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  • Microsoft finalises Skype deal, promises ‘amazing new experiences’

    The announcement of Microsoft's Skype acquisition was greeted with scepticism,irritation and eventual happiness. Months later, the acquisition of Skype has now been finalised. The US$8.5-billion deal ended with a handshake and a smile from CEO Tony Bates who will now be named president of Microsoft's Skype Division. An official Microsoft blog, written by Bates, outlines the details of the acquisition in full: Joining forces with Microsoft is the best way to accelerate this mission and capitalise on our position at the intersection of social, mobile and video communications. Simply put, we want to transform communications. We will do this by building the...

  • From letter forms to circular films:This week in design

    In an ABC of design A is for animated alphabet, B is for bamboo bike and Bionic Arch and C is for circular films and cycling safety. Letter forms A is for "anamorphosis", B is for "biscuit" and C is for "cell animation". Italian creative N9ve used unusual fonts and playful typefaces to make a short stop-motion animation in which each letter of the alphabet becomes part of a scene involving a word that starts with that letter. The Alphabet 2 from n9ve on Vimeo. Bamboo electric The T20 bamboo bicycle is souped up with a small motor, resulting in a sustainable alternative...

  • Bookmarks now open to ‘wider range’ of entrants

    The Bookmarks, a digital award showcase which aims to recognise excellence in digital advertising, has reorganised its categories, something it claims will open it up to "a wider range of digital publishers and agencies". The awards are an initiative of the Digital Media Marketing Association (DMMA). According to DMMA and Bookmarks chairperson Nikki Cockroft, the categories were reorganised, not just to open up the awards but also to “ensure all submissions were compared to relevant competitors, and evaluated by judges with significant experience and expertise”. The award categories for the 2011 Bookmarks include: Websites and Microsites, Advertising and Search, Email...

  • eBook piracy rampant but under control, say experts

    The advent of eBooks means the publishing world now faces similar piracy battles to the music industry faces with illegal downloads. Publishers and experts at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany say eBook theft is unlikely to go away, but is a manageable problem with vigilance and action already underway. eBook readers such as Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad are fuelling demand for digital books, which account in the US for about 20% of book sales according to Claire Holloway, of publishing services provider Bookmasters. "If you give normal, regular, upstanding citizens a legitimate route to your material they are most...

  • US Air Force on mystery ‘drone virus': It was a ‘nuisance’

    The mystery virus which reportedly struck the US Air Force's unmanned drone fleet has been dismissed as a "nuisance" by the US Air Force. In the first official confirmation of the virus, Air Force Space Command said that while computers at the Nevada base were infected, the virus posed no serious threat to flight operations. Space Command also stated that the malware had not been a key-logger but rather a "credential stealer found routinely on computer networks". "The infected computers were part of the ground control system that supports RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) operations," it said. "The ground system is separate...

  • Bravias ‘not being recalled’ says Sony

    Sony was quick to negate reports that its popular line of Bravia LCD TVs was being recalled due to safety issues. Over 1.6-million Bravia's were thought to be affected. Instead of owning up to any technical error, however, Sony has decided on a free TV inspection program on selected models. When contacted, Bravia stressed that there was most definitely no recall. UK PR manager for Sony, David Edwards said, "The issue came to our attention through reports in Japan that a limited number of products might contain a component affected by a quality issue, which in a rare number of...

  • Six free tools for getting ROI right online

    In my previous post I spoke about ROI being the forgotten metric in online marketing, and how the hype around social media has veered digital marketers away from first getting the basics right. If you are focusing on social without having the fundamentals in place, it’s like putting the proverbial horse, which happens to be a real socialite, before the cart carrying the pot of gold! So for the sake of not putting the horse before the cart ourselves, lets revisit our basics and make sure we get this right before digging deeper into measuring ROI (which will be...

  • Notes from RIM’s press conference on its apocalyptic outage

    It's been a wild three days -- and counting -- for millions of BlackBerry users across several continents. Facing the BlackBerry Internet Service's biggest outage in history, and compounded by a hoax BBM message that asks users to forward it to their contacts in order to maintain BBM service, RIM held an emergency press conference on Wednesday to mitigate some of the growing animosity of its weary customer base. Following sporadic service status updates on its website since Monday, RIM addressed the press in a conference call that included a Q&A session. David Yach, RIM’s CTO for software acknowledged the severity...

