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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Microsoft enjoyed ‘best month ever’ for Surface line

    Microsoft made quite a splash when it revealed its Surface Studio desktop a few months ago. But the Surface line in general has been doing fantastic numbers for the firm, the company says. In fact, November was the best month ever for Surface sales, Microsoft wrote on its blog. "November was our best month ever for consumer Surface sales. The Best Buy-exclusive Surface bundle sold out on the first day. The momentum was seen worldwide. In the UK, we had the best single week for Surface ever and in Germany the Surface Pen became the best seller in PC Accessories on Amazon.com...

  • The shape of South Africa’s game dev landscape

    The Interactive Entertainment South Africa group has launched a third industry survey (and the first not held under the Make Games SA banner), revealing plenty of insights into the local landscape. 31 active game development studios in the country responded to the survey, with these firms having directly created 255 jobs, the study found. The number of permanent jobs has seen a 16% increase, from 152 to 176 positions. The value of these gaming studios was pegged at R100-million in 2015, making for an 85.6% jump over 2014. The study also found that these studios released 103 games in 2015. In terms of...

  • Cape Town restaurant slammed over ‘racist’ incident

    Popular Cape Town restaurant/bar Clarke's has been hit with a slate of poor reviews on social media after an alleged racist incident took place on Friday. According to patron Nicholas Vries, a "random white lady" sat down at his table and insulted his group of friends, calling them "common coloured and just being full on racist". After repeated requests to management to have the person removed, Vries said his group was told to leave instead and the person was allowed to stay. A second person, Lee Sophia Piedt, ostensibly part of Vries's group, corroborated the story in a post on the Clarke's Facebook page. "The...

  • Grand Tour is most pirated show of all time – report

    Amazon's The Grand Tour, featuring the Top Gear trio, is the most pirated show of all time, surpassing Game of Thrones, according to a new report. The first episode of the series was downloaded 7.9 million times, the second was downloaded 6.4 million times and the third episode saw 4.6 million downloads, the Daily Mail reported, citing data from analytics firm MUSO. British viewers were the top culprits, the publication reported, accounting for 13.7% of downloads. MUSO claims that Amazon lost potential revenue of £3.2-million on episode one. It's unclear how the analytics firm arrived at this figure though. The first episode of...

  • 5 ways to reduce your WhatsApp mobile data usage

    Pretty much everyone and their grandmother is on WhatsApp these days, with the Facebook-owned IM app accruing one billion users earlier this year. We've already covered some nifty tips and tricks for the service, but what about reducing mobile data usage? We've got a few pointers for you. Disable auto-download of videos WhatsApp allows you to automatically download videos, photos, voice notes and documents over WiFi or mobile data. WiFi isn't a problem, but you'll want to save your precious mobile data, so visit the settings menu, then choose "data usage". From here, you'll want to scroll to the "media auto-download" field and tap...

  • New ransomware unlocks your PC – if you infect friends

    A new form of ransomware has emerged online that promises to unlock your PC if you infect your friends with said ransomware. Dubbed Popcorn Time, the malware lets you pay a ransom to unlock your PC. But if you'd rather not spend cash, you can send Popcorn Time to at least two other friends and have them pay a ransom. If the friends pay a ransom, then your PC will be unlocked as well, Bleeping Computer and MalwareHunterTeam reports. The new ransomware makes for rather astounding news, thanks to its friend-sharing "incentive" It also appears that Popcorn Time has "unfinished code", suggesting that entering...

  • Feathered dinosaur tail found in amber

    In what must rank as one of the coolest discoveries ever made in palaeontology, scientists have found a feathered dinosaur tail, preserved in amber. The tail includes vertabrae, feathers, soft tissue, while the amber also plays host to a prehistoric ant and plant matter, National Geographic reported. The dinosaur tail, found in northern Myanmar, was described in a Current Biology study as being about 1.4-inches long (just over 35cm), with brown and pale/white feathers. Analysis of the tail also revealed that it had eight vertabrae, the publication added. In a rather interesting spot of information, the sample was found at an amber market,...

