Tag Archives: online shopping

Embracing Change

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THE world is changing pretty fast – exponentially in many cases, particularly in the technology and online industries. It’s natural for anyone, regardless of age or creed, to feel overwhelmed by the library­ of choice. Laptops, iPads, notebooks, Kindles, iPhones, netbooks, iPods and gaming consoles are all on offer under different brands and with varying specifications. This is failing to mention the infinite range of smartphones.

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Unusual Christmas gift ideas

CHRISTMAS IDEAS: Gifts that will certainly make a statement

JONATHAN VAN STADEN

WHY not spoil yourself or someone who you know who has everything with an electronic gadget that will be sure to make a statement this Christmas. The statement might be that you have lost your mind, but it just may make life a little more interesting. There are plenty of devices out there that have been born out of an active imagination. Here is a sampling of some that you will want to have and others you may prefer to give away. Enjoy.

Want Remote

Want Remote

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Wand Remote

Do you want things to instantly change with the wave of your hand? Now you can with the wand remote. It will learn commands from your existing remotes and map them to particular hand motions. Flick the wand from side to side to change channels or twist it to turn up the volume. A beam of light will even shoot out as you become the conductor of your electronic symphony from the comfort of your couch.

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Popcorn Machine

You just know how much this would make you feel as if you are at the movies or back at the fun fair. No more boring microwave bags. Here you can have salted, hot buttered popcorn until your lips start to wrinkle!

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Guitar T-shirt

Guitar t-shirtPlaying air guitar is so last year. Put this shirt on and plug it into the clip on speaker/amp and start playing your favourite music. All the major chords are recorded from a real electric guitar and the magnetic pick allows you to strum like you would a normal guitar. The amp has a tone knob that lets you adjust the sound just like a real guitar. In case you were wondering the volume knob goes up to 11.

Outdoor subwooferCHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Outdoor Sub-woofer

Now you can enjoy a full bass sound outdoors. It can support up to 90 kg, so you can use it as a plant stand or a side table. Its durable terracotta finish is paintable to match your outdoor décor. Your plants will be amazed to actually hear the sound of a tuba.

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Dog Speakers

Talking of woofers, how about something for the the dog lover. Well, a pair headless dogs sitting at your side may be too weird for you to live with. But on the positive side they do come fully house trained.

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: Self Stirring Mug

Self stirring mugObviously you are going to be so busy waving your remote around and tucking into your popcorn that you cannot be expected to stop and stir your favourite hot drink you have just prepared. You don’t have to. With this mug all you need is one hand to press the button on the handle and all the ingredients will be stirred to perfection.

Games for Christmas: PC on Earth

PC GAMES: A quick look at some good game titles this Christmas

IT is the most exciting time of year for retailers and children alike as we are bombarded by adverts from all directions and the kiddy winkles are putting their finishing touches to their Christmas wish lists.

If your children are as demanding as most they’ll probably be nagging for the latest and greatest gadgetry goods this year. I imagine it must be tough having to explain what a recession is to a young child and argue that Apple iPads and Xboxes just aren’t in Santa’s budget this year.

But, if you already have a workable PC installed at home, games as gifts are the perfect solution to making everyone happy this Christmas. PC games are not frightfully expensive these days and I can assure you from experience that there is nothing more exciting than being given a new game to play for Christmas.

I have compiled a list of a few great PC games that cover several genres and are suitable for a variety of ages. It is also useful to know that most PC games today are not gender-specific. What may have once been considered as boys’ games are now being played considerably by the growing number of girl gamers.

Civilization V (ages 16+): R360 (PC)

Civilization VSid Meier’s award-winning Civilization series is a treat to the mind that will appeal to strategy gamers who enjoy turn-based games. Civilization takes one back to the beginnings of time where you can play as one of the great leaders from history. Discover new technologies and lands, build great wonders, forge alliances and sign treaties as you lead your people through time.

Civilization is a challenging game that promises hours of unique gaming. The previous release (Civilization IV) is now available for only R66 and includes three expansion packs.

