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  • You better scale up: The ecommerce boom is upon us

    By 2015 companies will generate 50% of their online business via their social presence and mobile applications. This bold claim comes from prominent research company, Gartner. Retailers in the e-commerce sector will begin to offer new context-aware, mobile-based application capabilities that can be accessed via a browser or installed as an application on a phone. This will happen as the number of mobile phones overtakes PCs and as people use mobile browsers and applications as the main points of interaction. Gartner reckons that ecommerce operations will need to scale up their operations to handle the increased traffic on their sites...

  • US issues demands to China on ‘Great Firewall’

    Ratcheting up its increasingly stern line with Beijing on trade issues, Washington has added concerns about China's infamous Great Firewall saying that it may be hurting US companies' access to Chinese consumers. This concern, amongst others, was put forth in a letter by US Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Michael Punke to his Chinese compatriot. "Some companies based outside of China have faced challenges offering their services to Chinese customers when their websites are blocked by China's national firewall," Punke wrote, also adding that the US government had heard concerns from "a number of service suppliers" about the issue. The...

  • Social gaming with Windows Phone, Azure

    Cloud computing brings unique opportunities to social gaming and Windows Azure can provide efficient tools when building Windows Phone 7 games. Daron Yondem, Microsoft Regional Director for the Middle East, at this year's Tech*Ed discussed some of the processes and benefits involved in building social games with the Windows Azure platform. Social gaming is on the rise and Yondem encourages developers to take advantage of its growing popularity. "Gamers expect to be constantly connected with interactive experiences that they can share with their friends. In addition, gamers expect their experience to be responsive irrespective of the time of day...

  • Alibaba chair delivers Yahoo! ultimatum

    Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma has delivered an ultimatum to Yahoo!. The head of the Chinese online retail giant says he expects an answer from once-dominant US tech firm within weeks to his offer to buy all or part of it. Delays, he added, were hurting both firms. The Chinese entrepreneur denied having a US$20-billion war chest ready for the ailing Yahoo! He added, however that money would not be the biggest obstacle to what would be a milestone takeover of a US tech giant by a Chinese firm. "Finance is never a problem. Today the market is not...

  • Apple holds Jobs memorial, tributes keeping pouring in

    Two weeks after his death, tributes continue to pour in for late Apple co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs. The latest and, perhaps most poignant, came from the tech giant itself. Apple set up a dedicated memorial site for Jobs and shops closed temporarily as workers celebrated his life. At Apple stores across the globe, doors were locked and curtains drawn to allow employees to tune into a private memorial being held in an amphitheatre at the company’s headquarters in the northern California town of Cupertino. Employees from Apple satellite offices reportedly streamed to the main campus honour the man...

  • Symantec, McCafee warn of precursor to next Stuxnet

    US online security giant Symantec has warned of a new super-virus similar to the malicious Stuxnet worm believed to have preyed on Iran's nuclear programme. Symantec said the new virus, dubbed "Duqu" because it creates files with the DQ name prefix, is similar to Stuxnet but is designed to gather intelligence for future attacks on industrial control systems. The company, along with Canadian security giant McCafee believes the threat is part of something much larger. "Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack", the security firm said on its website. "The threat was written by the same authors...

  • Take This Lollipop ‘creepily’ captures man stalking you on Facebook

    With the requisite eerie music and a shot down an empty corridor, it begins like countless slasher films, the difference is that this time the victim is you. A Facebook app, Take This Lollipop, is taking the internet by storm by brilliantly distilling the often unacknowledged fears Facebook users have about so much of their personal information being on the web into three minutes. Once you (ironically) grant the app access to your information a very well-produced video reminiscent of the Saw films begins. In a grimy, poorly-lit room an unsettling man sits before a computer, and then comes the twist. The...