  • It’s official: Fitbit buys Pebble, no more watch sales

    After days of rumours and leaks, Fitbit has officially acquired "specific assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property related to software and firmware development". The deal doesn't include the hardware unit, with sales of its existing smartwatches being halted. The move will see Pebble being dissolved as well. "With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category," said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, in a statement. "With this acquisition, we're well positioned to accelerate the expansion of...

  • Lufthansa’s Mildred joins Facebook’s bot family

    2016 has truly been the year of the chat bot, as Facebook, Microsoft and Google get in on the action. The latest company to craft a chat bot? Why, that would be Lufthansa... The German carrier has announced the availability of Mildred (at least it's not Gertrude), a Messenger chat bot that simply allows you to search for ticket prices via Facebook. As you'd expect, Mildred makes use of natural language processing, so you can pose questions in a human fashion rather than going for the search engine-style approach. It's all rather straightforward, as you specify a language (English or German -- more...

  • Amazon Go: a grocery store with no checkout lines

    Who says that brick and mortar stores have to make way for online storefronts? Certainly not Amazon, as the company recently launched its Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle. Customers simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, using the app's QR code at the turnstile, then take whatever items they need. There are no checkout lines or cash registers involved in the process. "Anything you pick up is automatically added to your virtual cart," the company explained in a video. If you change your mind about the product, you simply have to put it back on the shelf...

  • BS Detector: an add-on to detect fake news websites

    Fake news websites have enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to social media, but truly exploded thanks to the US election. But how do you avoid being duped by them? Well, aside from following our tips and avoiding these websites, you can try using a browser add-on dubbed BS Detector. The extension, available on Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge, simply alerts users to unreliable news sources. And it works across most webpages, such as Facebook or a general news/opinion article. "A browser extension for both Chrome and Mozilla-based browsers, BS Detector searches links on a given webpage for references...

  • Got a monster connection? YouTube now has 4K live streams

    4K video streaming is still a significant obstacle for many internet users, requiring fast speeds and loads of data to take advantage of it. But 4K live streaming is an even bigger obstacle though, owing to the real-time nature of it all. Still, that hasn't stopped YouTube from supporting the standard, the company announced earlier this week. "Today, we're proud to say that we're taking 4K video one step further with the launch of 4K live streaming for both 360-degree videos and standard videos," YouTube explained. The first high-profile use for the standard came last night at The Game Awards, which saw...

  • Fitbit to buy smartwatch maker Pebble for ‘small amount’?

    Fitbit is reportedly close to buying crowdfunding superstar Pebble for an undisclosed amount of money. According to a report from The Information (paywall), citing "three people briefed on the deal", the exact price hasn't been revealed but it's thought to be "a small amount". A source told TechCrunch that the company is to be purchased for between US$34-million and US$40-million. The news comes a few months after the smartwatch maker decided to lay off some staff. The company laid off 40 employees in March, equivalent to about 25% of its workforce, with CEO Eric Migicovsky blaming an unfavourable fundraising environment. Pebble's management reportedly rejected previous offers to purchase the company Pebble...

  • Watch: SA keeper’s stunning goal goes viral globally

    We don't often see PSL football clips go viral, but we've got our latest example in the form of a late-match goal by Baroka FC's goalkeeper this week. Oscarine Masuluke successfully performed a bicycle kick against Orlando Pirates, scoring a goal in the 95th minute to draw level. A Moment of Brilliance from the Baroka FC GoalKeeper!!! #ssdiski pic.twitter.com/WzitRZkETX — #TRSSpecialist (@EdsoulSA) November 30, 2016 The goal has quickly captured the attention of international media, with footage appearing on Digg, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun, the Daily Mail and more publications. According to the Sowetan, Baroka FC has been "swamped" with calls from foreign...

  • 5 things to know about Netflix’s offline downloads

    Streaming colossus Netflix has finally revealed download functionality for Netflix, allowing users to store videos on their devices for offline viewing. It's been a long-overdue feature, allowing people to watch while on planes, overseas and in other places where fast, bountiful internet isn't readily available. But what should you know about the feature then? We've got five things to keep in mind. MicroSD card support is weird Netflix doesn't let you choose where to store downloaded video clips, making for a rather weird omission. But according to the streaming service's help page, Netflix will save videos to wherever the app is installed. In...