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All posts by Myolisi Sikupela: Staff Reporter

  • Uber South Africa created 4000 jobs, travelled over 93m kilometres since launch

    Uber has been in South Africa for a good two-and-a-half years now, and is available in five cities, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria. Over this period, the ride hailing service has had its fare share of trying times but in a data released yesterday, the company has seen plenty of positives as well. In a blog post, Uber South Africa claims to have moved over 500 000 users across the country in February 2016 alone, and has covered 93-million kilometres since its launch in 2013. The company also claims that the average estimated time of arrival in...

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice makes over $424m in its opening weekend [update]

    Update: This article has been updated to include additional information for South African cinemas. Critics have hammered the latest DC Comics movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in their reviews but it looks like audiences don't care about that. The movie is setting box office records around the world, earning an estimated worldwide box office total of US$424.1-million in its opening weekend, making it the top superhero genre movie opening of all time, according to Warner Bros. Pictures, that is. In the process, the movie also became the fourth-biggest industry opening of all time. The announcements were made today by Sue Kroll, President...

  • Periscope celebrates first birthday, 200m broadcasts to date

    Periscope, the Twitter owned live video streaming service, celebrated its first year online this past weekend. Compared to Twitter, which turned 10 recently, Periscope is by far still an infant but the live video streaming has achieved a lot according to the company's blog post. Periscope claims that over 200-million broadcasts have been made on its platform, and over 110 years of live video are watched every day on its iOS and Android apps. Periscope's stats however do not give a full picture of its reach. Last year in August, the company claimed that it had two million daily active users...

  • All is not well at Pebble, as it lays off 25% of its total staff

    Pebble, the revolutionary smartwatch company that launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign, is laying off 25% of its total staff in a move that not only lays bare the troubles the company is facing, but the troubles in the entire smartwatch industry. The news comes from an interview between Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky and Tech Insider. Since completing its 2013 Kickstarter campaign, Pebble has branded itself as a startup that is owned by the general public, an ethos that saw the company launch another Kickstarter campaign in 2015 for its Pebble Time model. The rumour that Pebble is not doing well...

  • Alibaba sold goods worth $476bn in fiscal year 2015

    For the fiscal year ending 30 March 2016, Alibaba's China retail marketplace platforms sold goods worth more than 3 trillion yuan, about US$476-billion. This is according to Alibaba's Group Executive Vice Chairman, Joe Tsai. Writing on Alizila, the company's blog, Tsai claimed that the company has seen a growth of about 23% in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) from the previous year, 2015. The growth, according to Tsai, is not only reflective of an impressive year by Alibaba but a shift in China's economy trend. Tsai proposes that Alibaba is seeing the emergence of a new economy, one driven by...

  • FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi is now Huawei’s global brand ambassador

    Huawei has announced that it has appointed FC Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi as its Global Brand Ambassador. Huawei is a Chinese global leading company in ICT and telecommunication solutions and Lionel Messi is an Argentinian born dribbling and scoring wizzard who is currently based in Spain. The appointment comes as Huawei gears up for the launch of the Huawei P9 on 6 April 2016. Speaking about the partnership, Kevin Ho, President, Handset Business, Huawei Consumer BG, suggested that Messi's image is synonymous with "greatness": Lionel Messi will help our brand to encourage people to focus, persevere and breakthrough; to connect with...

  • Uber launches UberEATS as a standalone app in the US

    It's a logical train of thought: if Uber can deliver people to places, surely it can deliver food to people. And that's what the company also believes after it launched UberEATS, a standalone app that it claims makes ordering food as easy as requesting a ride. The company says that during the beta testing period of UberEATS, it realised that it needed two different apps as requesting rides and food are "two very different experiences." The UberEATS app allows users to order food from a local restaurant. Adopting features from Zomato, users can browse the most popular dishes from each local...

