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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 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.
  • Windows 10: why Africa could be key to its success

    It's Windows 10 launch day and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella isn't at the company's headquarters in Redmond Washington. Nor is he in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York. He's in Kenya. That's important, because it gives us a clue as to just how important Africa might be for Windows 10. Here's why. In the run-up to today's launch, Microsoft said it would be putting taking a more human approach to the launch. Rather than concentrating on the features (which anyone who cares already knows all about) and the business case, it's pushing the focus onto how people use...

  • Times Media poaches Media24’s Lisa Macleod for top digital job

    Times Media has announced the appointment of Lisa Macleod as its new head of digital. Macleod, who has been in the industry for the best part of 20 years, was lured across from Media24 where she's currently GM for Digital Publishing. Andrew Gill, MD Times Media, says MacLeod’s appointment is significant given the demand for digital expertise in a highly competitive media environment. “MacLeod is familiar with the challenges of taking widely recognised print businesses, and evolving them into lucrative digital-first operations. The intellectual capital she brings is completely aligned to TMG’s expansion strategy, and our...

  • Powertime now lets you manage all your bills in one place

    Powertime, the prepaid electricity payments service, has announced the launch of a service which it says will allow users to pay any bill online. According to the company, which has been in operation since 2009, the new feature allows users to pay bills from more than 400 bill issuers and charities, including Telkom, Vodakom, SABC, Eskom, Top TV, Sunday Times, UCT, Home Choice, as well as any municipal bill (electricity, water, rates, taxes) and many others, as long as it has an EasyPay number. The service also allows people to manage their bills using a central dashboard...

  • The IoT explosion: 38bn devices to be connected by 2020

    Over the past few years, the Internet of Things has gone from theoretical concept to our everyday lived experience. It's no coincidence that some think we should instead be talking about the Internet of Everything. But despite the advances we've made in the past few years, it looks like the real explosion will only happen in the next five years. According to a new report from Juniper Research, the number of connected devices will grow from 13.4-billion in 2015 to 38.5-billion in 2020, a rise of over 285%. Interestingly, the vast bulk of that growth won't come from the...

  • Uber SA goes on charm offensive, celebrates UberHeroes

    Uber South Africa wants you to know that its partner drivers aren't just drivers, they're heroes. No seriously, the app has released a video showing off some of the most inspiring stories to have emerged from those partner drivers since its South African launch. Accompanying the video is a blog post explaining how it has benefited individual drivers and their families. The examples come from each of the three cities it currently operates in (Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg) and include a former security guard who now employs five other drivers, as well as a driver who was able...

  • Cape Town restaurant shows the world how to deal with racist online reviews

    Online reviews can be a tricky business, especially in the restaurant trade. In between picky customers and the ego needed to make an eatery sustainable things can get very messy very quickly. That said, sometimes the customer is just plain wrong. And in the the last couple of days, one Cape Town-based restaurant showed the world how to deal with those customers. Massimo's is an eatery in the seaside village of Hout Bay renowned for its authentic Italian pizzas. On Friday last week, the following review was posted to the restaurant's page on Tripadvisor: “Very disappointing” 1 of 5...

  • Should the SA digital space worry about its poor Cannes Lions showing?

    This year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was not a happy hunting ground for South Africa's digital agencies. In fact, the only local digital agency to win something was Gloo@Ogilvy, which won a bronze in the Digital Media category. To put that into perspective, 80 awards were given out in that category alone. Another 126 were handed out in the Cyber Lion category with a further 42 campaigns awarded in the mobile category. Within that context, one digital agency win can seem pretty depressing, but should we be worried? The instinctive answer to that is "yes, definitely",...

