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  • CouchSurfing network gets $7.6m investment boost

    CouchSurfing International, a startup devoted to connecting travellers with like-minded locals, has received a US$.7.6-million boost from investors Benchmark Capital and Omidyar Network. The investment is a part of the company's transition from a non profit to a corporation focussed on doing business in a way which fosters public good. The initial idea behind CouchSurfing was simple. Launched as a social network in 2004, its aim was to match travellers with hosts in locations around the globe. Members looking for accommodation can search for hosts using several parameters such as age, location, gender and activity level, with hosts being...

  • Amazon tablet to oppose iPad dominance

    The widely predicted Amazon tablet could knock the iPad off its perch, according to researcher team Forrester. There have been no public announcements of the tablet, but Amazon's trademark registrations of "Lab126" points to a development team who will be involved in tablet production. The eCommerce mega-company's tablet will supposedly be based on the Android Honeycomb OS and will leverage Amazon's powerful content distribution network. Applications will be sold from the Android App store, with media being supported by the Amazon Cloud player. This combination ensures a level of connectivity which may rival Apple's online distribution efforts. Forrester analystSarah Rotman...

  • Amazon launches South African customer service centre

    Amazon's Senior Vice President of operations and customer services Marc Onetto, jetted into Cape Town, South Africa for the official launch of the company's new Customer Service Centre, which is expected employ around 1 400 people by December. The centre is the renowned retailer's second project in South Africa and is meant to complement its South African Development Centre, also based in Cape Town, which does work on Amazon's Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) programme. The support centre had previously been operating out of temporary offices since its arrival in the country last year. The new centre means that the...

  • Nokia development forum hacked

    Nokia, the global leader in phone production, has announced that its developer forum database was hacked. Member information including emails and dates of birth had also been accessed by the hackers. The breach was made due to "security flaws" in the system, according to Nokia spokesperson Doug Dawson. The hack made use of a SQL injection attack, a viral-like code which uploads to a SQL database for future attacks. Dawson is quick to point out that no fiscal information was leaked. Speaking about the affected databases, he said "They do not contain sensitive information such as passwords or credit...

  • Five easy ways to get you coding

    I've been hacking together bits of code for years now. I'm not entirely sure how it all started, but it was probably way back when I built my first FreeBSD box and started playing around with a bit of simple shell-scripting. Back then, if you wanted to run any Unix variant, or even Linux, getting things like X-Windows to work properly was a real chore so you usually ended up spending a lot of time on the command line, which used to be the best place to get you started if you wanted to learn how to code. Nowadays,...

  • Cheap, cheerful, cheap — Samsung Gio smartish-phone

    Samsung has its Galaxy S II at the top of the smartphone pile, and a bunch of entry level smartphone cheapies, including the Galaxy Ace, Fit, mini and Gio. That's a lot of phones. Confused much? Don’t be, the B-list Galaxy phones are basically variations on the same entry level touch-screen smartphone phone, nipped and tucked to match different demographics in the orgy of product niching that makes the marketing folks think they're earning their salaries. 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");

  • The ‘Maker Movement’ will produce the next Steve Jobs

    I used to meet with Steve jobs in the 1980s, when he was lauded as a visionary. To be honest I wasn't that impressed with him. Sure, he deserved credit for the Apple I and then Lisa, which turned into the Macintosh but it was too early to tell what he was capable of doing. Lots of people are successful in Silicon Valley and he was among them but you never know how much luck is involved. In the case of Steve Jobs it wasn't about luck. Steve Jobs stands out because of his consistent success, he's hit more balls...

  • Facebook Deals shuts down

    After five months of running its online deals program, Facebook is now shutting it down for good. Facebook Deals, which supplied users with online coupons in line with similar deal sites like Groupon, will now be shut down in the US, according to a statement by the social networking giant. The service was also available in the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and was recently launched in South Africa. "After testing Deals for four months, we've decided to end our Deals product in the coming weeks. We think there is a lot of power in a social approach...

  • Idea Bounty: Turning crowdsourcing into cash

    How could you get paid to add to the crowdsourcing debate? It's simple, according to Daniel Neville, Brand Co-ordinator at Idea Bounty. Just do it. Idea Bounty is a global crowdsourcing platform connecting clients with thousands of creatives around the world in order to help "solve marketing and communications briefs and challenges", says the company. Clients pay for only the ideas they use and creatives receive a "bounty" for winning submissions. It's an idea clearly seeking to cash in on the crowdsourcing phenomenon, one that until now has been associated with profit in the popular imagination. Nic Ray and Rob...

  • Play it again Sam, play the top 5 great game remakes

    True remakes in games. Why so few? Hollywood loves remaking the same stuff ad nauseum, whereas game studios just rewarm or port over. While I was contemplating the metaphysical implications of rehashes, it occurred to me that this is something you don’t often see in videogames: The straightforward remake. Not a reboot or port to a handheld. Taking an existing game and making it all over again using the latest technology, but keeping the same plot and gameplay elements and changing as little as possible. Sort of like an HD directors cut, if you will. Read more 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...

  • China’s Sina Weibo bans users for spreading ‘false rumours’

    China's largest microblogging service has contacted millions of its users warning them to ignore any false reports spread over the network. The move is being viewed by some as a sign of growing unease over the rise of social networking sites in the country. Sina sent at least two messages to its Weibo (pronounced Wei-bohr) users refuting rumours which had spread through the network. One such rumour stated that the suspected murderer of a 19 year old woman had been released on bail because of his father's connections. The social network said the bloggers who had posted the...

  • Google’s Eric Schmidt bashes Britain

    Addressing the annual Edinburgh International Television Festival, Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, lambasted the United Kingdom for allowing itself to throw "away your great computing heritage". Organisers billed Schmidt's speech as a "first in history", as it was the first time in the festival's 35 year history that that the MacTaggart keynote speech was delivered "by someone not directly involved in the TV industry". Schmidt was invited to discuss the impact of the internet revolution on the television industry with statements such as, "almost every invention that has reinvigorated and helped the media industry thrive was at first forecast to...

  • The ‘Chinese Room’ and why computers can’t figure out sarcasm

    Econsultancy.com, which recently launched its Twitter for Business Guide, suggests that, contrary to popular belief, most of the sentiment posted about brands on Twitter is positive. This piece of data is also contrary to Brandwatch's Customer Service Index, which states that out of the 16 000 tweets it studied 48 percent were negative, 16 percent positive and 36 percent were neutral. The survey found that 26 percent of consumers say they have complained about a brand on Twitter compared to over half (58 percent) who have praised a brand on the site. Whilst the two documents definitely differ in terms...

  • EULA regret signing away your life to play a game

    Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to spend your money on… something, anything really. A car, a cellphone, an iPad, a haircut, pay TV service, whatever. Now imagine for a second that an intrinsic part of that transaction gives whoever you are trading with the right to enter your home and rummage through your personal belongings and those of your kids. And they can do this with impunity. Furthermore, not only would they be able to do that, they would be able to extend that right, perhaps at a price, to anyone of their choosing. Would you still participate...

  • Ex Naspers exec talks emerging markets and entrepreneurship

    Former Naspers executive Kim Reid is the man behind Takealot. This South African online retail site is looking to gain significant market share in a sector where Naspers-backed Kalahari.net is the country's predominant force. Memeburn sat down for an exclusive interview with Reid, tackling his views on emerging markets, entrepreneurship and the shift from corporate -- alongside his perspective on the future of eCommerce and what his latest venture seeks to achieve. Emerging Markets to Watch When it comes to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa), Reid feels that Brazil is flying: "There are many fantastic entrepreneurs in...