Tag Archives: myvideo

Top 9 stops on the web

There’s been a lot of talk on the interweb about elitism and how a few have come to dominate the web space and dictate what counts as interesting or useful or not. To this end, less ‘web-optimization-orientated’ individuals who are trying to compete in the cyber-games are often shot down for offering old news or something that ‘everyone’ has already seen or heard of.

Well I take a more humble approach. I specifically write my blog with the ‘un-savvy’ reader in mind. I try to offer well-informed readers something interesting and new but write in a way that any newbies would be able to appreciate and understand. It’s all about sharing knowledge and appreciating people’s efforts for trying.

So with that out of the way here are my top nine things to do on the web! Whether they be new or old to you, I’m sure you’ll at least find something to amuse or entertain yourself with. (In alphabetical order they are):

1. Abandon Games
As an avid gamer (and history lover) I’m a firm believer of being familiar with the past in order to fully appreciate the present. Abandongames.com offers a collection of golden oldies that are no longer sold on the shelves. I like to refer to these as the kind of Games Grandpa Used to Play and are available for free download. You can read reviews of some of my top ones here. Ahhh the nostalgia…

Two other great games (which you can play for free online and kill some time) are table tennis and what I simply call the bunny game. The latter really does wonders for one’s peace of mind with some good soothing music and an indestructible fluffy bunny rabbit.

2. Blogs (Afrigator, Regator, Amatomu & Technorati)
With a multitude of blogs available on the web it becomes tedious trying to find interesting and exciting ones to read. There are several blog aggregators around that try and simplify this process by providing categories and lists of top blogs, top posts, or popular reads by calculating their popularity based on the amount of traffic they receive.

Amatomu attempts to provide the above by tracking South African blogs, Afrigator: African blogs, and Technorati: blogs from around the world. Regator attempts to take this a step further by cordially inviting blogs that are nominated as being the best on the web to feature on their site. It all depends on what you’re interested in, but here’s a list of 15 well-written blogs to get you started.

3. Digital Blasphemy
The ultimate place to go for artsy wallpapers, digitalblasphemy.com offers original hi-res 3D-rendered desktop wallpapers, as well as links to some of the best computer art sites on the web. Created by Ryan Bliss – a self-taught 3D artist, digital blasphemy has a free gallery for non-members to download some incredible digital artwork with no strings attached. You can read more about it here. Digital Bliss! 😀

4. Muti
Muti.co.za has got to be the top place to go if you’re looking for something new and interesting on the web without having to do any browsing. Dominated by a few web-savvy users, muti allows registered users to post links to anything they have found interesting/ inspiring/ controversial on the web and comment on each others posts. Things are made even simpler by letting users vote for posts – thus making it easier for visitors to get an idea of what is generally thought to be worth reading/viewing on the web. Often generates some stimulating conversation too.

5. Peegly
A good way to vent your anger or simply get something off your chest: peegly.com is an entirely anonymous service that requires no registration and lets you speak your mind or share a story relating to love, fear, sins, hatred or anything really. Readers can then vote and comment on the sentiments of others or just read a few to perhaps realise that your life isn’t that crappy after all. A good opportunity to play Dr Ruth and help out a few complete strangers.

6. Questionable Content
Web comics can be a great stress reliever and very therapeutic when having a rough day at the office. There are some really great ones available, but my favourite of them all has to be questionablecontent.net. It follows the life of an emo, indie lad named Martin and his anthro PC Pintsize, and makes use of clever humour and really talented drawings. A good story about nice guys getting ahead in life. Takes a little while to develop.

Another site (which has sadly gone dormant) but has a collection of brilliant comics with intellectual humour is the Perry Bible Fellowship. Highly recommended for a good, full-hearted laugh.

7. The video-web: local is lekker
YouTube may dominate the market when it comes to web-videos, but myvideo.co.za offers a great range of content for video fans. It is basically the South African equivalent of YouTube but with far less traffic and content to sift through, making it more user-friendly in my opinion. The majority of the videos available are proudly South African and it’s great to see how much talent South African video-makers have in this department.

8. Ultimate Guitar
For guitarists (amateur and professional); ultimate-guitar.com offers guitar chords and tablature for just about any song you can think of that’s played with six strings. Maintained by guitarists who have figured out the tunes of their favourite jams, users are able to vote for their top versions of different songs (as there is always more than one way to play a song), and download the tabs of the ones they wish to learn.

