SummaryRather than using a third-party service or plugin, Twitter makes it straightforward to add a Twitter timeline to your site in five quick steps. I’ve used plugins in the past to add a timeline to WordPress sites, the Twitter publish tool is so much easier. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedHow I’m Migrating My Storify StoriesWhen Storify announced in late 2017 they were closing down, I wasn’t too surprised. I had been an early adopter of Storify, using it to curate events, talks, and conferences since 2011. Storify had a drag-and-drop interface that made it easy to add tweets, Flickr photos, posts, and other online…In “Blogging”10 Ways to Improve Accessibility on Websites and Social MediaWhen I chatted about accessibility with other attendees at WordCamp Denver 2018 this weekend, I shared some of my tips and blog posts on how they could improve accessibility on their websites. After one conversation, they thanked me for the recommendations, and asked if I had a summary post that…In “Accessibility”5 Tips for Promoting Your Website LocallyAfter months of planning and hard work, you’re thrilled to launch your website. Your web designer created a great-looking site that’s easy to use and works well on desktop and mobile. Your site’s been submitted to search engines, Google Analytics installed, and Google Webmaster Tools set up. You’re not ready…In “Web design” In the past, adding a Twitter timeline to your website required you to log in to your Twitter account and connect it/provide permissions to a third-party plugin or service that provided the special code to add to your site.Or you would log into your Twitter account to create a widget to add to your site. And hope that the code provided would work on your site. Neither option worked well if you were a designer or developer creating a site for a client. You needed to walk your client through the steps to get the information. Or ask your client for their Twitter login credentials. Thankfully, Twitter has made it a lot easier to embed Twitter on your site.No more setting up a third-party service or logging into a Twitter account! Use Twitter Publish to Embed Twitter Timeline on Your WebsiteUsing the Twitter Publish tool, you can quickly get the embed code to add to your site. Here are the steps:Visit the Twitter Publish toolEnter the full URL for the timeline you want to embed. I entered my Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/redcrewSelect the display option you prefer: Embedded Timeline or Twitter Buttons. I selected Embedded Timeline.If you want, you can configure customization options for color, size, default link color, and language.The Twitter Publish tool displays the code you need to copy and paste into your site, along with a snapshot of how the timeline will display.
In a recent post, Fred Wilson asked what is going to trump email? (implying that even email is getting old). Certainly email is still the most broadly used form of digital communication, particularly in businesses, but is it beginning to be displaced? And more importantly why?To answer these questions, we need to understand the patterns behind all forms of digital communication. How they came about and why; and what are the differences between them. Perhaps going back and looking at regular mail, phone and newspapers can give us insights into the reasons and potential life-span of email, chat and Twitter.Email vs. MailIt is always useful to start at the beginning and understand the basics. How is email different from the regular mail? The obvious differences are that email is faster and virtual (i.e. not physical). And it has different economics, since you do not have to pay per email message (at least we do not perceive it this way). Now, because email is delivered faster, we send more of it. Because we send more of it, each message is much smaller than a typical letter. So thinking about it this way, we realize that email not only redefined mail, it created a completely different way of communicating. Instead of sending more information less often, we send less information more often. The speed and quantity of communication created a qualitatively different communication medium.Phone vs. ChatWay before we had the Internet, we already had a way to communicate faster then via mail – the telephone. Phones allowed us to instantly get in touch. Then when the world went online, Instant Messaging was invented – which, unlike email, allowed people to reach each other immediately. But there are big differences between phone and chat. Firstly, most of us, at least initially, were not as good at typing as talking. Even today, conversations via chat do not have the same flow as a phone call, because people have learned to multi task during chat. That is not something that you would typically do on a phone call (unless you are on a really boring corporate call!). Despite the differences, the key common attribute between a phone call and an instant message is essentially immediate reach-ability.Extreme multi-tasking; pic by defining momentNewspaper vs. BlogsRegular mail and phone