Thursday, June 18, 2009

kasiegigs.co.za to target NYDA

So the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) launched on Tuesday (June 16th) and is promising new funding opportunities and entrepreneur support programmes. NYDA is a merger of Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) [www.youthportal.org.za] and the National Youth Commission (NYC) [www.nyc.gov.za]. I’ve heard too many different reasons for this merger, so I won’t disclose any out of fear of posting inaccurate info.

Putting politics aside, this merger has given me a new sense of hope and I think it might be the kick kasiegigs.co.za needs. Although this is a low cost idea, there are some issues they could help address. I need a more pimped-up corporate identity as this is an entertainment industry idea. I know UYF used to offer vouchers for such needs. I need high-quality cameras. These are just some of the costs I need to cover and, with economic recession, I’ve been unable to address them out of my own pocket.

I’ve been through this funds-hustling route before for previous projects and gave up with that bitter taste of “you need to be connected to get funding”. I’m going to give it one last shot seeing that the kasiegigs.co.za idea is targeted mainly at the youth and there might be some corruption uprooted from this merger. They claim that the new agency’s integration of skills and expertise will strengthen operations, so I’ll assume that I won’t have to go through the same bureaucratic process I went through previously.

My first step is to draft a business plan that complies to their needs. I’ll post one up soon… so keep checking. Secondly, get the look and feel of kasiegigs.co.za up to a presentable state. The site design is currently more focused on functionality than the bling-factor. This should prove a bit of a challenge since I’m not a graphics monkey. Let’s see… NYDA here I come!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some Blogging Tips I'm Going to try out

I’ve been slacking... No photos for kasiegigs.co.za, no blogging, no Joomling, no etc. :-D

Sometimes it's difficult to distribute your efforts equally among your different income streams. kasiegigs.co.za, being one in the making, had to take a back-seat for a while.

I've been reading random stuff though… just to get my mind off the routers and switches that have been getting me home exhausted for the past two weeks. One interesting article I came across had a list of blogging tips that I thought should be shared and swear to abide by from this point on. The summary:

1. Focus your expertise
This applies more to professional blogs but it’s something I’ve had many debates about with various bloggers: If I’m following your blog to keep abreast with breast-reduction technology, then I don’t want to read a full post about your romantic night out with Miss Diamond-Eyes on your blog. I’m still open for debate though…

2. Blog regularly
i.e Don’t be a Peele… enough said.
But one trick I learnt from the author is that you can write more than one blog whenever you get the time to blog and save the drafts for later publishing. I’m not sure if that’s going to work for me, since I plan to blog on my daily experiences with kasiegigs.co.za for a while.

3. Show your personality
This might not work for professional blogs, but I can tell you this: the only reason why I read my Operating Systems textbook in varsity, from back to front, was because of the author’s way of balancing his professional and personal touch to every chapter.

4. Encourage feedback
Something I’ve failed to do on this blog… start a conversation. This would help a lot for feedback once I’ve completed the look and feel for kasiegigs.co.za.

5. Keep updated
Always stay alert of comments on your blogs and respond quickly. It keeps people coming back… RSS-feed.

6. Use photos to sell
We all have a cousin that claims that they don’t read novels because of the lack of pictures and too much text… yeah.

7. Include links to other blogs
No, you won’t lose followers if you write interesting articles.

8. Use proper grammar and spell-check
I think I stressed this enough in an earlier post

9. Ensure readability

10. Be personal
Part of encouraging conversation is never to write in the third person.

I’m back!!! Once I’ve hacked this Joomla template for kasiegigs.co.za, I’ll be begging for your feedback on the look and feel… keep on blogging!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adding Joomla Extensions to kasiegigs.co.za


Since my site is a form of gig-photo-gallery site, I needed to add a photo gallery extension to my Joomla package. I searched around for fancy extensions with good reviews and an easy installation procedure. I finally found Phoca Gallery with a SlideShow feature. Check out the following link for more info:

http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-&-images/photo-gallery/3150/details

It installed and worked like a marvel on my local site but problems, worthy of a blog post, arose when I tried installing in the remote server. This should be a problem experienced by anyone trying to add an extension to a remote Joomla site without following a few important steps that I’ll highlight below.

