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All posts by Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in New Media in her final year. She later joined Memeburn, where she worked as a reporter-slash-social media manager-slash-internet cat tracker, before heading to the WWF to do her bit for the planet. She's also a Masters in Media Theory and Practice graduate, after battling a dissertation focusing on Twitter and journalism at the University of Cape Town.
  • Internet.org gives millions of Zambians free Facebook, Google on their phones

    It's made headlines with its seemingly crazy unconventional project to bring internet access to the developing world with drones and lasers, but now it seems Facebook's Internet.org has simpler plans too. It has announced an Android and mobile web app, which will give users access to services like Google Search, the weather, Wikipedia and (of course) Facebook for free. The Internet.org app is initially rolling out in Zambia in partnership with local telcom Airtel, where it will offer its more than 4-million subscribers access to health, employment and local news and information services without charging them for the data they use....

  • Bolt: Instagram launches a new photo messaging app in 3 countries (incl SA)

    Yes, it's real. After a few not-so-well-kept secrets snuck out of Facebook HQ, the Instagram team has officially unveiled its new standalone messaging app. It's called Bolt. Bolt is a photo-messaging app built in the same vein as Snapchat and Taptalk, which allows you to rapidly take and share photos with your friends. You simply frame your photo, add some text if you want and tap your friend's avatar -- the app quickly snaps and sends the shot, which the recipient can then view and swipe away or reply to. Unlike Snapchat, there isn't a countdown or the option to...

  • Greenpeace calls internet cats to help save tigers on International Tiger Day

    What do you get when you combine Lil Bub, Hamilton the Hipster Cat, Nala and Venus the cat? That would be latest species-saving campaign from Greenpeace. No, really. The environmental organisation has rolled out something special for International Tiger Day. Its #CatsSaveTigers campaign is a partnership with some of the internet's biggest kitties, which sees them using their social media influence to raise awareness about the plight of their larger cousins. In the last century, the world's tiger population has decreased by 97%, with only an estimated 3000 of the big cats still living in the wild. In addition to...

  • Google asks South African kids to dream and draw the country a doodle

    We've had everything from bacteria and chocolate-covered insects to a functioning Rubik's Cube -- but Google's not done yet. The search giant is inviting South African children between the ages of 6 and 17 to submit their entries and be the artist behind a custom country doodle, themed 'South Africa of My Dreams', which will run on the Google home page for millions to see. It's the first time the nation will be running a dedicated Doodle for Google competition for its domain (Google.co.za), following years of international competitions and a once-off local doodle to celebrate the 2010 FIFA...

  • Microsoft’s Cortana whips Apple’s Siri in this new Windows Phone ad

    Microsoft's not shy when it comes to tackling its competition head-on -- from openly pitting its Surface Pro 3 against the Macbook Air to all those Scroogled ads. The latest victim? That would be Siri. The company's new Windows Phone ad essentially simulates a showdown between Apple's personal assistant and its own recently-launched competitor, Cortana. It directly compares Apple's flagship device to the Lumia 635, assigning them both a series of tasks -- and the budget Nokia beats it every time. While the ad does state that the screens have been simulated and the sequences shortened, its a pointed dig...

  • This app turns your selfies into shareable stickers of awesomeness

    Are you addicted to stickers? Yes, I am referring to those silly-but-awesome oversized emoji made up of cute cats and Facebook foxes. Wish you could just have more? You're in luck. An app called Imoji makes stickers -- from anything. You can upload your favourite snapshots or turn on your front-facing camera and snap a selfie, and seconds later -- poof! You have a completely original customised sticker to share with your friends. The app, which is currently only available on iOS, allows you to quickly make and send personalised quirky stickers, as well as save your creations in groups...

  • This clever documentary was made entirely out of stock footage and emoji

    Yes, they're back... and this time, they're armed with emoji. Stock imagery site Dissolve has put together a clever video which tells the story of the growing influence of emoji on our world. Presented as a scientific Sir David Attenborough-style documentary, "Emoji Among Us" explains how emoji have permeated classrooms and boardrooms and influenced how we communicate. The best part? It's made up entirely of emoji superimposed on stock footage. In addition to the footage, Dissolve has shared links to the background music and narrator's voice, meaning you could recreate their video yourself with minimal effort. In addition to creating...

