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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

  • It’s official: Naspers launches video streaming service ShowMax

    Naspers today officially announced the launch of ShowMax, its Netflix-style online streaming service. At an event in Johannesburg, the emerging markets internet and media giant revealed that the service will cost R99 a month. In addition to the online offering, ShowMax has a companion app which is already available for download on Android and iOS Among the shows available on ShowMax from day one: are The Big Bang Theory, Ray Donovan, Vikings, and True Blood. While the service officially launched today, reports of its development have been circulating for some time now. While earlier media reports suggested that Naspers' ability...

  • Hack my ride: why getting your door open matters more than cutting your brakes

    Over the past few weeks there have been a number of stories around hackers finding major security vulnerabilities in cars made by major vehicle manufacturers. Some, like Tesla, have worked with the hackers involved to fix those vulnerabilities while others have been less open to collaboration. So far the hackers behind these exploits have been good enough to share them with the manufacturers concerned, but it's only a matter of time before that changes and a new kind of security war kicks off. Read more on Motorburn.

  • Tshwane citizens can now make calls, download movies using free WiFi

    If you live in Tshwane, you'll be pleased to learn that you can now use the city's free WiFi offering to make phone calls and download movies. The city, thanks largely to a partnership with non-profit Project Isizwe, has offered free WiFi some time now. Executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa today announced that three new services, WiFi Voice, Drive In and WiFi Chat will be added from today. WiFi Chat is a web-based platform for information and feedback, as well as a new service delivery mechanism where users can log queries and complaints. With Wi-Fi Voice users connected to the Tshwane...

  • Garmin Fenix 3 review: worth the money

    As a (relatively) young tech journalist, you often find yourself reviewing gadgets that you could never feasibly afford on your salary. It's something you try not to think too much about -- you'd go mad if you did. Despite my best efforts though, it's something I couldn't stop thinking about during my two weeks with the Garmin Fenix 3. And for the most part, that's because I also couldn't stop thinking about how much I want this device to be a permanent part of my life. From a purely technological point of view, there's no reason why that should...

  • Google confirms Android 6 is called Marshmallow, reveals it likes to Troll

    Google has revealed that the latest version of its Android operating system is called Marshmallow. Set for release in the next few months, Google teased the new operating system -- code-named M -- some time ago. As it has done with the previous few Android releases though, Google kept the name under tight wraps. Along with the name, and an official lawn statue, Google also announced that the launch of the official Android 6.0 SDK and opened Google Play up for publishing apps that target the new API level 23 in Android Marshmallow. Read more: Google launches Android Experiments to...

  • Loeries 2015: All the digital and interactive winners

    While digital may be playing an increasingly important part at The Loeries, South Africa's premiere awards showcase, the big awards are still going to big agencies. That much was evident on Saturday night when the winners in the digital and interactive categories were announced. Overall 33 awards were handed out in the digital and interactive categories, with Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg walking away with the only Grand Prix for the night. The industry giant won for its KFC SoundBite campaign, which comprised a music platform that turns the restaurant’s regular tables into interactive audio tables which they can use...

  • Pick n Pay shows the world how not to deal with online criticism [Update]

    In a week that's seen South African brands take a beating on Twitter, Pick n Pay should probably have known better than to ask someone to remove a tweet linking to a blog post that criticised a new sale campaign by the company. The post in question, written by Celeste Barlow of the Reluctant Mom blog, takes particular issue with a promotional gift the retailer recently started giving out for purchases over R150. In the post, Barlow complains that the introduction of Stickeez toys as a purchase reward (which are small plastic figurines attached to suction cups) mean that she can...

  • From Bic to Harry Potter: 5 Memeburn stories you loved this week

    There are few things the internet loves better than a social media fail. The South African division of international pen maker Bic learned that the hard way this week, with its botched attempt at celebrating Women's Day even making it onto international sites such as Mashable and The Guardian. Hardly surprising then that it our take on it was the most read story on Memeburn over the past seven days. But there was also plenty to be positive about. For instance, many of found solace in a description of digital depression and the difference sometimes "just switching off" can make....

  • 21 of South Africa’s best mobile campaigns [Smarties Awards]

    The Mobile Marketing Association of South Africa has announced the winners of the local edition of the Smarties Awards, with digital agency Liquorice among the big winners on the night. The awards, which aim to recognise the best in mobile advertising, are tied to the global Smarties Awards. This year they also form part of the festivities at The Loeries, South Africa's premier awards showcase. This is the second year in which a local version of the awards has taken place. The South African edition of the awards was launched in 2014 as part of the global Mobile Marketing...

  • SA’s keenest Instagrammers to gather for long weekend in the Karoo

    If you love Instagram, hanging out with other people who love Instagram, and taking photos of quaint towns for your Instagram feed, then you'll be pleased to learn that South Africa's first weekend-long Instameet is set to take place in September this year. The event, which takes place between 24 and 27 September in the Karoo town of Graaf Reinet, is the result of a collaboration between Cerebra founder Craig Rodney, the @southafrica account, and South African Tourism. According to the event website, the idea is to get as many people as possible "to travel across our beautiful country,...

  • Samsung’s big launch: does the Note even matter anymore?

    When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note back in 2011, it helped kickstart the phablet phenomenon. Earlier today, it announced the launch of the latest in the series, the Note 5. But is it enough for it to claw back some ground on Apple? And perhaps more importantly, does the Note still matter? The latest version of the device, which hits shelves on 21 August, certainly looks impressive. Available in black and gold, it comes with a glass back and has includes design elements both from its predecessor, the Note 4 and S6. It's also borrowed some features from...

  • Naspers’ Netflix competitor to be called ShowMax

    Naspers' soon-to-be-launched video-on-demand service has a name: ShowMax. That's according to a story published today on the Naspers-owned Channel24 website. The offering is believed to have been in the works for some time now, with the acquisition of Dubai-based streaming service Icflix, which services a number of countries including Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. John Kotsaftis, who became the CEO of DStv Digital Media after the merger of DStv Online and DStv Mobile, will reportedly head up the Naspers VOD venture from Dubai. Read more: Naspers reportedly working on Netflix competitor According to TechCentral,...

  • Amazon set for big South African hiring spree

    Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud-computing division is set to go on a big hiring spree in South Africa. The ecommerce and internet giant today announced that it has opened a Johannesburg office, with plans to hire more than 250 engineers over the next 12 months. The new office joins the established Amazon Development Center Cape Town, which has been in operation since 2004 and develops technology for several Amazon businesses, including Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to a press release sent to Memeburn, the office is already open and operational. Read more: Amazon’s very busy 2014: more than five-billion...

  • Twitter officially removes 140 character limit from DMs

    Twitter has officially culled the 140 character limit in its Direct Messaging service. The move, announced in an official blog post, means that DMs take on far more of an instant messaging role than they did previously. According to Twitter product manager Sachin Agarwal, the update was made because "each of the hundreds of millions of Tweets sent across Twitter every day is an opportunity for you to spark a conversation about what’s happening in your world". Read more: Twitter now allows users to send direct messages to anyone "Today’s change is another big step towards making the private side...

  • Y’arr! Here be the state of online piracy

    While services such as Netflix are proof that people are willing to pay for online content, they don't seem to have curbed the growth of online piracy. In fact, the rapid growth and adoption of technologies mean that piracy is growing across a variety of media, including video, music, adult content, and books and magazine. In 2014 alone, says app protection company Arxan, it's estimated that the unmonetized value of pirated digital media assets reached US$109 000 000 000. If you're a little blinded by all those zeroes, that's US$109-billion. And in 2015, the total number of pirated assets...