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  • Why collective thinking through social media is more important now than ever

    Steven Johnson, author of the book “Where Good Ideas Come From”, recently gave a lecture on the spaces where ideas are exchanged. Looking at environments where ideas are born, but more importantly expanded upon, Johnson explains the relevance of the 17th century English coffee-house to intellectuals living at the time. “It was a space where people would get together from different fields of expertise and their ideas could have sex. This was their conjugal bed in a sense.” In these coffee houses, people would ponder of thoughts which they had incubating in their minds. Like most ideas, they took time...

  • IBM taking a seriously big interest in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    There are four key trends that are currently disrupting technology around the world says Tom Rosamilia, IBM's head of global strategy. According to Rosamilia, cognitive computing, data, workload optimised systems and nano devices are shaping the future of technology, and they present particular challenges and opportunities. "Computing has changed significantly -- before the 1960s, all computers did was counting and tabulating," says Rosamilia. He explains that the era of computing has changed significantly since then. With programmable systems, we are in the era of cognitive computing -- systems that can think and learn. Using IBM's Waston, the company's cognitive...

  • Tech4Africa: How usable is your digital product, really?

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” -- Albert Einstein Simplicity is at the core of great digital user experience, whether you’re building a website, app or any other digital marketing campaign. Making sure your user’s experience is slick, smooth and, most importantly, gives them the information they want quickly and easily, will determine the success or failure of your product or campaign. What exactly is “user experience” (UX)? UX is a hot buzzword at the moment, but misunderstanding what...

  • Crowdsourced traffic app Waze gets a fresh lick of social paint

    Collaborative traffic and navigation app Waze has just launched its latest update, which features some snazzy new social tools. Waze calls itself the world’s first community-based traffic and navigation app for smartphones. The app allows drivers to outsmart and beat the traffic together by sharing the information the app passively transmits about a user’s speed and location to identify where traffic is moving slowly. The app currently lays claim to around 30-million users and, with the latest iteration, it looks like they might be able to help each other avoid traffic, and perhaps more importantly, getting lost. You...

  • Samsung’s solar-powered classroom laden with gadget swag is amazing

    "One word: Wow!," exclaims a student in a promotional video showing learners' reactions to Samsung's Solar Powered Internet School. For a group of students in rural Phomolong South Africa, Samsung's shipping container computer lab will provide a place to learn and experience desktop computing -- for some, for the very first time. Africa is said to have leapfrogged the desktop computing era straight into mobile, with more than half of the continent's one billion people estimated to have had their first internet experiences on a mobile device. That's great, but the tiny displays of mobile phones don't make for the...

  • Are smartphones turning people into workaholics?

    Research in Britain has found that our all-encompassing magical devices are "doing us in" by adding an average of two hours work per day. Even though smartphones are supposed to make life easier, it also seems to turn us into workaholics. As reported by The Daily Mail, research by technology retailer Pixmania states that Britons are increasing their amount of work hours per year by as much as 460 hours, as mobile phones and devices enable them to respond to emails while not being at work. Smartphones and devices that have email enabled are owned by almost 90% of employees,...

  • Trick or Treat: Happy Halloween from Google

    Google can be pretty cool, let's just admit that. Today, in the spirit of all things spooky, the search giant has produced a haunted house doodle. This cool interactive doodle allows users to explore a haunted house and its cast of characters. You know the standard stuff: black cats, ravens, skeletons, ghosts and monsters. The company has been putting together a few of these cool and interactive doodles lately, some of them highly intricate and adventure-driven. It's quite nice to see that it didn't do the usual pumpkin adorned logo or a candy stripped creation. It's all about the spooks....

  • Windows 8 upgrades selling millions worldwide – or so we are told

    "Preliminary demand" for Windows 8 seems to be higher than for Windows 7 when it was launched, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who announced at the company's Build conference that more than 4-million Windows 8 upgrades have been sold since its launch on Friday. He also said "tens of millions of copies" had been shipped to its partners. Singling out upgrades only is also complicated and confusing, as customers have been registering and qualifying for reduced-price copies of Windows 8 since June. The tens of millions copies to partners is no surprise, as retailers and PC makers are relying...

  • Apple reclaims the term ‘app store’, this time from Amazon

    Apple seems to think that it can claim a chunk of the English language as its own: specifically, the name for its "pioneering" App Store created in 2008. It claims there is no room in the world for any "app stores" other than its own. In an ongoing legal battle that started last year, the Cupertino giant has argued that "App Store" is a trademark phrase, giving it the right to stop competitors like Amazon using it. A little Don Quixote-esque? But in an Oakland federal court yesterday, a very skeptical judge had doubts about whether Amazon's use of the...

  • AfricaCheck: Africa’s ‘first’ dedicated fact-checking site

    Africa's first website set up exclusively to fact-check public debate launched today. Called Africa Check, the site was developed by the non-profit arm of global press agency AFP and will be run in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand. The site will produce its own fact-checking reports, but will also provide tips and advice for its readers on how to fact-check as well as a library of databases and fact-checking tools. “Fact-checking is a growing trend in the media, and in wider society, around the world. But to our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has...

  • Smart glasses and wearable tech to be worth over $1.5bn by 2014

    It's not hard to see why Google's project glass has received so much attention. Can you imagine living in an age where you don't have to carry around a rectangular lump of smartphone or tablet in order to connect and share on the go? Sure, most of the demos have focused on the camera and we haven't seen a real life application of its augmented reality features (concept videos don't count), but wearable tech is poised to become a big thing -- and a product category that could be worth billions in the not-too-distant future. A new...

  • Gamification: who’s winning and why it’s only getting more important

    When I mention the term 'gamification', people frequently tend to look at me as if I just stepped out of a Warcraft LAN session, or just stare at me blankly waiting for some further explanation. The thing is, gamification has become entrenched in a number of digital platforms, even above-the-line platforms, but the average person simply isn't aware that they are taking part in it. Technically, gamification is the technique of adding game-like elements to things unrelated to games themselves. Anyone used Foursquare? Yip, that’s a gamification platform and one of the most popular ones at that. And they...

  • How efficiently is your business using its tech resources?

    For most of us, it's impossible to consider doing our work without the internal systems that communicate, organise and report on our efforts. Impossible to consider a world without emails, wikis and financial software that are invisible to the outside world, but fundamental pillars supporting the business. And, for the most part, these systems are just that -- critical. But are they efficient? Efficiency can only be determined by looking at the sum of its parts. To use a simple example, manually copying information from an email into a wiki can be made more efficient by integrating the two technologies...

  • Android rocks, iOS not so much: the 50 fastest growing online jobs right now

    If you're in Android developer chances are your services could soon be in high demand. The same is less true of iOS developers, although if you also happen to have a talent for developing for Windows Phone, there could be new gaps in the market for you to exploit. If you're looking for the real job of the future though, maybe you should try copy typing. In the last few months it's boomed and is now the fastest growing online job out there. That's according to the latest stats from online jobs portal Freelancer.com. Growth in iOS jobs, it...

  • Android or iOS? Facebook ads can now target specific mobile devices

    Developers and advertisers that use power edition and the Facebook Ads API now have the ability to choose which mobile platform their ads appear on... well, at least they can choose between iOS and Android, but not Windows Phone or BlackBerry as yet. This allows iOS and Android developers to save money and time by avoiding sending adverts to users of a competing operating system. According to TechCrunch, it's a lesser-known feature of the new mobile app install ads Facebook launched two weeks ago, allowing developers to show links to their App store or Google Play apps in Facebook news...