Tag Archives: tips

Witness This Tit Bits

NEW: Fresh articles await on new Witness This blog

Future by Design

IMAGINE living in a house that is permanently dust free, driving a car that automatically repairs itself, travelling at two thousand miles an hour in absolute comfort, and having the chances of getting ill significantly reduced by living in a city that self regulates it’s air and water. These idealistic-sounding goals are more possible than you might imagine …
Continue Reading…

Vertical Sync and Antialiasing explained

SMART GAMING: Graphical tweaks to enhance your 3D gaming experience …
Continue Reading…

Smart Homes

WHEN people consider their dream home many may think of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, double-story house with a great view — somewhere in the mountains. I think of a house under the sea — one that has a huge window­ looking out into the ocean and one that is fully connected to the outside world … and which cleans itself …
Continue Reading…

FALLOUT 3 is quite possibly the best game ever made. It won Game Of The Year in 2009 and five riveting mods or add-on packs have been released to date. I confidently believe that Fallout 3 is an ever-evolving game genre and I wanted to propose a few additional tweaks or mod ideas to make the game even better …
Continue Reading…

From post to PayPal

BUYING and selling goods and services online is fast becoming the preferred way to shop and conduct business this century, and it recently became easier with the introduction of PayPal to South Africa …
Continue Reading…

Human shapes

I’M so un-flexible that I can’t even touch my toes without experiencing pain and agony. Others are double-jointed and can wrap their legs around their shoulders. These super humans below are something else, and can make the most incredible shapes using just their bodies. Below is a one minute video clip of what the human body can do in unison with others. Prepare to be wowed …
Continue Reading…

Doraleous & Associates

Doraleous & Associates is a fantastically humorous video series started by The Escapist a few months back. Its first season recently concluded with the serie’s 24th episode. If you are not yet familiar with the show, below is the first episode of season one. I personally find it to be a great little video break during the working week, but you should appreciate it if you are a fan of fantasy, digital animation and great wit-filled humour …
Continue Reading…

Automated governance?

IT was predicted that in the year 2010 planes would consist of a single pilot and a dog. The job of the pilot would be to feed the dog; the reason for the dog is to bite the pilot if he or she touches anything …
Continue Reading…

South Africa rolls out Ubuntu in abundance

I WENT on a rant the other day regarding the cost of the 2010 World Cup versus all the critical needs South Africa is facing and whether or not the most vulnerable of this country would gain anything from having the World Cup hosted in their country. At that time, I also had some very positive things to say about our hosts for the 2010 World Cup and I wanted to share that side of the coin as well, because it is equally important …
Continue Reading…

Dear World Cup visitors

FIFA 2010 WORLD CUP: Open letter to our foreign media friends …
Continue Reading…


The home PC has evolved into what is now considered a modern-day home entertainment system. Capable of behaving like a television, home cinema, game station, work station, music player and much more, the home PC is far more capable than it has ever been before. But with all these capabilities come complexities, and there are several things to consider when investing in any form of home entertainment. This is what Easy PC plans to simplify …
Continue Reading…

Playing with fancy food

I never play with my food. I used to find it more fun to dunk my face in a plate of grub rather than try and make words using Alphabetti Spaghetti. But there are some creative people out there who have been playing with funny foodstuffs and have produced some really fun and tasty artworks. check em out …
Continue Reading…

Best Games of 2009

2009 was a great year in gaming. Titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Fallout 3 are quite simply some of the best games ever developed. If you’re still struggling to keep up with the new 2010 game releases, then why not catch up by playing the following, highly recommended 2009 releases (which are also a lot cheaper now than when they were first released) …
Continue Reading…

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: This blog will soon be shutting down, so hop on over to www.witnessthis.co.za for all the latest posts and articles.

Witness This

Movie Making 101

MOVIE MAKER: A simple guide to creating your own online videos

THE video-web is an exciting place to be involved in these days, particularly because it is constantly evolving and simply brimming with potential. If you have untapped creative juices, or any original video-related ideas, there is nothing stopping you from making a contribution to the growing videosphere.

If you have watched any of my videos, you will be intrigued to know that they were all created using Microsoft Movie Maker – a free program that comes standard with any Windows operating system. It should be right under “all programs” from your start menu.

—–> Capturing video

  • The first step to producing an aesthetically pleasing video is capturing good footage to work with. Whether you are using a handycam or a cellphone to film, ensure that you hold the device as still as possible and get all of your shots in frame.
  • Each shot should also be of appropriate length. A good guideline is to ensure that you have at least 10 seconds of still footage for each shot. Film for longer if you feel a little shaky during filming or if the scene warrants a greater length. 
  • Cutaway shots are essential for keeping your video enticing. If you’re shooting an event, for example, film at different angles and alternate between long shots, side shots and close-ups.
  • Once you have all your footage, connect your device to a PC using a USB cable. Create a suitably named folder on your desktop and copy and paste all your clips from your device to your computer.
  • I find it useful to watch each clip a few times to decide which ones I want to use and then rename these appropriately. Delete poor quality and unsuitable clips.

–> Simple editing techniques
Open Movie Maker and import all your clips from the folder you have created. (All the tools are along the left-hand side of the programme). Watch the clips again in Movie Maker to get a better idea of which ones you’re going to use and in what order.

Whip out your trusty notepad and pen and write down the names of the clips you want to use, a description for each if necessary, and the length of each. Then rank them according to how you would like your video to flow.

Along the bottom of Movie Maker are options for switching between a timeline view and a storyboard view. Stick to the timeline view for accuracy. Simply drag your first clip on to the timeline to begin editing.

Movie Maker has a very user-friendly interface with the majority of the tools along the left-hand side of the programme. It also has an extensive help section (“Movie Making Tips”) if you get stuck. Movie making may seem difficult at first, but like any new program, practice makes perfect.

Movie Maker has a very user-friendly interface with the majority of the tools along the left-hand side of the programme. It also has an extensive help section (“Movie Making Tips”) if you get stuck. Movie making may seem difficult at first, but like any new program, practice makes perfect.

The most useful editing tool for any video-editing program is the cut or “split” tool, located under the video-screening box. Play the clip and pause it where you want to make a cut and delete all the unwanted bits.

You can zoom in for better accuracy and have the option of dragging a clip inwards from the end to make it shorter. This has the same effect as a cut and is useful if you make a mistake or wish to make the clip longer again at a later stage.

Continue this process with all your clips and re-arrange them as you see fit simply by dragging them along your timeline.

–> Transitions
Transitions are the fades, wipes and other effects that occur between clips. There are several of these available under the “effects tool”. However, I personally prefer to keep things simple and stick to simple fade-ins and fade-outs.

You can create these by simply right clicking on a clip. One neat trick, however, is to blend clips into one another – something I discovered completely by accident. To create said blends simply drag one clip a little over another. Voila!

There are quite a few transitions at your disposal – some great, and some really cliché. Experiment to see which ones tickle your fancy and use whichever one’s you want. I don’t judge.

–> Audio
No video is complete without decent audio. You should have natural sounds and ambience within your original footage, which is visible along the timeline.

You can separate this audio from a clip by dragging it to the audio layer. This is useful when you make lots of cuts and want your audio to flow naturally.

However, if you are not so set on the audio available to you, you can import your own, such as songs (bedding tracks) in mp3 format. There is also an option of importing pictures into Movie Maker along the same toolbar on the left-hand side.

When you place your desired audio beneath a clip, ensure that you mute the clips or simply lower the volume of the audio belonging to them. You can do this by clicking on “clip -> audio” found along the top tool bar.

When interviewing someone, it is always great to cut to different shots while the person speaks. Every 10 seconds or so is a good guide, but you can creatively time this to cut to shots of what the person is speaking about at different stages.

When creating such a video interview, first edit the entire interview clip into the segments you wish to use. Then edit the cutaway shots you wish to integrate into your video and mute (or lower the volume) of these. Place these clips where desired and simply drag the interview segments beneath them — place only the audio there.

Edit them to fit perfectly by zooming in and dragging both the interviewee audio and the cutaway shot to an equal length. Your video interview should now flow smoothly with cutaway shots in between!

–> Publish & upload
Once you’re smiling and satisfied with your final version of your video, publish/save it to your computer. Publish for “best quality for playback on this computer” and choose a folder to place it in.

Video hosting websites are accepting huge uploads these days so there’s no need to save your video in a smaller format, unless, of course, you’ve created an epic and your video file size is massive.

Upload your video to YouTube, MyVideo or Zoopy, or all three if you wish. Give it a title, an enticing description and a few tags and offer your production to the online world.

Happy video making!

