World Cup 2006, sushi and ADSL

Just a couple of things…

The World Cup starts tonight! I cannot wait. Even though Germany vs Costa Rica isn’t going to be the most anticipated game at the World Cup, I’m sure going to enjoy every minute of it!

I also found out for all you South African plasma television owners out there, you will be able to catch a number of the matches in wide-screen format! How cool is that? If you ever see a match being screened on SS6 or SS7, press the menu button > advanced options > tv installation. The pin code is 9949. The ratio currently showing will be 4:3. change that to 16:9. Save the settings and get back to SS6 or SS7 quick! Now you will be able to watch DSTV on your plasma the way it was designed to be watched! More info over at SuperSoccer.

Other randomness… I had my 22nd Birthday on Monday and I learnt to make sushi! If you like cooking as much as I do, you’ll appreciate the art of making sushi. I bought most of the ingredients from the local sushi restuarant, and I even managed to get the chef to borrow his sushi knife to me for the evening. They say, never get into a fight with a sushi chef, and I now know why. I’ll post photos and some tips on how to be cool like me and make your own sushi soon.

Other than that, I really wish I had an internet connection at home. This dial-up nonsense to write blog posts is really getting me down. I haven’t been posting here as much as I’d like too, for that simple reason. ADSL is getting cheaper at the end of August, so I might just bight the bullet… But I’ll have to see. Any other idea’s anyone?

Build up to the 2006 Soccer World Cup

Fifa World Cup 2006Watching England take on Hungary last night at Old Trafford, gave me “the” feeling. Yip, it’s that feeling I get every 4 years or so, when the greatest footballers gather in one country to try and win the soccer world cup. 2006 marks Germany’s turn, and guess what? 2010, it’ll be held here in South Africa!

This year I’m backing England to take the World Cup, although without Rooney, their chances might have slipped a little. Brazil will always be in and around the semi’s, and only a fool wouldn’t back Germany in their backyard getting to the final. The other notables that you can never write off are the likes of Czech Republic, Netherlands, France, Spain and Argentina. Although the USA, ranked 5th in the world, might pull a few upsets. I really doubt this year that any of the African teams will make an impact, which just goes to show, that soccer in Africa still doesn’t stand up to the class of the Europeans and South Americans. Are there any other teams you think might create an upset this year?

Another favourite of mine has to be Portugal. My girlfriend’s family is Portugese and don’t even think of not supporting them… But having said that, it’s so much more fun supporting them when they play, than trying to go up against 30 or so of the most staunge Portugese supporters!

And always there’s tons of fantasy league type of games to be played. Over at Newsvine, you can play World Cup 2006 Pick ‘Em where you choose your favourite teams, and stand a chance of winning an iPod video. Over at the official world cup site, theres the Fifa World Cup predictor game which you can play in an Excel spreadsheet. Lots of fun to be had there.

So with less than 10 days to the Fifa World Cup, who you backing?

7 Habits Of Highly Effective Bloggers

I’ve had writers block of late, and Darren has got me out of it by asking to participate in a group writing project on the habits of highly effective bloggers. I’ve often looked at blogs or bloggers and envied their readership, traffic, writing style or blog design and wondered what it takes to get to that point. Everyone’s story of how they got there is different, but they definitely share some sort of common factor. These factors or habits are what make them succeed and really stand out amongst the rest.

After thinking really hard about it, these are my 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers.

