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      Because cars are gadgets
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      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
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      Startup news for emerging markets
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      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!
  • Review: Motorola Razr cuts to the quick

    The Motorola dev people have spent a lot of time on the new Razr. It shows. It oozes loving attention. And not in the old Motorola "WTF did they spend all that time on this arb feature for?" No, the new Razr XT910 simply exudes the scent of hard work, clear thinking, clever features, slick hardware crafted from premium materials – Gorilla Glass, Kevlar weave and machined aluminium. Is this the phone that returns Motorola to the top of the mobile phone pile? The new Razr is striking. Not beautiful, but the ludicrous thinness (7.1mm apart from the big head-bump)...

  • Six ways to make migrating to your new laptop less of a nightmare

    I recently migrated laptops. Alarming how simple that sentence looks. I mean, migrations are long and hard, and things die. They have an alarming inevitability. Everything in their path gets trampled. Being able to express that in a single tiny sentence seems unfair. Unfortunately there's little that can be done about the endless hours and megabytes you will spend on downloading Windows updates, and there's no relief for us Windows XP diehards who now have to come to grips with Windows 7 (having gleefully avoided the Vista bullet). And for some reason, Windows makes it as difficult as technologically possible to...

  • Africa’s mobile operators need to be more disruptive

    Generally speaking, in the 90s, Africa's mobile network operators (MNOs) were highly disruptive. In this last decade however, they have continued to decrease in this. Operators are no longer the offensive, attacking force of yesteryear, instead they’re putting up barriers and defensive walls trying to protect what they have and hide. Instead, the disruption comes from the open web. Whenever the operators put up a blocker to what users want, usually in the form of price or access to their infrastructure, the web finds a way of displacing them. Examples abound in location-based services, text messaging, video and photos. There’s a...

  • Sergey Brin, wife donate $500 000 to Wikimedia Foundation

    The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has received a US$500 000 grant Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki have donated US$500 000 to The Silicon Valley power couple -- Wojicki is the co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe -- made the donation in the name of their own Brin Wojcicki Foundation, as the Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its eighth annual round of fundraising. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is the public face of the campaign, his likeness splashed across the top of every Wikipedia page, appealing for donations. "This grant...

  • Chinese games consortium sues Baidu for copyright infringement

    A group of Chinese game developers has announced that it intends suing the country’s search giant Baidu for more than 30-million yuan (US$4.7-million) for copyright infringement. The group, called Content Provider Union (CPU), represents mobile game developers, has accused Baidu of allowing unauthorised downloads of more than 350 games designed by member firms. CPU is largely made up of small, domestic game developers. That’s according to Tian Lifeng, a spokesperson for the group, adding that the case has been accepted by a Beijing court. "We ask for 30 million yuan in compensation because Baidu stole as...

  • Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire — the experts weigh in

    Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet is bold, competitive and, at US$250, reasonably priced. But is it worth snatching up in a post-Kindle Fire world? Reviews for the Nook Tablet have trickled in and the critics seemingly love this heavily modified Android tablet. MSNBC Wilson Rothman loves the speed of the Nook, calling it "superior to the Kindle Fire" thanks to an overnight power test which saw a 27% improvement in battery life over the Kindle Fire. Rothman enjoyed the "nice big home button" which the Kindle Fire lacks. Another hardware victory comes in the form of the MicroSD card slot, where...

  • Uncovered documents show tools governments use to monitor us digitally

    The Wall Street Journal has published an exposé on technologies being sold to governments to enable them to intercept the publics' digital communications. It describes the expose as "a rare window into a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen in the decade since September 11". Mirroring Wikileaks, the Journal has titled the release "The Surveillance Catalogue," and refers to it as a "documents trove". The documents, which comprise highly secret marketing papers from the companies developing these technologies, tout tools that enable governments to hack into people's cellphones and computers, and so-called "massive intercept gear". "Massive...