are typically used for one-on-one communication. Newspapers and radio are older forms of one-to-many communication. These methods are examples of broadcast or push technologies. Over the past decade, blogs arrived on the scene and they’ve had tremendous success as a form of one-to-many communication. The reason for this is that blogs leveraged something that was done very poorly in newspapers and somewhat better in radio – our need for feedback. Blogs made feedback frictionless. Anyone can comment on a post.The ability for people to get involved and to express their opinions, created a completely different dynamic. In a way, blog posts are like mass mailings with massive CC lists – but executed in a much more organized way. This form of non-instant communication has won our hearts, but overwhelmed our RSS readers. And that, in turn, created an opportunity for the micro version. Here comes Twitter.Electrodes vs. TwitterTwitter is a new form of communication that is both a natural step from blogging and a weird experiment normally found in neuroscience labs. Because blog posts are typically lengthy, there was an opportunity to break them down into smaller chunks. Twitter arrived on the scene and in a way it asked us to break down all of our thoughts and actions into succinct chunks. As the result, they can be delivered faster, processed faster and there can be more of them. And once again, the interplay between speed and quantity created a qualitatively different experience. People are collaborating on Twitter in real time. They are discovering news, watching each other and getting advice. Twitter pushed us all to the edge of real communication. Any more real would probably be telepathy!Squaring it all outSo now we come to our diagram: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… We barely have time to pause and reflect these days on how far communications technology has progressed. Without even taking a deep breath, we’ve transitioned from email to chat to blogs to social networks and more recently to Twitter. Here is my representation of the current ecosystem, which we will explore in this post: Tags:#Analysis#web We see that all the squares in our diagram are filled out. Twitter jumped in and gave us a new form of communication – instant broadcast with feedback. Each of its digital predecessors was an improvement over the physical equivalent. So the question is, what else can be improved?The mobile twistThe axis not reflected in the diagram above is reach-ability. With the recent explosion of mobile devices, the communication game has changed once again. While with traditional computers instant reach-ability was not always possible, mobile devices eliminate this gap. There has been an explosion of chatting and twittering on cell phones, proving that real-time communication is what people crave.The outcasts, or the way to the future?Just about when we cannot imagine anything that can beat the real-time broadcast nature of Twitter, things get even more strange. The popular Justin.tv show has a guy walking around with the camera attached to his head, recording everything that is happening around him. While we may question the sanity and usefulness of this, we cannot deny that we are curious about this phenomenon. Is this an aberration or a way to the future? The answer is not a simple no!. There is more to the story, which we are only finding out as we go along.And along the lines of strange, what do you think when Amazon Evangelist Jeff Barr invites you to a AWS meeting in Second Life? Maybe this is not odd, because people are using AWS to build services in Second Life – so in that sense it is quite natural. As Second Life gains mindshare, we can expect the emergence of a new communication medium. This medium is going to have new rules and new possibilities that, undoubtedly, people will rush to explore.Amazon Web Services Chat in Second Life; pic by labsjiConclusionWe are witnessing a breathtaking evolution of new forms of digital communication. More than witnessing, we are facilitating it. All of this is unfolding so quickly that we do not have time to pause and reflect on what is happening. But if email is becoming an endangered species, then we need to pay attention. So the question still stands: what really different and new forms of communication are we going to see next? We leave this as an open question and invite our readers to comment. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… alex iskold 1 Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
