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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

  • Ford Fusion 1.5L EcoBoost: sensibility with a sting in the tail

    A few weeks ago, on this very site, I revealed that I wasn't a fan of automatics. The car I reviewed in that article, the Volvo XC90 failed to convert me. But after a week with the Ford Fusion, I'm starting to think I could live without a clutch pedal. Of course there's plenty of other stuff to say about the latest Fusion, a car which was only launched in South Africa in 2015 -- some three years after it made its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in 2012. And we'll get to all the...

  • Can a CV builder help fix South Africa’s unemployment problem?

    If you've ever been involved in processing job applications, you'll know that it can be a pretty dire process. Every time you open up a position, you'll be hit with a litany of badly-written CVs with spelling and grammar errors, awkward fonts, and completely irrelevant information. In a bid to help fix that, skincare brand Clere for Men has launched a CV builder to at least give job applicants a better chance at getting a foot in the door. The CV builder, as well as the revamped Clere for Men site, is a collaboration between Retroviral and boutique...

  • Chat bots, drones, AI: Facebook’s grand plan for the next decade

    At Facebook's F8 developer conference on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the social network's plans for the next decade and, if you're even remotely afraid of where tech's going, they're unlikely to go down that well. Having built an ecosystem containing a number of products, it's fairly clear that Facebook is moving into the technologies section of its life-cycle. Followers of the social network will already be familiar with some of those technologies, including Facebook's efforts at using drones and planes to provide internet to underserved areas of the world. They'll also be aware that the big blue social network...

  • You can remove Zuma…from your browser

    Despite the best efforts from South Africans of all walks of life and political leanings, Jacob Zuma remains president of the country. It's tough, but it's reality. Luckily though, you can take some power back. Thanks to a new Chrome extension you can have a Zuma-free browsing experience. Okay, he'll still be president but at least you'll be a lot less angry during your work day. Built by designer and digital artist Mitch Said, the extension simply scans any page you're on and removes all mentions of Zuma. Even better is that you can actually see all the mentions...

  • Drone smashes through CT entrepreneur’s window, hits him in the head

    Cape Town has a reputation for bad drivers, but if this video is anything to go by, the city's drone pilots might not be much better. The video was posted by internet entrepreneur David Perel, who was the unfortunate victim of the rogue drone. According to Perel, the drone smashed through his fifth floor window and hit him in the head. "While sitting at my desk I head what sounded like a missile followed by a huge bang and glass all over me," he writes in the video's YouTube description. Fortunately, Perel was uninjured but it's pretty clear...

  • Knott-Craig’s secret plan to fix Mxit, and why it failed

    When serial tech entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr took to the NetProphet stage on Thursday, it was ostensibly to talk about Project Isizwe -- the non-profit WiFi initiative he now runs. But there was also a tasty tit-bit for anyone who's kept an eye on Mxit over the past five years. While describing his journey to Project Isizwe, Knott-Craig revealed what his grand vision for Mxit actually was after he acquired it in 2011 and why his investors turned their backs on him. According to Knott-Craig, the mobile social network had been in discussions with South Africa's mobile operators to become a...

  • Big-name activist throws weight behind WEF internet initiative

    Education activist and co-founder of the academic support non-profit Olico, Andrew Barrett has thrown his weight behind an initiative from the World Economic Forum's global shpers programme to bring internet access to all in Africa. Called #internet4all, the campaign was announced on Thursday and will officially launch at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 that takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May. The campaign follows a call from Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee for the World Economic Forum, for the internet to become a basic right in Africa. “Technology...

  • Online still accounts for just 1% of total SA retail

    The South African ecommerce space is growing seriously fast -- more than 26% in 2015 alone -- but it still accounts for just one percent of the country's total retail spend. That's according to the latest Online Retail in South Africa 2016 report, released on Wednesday by World Wide Worx. According to the report, ecommerce has maintained a higher than 20% growth since the turn of the century and in 2015 was worth R7.5-billion. While the rate of growth is expected to slow down a little in 2016, the report says that growth in Rand terms is expected to...

  • Panama Papers: 10 things you need to know about the world’s biggest ever leak

    The term "Panama Papers" is about to become a major part of the global lexicon. That's because it represents something very big: the largest data leak in human history. The data comes primarily from a Panamanian law firm and forms the basis of what describes itself as "a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world's rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions". Bigger than both Wikileaks and the Snowden files, the investigation has revealed "a cast of characters who use offshore companies to...

  • Net Prophet 2016 speakers include local tech heroes

    Net Prophet, one of South Africa's favourite geek events, is back in 2016 with a speaker line-up bristling with veterans of the South African tech space. Some, like Travelstart's Stephan Ekbergh have been slogging away at the same venture for years. Others, such as Michael Jordaan and Alan Knott-Craig Jr will be appearing in guises outside of the ones they made their names in. Jordaan, now founder at Montegray capital, rose to prominence as the CEO of FNB, while Knott-Craig briefly lit up the scene with his acquisition of Mxit, before going on to found free WiFi NGO Project...

  • Think you have mad Snapchat skills? Check out this stop-motion video

    This is pretty damn cool. Snapchat user Joe Penna, who calls himself MysteryGuitarMan! on YouTube, has created an 85-second stop motion film which may just be the highest form of art created on the ephemeral social network. Called 8-bit Snapchat, the film uses what Penna describes as "some fruits, Snapchat, and a LOT of free time". The film takes the form of a classic side-scroller and will make you feel even older for being so confused every time you open up Snapchat.

  • Analysts get the iPhone SE, but aren’t sure it’ll succeed

    Among the many announcements made by Apple during Monday's launch event, the new 4-inch iPhone SE was probably the most important. Targeted at the 35% of Apple users who've stubbornly stuck with 4-inch devices, the SE is essential an iPhone 6 stuck in an iPhone 5s' body. It's interesting that Apple is sticking premium internals in a small device at a time when most other smartphone makers have abandoned it, but will it work out for the Cupertino-based giant? With the iPhone SE, tech analysis firm IHS says, Apple is choosing to aim at an underserved segment of consumers...

  • Intel co-founder Andy Grove dies, aged 79

    "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive". Those are the words that have been most commonly used as the tech world gathers to remember Intel co-founder Andy Grove, who died on 21 March, aged 79. A Hungarian immigrant, Grove is credited with being one of the driving forces who helped grow Intel into the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. He's also been called the "guy who drove the growth phase" of Silicon Valley. Grove was born to a middle-class family in Budapest, Hungary in 1936, the son of Maria and George Gróf. His early childhood years...

  • Kill the PC? The new iPad Pro probably won’t even save Apple’s tablet line

    At a special launch event on Monday, Apple launched a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It's certainly an impressive device -- as Apple's Phil Schiller noted on the day, it has plenty of "grunt" -- but is it the device to convince PC owners to move away from their clunky Windows machines? During the event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller pointed out that there are around 600-million people using Windows PCs that are more than five years old. "This is really sad," he said. The bigwigs at Apple might believe that's the case, but I'm not so sure....

  • Tim Cook kicks off Apple launch with dig at FBI

    Apple launches are usually all about product, whether that's new headline-grabbing device or an update to a piece of its software. On Monday however, CEO Tim Cook, used the occasion of the company's latest launch to have a dig at the FBI. "We need to to decide, as a nation, how much power the government should have over our data and our information," Cook said at the event. The US investigative bureau and the technology giant have been in a protracted battle, with the former looking to Apple to give it access to an iPhone belonging to San...