South Africa, like many emerging nations, has an economy that is mainly entrepreneur-driven. These small companies are the pieces that fit into the grander scheme of pushing the economy forward.
However, these smaller companies are often on tight budgets, and as such, elaborate software is not the option when arranging the computer setup for a new startup, or refreshing an established business's computing systems.
A major requirement of many small businesses is a comprehensive billing system — a tool that allows a business to issue invoices and payment notification to its customers timely.
A recently launched service, developed entirely by South African programmers and designers, has revolutionised the way local businesses operate.
It's called SnapBill, and, as described on the site, it's a "secure, fast and easy to use billing in a Snap™".
However, one minor feature that Apple has made sure to omit is the ability for users to take songs from their iPods, and import them into their iTunes library.
Of course, we can clearly see the reasoning of this move: opening up the iPod to allow people to browse its innermost contents will enable piracy — the bane of the music industry sine the turn of the century.
But what if you, like me, have a new computer that you wish to transfer your music to? And I don't mean copying your iTunes library over to the new PC or Mac.
Here's the situation that I was in around the time when I got my new MacBook about a year ago. My current library on my old PC wasn't that great; there were a lot of repeated songs, and plus, somehow, my iPod ended up having more songs than the library on my PC, since that library went under quite a few re-sets. Bottom line: I wanted to get all the songs that were on my iPod onto my new Mac.
After searching around Google, I discovered a neat tool called Pod to Mac. There's a Windows version available as well, called, naturally, Pod to PC.
Essentially, Pod to Mac or PC is able to read all the songs on your iPod when it's connected to your computer. You can then either import selected tracks and videos. or the entire contents of your iPod's media content, to your iTunes library.
Pod to Mac or PC is really easy to use. It's got a straightforward interface, and once you check media you want imported into your iTunes library, just leave it to do the work.
One thing, however, is that this app is not free; it's free to try, but you'll have to pay the developers, Macroplant, $19,95 for a single-license.
I managed to get the job done with the freeware version, though. For just a few feature limitations, you can still get the entire contents of your iPod into iTunes.
Get Pod to Mac here.
On Friday, Google changed their logo to what's become one of the biggest procrastination tools recently launched.
The Pac-Man doodle was launched to commemorate 30 years of one of the greatest, most cherished games ever made.
However, this awesome logo will be taken down by this evening, according to Google. So if you'd like to save the game to your PC or Mac, playable at a later time, off-line from within your browser, download the game here.
The major things to know about this latest addition to the App Store is that Twitter for iPhone, unlike its predecessor, is free. It is, essentially, Tweetie2 re-branded, and in fact, the developer of Tweetie has moved over to work at Twitter, developing this app under its new name.
Whilst its completely refreshed in its branding, it must be known from the get-go that this app is still based on Tweetie's core, and so the experience will be very much similar to what was once a paid app. For us Twitter fanatics, this is great news! We're ultimately getting one of the best mobile Twitter apps for absolutely free!
Click through for the full review.
This new site is said to be optimized for South African YouTube users, and as such will allow us South Africans to stream videos much more quickly, get South African-specific video recommendations from the home page, and it all-round improves the Internet experience for South Africans nationwide.
Mweb instigated a revolutionary phase in the South African Internet experience with their uncapped broadband deals, and this new move from Google-owned YouTube means that we're a step closer to that hope of a Silicon Valley-style technology industry in the country. Sure, it's a really small step, but its a move forward nonetheless.
YouTube's live streaming feature was hugely successful during the Indian Premier League earlier this year, even resulting in the site gaining a small bit of viewer-ship and competing with prominent sports channels like ESPN, SuperSport and CNN.
The new YouTube-optimized site for South Africa is: www.youtube.co.za.
With all the hype surrounding the new Nokia N8, here's a video from Nokia introducing this new device that will be running Symbian 3. Enjoy!
But with the rise of social media, we're seeing a renewed interest in the world of awe, with blogs springing up that post exciting news in a format that's accessible to the ordinary, non-scientific person.
And with the launch of STS-132, the last flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station, I'm going to share with you some great blogs, Twitter channels and websites to get your daily dose of awe.
The Daily Galaxy
Tag-lined "your daily does of awe" (yes, that's where I got the phrase from!), this blog posts awe-inspiring pictures, news and opinions on the latest breakthroughs in the scientific world. From shuttle launches to the latest discoveries in string theory, The Daily Galaxy has it covered.
The official NASA Twitter channel, this is my own definitive source of what's happening at the world's largest space organization. Get Tweets about the latest shuttle launches direct from Mission Control, posts from astronauts in space (!) and the latest info about where mankind is headed in the future.
The @Astro Twitter accounts are owned by NASA, and are used by current astronauts who tweet from space. Check out @NASA_Astronauts, a syndication channel of tweets from all NASA astronauts in space. Also, @Astro_Mike, who was the first person to tweet from space.
For the fun of it, check out Fake Science, which posts hilarious explanations of everyday phenomena.
Got a science blog you enjoy following? Share it with us in the comments below!
But we all know that its not the hardware that counts in mobile phones today. The user experience, provided largely by the software operating system that powers today's hand-held computers, is an integral part in choosing your next phone.
Apple managed to get it right with the iPhone. The iPhone OS software has influenced so many other phones, and its development tools have allowed developers to innovate in the mobile sphere, a juncture in the coding world that was once frustrating to write apps for (Sun Microsystem's J2ME, anybody?)
With Nokia's new Symbian 3 operating system, the software that powers the N8, the Finnish company has decided to start afresh. Developers are also in for a treat, as Nokia is propounding the open-source Qt framework and development tools that will enable potential developers for this new platform to design stylish, iPhone-rivalling apps. This means an over-all better experience for us end-users. It also means that a new age of developers will emerge, resulting in another surge of innovation in the mobile space.
Here's a run-down of what you need to know about Symbian 3, the software that will be powering the next generation of Nokia devices.
Of course, Facebook has released a mobile version for Symbian S60 Fifth Edition, which users of Nokia's 5800 Xpress Edition have been using since that phone released, but us Facebookers with the "older" version of Nokia's operating system, the 3rd Edition, have had to put up with a sub-par experience using the m.facebook.com site.
It's really not exciting, and after searching through the Internet, I managed to find a suitable replacement for the Facebook Mobile site: an actual native version of Facebook for Nokia mobiles. Okay, actually, it's a version built for the E series range, but with a few tweaks, it's been made available to run for most S60-based Nokia devices.
I have installed it on my own Nokia, an N79, and it works really well. It has all the features you need from a mobile Facebook app: status updates, getting the latest news from your friends, viewing profiles, Facebook messaging (note: not instant messaging, just Inbox messages), and even tagging photos and uploading them. The only big disappointment is that you can't "like" statuses, something I quite enjoy doing (when it's relevant, of course).
For now, it'll have to do for us Nokia users wanting a native Facebook experience. We'll just have to wait until an actual version is released (if ever) for the Symbian market.
To download Facebook for Nokia, click here. You'll have to send the file to your mobile to install it.
(If you want to download and install it directly to your mobile, visit the Byte Lounge Mobile site, by clicking here: bytelounge.mofuse.mobi)