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  • German gov’t warns against IE: Microsoft promises fix

    The German government has issued a warning, urging the country's people not to use Internet Explorer. No, it's not because it thinks Microsoft's stock browser is lame and that anyone using it is a complete technotard. It's because of a security vulnerability affecting anyone who uses IE 6 to 9. The government issued the warning after a researcher said he'd found evidence that hackers exploiting the flaw planned to use it to attack defense contractors. Microsoft says the impact of the flaw has been extremely limited and is reportedly working on a patch to fix it: There have...

  • Twitter profiles get a makeover – and Facebook-ish cover photos

    Did you spend ages deciding on the perfect Facebook cover photo so you could visually "express yourself"? Well, get ready for another careful decision: Twitter just announced a serious profile update that allows users to pick a header image for their profiles. It also released new Android, iPhone and iPad apps that let you upload the image on the go, among other things. In a spot on the US's Today Show and three separate blog posts, the Twitter team announced the profile reshuffle which sees the user's avatar move to a front-and-centre position over the header image on...

  • Where do all the pirates live? The world’s top torrent downloaders

    Which countries are the world's most frequent bit-torrent downloaders? According to a report by music analytics company Musicmetric, top honours go to the United States, with the United Kingdom and Italy holding second and third place. Round of applause, please. Musicmetric's recently released Digital Music Index is a study of the digital music landscape globally, that considers legal services (like iTunes, 7Digital and Spotify) and music sites (like Last.fm and SoundCloud) as well as the unauthorised bit-torrent downloads that pirates everywhere know and love. The company also tracked 750 000 artists to produce the report which spans from 2011...

  • 400 million people are now on Google+

    Think no one is using Google+? Think again. It seems the social network is reporting record growth. Apparently 400-million people have signed up to Google's social play. According to a post by Google's senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra, 100-million people are now using Google+ each month counting its mobile apps. "It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn't have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it's also a destination," said Gundotra. Following Gundotra's post, users...

  • Tech4Africa 2012: ‘Unlocking the next billion consumers’

    Prominent technology and innovation conference Tech4Africa has announced its theme for 2012: "Unlocking the next billion consumers". If that sounds familiar, it's because the term "next billion" been popping up all over the tech world in the last year or so. When Nokia launched its Asha range of low-end phones last year, it targeted them at "the next billion internet users". Payments giant MasterCard meanwhile is betting big on mobile in a bid to capture as much of that next billion as it can. Given that seven of the world's ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, it's likely...

  • Newsweek’s #muslimrage: giant mistake or publicity genius?

    Popular US news magazine Newsweek received an online lambasting on Monday when tweeters took to the social network to poke fun at its hashtag #muslimrage. Newsweek featured a front cover photograph of the recent Middle Eastern unrest regarding an online video casting Islam in a negative light. The accompanying article was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who herself was involved with previous anti-American and pro-Islamic marches but who seems to have had a change of heart after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Newsweek encouraged its followers and readers to discuss the article with the accompanying hashtag #muslimrage, which is when the...

  • To boldly go where no one has gone before: Google Glass’ pressing issues

    Google Glass debuted to enormous fanfare with that product demo, it also recently appeared on the catwalk as Google goes about showing how the technology can be applied. For example, as a surfer who wants to broadcast what it's like out there, a waterproof version of Glass will allow me to go into the water, take photos and videos, as well as tweet about the experience. Companies like GoPro had better watch out as we've seen that wearable tech is already a massive market. What we haven't thought about yet, though, is how this technology is going to challenge notions of...

  • 6 of the best games that no one played

    It’s easy to get into a conversation with a gamer regarding Fifa, or Call of Duty, or Halo. If they’re male and under thirty, chances are they’ve played them all. Canny marketing and extensive advertising ensures these games are omnipresent, and the fact they’re released annually ensures they’re always relevant. But what of the myriad great games that never enter the general gaming consciousness? What of the games no one bothers to play? (Alright, it’s a touch hyperbolic: these games do enjoy small hardcore followings) This list highlights several under-appreciated gems that deserved to sell well, but didn't. Read more on...

