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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

  • Amorphous New Media parts ways with Times Media Group

    Digital agency Amorphous New Media has parted ways with the Times Media Group, which it has been a partially owned subsidiary of since 2007. Amorphous is one of the older, medium-sized agencies that to some extent has not grown as fast as its larger peers. In the early 2000s it was the main player on the Nedbank account and was slated for big things but today is still a niche player. Possibly this is because the agency was not able to transform itself from being a “web development agency” to a fully-fledged digital agency mirroring the evolutions that...

  • Social rideshare service Zaparide offering lifts to Oppikoppi

    Social ride-sharing service Zaparide has launched a separate section especially for people looking for a lift to Oppikoppi. The service allows both drivers and passengers to register and, in ordinary circumstances, matches them up according to route as well as their likes and interests. The idea is to allow drivers to make a little extra money on their daily commute and for passengers to cut down on their transport costs. A social log-in allows allows both drivers and passengers to review who they will be taking a ride with and also provides an extra layer of safety. Read...

  • 14 beautiful tweeted tributes to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has passed away aged 55. An icon of the gaming world, Iwata succumbed to stomach cancer over the weekend. Iwata had been ill since at least 2014, when Nintendo announced that he would not be attending E3 due to illness. Soon after, he underwent surgery to remove a malignant bile duct growth. Despite assuring fans that he was "progressing well" on Twitter, there was little news until Nintendo announced his death on Sunday. Read more: Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passes away at 55 Always a fan of video games, Iwata began developing them in high school. Following high...

  • These are the Hollywood trailers that have YouTubers seriously pumped

    Trailers have always been important for a movie's success, but a decade's worth of YouTube has only increased the weight people place on a form that it somewhere between advert and art. The function of the trailer has changed too. Rather than getting people in cinemas to make a note of what they should watch next, the idea is to get people with a million other distractions into theatres in the first place. New research from Think With Google, conducted with Ipsos combined with data from Google and YouTube, highlights the growing influence of movie trailers on YouTube,...

  • Watch the first episode of The One Rand Family

    Sanlam has released the first video for the sequel to its multi-award winning One Rand Man series. After tweeting out a teaser image last week, the financial management company has unveiled The One Rand Family. The family of four is made up of Sbu (the father), Londiwe (the mother), Njabulo (the entrepreneurial son), and Anaya (the infant) child and, by all appearances, are incredibly wealthy. Like their predecessor, they have to survive an entire month using only one rand coins (although with both parents working in high level jobs, the pile seems considerably larger). Also like their predecessor, they...

  • Sherlock special returns to Victorian England, is knowingly self-referential

    It's been a good while since fans of the BBC series Sherlock had anything to cheer about. It has, after all, been more than a year since the end of Season 3. Small wonder then that the internet has erupted in a flurry of excitement at the launch of a trailer for the upcoming special. This isn't Sherlock as we know it though. Far from the contemporary reinterpretation that turned Benedict Cumberbatch into a household name, the special takes Holmes, Watson and all the regular cast members back to their Victorian roots. And no that doesn't mean show creator...

  • SA’s EWN starts pushing out news via WhatsApp

    Are chat apps the future of news? There are more than a few very influential people who think they are. Publishers are coming onboard too and it's not just agile, tech-savvy media startups who are doing so. Earlier this week, for instance, a fair amount of fuss was made about the fact that The New York Times started publishing stories to WhatsApp. As it turned out though, it had actually been beaten to the mark by Primedia-owned news house Eye Witness News (EWN). The company uses the broadcast list functionality on WhatsApp to send out a morning brief...

  • This app aims to make sense of South Africa’s new child visa regulations

    South Africa's tourism industry and department of home affairs have been at logger heads ever since the latter introduced new visa regulations for adults traveling with children. The regulations, which came into force on 1 June, have been blamed for falling tourist rates in the country. In a bid to curb that effect, South African car rental agency Drive South Africa has launched an app aimed at simplifying the new child visa regulations. The app, available on web or mobile, is a visa checklist tool for people travelling into or out of South Africa with children. Launched to coincide...

