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  • How political parties can use mobile and social media to reach voters

    A political election is much like a marketing campaign showdown, and the team with the best product usually sways the biggest audience. Look at Barack Obama in his first campaign -- cited as the most successful “new marketer” in history for his ground-breaking use of online and social media to reach out to potential supporters. Finding the triggers to a nation’s touchpoints -- what policy matters to them, how they need to hear information and how best to get them this information -- is key to informing the people about their choices. More than anything, Obama's campaign showed that online and...

  • 5 entirely necessary websites about cats

    I have said it time and time again. Despite the efforts of various counter-revolutionary forces to make the internet about other things, like social interaction, the spread of important information or porn, everyone knows that the internet's true purpose is to glorify cats by any means necessary. It is well-known among people interested in the actual truth (this is not even a conspiracy theory at all), that the internet was originally created by brainwashed human slaves at the behest of The Meow Meow, a top-secret cat organisation whose aim is the progression and advancement of cat society at the...

  • How an HTML 5 mobile game reached millions on Mxit

    It’s a hit on Mxit, millions have played it and HTML 5 powers it. This is Moonbase from Maxxor. Gearburn spoke to one of the directors at Maxxor, Adrian Frielinghaus and found out how this cross-platform game hit the big time. Presented below is an extremely off-the-cuff conversation with Frielinghaus and as per his request, we won’t be using his image in the interview. Frielinghaus, “hates corporate images” and would prefer that we show a picture of Moonbase instead. Read more on Gearburn.comvar 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");

  • TaxTim will dramatically change your opinion on filing tax returns

    Death and taxes. Both certain and both capable of evoking equal measures of despair. When tax season lumbers around, it’s hard enough to recount the cost of living lawfully, without the filing process being tedious and daunting. Take heart though, a South African startup called TaxTim is about to throw all your preconceptions about filing taxes out the window. Launched in November of last year, TaxTim is an approachable, virtual tax assistant who helps you complete your tax return by asking you simple questions, in plain English. By answering Tim’s questions, you help him collect the information needed to fill...

  • Religious hardliners request Russian Facebook ban

    Things are not looking good for online freedom in Russia. First the country's parliament approved a controversial web censorship bill and now religious hardliners want to ban Facebook. According to Russia Today, activists from the Orthodox Church are angry at the social network's decision to launch same-sex marriage icons, calling them "gay propaganda”. The activists apparently believe that the icons could make young people tempted to explore homosexuality. In fact, the church in the city of Saratov, southern Russia, asked issued an ultimatum requesting that the social network "stop flirting with Sodomites". When threatening the world's largest social network...

  • More ‘social television’ in China: Sina is launching a web tv service today

    Chinese online media giant Sina is set to expand the amount of multimedia content on its popular micro-blogging platform today with the launch of its own social television service. A deal with BesTV New Media will give Sina Weibo's 300 million users more reason to stay on the country's most popular social network. According to Bloomberg, the web tv service will be launched today in Shanghai and will hopefully bolster Sina's social media efforts against competitors like Tencent. Mao Taotao, a public relations manager for the company's Beijing branch, confirmed the reports, but other details are still scarce at...

  • Digg pulls a Myspace, sells for $500 000

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Social media news aggregator Digg is being sold for less than a tenth of what it used to be worth reports the Wall Street Journal. The company, which was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur turned angel investor Kevin Rose, was once worth US$160-million and managed to raise US$45-million from big name investors such as Facebook investor Greylock Partners, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. The site works much in the same way as Reddit does. Users post links on Digg's home page, then others vote on their choices, determining the prominence...

  • Twitter: still no plans for IPO

    You know when a tune gets so ingrained in your head that you recognise it instantly, even if you haven't heard it in years? That's what Twitter's stance on the possibility of an IPO is starting to feel like. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the company still had no plans to go public: “We are going to remain private as long as we want. I like being private for all sorts of reasons. It allows us to think about the business and the way we want to grow it... as opposed...

  • Ever wanted to get ‘tweeps’ in the dictionary? Now’s your chance

    Depending what your feelings on language are, this story will either make you celebrate the evolving nature of English or weep into your coffee. Publishing house Harper Collins is giving people the chance to officially get their favourite social media terms into the Collins English Dictionary. Yup, that means words like "tweeps" could officially become part of the English language. The publisher says that after it saw words and acronyms (like OMG and LOL) emerging from technology and social media to become “official” in the English language, it "decided it was time for words like 'tweeps' and 'cyberstalking' to...

  • Meet Siri’s relative Lola, she’s smarter and likes banking

    So you're an iPhone 4S user. Your love for Apple's voice assistant Siri obviously knows no bounds. You'd never cheat on her right? What if we introduced you to her more intelligent, financially savvy cousin? Her name's Lola and Spain's second largest bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) reckons she could save it a ton in staffing costs. The voice assistant was built by the team behind Siri and, according to Technology Review, she can handle some pretty complex tasks. For instance, if you ask "what's the interest on my loan?" she'll be able to give you the answer...

  • Russian parliament approves controversial web censorship bill

    The Russian parliament has approved a bill which will allow the government to shut down websites hosting content they deemed "harmful." If signed into law, it will see the creation of a system to monitor and blacklist websites. An amendment to Russia's Act for Information, bill 89417-6 was put forth by a committee concerned with internet security. They say it was designed to allow the government to remove pornography, suicide advice and content which encourages drug use, but it has drawn criticism from activists who oppose online censorship. Wikipedia shut down the Russian version of its site earlier this...

  • Google Maps gives 44 African countries walking directions

    Google Maps is great. Even if you don't have the app on your smartphone, you can look up your destination on your PC and get turn-by-turn directions. Thing is, in most African countries those directions were limited to driving. Not ideal on a continent where large sections of the population don't drive. All that's just changed though. Google has announced that it's implementing walking directions in 44 African countries. Google does caution however that walking directions are currently in beta. Anyone new to the service should be careful because the routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian crossings....

  • Why you need tech to keep your customers’ trust

    Retailers don’t rush to adopt new technology. In the last century, new technologies have been instrumental in increasing both sales and customer satisfaction. Things like Sabre in the 50s (the first electronic reservation system), the introduction of the barcode in the 70s all the way to the expansion of the World Wide Web in the 90s, have been put to good use to automate tasks and try to better understand customers’ needs. The explosion of social media platforms -- which changed not only how people communicate with another but also how they research, shop and make purchasing decisions -- is...

  • How tech could help Africa develop a knowledge-based economy

    According to the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report 2011 – 2012 there are three stages of economic development by which one can classify the world’s economies: Factor-­driven economies: Compete primarily on the basis of natural resources and unskilled labour Efficiency-­driven economies: Where the key is to create efficiencies in the production processes Innovation-­driven economies: Compete on differentiated and sophisticated products and production processes The most advanced economies tend to be those in the third stage -- innovation-driven economies. These are also economies that have placed a premium on knowledge as a key factor for economic growth, they are ‘Knowledge Economies’. In Africa, most nations lag...

  • Counting the costs: how PCs left on at night are killing your green credentials

    More often than not, when companies are asked how they are reducing their electricity bills or even carbon emissions, they’ll mention their lighting retrofits, their recycling initiatives, their partnerships with other organisations or their logistics’ department. The IT department rarely, if ever, features -- despite being a significant contributor to energy costs. How PCs are wasting energy In some companies, nearly 90% of PCs are being left on overnight. Sometimes this is legitimate, The IT department, for instance, might conduct security patching after hours and instruct staff to leave their PCs on for that specific purpose. Most of the time, it's...