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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself to be thrown in the deep and did his best to stay afloat. When not fused with his keyboard, you can find him running the streets and off road trails in and around Cape Town. He is yet to go viral.
  • Twitter to ditch chronological timeline for algorithms [UPDATE]

    Update: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has taken to the social network to say that it has no intention of ditching the current timelines for ones based on algorithms. Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016 Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a static social/friend graph. We get it.— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016 It remains unclear however why the small group of users testing the algorithmic timeline could not change back or...

  • The sharing economy is doing amazing things for mobile payments

    Over the past few years, the sharing economy has gone from something that a few tech-savvy idealists were excited about to a fundamental part of our everyday lives. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Instacart, have all ridden this boom to become massive companies with global operations. Interestingly, they've brought mobile payments technology with them. That's hardly surprising. Many of these companies depend on customers being able to make reliable mobile payments in order to survive. And when you consider PwC's estimate that the global sharing economy will grow from US$15 billion in 2013 to US$335-billion in 2025, you...

  • Donald Trump’s Friends Day video will move you in unexpected ways

    Thursday this week marked Facebook's 12th birthday and its first inaugural Friends Day. People around the world got the chance to reminisce about some of the experiences they'd had with everyone they're friends with on the social network. It was great for most of us, but what about Donald Trump? That's the question YouTube comedy outfit Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues set out to answer. While we wish we could say that they found the real one, what they ended up putting together is pretty damn entertaining.

  • Al Jazeera launches audio-streaming app aimed at low bandwidth markets

    The market for providing news to areas starved of bandwidth appears to be growing. Al Jazeera this week announced a new audio web app that will give users in low-bandwidth regions access to a live audio stream of the Al Jazeera TV broadcast on their devices. According to a press release sent to Memeburn, the service will help Al Jazeera reach new audiences where low internet speeds limit access to video. The primary markets being targeted are Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia. It's not the first broadcasting house to take this approach. In 2015, the BBC World Service...

  • Was it actually okay for Elon Musk to decline Tesla to ‘rude’ customer?

    Earlier this week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk showed the world that there's more to him than the smiling innovator we see at launches and the dry Twitter persona we see the rest of the time. After venture capitalist Stewart Aslop wrote an open letter to Musk late last year criticising the launch of the Model X, which started late, Musk responded by refusing to sell him a Tesla. In his letter, Aslop says that Musk's failure to apologise for the event management was "insensitive" and showed "poor judgement". Despite the fact that Alsop...

  • Andrew Trench jumps ship from News24 to Times Media

    A little under a year after joining 24.com, Andrew Trench has announced his resignation from the position of managing editor of News24. Originally brought in to help bolster the Naspers-owned publishers investigative efforts, and to help set up its wire service, Trench is leaving to take up a position at Times Media. According to a press release sent to Memeburn, Trench said his departure "wasn't planned and it wasn't solicited and my leaving is no reflection of my feelings about the 24-family. It's been an amazing and exhilarating year with exciting plans unfolding for the year ahead." Read more: 24.com...

  • Popcorn Time is back, promises to stay up

    A couple of years ago, when Popcorn Time exploded onto the scene, it seemed unstoppable. Billed as the "Netflix you always wanted", the service crawled through torrent sites, saving you the usual hassle of having to wade through sketchy torrent sites and then waiting for the file to finish downloading. Under pressure from the MPAA, it was taken down by its original developers in March 2014. Since then there have been a number of attempts by the developer community to fork it in new and interesting ways. The latest of these bids, by an anonymous group of coders, sees...

  • Microsoft drops $250m on SwiftKey to deepen AI creds

    Windows Phone may be on its last legs, but that isn't going to stop Microsoft dropping serious amounts of money on mobile products. Its latest strategy on this front involves acquiring the company behind intelligent keyboard app SwiftKey. According to TechCrunch, Microsoft is set to drop US250-million on the London-based startup. As the Redmond-based giant notes in an official blog post, SwiftKey software keyboard and SDK powers more than 300 million Android and iOS devices. Read more: Microsoft acquires technology assets from Event Zero to enhance Skype for Business Online The deal, which is all cash and will go through immediately,...

