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  • Google: Government take down requests on the up, even in Western democracies

    Government requests to take down online content are on the rise, even in Western democracies not usually associated with censorship. That's according Google's latest Transparency Report, which disclosing data about such requests as well as traffic patterns and disruptions to Google services from different countries. The internet giant says it has seen a definite rise in the number of requests to have political speech removed from its properties: When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers. We noticed that government agencies from different countries would...

  • Why we should still be sceptical about the success of Facebook ads

    Facebook seems to have succeeded in holding back widespread concerns about the effectiveness of its advertising platform with a recent paid-for study by comScore, in the wake of GM's announcement that its Facebook ad campaigns don't pay. That's a damning announcement by GM and it's not something that any company does in such a public manner. Many seemed to dismiss this event as GM being clueless about how to run social ad campaigns. But that's a poor argument because GM, like all large corporations, knows very well what works and what doesn't, it has sophisticated processes in place to track...

  • No Barnes & Noble at today’s Microsoft event [Report]

    If you were looking forward to Microsoft announcing that it would be going after Amazon tonight, sorry. You're going to have to readjust your expectations. According to Dow Jones, via Business Insider, the idea that the event would have something to do with the book seller is "not true at all". A Barnes & Noble spokesperson has also confirmed that the company will have nothing to do with the event. If Microsoft is indeed releasing a tablet, it now seems more likely that it'll be going after the iPad than the Kindle Fire. You've got to wonder how that'll go down...

  • Twitter goes googoo for #LadyGagaSA tour announcement

    Brace yourself, South Africa. Gaga is coming. Speculation in the country been rife since events company Big Concerts updated its Facebook cover photo last week to an image which looked suspiciously similar to her Born this Way Ball tour poster, but it's official: Big Concerts broke the news via social media this morning after an announcement on national radio station 5fm. The tickets for the Grammy-Award winning artist's shows in Johannesburg (30 November) and Cape Town (3 December) go on sale tomorrow on Computicket. The first stage of ticket sales are online-only: on Tuesday 19 June at 09:00am, fans...

  • Mozilla to build ‘simple’ iPad browser

    This is interesting. Mozilla is set to build a browser for the iPad. And here's the thing: it has no tabs or search bars. According to Mozilla, the browser called Junior (cute right) "makes browsing more fun, more ergonomic and re-thinks browser user experience from the ground up". TechCrunch reports that browsing the web is reduced to pressing one of three buttons -- "forward, back, and a plus that displays a list of recent sites, bookmarks, and a search bar. The rest of the page is pure web". Mozilla is also working on Search Tabs, which it claims takes "search to...

  • Facebook to pay $10-million in sponsored stories settlement

    Ever thought that the ads proclaiming how your Facebook friends "like" some or other fan page are an invasion of their privacy? No? Well, some Facebook users did — and they took Facebook to court over it. Five Facebook members recently filed a class-action suit against the social networking giant, alleging the “sponsored stories” feature in Facebook violated Californian law by publishing users’ “likes” without compensation and with no opt-out function. They agreed on a settlement, which means Facebook will have to pay US $10-million to charity as compensation. California law prohibits the unauthorised appropriation of anyone's name or...

  • Is Amazon trying to steal Microsoft’s thunder with rumoured price cut?

    A secretive "major announcement" from a major tech player tends to put the rumour mill into overdrive. Adding fuel to speculation that Microsoft could be announcing its own tablet on Monday is news that Amazon might well be cutting the price of the Kindle Fire by US$50. The price cut is reportedly to make way for a new seven-inch and a ten-inch tablet. According to tech news site Digitmes (citing supplier sources): To expand its market share, the sources believe that Amazon has a high chance of adopting a similar product strategy to Apple, in addition to a new...