  • Surface computing surfaces for real

    We’re all one step closer to a Star Trek future of sliding doors, teleporters, tricorders and big table-sized computers that you touch and gesture and wave at. We saw the first generation of “Surface” from Microsoft a few years back – now it is ready to go large with a hardware partner, Samsung. The SUR40 will go into full production in December and shipping first thing in 2012. It features the second generation of Microsoft’s “Surface” software platform, built on Windows 7, with the PixelSense technology that allows the surface itself to be a distance-sensing element. The OS shows itself...

  • Mobile phone gaming kills casual gaming handhelds

    Is casual gaming, the supposed vampire sucking on the life-blood of the “hard-core” market, heading into a downward spiral? According to a report by analysts Cowen and Company, it is. The report states that 26% of the market is rocking out with the Sony PSP, 3DS or non-3D Nintendo DS, in a slow but steady decline. "Over the last five years, the penetration of dedicated handheld platforms into survey respondents self-identifying as casual gamers has declined by 29 per cent, with the vast majority of that decline occurring in the last two years." var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Social media tweet off: Vodacom to get Cell C a Ben10 watch

    It is rare to see multi-billion dollar multinational corporations tease each other in a public forum. On social media though, anything is possible. Yesterday, Vodacom, one of South Africa's big three mobile network operator tweeted Cell C, a fast growing giant in the South African mobile network space, happy birthday. Vodacom's tweet read: Vodacom's tweet reads like the words of a trusty father proudly marveling at his little boy's achievements. Cell C launched in 2001 and piggy-backed off Vodacom's network towers for a few years before branching on its own. The offer of a Ben10, a beloved children's cartoon, watch...

  • Google Music: Why iTunes isn’t the real target

    Google launched its Music product this week and the industry’s immediate response was that this launch is aimed at taking on iTunes and that it is eight years too late. Au contraire. Whilst offering a "locker" and a store, it’s the integration with Android and Google+ that holds the key to the broader strategy for Google. The music-in-the-cloud strategy is a no-brainer for Google on the storage front. It’s stored gajillions of emails for Gmail, documents and spreadsheet data for Apps and various other user product data for more than half of its existence. By relying on its advertising...

  • 10 rules for managing ‘brand me’ online

    Former South African television presenter Nonhle Thema was revelling the apparent freedom her current state of unemployment gave her on Twitter the other night. "i can tweet whatever i want," she said "NO 1 will FIRE ME or make me say sorry......LOL..FREEDOM....im FREE". Sadly, most of us aren't free, and we can't say what we like. In the era of the personal brand, how do we manage our online activities when a tweet could be a seriously career-limiting move? In a piece I researched for a print publication recently, it struck me just how challenging this can be,...

  • Review: Vodafone Webbook — cheap, plastic, nasty

    The Vodafone Webbook is cheap, incredibly cheap (around R1 500 ). As such, criticising it feels a little odd. It’s a bit like taking apart a soup kitchen for not having an internationally renowned wine list or the local corner café for lacking the nuances of haute cuisine in its cooking. Here’s the thing though, the Webbook feels cheap, something designed to throw to an unwashed proletariat desperate for the democratisation of technology. I get that there’s a reason it costs so little, but surely Vodafone could have given us just a little bit more? Allow me to return to...

  • The continuing rise of activist media and the demise of the Fourth Estate

    In a recent article, I pointed out that activist media, such as the posts, tweets, photos, and videos produced by the Occupy Wall Street activists, will become increasingly influential, while the establishment media, such as CNN or New York Times, will decline in influence. The reason is that the business model for establishment media is under siege and that means cutbacks in resources. There are simply fewer journalists, editors, photographers, camera operators, and there will be even fewer in the future as cutbacks continue to decimate the ranks of media professionals. But activist media needs no business model, it is staffed...

  • Quitting Facebook is like attending your own funeral

    Quitting Facebook --- It’s one of those things you think about every time your mother comments on a photo of you, or a high school buddy boasts about a new business venture, or a good friend feels the need to fill your day with his newborn’s bowel movements. The first time I gave it any serious thought was when it was reported that facebook had developed face recognition technology, my initial reaction was. "So who cares? It was bound to happen eventually." So what if I have shared so much of my personal life online that a computer program...