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All posts by Andy Walker: Gearburn Editor

Andy Walker: Gearburn Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn.
  • CIA goes public with huge online declassified database

    Everyone's favourite intelligence agency, the CIA, has today made 50 years' worth of its research archive available online. This includes the late batch of data from the past 25 years. The agency is required to release declassified files every quarter century, thanks to the Federal Records Act. Previously only accessible via a public terminal system in Maryland, the CIA has migrated the entire archive to the web, allowing practically everyone with a browser and internet connection to access them. Even you, Mr. Snowden. Dubbed CREST, the CIA's archive totals close to 12-million pages of declassified files including around 930 000 documents. And...

  • Vodacom launches Facebook Flex for free status updates, comments

    Vodacom wants to get you updating your Facebook status again, but its new product will let you do this for free. Dubbed Facebook Flex, the product is the "first of many" and will allow Vodacom users to access Facebook's basic version. This means that users can post comments, update their status and keep in touch with others' text posts without depleting their data stores. Vodacom explains that Facebook Flex will aim to reduce the cost of communicating with friends and family in the country. Facebook Flex will allow users to update their status, comment on users' posts but not view photos or...

  • Humans have finally found a way to destroy the Nokia 3310

    Ever since the Nokia 3310 was invented back in 2000, human beings have tried valiantly to destroy it. Dropping it, throwing it against walls, and even driving over the phone with a forklift did little to quell its digital spirit. But now, the hardy device might've finally met its match. Thanks to the ever-curious and destructive hosts of the Hydraulic Press Channel, the Nokia 3310 came face to face with a red hot hydraulic press. The phone is placed side-down below the press, while the press itself grabs hold of a red hot slap of molten metal. Slowly, the press inches...

  • [Update] Cape Town’s burning, again: #DeerParkFire trends on social media

    Update: 17 January, 9am SAST: Last night's #DeerParkFire is all but extinguished on Devil's Peak, after firefighters worked throughout the night to quell the blaze. Residents this morning could see choppers water-bombing areas of the mountain, behind Disa Park. Capetonians also woke to thick smoke and, closer to the affected area, a thick film of ash and soot. Everything's dirty and stinks so bad but we are safe and that's all that matters 🙏🏻 #DeerParkFire pic.twitter.com/mH6rUyAGnl — Leandri (@Leandriii) January 17, 2017 After very hard night, crew of #VWS volunteers stands down from the #DeerParkFire and head to their day jobs. #ThankYou. @KFMza...

  • 4 hilarious #SaltBae parodies that’ll make you cringe

    Salting food has never been this popular, and it's all thanks to #SaltBae. The Turkish-born chef based in Dubai rose to internet stardom after videos of his knife and seasoning skills went viral on Instagram and Twitter. It's no mean feat -- his meteoric rise, and well, slicing meat with such effortless style -- but that won't stop other internet users from emulating the man, or at least poking fun at him. From awkwardly carving avocados to delicately shaving the crusts off a loaf of bread, these parodies will probably inspire you to whip out that cleaver, salt mill and forearm...

  • Facebook debuts ‘fake news’ tools in Germany ahead of elections

    We're only three weeks into the new year, but "fake news" could already be the phrase of the year. After reports suggested that fake news on Twitter and Facebook contributed to Donald Trump's win in last year's US Presidential election, the latter is finally clamping down on the issue. The company has announced new tools to curb fake news in Germany, presumably as a measure ahead of the country's August 2017 elections. "Last month we announced some tests to address the issue of fake news on Facebook," Aine Kerr, the company's manager of journalism partnerships, wrote in a press release. "In the...

  • This novel Russian app wants to be the Uber of the afterlife

    If you didn't know how to market your startup in 2016, there's an easy formula to use. Define your target market, and call your business the Uber of said market. It works, and often gets quoted hundreds of times by us journalists and investors. But an incoming Russian app might've taken this marketing quip a little too far. Named Umer, this app aims to be the Uber of funerals. According to a Russian website, Umer (which literally means "died") will allow people to seamlessly and easily organise funeral arrangements on the fly -- all from the comfort of an app. To...

