Google Zeitgeist 2008 for South Africa

For those of you interested in seeing what South Africans search for, here’s the Google Zeitgeist 2008 for South Africa. It’s actually quite boring in some places. I mean who googles for yahoo? Or googling for facebook? Or the worst – googling for google? An indication perhaps of immaturity in South African search usage? I thought so, until I looked at some of the US and UK trends, and we’re not that far away from them…

Some of the most popular searches included Load Shedding and of course the FIFA 2010 World Cup. This year’s Zeitgeist also reflects important South African concerns like Xenophobia, along with rising interest in new developments like the Gautrain. South Africans were keen to stay up to date on politics, with high volumes of searches around Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, and around international events like the elections in the USA and Zimbabwe. Take a look below to get sense of the Zeitgeist, or spirit of the times, in South Africa for 2008.

Fastest Rising

  1. gumtree
  2. facebook
  3. lotto
  4. eskom
  5. youtube
  6. beeld
  7. news 24
  8. yahoo mail
  9. chuck norris
  10. beijing olympics

Most Popular

  1. facebook
  2. cape times
  3. games
  4. map
  5. yahoo
  6. news
  7. jobs
  8. google
  9. gmail
  10. pictures

Top Politicians

  1. jacob zuma
  2. thabo mbeki
  3. trevor manuel
  4. julius malema
  5. kgalema motlanthe
  6. helen zille
  7. fikile mbalula
  8. terror lekota
  9. mbhazima shilowa
  10. mongosuthu buthelezi

Top Newsworthy

  1. load shedding
  2. fifa 2010 world cup
  3. beijing olympics
  4. barack obama
  5. global warming
  6. euro 2008
  7. xenophobia
  8. adt (home and office security service)
  9. zimbabwe election
  10. cope (congress of the people
  11. political party)

Top Sports Teams

  1. the sharks
  2. kaizer chiefs
  3. the lions
  4. mamelodi sundowns
  5. bafana bafana
  6. orlando pirates
  7. stormers
  8. the springboks
  9. cheetahs
  10. proteas

Top Local Celebs

  1. dj sbu
  2. dj fresh
  3. dj cleo
  4. kelly khumalo
  5. danny k
  6. ryk neethling
  7. khanyi mbau
  8. connie ferguson
  9. gareth cliff
  10. loyiso bala
Blogging Computing Rants

Blog Titles With Underscores and SEO

Over the past few days I’ve been messing around with Google Webmaster Tools in an effort to make sure that all the little bugs and issues from my major blog upgrade, from b2evolution to wordpress, a few months back are ironed out.

As always, there tend to be silly little things that are the real pest – misspelled words, poor grammar, obscure comment links and the odd stray feed needing a redirect, all of which were quickly sorted out. After first digging into a few Apache mod_rewrite rules, of course.

I was reading through some tips on the Google Webmasters Help pages when I stumbled on this gem: “We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.” Say what? I looked through my archives, and discovered to my dread that all my old content used underscores in the titles. “Eish. Oh well, this is Google, they can probably figure it out anyway – it’s a simple character substitution in their algorithm. It probably doesn’t matter that much.” I thought. But then I picked up in a guest blog entry by Vanessa Fox on Matt Cutts site that there is a distinct difference in the way Google handles underscores and dashes:

‘”african-elephants.html is seen as two words: “African” and “elephants”. african_elephants is seen as one word: african_elephant. It’s doubtful many people will be searching for that.’ This statement alone indicates a huge difference in exposure because of this one trivial character.

That made up my mind to try the big change, but it would require jumping through a few hoops:

1) Changing all the old urls to new urls with dashes instead of underscores. That’s a lot of editing.

2) Redirecting any existing requests for underscore-urls to the new dash-url. That’s a lot of redirecting.

3) Hoping like hell that it worked.

Fortunately problem 1 could be solved by a simple mysql command:

mysql> update wp_posts set post_name = replace(post_name,'_','-');

And problem 2 was easily resolved with the Dash Redirect WordPress Plugin.

I suspect the Dash Redirect Plugin can actually fix both issues at once, but I only discovered this after I’d already changed my urls.

Today I’m feeling good karma from the synchronicity of my blog.


Psyched for Google Calendar Sync [Organized Everywhere]

My life just got simpler today. My work life also grew closer to my personal life, but there’s fortunately a benefit there – when the work schedule is easier to access and maintain it makes my personal life easier to manage too. No more missed meetings. No more missed rugby matches!! No more missed public holidays.

Google Calendar and Outlook Synced

In just a few minutes, Google Calendar Sync has changed my life. My Microsoft Outlook is synchronized with Google Calendar.

All is well with the world.

[Update: This SO rocks! Using Lightning Calendar extension for Mozilla Thunderbird and the Provider for Google Calendar Add On, I now have THREE WAY SYNC between Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar and Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning Calendar. Woohoo!]

Technorati Tags: google, calendar, sync, outlook, synchronized, schedule, awesome, thunderbird


Synching Google Calendar To Thunderbird – This Rocks!

I can’t take any credit, all I can do is point you at this link:
Stay in Sync with GCal and Thunderbird
and say “If you use these tools, go do this now!”

Awesome stuff – now I’m slowly getting closer to that GTD goal.

Technorati Tags: google, calendar, thunderbird, sync, gcal, gtd, productivity, scheduling


Google Sightseeing, South African style

As pointed out by Cherryflava and Marc Forrest from Satellite ZA, Google Maps is now starting to cover areas of South Africa.

The two sites above have a multitude of interesting locations covered in Google Sightseeing style. also has a bunch of good spots to check out.

So now I’m joining the hunt for some more interesting satellite sightseeing locations in .ZA:

Alphen Park, Benoni, South Africa (the suburb where I live).

Lakeside MallThe Lakeside Mall, Benoni, South Africa

East Rand MallThe East Rand Mall, Boksburg, South Africa