  • The story behind Renren: China’s biggest Facebook-ish social network

    Renren, China’s largest Facebook-ish social network (as opposed to the Twitter-ish weibos), has a long and complex history which probably not more than a handful of people have heard about in detail. I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet Zany Zeng, the co-founder of NYSE-listed Renren.com and current co-founder of Youlu, to dig deep and document the story behind Renren. To understand the full journey, you have to go way back to May 1999 when Chinaren.com was founded – arguably the first college-focused online social network in China, way before even Facebook and Friendster started. Chinaren was founded...

  • Baidu plants a flag for Chinese nationalism

    This is interesting. In a show of nationalism, Chinese search giant Baidu today put up a doodle depicting a Chinese flag planted on the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. China and Taiwan both lay claim to the uninhabited East China Sea islands, currently controlled by Japan. According to Baidu, the purpose of the doodle is to "encourage people to be rational in their expressions of patriotism.” Speaking to The Next Web, Baidu's director of international communications Kaiser Kuo said the intention was to foster peaceful protests: The overwhelming majority of Baidu’s employees and users clearly feel very strongly on this topic, but our...

  • ‘Banned’ iPhone 5 advert is hilarious

    Yes, it's another iPhone 5 story. Sort of. You see the guys behind this parody ad probably feel the same way about the extensive coverage as you do. The 'banned' ad features designer Johnny Five showing that he can actually count and that he is aware that this is actually the sixth iPhone. "With iPhone 5, we started with a design that we really love, but to build it, we had to look way into the future," he added. "So we basically built the iPhone 9 and the worked backwards". "And let me tell you, once we figure out...

  • Gartner: 10-15% of social reviews will be fake by 2014

    Whether you're booking a holiday or buying a new smartphone, chances are you'll probably read a few consumer reviews. Chances are you'll also trust the reviewer more if you can see their social profile than if they've published it under the name "HorsePants32". That could be giant a mistake. According to tech research company Gartner, anywhere between 10 and 15% of reviews that appear on social media could be fake by 2014. Increasingly large numbers of businesses, it says, will pay for positive reviews. “With over half of the internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling...

  • WhatsApp gets its first roaming plan, but is it a day late?

    Anyone who's left their mobile data turned on when travelling overseas knows that it can result in a massive bill when you get home. But what if you could pay a set fee to run just one service? That seems to be the idea behind WhatsApp's partnership with 3 Hong Kong. Under the banner, “Free the World”, the two companies launched WhatsApp’s local data pack and roaming pass. The local data pack is kind of interesting. For HK$8 (US$1) a month, it gives people "access to all WhatsApp functionality in Hong Kong", including location-based services and messaging, as well as...

  • Apple claims new record: 2m orders for iPhone 5 in 24 hours

    Hear that? That's the sound of millions of Apple consumers telling every tech journo out there who panned the iPhone 5 launch to stick it where the sun don't shine. The Cupertino-based tech giant today announced that some two-million people had pre-ordered its latest iBaby, more than doubling the number who ordered the 4S. Despite apparently having more stock available, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 on Apple's website sold out way faster than as the 4S too. If those figures are anything to go by then the 5 could completely destroy the opening weekend sales for the 4S...

  • Smartphones up 78% in SE Asia, but feature phones still rule

    The global mobile market might be slowing down, but business is booming in South East Asia. Smartphone sales grew by 78% across the region, while overall mobile sales grew by 24%. In the last 12 months some 115-million phones have been sold in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines at a total value of US$13.7-billion. That's according to the latest stats from GfK. Although feature phones continue to dominate across the region, smartphone sales are proving more valuable. Smartphone sales accounted for 61% of the market's total value over the last year. "Feature phones still reign as...