9. Zoopy
Your ultimate social media site: zoopy.com is rapidly growing in popularity and offers blog posts, videos, podcasts and an array of photographs. Users get a chance to vote for content they enjoy, post comments, and share their collections with others. It has a great local flavour and has recently optimized its data handling – making uploading and viewing content faster than ever before. A great example of the awesomeness that is South African social media.

PS: I was going to create a top 10 list but found that I couldn’t actually think of a 10th site I visit often (besides the obvious – e.g. facebook, gmail etc). I’m hoping this will encourage the web gurus out there to create their own lists. Otherwise please add links to any great sites you can think of below and lets all share in the wonders of the www!

Related posts:
Digital Blasphemy
Games Grandpa Used to Play
The video-web: local is lekker

Witness This (promo video)

MULTIMEDIA is fast becomming the ‘in’ thing in the South African media industry. Media organisations that offer online content in the form of video, podcasts and slideshows on their websites are getting a lot more traffic than those that simply regurgitate text stories with a couple of photographs.

The Natal Witness, although small, is gaining speed in the chase to jump onto the multimedia band-wagon. It’s currently getting a MyVideo channel professioanlly set up by Tristan Owen, and despite being critically under-staffed, we endeavour to bring fresh video content every week for your viewing pleasure.

Below is a fast-paced, action-packed promo video of the sport, music, art, theatre, news and entertainment videos produced for the Witness Online. It hints at what is already available and provides a taste of what is yet to come.

To see the full videos, and more, visit www.witness.co.za.

Witness this promo video:

The video-web: local is lekker

MYVIDEO: The South African choice for online video

THE recent merger of YouTube with Google Video has resulted in a frustrating bug for all online video fans. YouTube videos embedded in other websites or blogs (and often the ones on YouTube.com) are displaying the polite message: “We’re sorry, this video is no longer available.”

This has caused somewhat of a conspiracy among bloggers, who are digging deep to find answers and possible solutions to the problem.

One blogger has suggested that unplayable YouTube videos embedded elsewhere force viewers to go to YouTube’s website – increasing their traffic and ad impressions. It’s obvious that increased traffic leads to increased ad impressions and therefore more money, yet I suspect that this is not the case.

It appears to be a simple bug issue and the problem can be resolved by deactivating Google Web Accelerator.

I have been producing online videos on a weekly basis for the past few months. I have been uploading these on both YouTube and MyVideo (which is basically the South African version of YouTube). I also embed these videos into my blog but always use the MyVideo code when doing so. This is purely to keep my blog local and support the South African underdog, yet my experience of using both channels has revealed a few pros and cons for each service.

First off your videos are likely to get far more views on MyVideo, especially if you’re producing South African videos. There are far fewer videos to compete with for viewership and the site was designed for proudly South African videos.

Statistically I’ve found that the same videos on my MyVideo channel generally get about 3 times more views than they do on YouTube, unless (it seems) your video is about an international celebrity or degrading to South Africa in some way. In the latter case my mock video on the Eskom crisis has had over 1000 more views on YouTube than it has on MyVideo.

YouTube – Pros & Cons
Two great features of YouTube, on the other hand, are annotations and YouTube insight – the latter made possible since Google took YouTube under its wing. This tool allows us to see exactly how and from where people came to view our videos. More importantly, it allows one to gain insight as to where your video has been embedded on other external sites.

One downside of YouTube, however, is that they are very strict about copywrite. I once used a song as a bedding track for one of my videos, and thanks to Google’s help, YouTube picked up the file name of the song saved within the avi file and traced it as belonging to UMG. An automated email I received stated that they would not pull the video yet could place adverts on the page where the video is hosted. Needless to say I now have an over-sized advert for the new iphone accompanying this video (subject to change).

(This was not picked up by myvideo.co.za).

I was recently contacted by Tristan Owen who works for www.myvideo.co.za after reporting a bug issue (another bonus of the smaller video site is the greater customer care)! He has asked for any suggestions with regards to improving the site. Since online video is fast becoming my career and life ambition, I sent him a mini essay with an apology note attached.

He’s looking into some of my ideas (video statistics being a major one) and is hoping to have them implemented soon. I’ll keep all those interested posted on whatever upgrades we can expect. In the meantime please add any suggestions you might have below and upload your videos to MyVideo. Local can be lekker!

How to create your own online videos
Movie Making 101 – a simple guide