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  • Watch these flying robots play the James Bond theme [Video]

    This is cool: flying robot quadrocopters playing the James Bond Theme. Actually, scrap that last statement. This makes cool look like someone from the backwoods with a dirty, ragged shirt and fake testicles hanging from the rear-bumper of their dilapidated truck. The video comes from Penn State University's School of Engineering and Applied Science and features quadrocopters playing the iconic theme on a number of instruments -- including an adapted guitar built from a re-purposed couch frame. The video made its debut at the TED 2012 conference and has been viewed over 600 000 times since being uploaded four...

  • Microsoft vs Google: 15 areas where they’re competing

    Microsoft and Google have a growing battle list which didn’t exist a few years ago. Nowadays, the two titans have more competing products and services than most technology companies could ever hope to develop in a lifetime. And the stakes are high. It’s probably a safe bet to assume that we are going to be seeing more mud-slinging like this Microsoft attack video and the counter punches from Google. From the growing battle list below, you can see Microsoft going after Google’s bread winners: search and advertising. Google is going after Microsoft’s massive income generators: Windows and Microsoft Office. The war is still in...

  • The War on Drugs comes to Google+

    It’s time to end the War on Drugs. That's the motion to be debated in an upcoming live Hangout on Google+. The Hangout is set to be the first in a series called Versus, and has been organised in partnership with Intelligence2 -- an organisation that claims to be committed to revitalising the art of live debate. Among those lending their voice to the debate are business tycoon Richard Branson, comedian and actor Russell Brand, and Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, along with experts such as the former presidents of Mexico and Brazil. The Hangout will reportedly give users "the...

  • App review: PocketCloud

    Wyse, a company better known for offering remote desktop solutions to enterprise companies than for its consumer offerings, is now bringing PocketCloud Explore, its app for easily managing files across multiple desktops, operating systems and mobile devices, to the iPhone (it was already available on Android). I got a demo of the app at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week and it's quite an impressive service that indeed works as seamlessly as the company promises. What makes Wyse's solution so interesting and different from what, at first glance seem like similar offerings from Box.net or Dropbox, is that...

  • China’s Baidu introduces Weibo posts into search results

    China’s most popular search engine Baidu has taken what could be a big leap forward in making search more social. In an official blog post, the company announced that it would be including posts from the country’s wildly popular microblogging service Sina Weibo in its search posts. According to the company, “Baidu will now return up-to-date Sina Weibo content that matches keyword searches for breaking news or popular trending topics”. Baidu claims that it will also show results from “the other three major Chinese internet major portals’ microblog services”. The Chinese giant says it will clearly display search results from the microblogs as...

  • Death of former Drudge Report editor Andrew Breitbart echoes across the Web

    The death of former Drudge Report editor Andrew Breitbart at 43 is echoing across the web. Breitbart’s website Big Government announced his death, saying that Breitbart "passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles". Once the news went public, it was picked up the Twittersphere and became a globally trending topic. A number of mainstream media outlets tweeted out news of Breitbart’s death: REPORTS: Andrew Breitbart dead, Age 43 tpm.ly/AlY9FD— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 1, 2012 Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart has died at the age of 43. FOX News Radio's @JaredHalpern reports:foxrad.io/44p— FOX...

  • Google’s new privacy policy now effective

    Google's new privacy policy went into effect today, despite requests from European regulators asking the search giant to delay. The move by Google to consolidate its privacy policy has raised some concerns around the information the company has on its users. "The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google. We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe," writes Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering at...

  • Can social media determine how trustworthy you are?

    As more and more services focus on the arbitrage of consumer-to-consumer transactions and rentals, the problem of trusting a stranger becomes a significant drag on success. The rent-out-your-home service Airbnb had a very bad and very public problem last year when a renter trashed and robbed a home. A new API designed for collaborative applications called Whit.li. claims to be addressing this very problem. It does so by looking at a person's social media activity and determines a trust score. Whitli Trailer SXSW 2012 from Emptyset Media on Vimeo.   Whit.li claims the app "magically divines your psycho-social profile". The company also has an...

  • And the most virused phone is…

    When it comes to making sure your desktop is safe from viruses you have a couple of options: Load it up to the hilt with protective software that you have to update obsessively, or opt for more secure systems such as Linux. But what about your phone? That’s totally safe right? Think again. Incidences of Malicious Software (Malware) designed specifically to attack phones are on the rise and Android is the prime target. New data from internet security company Kaspersky suggests that malicious programs targeting mobile devices increased 6.4 times in 2011 with a total of 5 255 new...

  • South African academic sparks racism in cricket debate on Facebook

    A row involving cricket, racism and a top South African academic has broken out on Facebook. After South Africa defeated New Zealand by six wickets in yesterday’s One Day International, leading political scholar Steven Friedman wrote a post expressing his concern about the fact that de Villiers had not mentioned the names of players of colour in his post-match presentations. For those of us who follow cricket -- have you noticed that our limited overs captain AB de Villiers has a speech defect?: he can't say the names of black players who do well. Today he got excited about...

  • How much online influence do you have?

    A number of years back, I read Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point which presents his thesis on why things "go viral". Its a very powerful book, even if it has received some interesting criticism. Bells started ringing for me as soon as I started reading a recent publication from a group of students at Oxford University titled The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network. The paper is a bold attempt to monitor the spread of information about a protest on Twitter, and it draws some interesting conclusions based on the results. Perhaps most importantly, these sorts of...

  • 5 Tips for making it big on social media

    "Going viral": the holy grail of geeks everywhere. The process is deceptively simple and organic reshares and reposts take many forms depending on the platform. A good way to think of the process is as if social media behaves like an amplifier for content created by other media, then chains of retweets by many users lead to observed trends that can then be monitored and capitalised on. So what are the drivers and mechanics behind self-replicating content? Here are five suggestions that can help improve content self replication properties. 1. The First 48 The vast majority of retweets happen within the first...

  • Everything you need to know about Facebook Timeline for brands

    Facebook’s announcement of Facebook Timelines for pages is pretty big news. Brands and businesses now have access to a host of new features which promise to leverage their Facebook platform and boost their engagement to higher levels than ever before. What’s all the fuss about? Timeline has already been rolled out to more than 800-million users? Last month, Facebook started rolling out Timeline to all its users and yesterday it announced the launch of an extension of the new platform to brand pages. But how does that help? Well, for starters, this offers a whole new bag of tricks for online...

  • 11 Webcomics worth bookmarking

    Just as books, magazines and newspapers have ditched a paper-only form, so comic books have taken up space on the web since the 1980s. The great thing about webcomics is that anyone can publish their own, using a variety of different styles and genres that range from avant-garde to comic strips. In 2007 about 38 000 webcomics were published online, but only about three percent of webcomic creators are financially successful. The first webcomic ever published was Eric Millikin's Witches and Stitches in 1985. T.H.E. Fox, created by Joe Ekaitis, followed shortly thereafter in 1986. Throughout the 90s, webcomics grew...

  • New online project looks to ‘highlight the human cost’ of Syria conflict

    Syria was one of the last Middle East countries to get swept up in the Zeitgeist of the Arab Spring. Things have not, however, turned out as well for it as they have for the likes of Tunisia. The country is locked in a state of turbulence, with a number of people having been killed in on-going protests against president Bashar Al-Assad. A new online project looks to memorialise those who have lost their lives while protesting the ruling regime. Faces of the Fallen describes itself as a “social journalism project highlighting the human cost of the conflict...