  • BlackBerry and Nokia only have a few more rolls of the dice left

    The train might’ve already left the station. With iOS and Android powering ahead, notching up record activations every day, analysts have all but written off other platforms. This is especially evident in developed markets like the US and Europe, where the “experts” continually question and criticise Nokia and RIM’s (BlackBerry’s) every move. Never mind the fact that Android handsets are dime a dozen and the fragmentation of the operating system is causing headaches for everyone: Operators, device makers, customers, Google (that’s a topic for another column). All things being equal, RIM (BlackBerry) and Nokia still find themselves in particularly precarious positions....

  • RIM’s CIO Robin Bienfait apologises to BlackBerry customers

    Following an emergency press conference held on Wednesday, RIM's CIO Robin Beinfait posted an apology and status update on RIM's corporate site. During the press conference, RIM was critcised for not being more forthcoming in communicating with its customers, who have taken to Twitter and Facebook to voice their frustration. RIM has seemingly taken the criticism to heart and responded with its most in-depth update yet. Service update from RIM CIO To All BlackBerry Customers: I want to first apologize for the service interruptions and delays many of you have been experiencing this week. I also wanted to connect with you directly, give you...

  • Hands-on with iOS5: The Memeburn review

    iOS 5 is here and Apple fanboys worldwide are rejoicing. iOS 5 went live last night, while areas such as San Francisco received the Apple update first (at 10am). The remainder of the global Apple population managed to get their hands on it not long after. After an intensely long and stressful 700MB update which involved the manual restoration of my iPhone's data, I was good to go. For users who received the now dreaded “error 3200” during their installation, there was at least a modicum of respite with this fix. Now, on to the “the best phone experience ever”. Better...

  • US ‘War on Terror’ mirrors ‘Die Hard’ as aircraft drones struck by mystery virus

    Wired recently reported that a virus had infected ground control stations of US unmanned autonomous vehicles, more commonly known as unmanned drones. What this means is that malware had, in fact -- not fiction -- gotten inside the cockpits of Predator and Reaper drones. According to reports, once the virus had gotten inside the cockpits of Predator and Reaper drones, it started logging pilots' keystrokes as they remotely flew missions. The drones fly missions Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq in the US' "War on Terror". The pilots of the drones can be based anywhere in the world, but most commonly...

  • Apple claims victory over Samsung in Australia

    Apple has won yet another lawsuit against Samsung, banning sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across Australia. This is yet another feather in the cap of the great Apple patent war. The Australian federal court ruled that Apple had created an air-tight case against the South Korean technology giant, which it ruled had breached specific touchscreen technology copyrights. Justice of the court Annabelle Bennett said, "Despite the force of Samsung's submissions I have found that Apple has established a prima facie case of infringement of claims of both its patents," "That is, it has established a probability, not necessarily in a mathematical...

  • Samsung announces eco milestones

    Samsung’s PlanetFirst initiative announced that it had reached "key milestones" in its eco-friendly scheme. The tech giant claims it has "achieved comprehensive sustainability goals", including: Reduced sales-normalised greenhouse emissions from its manufacturing facilities by 38% during the first half of 2011, when compared against emission levels at the end of 2008 Attained global eco-labels for 2210 product models as of the end of 2010, making the company number one in the world for environmentally friendly products for the fifth straight year Invested an additional 1.6-trillion won (ZAR10.25-billion) in environmentally friendly product development and green manufacturing sites in 2010 Park Sangbum, senior VP of...

  • Dennis Ritchie, father of Unix dies

    Computer scientist Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died at his home this past weekend, after a long battle against an unspecified illness. Ritchie is most famous for developing C and influencing other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix. Ritchie's creation of C and his role in the development of Unix alongside Ken Thompson has placed him as an important pioneer of modern computing. News of Ritchie's death was first made public by Canadian software engineer and author Rob Pike on his Google+ Page. Ritchie and Thompson were jointly awarded the Turing Award...