Opinion

All posts in the Opinion category

Writing about what you know

Published May 14, 2014 by Syllable

That’s the advice that’s always given to aspiring writers, right? So last November I wrote three articles about the thing I’ve come to know a lot about: debt. How I got into it, trying to deal with it, and 10 ways to embrace being poor (and fabulous).

My sequestration was signed off by the court on 27 March. The next day I shaved all my hair of at a client’s Shavathon drive, and the day after that I was in an accident in which my car was completely written off. I get through days by repeating my mantra: What doesn’t kill me, makes me stranger 😉

Gadgets and accessories

Published February 5, 2013 by Syllable

Gadgets, and to an extent social media, have become such an integral part of our daily lives, that we go everywhere with them – even the bathroom, according to some studies. We tweet about the TV shows we’re watching, and google the ads in these shows. This “second screen lifestyle” is becoming more prevalent and could change the way marketers approach product advertising in future. Read more about it here.

And if you want to read something a little more frivolous, you can read a little about the psychology of red here, or get some wardrobe ideas to accessorise with a Just Star Sundance Red tote bag here.

Still writing, even if it’s other peoples’ words

Published January 16, 2013 by Syllable

Yes, it has been a very long time since I’ve written anything of substance not related to beauty or other product review. And while most of this post is made up of other peoples’ words, I’ve managed to successfully mush them together into something readable. You can read what a few industry experts predict to be major game changers in the digital/social media industry in 2013 here.

So currently I’m doing an internship at That’s It Communications. It’s only been three days, but I’m having loads of fun – it is such a great team of people here. The work hard and are dedicated to their clients, but they have a good balance with loads of fun thrown into the mix.

Hopefully I’ll be writing a bit more while I’m here, and this poor neglected blog can be revived. Only time will tell.

iGeneration

Published March 11, 2010 by Syllable

We are the iGeneration – as in iPod, iPad, iMac, etc. We are everything someone like Steve Jobs hoped we would be; craving information, design, status, connection. We will most likely lead to a new medical condition too: iFatigue or something similar. Because our greatest fear is missing out.

We have smartphones so we can check our work e-mails when we happen to wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream, which more than likely originated from a horror ebook we read earlier, or the gory YouTube video we watched on the very same gadget. We dread Internetlessness. We wouldn’t mind not having a phone, because we don’t like talking to people anyway – we’d rather text them, or better still, IM.

We multitask to our own detriment. Interestingly enough, a friend highlighted one of the anxiously-anticipated iPad’s failures as the inability to have more than one window/screen/tab/app open. We are about multiple tabs. We listen to audio books while driving, eating, writing a letter to your mother, and not realising that we are missing out on the experience; the scenic route, the delicate balance of flavours and textures, the emotion of longing, the smell and feel of a new book that has its spine cracked for the first time. We don’t think about it, so it doesn’t bother us. You can’t miss what you don’t know you don’t have. And then you realise you missed your turn somewhere because you weren’t concentrating on the road. Or someone cut you off in traffic and you missed half a chapter because you were swearing at them. The price we pay for multitasking is never having the full experience. That could be a good thing or a bad thing – depending on the event.

As I am typing this, I’m listening to music, checking my e-mail and catching up on my Twitter-stream. I can’t help it – I’ve mutated to live this way. I was born Generation X and raised on outdoor playing, drive-in theatres, libraries and so-called snail mail. I did ballet, played chess on a wooden board with wooden pieces, had a home-cooked meal at least once a day, every day. I first used the Internet when I was in high school; got my first encyclopaedia on disk after school and only in 1999 experienced a chat room – and I was by no means a late bloomer (although far from a trendsetter too).

I try to imagine how the next generation will experience life. They will have to Google things like VHS (not to mention Betamax!), Moomin, Die Pikkewouters van Amperstamperland and various other television shows we watched. I can’t find books of Victoria Plum anywhere, and I love that little pixie in her Morning Glory outfit. The programmes we used to watch were about friendship and teamwork, not alien watches, robot-cars or games played with alien elements that fell from the sky. I read comics about Superman and The Incredible Hulk – today they are only known as movie and game characters. The next generation, I imagine, will be utterly bored by text-based adventure games like “The Talisman of Braminar” (my absolute favourite), the ancient graphics of “California Games”, and shocked to see the first archaeological copy of “Prince of Persia”.

The next generation has been born what we have become – the trendsetters, the connected, an iGeneration. Petrified of not being informed, of not being ahead of the curve, of switching off, of not owning the latest gadget.

Despite all our desperate attempts, we are physically not able to process all the information in the wide world via the web – even if we could access it all. So isn’t it time to step back and simplify? I’m sure someone’s already in the process of developing that app.

Turning on the magic

Published April 5, 2009 by Syllable

By now everyone has heard, if not tried, about the “vibrating” mascaras taking the markets by storm. This weekend, I decided to take the plunge and find out what the fuss was all about for myself.

estee-lauder-turbo-lash-mascara1jpgEstee Lauder* was my brand of choice. I don’t wear a lot of make up very often, and when I do apply any at all, mascara would be it. The main reason behind my decision to go with Estee Lauder is the fact that the motor is activated as soon as the tube is open, as opposed to pushing a button on the Lancôme wand. To me this is easier to ensure that my mascara is closed properly, and won’t dry out or play host to any unexpected nasties.

Rumour has it that Estee Lauder came up with this magical concept first, but that is neither here nor there for me.

Dolly, the Estee Lauder representative at Menlyn’s Edgars, invited me to have a closer look at the wand before making up my mind. “It lengthens, curls, separates and gives volume all in one motion,” she told me. Having naturally long lashes, I wasn’t too concerned with the curl or length aspect.

What I found interesting to note, is that the wand doesn’t vibrate from side-to-side as one may imagine from the description, but rather subtly rotates. As Dolly pressed the wand to the base of my lashes, there was a distinct sensation of it rolling off my lashes. She handed me a mirror and I was sold instantly. The difference between my coated and uncoated eye was astonishing – evenly coated in two strokes, beautifully upturned separated lashes. Like magic!

Declining her offer to do my other eye, I instead asked Dolly if she’d mind if I tried applying it myself. While I was keen to take this little wonder home, I didn’t see the sense in doing so if I felt too freaked out to bring it near my blinkers.
It tickled a bit at first, probably because I approached the entire application a little gingerly. Confident that I’d get better, Dolly assembled the wand, and I left with my gold-and-blue tube.

The next morning I was excited to give it another bash, and was happy that it went much better.
I think the very first time you apply mascara you have that reflex of blinking for fear of stabbing your own eye out. The same applies when you use a new concept near your eye for the first time. So if you’ve been wearing mascara for longer than a week, you’ll have no problem getting the hang of this in a single application.

With my eyes being my best feature, I imagine I’ll be wearing make up a lot more often.

*Estee Lauder Turbo Lash Mascara retails at R365 at major retailers.

Touch-screen Smartphone comparison

Published February 16, 2009 by Syllable

Particularly the people on Twitter, and those reading my Gadget Girl column on Style Scoop, are aware that I am a very, VERY big fan of BlackBerry.

I first got my hands on a BlackBerry Curve 8310 in November 2007. Until then I was very happy with Nokia, and in all fairness, if I never got a taste of ‘Berry I’d still be using Nokia. But I’m very glad I know better now. That sounds very arrogant, I know, and I apologise, I guess.

My biggest criticism of the Samsung Omnia, is that it is Samsung’s first attempt at a Smartphone. On the other hand, BlackBerry has been in the business of Smartphones for the past decade.

Now, The MD is just an avid a HTC/Leaf/iMate fan as what I’m supporting BlackBerry. He’s had one since they came to South Africa, and refused to be swayed to the ‘Berry side. Until last week. He desperately needed a new phone, since his phone’s battery didn’t last half a day.

Because I’m so fabulous and BlackBerry loves me almost as much as I love them, I was invited to the launch of the BlackBerry Storm. And so I dragged The MD along – who in turn, dragged our Technical Manager along. We went to Vodaworld two hours before the launch and I followed them around while they went into every single store and tried every single touch screen Smartphone: iPhone (good points: expensive look, bad points: MMS [lack thereof], limited applications), Omnia (good points: vibration on push action, bad points: Windows Mobile 6.1 don’t work so nicely without the stylus), HTC Touch Diamond (good points: what good points? [seriously!], bad points: everything). We did have a look at the Nokia’s but didn’t play with them, since The MD is adamant about having a touch screen. He can’t get over his disappointment with the HTC. So he chose the BlackBerry, and the only critisism he had was the build quality, but says that if there was one feature of all the phones combined that he’d sacrifice, that was it. His ultimate phone would have the iPhone build, the vibrating push bit of the Omnia, and everything else you get with the BlackBerry.

Personally if I had to upgrade now, I’d get a BlackBerry Bold, since the touch screen is not really my thing.

So what is so great about BlackBerry? It’s the ultimate combination of business and fun (particularly if you’re enjoying your social media). If you are not on a BlackBerry contract, you can get a bolt-on (you don’t even need any contract at all!) which allows for unlimited Internet access, push e-mail for up to ten e-mail accounts, Vodafone SatNav (GPS), Facebook, Gtalk – and thanks to all the applications available – Twitterbery, iSkoot (Skype application), Windows Live Messenger. I’ve downloaded the MileageTracker application that helps me keep track of my business travel expenses.

Last weekend I had some trouble with My Baby, but a quick visit to Google, and (no surprises) crackberry.com it was all sorted out. I also downloaded a software upgrade and can now record videos (previously not something one could do with a Curve 8310) and a great new look for the media player.

If you are worried that you will never get away from work if you get a BlackBerry, remember that the power is yours. Over the holidays I deleted my work e-mail from my phone, and set it up again in the new year – it’s easy enough to do that!

It doesn’t make coffee or do the dishes, but it is the best Smartphone on the market. For more information, visit BlackBerry’s website.