The trend toward consumerizing IT seems unstoppable, whether the IT department likes it or not. Individuals and departments are doing an end run around corporate IT to use the devices and services they want, not necessarily the approved choices.So how does IT respond? Ranging from acceptance to resistance and from control to enabling, there are basically four ways IT can play it, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, risks and headaches – and its own IT persona. Which play is right for you and your company? Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… BYOD Response #2: Not on My Watch!The Player: Carl the Laptop CopThe Play: “There will be NO outside devices. Any and all violators will face a week in solitary.”Pros: Consistency allows IT to focus on building better, more reliable apps; support and training costs reduced.Cons: Angry inmates may include your boss.Stress Level: High. You’re still responsible if anything goes wrong, and be prepared for dirty looks in the hallways.Prospects: If you work in a highly regulated environment, you may have no choice but to go this route. If you can pull it off, you’ll be the envy of uptight IT managers everywhere, but its no fun trying to fight the future. You’ll likely get pegged as a reactionary thinker unable to adapt to the modern world. Not a good long term strategy – your watch may end sooner than you think. Tags:#enterprise#Virtualization cormac foster BYOD Response #4: Secure the PipesThe Player: Peter the PlumberThe Play: “We’re all Web-based and virtualized, so use whatever you want as a terminal.” As long as everything goes through the VPN pipes, your data should be safe, and users will find the tools that are most productive for their situations.Pros: Happy, nonpersecuted workforce, locked-down work environmentCons: Completely ignores device-level security, inevitable end-user support. Potential performance and connectivity problems.Stress Level: Higher than you might think. You could end up dealing with wonky compatibility issues for which you haven’t prepared.Prospects: Opening the door half-way is tough. Tacit approval is still approval, and if you’re letting devices on your network and into your apps, you’re going to have to support them – not just their virtualized environments. Regardless of how cloud-based your architecture may be, you’re still going to have sensitive data sprayed across a wide range of platforms.Should IT managers roll over or fight the power? Let us know which IT plays for dealing with consumerization you find work best. BYOD Response #3: Buy ‘Em OffThe Player: Patty PayoffThe Play: Buy ’em the best there is. Why would employees choose a functionally redundant personal laptop or smartphone when the company offers a serviceable alternative? Generally, because most corporate-issued devices suck. Eliminate the lameness and you reduce the desire to stray. Listen to employees and provide a selection of world-class company-provided devices.Pros: Happy workers, and a de facto standard that isn’t worth fightingCons: High-end devices can be expensive. And no matter what you offer, someone is sure to want something else.Stress Level: LowProspects: Good. What’s not to like? Workers get great equipment and IT can focus support on a few platforms. You just need to be prepared to keep up with when the Next Big Thing comes along. Related Posts BYOD Response #1: Bring It On!The Player: Harry the “Roll Your Own” HippieThe Play: “Anything goes, dude, if it helps you get your job done.”Pros: Lower hardware costs, happy workersCons: Device-level security risks; support, monitoring and training cost increasesStress Level: Mixed. You’re taking a big risk, but happy users make for mellower workdays.Prospects: Fair, as long as you set guidelines. Device neutrality doesn’t mean you can’t spec minimum system functions and enforce usage policies. You may need to keep offering company-provided equipment for free, lest an employee claim that you forced him to upgrade his beloved StarTAC. You may want to add support staff and bolster the security team, but policy planning can mitigate the impact. 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…
By Jeffrey MervisSep. 14, 2018 , 11:50 AM Nima ShahabShahmir/Green Bank Observatory Students design, construct, and test radio telescopes at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia under a National Science Foundation grant. Ted Hodapp has spent the past 5 years helping boost the number of minority students pursuing U.S. graduate degrees in physics. But Hodapp, who works on education and diversity issues at the American Physical Society in College Park, Maryland, knows the society’s Bridge Program will at best make only a small dent in the nationwide dearth of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans working in all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. He wanted an opportunity to show that Bridge’s approach—which starts by encouraging graduate schools to de-emphasize scores on the standardized GRE entrance exam in the student selection process—could work in other STEM disciplines and, in doing so, promote the value of diversity in U.S. higher education.Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, gave Hodapp $10 million to make that happen. The grant was one of six 5-year awards that the agency announced on 6 September under its new Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) initiative, which NSF Director France Córdova rolled out in 2016 as one of her priorities. The $57 million outlay marks NSF’s first major investment in INCLUDES. The five Alliances, as NSF calls them, will allow STEM educators to scale up existing diversity efforts by partnering with like-minded businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and local and state governments. The goal is to tear down disciplinary, geographic, and cultural barriers that hinder efforts to promote broader participation in STEM. (NSF also made a $10 million award to SRI International in Menlo Park, California, to coordinate activities and carry out research across all the alliances.) Removing a barrierFor Hodapp, the new grant means extending Bridge—which includes remedial training, mentoring, and other means of support—to graduate training programs in chemistry, astronomy, the geosciences, and material sciences. He’ll be working with the professional societies in those fields, as well as other academics, in hopes of revising graduate admissions practices at departments throughout the country.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“A major research university might get 600 applications for 30 slots, and maybe 350 of the students would do just fine,” he says. “So how do you choose? As a first cut, many use the GRE, which is not a good indicator of success and also puts women and racial minorities at a disadvantage.”In 2013, Hodapp found six universities willing to abandon that simplistic metric and welcome a dozen deserving students with low GRE scores, most of them minorities, who had either been rejected by other programs or who considered it pointless to even apply. Five years later, 38 departments are on board, 168 students are pursuing advanced degrees, the retention rate is 87%, and the program expects its first cohort of Ph.D.s to graduate next spring.Surging enrollment, Hodapp says, puts the Bridge program within reach of its goal of halting the steep attrition rates in physics between undergraduate and graduate training and, simultaneously, doubling the annual number of black, Hispanic, and Native American students earning a physics Ph.D. Hodapp hopes the new Alliance grant, dubbed the Inclusive Graduate Education Network, will produce similar numbers across the physical sciences.The NSF three-stepINCLUDES is the latest addition to NSF’s $925 million stable of diversity programs, which range from elementary school through postdoctoral training and beyond. They are not meant to be mutually exclusive; Hodapp, for example, received a $3 million NSF grant in 2012 to launch Bridge. At the same time, INCLUDES reflects Córdova’s conviction that the only way to make a dent in this seemingly intractable problem is to enlist many sectors of society for the long haul.“The design and focus of INCLUDES is on collaborative partnerships, communications, sustainability, and scale,” says Sylvia James, who leads the Human Resource Development division within NSF’s education directorate. “We’re looking for unique approaches that can integrate NSF’s investment in broadening participation.”“It’s one of NSF’s 10 big ideas,” James adds. “So there’s a 10-year plan for it in our budget.”The distinctiveness of the INCLUDES Alliance program is reflected in how NSF structured the awards. Instead of just asking the community for its best ideas, NSF officials pursued a three-step process.It began with a 2016 call for proposals for pilot grants that would give scientists the chance to test their ideas. NSF received several hundred proposals and chose 70 of these 2-year, $300,000 grants in two rounds of funding.The foundation’s second step was to bankroll a dozen conferences so that the lead scientists on the pilot grants could find soulmates. The idea was to broaden the scope and size of the pilots. It hoped those intellectual marriages would spawn more comprehensive and sophisticated proposals for one of the large Alliance grants. To ensure continuity, each Alliance application had to include a principal investigator from at least one of the pilots.In the end, NSF received 27 Alliance applications, and funded five. That’s twice the number NSF suggested it would fund in the solicitation, James notes, a testament to the high quality of the proposals and the willingness of other NSF directorates and programs to chip in. Applications for a second round of Alliance grants are due in April 2019.An unplanned tiltPreparing a diverse STEM workforce requires engaging students at all levels. But the first round of Alliance winners is skewed toward higher education, specifically, running from 2-year community colleges through graduate training.In addition to Hodapp’s project, NSF gave $10 million to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, based in Washington, D.C., and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They are pursuing a three-pronged attempt to improve the skills of STEM faculty members at dozens of universities in mentoring minority students, grow the ranks of minority STEM faculty, and promote diversity throughout academia. Another $10 million Alliance award, based at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, will help community college students in California and three other states overcome deficits in math as the first step into a STEM major. A