  • YouTube refreshes mobile app, makes it easier to find your favourite channels

    YouTube has refreshed its mobile app, rolling out a series of features which it claims will make things easier for both users and creators. According to an official blog post from the updates are a recognition by the video service that more than half of its views now come from mobile. Available now on Android, mobile web, and in the near future on iOSm the update introduces three new tabs to the app: Home, Subscriptions, and Account. Read more: Are Facebook’s video views closing in on YouTube’s? Here's how YouTube describes what they do: Home: Easily explore and discover videos you'll...

  • Mobile data to hit 52m terrabytes this year, will triple by 2018

    We are in the midst of a mobile data explosion. According to technology research house Gartner, global mobile data traffic is set to reach 52-million terabytes (TB) in 2015, an increase of 59% from 2014. And as more and more people get their hands on affordable smartphones and data rates continue to fall, Gartner predicts that number will more than triple in the next three years. By 2018, it says, mobile data levels are estimated to reach 173 million TB. "Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018," said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner. "New,...

  • Samsung Gear Circle review: a runner’s delight, a fashionista’s fright

    If you've ever connected earphones to your office laptop or desktop, you probably know all to well the resultant carnage when you accidentally get up still wearing them. In a bid to combat cable-related injuries, a number of wireless earphone products have come into the market in recent months. The Samsung Gear Circle, while not perfect, is one of the more viable options. Like most of its competitors, the Gear Circle uses Bluetooth to communicate with whatever compatible device you choose. It also allows you to listen to music, make and receive phone calls, and perform voice commands on your...

  • Jimmy Wales wants to save the world…with a mobile network

    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is on a mission to save the world. This time his tool of choice isn't based on democratising knowledge but on connecting people looking to good. Wales has launched a new mobile network, called The People's Operator (TPO), which describes itself as a "community of people that are raising money for causes just by being part of it". To describe TPO as a mobile network only would be inaccurate, as there's also a heavy social component. And in what will come as a welcome relief to anyone who feels like social networks have sold their...

  • Microsoft’s big ad strategy for Windows 10? Babies

    We already know that Microsoft's Windows 10 launch is set to have a little more of the human touch than its previous efforts. On Sunday, the Redmond-based giant gave the first indication of how it plans to do convey that in its advertising. The latest ad for the new Microsoft OS, which launches on 29 July features babies, lots of babies. It's pretty confident in its tone too, predicting that all the kids featured in the ad "will grow up with Windows 10." Given the way iOS and Android have flourished over the past few years, it's fairly safe...

  • Apple’s new iPhone ad is a snarky swipe at its competitors

    Apple has released a new iPhone ad and it is properly passive aggressive. The 30 second spot, released on Sunday, shows off the millions of apps available on the app store, claiming that they turn your iPhone "into just about anything". It's an interesting move, but hardly unexpected given the recent attention Apple's been heaping on the app store. In the wake of WWDC for instance it released a video claiming that its app store is more important than the industrial revolution. Still, the tagline -- "If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone" -- does seem a little obvious....

  • Hackers threaten to release details of adultery site Ashley Madison users

    Hackers are threatening to release the details of millions of Ashley Madison users unless their demands are met. The site, which geared at bringing together people looking for an extra-marital affair, prides itself on facilitating discreet encounters. All of that could however be blown out of the water if the hackers release the user databases, financial records, and private details of the service's owners and 37 million users they are believed to have obtained. The leak, first reported by security researcher Brian Krebs, now appears to have been confirmed by Noel Biderman, the CEO of Avid Life Media (ALM), the...

  • Aussie surfer Mick Fanning fends off shark in epic clash of species

    When surfers take on sharks in their natural habitat, it's usually the wave riders who come off second best. Apparently though no one told Australian surfer Mick Fanning that. While Fanning was competing at the JBay Open today, a shark suddenly attacked the surfer, dragging him underwater. In response, Fanning punched the shark before paddling to safety. The Aussie surfer was competing in the finals of the annual competition, held off the waters of Jeffrey's Bay in the Eastern Cape. "I was just cruising, just waiting for my turn, my opportunity," he said. "I felt like I was just about to start moving, start...