  • Uber’s SA strife: while taxis threaten and government waits, everyone loses

    I'm sitting in the back of an UberX car, on the way back to the office from a press function. Everything seems normal, like the dozens of other Uber rides I've taken over the past two years, until we pass a metered taxi. Suddenly my driver removes the iPhone running the Uber app from its dashboard mount, placing it somewhere more discreet. Things aren't easy for Uber drivers right now. The worried look in my driver's eyes is very real. It's understandable too. Just a day earlier metered taxis were physically threatening their Uber counterparts in Sandton, Johannesburg. Cape...

  • Jack Black looks completely awesome in first Goosebumps trailer

    Hey nineties kid, Hollywood is making yet another play for your nostalgia fueled dollars. Sony Pictures yesterday released a trailer for the big screen adaptation of RL Stine's young adult horror series Goosebumps. While the books may have had you quivering under your duvet as a kid, the film looks to be more about getting laughs while giving a self-referential nod to the books. Starring Jack Black as RL Stine, Goosebumps sees big city kid Zach Cooper (played by Dylan Minnette) upset at moving to a small town. Things start to look up when he meets the beautiful girl...

  • Microsoft writes off $7.6bn from Nokia purchase, cuts 7 800 jobs

    Cue the multitudes saying they saw this coming: Microsoft has announced that it will be writing off US$7.6-billion its Nokia purchase and will cut 7 800 jobs, primarily in its phone services division. That US$7.6-billion buyout is likely to make investors pretty nervous, given that Microsoft paid US$7.2-billion for the Finnish phone maker when the deal, first announced in 2013, went through in 2014. In an internal email sent to Microsoft employees, CEO Satya Nadella says that that having the full Nokia business within its structures is no longer in line with the Redmond-based giant's strategy: "We are...

  • Helen Zille explains why government has such a hard time with Uber

    Uber can't seem to stay out of the news. Today it emerged that Uber partner drivers in Johannesburg are being threatened and harassed. Last week meanwhile, the company's South African operations launched a campaign urging Cape Town authorities to push through a number of operator licenses for its partner drivers. In the wake of the latter, Western Cape premier Helen Zille has written an official blog post, detailing why governments seem to struggle so much with disruptive technologies like Uber. In the post, Zille admits that she's a fan of the service, saying that "many parents (including me) sleep...

  • New Zealand law aims to curb online bullying

    Rape threats, revenge porn, and relentless text-based abuse are all very real examples of how harmful online bullying can be. In a bid to curb that kind of behaviour, New Zealand has passed a law criminalising sending messages to people which are racist, sexist, critical of their religion, sexuality or disability. Passed by an overwhelming majority in the country's parliament last week, the law sets strict guidelines around what digital communications should and should not do. According to Engadget the rest for determining harm will be if a communication or set of communications is designed to cause "serious emotional...

  • This infographic shows you the real difference between UX and UI designers

    To people outside the digital space, a designer is a designer. Dig a little deeper and you quickly realise that there are many different spheres within the field. Even digital veterans though sometimes battle with the difference between User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers. In order to try and clear up some of the confusion, design crowdsourcing site Zilliondesigns has produced an infographic detailing the differences between the two professions. Read more: 4 big trends shaping the UX design space And it goes beyond just saying that one deals with user interfaces, while the other deals with...

  • Amazon celebrates 20th birthday with ‘bigger than Black Friday’ Prime Day

    In celebration of the 20th anniversary of its founding, Amazon has launched "Prime Day", a day of steep discounts which it reckons will be bigger than Black Friday. The promotion, which is only for Prime members in the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria, will reportedly allow users shop "thousands of Lightning Deals, seven popular Deals of the Day and receive unlimited fast, free shipping". On Wednesday 15 July, Amazon says, new and existing members in the US will find deals starting at midnight, with new deals starting as often as every ten minutes. ...