Installation issues

With a clean install, upon trying to install any additional extensions, you’ll be slapped with this error:

JFolder::create: Infinite loop detected

So I googled around and found the following link with similar complaints in the Joomla forum:
http://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?f=429&t=266930

Going through it you’ll find a mix of solutions to the problem and you might be confused as to which one relates to you and which method to try first.

In summary, the issue has to do with access to the temporary (\tpm) and logging (\log) directories. By default, all the files that you upload on a remote server are given read-only permission… even to you the administrator. So to install components you need to make sure that Joomla knows where these directories are located and ensure that they have write access. Specifying the location of these files is done in your configuration.php file. The location of these files varies with different server packages and you can find some of the solutions to these problems in the link above. I’m trying to avoid a tedious blog post here. Mail me if you have any issues and you’re using sadomian.co.za services.

Giving write access to the directories can be done via FTP, as you would do with your Windows Explorer (apologies to all Open Source pioneers). Some people claim that FTP applications don’t allow you to do this and recommend using CPanel directly. I used CuteFTP and my permission changes were not ignored. The trick was to go down to each relevant file and change security permissions from 775 or 755 to 777… do this from the bottom->up in the directory structure. When you make these changes from the top->down in the directory structure then your changes WILL be ignored.

This solves half the problem, but should work for extensions that don’t access other folders besides your tmp and log folder. I’m yet to find such an extension but it seems other people have cracked it this way.

Extension specific folder access
The next thing to do is to find out what folders and files your extension will use for functionality, and give public write access to these folders as explained earlier. Otherwise you could end up with errors like the picture included in this post. (Unable to write entry)

In my case it was the pictures (/images) and relevant components folders since I was using Phoca-Gallery. Mail me for specifics… I can’t put that up for fear of getting my site hacked.

After all the relevant write access changes, it was smooth sailing… I’ll highlight issues experienced while uploading pictures in my next post.

Happy Configuring!

PS: I spent 2 nights trying to get this going… I’m a Telecommunications Engineer by day.

Uploading Joomla kasiegigs.co.za

A friend of mine (VJ) introduced me to some Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla a while back. I’m assuming anyone reading this has some knowledge of what a CMS is, so I won’t go into details about what this Open Source jewel can do. Back then I played around with it and set up an intranet for company x. That was the most I did… so I can’t claim guru knowledge of the platform. When I decided to put kasiegigs.co.za in motion, Joomla was my first choice to help me realize the dream.

I managed to set up my site with not much hassle on my local machine. All was cool until I had to upload the site to a web server. It seems like ISPs/hosting companies in South Africa are not too familiar with these CMSs. I looked around for a while for a reasonably priced hosting package that included Joomla as a feature. Most geeks would say any company that offers php, mysql and apache should suffice. For a neophyte like me, a package that comes readily configured for me to just copy and paste my local site to the server is the only way. Most companies from overseas offer this and the most geeky stuff one would do is upload the mysql database.

I finally opted for sadomain.co.za… not to say that they gave me the configuration bypass. They have a Joomla package though. I uploaded my local site to the server space they gave and loaded the database using phpMyAdmin… but nothing worked. After a few hours of googling I found a very nice blog/article that highlights some minor configuration changes I needed to make to get things working.

So if you’re a newbie and want to get a Joomla site working remotely, here’s a link to the article that got me going:

http://www.dart-creations.com/joomla/joomla-tutorials/uploading-joomla-to-your-web-server.html

Happy Joomling!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is kasiegigs.co.za?

Kasiegigs.co.za is a social photography concept that I’ve been holding back on since my varsity days. Back then, I came across a couple of gig guides and social photography websites that I found interesting. None had been centered around townships or the kasie social scene though. So I came up with the idea of setting up a social photography and gig guide specifically targeted at townships in and around Gauteng.

It’s been a rough ride as I’m not a specialist web developer and am not too sure of the profits I’ll be looking at at this stage. I’ve set up the framework and gone through the whole process of domain registration and hosting. For now I’ve just put up the base functionality with not much content. This includes the photos gallery, contacts page and news platform. My next task is the about us page and then a couple of pages on places you can visit ekasie.

