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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • WhatsApp finally releases proper desktop app

    Whatsapp has dabbled in desktop waters before, but now, the world's most popular mobile instant messenger seems to be going all-in. Yes, after years of user requests, the Facebook-owned company has finally launched a proper desktop app for Windows and Mac computers. It's not the first time that WhatsApp has brought the platform to desktop, launching the WhatsApp Web service last year. This earlier browser-based service used a QR code system to mirror your phone's WhatsApp data. The desktop app works in a similar way, effectively mirroring your phone's WhatsApp messages, chats and contacts. In other words, it's not a standalone offering as...

  • Is the R2000 Samsung Gear VR worth buying?

    Virtual reality has been around for ages, but the current wave of VR is nothing like the efforts of years gone by. Instead, we have elaborate graphics, sharp displays and proper head-tracking in place, nothing like the Virtual Boy of yore. And you don't need to spend US$600 on an Oculus Rift or US$800 for the HTC Vive to get a taste either, because there are cheaper experiences around, such as the Samsung Gear VR. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review: meaningful evolution

    Unarguably the most popular high-end Android phone of the year, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is pretty much guaranteed to sell by the bucket load. On paper, this year's edition looks like the equivalent of an "iPhone Xs"; that is, it's an evolution of last year's design as opposed to an all-new approach to the formula. Are the phones worthy of a purchase though or did Samsung just play it too safe? Read more on Gearburn.

  • 7 quirky, alternative smartphones we’d love to own

    The mobile industry might seem like a uniform world of generic designs, but if you look hard enough, you'll find some interesting devices out there. And believe it or not, but some of them are actually rather enticing. Here are a few quirky smartphones we wouldn't mind getting at all. YotaPhone 2 Image: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr Russian company Yota launched the first-generation YotaPhone a few years ago, but last year's YotaPhone 2 upped the company's game in a massive way. Read more on Gearburn.

  • They got these 5 video games to run on the Xbox 360?

    The Xbox 360 was a veritable beast upon its launch in late 2005. Featuring 512MB of RAM, an advanced (for its time) ATI Xenos graphics chip and a powerful tri-core Xenon processor, it compared very favourably to the PS3 and gaming PCs of the time. Gaming tech moves at a fast pace though, so after several years, developers had to utilise all sorts of crazy tricks to get their games running on the last-generation Xbox. Here are a few notable titles that somehow managed to run on the Xbox 360. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Watch the first trailer for Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's story is just begging for a biopic of sorts. A former intelligence operative on the run from a vengeful government and hiding in Russia? What's not to like? Anyway, the first official trailer for Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' has been released, and it definitely has a healthy dose of Hollywood. From big bad government types and sex scenes to drone footage, it's all accounted for here. There's even an appearance by Nicholas Cage, imploring Snowden to "find the terrorist in the internet haystack". The whistleblower is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who manages to convincingly nail Snowden's voice for the most part. The trailer charts...

  • Twitter continues harassment fight with new tool

    Twitter has already gone a long way to helping users battle cyber-bullying and harassment. Now, the company is continuing this trend with a much-needed update. Making a report for each offending tweet can be a tedious process, but users now have the ability to file multiple dodgy tweets in one report. In other words, you don't have to submit a report for each of the 500 threats you might receive. Seriously, this sort of thing is kind of a problem. "This update makes it easier for you to provide us with more information about the extent of abuse and reduces the time it takes to do so....

  • SA rounds out top ten for Game of Thrones piracy

    The season premiere of Game of Thrones has finally aired, and predictably there's been huge demand for illegal streaming and downloading the episode. In fact, Torrent Freak reported that the most popular torrent had over 200 000 users and counting sharing the file. After inspecting the locations of users downloading the file over 12 hours, the website found some interesting results. For one, South Africa was in the top ten when it came to illegally getting in on the action. "The show is particularly popular in Australia (12.5%), India (9.7%), United States (8.5%) and the United Kingdom (6.9%)," Torrent Freak noted. "The top 10 is completed...

