Tag Archives: shopping online

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 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