  • Instagram to ditch chronological feeds for algorithms

    In September 2015, Instagram reached 400 million users with more than 80-million photos shared on the photo and video sharing platform in a day. And it got there with users seeing posts in chronological order, the latest posts showing and the old ones being moved to the bottom of the feed. This, according to Instagram, does not work, as its users miss about 70% of what is on their feed. To solve this problem, Instagram is introducing an algorithm arranged feed. This is the similar to Facebook's News Feed and Twitter's recently introduced algorithms to its timeline, where users see...

  • Skype for Web now lets non-Skype users join conversations

    Microsoft has today introduced a slew of new features to Skype for Web, including the ability to make calls from the web directly to mobile phones and landlines, and inviting users without a Skype account to join calls. The feature is primarily being introduced to enable users to save money on calls, Skype says. Other features include notifications and watching YouTube videos within Skype for Web. Making calls on Skype for Web allows users to save on charges. "Once you’ve signed in to Skype for Web, simply click on the call phones tab, select your destination, dial the number you’d like...

  • Facebook acquires MSQRD, a live filter app for video and selfies

    In perhaps what is the most spooky way of announcing an acquisition, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the company has acquired Masquerade, known as MSQRD, an app that adds live filters to smartphone images and video. Zuckerberg made the announcement whilst using the app and looking like Iron Man and coding his own AI, which he had promised to build earlier this year. The financials around the deal are not known, with both companies keeping mum on the issue. MSQRD, an app built by Belarusian startup Masquerade, is a live filter for video and selfies. The...

  • Founder of 4Chan joins Google+ team to build communities

    Christopher Poole, founder of the image-based bulletin board 4Chan has announced his new position at Google. Poole made the announcement in a post on Tumblr. Poole's responsibilities have not been explicitly laid out, but the post hints at that he will be involved in building communities. "I can’t wait to contribute my own experience from a dozen years of building online communities, and to begin the next chapter of my career at such an incredible company," writes Poole. In September last year, on the verge of its 12th birthday, Poole sold 4Chan to the founder of Japanese site 2channel, Hiroyuki Nishimura. Poole founded 4Chan in 2003 when...

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt quits film adaptation of Sandman comic, cites creative differences

    Citing creative differences, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quit the awaited film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's classic comic Sandman, a passion project of his. The decision, prompted by what the American actor and filmmaker describes as not seeing eye to eye with the studio, comes as a shock, considering that he initiated the project and was going to direct and star in it. Sandman is a comic series written by Neil Gaiman, whose protagonist is Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. Produced between 1989 and 1996, the comic series amassed considerable fanbase and critical acclaim over its 75 issues. Since work began...

  • Ros Atkins: how digital has changed the BBC’s approach to news

    The best news presenters are their authentic selves, no matter which platform they're working on. That was the message from BBC presenter Ros Atkins, who on Thursday addressed the IAB Digital Summit in Johannesburg about the impact digital is having on TV programming, news gathering and reporting. Here goes. About to speak at #DigitalSummit2016 in Joburg. Full house... pic.twitter.com/k9AGR6vySg— Ros Atkins (@BBCRosAtkins) March 3, 2016 Atkins began his talk with the truism that "we are all digital" now. He suggests that ignoring the influence of digital on news gathering and reporting is a recipe for failure. Acknowledging digital, he said, goes...

  • Facebook News feed will now show you Live Video first, then everything else

    Last week at the Facebook Q&A in Berlin, Mark Zuckerberg, spoke about how Facebook Live, the company's attempt at live streaming feed, is going to be a big part of Facebook News feed going forward. The Q&A, live streamed on Facebook, was the first time that Facebook had live streamed it since it launched Facebook Live Video in August 2015. Today, the social network has announced that it is changing its algorithm to favour Live Videos, putting them at the top of News Feed. This is only for currently live videos and not saved videos. "Over the last three months...

  • Gawker Media signs union contract with its employees, the first at a digital media company

    Gawker Media, a New York based online media company and blog network, founded and owned by Nick Denton, has announced that it has struck a three year deal with a union, a deal that sets working conditions and payment rates for its employees. Gawker Media owns the sites Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel. Tech and digital based companies often function outside of the criterion of labour laws, circumventing the laws and not adhering to any regulations. This is how tech companies like Uber have or are getting away with not adhering to any employee regulations that are...