Fallout New Vegas (R18): R350 (PC)

Fallout New VegasIn a post-apocalyptic world set in the not too distant future, you are one of several survivors who were preserved in underground vaults. After humanity emerges from living underground for generations, they have already begun to form tribes and allegiances. Conflict is inevitable as different tribes compete for clean water and survival, but one city has mysteriously been preserved from complete destruction. That city is New Vegas.

Stunning visuals and complete immersiveness make this game a personal favourite of mine. Outcomes differ depending on how you play the game and engage with its moral choice system. Just a warning: Fallout does have a gambling component and suggestions of prostitution — hence the age restriction.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (ages 16+):

The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionThe Elder Scrolls places the player in the fantasy realm of Cyrodil — set in the Middle Ages. Made by the same company as Fallout 3, this game is equally stunning and immersive. Players are given endless quests which may see you fighting in the arena or battling mythical creatures with both magic and steel.

The Elder Scrolls is a great example of a sandbox game, whereby the player can literally venture where he or she pleases until the edge of the map. Like Fallout 3, it also features a weather system­, whereby players will experience rain, snow or shine and changes between day and night.

The game is not excessively violent or naughty, but perhaps a little complex for younger players.

Zoo TycoonZoo Tycoon 2 (ages 3+): R309 (PC)

From Railroad Tycoon to Zoo Tycoon — these games are great educational simulators. Players will learn the fundamentals of zoo upkeep and design in a fun and visually stimulating way. Zoo Tycoon is available with four expansion packs, namely the Zookeeper collection, the Marine Mania collection, Endangered Species and the Extinct Animals expansion pack.

Need for Speed Hot PursuitNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit (ages 12+): R303 (PC)

If your offspring are into fast cars and adrenaline rushes (i.e. racing games) you need look no further than the Need for Speed series. Hot Pursuit is one of the more popular releases that will make car fans drool at the well-rendered graphics and sporty cars they get to drive.

Fifa 2011 (ages 3+): R308 (PC)

The ever successful Fifa series is back with Fifa 2011 released this year. Football games are a lot of fun with a lot of effort put into their design. Players look like the real deal, stadia are modelled­ accurately and the roar and buzz of the fans creates a high-energy atmosphere.

Fifa 2011Fifa 2010 is a good choice considering that the World Cup was hosted by our country this year. Unfortunately this release is currently out of stock; but if it becomes available again before Christmas it is selling for just R129.

GAMES BARGAIN BIN:

(these are games I haven’t personally played, but have certainly heard of. Suitable for all ages):

  • Ultimate Monster Trucks R14
  • Football Manager 2007 R14
  • Winter Games R14
  • Puzzle Quest R90
  • Zoo Tycoon (stand alone) R66

NOTE: All PC games mentioned here are available at www.take2.co.za which is also offering free shipping this festive season on all orders over R350. Games may be available in stores or on other shopping websites, yet prices may differ.

Happy gaming and Merry Christmas!

Online shopping guide

TAKE2: A great place for safe & secure online shopping

CHRISTMAS has once again come and gone like a seasonal fling — leaving an empty feeling deep down inside, next to the leftover turkey that was for lunch. If you were one of the many that left your Christmas shopping to the last minute, I don’t think anyone needs to remind you how hellish it was driving to the Present Store. All Christmas spirit seems to dissolve away the minute you get on the road. It may not have been the best idea to leave the shopping so late, but if it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done.

There’s also a good chance that we were disappointed with what we got for Christmas this year — again. All those letters to Santa seem to be in vain sometimes. He must get more hate-mail than wish-lists I reckon.

Nonetheless, we are all adept at acting happy around our loved ones and consider that perhaps it is not the gift that counts but being near a fir tree … Or is it family? No no, it’s the thought that counts; that’s it. But great gifts would have been nice too.