fourth $10 million Alliance grant, based at the University of Texas in El Paso, will support expansion of a 12-year-old computing alliance among academic institutions that serve a large number of Hispanic students.The absence of any Alliances focused on precollege or informal science education “was not intentional,” James says. “These projects rose to the top during our merit review process. We’re definitely interested in K-12 and we hope to provide support to that sector in subsequent awards that would complement our first cohort.”Matchmaking woesBecause K-12 education in the United States is largely a local and state responsibility, scientists with pilot grants focused on that population faced a higher bar in trying to build coalitions and attract other partners. April Marchetti, a chemistry professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, ran into that challenge in when she tried to recruit partners for an Alliance proposal.The pilot project offers a summer STEM program for Hispanic girls starting high school, with the goal of bringing them back in subsequent years to provide a glide path for their entry into college and a STEM career. Marchetti had already forged ties with STEM-based companies and other employers of STEM workers, and she hoped an Alliance grant would strengthen those ties and provide additional student support. But like-minded programs were scarce.“We couldn’t find a suitable partner in time for the [Alliance] deadline,” she says “There are so many populations to be served, and so many types of interventions. We want to continue to be part of INCLUDES, but we don’t want to have to change our focus.”Marchetti was able to parlay a chance meeting at one of the NSF conferences into a consultant’s role with a fifth new Alliance. Led by Erica Harvey, a chemistry professor at Fairmont State College in West Virginia, the First2 STEM Success Network will work with students from rural West Virginia, many of them the first in their families to attend college. The $7 million project hopes to reduce the steep outflow from STEM fields in the first 2 years of college with an array of activities designed to cement a student’s interest in science and engineering by showing its relevance to their lives.Harvey was co–principal investigator on a pilot project led by Sue Ann Heatherly, senior education officer at the Green Bank Observatory in rural West Virginia. The radio telescope, built by NSF, had long served as a magnet for STEM educators throughout the state seeking research opportunities for their students. The pilot provided rising freshmen with a 2-week summer program at one of the two institutions, and the Alliance hopes to build out that successful trial.The West Virginia Alliance has an unusually diverse group of partners assembled in large part to satisfy an NSF requirement that all projects include an institutional “backbone” to coordinate activities and to work with NSF and the other Alliance programs. That capacity and expertise already exists at most major research universities and large nonprofit organizations. But it was a significant obstacle for the grassroots operation run by Heatherly and Harvey.“I’m a chemistry professor, and I have my hands full running the internships along with everything else I do,” Harvey says. “It had never occurred to us that it’s worth paying for the infrastructure needed to provide that type of continuity and accountability.”So Heatherly and Harvey reached out to a state entity, the Higher Education Policy Commission. The commission was already managing an NSF-funded program, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, to help states with relatively small amounts of federal research funding, and was eager to come on board. The scientists also enlisted SRI International as a “mentor backbone” to help the commission climb the learning curve.Bending the barsHowever, some scientists with pilot grants found the backbone component to be an insurmountable hurdle.Jannette Carey, a chemistry professor at Princeton University, and a few colleagues have been running a science education program in the New Jersey prison system for a dozen years with more than 100 student volunteers. She used the pilot, dubbed STEPS (Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons) to STEM, to add additional offerings, including a first-ever laboratory course, as stepping stones toward a 4-year degree for prisoners after they are released. “But as a volunteer organization,” she says, “we couldn’t meet the requirement for the infrastructure needed to collaborate and communicate with other organizations and institutions.”Her own attempts at matchmaking also proved a disappointment. “We went to the conferences in hopes of finding partners who had a realistic chance of submitting a credible proposal,” Carey says. “But none of the other pilots shared our goals of bringing university-level courses into a prison.” A last-minute partnership with another pilot grantee that focuses on improving the math skills of underrepresented minorities failed to make the initial cut, she says.Carey has a good sense of what passes muster at NSF, having run an NSF-funded program to provide research experiences for undergraduates (REU) in biophysics for several years. And she hasn’t abandoned the idea of gaining additional NSF support for something that occupies a unique niche in the agency’s portfolio of efforts to reach underrepresented populations.That hope is embodied in her latest proposal. She’s asking that her next REU grant allow her to work with students in all fields that NSF supports, not just in the physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer science programs that relate to biophysics. It’s an essential step in meeting the needs of this underserved population, she argues.