  • Cell C launches super-fast LTE-Advanced in SA

    It's fair to say that Cell C had a reputation for years as the network with decent prices but terrible coverage, but things have been changing somewhat over the past few months. The company launched LTE connectivity late last year, delivering much better speeds and coverage for users - albeit several years after MTN and Vodacom. The carrier has wasted no time though, launching the much faster LTE-Advanced network in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria this week. "Cell C has become the leading innovator in the South African mobile telecommunications industry.  We were the first and only provider to embrace over-the-top services, like Facebook...

  • Don’t want to support Uber? Another cab service has (re)launched in SA

    Looking for an alternative to the likes of Uber and Unicab? Well, Taxify has become the latest smart cab service to launch in South Africa. Or is that "relaunch"? As the service already had a South African launch on February 1... Anyway, the Europe-based service, which relaunches on Friday 29 April, will be available in Johannesburg at first, the company announced in a press statement. As for platforms, Taxify is available on Android, iOS and Windows devices. How does the service differ from that of Uber's then? For starters, Taxify users can pay with cash (in addition to credit/debit cards), while users can also...

  • Microsoft Q3 results see Surface continue climb, WP fall

    Microsoft has revealed its financial results for the third quarter of its 2016 fiscal year. And it's more of the same for the Redmond company. The tech firm recorded revenue of US$20.5-billion for the quarter ending 31 March 2016, with operating income and net income standing at US$5.3-billion and US$3.8-billion respectively. While its cloud revenue grew three percent to US$6.1-billion, its personal computing segments saw more modest growth of 1%. "Windows OEM revenue declined two percent in constant currency, outperforming the PC market, driven by higher consumer premium device mix," the company revealed in its earnings report. Surface, mobile and Xbox? Its Surface lineup continues to perform well, seeing...

  • Need a free, unlimited VPN service? Download Opera browser

    Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox rule the roost when it comes to desktop browsing, but Opera's latest browser update might lead you to switch... The Norwegian company has pulled a fast one by integrating a free VPN service into its browser - albeit in the developer version of the browser for now. "All other VPNs for the major desktop browsers are extensions, with most of them based on a paid-subscription model or offering limited data usage," the company explained on its website. "Everyone deserves to be private online if they want to be. By adding a free, unlimited VPN directly into the browser, no...

  • Twitter goes gaga for first Starbucks store in SA

    Depending on who you speak to, Starbucks is either the greatest gift America gave the world or muck masquerading as coffee. Anyway, the first store has finally launched in South Africa this morning at Rosebank Mall and everyone had something to say about it. Many were ecstatic, having queued for hours to be among the first in line.   Having my name spelled wrong on a Starbucks cup on home soil is a dream come true. #StarbucksSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/5ah6SOHhA1 — Nicolaas vd Walt (@nicolaasvdw_) April 20, 2016 #StarbucksSouthAfrica #MeetMeAtStarbucks queuing since 12:30 this morning! pic.twitter.com/Zeu8Uv1fDn — Starbucks_SA (@Starbucks_SA) April 21, 2016 Talk about #FOMO. Fans have been waiting...

  • Intel announces ‘restructuring’, 12 000 jobs to be cut

    Intel has announced a restructuring plan to "speed its transition to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices". Unfortunately, this plan will result in roughly 11% of the global workforce, or 12 000 employees, being laid off by the middle of 2017. "The majority of these actions will be communicated to affected employees over the next 60 days with some actions spanning in to 2017," the company said in a press release. "Intel expects the program to deliver US$750-million in savings this year and annual run rate savings of US$1.4-billion by mid-2017. The company will record a...

  • YouTube now supports 360 live video. Is this VR’s killer app?

    Between the Gear VR and PC-based headsets, virtual reality is slowly gaining steam. But the technology needs all the content it can get to have staying power. So we're glad to see YouTube step up its VR offering, announcing support for live 360 video streams this week. "We first launched support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015. From musicians to athletes to brands, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Now, they'll be able to do even more to bring fans directly into their world, with 360-degree live streaming. And after years of live streaming Coachella for fans around...