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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor

  • This one video hilariously shows why we all suck at email

    Email was meant to change the world. And it has, except instead of making us more efficient and productive, it eats up large portions of our working days. There’s a reason why so many articles have been written about how to better and more efficiently manage your inbox. While there have been plenty of attempts to fix that, our inboxes continue to be flooded. Oddly enough, a video from a company providing one of those solutions shows that the problem may well be us. The clip, which comes from sketch comedy duo Tripp and Tyler and was made to...

  • Here’s what Hashim Amla’s batting career can teach us about Trevor Noah’s Twitter fracas

    If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the last week or so, chances are you haven’t been able to escape Trevor Noah’s face. First there was the excitement surrounding the news that he would be taking over from Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, then there was the predictable backlash — in Noah’s case for some old Tweets — followed by the backlash against the backlash. Everyone from the New York Times to Patton Oswald has weighed in on it. What many seem to have missed however is that Noah himself settled the debate with a...

  • Here’s what Comedy Central had to say about Trevor Noah’s controversial old tweets

    Comedy Central is standing by Trevor Noah, the South African comedian it’s chosen to replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. Just hours after Noah was appointed to one of the most influential positions in American TV, he was already the at the centre of a controversy surrounding his old tweets. Fans of the show scouring Noah’s tweets found a handful that they felt were offensive to women, Jewish people, and Israelis. Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car! —...

  • This Tidal promo video will make you hate the world’s most successful musicians

    Yesterday Jay Z relaunched Tidal, the Swedish music streaming service he bought a few months back for US$56-million. At the same time, he launched a video showing a gathering of the ultra-famous musicians he’s brought on-board in a bid to ensure that the service doesn’t flop right away. We have to warn you though, they don’t exactly come off as likable. From the moment that Jay Z informs the world that “we’re going to change the course of history,” to the closing title screen, you’re assaulted with nausea-inducing levels of cringe-worthiness. Whatever the artistic merits of the musicians signed...

  • App revenues on course to hit $99bn by 2019

    There’s still money to be made in apps and not just from massive acquisitions either. According to mobile research house Juniper Research, annual revenues from apps accessed via smartphones and tablets are expected to reach US$99-billion by 2019. The majority of these revenues, the company says, will continue to come from games for the next five years. It adds however that the highest growth will likely be experienced in areas such as lifestyle applications (such as dating and navigation) and eBooks. Dating especially looks set to go big. Juniper’s research shows that a significant proportion of online dating activity is...

  • This aerial photo gives you a sense of how big Facebook’s one-room HQ is

    Facebook has moved into its new headquarters in Menlo Park, California and, as you can see in the photo above, it’s not exactly small. That scale becomes even more impressive when you remember that it comprises a single room. In a Facebook post, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the goal with the new building was “to create the perfect engineering space for our teams to work together”. The idea, he says, is for the space to build the “same sense of community and connection among our teams that we try to enable with our services across the...

  • This crazy, surreal sci-fi short had studios in a bidding war

    Not so long ago, if you wanted to get Hollywood bigwigs to help make your dream movie, you had to spend ages and ages pitching the concept. That’s still important today, but if you get enough support online, the studios might just come to you. The latest example of this latter model comes in the shape of a surreal sci-fi film called Sundays, which apparently saw the likes of Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros engaging in a bidding war (Warner Bros. won out in the end). Read more: Sci-fi short starring Aiden Gillen is a stunning celebration of human...

  • With Messenger as a platform, Facebook’s strategy starts to make sense

    During the opening keynote at Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference, you got the sense that there were a lot of light-bulbs going off in a lot of tech journalists’ heads. The moment that got those light bulbs burning was Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Messenger would cease to be “just another messaging app” and would instead become a platform. The new Messenger platform will allow its more than 600-million users to create and share content from third-party tools as well as communicate directly with businesses rather than calling or emailing them. The more than 40 apps available on Messenger from the...

  • Fire engulfs Mxit’s Stellenbosch offices

    Mobile instant messaging service Mxit’s Stellenbosch offices were reportedly engulfed in flames in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Memeburn understands that the fire broke out at around 2AM. At this stage, it appears that the fire was caused by an electrical fault. Speaking to TechCentral, Mxit chief financial officer Richard Newton, “there was a fair amount of smoke damage that is limited to a small area on one floor.” According to Newton, around 10 Mxit staff would have to be temporarily relocated because of the blaze. “We are unable to estimate the value of the damage at this...

  • Sapa backs off on content deletion demand

    Last week Memeburn broke news that The South African Press Association (Sapa) would be requiring any news sites that subscribe to its wire service to delete all their archived Sapa content. The organisation today clarified its position, saying that the requirement would only affect those sites who carrying a database of Sapa stories. As reported by the Mail & Guardian, those news sites which only have single Sapa stories as part of their archives will not have to delete those stories. “At its recent meeting, the Sapa board became aware of a letter that has been sent...

  • Google wants to make TV ads behave like they’re on the internet

    This is interesting. Google is trialing technology on its Fiber network that would allow TV ads to behave more like the ones you see online. In an announcement made on a Google forum group, the Fiber team said that in the next few weeks, it’ll begin showing ads that will be digitally delivered in real time and can be matched based on geography, the type of program being shown (eg, sports or news), or viewing history. The trial will see ads shown during existing ad breaks, along with national ads, on live TV and DVR-recorded programs. The first...

  • Ex UK intelligence chief wants spies to adapt digital ethics

    Over the past few years, revelations from the likes of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden have shattered our image of the global intelligence community. Far from the making it easier to spy on “the bad guys”, technology has made it much easier for state security agencies to monitor their own citizens. Against that background, former UK security and intelligence coordinator Sir David Omand has put forward a recommendation that there be international ethical standards for secret intelligence activities. In a paper issued by the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG), he argues that that six principles of the ‘just war’...

  • HTC One Mini 2 review-in-brief: smaller than an M8, but not as good

    If phone sales were based solely on device quality, then HTC would be sitting right near the top of the smartphone pile instead of scrapping a bunch of has-beens for the minor places. A case in point is the HTC One Mini 2. Not so long ago, if you wanted a smaller version of a flagship Android device, you had to resign yourself to the fact that you were going to end up with, well, less. Less features, less storage capacity, less battery life… you get the picture. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Sapa: content deletion requirement not ‘devious or manipulative’

    Yesterday Memeburn broke the news that wire agency Sapa had sent a letter to its subscribers requesting that news sites across the country delete Sapa content from their archives. Today Sapa editor Mark van Velden confirmed the decision, justifying it as “a logical and required step”. The 77-year-old Sapa is closing its doors on 31 March, apparently in the face of severe financial pressure. The requirement for sites to delete its content, Sapa says, “is as a result of Sapa subscription agreements specifically excluding usage rights after the end of the agreements, usage rights in perpetuity and outright purchasing...

  • New Sapa twist: news sites to haemorrhage content, lose readers?

    When the South African Press Agency (Sapa) closes its doors on 31 March, news sites across the country could face a massive content crisis. The news wire service has sent out a letter to its subscribers requesting that news sites across the country delete Sapa content from their archives. This could mean sites across the country would face traffic drops and advertising revenue declines. News sites rely on their digital archives to generate traffic and advertising, usually via network advertising services such as Google Adsense. The 77-year-old service announced that it would be shutting down in early February, although the decision...