Something cool on the Netflix iPad app search

Whoo baby

I love me some Netflix ... Just wish that FOXTEL didn't have such a stranglehold on content here down under
Anyhow - I just discovered something very cool in the iPad app. Quite by accident really , and I thought you might find it useful too , no matter which restricted region of Netflix you happen to be watching.
Go to the search , and type in an actors name ...
Say , Nathan Fillion for example, from Firefly, Serenity and more recently Castle .
So this is the result in the search :
 Screen grab from netflix iPad app with Nathan Fillion in the search
And if you tap on his name , then you get this :
 Titles related to Nathan Fillion in the Netflix Library
Yes - that is all the shows headlining Nathan Fillion on the Aussie Netflix catalogue.
I've tried it with a bunch of other actors , as far as I can tell, this doesn't work on the Samsung App on my Samsung TV . It also only works for main cast , where the actor is headlining - for example searching Mark Sheppard only shows up Supernatural , where he plays Crowley, but Markie is also a cast member of Firefly, which does not show up in his list of titles.
But it is a very cool way to search for a show or movie where you know someone specific is in it, but the name eludes you ... It also confirms my suspicions that Castle is not in the Aussie Netflix store, sadly another show that foxtel feels obliged to fleece the Aussie public to watch.
And now I'm off to  watch a vintage Sci Fi Classic ... 🔭

Facebook spam - the reporting and blocking tools

So while we wait for the hung parliament to be announced, here's a random HOW TO for Facebook.

Seriously , I cannot believe we voted for lying union thugs in equal measure to lying smarmy snake-oil salesmen . Bleugh! Almost as bad as spammy fake profiles on Facebook. 

We all see them , the spammers with fake profiles , commenting into popular discussions and feeds, inserting backlinks to pages that (at best) sell fake followers, or worse, well, let's just say I've seen some doozys popping up in my feed lately .

So, generally what happens is people start commenting to the admin of the group to do something about the fake profile or person ... And that's ok, but if you are not directly naming the admin , then time is wasted because trust me. In a group of 10k , it's going to take them a while to find the random comment addressed to the The Admin.
Here's how you can a mange your own feed, and help keep your feed, and Facebook in general as clear as possible of spammers
These instructions are for the Facebook iPad app - but similar steps apply across most devices and the browser interface. And yes - I do use this very very often for blocking trolls and fake profiles as well as spam.
First up - here's the offending comment - I checked out 'Shane' - totally suss when you profile photo is a stock shot ... #justsaying.
Screenshot of Fake Spammy Profile comment on facebook
Tap the comment and you'll get a short menu -- with some options
Screen Grab of Menu once you tap on a comment in facebook to report the comment or the profile
Pick the Report option , now it gets interesting, because Facebook wants to know why you're blocking this person , so I picked spam, because frankly that's what it is.
 Picking the SPAM option on facebook reporting tools
You'll then be presented with some actions you can take further -- now this is where people get all angry with Facebook , and I just don't understand why ...just pick the block option. Simple.
You will be asked to confirm the block, by tapping the button that pops up.
 screen grab showing the option to Tap to Block a fake profile after reporting a spam comment
And then the spammer is blocked - you won't see them, or any of their comments or posts, and they won't be able to contact you or see you.
Why does this matter in Groups with Admins , surely the admin can kick them out ?
Yes, they can, in groups larger than 1 few thousand members though, it's a far stronger, and more swift result if members of the group block en masse , as it lets Facebook know that this is a profile they need to take a look at. As in a real person who is moderating the whole of Facebook goes to assess if 'Shane' is real, and if the profile should be cancelled entirely.
Happy Sunday ....

You can also read my previous posts about Facebook features


Facebook Hack : turning off notifications

If you're anything like me , your Facebook feed is cluttered , and you comment on posts left right and centre. 
Which is fine , and dandy , except when you're just over something that happened like 5 days ago, and you still keep getting notified every time a new person comments , or like the post, and well, that wasn't really what you wanted, was it ?
You just wanted to add in a thought maybe a hahahaha, perhaps a like to show support, and now, well, you don't really need to know about every additional reaction to the post .
Here's how you can clean up your notifications :
On the post tap/ the small arrow at the top right to get the menu where you can save posts : the last option on the list ( and you may need to select the More' option to see it ) is Turn off notifications for this post'
`Screen Grab from iPad for the post privacy options in facebook
You're welcome :-)

 


Sixto Rodriguez : life, winning and what success really is.

