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All posts by Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

  • 24.com steps into the SAPA void, launches news agency

    24.com, the digital arm of Media 24, has announced the launch of its own news agency. The new service, which is set to launch in April, will be called News24Wire. And if the press release marking the announcement is to be believed, its aim is to fill the void left by the South African Press Agency (SAPA), which closed down in early February. The agency will comprise a 16-strong, national reporting team being built by veteran editor and News24 editor-in-chief Andrew Trench. Leading the team however will be Sapa’s news editor Fienie Grobler. While News24Wire’s goals are certainly lofty,...

  • Ultra hi-res photo illustrates destructive beauty of #MuizenbergFire

    Plenty of people have been sharing photos of the wild fire that’s been sweeping through the Cape’s Southern peninsula since the early hours of Sunday morning. Few though capture the destructive beauty of the blaze as powerfully as this ultra hi-res photo from Tuesday night. Taken by astrophysicist Carolina Ödman, the photo gives you an idea of both the scale and intensity of the blaze. Ödman took the 0.13 Gigapixel (129 megapixels) photo from the roof of her house. Check it out:

  • This time-lapse of the #MuizenbergFire shows how quickly it spread in just two hours

    The massive fire which has been raging across Cape Town’s Southern peninsula since the early hours of Sunday morning has consumed massive tracts of vegetation, seen homes damaged and evacuated and some awe-inspiring photography. In order to truly appreciate how large the area affected by the blaze is and — fanned by strong winds — how quickly it has spread, it’s worth watching this time-lapse video produced by Cape Town cameraman Jason Aldridge. The video covers the fire’s spread from around 7:39 pm to 9:32 pm on Sunday Evening.

  • One Rand Man gets a documentary, will be used as educational aid

    Anyone who was paying the vaguest bit of attention to the media in mid 2014, you would have noticed plenty of coverage around Sanlam’s ‘One Rand Man’ campaign. For the duration of the campaign, a middle-class South African man, with a solid job and in an apparently stable financial situation, was asked to give up his credit and debit cards for one month. It’s caused waves and brought the agency behind it major industry Kudos. If things had stopped there, everyone would’ve probably walked away happy. But now the campaign has spawned a documentary aimed at growing the levels...

  • Gartner: expect mobile disruption, strong wearable growth through 2015

    Right now, the global smartphone market seems pretty set: Samsung and Apple are top of the pile and a bunch of Chinese players, including Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi, are fighting for what’s left of the pie. But things can change very quickly. We’re all well aware of the travails faced by BlackBerry in recent years. And Nokia, once the largest mobile player on the planet, doesn’t even feature in the current smartphone landscape. So even though things seem pretty settled, there is still plenty of space for mobile disruption in 2015. According to technology research house Gartner, while Apple...

  • These were the biggest Oscar moments on Twitter

    The 2015 Academy Awards were, as we’ve already written, probably the geekiest in history. It should hardly be surprising then that they also attracted some serious attention on Twitter. While Twitter hasn’t provided exact details of how many tweets per minute the top events from the night got but, as this heatmap shows, there was a flurry of global activity during the awards ceremony, although the majority of activity came from North America. The events causing all that activity included: Lady Gaga performing and being joined onstage by Julie Andrews Alejandro Iñárritu winning Best Picture for Birdman ...

  • Your old phone could be refurbished, end up as part of 120-million strong market by 2019

    If you’ve ever wondered why so many retail outlets are willing to do trade-ins on your old smartphone for the newest, latest model then you should probably know that there’s a fairly substantial market for refurbishing and reselling unwanted phones. And when you think about it, that actually makes sense. Unless you’re particularly hard on your phone, chances are you’re upgrading not so much because you need to but because you want to. If that weren’t the case then mobile carriers wouldn’t offer the number of early upgrade promotions they currently do. Nor would there be so many trade-in options. In fact,...

  • Google has another crack at China with new YouTube channel

    Google is looking to force its way back into China, even if it means going through the back door. The internet giant has launched a new YouTube channel aimed at educating Chinese developers on the ins and outs of its various technologies, including Android and Compute Engine, its cloud computing offering. The channel, which includes new content as well as closed-caption content from its English-language service, may not be easily accessible in China but it is a sign that Google is serious about having some kind of influence on a country in which it has not had a presence since...