Some useful video making resources
Download Movie Maker 2.6

A beginners guide to blogging

*View this post in HD*

BLOGGING GUIDE: One for the newbies

THE terms “blog” and “blogging” are becoming commonplace in today’s cyber-culture. While such words excite some, they also alienate people who missed the rapid emergence of the blogging phenomenon of 2007.

To put it simply, blogging goes alone the lines of “everyone online can be a publisher”. A blog, therefore, is any individual’s own personal website or space on the web. Some people, such as journalists and techno-junkies, blog professionally, while others blog simply as a hobby or for personal interest.

A portion of the former crowd even make some decent money from blogging, while the majority simply gain personal satisfaction. If you have always wanted to try your hand at writing, or simply have original views or interest in a topic that you’re passionate about, blogging may be for you.

The best part about blogging for me is the feedback one receives. Last week I wrote about website statistics and how one is actually able to see how many people are reading which particular articles you write. You may even get commentary on your blog posts. This is what makes writing for an online audience unique.

Starting a blog
Uncle Sam wants you!If the idea of blogging excites you, there is nothing preventing you from starting one today. There are several ways to go about this, but in the spirit of keeping things simple, there are two blogging sites I would recommend:

www.blogspot.com and www.wordpress.com are two websites I have mentioned before and hold in high regard. They both allow anyone to sign up for free and offer a user-friendly, step-by-step guide to getting started.

However, if you are completely new to the blogging arena, then I would recommend starting your journey with blogger.com. In my experience, this website is easier to follow and will accommodate all your blogging needs.

If, on the other hand, you feel confident with basic website design and html, then wordpress is the way to go. It is far more aesthetically pleasing in my opinion and simply feels more professional.

How to blog
Now that your blog is set up with your chosen theme and blog name, you’re ready to start writing. The best advice that anyone can give in this regard is to write about your passion. What’s the one thing that excites you and has you talking for hours at a social gathering?

A poetic baboon and his monkey friend

A poetic baboon and his monkey friend

Remember that the Internet is already littered with blogs on all sorts of topics, so in order to make yours stand out, you need to write about what you know and offer something new in your own unique style.

Another thing to bear in mind is that blogging, and the whole social networking ethos of web 2.0, is all about sharing and interlinking content. If you have researched your article online, link back to the website that you got your information from.

The same applies to websites that either sparked an idea for a blog post or ones that offer further information and resources. Linking to other blogs is the central core of the blogosphere and is what makes it flourish.

Another tip is to make your blog a useful resource. If you have a passion for cooking, for example, post cooking tips and recipes on your blog. This will not only keep people coming back, but also will become a personal resource for yourself, your family, and your friends.

If you’re keen to test your talents at review writing, research the product thoroughly and provide as much information as possible, but keep it short. You never know who might read it and notice your potential.

Blogging for money
An online survey about blogging and the blogosphere conducted last year revealed that less than 10% of bloggers make money from their blogs and most do not wish to. The personal satisfaction gained seemed to outweigh any desire to blog for money.

However, if this is your incentive, online advertising is where the money is. You’ll come across several websites with Google ads plastered all over them. You earn a few U.S. cents for every click on a Google ad and a cheque is mailed to you when you earn $10 or more.

Yet believe me when I say that this is not suited for South African blogs, at least not yet. I defaced my blog with Google ads as an experiment and made about $3 in five months. There are a few blogs that make a small killing from Google ads but note that their blogs are very popular and took time to get there.

If you run a business from home and don’t currently make use of any online promotion, you are missing an ideal opportunity. Start a blog and write about your product or service. Add photos, prices, product details and create business cards with your blog address on them. It doesn’t get more free than this.

The good news is that the South African blogosphere and the web-savvy minds behind it are creating advertising prospects for SA bloggers. This involved the birth of Adgator last year, which is a child of www.afrigator.co.za.

Once you have signed up with them and embedded some code into your blog, the Adgator team assesses what you blog about and sends this information to prospective advertisers. If your blog cracks the nod with them, you get advertising options and the chance to enjoy a 50/50 cut of the profits.

The service is still brand new, but several South African companies have been approached and things are looking promising. To put things into perspective, I earned R25 in a single day with Adgator, which I consider as easy money for doing what I love.

Early retirement awaits!

For more blogging tips check out:
Nerdmag: They why & how of blogging

You can read the second part to this beginners’ guide here:
A Beginners’ guide to blogging – part 2

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)

*View this post in HD*

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