I think by now, we all know the story of Sixto Rodriguez. A poet, a songwriter with lyrics like Dylan, haunting melodies, infectious music that digs into your soul and never leaves. Forgotten by America, loved, adored and worshipped in South Africa. Or so the Oscar winning Documentary goes.

 

I grew up straddled across the end of apartheid. Half my childhood happened before it ended, and the other half happened in a bright new Rainbow Nation struggling to find its identity without imploding on itself.

Photo of Steph with Family in South Africa in 2015 - picnic venue
My Crazy Family (missing a few peeps who couldn't make it) - this is winning in my book.

For me Rodriguez was, and always will be a superstar. I reckon I could sing the words to “I Wonder” before I could talk in full sentences. My parents loved his music, my grandparents loved his music.

 When children grow up as digital natives, they do not comprehend a world where you have to wait to phone someone for any reason whatsoever, similarly for me, it just never occurred to me that there could be a world, where “Sugarman” was not as big or as popular as any song from the Rolling Stones or Beatles.

So, finally in 2012, when I watched Searching for Sugarman from my home in Melbourne Australia, I was blown away.  I could not immediately and fully process the fact,  that the man I had thought of, and known as a mega-superstar, was completely unknown in his home country until recent years.
I was using my iPad while watching the DVD to google the director and producer of the movie, convinced that this was some elaborate hoax.
And since then, I have watched as he has finally been recognised as an artist in the USA, and across other parts of the world.
I had the opportunity to see him perform live in 2014. And I was not disappointed.
There are no pyrotechnics in his show.  He has none of the trappings of being famous normally associated with musicians his age. He is also a bit frail, and reportedly suffering from eye issues, so had to be escorted onto stage.There are no props, dancers, or any other extra bits normally associated with a live performance.
And yet - it was the best live show I have ever seen. Hands down.
Rodriguez' talent is humble, and great, all at once. He stands on stage, plays his guitar, sings his songs, and for everyone, it is enough. In fact is it more than enough, it is everything.
Rodriguez teaches us, that fame corrupts. That success is a matter of opinion. And what makes us happy, gives us meaning, and fills our souls, is what we should be doing with our days, our lives and our work.
And while it sounds like the enthused ravings of an obsessed fan, just stop and consider the brilliance, sincerity, and timelessness of his music.
He has new fans now, because the album is amazing. Not because we all feel sorry for him. Empathy alone could not translate into sold out shows across the globe. Facebook likes don't pay the bills or fill stadiums.
We will never know how badly disappointed he really was all those years ago, but all of us that have tried and failed know exactly what it is to put your life-blood into something and have it come to nothing.
We all know the heartache of making something that has every bit of our soul poured into it, and then finding out that actually no-one wants it.
So finally – what Rodriguez teaches us,  is about failure. And how it's never the end.
We learn to pivot and be happy, there is always another market, a different space, and sometimes the problem is timing.
So while many people focus the sad and "lost years" of non-fame in the USA. I prefer to ponder the joy of his later years.
No matter what your age, when you pour your soul into creating something, be it music, art, a company, or a product, there is always a small part of you that will find satisfaction in the recognition of your work.
I for one, take heart from Rodriguez, that somewhere, sometime, what I do will matter, and I will make a difference. It will come.

 

In 1971 the USA lost out on a great talent, but it’s never too late for an American Dream apparently, and so, at the “south side of 72” in 2014, Rodriguez has finally won.

My first (failed) business.

I remember very clearly the first business I ever started.