There is a solution to fighting your way through traffic, struggling to find what you want and disappointing family and friends with “thoughtful” gifts that you managed to find at the last minute. The solution lies in the joys and wonders of online shopping. There are many ways to go about ordering goods online, but I have found one specific website particularly pleasing to use.

take2 logo

Take 2
Take 2.co.za is a South African website that offers a very similar experience to using Kalahari.net (among others). They have their headquarters in Cape Town, but they will happily deliver ordered goods anywhere in the country.

They also charge a flat-rate deli­very charge of R30, which is the same if you order one item or 20. This is by far the cheapest delivery fee I’ve ever experienced. Take2 will also deliver right to your door and have a very efficient e-mail service to keep consumers posted.

Signing up
Signing up is as simple as saying “silly season”. Simply visit take2.co.za and click on “sign up”. You’ll need to provide a name, contact number and e-mail address.

The next step is to create an address list. This could just be one address (presumably your own address) to have any products delivered directly to you, or you could include the addresses of family and friends to have items delivered directly to their doors instead.

The next step involves divulging banking details, which is where people often get itchy. However, you do not need to give out credit card numbers; in fact you don’t even need a credit card! Rather, you provide banking details such as your account number and branch code and they link your account with theirs.

Paying is as easy and stress-free as performing an EFT.

Email notifications and wish-lists
Something that I particularly like about Take2 is their speedy e-mail service that keeps you in the loop. They send you an e-mail when you place an order, a confirmation e-mai­l once you have paid the required amount, an e-mail to say that your products are being acquired, and a final e-mail once they have shipped your goods with the courteous line, “your products have been shipped and will be arriving shortly”.

Another great feature of most online stores such as Take2 is the wish-list. Any products that you come across while browsing around can be added to your wish-list to be ordered at a later, perhaps more prosperous date and time.

If the products in your wish-list are currently out of stock, Take2 will also e-mail you as soon as they become available to order again. They also let you know if any price reductions occur.

What’s available
Take2 is in the business of home entertainment and deals in DVDs, games, electronics, books and music mostly. They also constantly have specials on offer as well as a clearance stock section, which acts as a sort of electronic bargain bin. I have found goods there for half the price that they are labelled with in stores.

The service also has a fantastic sorting feature which allows you to sort products by price, sales rank, release date etc. This is great when you have a budget in mind or want to see what everyone else is buying. Other features are “monthly best sellers”, “top 40 viewed” products, “top rated products” and “current top sellers”. All specials are also clearly marked in red, making them easy to spot.

Customer network
To give you greater assurance that you’re not being scammed into buying cheap crap off the Internet, Take2 offers user reviews and an easy-to-use rating system. Any member can rate a product from one to 10 and an average score is displayed next to each rated product.

People who have purchased or used any of the products available on Take2 are encouraged to write short reviews, which will then appear beneath the products when people are browsing the website. There are often differing views and experiences of the same products, but consumers generally point out the pros and cons — invaluable information to new buyers.

Click click. All done
All that’s left to know is buying. Each time you click on an item an option to “add to cart” will appear (alternatively you can add the product to your wish-list). Once you’ve added all your desired items to your virtual cart, you can “proceed to checkout”, select the address where you would like your goods shipped to, transfer the right amount of cash due (calculated for you) and you’re all done.

Each product also gives an indication of how long it will take to ship the product. In all the time that I have spent using Take2, they have never been more than a couple of days late.

There was one case where an order that I had paid for went out of stock and I phoned Take2 to find out what was happening. They offered to either refund me in full or to place the amount into a credit balance (which has since been used).

And that’s really all you need to know about online shopping (or perhaps where to go). Happy shopping and remember that everything is cheaper online!

*** Visit Take2 now ***

If you have had any positive online shopping experience please feel free to leave a comment, and let’s do our bit to promote good South African service.

Related posts: Online shopping tips  The Simple Life (online)

Online shopping tips for the festive season

IF you’re tired of mad dashes to the shops for that last forgotten item, manic searches for parking, tussles with strangers over the last turkey, and queues longer than the Nile, then shopping online is the way to overcome your festive season shopping nightmare.