  • 40 ridiculous new generic top level domains — .unicorn, .ninja and more

    I haven’t been this riled up in quite some time, so pardon the candour. To quote the words of the dotfather Tim Berners-Lee: "when it comes to arbitrary new TLDs I am not a big fan". Eloquently put, but not quite acrimonious enough for my taste. The reveal of nearly 2 000 planned new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) makes me want to spit venom. Until now we've had 22 generic top level domains like .com, .org, .gov, .edu and so on. We had order. Now, prepare for bedlam: domain squatting, phishing and superfluity the likes of which the...

  • The 5 stages of your Facebook Timeline

    Before Facebook, people had to rely on outdated things such as photo albums or genuine human interaction to keep track of their progression. Now, the kind of interactions you have on Facebook can help tell you exactly where you are in your life. Which is on Facebook, mainly. But here's what else Facebook can tell you about what stage of development you're going through... 1. The tentative teens Facebook is not yet an extremely important part of your life. You use it mainly for communicating with your bestie after school, because when you get home it's like, totes boring and...

  • Oops — ICANN published the home addresses of new domain applicants

    Whoops. It seems that the people over at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accidentally included the home addresses of the people who applied for new top-level domains when they published the list of the applicants earlier this week. The organisation received almost 2 000 applications for new generic top-level domains (GTLDs), which, once the process is completed early next year, will allow websites include more than the standard .com, .biz, .org, etc, in their web address. ICANN disabled the viewing of the page yesterday after reports of an "issue" with the application details. Shortly after...

  • How to hack your way to your first tech job

    Entering the job market is impossible; at least, it is if you round down to the nearest level of possibility. Getting a first time job for a skilled role or changing jobs without having several winters' worth of experience means that you're in for a tough battle. The problem is exacerbated when the same regurgitated career initiating advice is plastered all over job guides in popular magazines and on Alexa top 100 websites, in articles that are SEO'd to match every job search phrase you can possibly think of. Finding little gems of information that can help you cut...

  • UK council unbans 9-year-old from blogging about school lunches

    One of the great things about blogging is that you're free to write about whatever you want. Unless you're in the UK, and you want to blog about school lunches. A town council in Western Scotland banned nine-year-old Martha Payne from posting entries rating her school lunches. Payne's blog Never Seconds recently passed 2-million page views and gradually became about much more than photos of what came out of her school kitchen. When people from around the globe began submitting their own photos and stories, the young girl tried to capitalise on her popularity and got them to contribute...

  • Online? At work? Your company will soon know what you’re doing

    Big brother watching. Thing is, it's not the made up avatar of an overarching, all-powerful, state. It's far more likely that it's a piece of software implemented by your company to see what you've been doing on social media. In fact, some 60% of corporations are expected to implement formal programmes for monitoring external social media for security breaches and incidents by 2015, up from the less than 10% that currently do so, According to tech research firm Gartner, monitoring employees will soon be viewed in the same way as monitoring social media is for brand...

  • Online store starts taxing Internet Explorer 7 users

    It's about time someone took a stand against archaic browsers. Online gadget store Kogan decided enough was enough, and has started taxing customers who use Internet Explorer 7. According to the store's official blog, visitors who use the "antique browser" to navigate the shop will be taxed 6.8% on all their purchases. They'll also be met with a delightful pop up box, approved by the international authority on all things web, the "Department of Internet Justice", warning them to upgrade to Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera, or face the penalties. Why the tax? Well, the developers spent so much time...

  • Microsoft to buy Yammer for $1bn: Could this be its big reveal?

    Microsoft is set to buy business-focused social network Yammer for US$1-billion, according to a Wall Street Journal article, citing the ubiquitous people "familiar with the matter". The news comes just hours after the Redmond-based company sent out an event invitation for a “a major Microsoft announcement”, sparking speculation that it would announce the deal at the event. According to the Journal however, "it is unclear when the Yammer acquisition will be completed and announced". Microsoft and Yammer representatives both refused to give any comment to the news outlet. Some have speculated that Microsoft's announcement could include a partnership...