Coming over all of a twitter

Last week I talked about e-mail lists which are the Internet equivalent of mailing lists you could join to be kept up to date with any number of topics.

An arts organisation, for example, could use a mailing list to inform members about arts events but the cost and hassle of using snail mail did limit their use. Nowadays, however, anyone can communicate with an audience using e-mail with little or no trouble.

Before running out of space last time, I got as far as mentioning one of my favourite e-mail lists, Mikes List, which is a regular bulletin on quirky developments in technology. It’s free, although you can make a donation to Mike if you want to, and you can join up at mikeslist.com.

Another list which I find very useful is Windows Secrets which concerns computing in general, with a particular emphasis on the Windows operating system. It is fairly technical but I find it a valuable source of info which could end up saving my bacon one day.

Did you know, for example, that you can sometimes get a failed hard drive to work one last time by freezing it for a couple of hours? There is a free version of the Windows Secrets list available at windowssecrets.com, or you can get the premium version at a very reasonable cost.

One very useful local list published by Steffie Betts is word-of-mouth which is aimed at informing KZN residents about what’s happening in the province. It has sections on such diverse topics as health and therapies, special events, day trips and coffee breaks, employment sought and offered, requests for help, getaways, and markets, fairs and fetes.

It’s a mine of information and you can sign up at word-of-mouth.co.za. Yet another local list I’ve just discovered is published by durbs.co.za. The site is worth a visit and you can sign up for the weekly newsletter there as well.

There are some things on the web that I just don’t get and Twitter, at twitter.com, is the latest one. It is based on SMS technology and allows users to use their mobile phones to send short messages to keep their friends and the wider community informed on a minute-to-minute basis, about what they’re up to.

Messages appear on the user’s own page and can be relayed to the phones belonging to their friends. Many of these messages are also echoed briefly on the front page of the site and give new meaning to the word banal.

Some messages that I spotted included; ‘preparing for an interview (eek!)’, ‘Today I have to cook. I’m going to cook mexican food’, ‘Windows takes forever to delete files. Purging oldest items in my recycle bin’ and last, but not least, ‘70 mark exam completed in 70 mins’.

How mind-numbing is that?

Previous columns on allan-fishnet.blogspot.com.

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