Online shopping is fast and convenient, making it incredibly easy to shop around for a better deal. You can find almost anything online, from groceries to discounted flight tickets, and best of all, Internet shops are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here are a few tips from Mweb to ensure that your online shopping experience is safe and hassle-free this festive season:

Secure your computer
Your computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software installed. Security software must be updated regularly to provide protection against the latest threats. A good Internet security package is vital, but can be expensive.

Mweb subscribers can download Mweb Total Protection from McAfee online for free. This is a state-of-the-art package specifically designed to protect your computer against malicious software and hackers, and will automatically remind you to perform any updates.

Software such as this will also give you warnings when the site you’re working with may be insecure.

Check if the site is safe
When buying online, look for signs that the website is secure before entering your personal and financial information. This is indicated by a closed padlock on the browser’s status bar or by an “s” at the end of http (e.g., https://www.onlineshop/bargains.com).

Shopping @ homeOnly buy from trusted merchants
Only shop at companies that you have heard of or that have been recommended by a trusted source. If you have not heard of the company before, but are keen on its merchandise, why not look for its contact details and give its people a call.

Know what you are paying for
Always read the seller’s descriptions carefully and note that name-brand items at greatly reduced prices could be counterfeit. Ask for proof of authenticity if necessary as you can’t scrutinise items like you would if you were in a store when shopping online.

Online Payments
Online payments are usually made with a credit card. When given a choice, rather use a credit card instead of a debit card because credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard protect you against unauthorised purchases.

Remember to keep your passwords safe and don’t save them on your computer, even as a separate file, just as you wouldn’t keep your credit card’s PIN number in your wallet.

Log off from your web browser after shopping
When you’ve finished shopping online, log off from the website and close your web browser. This will end your session safely, and will keep your personal information protected. Also, be wary of entering personal financial information at an Internet café or public access spot.

The cyber-world is not that different from the real world and similar rules apply. Trust your instincts and be street-wise. Happy shopping, and may you receive many happy feelings this festive season 🙂

A great place to start a safe and secure shopping experience online is Take2

Related post: Your online shopping guide  The Simple Life (online)

The Simple Life (online)

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TECHNOLOGY is often blamed for complicating our lives instead of simplifying them. But there are ways to harness the power of technology to achieve your dream of an ordered, less chaotic life. Natalie Thayer, GM of MWEB, offers some advice on how to get the balance right:

  • Go grocery shopping onlineyummy
    Instead of wandering the supermarket aisles, have food, wine and other household goods delivered to your doorstep. Many retailers including Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, have online shopping facilities which can save you money, petrol and travel time.
  • Skype logoMake phone calls over the Internet
    Internet phone services, like MTalk Webcall, allow you to make national, international and cell phone calls very cheaply – and sometimes for free. An ideal alternative to a traditional landline, Webcall is easy to use and you only need a broadband Internet connection.

Transfer money, pay bills and bank onlineonline banking
If you haven’t already, set yourself up with Internet banking. You can move money from one account to another, do direct deposits and pay your accounts online so you don’t have to go into a store or stand in bank queues longer than the Nile to settle your accounts.

  • Use the Internet for school projects and homework
    Instead of a shelf full of outdated encyclopaedias, get your kids to use the Internet for school project research and even exam revision. It will save you money and trips to the library. A useful site for students is sparknotes.com

Upgrade your Internet connection
If you are still using a painfully slow dial-up connection, save yourself time and frustration by upgrading to a broadband connection like ADSL. Faster connection speeds and a fixed monthly fee will let you rediscover the joys of the Internet. You’ll also avoid tying up your phone line for hours at a time.

“The Internet is not only a source of information but also a great way to get your daily tasks done, saving you time and petrol money. The careful use of technology can help simplify life – you just need to choose the technology you really need to achieve your goals.”
— Natalie Thayer, GM of MWEB

— issued on behalf of MWEB

Related post: Online shopping tips Your online shopping guide