“A lot of formerly incarcerated students gravitate toward psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and other disciplines in the social sciences,” she says. “So including them could make an important contribution to growing the STEM workforce.” What NSF’s new diversity grants say about attempts to help minority students
South Africa makes sense to the Indian traveller and India makes sense to him. That’s what legendary South African crickter Jonathan Neil “Jonty” Rhodes has told me once. Author of the book My Travel Escapades in South Africa, he drives home his point by citing surveys that reveal how the number of Indian tourists in his country has shot up. “Indians are increasingly putting the Rainbow Nation in their holiday itinerary,” he justifies. And why not? After all, as the brand ambassador of South Africa Tourism Board, he is doing a thorough job of telling the world how good his country is. “From the country’s magnificent wildlife, iconic beaches, adrenaline pumping adventure activities, to its world-class cities, shopping, nightlife, food and wine, my country has it all. Be it Cape Town or vibrant Johannesburg, there’s something for everybody,” he says, adding that the greatest thing is the ease of travel. “In Mumbai, if I am driving for three hours, I am still in the city. In South Africa, I can go from coast to mountains in three hours. It is a country with first world infrastructure,” says the fielding coach of Mumbai Indians. Adventure anyone? South Africa has ample. Rhodes admits that he is not a big city guy – he is from Pietermaritzburg, a laid back small town, where his parents still live. Yes, it’s the same town where Gandhi was thrown off from a train for boarding a first class compartment. So, big cities like Johannesburg do not fascinate him at all. “Rather I like Cape Town where I live for its nice and relaxed atmosphere. One of my favourite ways to enjoy my country is to stay in a luxury tent in a game reserve. The lovely Table Mountain region and the Kruger Park area are also my favourites,” he says. advertisementSouth Africa is best seen by road. But Rhodes tells you to skip the bus. “Hire a car and enjoy the great scenery at your own pace. I highly recommend the route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth that entails a drive of a thousand kilometre,” he says. Also in South Africa, unlike in Europe, people don’t mind talking loudly. “I say this because Indians come in large groups and are a chatty lot. Shout out and make noise and nobody will mind. It’s a tradition to talk aloud in South Africa. If you speak too softly, people might think you are bad-mouthing them,” he explains. However, he warns that there is crime in some parts of South Africa. So “don’t wander into areas that your hotel concierge warns you about”. South Africa by Segway is cool too. Over the years, Rhodes has realised that it’s very important to travel with a sensitive companion. In all his travels, he has been accompanied by his wife Melanie. “I always get a new perspective when I travel with her. She is a passionate traveller with a good eye for spotting things. She makes me see things that I often fail to see,” he says. He has another word of advice: “Never be a slave to the camera. If you are going click, click, click, the moment you arrive at a place, you lose out on the essence of the place. Be aware of the surroundings first.” When Rhodes was playing active cricket (between 1992 and 2003), he never had a chance to ‘do’ the place he visited. It was always the airport-hotel-stadium routine. But now he has the time and has been to several countries. “New Zealand is one of the countries I really loved for its beautiful landscapes and many adventure sports – I have done sky diving and bungee jumping there. But the one country I would really like to visit is China. I am very keen to know its people and culture.” Rhodes hopes to see you in SA As for India, he has been here a hundred times. With Melanie, he has ‘house-boated’ in Kerala and snowboarded in Gulmarg. And he has even named his daughter India. Sure he is the right person to provide some advice to first timers in India. “Well, don’t get scared by its food. Try the sweet and syrupy gulab jamuns particularly. And yes, don’t be perturbed by the fact that it has a billion people. And if you are adventurous, ride a Royal Enfield to Ladakh,” he signs off.