Sunday, 26 October 2008

Make a CellC call and speak to over 60 international countries for no extra cost

Is this too good to be true? Dial 084 198 0001 from any cell phone (in South Africa) or any everyday Telkom land line to call any of the 60 listed countries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the cost of a normal local CellC phone call.

No contracts, no sign-up, no subscription or memberships.

All you pay for is the local call to the CellC number.

Free minutes canNOT be used. V.A.S (Value Added Services) rates apply.
VAS rates means that VAS rates are charged and excludes discounts of any kind such as free minutes etc.
The cost of calls to VAS numbers depend on your calling package.

Cell phones only in the following countries: USA (most networks); Canada; China; Singapore; Hong Kong

Browse your network provider's web site to see what the VAS call rate would be.
for Vodacom pre-paid Vodago: to Value-Added Services (Off-Peak) R1.08 (Peak) R3.60)
for Vodacom contract Talk 240: Value-Added Services (Off-Peak) R0.98 (Peak R1.88)

Still interested?, then go to their web site: for more information.
To use the service:
1) Dial 084 198 0001
2) Wait for the voice-prompt to enter your international number.
3) Enter the international dialing code for the country you’re dialing. No need to enter “0” beforehand, just the country’s code.
4) Dial the phone number.
For more info or clarifications: why not drop them an email:

Ok, now for HandyTechTipper's analysis of the offering:
As stated on their web site they are using Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology.... this means that when you make the call, you will be routed from the South African CellC network using VOIP to the party you are calling in the other country.
Essentially, this means that your voice will be take the following path:
1) your cell phone to your cellular provider,
2) to CellC to an automated voice response system that will answer the call and routed to the Internet and then to a telephone in the country that you have "dialled".
So, things to watch out for: 1) since it's voice over IP watch out for voice quality; 2) watch your cell phone account!
How do they do it? Well, 1 way of doing this would be to have the automated answering service route calls using SkypeOut ie: VOIP calls over the Internet that call "real" phones for a cheap rate. See here for SkypeOut rates:
See here for more Skype related articles:
Where do they make their money? They get a revenue share from the VAS calls ie: CellC gives FarCall a percentage from each call's cost... which needs to be more than the cost of making the call over the VOIP service (and their infrastructure and Internet costs: bandwidth and ADSL lines).
So, is their statement correct: "...forget the inconvenience of international calling cards, and ditch the local monopoly!"?
Well, I suppose, if you're on a contract that has low VAS rates then this will probably be cheaper that calling from your Telkom line but not cheaper than using SkypeOut.
But, if you're on prepaid, then I don't think many countries will be cheaper than Telkom rates and definitely fewer (if any) will be cheaper than using the calling card option - none will be cheaper than using the SkypeOut method.
See here for Telkom rates:

One thing's for sure - if you are going to use your cell phone to make an international call, then use this service - it will definitely be cheaper than calling the international party directly!
On Vodacom Talk 240 contract: International calls cost: (Per minute) Off-Peak: R0.95 + Telkom Off-Peak {Peak: R1.76 + Telkom Peak}
On prepaid Vodago:
depending on global zone: ranges from R5.50 to R17.50 per minute!

See here for another calling service that allows you to Use your cell phone's free minutes to make international calls

Anyone that's looking for Smile Educational products is out of luck! They're not selling to the general public any longer :(

My children were brought up on the great quality and competitive prices of Smile Educational products - but now I'm trying to find the products for my nephews and nieces....
So, I decided to share my findings so that everyone else out there doesn't waste their time....

I've spoken to a couple of the work-from-home consultants and found out that they're no longer selling Smile products to the general public!

The "story" is complicated, but in essence, the company Smile Educational Systems ( was sold to Media24 ( which owns Nasou Via Afrika on 1 April 2007. They also owned Idem that also sold educational toys mainly to government departments.

Bottom of the line, it seems that Nasou have decided that from end Sept 2008, they would no longer sell Idem nor Smile Educational products to the general public, but rather sell only to government - this has left the hundreds of work-from-home consultants in the lurch! Not to mention, the woman-in-the-street, that now needs to find replacement products :(
Makes me think, how can a great business with a huge, self-motivated marketing and sales engine be left to die? How can a company like Smile ( that was founded in July 1979 by Doreen Maree and running profitably, be taken over by a large corporate and fail to continue with a winning recipe!!?????

They can't even manage to update their Smile web page ( to tell their former customers that there's no more goodies coming their way!

Wake up Via Afrika! Maybe read your mission statement again and realign your goals going forward:
Via Afrika businesses aim to become the leading publishers, sellers and distributors of profitable educational reading, learning, audio and visual products in their respective markets.
Now for that huge self-motivated marketing and sales engine: I hear that some enterprising company didn't let a good thing disintegrate into nothing.... a company called "unIQue Kids" - Learn with a smile! has kept the sales team together and is now making inroads into introducing their products to the old Smile market.

Update: Dec 2009: I've found their brand new web site with new product information and online store:

The site contains the following info (and more):
Play2Learn Catalogue and pricelists
SucZeZZ Brochure and pricelists
unIQueKids Brochure and priceLists

Based in Cape Town but can ship anywhere (email them for shipping costs)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Step by step guide to getting your Outlook email from your old PC to a new PC

Ever wonder how to migrate your Outlook emails from an old PC to a new one? Well, here's a quick way:
The emails are stored in .pst files - so if you find the file(s) on your HDD then copy them into the same folder on your new PC then the emails and folders will be transferred.
In the main Outlook window: Tools->Options->Mail setup->Data files->click on the name then click on 'Open folder"
An explorer window will open and then copy the .pst file onto a flash drive and then into the same folder on your new computer.
Repeat the process for any other .pst files that you may want to copy.
While you are copying, why not copy the .pab files - these are Outlook's address book files.
You might need to use the File->Open->'Open data file' to force Outlook to open the .pst files.
If you want to copy individual emails then you can multi-select the emails in Outlook (click on the first email, then Shift-'and the last email'-and-click), then press Ctrl-C, then go to Windows Explorer and paste the files into a folder (by pressing Ctrl-V). The emails will then be copied into the folder as .msg files. Double click to open the messages.