  • Alphabet (briefly) passes Apple as world’s most valuable company

    Something big happened in the past 24 hours. Alphabet, the holding company for Google and a whole load of other companies, passed Apple to become the most valuable company on the planet. Alphabet overtook Apple when a surge in after-hours trading saw it's market capitalisation hit US$570 billion, eclipsing Apple's current market cap of about $535 billion. The surge came after the conglomerate posted an 18% increase on its year-on-year revenues, largely on the strength of its YouTube and programmatic advertising offerings. Read more: Google redefined: the real implications of Alphabet "Our very strong revenue growth in Q4 reflects the...

  • This app lets you make free calls without an internet connection

    Hush. No one tell South Africa's mobile networks about this. Swedish mobile communications service Rebtel this week announced a new in-app feature that allows users to make free international calls without an internet connection. The service, which costs US$1 a month, works by hijacking local phone lines and, according to Rebtel, the call quality is as clear as it would be with a conventional landline call. The new feature adds to Rebtel's existing offerings, which allow people to make unlimited app to phone calls, app to app calls, and the ability to call any phone in the world via...

  • Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s awkward holiday video features Toto, is better than your’s

    So you're one of comedy's power couples. How do you make sure you'll never forget your final vacation before having kids? Well, if you're Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, the answer involves turning the whole thing into a musical tribute to Toto's 'Africa'. Filmed on a trip they took to the Serengeti a couple of years ago (their first child was born in 2013), the video was released earlier this week and already has more than a million views. Read more: Meet Penny Sparrow’s ‘wonderful, thoughtful’ black friends "This was our last trip before having kids. Our sole objective...

  • Are Google’s tax chickens coming home to roost?

    A couple of years ago, a furore arose across the European Union and Great Britain in particular. The leaders of these countries, you see, had found out that some of the world's biggest tech companies -- including Amazon, Google, and Apple -- were paying tiny amounts of tax on incredibly large sums of revenue. In the UK, for instance, it emerged that it had paid just £6-million on £2.5-billion worth of sales in the country. That in turn led to a hearing in which a UK parliamentarian called Google “devious”, “unethical” and “evil”. A former Google UK executive...

  • Apple’s Q1 results: smartphone market maturity finally hits Cupertino’s finest

    Make no mistake, Apple had a very good Q1 , just not as good as many were expecting it to be. And according to analysts, that's because it's finally been affected by the same smartphone market maturity that's hit everyone else. The quarter saw Apple sell 74.8-million units. It's a record, but its only one percent up from the 74.5-million units it sold in the first quarter in the year 2015. And when it comes to Apple, people just expect more. It's worth noting however that the fact that Apple managed to increase iPhone sales at the same time...

  • Facebook’s AI is getting scarily intelligent, scarily fast

    Facebook is putting some serious effort into Artificial Intelligence, and not just so that Mark Zuckerberg can have his own Jarvis-style personal home assistant either. In a Facebook post published on Wednesday, the hoodied one shared some of the work being done by the social network's AI division. He illustrated the work with a video of the AI playing the Chinese game Go, one of the few activities where human beings can still routinely beat machines. According to Zuckerberg, scientists have been trying to teach computers to win at Go for some 20 years now. Read more: Mark Zuckerberg’s...

  • 5 things I learned taking the Suzuki Vitara on holiday

    Late last year, we gave you our first impressions of the Suzuki Vitara, the new compact crossover from the Japanese manufacturer. By and large, our feelings towards the Vitara were positive, but it's not easy to fully get to grips with a car in a single day. Fortunately, my time with the Vitara wasn't limited to a single launch trip. During my recent end-of-year holidays, spent in KwaZulu-Natal, I was given a couple of weeks with the compact crossover. Read more on Motorburn.