Port Elizabeth WWW Applications Conference

www.MyPE.co.za: The
11th Annual conference on WWW Applications (ZAwww2009)is currently
underway in Port Elizabeth at the Pine Lodge until Friday 4
September
2009.

The chair of the Local Organising Committe, Darelle van Greunen from
NMMU, graciously allowed me to
attend and cover some of the papers
presented at this conference. Normal plebs can join in the fun at a
small registration cost – pop in to the registration desk in the
morning, chat to Darelle and plonk your Nine Hundred bucks on the table
to join in the fun.

There are four venues each offering presentations under the broad
umbrellas of; e-Commerce, Web Development, e-Learning and Information
& Knowledge Discovery. Each presentation is mostly 25 minutes
long and well structured with a question and answer session.

Just to whet your appetite somewhat my program for Thursday looks like
this:

  • 09:15 to 10:00 – Cloud Computing: a relaity check presented
    by Eben De Witt from Microsoft
  • 10:05 to 10:50 – An OEM Perspective on Web Technology
    presented by Ashraf Karodia from VW South AFrica
  • 11:30 to 11:55 – The Emergence of CLoud Computing
  • 12:00 to 12:25 – Internet Usage in Lower-end SMMEs in South
    Africa
  • 12:30 to 12:55 – World Wide Web tools enhancing Mentorship
  • 14:00 to 14:25 – Top Ranking Commercial web sites – search
    engine optimisation versus pay per click
  • 14:30 to 15:55 – Search Engine coverage bias in developing
    countries
  • 15:00 to 15:25 – Fusing Visibility and usability in
    designing better website (1)
  • 16:00 to 16:55 – Latest trends in web development

Of course this is but a small sample of the wide range of topics
covered with more to come on Friday.

Today I met up with an old mate from a 27 Dinner held last year at ABYC,
Marlon Parker. At that dinner Marlon spoke about the great work that he
was doing using the Mixit Instant Messaging service to help fight
against the scourge of drugs in the Western Cape. Since that time the
counselling service has expanded even more with them servicing around 9
193 subscribers. The 5 counsellors average around 122 conversations per
session and the average cost to the person seeking advice is measured
as less than 1 cent for the initial contact session.

Marlon’s fellow associate, Wesley Nitsckie presented the paper and
attributed the growth in the number of users to an insert on Morning
Live Television.

The drug counsellors are all ex drug addicts and gang members and have
taken to their new ‘status’ in the community like ducks to water,
turning their backs on destroying lives and embracing their newfound
community spirit.

This technology is now being used by Port Elizabeth based company Debt
Restructuring Services as a first line in debt counselling and
restructuring.

Dr. Wallace Chigona from the University of Cape Town’s Department of
information services presented the findings of his masters student,
Tarreyn Pietersen, on the uses and gratifications of social network
sites by South Africans. Tarreyn studied a sample group of eight users
of Facebook.

With over 300 major Social Networking sites on the internet covering in
excess of 200 million users it was found that in excess of 734 000
South Africans subscribe to Facebook and use it mainly to communicate
with friends that are not personal every day friends. A 9.4% internet
penetration is seenas the major stumbling block to even more
spectacular growth in the uptake of South African’s to the major Social
Networking Sites.

It was found that of the Facebook users 53.5% are female, 46.5% male
and 77% of users are between the ages of 13 and 30. Most users accessed
the site for an average of 20 minutes a day from their places of work
and most used it to check messages only.

The ZAwww2009 conference ends on Friday. Contact Darelle van Greunen on
082 564 2356 for more info.

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