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  • Has TED become a place for useless technobabble and ‘meme laundering’?

    TED (the Technology Entertainment and Design conference) has expanded its brand across the globe over the past two years, with hundreds of local TEDx conferences, and more recently, with its own books imprint, TED Books. TED organisers always choose their speakers well and there is rarely a dud among them. It is excellent curation under the aegis of "Ideas Worth Spreading." But choosing which authors to publish under the TED Books brand appears to be more challenging than booking a speaker for a 17 minute talk. Evgeny Morozov, writing in The New Republic, tears TED Books a new binding with his...

  • Best and worst sub-Saharan African countries for startups

    We decided to delve into the World Bank's Economy Rankings for 2012, released earlier this year, to see which sub-Saharan African countries have economies that are the most conducive to startup growth. We also identified some aspects of economies in Africa that make it really hard for entrepreneurs to prosper. First let's take a look at the countries in the region that have aspects that are likely to attract startups. Be sure to have a look at the full detailed report for complete rankings and methodology. Read more on Ventureburn.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");

  • HP Envy 17: defying the skeptics

    When it comes to reviewing laptops I prefer to stay away because they’re basically all the same, with a few exceptions. So when it came time to replace my ageing Acer Aspire with Core i5, I had a long hard look at the options. I wanted Full HD display, the latest Quad Core processor, good graphics, Blu-ray and no plastic in sight. Then HP updated its Envy range and, since I work with these things, I had a few happy clients praising the notebook. So I jumped. Read more on Gearburn. 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");

  • Baidu sacks employees who deleted forum posts for cash: 3 arrested

    Three now former employees of Chinese search giant Baidu have been arrested for accepting bribes to delete posts from the company's TieBa forum service. According to Global Times, the three are suspected of colluding with people outside the company to delete the posts. A fourth employee was also fired by Baidu but has not been arrested after also attempting to delete posts for cash. "Baidu has fired the four. If we discover such cases, we will severely punish staff. Baidu will close the loopholes by strengthening management to maintain order in our communication platform," Baidu spokesperson Li Guoxun...

  • Kindle ebook downloads now outnumber printed book sales in the UK

    The day has come. The masses who have switched from paper to an E Ink display are starting to influence Amazon's sales so significantly that the retail giant now sells more Kindle ebooks than 'real' printed books in the United Kingdom. According to The Guardian, the company has confirmed that it now sells more ebooks than paperback and hardcover books combined, just two years after launching in the UK. They hit the same landmark in the United States four years after the Kindle was introduced in the country. Amazon said that from the start of this year, for every...

  • Curiosity Rover lands on Mars: NASA geeks go wild [Video]

    "Touch down confirmed, we are safe on Mars." How thrilling was it to hear those words? Admit it, when you were a kid you wanted to space and see what wonders it had to offer. The men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) work hard to fulfill those childhood dreams. It's all over the internet, the only thing more popular than Justin Beiber's hair and Lady Gaga's latest outfit is the one-ton rover that NASA landed on Mars earlier today. The little curious robot known as the Curiosity Rover was gently let down onto the planet...

  • First photos from Mars Curiosity Rover reach Earth

    Take a moment to reflect on what I'm about to tell you. Just 30 minutes after it landed, the Mars Curiosity Rover sent back its first images from the Martian surface. Thirty minutes? That's how long it takes some of us to eat our breakfast cereal in the morning. The NASA mission is designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. The exploratory vehicle today landed inside the Gale Crater and was sending pictures back to Earth within minutes. The craft's first image from the Red Planet has already been...

  • Latest Mars Rover lands: check it out live

    No self-respecting geek doesn't get a little excited when it comes to space. Add in a trip to Mars and the ability to remote control a vehicle on its surface and you're in tech heaven. The latest adventure to the red planet sees NASA's Curiosity Rover land today, having launched in November last year. There's some pretty cool stuff going on when it comes to earthbound technology. Anyone with a fast enough internet connection can watch a live stream of the landing: Watch live streaming video from spaceflightnow at livestream.com If your connection is little more restricted, you can...

  • Google Glass: the examined life

    Google's Glass Project made a spectacular debut last month by skydiving from a helicopter and joining the press on stage while documenting the whole event live with their ‘Google headsets’ (no official name has been given to the product.) It does make you wonder though; what would the hype have been without such a dare-devilish stunt? Instead of just dominating the digital realm, the Google Glass Project is one of Google’s next steps into entering the physical realm. Other examples of where Google has begun to make headway are with its new Google Nexus 7 tablet and, of course, its...

  • 4 Online services that are desperately needed in real life

    Sometimes we go about our daily business online, blissfully oblivious to the many services that make our lives easier. Services that make us realise that there are many aspects of our real lives that we don’t have similar innovations to help us with. Here are a few of the things that we take for granted online and that would really enrich our lives offline. Inventors of technology, I hope you’re reading this. We need all of the ideas below implemented as soon as possible. The world is depending on you. Make it happen! 1. Real Life Reputation Management Online Reputation Management...

  • Last.fm’s new image-heavy and responsive redesign

    It seems Digg isn't the only platform from the early days of the web that decided to add a fresh coat of paint; Last.fm is cleaning up too. According to a blog post by the company, it has been working on the redesign for the last couple of months and after weeks of beta testing, it is ready to release it to the world. Most of the changes can been seen on the artist, album and track pages, where the music-centred social network has introduced bigger images and a new look for the music player with extra listening stats....

  • GustPay dreams of zero queues at festivals with NFC wristband trial

    GustPay, the South African geo-fenced mobile payments startup that recently moved into beta, held a launch party last week and introduced about 400 of Stellenbosch’s university goers to its smartphone payment technology. The event celebrated the launch of GustPay's apps in both the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores. It was held in partnership with TrustFabric and online music discovery service Boom.fm, also part of the Stellenbosch based World of Avatar group, the investment holding company. Joe Botha, one of the founders of GustPay is also the founder of TrustFabric, a software company specialising in vendor relationship management. The event called Grim...

  • FNB injects Acer laptops into its interest free eCommerce lineup

    Award for the geekiest bank in South Africa? That’s easy. FNB. In addition to gadgets by HTC, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung, FNB clients can now buy Acer laptops and ultrabooks at no interest or charges over a 24 month period. New and existing FNB Gold or Platinum Cheque Account clients as well as FNB Private Clients will be able to get their hands on Acer’s Aspire S3-391 Core i5 Ultrabook, 320GB Acer Timeline Ultra M3 and Aspire V3-571 Core i3 Notebook. Triggered by a successful iPad offer, FNB expanded its inventory to include a range of consumer devices. The...

  • Microsoft ditching the name ‘Metro’ for something more commercial

    Say what? Apparently Microsoft is about to ditch the name "Metro" for something more commercial reports The Next Web. It seems as the Redmond-based company will get rid of the name that it had given to the Windows 8 interface as the product official commercial release gets closer. According to the software giant, "Metro" was just a code name, and not the official one which will be used after launch. "We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from...

  • Fresh out of beta Moneysmart reveals bank integration, master plan

    Moneysmart, the online personal finance manager (PFM) we covered last year, will be exiting beta in the next few days. It sports a new look, iOS and Android apps, and now, direct integration with all but one South African bank. Absa is yet to give Moneysmart its blessing, but CEO Tobie van Zyl is confident that an agreement will be reached by the end of this year. With big name backers and a maturing feature set, Moneysmart is coming out guns blazing in its bid to lead a pack of new personal finance tools that aim to give you...