  • Microsoft’s LMFAO parody to promote the Surface Pro 3 is super awkward

    Okay, Microsoft is no stranger when it comes to troupes of dancers and snapping keyboards into place when promoting its Surface tablet... but this is another level. The tech giant's OneNote engineering team has put together a parody video of LMFAO's "Sexy and I know it" to promote the note-taking software and the latest iteration of the Surface which is, how do I put this... a bit funny. As in, not so much humorous as it is weird. While good parodies are difficult to pull off, this one is entertaining for the wrong reasons. In between the tutus and fake...

  • Drowning in Newsfeed? Facebook now lets you save posts to read later

    Ever flick through Facebook and spot an interesting post, only to be distracted and lose it in the ever-changing Newsfeed stream? Perhaps your friend shared something you want to follow up on when you have some spare time to sit down for a long read. If only there was some way to keep track of all those links... Well, there is. It's called Pocket. Or Instapaper. Evernote. Or even Delicious. But the latest news in read-it-later services is from social giant Facebook, which has launched its own tool, simply called 'Save', after months of rumours. In a blog post, the company...

  • This privacy experiment lets anyone on the internet see where your cat lives

    When you snap a photo and upload it to your favourite social network site, chances are you're more focused on spreading the image and not really thinking about what else you're sharing. But that photo contains information about everything from what device you used to where you were when it was taken. And if the subject was your cat, you may have another privacy issue to worry about. I Know Where Your Cat Lives is an experiment by Florida State University associate professor Owen Mundy which aims to highlight just how much we (often unknowingly) share online, and how much...

  • First world problems and more: the 3 videos Weird Al dropped over the weekend

    No, it's not over yet. Parody champion Weird Al is still on a mission to release eight music videos from his new album in eight days, and the latest targets are celeb name dropping, spots fans and the ever-present first world problems concept. It's been a crazy ride in the run to promote his new album Mandatory Fun, from Robin Thicke parody "Word Crimes" to his version of Lorde's "Royals" (titled "Foil"). The daily videos have been premièring not only on YouTube, but major sites like College Humour and now Funny or Die. So, what's new from Al? Friday: Sports...

  • Google Plus finally backtracks on its real name policy (after 3 years)

    Don't really want to attach a full name to your Google profile? Perhaps your online persona is all centred around a nickname? Google has heard your pleas -- it's backtracking on its much-contested real name policy. Since Google Plus launched back in 2011, its policy required that users share their full common names -- and if you didn't abide by the rules, your account could be flagged and suspended. Questionable activity included having a mononym (for example, just using your first name and a dot as your surname), mixing scripts (by including icons or characters in multiple languages) or submitting...

  • Old enemies, new monsters: the new full length Doctor Who trailer is out

    We were left with the last glimpses of Matt Smith and newcomer Peter Capaldi's creepy eyes at the end of the last season, and it seems the wait will be worth it. Yep, the full-length official trailer for the BBC's Doctor Who is out, and it provides a glimpse into an eighth season which looks dark and exciting. Come August 23, the sci fi series will kick off again with a new lead character, with Capaldi taking the role of the time-travelling world-saving Doctor (an interesting move, considering the same actor guest starred as a different person in the series...

  • #mealforameal: Virgin will turn your foodgrams and hashtags into real meals

    Love taking shots of your artistically-arranged meal before you pick up that fork and chow down? Well, now you have even more motivation to photograph before you eat: Virgin Mobile is willing to donate a meal to someone in need for every #foodgram you take. The campaign, launched by the company's Australian arm, promises to hand over a plate of food for every food shot uploaded to social media and tagged with #mealforameal. It'll be tracking mentions of the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then head off to deliver the meals to some of Australia's 2-million citizens who...

  • This tiny birthday party for a hedgehog is the cutest video you’ll see today

    Sometimes, in a mysterious and lesser-known corner of YouTube, brilliance emerges. Case in point: this video of a tiny hedgehog and two golden hamsters faceplanting into a tiny pink birthday cake. Yes, you read that right. Following on from the success of a hamster eating a tiny burrito (which passed 7-million views), social media agency Denizen has put together another tiny food video featuring three tiny critters and a lot of icing. From the baking of the tiny cake (which is still lovingly decorated as though it isn't about an inch in size) to the party itself (which features banners,...