  • Zimbabwe U-turns on steep data, voice tariff hikes

    Zimbabwe isn't having the best of starts to 2017. The country has faced floods, water shortages and even gold falling from the sky, but the latest issue setting netizens' tongues a-wag is the government's data and voice tariff hikes. The country's local telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, issued new minimum price floors to all data providers, which markedly increased the price of all data packages in the country. The increase was initially aimed at addressing the "under-pricing of voice and data services," POTRAZ noted. But thanks to public outcry and social media onslaught, the regulator has gone back on the decision. "I have directed...

  • Snapchat’s interface becomes human-friendly with universal search bar

    There are a few reasons why Snapchat is an absolute painful experience for many. For one, the app's actual user interaction elements like buttons and gestures are vague and confusing. And it doesn't end there. It's also extremely difficult to find content within the app itself. But this could be about to change. According to a TechCrunch report, Snapchat has unveiled a new universal search bar,that spans the top of each and every page on the app. This means that users -- even if they aren't too sure where they are within the app -- can search for friends, specific Stories...

  • Watch Ed Sheeran slay the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ theme song

    Ed Sheeran has quickly grown in stature, from your next-door neighbour's kid who strums his guitar into the early hours of the morning, to an A-list celebrity superstar who opens award shows with X-rated jokes. And that's largely because of the former, to be fair. He also spent quite a bit of his youth watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, arguably Will Smith's first big break. So, wouldn't it be awesome if the world could somehow join those two together? That's what one Capital FM listener asked while Sheeran was conducting an interview at the London station this week. Never shying...

  • Congrats #SaltBae, you’re 2017’s first awesome meme

    There were some huge stories this week on the internet. If people weren't talking about Barack Obama and Joe Biden's adorable bromance, or Donald Trump and Jim Acosta's verbal ping-pong, they were probably talking about this Turkish chef. His name is Nusret Gökçe, but his now 1.3-million Instagram followers and hoards of others across the web simply call him #SaltBae. His popularity flared when an Instagram clip of him tenderly carving a steak earned him a ridiculous 3.81-million views in just four days. But while you're probably saying "Sure, Selena Gomez can do that in a single day", does she know...

  • Instagram Stories will soon get full-screen video ads

    If you're one of the 150-million people who use Instagram's Stories feature, you're in for a new surprise this year. Thanks to the feature's popularity, the company will soon feed advertising shorts into various users' Stories. These won't link to any site or app, but will also be easily skippable thanks to a close button in the clip's top right corner. The ads will span between five and 15 seconds in length. The company explained that now seems to be the perfect time to monetise the feature, as around "70% of Instagrammers" follow a business on the network. Users will soon see...

  • WhatsApp adds Giphy GIF search to latest beta

    After enjoying its busiest ever day on New Year's Eve, WhatsApp has turned its attention to the most important feature of the modern messenger -- GIF support. In the company's latest beta for Android, the app now boasts its own GIF searching function. A video posted by Burn Media (@burnmedia) on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:29am PST According to Android Police, the app asks the emoji button to pull double duty. Tapping on it opens what we'll call the "reaction" interface, which allows users to choose between inserting a GIF from Giphy, Tenor or an emoji. WhatsApp's new Giphy-powered GIF search function lets...

  • Miss Obama’s final speech? Rewatch it in 360-degrees

    Like saying goodbye to a kid finally leaving for the big wide world, outgoing US President Obama gave his final speech to a nation on the brink of change on Tuesday evening in Chicago. But while it was a momentous occasion for both Obama and the American public, it was also fairly big for emerging technologies. Alongside traditional broadcasts, the speech was the first of a US president to be aired as a 360-degree video on Facebook, Periscope/Twitter and YouTube. Using three of Nokia's OZO camera rigs, virtual reality company VRScout alongside Radiant Images and vantage.tv recorded and beamed the feed...

  • YouTube Rewind celebrates the fun moments of 2016

    YouTube has had a good year. The video hosting site now has "almost one-third of all people on the Internet" using it. It's also now available in 88 countries, in 76 different languages. So to say that the site influences internet culture is a bit of an understatement. Looking back on the year that was 2016, YouTube's Spotlight account uploaded another edition of its YouTube Rewind video series, encapsulating the highs and lows of the previous 12 months. Featuring all the most viewed tracks in 2016 -- like Fifth Harmony's Work From Home, The Chainsmokers's Closer and Justin Bieber's Sorry --...