Here's a solution to finding stuff in your Outlook email client.... if you struggle to find stuff in your email folders then this one's for you

There are a lot of strategies for managing your email - they range from filing emails in specific folders based on person or topic or theme. Some even suggest deleting the emails once they're done with. If you're like me then you have a single InBox and once the email has been read and actioned, I then move it into a single folder called InboxDone.
Now, saying that Outlook's search functionality is bad is being too kind!!!! It nearly drove me to use GMail's web client which I know is brilliant and fast at finding any email.
So I rely on other indexing tools to help find specific emails later. There are wonderful free desktop search tools out there like Google desktop search and Microsoft Windows Search. I use Copernic Desktop Search (version 2.3.18 since the latest version 3 has less available for the home user than version 2
I had tried Google Desktop (, but I found that too resource hungry (CPU and HDD).
Thanks to Cape Talk's Hard Drive program ( on Tues afternoons (about 17h40), I've tried a new Outlook add-in that works the best so far (altho it only indexes emails and not other files on your disk - so I guess, I won't be uninstalling Copernic Desktop Search).
It does the search (very fast) inside the Outlook window and arranges all the mails by person, and then by the conversations. It also displays all the attachments they have sent :)
As if the intuitive search wasn't enough, it also provides stats (called analytics) that show info like: who mails you most, who takes the longest to respond, etc...
It’s called: Xobni ( interesting name - I'll leave it up to you to figure out how they got to that name ;)
But it will definitely change your frustrating times searching for emails around, inside out, back to front, maybe even backwards? ;)
Best of all - it's free!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Backup, backup, backup.... you've been told a few times right? Now's the time to start practising safe computing: make off-site backups for free!

In this information era, you don't want to lose your precious and sometimes irreplaceable data.
Loss can occur due to hardware crashes or viruses or theft or accident or acts of nature (eg. lightning)... and the list goes on and on.
Think about it... all your data on your PC lost forever! Maybe you've got a backup CD or DVD from a few days ago or maybe weeks....
Imagine losing your email addresses.
If you don't back up regularly, and you need to retrieve invaluable data, then you might be forced to spend lots of time and money to get data retrieval experts to try and retrieve data off your failed hard drive (and retrieval is never guaranteed).... but if you just use a decent backup program all these headaches would go away!
Even better would be to use a backup program that automatically sends the data off site - so, then you're protected from "occurrences" at your home or office.
Now's a great time to start using the online backup service called MozyBackup:
2 GB of 100% free backup space.... plus, if you sign up this month (Oct 2008) using my referral code: then you get an additional 512MB of storage space for free!
No setup fee, no credit cards, no monthly payments, no expiration.
There are other plans for more data and for businesses that cost per month.
How It Works
1. Sign up for an account.
Create a MozyHome user account which will allow you to download MozyHome software. It’s quick, easy and the step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process.
2. Download and install software:
MozyHome downloads in just seconds, and the installation is simple and fast.
3. Select files to be backed up.
Simply check the boxes next to the backup sets, or types of files you want to back up, and MozyHome does the rest. In addition to selecting files by backup sets, you also have the option of selecting specific files and directories.

{The following is taken from the Mozy web site}

You're Free To Choose - there are of course alternatives to MozyHome:
  • Burn a new CD or DVD every Sunday night and store it at your brother-in-law's office.
  • Pay $200/year for an online backup service that uses old, mediocre software.
  • Buy a $200 external hard drive and hope your office doesn't burn down.
  • Do nothing and don't worry about backup. (We suggest closing your eyes, plugging your ears and repeating "I'm in my happy place, I'm in my happy place.")
  • Run a cron job of rsync, gzip and mcrypt piped over ssh to your friend's server over his DSL line.
  • Of course, we think MozyHome is the best and easiest solution to the backup problem! Get MozyHome!
Mozy is a simple and safe way to back up all the important stuff on your computer. A copy of your data is stored in a secure, remote location for safekeeping, so that in the event of disaster your data is still retrievable.

What makes Mozy so great?
Mozy makes online backup possible for everyone with an affordable, secure solution that's easy to use.
Is Mozy secure?
Yes. When you use Mozy, your files are encrypted on your computer using 448-bit Blowfish encryption and then transferred to the Mozy servers using 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption. You have the option of using a Mozy key or your own private key to encrypt your data. Note that if you use your own private key, you must be very careful about not losing it because if you do, we won't be able to help. It's impossible for us to decrypt your data when you use your own key. Most users opt to use the Mozy key, but the choice is entirely yours.
See here for the different Mozy products - ranging from free (MozyHome [up to 2GB]) to 'MozyHome Unlimited' (for $4.95 per month) to MozyPro ( Desktop Licenses: $3.95 + $0.50/GB per month; Server Licenses: $6.95 + $0.50/GB per month) to MozyEnterprise (
See here for a comparison of products:

Update on 19July2009:
Tip: 10 free online backup tools:
and don't forget DropBox: & Mozy: both 2GB free

Update on 15Nov2009:
Here’s a good comparison of the 5 best online backup tools:
CrashPlan, Mozy, Dropbox, Jungle Disk, Carbonite.
For additional information, you can check out this comprehensive comparison chart on WikiPedia.
Also on WikiPedia, a list of backup software

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Copyright © 2008 HandyTechTipper. All articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 South Africa license, unless where otherwise stated.