  • Facebook, WordPress to sponsor West-African hackathon

    Facebook’s Internet.org and WordPress are set to sponsor a major Ghanaian hackathon aimed at come up with solutions to some of West Africa’s biggest social issues. The hackathon, which is also supported by the US government, is being organised by the Silicon Valley based non-profit Hack For Big Choices and will take place on 20-22 February in Accra, Ghana’s capital and largest city. The ultimate aim of the event is to leverage the strength of everyday people to connect and solve for the everyday problems specific to their communities. “We believe this is deeply necessary because Africa’s population will grow more rapidly”,...

  • These guys want to make 3D printing environmentally friendly: here’s how

    There’s no doubting that 3D printing is a world-changing technology, but there are questions around exactly how environmentally friendly it is, especially when plastic is used as a printing material. Two US entrepreneurs are trying to alleviate at least some of those concerns by engineering 3D printing filament made from recycled plastic. Gerald Galazin and Mark Sherman, founders of Chicago-based startup Dimension Polymers reckon their solution could reduce the carbon emissions traditionally associated with making 3D printer filament by as much as 66%. Read more: Got a 3D printer? You may be at least 5 years ahead of the curve The...

  • Coco-Cola thinks spilling Coke on a server can save the web from trolls

    Anyone who’s ever spilled Coke on a piece of electronics knows that it’s pretty much a death knell for that particular device. If the Coca-Cola company is to be believed however then spilling its sugar-fueled drink on a server can rid the web of trolls and all negativity in general. That’s the message the beverage giant pushed out during Sunday’s Super Bowl, an event which means as much to US advertisers as it does to the country’s sports fans. Read more: SA’s Coca-Cola vending machines to dispense free Wi-Fi The ad ties into a wider #makeithappy campaign, which is...

  • Africa gets its first commercial TV white space offering

    Ghana has become the first country in Africa to have a commercial TV white space offering. The offering, which is a joint venture between Spectra Wireless and Microsoft 4Afrika, is meant to allow students in the country to buy affordable, high-speed internet bundles and devices. There have been a number of trials using TV white spaces — or unused gaps in broadcasting frequencies — to provide affordable, high-speed internet connectivity across the continent. To date however, the vast majority have been short-term projects aimed at testing the technology’s viability. Read more: Google’s South African TV white spaces broadband trial is...

  • BlackBerry says apps should work on all mobile operating systems

    Do you ever feel limited by your Apple, Android or Microsoft ecosystem? Well, you’re not alone. BlackBerry CEO John Chen feels that exclusive applications and content for different mobile operating systems are discriminatory, and should thus cater for all ecosystems if true net neutrality is to be achieved. In a blog post Chen uses the analogy of a train system, saying that most of the discussion involving net neutrality focuses on the carriers which represents the tracks. The railway cars, Chen argues, are operated by content and applications. Neutrality legislation must take a “holistic view”, he says. If we are...

  • Gangs of Ballet are first SA band to release video exclusively on Twitter

    South African band Gangs of Ballet today became the first in the country to release a music video exclusively on Twitter. The video, for the group’s latest single “Love Is On Its Way”, comprises footage of with the band performing the song to a 30 000 strong crowd at 94.7’s Joburg Day in September 2014. “We’re so glad that we get to be a part of this moment as this gets launched,” says Brad Klynsmith, lead singer and guitarist of Gangs of Ballet. “Having had such an amazing show and to have the experience launched on this platform is a...

  • 10 very big mobile trends to look out for in 2015

    Right now, there are more than two-billion smartphone subscribers in the world, making up an increasingly large chunk of its near 5-billion mobile subscribers. And in the past 20 years we’ve gone from brick phones barely capable of sending and receiving text messages to carrying around what effectively amount to pocket computers so essential to our daily lives that we treat them more like prosthetic limbs than gadgets. The rate of that change is only accelerating too. Wearables for instance have gone from clunky prototypes to fully functional devices and smartphones could soon be able to play the kind...