News

Smokoo team working on new venture after site shuts down

Penny bidding site Smokoo was always a little bit controversial. You were never sure whether you were on a legitimate auction platform or a gambling site. And now it's been shut down after being bought out by South African auction company Bidfair. Users trying to get onto Smokoo are currently greeted with a message informing them of the shut down and that they will "be required to manually register a new account with Bidfair", where all of the existing bids ...

Video

Transformers are real, just a lot smaller than in the movies

I had to suppress my excitement when I first saw this video. I frikken' love Transformers and I always wished they were real. Now thanks to Kenji Ishida and JS Robotics they are. Well, at least one is, and at a much smaller scale than anything we ever saw in the cartoons and the recent Baytastic movies. Unfortunately this little fella doesn't pontificate on the nature of the Universe a la Optimus Prime and he's also a little clunky ...

News

Mozilla accuses Microsoft of return to ‘digital dark ages’ with one browser OS

Here we go again. Microsoft has apparently banned browsers other than Internet Explorer in one mode on ARM devices running Windows 8. In an official blog post, Mozilla says that Microsoft's proposed browser practices around Windows 8 Metro could signal a return to "the digital dark ages" before there was such a thing as browser choice. For those of you unfamiliar with the dark ages Mozilla is referring to, here's a short history lesson. In the mid 90s the world's ...

News

Facebook announces App Centre, just like everyone else

Facebook has been has been big on apps for a little while now. It’s a little surprising therefore that it’s taken it so long to announce an App Centre. There’s not much differentiating Facebook’s centre from the kind of app stores we’ve become used to courtesy of Google and Apple. The social network claims the App Centre “gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful”. It also claims that ...

Mobile

Who will win the mobile payment wars?

mobile money Mobile payment has been a massive technology talking point over the past two years as hardware manufacturers wizen up to the fact that more can be done with their products and banks realise that going to an ATM or, even worse, the actual branch is not high on their clients' priority list. The uptake in mobile payments is largely Africa’s fault: the majority of people with a mobile phone don’t have access to normal bank accounts; scarcity of resources has led ...

Startup news

Would you run your startup from a boat docked off Silicon Valley?

BlueSeed This has the potential to be cool. Very cool. It's a boat that will eventually float 12 miles (19.3km) off the coast of California and it's attracting attention from startups around the world. The boat, which bills itself as a floating island, is the brainchild of a company called Blueseed. The fact that it's in international waters means that people can have close access to funding from Silicon Valley VCs without a US work visa. According to a report released by Blueseed, ...

Social media

Sina Weibo introduces new user policy, effectively censors free speech

One of China’s most popular microblogging platforms, Sina Weibo, is set to introduce a new user policy which restricts free speech on the service and can be used to punish those who criticise the government. The policy, which is currently described as a ‘trial’ which will come into full effect on 28 May, has a lot of new requirements for the platform’s 300 million users. Among them is the stipulation that users cannot create or share content that harms the "unity" ...

News

22seven opens to public

With all the hype and drama surrounding the launch of personal finance app 22seven, it's hard to believe it's been in beta all this time. All that's about to change. That's right, the product that generated massive online buzz and was blocked, then embraced, by banks is finally opening up to the public. The company claims that in the three months since its beta launch, it's been "fixing bugs, getting feedback from users", and "gauging how much 22seven is helping ...

News

Storm warnings: the next big Kenyan mobile innovation?

Some pretty impressive mobile innovations have come to the world's attention after Kenyan success. MPesa and Ushahidi come to mind immediately. Now a couple of organisations in the country want to use SMS to warn farmers about potential disasters. According to The Next Web, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) thinks that some 7 500 coffee farmers in the Nairobi and Mount Kenya regions could be receiving SMSes from an automated warning system by the end of the ...

Augmented Reality

Could in-store navigation tech be a shopper’s worst nightmare?

Smart Sensors So GPS is great, but it has its limitations. As soon as the satellites can’t see you; your signal is lost. This is particularly true when you are trying to find your way around a shopping centre or an unfamiliar airport. Luckily for all directionally challenged shoppers out there, Fraunhofer (Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization) will allow in-store or in-mall navigation by allowing your device to communicate with small sensors scattered strategically throughout the building. The system (currently called MST-SmartSense Sensor) is ...

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