  1. Be humble, yet confident – You should never have to tell people your work or blog is awesome, others will be able to tell you, and the rest of the web, themselves. Being humble enough to realise that, yes you’re awesome, but yes there are also others out there that can better your efforts.
    Notables: Bryan Veloso, Veerle Pieters
  2. Use technology efficiently – From the blogging platform you use, to your RSS feeds, effective bloggers know what works for them, and what doesn’t. Also, being able to adjust to the ever changing environment which is the internet, is key to blogging success.
    Notables: WordPress, Feedburner, Text-link Ads, Podcasting
  3. Express your personality in your writing – Being able to write a 1 sentence comment to full-length articles, being able to express yourself is one of the fundamentals of writing. Since you’re not having a one-on-one conversion on your blog, but being able to write your posts as if you are, really gets a person listening.
    Notables: Mike Davidson, Kyle Neath, Scrivs at OreoCEO
  4. Re-invent yourself, yet stick to your roots – The internet is an ever changing environment, and what works 1 month, is lame the next. But being able to change the direction of your blog subtly can influence others. As new technology emerges, and your interests change, being able to get others to follow suit really makes one stand out.
  5. Giving back – The age old saying of “give and you shall receive” will forever stand true. Always remember who got you to the position you are now in and giving back in some form of another can only benefit you. Whether it is a WordPress theme, or free advice on a niche topic, give and you shall receive.
    Notables: Sifr, Chaotic Soul,
  6. Honesty – Admit your failures when they do arise, but also tell others about your successes and how you managed to accomplish them. Everyone is human after all, and honesty does show a lot about your character.
    Notables: Paul Scrivens, Yaro Starak, Bare-naked app
  7. Don’t be afraid – to take chances, to write a “rant” post or to stick your neck out and make a bold statement about something. But always have you facts straight, and stick to your story. If you are proven to be wrong, follow step 6 and admit you’re wrong. But never be afraid to try something different.

I could probably write a book about this post, and then sell it and retire at the age of 23. Oh, but wait, someone beat me to it… Well then I’ll write a post after this one, just about the 8th habit… =)

Bling bling from Silicon Valley

I’ve always wanted to get my hands on some serious schwag from the tech companies in the states. Badges, stickers, t-shirts, USB pens etc. The only stuff I’ve ever managed to collect was from Microsoft’s Dev days and their Visual Studio 2005 launch – which were both awesome – the amount of money Microsoft spend on marketing is really scary! Anyway, as I was saying, to get your hands on these things, you either go off to Google’s Store or have loads of cash to go and attend SXSW in Texas every year.

ValleySchwagBut now there is another way! Valleyschwag has opened up and will send you some really awesome schwag from silicon valley every month. Best of all is they deliver to SA! The price is also not that bad aswell, considering you’ll be getting a t-shirt every month. $23.95 per month, including shipping. Thats around R144.

I’m considering signing up for a month to see if the hype is all worth it. (A guy actually is selling a valleyschwag bag minus the t-shirt on e-bay. Wierd.)

BTW, check out their blog for a couple of hints on what to expect in a schwag bag.

Jason, what’s up with this new design?

Well, all of it! My previous design was put together very quickly, as I really wanted to start blogging. As a capable designer (well I think I am!) there was no way I was going with a free template. So the lime green design was born. It couldn’t display images very well, hated blockquotes and completely forgot about lists. But it worked. It got me a couple of hits a day, and I was happy to be blogging.

After being one of the first people to read and comment on Adam Howell’s post on this idea of a standards based reboot, I immediately knew I wanted to reboot my blog along with the many others that expressed their interest in the idea. Although I missed a whole 2 reboots before actually signing up, the Spring Reboot on the 1st of May seemed like a deadline I might be able to meet. I missed it by a day.

So what’s new and cool, you say

Half the code I used the last time around, was more hand coded links, lists of categories etc. I never delved into the WordPress API much, as I didn’t have time to. This time around, almost everything is generated from template tags. Pages, categories, featured posts. Knowledge is power mate.

Along with pages comes my very first About me, Archives and Contact me pages. I’ve never had any of these before, so these are a first for me. =) (Not that exciting hey?)

One thing that is still in development is my footer. Footers these days seem to be the norm – or the “in-thing”, so purely by peer pressure I’ve created one. I’ll be listing the latest things I’m doing, from books I’m reading, to web projects I’m working on, to sites I’ve visited. It will give you a little more insight into where my interests in life and the web lie.

So where to now?

Not sure really. More regular posting, that’s a definite. WordPress 2.x is so awesome, it almost makes you want to write! So look out for more posts on marketing, web design, web 2.0, me, the internet, sport etc… etc… etc…

See you around.