It lasted about 6 hours I think, possibly a bit shorter than that.
I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10, definitely younger than 12 because it was in our first house , the one I was born in, until we moved when I was 12 going on 13.
It was a handmade greeting card business.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I am not particularly arty. I have lots of creative ideas, but not too skilled in the delivery department. But I knew I could make a mean greeting card, plain and simple, Some birthday messages, congratulations,  even plain cards for your own words.
So, I tinkered around the house, appropriating card stock, cutting it down to size, writing with my koki pens ( that's a texter if you're Aussie) . Drawing and even gluing pictures from magazines on the front of the cards. I even had a range of tasteful, executive postcard sized thank you notes planned for a future expansion of the business.
When I was happy that had sufficient stock, I made a sign, and stuck it on the front gate of our property facing the road.
A couple of hours later. My mother came home from work, and my sign was pulled down. The business was over before it even made its first sale, thanks to Government Interference.
I was gutted. What? My mother couldn't see the benefits of me being financially independent ? I mean seriously. Who would want to do chores for pocket money, when I could have my own business ? The earning potential far outstripped my pocket money, which was ( in my mind ) limited by my parents willingness to part with their Rands.
In hindsight, and knowing that I grew up in the middle of the demise of apartheid, my mothers actions make sense. A little girl alone at home for a couple of hours after school, it's not the place you want to be inviting strangers in.
As I have grown in my various jobs and career path, I also see very clearly that I have always had that independent, I'll do it my way attitude. Thankfully it has not been conditioned out of me along the way.
And I have learned over the years to focus on what I am good at, instead of any random idea that might work, if only I was able to deliver the product.
If I had to give my 9 year old self any advice today, I'd tell her to rope in her arty friends to make the cards, buy them wholesale ( at a fair price) and sell them into the wealthier suburbs of Johannesburg for a good markup, get a table at one of the markets.
To any parents reading this blog :  Take heed - when your child starts making up a business, be involved,  and guide them in the market forces that surround your home. And be happy, because a 9 year old entrepreneur is inevitably going to grow up to do great things in their own life, if not the world around them as well.
Most importantly let them fail, if the idea is bad, or they have gaps in their abilities. Failure is a vitally important lesson in the entrepreneurial journey, and the sooner they learn to deal with the disappointment of not having an immediate success, the more resilient and the less entitled they will be as adults.

New reaction snuck into Facebook overnight

Check it out ... Facebook snuck in a new reaction overnight

Screenshot from iPad of the Facebook reactions buttons with focus on the Gratitude button ( purple flowers )
Love this addition - especially since it blasts little purple flowers all up the screen on my iPad when picked ...
Let's hope it's not a temporary thing just for Mothers Day ...because I think it's fantastic.
And of course it doesn't hurt that it happens to be my favourite colour ... Purple !

 


Starting at level one, for the second time.

My iPad gave up the ghost a couple of weeks back.

Kicked the bucket.
It was an iPad 2. Many years old. It had served me well. And like most of my technology, gadgets, toys and work tools , I had maintained it and looked after it well.
But all things come to an end, and finally last Sunday, I awoke made coffee, and blam, the iPad went dead as I was checking Facebook.
So we trundled off to the Apple Store in Southland, as conveniently enough, the 9.7 inch iPad Pro has just recently been released, and this 'dying of the light' in my iPad had settled the 'should I get a new iPad now or later' debate.

Now - this story is not about the new iPad. It's not even about the relatively seamless experience of setting up the new iPad. No, this post is about the one game that I could not restore from a backup and how that experience is an allegory for shifting perspective when a disaster strikes.

Ever since I got my first iPhone, I have been playing a game called Pocket Frogs. First on the iPhone 4, then transferred over to the aforementioned late, great, iPad 2.
I am absolutely addicted to pocket frogs. But not in the daily, all day long, every chance I get kind of way. I do in fact, lose interest fairly frequently in growing, taming and breeding my frogs. My addiction is more of the 'I'll just keep you around, because I can't bear to lose you' type of way.

this is a pocket-frogs screen - it's bare because I had to start again

Pocket Frogs has survived every single app cull and device cleanup I have forced on myself. Every, Single, One. No matter where I am in the game, or how much my interest has waned at any point in time. I simply cannot delete the game from my device. 

 

Now, Pocket Frogs, is a simple game to play, and yet, at the same time it is quite detailed,  complicated, and multi faceted. Much like life, really.

