Category Archives: Services in Knysna

Web Workshop

The origins of the Internet date back to research commissioned by the United States Federal Government in the 1960s to build robust, fault-tolerant computer based communication networks. Essentially to democratise communication and open doors for individuals living under repressive governments and regimes.

And up to a point it has worked.

The advent of the World Wide Web gave rise to an open source movement and the concept of a free information exchange without the need for centralised controls. A utopian concept saw the emergence of the open source movement and expressions such sharing is caring and the free transfer of skills and know how. 

The free software movement, which has produced, among other things, Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and As well as internet chat, Dmoz and Wikipedia.

The Internet Society (ISOC) was founded in 1992 with a mission to “assure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world”. However it has never quite realised it’s fully potential. Businesses like Microsoft exploded into global giants exercising a monopoly which is often very much at odds with the founding principles. And even Google which coined the term “do no evil” dominates and effectively controls visibility on the net.

More recently we have had Facebook, social media and the introduction of smart phones which has exposed the other side of the coin. Disinformation, abuse and a dumbing down of users to the point where the individual have become a mere statistic exploited by slick marketing professionals.

Despite this the Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education. And projects like one being run by Workshop Web could make a significant difference in the lives of many.

An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth. These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information emailed to them from offices all over the world.

And there is no reason why students in a village no one has ever heard of cannot similarly make themselves useful by offering services to that same global market. There is no reason not to believe that it is possible to build an open community that works on the basis that there is real value in transferring skills and know how simply by sharing and caring.  

Mark Allan South Africa – Find It Knysna

Typing services the Garden Route

I offer all transcription and typing services including:

Transcribing disciplinary enquiries.
Transcribing meetings and conferences like AGMs and corporate conferences,.
Working with forensic teams and other professionals who record their material and don’t have time to type it themselves.
Transcribing reports
Assisting with document preparation
Other forms of transcription and typing – contact me to discuss your needs.
I prepare transcriptions for companies who specialise in recording offering a one stop solution.
Working with students.

I also offer proofreading and editing with the assistance of highly qualified subcontractors.

Landscaping services in Knysna

Landscaping services the Garden Route


Offering an exceptionally talented design and installation team that specialises in landscaping indigenous garden. We install irrigation systems handling any sized installation, from residential to corporate, manual to automatic. Our tree felling team is experienced, professional and fully insured. We also build water features and offer a comprehensive garden maintenance service where it is the little extras that count.

100 Days

That is all it takes – Shaun van Eck is starting a tourism consultancy business.  I sincerely hope it works for him. He put a lot of energy into Knysna and there are questions about the way Tourism handled things which will never be answered. Be that as it may I have suggested that he gets to know a bit more about the net and that over the next one hundred days we build this platform.


Jetty Tapas and Mitchells Draft

As it started to bucket down we scurried to the beer tent at the fun fair. I warned the boys we were wasting our time queuing for tickets but they were very focused and who listens to Dad anyway. Once safely under canvas I started looking around for supper. The options were limited but there was a table serving Paella. And that is different enough to warrant investigation.

It looked the part but it was the Jetty Tapas tee-shirt on display that started the conservation.

Keith, minus a leg and with a few more miles under his belt, was shovelling the rice, cutting the baguette. And the bit I liked, there were none of those plastics forks to be seen anywhere. You get a mussel shell, a piece of bread and if those don’t work  how about some finger food? Different. And Jetty Tapas in it’s time, was definitely different. Knysna at both its best and its worst. Times when the town was driven by imagination and an energy it appears to lack today. It was Bitou Crafts, Old Drift Chalets and the raft at the Heads. Funny Birds, Feathers, Die Oude Fabriek and Mitchell’s Draft.

And in between shovelling paella around the pan, Keith is talking about the Parks Board and doing it all again, even though the Knysna he knew has changed. Thesen Island has changed. But so what, why not? Even if it doesn’t quite turn out quite the way its intended we need to keep doing stuff, to keep dreaming and reaching for the unattainable.

Why local?

The last three years have been tough. And the chances are that the next three are going to be even tougher still . Roughly translated this means that you either give up and pack up now or you change the way you do things and start looking for opportunities to work smarter.

And if not, why not turn to the web? It offers us, that is all of us, a cost effective advertising platform and an unparalleled opportunity for community building. Eighteen months ago we approached Find It SA with a proposal to launch Ask the Locals as a community build, personal empowerment and local marketing programme. We are now in a position to issue a challenge to local businesses that coincides with the print of our first advert and the distribution of the Find It Knysna & The Garden Route 2011 edition.

Generally when anyone starts talking about social responsibility, most people pat their pocket books to make sure that it is still there and then they start edging their way to the emergency exit. And business people in Knysna have developed a sixth sense for this sort of stuff. So we are not going to go there. Community building and a well developed sense of social responsibility is an essential part of any healthy society. But in this day and age nice ideas are just not going to fly.

Most of us whether we know it or not, are in survival mode.

But that is no excuse to stop thinking, to stop feeling and to start dodging ones responsibilities. And that is the reason we have come up with a programme that we believe offers everyone a little bit of everything. The internet is not complicated. It’s only people that get complicated. So at the out set we want to keep this simple and more importantly we want to maximise our returns from minimal or preferably zero input costs. This then is the challenge.

We would like to persuade the various business centres, malls and industries in town to challenge our local schools, the stay at home mums, retirees and would be writers. To invite and incentivise them to submit two hundred word essays about the businesses in as well as about stuff that makes this town work. A competition where the businesses undertake to choose the best articles, negotiate with the writers and to buy their work. We will then place these as posts somewhere on the web where Google can find the content. Where each article serves as an advert strategically placed where it will be found and where it will keep getting found for years and even decades to come. And found by visitors who have been identified and who are are being deliberately targetted as buyers who are looking for the products and services being advertised. An advert which feeds interested visitors directly to the businesses buying the written work produced by an emerging writer who needs an alternative source of income.

This with the objective of identifying people skills which, with the help of the local media, we can promote. Firstly to a national market. Then if thats successful why not an international market?

How do we attract more money to this town? Do we really need more tourist busses? Is it the only way we can think of to kick start our economy? Are we ever going to get the volumes we need? These are questions we can debate until the cows come home. But rather than talking about stuff we can do very little about we have put forward a suggestion which will get exposure, which will add value to the businesses that participate. And if we can get it to work, if we can start building a work from home cottage industry, a community of web content writers earning foreign currency, who knows, we might just hook a tour operator or two and a few more bus loads of those happy smiling tourists who fuel this feast and famine existance we have all get so used to.

Networking and word of mouth advertising

I certainly don’t have all the answers to all the questions that get asked. But I know enough to ask someone who does. And that is how business gets done in the Garden Route.

I spend most of my time working with web sites, getting them to show up where they should on the search engines and I thought it would be interesting to see if we can’t use the web to make things a whole lot easier for local businesses. Unfortunately very few people use the net the way it could be used and whilst its not something I really want to spend my time doing, I believe we can change that.

The sites that are listed in the Site Menu could all be developed as micro-businesses, without too much effort. And if anyone is interested you are more than welcome to get involved. It’s all free, can all be done in your own time and once you have opened a few doors there is no limit to what you could realistically achieve. All you require is a bit of imagination and the determination to make it happen.