Your free image – enjoy!


Don’t offer me R10.00 an image – rather just steal one and be happy with crappy resolution – you know I will find you!

Philip gets capped

Saturday 12 April 2014 was a special day in our lives as this was the day that Philip was capped for his B.Com Accounting degree.

Accompanying us was Annette who was a very proud Granny.

Glynnis didn’t shout too loudly and Alan couldn’t stop grinning.

Good luck for honours Philip – your achievements so far have made us very proud of you and grateful that you have grown to be a valuable and loving member of society.

What to do when stuff stops working on your WordPress site

I recently received get this frantic message from a client who owns a Guest House in Port Elizabeth; “My booking requests from my web site were non-existent for a couple of weeks and a regular client has just let me know that the booking form on my web site does not work!”

This Guest House web site runs on a Studiopress WordPress theme and utilises Gravity Forms for bookings. With any dynamic web site like WordPress one is required to check for plugin and core updates on a regular basis – if you don’t you run the real risk of your web site not running optimally and losing business.

Here is a quick user guide to solving such a problem:

  1. Get into the habit of checking that the dynamic portions of your site do work – like the booking and contact forms.
  2. If someone says a form does not work test it yourself.
  3. Do not always assume the worst if the form doesn’t work – check if an update is available as that will normally sort any problems out.
  4. If an update doesn’t work then it is possible that you have a conflict with one or other plugin and you will need to deactivate ALL your plugins except the one you have problems with and then check again.
  5. If the problem persists deactivate your theme and activate one of the standard WordPress themes.
  6. If that still does not work then revert to the plugin provider giving as much info as possible – WP version as well as plugins and versions used.
  7. Or you could pay your webmaster to do it for you.

Hell in Africa

But we are doing a good job of living it for you………

The smallest (in age too) sister popped into Port Elizabeth for a visit. We popped down to the Leatherworks for a braai with the clan – good times.

Alan, Nicola,  Annette and Michael.

Alan, Nicola, Annette and Michael.

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Advice to SA’s Job Seeking Matrics

With hundreds of thousands of South African matrics being released onto the job market one wonders just how the “I got more than 30%” jobless will find a job.

Maybe our education department could add a ‘How to video and upload your CV to YouTube’ module to the compulsory Life Orienation subject.

Recruitment specialist Hello My Name Is… (HMNI) recently questioned hundreds of UK business leaders to ascertain what makes one CV more engaging than another and discovered that candidates uploading a video accompaniment alongside their CV that have the edge. “While the technology for video applications has been in place for some time, only now are candidates taking full advantage of this option, which in turn has given recruiters a real appetite for innovative applications,” said Jonathan Flint, joint managing director of HMNI with partner James Hyde. “As such we predict a video accompaniment will be an essential part of applying for a job in 2014.”

HMNI predict that video accompaniment to traditional CV is set to be a key trend in recruitment in 2014 as 70% employers admit CVs no longer enough to differentiate between candidates

Of the few YouTube job seeking videos that I viewed the one by Benjamin Gilson really caught my eye. Benjamin is looking for a job in video or digital media and the soundtrack featured one of my favourite Elvis Presley songs – A Little Less Conversation.

Watch and learn:

More about Server Observer

Edward Labuschagne and Alan Straton started Server Observer as a way to publish those geeky articles that didn’t quite fit in any of Alan’s ‘My Complex‘ Spaces or Edward’s Photo Addict project.

Alan has been working online since 2001 and in 2005 started the online community news and business directory – MyPE – at the behest of an old school friend. MyPE continues to grow and evolve and keep him in beer money – Alan is very thirsty.

In addition to Photo Addict Edward also does does online tech support, SEO and Web Design so Server Observer is a decent manageable fit for him. Server Observer educates and comments on tech, social media, web hosting, web design and the internet industry. Edward, Alan and contributing authors write original articles to as well as curate from press releases.

Of course we want to share the love and are constantly open to articles from regular contributors. You can submit a single article for consideration or sign up to become an author.

At present we offer AUTHORS recompense in the form of a bit of fame and links back to your site/s or products. We accomplish this by creating an Author box and Archive for you – e.g. – the author box at the top of the archive links back to Alan’s writing on MyPE.

Have a look at the Author Box at the bottom of this article – – and click on each of the tabs to see what we do to ‘advertise’ you and your services.

We are exploring/looking to develop an elegant solution that will place each Author’s chosen advert next to each author’s article. We have trialled and rejected many advertising revenue share plugins and are open to further suggestions from the community.

Essentially what we achieve for each author is the creation of a space, from which any author will reap maximum benefit from in terms of showcasing his/her work, getting referrals and also earning a few bob on the side via display adverts.

See more and sign up here:

Essentially we are looking for authors who see the benefit of creating their own niche as an expert on an industry related platform.

Save a Million Rand on Social Media monitoring

If you ever doubted that social media is big business then maybe the fact that big business is looking at ways to save money on social media monitoring will change your mind.

Facebook Logo Official

Facebook Logo Official

Nedbank Limited, a leading financial services provider throughout Southern Africa, is using IBM’s predictive analytics solutions to improve the customer experience and provide more responsive real-time services. As a result of this technology implementation, the bank has reduced social media monitoring costs by over a million rand a year, while boosting customer service productivity levels by 20 percent.