 

There is only one way to 'level up', and that is by gaining experience points. You can breed frogs, sell frogs, amass money, amass awards, and gain a whole lot of bells and whistles on the side. But you cannot level up without experience points. And there are only 2 ways to get consistent experience points, breed frogs, and tame frogs.
As at the demise of my iPad last week, I was playing at level 16. That's really low considering I've been breeding and selling my little digital amphibians for almost 5 years now. I did have a lot of coin in bank. I had a lot of breeding pens ( called habitats) . I had won a fair few awards and badges.  But because I had focused on the awards and money, I had not tamed any of my frogs beyond the ones I need to breed. And I had missed out on crucial experience points and thus had not leveled up in tandem with my growing frog breeding empire.
I was thus a little stuck, because leveling up opens up new frog species, and I was working on an award which required frog species' from level 17, and 18. And I was about as close to level 17 as I am to being an astro-physicist. Yes, I was that far behind.
And while I was figuring out, how I was going to get lots of experience points really quickly, it dawned on me; that there was no quick way to get experience points. So I had to catch up the old fashioned way. By actually getting the experience points one frog at a time. Much like life, you can fast forward some of the time, and occasionally you can make quick money, but in the areas that count ; like putting in the work to get the experience, there are no shortcuts. And experience always wins.
And then my iPad 2 died.
 
Pocket Frogs has a rather complicated way of restoring game play to a new device, and unlike a lot of other games and apps, they do not have multi device support. And since I was at one point totally paranoid about people knowing what games I was playing ( it's a long story) - I had logged out of and disabled my Game Centre. Which was the only way to 'transfer' game history to a new device. 
By the time I figured out that I had done all the wrong steps on my new and old iPad, it was too late. I had lost my old game, at level 16, entirely. All the money, all the frogs, all the amassed potions and stamps and habitats filled with foliage and happy little breeding frogs.

All gone.

 

Steph looking shocked and distressed with her hadn't up to her faceIt was all of 2 seconds of distress to be honest, because in a flash, I realized what an amazing gift this was really. I had a clean slate. A fresh start, with the knowledge how the game should be played. A chance to do it all over again,with the benefit of my game play experience of the last 5 years.

Yes I had lost all my coins. Yes my awards had become meaningless because they were gone, and yet, here I was, freed from the ownership of those meaningless stars and badges in a silly game about breeding non-existent species of imaginary frogs.
 
I could have spent hours and days trying to restore my game, but to what end? I had played badly, and the things I had accumulated were meaningless within the context of my game experience. I had not done it right, it was a flawed game. So I let it go. 
 
In real life, often, it may feel like you've lost something that you worked for, when in fact, your game-play was flawed by your assumptions, from the start.  Letting it go is the best thing you can do. 
 
It may be as small as changing how your business operates in one small area. It may be as big as changing your whole career. It may be nothing more than a change in your mindset and a resolution to see each new day as a chance to do better, and be the best you possible. You may walk away from your old life and start anew in another country. Whatever it is, take the good with the bad, accept the bad, and then let it go. 
 
And that is what this post is about. The lesson in life of using your disaster to catapult you into bigger and better things the second time round. Use your experiences to do your Do-Over right.
If anyone needs me, I will be breeding and taming level one frogs the right way. (!)

Facebook's Save feature : on the iPad app.

Yes, we all know in a perfect world, when you're checking Facebook, you would be able to savour every movement, and reply with great thought and care. You'd have the time to go to each interesting article or link and take your time reading and digesting.

That doesn't happen though, particularly if you are super busy growing your entrepreneurial empire.
Facebook has a save feature, as in save and digest later. Kinda like wrapping up that muffin from morning tea to have at your desk later.
Here's how it works in the iPad app :
First up,  tap the little arrow on the right of the post you're interested in, and then tap the Save option on the menu that pops up .
 screenshot of Facebook save option from an iPad app screen
This is the same menu you  would use to block or report a post , or hide a post
To find your saved posts and content later, tap the More menu on the bottom menu bar and swipe down until you see Saved :
 Screenshot of the Menu showing where the saved items in facebook can be accessed on an iPad
Tap on the Saved to view and select what you want to read, watch or reshare, Facebook shows you how many saved items are not viewed yet ( in my case it's 3 out of a total 4)
 
Tapping the item opens the link , video or other shared content. The ellipse to the right gives 4 more optional actions :Archive, share as a new post, send as a message, or view the Facebook post.
I love, love, love this feature, it's made it so much easier for me to digest the incredible content that  flies by in my Facebook feed later on when I nave more time and some quiet space around me.
Happy content management ladies and gents !

Uber me baby, Uber me

Uber

Nemesis of taxi Drivers everywhere.

The Ultimate Disruptor in transport.

*except for Self driving electric vehicles of course. ;-)

We recently began using Uber in earnest. Mostly for business related trips, up to the airport, the train station or to see a client where I don't have my car for the day. For those times when it's just not useful to drive and park your car at the airport for a gajillion dollars.

I loathe taxi's. Mostly I have had some really sh^&*y experiences, here in Melbourne, in Singapore and in the good old US of A. I cannot say that I remember anything that is pleasant, even in the most uneventful of taxi rides. And it's not the drivers necessarily that are the problem (although I have met some real special ones along the way).

I hate the fact that I have to have local currency on me, just in case the taxi can't process credit cards. Or, as happened to me in Singapore, they didn't take Visa cards, and my Master Card (from South Africa) is a Debit Card, which is blocked for international use anyway ( because the Saffer Government is hell-bent on not joining the global economy, and thinks that my money is their  money... but that's another post)

Oh yes, back to my story about loathing taxi's and my Singapore experience.

In Singapore, the taxi stops, I ask them if they take credit cards, they say yes. I double check, "It's a VISA card ? "

Yes, yes says the driver impatiently. I climb in.

Upon arrival at Fuji Building, and lo and behold, the card won't process. His machine doesn't take VISA cards. And now I am stuck, because well you know, in between the international long-haul flight, landing, showering and coming down to the meeting, I haven't actually had any time to draw actual cash at an actual ATM.

*note to self - make a habit of drawing cash at the airport before exiting*

So, there I was stuck on the side of the road with an irate driver in Singapore, and rapidly approaching the point of being late for my meeting. I was saved, but again, that's a story for another post.

That has never happened to me with Uber. Never. This app payment story is priceless.I don't need cash or special open for banking cards. And the driver knows he's going to get paid, because Uber handles all of that already. No risk to me, and no risk to them.

Also - as a side benefit, I have met the most interesting people using UberX to go to and from my various networking events and meetings.

Here are some highlights ;

- The Civil Engineer  who works flexible hours for his main employer, and drives for Uber for a couple of hours in the evening.
- The Brickie who drives for UberX on rainy days and any other day when inclement weather won't allow him to ply his trade.
- The semi-retired Writer, who also has a room he rents out with AirBnB, and does 2 toastmasters meetings a week to boot. Talk about embracing the digital age!
- The IT Student,  who quite frankly drives better than any taxi driver I have come across and told me all about his plans to uplift his coountry once he goes back and starts his offshore IT development business in Pakistan. Ambitious youth, aah I remember it so fondly !

So I say, Uber me baby, Uber me.

At least until something freaky happens, and then I'm out.

Then I'll be saying : Bring on those self-driving cars.


Word of the Day : Sweat Equity

Ok, so it's 2 words.

But Words of the Day doesn't really sound as formal, educational and proper.

Sweat Equity. 

Anyone in their own business, or in a small business, partnership or otherwise will be totally familair with this concept. It generally refers to the increase in value (or equity) in your business as a direct result of the work you do in  your business.

More recently, it's become associated with employee share schemes. Where employees that contribute greatly to the value of the business become partners and shareholders as a result of their 'sweat equity', often while working for a vastly reduced salary compared to market rates.

Interestingly, there are apparently numerous ways to account for not only the increase in equity of the company , without an actual direct cash injection, but also for the quid-pro-quo associated with an employee (or the owner) doing the work.

But what I find most interesting, is discovering today, that apparently in some jusidictions a company can undertake a sweat equity issue, where the company can issue shares to employees, making them partners in the business, specifically because of their 'sweat equity' and without them having to buy the shares. And that in those jusidictions it's actually called a sweat equity issue on the formal paperwork. Who knew?  Not me.

I have learnt my new thing for today.

So there you have it.

Sweat Equity. My new favourite term.