You can check out this work in progress at www.kasiegigs.co.za.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The kasiegigs.co.za trip starts here

Two nights ago I attended a Netweb Event. This is a monthly talk and networking meet-up hosted by an entrepreneur called Mongezi Mtati. I think I mentioned him in previous posts and expressed my reverence for him. He got me again! I left the event with a lump in my throat. When I walked in, I chose a seat in a corner not knowing that that’s exactly where I was meant to be for the duration of the event: in a corner assimilating knowledge. Those guys made me realize how many things I had been doing wrong and I was humbled. Amongst others, I met Gareth Knight from oneafrikan.com, Nikki Viljoen and Doug Vining from Blue Catalyst. These guys have been in the game for a while and have interesting profiles/history behind them. You should google them when you get a chance.

I learned tons of things, but one item that struck me most was "always blog about your business". The Gareth guy made an example of how it worked for him. There was a product he’d been developing and blogging about at the same time. Without him knowing, there had been an investor that was following his blog and by the time he met the investor they were on the same page. It didn’t take much from him to convince the guy to sign a cheque…. figuratively as Gareth put it

So from here on you’ll see a clone of the idea. Hopefully, this will get Mr Motsepe to fund my idea the next time I meet him. The concept I’ll be rambling on about going forward is kasiegigs.co.za…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post Long Weekend Stress

I've lost a lot of time and money from this long weekend. I'm therefore on the side of the Asian countries that look down on unnecessary holidays! Most four-day weekends occur in Christian countries that celebrate the likes of Easter and Christmas. Am I safe to suspect laziness from the guy that drafted this calendar? SA politics has made this month worse too! Instead of the 22nd being chosen for national elections, couldn’t they pick one of the many public holidays that have befallen us?

If I don't find a way to escape these long weekends or public holidays, I'm going to be dead broke and behind schedule with all my projects. A friend of mine, who has been waiting for months for a car fix from an accident, is feeling the punch too. He has to wait another 2 weeks just because of these "holidays". If he's lucky that is…

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peele Cryptex Commandments

I thought I should set out some rules for my blog page to circumvent any future problems with regards to conduct by myself and anyone that comments on my posts. But firstly, I’ll give a brief explanation of the origin of my blog’s title.

Non-Swedish Peele - With a good look at my profile picture, I think one can deduce my lack of Swedish traits. At first sight of my name, Peter Peele, people always expect to meet a Swedish looking chap. I’m used to arriving at meetings only to be greeted with a “You’re black!?”. I’m 50% Xhosa and 50% Tswana. That leaves no fraction for European genes. What!?

Cryptex – neologism coined by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptex

Now on to the rules (these apply to both of us):
Rule 1:
You will try your best to use full English words and avoid usage of SMS/Mxit language. I tolerate misspelling but always cringe at the site of “wn r u cumn hm?” or anything to that effect.

Rule 2:
You will not show signs of limited vocabulary by using foul language…

Rule 3:
If you’re going to use any of my posts as reference warn me in advance. Some of the stuff I write sometimes is just vent and can be far from truth/fact.

Rule 4:
Holler back!

Back on the blog

I’m back… made my first big mistake… that of not frequently posting or updating my profile. This morning I was heavily chastised by an uncle of mine for this negligence. I tried to use the excuse of time and he said something like “You will always have time. Desire and passion is what can cease to exist.” I feel like a king!!! Blogging is my passion!!! All I have to do now is find some context in which to put future rambles… Watch this space!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Skateboard Broke My Bloginity

So my bloginity has been broken. This, after a lengthy debate with a discerning marketing chap and avid blogger by the name of Mongezi Mtati. All along, I’ve been a follower of a couple of bloggers, but always threw a crucifix at the thought of blogging myself. I won’t use time as an excuse as many do. You see, I was quick to fall victim to the likes of facebook, orkut, wayn, etc in their early days… not blogging. I felt these social networking platforms gave me enough web exposure. The idea of me blogging was always blocked by the thought of crapping on journalism turf… of which I’ve never been knowledgeable. I restricted my thoughts and opinion to tech forums where rules don’t apply but it’s your tech know-how that blings.


I won’t go into details but the dude, that’s usually dressed like he’s about to pull out a skateboard and kick-flip, convinced me otherwise. I’m hoping one day he’ll write an article about why all entrepreneurs and anyone looking for web presence need to blog.


So here it is: The non-Swedish Peele Cryptex. My choice of title is another long story to tell… or chance to blog. So let’s see how far the saying goes: Once you pop you can’t stop…