  • Why angry comments online are like road rage

    Why are abusive comments on news sites like road rage? And what does being online have to do with picking your nose in traffic? The connections may seem tenuous but, trust me, they're there. Let me explain. Leading South African news site, News24, is now requiring readers who wish to comment to sign in using their Facebook accounts. The move is a reminder of the pitfalls of online anonymity, and why the only way to guarantee good behaviour is the accountability that results from visibility. It’s sad that it has had to take this step, but necessary. Ever since...

  • Integrating SharePoint social features in Windows Phone 7 apps

    "Windows Phone is designed to help you be productive right out of the box," says Microsoft. One of the ways the software giant hopes to do this is through the integration of a SharePoint social feature into Windows Phone 7 applications which can help most businesses "work better on a people level". At this year's Tech*Ed Africa, founder and director at Aptillon and SharePoint expert, Matthew McDermott discussed some the ways in which Windows Phone 7 users can use SharePoint web services to work with social data. SharePoint collaboration software helps simplify business intelligence, content management, search, and sharing for...

  • SMS is alive and kicking [Infographic]

    SMS is dead, or almost dead. It’s a fairly common refrain and one that is threading its way into the mainstream as smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous. Surely it must be true. I mean, with services like BBM, WhatsApp and the recently unveiled iMessage, why would anyone need to send something as old-fashioned as a text message? Well, the numbers would beg to differ. According to research gathered by online business course provider mbaonline, text messaging is the most used data service in the world and there are an estimated 4.2-billion texters on Earth. That's three-fifths of the current global...

  • Should there be advertising in social media?

    There is a happy medium that needs to be reached when looking at a social media platform’s need to monetise and actually turn a profit and the end user who needs to be exposed to advertising in order to fund the social network they are socially invested in. Revenue Generation Each and every social network is largely out there for one reason and one reason only. To make great big bags of cash! Now most of the networks are doing this in much the same way -- with sponsored PPC style advertising. Looking at arguably three of the largest social...

  • Review: The Samsung NP600 middling mid-range workhorse

    The Samsung NP600 is an entirely excellent notebook PC, which is to say about as special as a fried eggs on toast dinner. There’s nothing wrong with it, plenty right, and even pretty tasty and filling. This guy is mostly anything you could want in a US$1000 midrange machine, plus top-notch build quality and a magnesium casing to protect the screen, supposedly able to take a small truck driving over it. Great gobs of horespower, nice bright screen, looks damn snazzy in a matt black way.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");

  • What social media has and hasn’t done for Occupy Wall Street

    When the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement first began, it wasn't so much a movement as a group of a couple hundred people who had sent tweets out declaring 17 September to be the day that protesters would "occupy Wall Street" and stage demonstrations in Zuccotti Park, a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange. Now, it’s become a force of energy, and has moved from a hodge-podge of grievances and issues to an initiative with a logo and a slogan (Movement for Economic Justice). It also has a much wider impact than when it first started,...

  • Google serves up Ice Cream Sandwich, Galaxy Nexus

    Google gave its customers two launches in one when it unveiled its highly anticipated Ice Cream sandwich operating system, along with an all new smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, which it says "takes the smartphone to beyond smart". The phone, developed in conjunction with South Korean technology giant Samsung, is also the first designed to run Android 4.0. "Beaming a video with a single tap or unlocking a device with only a smile sounds like science fiction. Now, you can actually do these things (and more) with a phone that fits in the palm of your hand", said Andy...

  • Apple announces $81.1-billion hoard, lobbies for US tax-break

    We all know that Apple is immensely successful. After all, it briefly overtook oil-giant Exxon to become the most valuable company on Earth earlier this year. During its quarterly earnings conference call, though, Chief Fininacial Officer Peter Oppenheimer revealed exactly how big the Cupertino-based giant's hoard really is. Oppenheimer announced that Apple has about US$81.1-billion tucked away in cash and investments, adding that about two-thirds of this is made up of overseas investments. The iconic company also reported a record-high September quarter profit of US$6.62-billion on revenue of US$28.27-billion boosted by iPad sales that nearly tripled to 11.12-million in...