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Monthly Archives: August 2008

On my last vacation day this summer, after the family visiting went home, my daughter Bo-Ashley and I headed out to the Sunken Forest at Sailors Haven on Fire Island. It’s a comfortable walk, hardly a hike, mostly a raised boardwalk through the forest and a concrete path between the dunes — with a couple of benches, rest stops, toilets and showers along the way. The circuit is easily completed in and hour-and-a-half with lots of time to look at things along the way. Take good walking shoes, bug spray and picnic food — the concession store and food stand leave a lot to be desired. The shopping experience aside, the walk was pretty interesting and the two of us had a wonderful father-daughter day out!

This month an icon of African journalism that I once briefly worked with, died. Hannes Smith born March 17, 1933, died August 5th, 2008 at age 75. He was affectionately called Smithie, an English nickname I think he would have preferred over the Afrikaans version of Smittie which many people used.

I knew him as the founding editor of the Windhoek Observer but he always thought of himself as its chief reporter — and indeed he was. My consultancy, Intelligent Ideas, converted his paper to desktop publishing in the late 80’s (early in 1989 as best I can recall).

He was a bright articulate man who didn’t mince his words. Working only from his notes and memory, he dictated stories to his Compugraphic operator to the precise column length required to fill a news hole. Something only he was sure of. We had to wait for the galleys to be played out on bromide, cut into columns and stripped up on the tables to witness the magic of his mental casting. He did this for years before we had write-to-fit text editors. Read More »

It’s underwhelming, actually. One hundred and fifity billion dollars arrived by post today. Zimbabwean dollars. Read More »

Ring Free (RF), in beta now, offers iPhone users the opportunity to make calls to Skype users anywhere — at the cost of a local call.

Register yourself and your iPhone at, write down a four digit code, allow your browser to kick off a local call to Ring Free, punch in the code. Your phone and your account are now tied together. Setup done.

Working through a dialer displayed in your browser, select “Skype”, enter a Skype user name and then punch the “Call” button. You’ll likely enter buddies into your favourites — an alternate page to the dialer.

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Press an hold down the “home” button on the face of your iPhone and then click the on/off button at the top. The screen will flash white.

Now switch to your Photos application, your screen shot will be in the “camera roll”. You can do all the usual things you can do with Photos: Sync back to iPhoto, email out your images etc.

The iPhone 2 screen shot is a 320 pixel wide x 480 pixel tall jpeg.

Caption: Full size example screen shot of the vertical Gmail keyboard in Safari.