Nedbank partnered with IBM and its Business Partner Olrac spSolutions to develop a predictive modeling solution that integrates social media analytics into the bank’s systems. By doing so, decision makers across the bank’s operations now have access to deep, near-real-time analysis of social media data through flexible dashboards. This gives marketers potent insights regarding preferences, sentiment and satisfaction that help to craft and deliver more effective sales promotions and customer messages.

Nedbank recognizes the growing importance of social media as a marketing tool, actively reaching out to customers through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as through blogs and customer forums.

“By improving our social media analytics capabilities, we’re engaging with our customers on a 1:1 basis, to address and anticipate their needs more cohesively,” says Eugene Liebenberg, head of Retail Business Intelligence Solution Science at Nedbank.

Gordon Barnes, Industry Solutions Leader at IBM South Africa says, “Where before the bank used a number of tools and external resources to mine social media for a 360 view of their customers, today the analytics provide a visual dashboard of customer feedback and opinion in near-real time from social media. This has helped Nedbank transform the process of customer engagement and response by embedding information-based insights into every process, decision and action.”

“By using advanced analytics, Nedbank is in a prime position to sharply focus marketing campaigns, promote high profit margins and increase cross-selling opportunities,” concludes Barnes.

The solution used a combination of IBM predicative analytics SPSS Collaboration and Deployment Services, SPSS Modeler.

Larry loses to the analyst

Taking into account the fact that Google is actually owned by millions of greedy shareholders who continually clamour for the share price, interest and dividends to be ‘massaged’ to make them rich I often wake up after a nightmare in which the following conversation occurs:

A phone rings and a voice answers saying; “Larry here how can I help you?”

The caller, a stock analyst (let’s call him Dick) for a large international brokerage firm, is known to Larry as a particularly nasty specimen of mankind who, unlike Larry and Sergey has never tried to “Do no evil”!

The conversation is short and nasty:

Analyst: “Larry, you and your team need to massage those numbers up again – I have a number of large institutional investors looking to move their money into higher yielding tech stocks and the loss of hundreds of billions in investment stock will hurt your company big time.”

Larry: “As you know Dick we have a number of long term projects in the pipeline which will contribute to stability and long term profits for all investors.”

Analyst: “Larry, our clients are only interested in short to medium term profits and I want you to accelerate this “Pay to Display” product that you have on Google.”

Larry: “As you are aware, Dick, we give free rankings to web sites that play our game properly and those web sites that have the highest number of other web sites linking to them are the ones that appear on the first page of any search done by people looking for that business or knowledge source.”

Analyst: “So you are telling me that you spend billions of stockholders dollars on giving traffic away to other web sites?”

Larry: “Umm, well, it doesn’t really work like that ….”

Analyst: “I certainly looks like a real airy fairy way of doing business. Remember Larry, business is about profit and not charity. That is why we hire expensive PR firms to tell the sheeple about those minuscule amounts you spend on the bloody ‘community’ – at least that way we get more publicity than if we had to buy space in the traditional media!”

Larry: “But, Dick, you have to see our inclusion of the linking factors as a way of advertising our superior searching services as well?”

Analyst: “Larry, my dear boy, there comes a time when you have to say enough and stop giving stuff away and that time is now in 2014.”

Larry: “So what would you suggest we do Dick?”

Analyst: “You need to stop ranking people on links – it uses up too many resources. The way I see it you can do one of two things: Remove the linking factors entirely from the algorithm and rank based on the use of Google Plus / YouTube and other Google products ONLY or leave the link ranking factors in the algorithm and charge each and every web site that wants to get traffic an annual set fee per link – that way we will get all the money that those clowns are spending on other bloody clowns trying to game our (Google’s) system.”

Larry: “But isn’t that little evil, Dick?”

Analyst: “Of course Larry – war is evil but those who are MOST evil win the war, now go on and win that bloody war for us Larry!”

Larry: “Yes, Dick!”

What will YOU do if the above conversation becomes a reality?

Facebook Like Box installation

Here at Server Observer we recently became converted tech-evangelicals for the Genesis / Studiopress theme framework and tweaked the innards out of one of the themes for out latest look. We like the simplicity and ease of the Genesis Simple Hooks plugin which allows us to ‘hook’ all manner if code and addons to the page framework – releasing u8s from the restrictions of more pedestrian themes.

If you have ever created an APP of Facebook before then your task to install a Facebook Like Box using Genesis and Simple hooks is, well … SIMPLE:

  • Log in to Facebook and go to this URL:
  • Fill in your Facebook Page URL, the width, height, colour scheme and options for your box and lick on Get Code.
  • You will be presented with a number of options – for the purposes of this exercise we selected iFrame.
  • Copy the iFrame Code and open up your WordPress Admin.
  • If you haven’t installed Genesis Simple Hooks, NOW would be a good time to do so by searching for Genesis Simple Hooks in the WP Plugin Repository.

Here at Server Observer we installed the Facebook Like Box just above the Footer as we wanted to take full advantage of the maximum container space of 1400 pixels across.

To do as we did go to Genesis Simple Hooks and do the following:

  • Determine the container width of your theme (look in your CSS or use a browser add-on like Meaure-It.)
  • Scroll down to Footer Hooks —-> genesis_before_footer and paste your Facebook Like Box code in there.
  • You may have to div center align the box.
  • Save Changes
  • Tweak and play to your satisfaction.

Don’t forget to add your face to those that like Server Observer in the Like Box below.


To follow or not to follow?

Now that is the question: