Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has reiterated his commitment to the club amid links to the Arsenal job.Rodgers has been touted as a potential candidate to replace Arsene Wenger when the veteran French coach steps down from his post as Gunners manager after 22 years.However, the Northern Irishman has moved to reaffirm his loyalty to the Hoops a day after they claimed a seventh straight Premiership title.Speaking to Talksport, he said: “Listen, I woke up here on a Monday morning as manager of Celtic. “But for me, I’ve always said it, I’m so happy here at Celtic. I’m in a job that I love. It’s a huge club. A big expectancy, big pressure.”He added: “I would love to work in the Premier League again one day, but I’m hopefully going to be coaching for another 20 odd years. So it’s no time soon.“I’m so happy. I’ve got a great loyalty with the board here, they’ve been so supportive for me.“From the first day I walked in here, the supporters have given me everything and I feel a loyalty to them to ensure that we keep moving the club forward and keep progressing.” “Believe it or not the sky is blue here in Glasgow and I’m in the best job in the world. I’m absolutely loving it.“I’ve got a huge respect for Arsenal as a club.“It’s a club when I started my coaching career, Arsene was just coming into the club and I learnt so much in that period as a young coach watching him and watching his dignity and his class and how he dealt with everything.“So it’s a club I have huge respect for.
Sheriff Chip Hall offers some safety tips for those youngsters who will be attending school this year.“Parents can teach their children the following safety tips which will inform the youngsters of the danger signs to watch for and avoid in going back and forth to school,” Sheriff Hall said.“Drivers should be cautious of children traveling back and forth to school,” added the Sheriff. “We can all learn from the safety tips below and abide by them to make Jackson County safer for all.”Ø While walking or waiting for the school bus, remember to always travel with a friend. Two heads are better than one, especially if there’s an emergency.Ø A stranger is anyone you or your parents don’t know well.Ø You or your friend must never take candy, money, medicine, or anything else from a stranger.Ø If a stranger in a car asks you questions, don’t get close to the car (you could get pulled in) – and never get in the car.Ø Strangers can be very tricky – they can ask you to walk with them to “show” them something; they can offer to pay for your video game, or ask you to help them find a lost dog or cat. Don’t be fooled!Ø Don’t tell a stranger your name or address when you’re walking and don’t think that because someone knows your name that they know you – they may just be looking at your name printed on your lunch box, school bag, or T-shirt.Ø If you think you’re in any danger, yell, and run to the nearest store or “safe house” or back to school.Ø Always tell your parents or teacher if a stranger has approached you.“By taking the time to carefully prepare your child on how to handle these situations, you can insure your child’s safety whether they are walking to or from school, waiting at a bus stop, playing in a playground, or riding their bikes,” Sheriff Hall concludes.
Childhood & ToysAnother small display case–although one getting a lot more attention–is Childhood & Toys, an exhibit containing a handful of cast-iron and tinplate toys from 1870 through the 1950s. The reason for this display’s popularity was that a) it contains old toys (which people like) and b) it is located in the walkway leading toward the popular Transportation and Technology wing.Honestly, unless you are old enough to remember some of the toys (which I am not), the display is only interesting for the novelty of seeing what kids played with in the past. I guess that’s why they only display about 20 of their 1,400 toy collection. National Museum of Natural History Wegman’s WonderplaceOne of the hard things to do at many of the Washington museums is entertain small children. Enter the Wegmans Wonderplace, an interactive play area specifically for youngsters. Children ages 0-6 are invited to explore things like blocks, animals, and sounds, all things I gleaned from the website’s description because I did not have my children with me and couldn’t go in. I also don’t have any good photos because I am a middle-aged man who was alone with a semi-professional camera and was not about to start taking photos of small children. I cannot afford bail.One important thing to notice if you want to use the Wonderplace is what’s printed on the sign in the photo below: timed-entry tickets are required on weekends and holidays (except for the opening half-hour at 10am). The day I was there was the Sunday of President’s Day weekend and the workers said there were no unavailable times that day, so waits aren’t a problem at the moment. Once summer starts, however, plan to make the Wonderplace one of your first stops to get your entry ticket, especially if you want a specific time. Frank Sinatra at 100Speaking of an exhibit being relegated to an odd location, next up is Frank Sinatra at 100 (Note: He would be 100 if he was still alive. He is not). I have always had an affection for Sinatra that was passed to me from my grandfather, so I was eager to see the memorabilia on display. It took me a few minutes to find it, however, because it is located in what the American History Museum calls the “Artifact Walls.”It turns out the Artifact Walls are the display cases that line the walls of the Constitution Ave entrance area. Tucked all the way toward the door on the east side are about 50 feet of Frank Sinatra artifacts, mostly including photos, albums, and a few articles of clothing. I can’t imagine too many people have seen this exhibit unless they look specifically for it, and it’s not really worth seeking out unless you’re a big fan. The front door, security, and the exhibit Share This!Welcome to a continuation of a new series on the TouringPlans.com blog. As we are continuing our research for our upcoming coverage as well as the brand new Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., we will be posting about all the new exhibits and events in Washington. For those reading this who are not familiar with Washington, there are dozens upon dozens of museums in addition to the well known monuments. Well, these museums don’t just stay still, they are constantly rotating exhibits in and out. Some are small, some are huge, but we visit them all.Previously I’ve discussed the new exhibits at the Renwick Gallery, Sackler Gallery and African Art Museum, and the American Indian Museum and Hirshhorn Museum. Today, we’re going to look at two of the most popular: the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History.American HistoryNational Museum of American HistoryOne of the things I am always surprised by is that these two museums–two of the most popular–relegate special exhibits to mid-aisle displays or entryway cases. Not that (spoiler alert) any of the below special exhibits are all that special, but when you’re using such broad descriptors as American History and Natural History it seems like they could do a little more.Anyway, I made quick stops into both of these massive museums to check out some of the temporary exhibits. In future posts I’ll cover more about the permanent exhibits, but there is just too much to cover in a single post.Hooray for Politics!Walking into the Constitution Ave entrance it’s hard to miss the Hooray for Politics! exhibit. Not that it’s particularly large or impressive, but because it’s so close to the doors that you practically run into it. There are two temporary stages set up in the lower atrium that contain some fascinating ballot boxes and voting booths from various locations and years. There is also and eye-catching (but generally useless) group of blank wood cutout people holding signs for all of the current U.S. Presidential candidates. As the candidates drop out, the museum moves the signs to the floor–I was there when there were significantly more candidates than there are now.What annoys me most about this exhibit is that it is an interesting subject, integral to American history…and it’s been relegated to the equivalent of a kiosk in the walkway of a mall. Since the Presidential election process takes the better part of 2 years, I feel like they could have easily put up a more permanent (or completely permanent) exhibit all about the process, the equipment involved, and the oft-misunderstood electoral college. Right now, most people just look for the Trump or Bernie signs to take quick photos of on their way to better exhibits. National Museum of Natural HistoryThe Museum of Natural History only had one temporary exhibit when I visited, partially because their entire dinosaur area is under refurbishment (and will be for another three years!). Like a few at American History, it was not only disappointing, but seemingly invisible to visitors.Color In a New LightI thought the placement of the American History exhibits were odd, but they had nothing on Natural History’s Color In A New Light display. The exhibit itself was somewhat interesting: it shows how many of the world’s thinkers viewed color–Sir Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe–as well as some examples of color in nature and how we see and interact with it.The curious part with this display is that it is located in two cases on the bottom level of the museum, where there are no other exhibits. There is a cafe and gift shop, but most, if not all, visitors seem to walk by the cases on their way up to the atrium. It’s almost as if the museum was filling wall space rather than attempting to engage anyone. That’s all for now, coming next will be the Museums of American History and Natural History. There will also be plenty of info coming on visiting D.C., but if there’s anything specific you’d like to read about let me know in the comments.
Share This!This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six Most Artistic Snacks at Epcot’s Festival of the Arts! When word came around that Epcot was adding another festival to its annual lineup, we were skeptical to say the least. Sure, we love the Flower & Garden and Food & Wine festivals, but did we need another one? Long story short: YES. Yes, we did.–The festival is filled with incredible art to see (and buy) along with an even better menu of unique food and drink options. From the Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts to the Wild Mushroom Risotto, the festival is filled with indulgent foods, but as always we here at the SATURDAY SIX were drawn to the more sugary based options. Today we’re going to look at the most artistic snacks at the festival, along with a whole bunch of non-food related reasons detailing why we really love the Festival of the Arts. It’s basically TWO editions of the SATURDAY SIX in ONE. You’re Welcome! Let’s start this party off right with…# 6 – Mary Blair White Chocolate Art PaintingThis may be the coolest looking chocolate in the history of chocolates at Walt Disney World, a miniature Mary Blair “painting” on a chocolate easel. This is such a fantastic idea executed so flawlessly that you don’t mind paying $7 for a pretty small piece of chocolate. The chocolate itself tasted really good, even though it is so pretty we didn’t even want to eat it (but c’mon, it’s chocolate, it was gonna be eaten sooner or later).Served at The Painter’s Palette, ($7)Mary Blair White Chocolate Art Painting. An E-Ticket snack. (photo by Brandon Glover)–Reason We Love the Festival of the Arts: Figment’s Brush with the MastersEpcot continually has the best scavenger hunts in any Florida theme park, thanks in part to the great souvenirs you get when accomplishing your hunt. The Easter Egg hunts are always a blast during the spring, and we also enjoyed Remy’s “Hide and Squeak” hunt during Food & Wine. For Figment’s Brush with the Masters, guests are given a blank map along with a set of stickers featuring well known paintings. You then have to go from country to country in World Showcase to match the correct country with the painting it features. In a fun twist, each of the famous painting features our favorite Epcot character, Figment!Blank map. (photo by Megan Stump)Figment inserted into Edvard Munch’s The Scream painting. (photo by Megan Stump)–Once you have correctly identified all the paintings, you take take your completed map to Disney Traders (the large gift shop at the very front of World Showcase) and pick up one of four awesome pins featuring Figment. This scavenger hunt was fantastic.Completed map. SPOILER ALERT. (photo by Brian Carey)HOW GREAT ARE THESE MAGNETS?!!!! (photo by Brian Carey)–# 5 – Pop’t ArtReaders of this fine blog series should know by now that we are obsessed with anything Pop Tart related at the theme parks. The Pop-Tart Sandwich was life changing (note: we didn’t say in a good way) and the Pop-Tart Sundae is a wonderful family dessert. Turns out we also like snacks that look like Pop-Tarts. The Pop’t Art is described as an “abstract-designed sugar cookie with chocolate hazelnut filling” and it is basically a five hour energy in cookie form. The colorful icing on top of regular icing provides an extremely sweet taste, and – like a normal Pop-Tart – there is a small amount of a chocolate hazelnut filing inside. Each one is unique in design.Available at The Painter’s Palette and Pop Eats. ($4)Pop’t Art. (photo by Brandon Glover)Cross section of Pop’t Art. (photo by Megan Stump)–Reason We Love the Festival of the Arts: Fun Photo Ops!In another ingenious idea, the Festival of Arts features photo ops in which guests can literally step into the frame of iconic paintings. There are WDW photographers available and these pics can be added to your PhotoPass account.Theme park podcasters LitemAndHyde and Brandon Glover “cross the Delaware” with George Washington himself.Brandon Glover steps into Renoir’s “Lunching of the Boating Party” mistakenly thinking it was a BOATHOUSE party at Disney Springs.–# 4 – Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate-Chip CookieA thick chocolate-chip cookie the size of an entire paper plate? We’re down with that. Oh, and it has the whimsical appearance of an artist’s palette with various icings as “paint?” Love it. Like many of the festival’s offerings, the size of the food is great for sharing. This is a stark contrast to the growing trend at Food & Wine which could have the subtitle “Honey, I Shrunk the Serving Size” added on to it. One nice touch is that each cookie in itself is a work of art – so to speak – as the splotches of paint are added on after purchase.Available at Cuisine Classique, The Artist’s Table, and Decadent Delights. ($5.50)Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate-Chip Cookie. (photo by Brandon Glover)–Reason We Love the Festival of the Arts: Character ArtThere are several spots in World Showcase which feature art of Disney characters. In Germany there is a painting of Snow White. Mexico has Donald Duck. Our favorite is in France, where not only is there a drawing of Belle reading a book, but it sits on an elaborate easel that look’s like it came straight from Maurice’s workshop. What a great touch.Belle in France. (photo by Brandon Glover)Donald appreciating his drawing in Mexico. (photo by Megan Stump)–# 3 – Deconstructed Purple Sweet Potato PieThe menu described the Deconstructed Purple Sweet Potato Pie as a “salted caramel, bourbon-soaked cake and marshmallow whipped cream.” You had us at bourbon-soaked.You had us at bourbon-soaked.This is truly next level art in the form of a dessert with some true creativity throughout the dish. It is like being at an avant-garde art show, knowing what you are looking at took a lot of skill to create, but have no idea what the meaning behind any of it actually is. It just looks cool. The actual purple sweet potato pie mousse has a great taste once your mind overcomes the weird texture.Served at Decadent Delights. ($6.50)Deconstructed Purple Sweet Potato Pie.(photo by Brandon Glover)–Reasons We Love Festival of the Arts: Do It Yourself MuralIn a fantastic synergy with Glidden paints, guests had the ability to work together on painting an Epcot mural. At the Expression Station, each guest was able to paint a few squares on a giant paint-by-numbers mural that ended up revealing the gorgeous art of Herb Ryman. Slowly the “big picture” (literally) comes into focus. In a way, this mural represents the spirt of the Epcot of old, recapturing imagination.Mural in process. (photo by Brandon Glover)Guests painting mural. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Paint by number writ large. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Close up of one completed section. (photo by Brian Carey)Mural all but finished. (photo by Brian Carey)A postcard featuring the Herb Ryman art that is seen in the mural. (photo by @bioreconstruct)–# 2 – Triple Chocolate MousseThe Triple Chocolate Mousse stands out from the other pieces on our list and looks like it fit right in as the capper to the 10 course meal at Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table or a dessert experience at Remy on the Disney Cruise Line. It’s that gorgeous. Just an amazing dessert that scores an A+ on presentation and another A+ on taste. The price at first seems a little high compared to many other desserts at the festival, but you taste every penny and then some. It is described as “Chocolate crunch, dark chocolate sauce, and gold leaf from our Master Pastry Chef.” After finishing, we wanted to pull a Michael Scott from The Office and tell the Chef, “I am really proud of you.”Served at The Masterpiece Kitchen. ($9.25)(photo by Brandon Glover)–Reason We Love the Festival of the Arts: Live Artists Doing Their ThingThroughout the festival guests have the chance to see artists working in various mediums right in front of their eyes. This is not just the classic “artist painting on an easel” either, as there are artists doing chalk work on the pavement, mural painting, and even producing art on pairs of TOMS shoes that you can purchase. We are hearing that “due to guest demand” Burgan Fine Art may be added to a future Festival of the Arts (or was that “banned?” Have to double check that on that one.)Artist (photo by Brandon Glover)Mural in progress (photo by Brandon Glover)The brilliant Rob Kaz of Rob Kaz Art fame. (photo by Brandon Glover)TOMS shoes painted with Woody and Buzz designs. (photo by Brandon Glover)–# 1 – White Chocolate Figment PuzzleThis just about gets a perfect overall score for the Festival of the Arts. Served on a fun cardboard artist palate, this snack allows the family to paint the white chocolate Figment puzzle using various colored icing, blue chocolate candies, and sprinkles. Let’s see: Unique design? Check. Various forms of sugar? Check. Interactive? Check. Use of Figment. Check. While this may not get the “wow” factor when it comes to taste, this is the type of snack that contains the very essence of the Disney Difference.Served at Painter’s Palate, . ($6.50)(photo by Brandon Glover)(photo by Brandon Glover)–Reason We Love the Festival of the Arts: Figment TopiaryWe love Figment. We love topiaries. ‘Nuff said.Figment topiary in front of Spaceship Earth. (photo by @bioreconstruct)Figment! (photo by Brandon Glover)–HONORABLE MENTION – Almond Frangipane CakeThis slice of cake is possible the “signature dessert” of the festival considering how much it used in all of Disney’s ads. It’s colorful, it’s fun, and it actually tastes really good. The cake itself is most, the raspberry jam has a nice sweet taste, and the chocolate icing is a great capper.Available at Pop Eats. ($4.25)Almond Frangipane Cake. (photo by @bioreconstruct)–So there you have it: The Most Artistic Food Options at EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:What You Need To Know Before Going to Festival of the ArtsSix Reasons We LOVE Epcot!The Six Best Kept Secrets at EpcotThe Six Best Snacks in Epcot’s World ShowcaseThe Six Most Interesting, Unusual, and Strangest Gifts in Epcot’s World ShowcaseThird Annual Theme Park Turkey of the Year Awards ($12.99 “Hurricane Box,” Shanghai Disneyland Etiquette Guide and more!)Six Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist (But Totally Should)Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, the sommelier of Tony’s Town Square Brian Carey, the Bio-est of all Reconstructs @bioreconstruct, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS go out to one our favorite families in all of Florida. Mr. LitemAndHyde along with his lovely wife and two incredible kids were INVALUABLE to the SATURDAY SIX and are considered honorary staff members with all the rights and privileges that come with.FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now and support SIX NATION (boy do we need a better name than that.)Real News.
26 May 2006South Africa is to focus on less costly wireless networks as it moves to roll out a broadband infrastructure across the country that is “robust enough” to cater for all socio-economic, business and research needs.And state-owned company Sentech, Africa’s largest broadcast signal distributor, is to “form the core” of South Africa’s wireless broadband rollout, Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said in the National Assembly on Thursday.While Sentech would be the driver of this infrastructure rollout crucial to meeting the communication needs of a growing economy, this would coincide with the strengthening of a liberalised policy environment that would seek to attract other investors to wireless broadband infrastructure.Affordable accessJustifying the use of Sentech to push wireless broadband networks, the communications minister said in her budget vote speech, that international experience had shown that where adequate broadband infrastructure existed, access to it was more affordable.“Experience has also shown us that where adequate infrastructure is in abundance, this has been as a result of direct and deliberate government intervention, particularly so in developing countries.“Consistent with Cabinet’s declaration that ours is a developmental state we have decided to examine the contribution that the assets of state-owned enterprises can make to achieve affordable broadband access in our country.”The reason for the emphasis on wireless broadband – as opposed to the backbone cables that link South Africa’s business centres – is because of the great costs involved in digging trenches for the rollout of the fibreoptic cables that transmit the data-carrying digital signals.‘Less costly’With the need to provide broadband access to the country’s remote and rural areas, “wireless broadband networks are less costly to roll out as they do not require the digging of long trenches”, said the minister.Sentech, already a leading company in the provision of converging communication solutions, is to be the vehicle for this.On top of this, its wireless broadband infrastructure network is to be expanded beyond its current footprint to enable it to carry voice to the end user, making full use of its multimedia licenceDiscussions on an appropriate funding model for the commercially-driven state-owned enterprise were being finalised, said the minister, adding that this would take into account “the fact that Sentech provides and should continue to provide both public and commercial services”.Eassy accessAnother major development regarding broadband rollout is the development of the Eassy cable that will finally complete the broadband infrastructure surrounding the continent.This cable – the Eastern Africa Submarine Sea Cable commonly referred to as Eassy – involves 23 African countries including South Africa, which is a co-initiator of the project, and more than 30 African companies under the coordination of NEPAD’s e-Africa Commission.With fears over costs of access to this cable – due to be completed by next year – already being voiced by some of the smaller telecommunications players in the continent, as well as potential consumers, the minister moved yesterday to restore broad confidence in this major project that should drastically reduce telecommunications costs along Africa’s eastern flank.With ministers of the 23 countries participating in the Eassy project meeting in Johannesburg in two weeks’ time, Matesepe-Casaburri said she had taken a policy decision to support “the application of open, non-discriminatory and affordable access to these networks”.Electronic communicationsThe new Electronic Communications Act, with its references to “essential facilities” would regulate access by local operators to international communications networks.To support this non-discriminatory access, Matsepe-Casaburri announced her backing of the use of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) as a business model for the development, ownership and maintenance of the cross-border terrestrial and submarine cable segments of these networks.South Africa’s mobile operators would now be invited to participate in the project, she said, adding that the self-help principle of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development had won the day.The Electronic Communications Act has been signed by the president and gazetted, with a date yet to be determined for it to take effect in law.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Large images now suspended in the halls of the Apartheid Museum bear testimony to Mandela’s life from childhood to recent times. Mandela, an extensive new exhibition that took over a year to put together, has opened at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and is also set to travel abroad to tell the story of South Africa’s most treasured person. 12 November 2008 At the same time, Tutu said, it was important to remember “that this one who we hold in such high regard is a human being; he was a little boy who herded cattle. What does this say to our children? It says to our children that they don’t come ready-made for heaven.” “We are free today, but remember the cost of that freedom – our freedom did not come cheap – and it cost this man [Mandela] 27 years of his life.” The exhibition will be on at the Apartheid Museum for about a year, while versions of the exhibition are set to travel abroad, with the Nelson Mandela Foundation saying it is in discussion with the Malmo Museum in Sweden and the Museum for African Art in New York. Tutu stressed the importance of South Africans protecting their hard-won freedom, and the need for debate to happen in an open manner in the country. Jakes Gerwel, who has worked closely with Mandela for the past 14 years, first as director-general in the president’s office when Mandela was president, and more recently as chairperson of the Mandela Foundation, said: “Our Madiba . brings a smile to our hearts . a sense of calm and reassurance in a troubled world.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who grew up on the same street in Soweto as Mandela and also went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, said one of the most important things the exhibition was saying was that South Africans were reclaiming their own history. He said he was sure the scale and ambition of the exhibition would impress audiences, adding: “Madiba’s legacy belongs to us all – and we respect it most effectively when we share it actively.” Among the people who feature in the photos and who had a profound impact on Mandela are his former wife Winnie, former president FW De Klerk, and assassinated SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani. SAinfo reporter and BuaNews Asmal spoke also of Mandela’s great sense of humour, his humanity, and the fact that his legacy “belongs not only to South Africa, to Africa – he’s part of humanity.” Mandela, Gerwel said, had an “exceptional view of humanity. He has an unshakeable faith in the fundamental goodness of people . and he generally believes the world is populated by people like him!” The exhibition, developed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Apartheid Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, is made up of photographs, videos and artefacts – including the car that Mercedes Benz workers made for Mandela while he was president of South Africa. After the speeches, a video message to Mandela from United States President-Elect Barack Obama on the occasion of Mandela’s 90th birthday earlier this year was played. “When other people tell your story, they tell it from their own perspective . we want to tell our story, and we want to remember this man who we revere and who the whole world reveres.” Nelson Mandela Museum chairman Kader Asmal, speaking at the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, said the exhibition embodied the essence of Mandela, showing a man “driven by the insatiable desire for peace between people and communities”. Obama said: “I reflected on your courage and your foresight and conviction, and on your fundamental belief that we do not have to accept the world as it is, that we can remake the world as it should be.” “Debate, debate, debate as vigorously as you can – but know the other person has the right to respond . My father used to say to me: ‘Don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.’ Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
18 November 2013President Jacob Zuma was back in South Africa on Monday after attending the Commonwealth heads of state summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he took the opportunity to share some of South Africa’s experiences in national reconciliation.Zuma met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance for talks on the sidelines of the three-day summit, which ended on Sunday.According to the Presidency, Zuma discussed “the role that could be played by South Africa in assisting the people of Sri Lanka to resolve their problems through engagement”.The Sri Lankan government is under international scrutiny for its conduct during the final stages of its military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels, when tens of thousands of civilians died.The civil conflict ended in 2009 after nearly three decades of fighting. As many as 40 000 civilians were killed in the last months of the conflict, as government troops advanced on the last stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were fighting for an independent homeland.During the weekend summit, Zuma also participated in a dialogue between heads of state and youth leaders, which saw the establishment of the Commonwealth Youth Council.He urged Commonwealth leaders to continue championing the aspirations of the youth and to ensure that their voice was represented in Commonwealth actions at national and international level.With regard to the United Nations’ post-2015 development agenda, Zuma said: “Poverty eradication, addressing income inequalities and job creation must remain the overarching objectives of the development agenda beyond 2015.”Zuma said the theme of the summit – “growth with equity: inclusive development – resonated with South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), a policy blueprint for achieving a more inclusive economy while addressing the country’s socio-economic imbalances.In a joint communique issued at the close of the summit, the leaders committed to work on post-2015 development, including debt financing and climate change.They reaffirmed the right to development for all individuals, and vowed to focus on making growth more inclusive for all, including for vulnerable groups, women, youth and the disabled.The communique also welcomed progress being made in strengthening relations between the G20 and Commonwealth countries, including the establishment of the Annual Commonwealth Dialogue and regular G20 outreach with the Commonwealth.“Heads [of state] also acknowledged the work being done by the Commonwealth members of the Global Governance Group 3G in encouraging the G20 to engage the wider UN membership. They welcomed Australia’s forthcoming assumption of the G20 presidency, and noted that this offers an important opportunity to reflect Commonwealth priorities in advancing global development policy challenges.”Source: SAnews.gov.za
34 percent of adults now say that they own a tablet computer like an Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus or Kindle Fire, according to the Pew Research Center.Kathryn Zickuhr, a research analyst for Pew, said that “with smartphones, for instance, we’ve seen a very strong correlation with age where most younger adults own smartphones, regardless of income level. But when it comes to tablets, adults in their thirties and forties are now significantly more likely than any other age group to own this device.”Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, told NBC News that “tablets — at least in the post-iPad era — have been the fastest growing consumer electronics category from launch in recent history.”Bloomberg BusinessWeek quotes MIT Technology review describes the ever-increasing speed of adoption of new technologies: “Smart phones, after a relatively fast start, have also outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use. It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5 percent to 50 percent penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. Smart phones have gone from 5 percent to 40 percent in about four years, despite a recession. In the comparison shown, the only technology that moved as quickly to the U.S. mainstream was television between 1950 and 1953.”
Email Design Originally published Jul 11, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated July 11 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 3 Awesome Emails to Increase Customer Retention 1. The Useful Reminder – About 5 months ago, in a brief moment of athletic motivation and wonder, I bought a Groupon for discount passes to a local gym. I have not looked at them since. Today, Groupon reminded me about my unused passes (and general laziness) and encouraged me not to let them go to waste. Companies like Alice.com take this a step further. Clued into the shopping cycles of busy households, Alice.com is an online source for products like soap, cleaning supplies, batteries and other home essentials. The site enables you to set up alerts for products that frequently run out. Blogger Connie, a “nearly-50-year-old” mom, writes about her experience with these reminders over on her blog . Below is a view of the alert tool and sample email listing the products that Connie is about to run out of.My only critique of the email reminder is that the products are listed as “overdue.” Be careful not to make your reminders a negative experience by adding any pressure or pinning any blame on the consumer. “Up for renewal” might be a better approach. The most important part of the useful reminder email is that it is USEFUL. Emails reminding customers to come back to the website or shop again without any behavioral or environmental trigger are no better than blanket mass emails. Email me about yet another sale when I’m not ready to buy, and you will likely be ignored. Remind me that I’m about to run out of toilet paper and give me a coupon, and I’ll be right over. 2. The Sincere Thank You – Customers have a tremendous number of options when it comes to selecting the companies with which they want to do business. According to a much-cited report by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer can cost six to seven times more than retaining an existing customer. Showing the customer you’re glad to have them is not a new practice. More and more, however, “customer appreciation days” won’t cut it. Keep customers engaged by periodically sending them personalized emails that reflect their experiences with your brand and the channels they most often use. Thank them on days that are specific to them — a one year anniversary as a customer, a birthday — or surprise them with a targeted thank you and offer when they are least expecting it. 3. The Social Media High-Five – Sites using social tools to build community among users have one of the most effective tools available for keeping users engaged. It’s nearly impossible to ignore that “you’ve been tagged” notification. But even the most active of social media pages can’t keep up retention without the use of targeted emails. In a post earlier this summer, VC Fred Wilson explored this interconnectedness of email and social media, writing: “I’ve always thought that photo tagging was the killer feature and that photo sharing is Facebook’s primary utility. I’ve said that on more than a few occasions. But there’s another piece to this that you cannot leave out. That is the email you get that tells you that someone has tagged you and brings you back to Facebook.” As you assess your site, think of ways to integrate social features and provide email updates that will keep your audience interested and coming back.This is a starter list. I’d love to hear about other retention strategies you have tried –either in email or through other means. Leave your ideas in comments below. The more creative the better. Photo Credit: Esparta Topics:
Originally published Mar 12, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 When you’re making marketing decisions every day, you probably don’t think about taking some time out to run an experiment. You’re busy writing email copy, designing your latest landing page, or crafting the perfect social media update — not creating tests, optimizing treatments, or shattering null hypotheses.But what if I told you that the latter three actions could completely transform the way you do the first three, help you make solid decisions based on data, and generate even more leads for your business?A/B testing, also known as split testing, allows you to do just that. To perform an A/B test, marketers take two different versions of one piece of content (often landing pages, emails, and calls-to-action) and test them with two similarly sized audiences. To find out which test won, marketers measure whether the winning test is statistically significant with a certain level of confidence (95% or more). Using split testing in your marketing helps you optimize your assets for increased leads and converted customers. Unfortunately, this isn’t what everyone hears about A/B testing. There are a ton of myths out there that prevent smart marketers from making accurate, data-driven decisions. To keep you from landing in that camp, we’re going to debunk some of the most common A/B testing myths out there. Let’s get started!Myth #1: Marketers’ instincts work better than A/B testing.Even the most talented and experienced marketers can be wrong. After years of experience, many of us have a solid understanding of what generally works to convert visitors into leads, and leads into customers — but instincts shouldn’t be the only thing guiding our decisions.Split testing allows you to use data to drive more traffic to your website and increase conversion rates. In fact, A/B testing has been shown to generate up to 30-40% more leads for B2B sites, and 20-25% more leads for ecommerce sites.The moral of the story here: if you’re relying only on the HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) in the room, you’re missing out on the potential for increased revenue.Myth #2: You should use A/B testing before making every single decision.While split testing can help you with many of your marketing decisions, you don’t need to test every single decision you make. Some changes are not worth testing. For example, you don’t need to A/B test the clickthrough rates of these two headlines: “The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest” and “A Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest.” Though split tests work well for small changes like the color of your CTA, switching out “the” for “a” won’t make a dent in your conversion rates. Now, if you wanted to test two headlines with different positioning — yes, that would indeed warrant an A/B test.Myth #3: A/B testing is not as effective as multivariate testing.A/B testing and multivariate testing (MVT) are both great ways to use data to drive your marketing decisions, but they are used for very different purposes. A/B testing is used for testing one element in two or more different treatments. MVT is used to test the effectiveness of multiple combinations of elements across multiple treatments.For example, an A/B test would be used to test the effect of the CTA color on the conversion rate while all other elements on the page are the same — the traffic sources, type of visitor, layout of the form, and even the accompanying copy and image. You’re trying to answer one direct question: How does the color of the CTA affect conversions? You aren’t trying to explore how combinations of elements affect conversions (e.g. how the combination of the color of the CTA, the number of fields in the form, and the type of image used affect conversions).So it’s not that one test is more effective than another — they’re just … different types of tests!Myth #4: If a treatment works for one marketer, it will work for any marketer.Though there are a ton of A/B testing case studies demonstrating the success of certain layouts, designs, and copy on conversion rates, you should never blindly follow other marketers’ success without testing it on your own first. Each testing situation is different. The original site has different traffic, audiences, products, marketing funnels, and promotions, so what works for that site may not work for yours.That being said, taking a page out of someone else’s marketing plan can be a great jumping off point for your own marketing activities. For example, if you’re looking to improve the clickthrough rate (CTR) on your emails, you might want to try using a personalized sender name. In 2011, we conducted a test to see if including a personal name from someone on the HubSpot marketing team in the email’s “From” field would increase the email CTR. In the test, we saw that the control (From “Hubspot”) had a 0.73% CTR while our treatment (from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot”) had a 0.96% CTR — the personalized “From” field was a clear winner with 99.9% confidence.This test worked for our audience, so it may work for yours … or it may not. Use A/B tests to try it for yourself and learn the best tactic for your audience, and your marketing.Myth #5: You need to be a tech-savvy marketer with a large budget to do A/B testing.A/B testing doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re operating on a near-zero-dollar budget, there are free split testing tools available like Google Analytics’ Content Experiments. Though Google’s tool is free, you will have to be a bit more tech-savvy to implement it.Most paid A/B testing tools, including the one in HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software, have a higher upfront cost but are much less technologically challenging. Paid tools are obviously more expensive than free tools (duh), but you may be able to work more quickly to cut down on the overhead costs.Besides navigating technology and budget issues, you will need to be comfortable using some math to properly execute a split test. All winning tests must be statistically significant, so you’ll need to know what that means and how to use it to interpret the results. While you can determine if something is statistically significant with pen and paper, you can also use HubSpot’s free A/B testing calculator to figure it out.Ultimately, you’ll need to have different levels of technological and mathematical knowledge depending on what resources you have available, but budgets don’t need to be a barrier to A/B testing if you don’t mind diving into numbers and technology.Myth #6: A/B testing is only for sites with a ton of traffic.Since you only need to study two treatments in A/B testing, you don’t need a ton of visitors to test results — you just need enough to reach statistical significance (the point at which you have at least 95% confidence in the results). Though more visitors can give you more accurate representations of what works and what doesn’t, there isn’t a universal minimum number of visitors you need for an A/B test. All you need is enough people to make sure the test is statistically significant.There also are quite a few free tools out there to help you find how many visitors you need without getting an advanced degree in statistics.Myth #7: A/B testing negatively affects your SEO.One of the frequently asked questions about A/B testing is whether it can hurt your SEO. People think that if you’re testing multiple versions of the same content, your website could be categorized in Google’s algorithm as duplicate content and penalized in the SERPs as a result.This myth is completely false — in fact, Google encourages you to and gives guidelines around how to test your content to get more visitors and conversions on your website, without being penalized for duplicate content. This is one step that can get somewhat technical without A/B testing software that already takes all of this into account for you, but it’s worth the investment since being found by search engines is essential to your inbound marketing success.Myth #8: If one treatment stands out immediately, you don’t need to continue running the rest of the test.One of the most important things to remember when running an A/B test is to always wait until your results are statistically significant. Like waiting for the statistically significant number of visitors, determining the time length to run an A/B test should be based off your confidence interval. Even if one test seems to be winning by a landslide immediately, if the sample size and time frame are not statistically significant yet, you need to keep the test running.If you end up pulling the test before it has a chance to display accurate data, you could end up choosing the wrong test to implement in your marketing — a potentially costly mistake. If you’d like to figure out how long your test needs to run before it reaches statistical significance, try Wingify’s test duration calculator.Myth #9: Winning treatments will always look pretty.One of the reasons that you should A/B test in the first place is to help drive your marketing with data, not subjective opinion. Time after time, A/B tests have proven that landing pages, emails, or CTAs don’t always have to look beautiful … they just have to work better than the alternative. Even if a test isn’t pretty, it still can drive more conversions than one with a more “beautiful” layout. Don’t rely on your judgment of the design — use the A/B testing results to guide your marketing.Myth #10: You’re only measuring one conversion rate.A/B testing results shouldn’t just stop at one metric — you should be examining how your treatment moves multiple metrics. Otherwise, you risk missing larger, more important insights. For example, if you were using an A/B test to see how the color of a CTA affected conversions on your company’s blog, you wouldn’t want to just look at the number of blog subscribers your test drives. You’d want to see how many visitors converted into leads, and how many leads converted into customers, too. You might actually find that the color that converted the most subscribers was resulting in a decrease in leads! And hey, that might be okay, if your goal is subscribers even at the expense of leads. Or, it might cause you to scream in horror and immediately change the color back, knowing that more subscribers aren’t worth it if it’s at the expense of leads.Either way, it demonstrates the importance of looking at more than just one metric when analyzing the results of a test.Myth #11: After you finish your A/B test, you’re done.So you ran an A/B test, gathered a proper sample, reached your confidence interval, and one test won … but you aren’t done yet. Whether you’ve found dramatic results or not, you should keep testing and optimizing your content for conversions and leads. In other words, A/B testing shouldn’t be a one-time experiment — use it to continually adjust and improve your marketing.For example, let’s say that you’ve used an A/B test to determine that a red CTA button increased conversions over a green CTA button. Now that you know which CTA to use, you should try testing which button copy continues to increase your conversion rate. By continuing to use split testing, you can use data to drive your marketing decisions, a smart and cost-effective way to grow your business!What common A/B testing myths have you seen debunked?Image credit: Ken’s Oven Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack