by-side overview of the old 1973 Act and the new 2008 legislation.  Similarly, the information guide on the Consumer Protection Act will ensure business owners are aware of their own and their customer’s rights.

Mr. Symanowitz says, “Many business owners are tempted to surf the net for legal documents. This is very risky as online material often comes from unreliable and outdated sources.” With LegalWrite, which has been developed in conjunction with leading law firm B.Hollander Attorneys, users can be confident that their legal documents are complete, compliant and up to date.

The entire LegalWise package costs less than a single consultation with an attorney. “LegalWrite is an empowering tool that every business owner should use,” concludes Mr. Symanowitz. The new version is now available for purchase at Incredible Connection stores and online at

Sage ERP X3 Warehouse Management System gets a major revamp

By admin, 19 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Softline Accpac, a leading business management software provider, has announced a major new release of Sage ERP X3’s warehouse management system (WMS) – Sage Geode.  “Sage ERP X3 is a best of breed ERP solution for the midmarket and this new release brings greater warehouse and logistics optimisation to all companies with distribution and logistics services requirements,” says Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director of Softline Accpac.

“Sage Geode Version 6.1 provides the tools to process, streamline and optimise the management of the warehouse, enhancing the quality and reliability of logistics flows, providing transaction traceability, maximising warehouse floor space and improving productivity.  As a module of Sage’s global ERP solution, the warehouse management system can be deployed across multiple sites using Sage ERP X3,” says Waterman.

As well as many other logistical features such as transparent transaction tracking both inside and outside the warehouse, people movement and space optimisation, key new enhancements of Sage Geode v6.1 include:

  • Directive Radio Frequency (RF) and resource management: system tasks are directed to RF terminals based on the location of the user and the type of equipment being used.  This provides resource management functionality to help improve productivity within the warehouse
  • Material management: stock can now be managed in both consumer units and stock units.  This improvement ensures accurate warehouse management of raw materials
  • Integration: new connectors have been introduced for seamless integration between Sage Geode and Sage ERP X3

Sage Geode v6.1 is available from July 2011 and follows the recent announcement of Sage ERP X3 Version 6.2 in May which delivered hundreds of module improvements.

Emmanuel Obadia, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Products, Sage ERP X3, commented, “Along with the announcement of Sage ERP X3 v6.2, this further integration of Sage Geode into Sage ERP X3 and the solution enhancements it brings are part of our aim to build on our product quality. This will provide our customers with the best possible and most complete user experience and allow them to benefit from major business improvements through the effective implementation of our ERP system.”

BlackBerry suggests much have apps

By admin, 19 lipca, 2011, No Comment

All of the below apps are available on BlackBerry appworld for download.


Evernote turns your BlackBerry smartphone into an extension of your brain. This award-winning app lets you remember and recall anything that happens in your life. From notes to ideas to snapshots and recordings, put it all into Evernote and watch as everything synchronises from your BlackBerry smartphone to your Apple Mac or Windows desktop.


Lister is a simple, easy-to-use application that allows you to create and manage multiple lists at once. You can easily share your lists with friends and colleagues through email.


The award-winning gwabbit for BlackBerry smartphones make email contact capture fast and easy. Gwabbit automatically scans incoming BlackBerry smartphone emails, finds contacts, and adds them into contact records within your BlackBerry smartphone address book. The basic version is free, and a paid-for version offers some premium features.


MileageMeter keeps track of the fuel mileage of your car or motorcycle. Every time you re-fill your tank just record the odometer reading, the amount of petrol and the price. From this data MileageMeter will calculate your fuel mileage and other statistics.

Contact Cleaner

Contacts Cleaner allows you to merge duplicate and redundant contacts based on selected criteria. The app can merge duplicate contacts one by one with manual confirmation, or automatically all at once.

BlackBerry Travel

BlackBerry Travel makes it easy to plan, book, manage and share your travel activities. Find flight schedules and hotel options, all right from your BlackBerry smartphone. The automatic trip scanning feature will automatically recognize itineraries that are emailed to you and push them to your BlackBerry smartphone – no matter where you booked.

Blue Label Telecoms partners with eThekwini and Ekurhuleni

By admin, 19 lipca, 2011, No Comment

“We were awarded the Ekurhuleni municipality tender in October last year and commenced vending prepaid electricity tokens on the 1st January this year. In 6 months, prepaid electricity sales through Blue Label’s online systems and unique UniPIN voucher  product, has increased to 80% of all electricity sold by third party vendors in this municipality”, comments Alan Kodesh,  CEO of Cigicell.

UniPIN is a unique prepaid electricity voucher that allows consumers to recharge their electricity using their cellphones. Once the consumer purchases a UniPIN voucher, they send their meter  & voucher number to UniPIN’s particular USSD number and a token is sent back to them via sms. The consumer then inserts the token number received  into their meter and the electricity is  recharged.

“Essentially, with UniPIN, recharging electricity is as simple as recharging airtime” concludes  Kodesh.

Dr. Fred Fryer, Director: Revenue Services from the Ekurhuleni Municipality says, ”third party prepaid vending makes our services easily accessible to prepaid consumers and helps them better plan their expenditures. Consumers can now recharge their electricity meters 24/7, previously only available during office hours. We also believe that meter tampering is discouraged by this payment method”, he says.

The eThekwini tender was also awarded in 2010 and Cigicell started distributing prepaid electricity in this municipality in June, working closely with the municipality to create awareness of the new service and making recharging of electricity easily accessible and convenient.

“We chose to partner with Cigicell as our preferred third party vendor, as they have a vast footprint of vendors and their systems integrated well with ours. Through Cigicell’s vendor capabilities, our residents will now be able to recharge their prepaid electricity meters conveniently at their preferred and nearby outlet, improving our service delivery to our community”, says Sandile Maphumulo, Head: eThekwini Electricity.

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