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All posts by Stuart Thomas

  • Amazon bigwigs to jet into Cape Town for ‘Grand Opening’

    The world's most famous online retailer, Amazon.com, is gearing up for a big launch in Cape Town, with bigwigs flying into the country from the States. Among the executives will be Marc Onetto, Amazon's Senior Vice President of Operations and Customer Service. Onetto will be joined in August by members of the press for what Amazon are calling a "Grand Opening". The VP will view a "new facility", which is essentially the company's...

  • Google brings the British Library to the world

    The British Library, in partnership with Google, is set to digitise more than 40-million pages of books from its vast collection. The pages, which comprise some 250 000 texts dating from 1700-1870, will be freely available to everyone. According to the library’s spokespeople, "both organisations will work in partnership over the coming years to deliver this content free through Google Books and the British Library’s website. Google will cover all digitisation costs." The...

  • A Fathers’ Day message to Sir Tim Berners-Lee

    Dear Sir Tim Berners-Lee, As the father of the World Wide Web, we think you deserve a Father’s Day message. After all, anyone who’s ever clicked a link, typed those three famous W’s, or even just seen a video on a friend’s screen is, in some way, your child. This, therefore, is a tribute to you, your web and everything we’ve managed to achieve with it. We’ve come a long way since that fateful day when you implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet. That was way back...

  • Sex, knitting and Ayn Rand: our favourite offbeat social networks

    There is a mind-boggling array of social networks out there, from Facebook, the king of them all, and the ailing Myspace, all the way through to the ones you don’t know about, which target niche interests such as a love for auteur cinema and an interest in cheese. Memeburn roamed the world of social networks and picked out eight choice examples, selected for their surprising user numbers, intriguing content and quirky characters. Here...

  • ‘Gay girl in Damascus’ blogger a middle-aged US man

    A 40-year-old US student based in Scotland has unmasked himself as the author of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blogs, which sparked a security crackdown in Syria. This is the latest in a series of attempts by Westerners to use social and online media to stake a place in the limelight for themselves in the Arab uprisings which have dominated headlines in 2011. Tom MacMaster, an Edinburgh University masters student, admitted on...

  • How HuffPo beat NYTimes.com

    Traffic to the spunky Huffington Post has surpassed visitors to the New York Times for the first time, according to tracking firm comScore. This time last year, the NYTimes’s 32.5-million figure overshadowed the Huffington Post’s 23.8-million. But HuffPo broke through the 30-million barrier this month, receiving 35.6-million unique visitors in May, up from 29.9-million in April. The NYTimes.com received 33.6-million, up from 32.9-million. ComScore’s figures show that traffic figures for the mega US news blog have surged over the past year, while those of NYTimes.com have remained relatively steady. The New York Times began charging readers for full access to...

  • ‘Apple created Android’

    “Apple created Android, or at least they created the environment to allow Android to happen.” Those were the words of Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop when he addressed the Open Mobile Summit in London on Thursday. The statement seems fairly innocuous until you start asking exactly what the head of the embattled Finnish communications giant meant by this?var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • M-Pesa’s rollercoaster ride

    M-Pesa, the world-famous mobile payment system, has effectively become a type of credit card for poor communities in East Africa. The payment system has had unbelievable success in this region and other emerging market regions, prompting interest in it from many sectors in the world. But M-Pesa is much more than a mobile payment system. It's a blueprint for a future mobile-based currency, used by every corner and every community in the world....

  • What the web thinks of eBay’s Magento buyout

    When auction giant eBay announced this week that it was buying out the well-known ecommerce platform Magento, reaction was varied. In announcing the buyout eBay President and CEO John Donahoe stated that Magento would merge with the company’s own open source, online retailing platform X.Commerce. Precisely how X.Commerce will work, and what part Magento has to play in it will only be revealed in October during eBay’s X.Commerce Innovate Conference. Here’s what...

  • Asian ad network reports surge in mobile advertising

    The ever increasing allure of mobile advertising was reflected when BuzzCity, a global mobile advertising network, announced on Monday that it had served about 10.5-billion adverts across its mobile advertising network in May alone this year. The company attributes this increase in adverts served to greater consumer demand for mobile content and being able to meet that demand with its own white-label content services, leading to record numbers in ads served on...

  • Malaysian social activist ordered to tweet 100 apologies

    In an interesting turn of events, Twitter is not in court or being served with court orders to hand over user data. One enterprising legal team in a Malaysian defamation case (perpetrated on Twitter) has come up with a more constructive use for the social-networking site. Instead of tedious court battles, they have decided to use Twitter as the solution to the problem. Fahmi Fadzil, a social activist and commentator, claimed in a tweet in January that a pregnant friend of his had been treated badly by her employers at Female Magazine -- owned by Blu Inc Media. The magazine...

  • App options outside the mainstream

    With Nokia announcing the death of its unique Ovi services recently, the smartphone app world seems to be getting a little smaller. The Finnish communications giant has instead chosen to ally itself with Microsoft and its new Mango Operating System (OS) (along with Windows Marketplace) in the war against Apple’s App Store, Blackberry manufacturer RIM’s App World, and Google’s Android Market. With so few synonyms left for a shop in which one can purchase applications, you have to wonder what remains for the smaller players in the mobile app world. At first glance things do not look good for apps outside...

  • Space shuttle embraces social networking as its Swansong approaches

    As NASA winds down its Space Shuttle programme, it is using social media to grant the public unprecedented access to the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Having already retired the Space Shuttle Discovery, this is the last mission for Endeavour. The public access currently given to the Endeavour via social networks, gives off a feeling of a zoo trip to see the last of a dying species. Except the whole time you’re there the zoo keeper has a rifle aimed at the back of the animal’s head. Nonetheless, you too can join the pope and the children of...