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  • Angry Birds, Harry Potter: 10 interesting fan fiction sites

    The worst moments of a good book, movie or television series are when those final words play out and there is nothing more. The agonising pain you feel when a story you've dedicated seven years of your life to ends and there are still so many unanswered questions. When a network cancels a show without so much as a final all-inclusive episode, what do you do? Enter the world of fan fiction, where no matter what the networks or the author say, the story never ends. I have written about fictional characters on Twitter and the new world of social...

  • Bill Gates is better than Batman [Infographic]

    Batman's pretty damn cool, with his cowl, cape and gravelly crime-fighting voice, but is he as cool as Bill Gates? Anyone under the spell of Christopher Nolan’s reignited version of the franchise might just be staring at their screens in beggared disbelief at the idea that anyone could even ask that question. An infographic by financial blogger Frugal Dad, however, looks to make a case for Microsoft's billionaire co-founder. "Obviously most of us don't have the kind of capital that Bill Gates has to work with, but I feel that everyone could learn from his philosophy towards...

  • App of the week: AVPlayer HD

    This week I take a look at AVPlayer HD, a fully functional and easy to use video player for the iPad that completely blows away the competition with its uncluttered usability and unrivalled format support. I'll be honest, when I first decided to get an iPad 2, I justified it to myself by saying that it would be a great addition to my working life and be used to take and effortlessly share notes in meetings, present strategies to potential clients and be my main work device while travelling. In reality, in the back of my head I was already...

  • Russian answer to Twitter sees phenomenal early growth

    Russia’s answer to Twitter is reportedly attracting users in their thousands. Owned by the Mail.ru group, Futubura attracted some 17 000 users within 24 hours of launching, Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported. When the public beta launch of Futubura was announced, Mail.ru CEO Dmitry Grishin released a statement saying: "We are excited by the opportunity facing Futubra as microblogging is a fast growing segment which fits well into the Mail.Ru Group vision of the growth in internet communications. Futubra demonstrates Mail.Ru Group’s ongoing commitment to internet communication platforms, innovation and mobile applications. The focus in the...

  • Google+ ‘growing tremendously’, Android still on top

    During Google's fourth quarter report on Thursday, Larry Page announced that Google+ now has 90-million global users, showing a 100% growth over the past three months. Page also said that the social network has a 60% "daily engagement" rate. The report showed that the search juggernaut's stock price dipped after "four straight quarters of accelerating growth" in after-hours trading on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nonetheless, Page is still "excited" about the company's growth. "Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year. Full year revenue was up 29%, and our quarterly revenue blew past the US$10...

  • Apple worth more than Greece, South Africa

    In 2011, Apple briefly passed Exxon Mobil to become the world’s most valuable company. In the wake of the tech company announcing plans to completely reinvent the textbook, however, the tech giant's valuation rose above $400-billion – a record high. Shares in the Cupertino-based megalith fell back from the all time high, leaving it with a $398-billion market value at the end of trading. According to CNN Money, that still puts Apple well ahead of its nearest competitors and the Gross Domestic Product’s of some medium-sized countries. PetroChina, valued at $270-billion, and fierce tech rival Microsoft ($235-billion) are third...

  • Megaupload closed down, Anonymous strikes back

    Anonymous is back. After months of peace and quiet, the self-appointed "Anonymous legion" of the internet has taken down websites belonging to the RIAA, Universal Music Group, MPAA, US Copyright Office, EMI and the cherry on top, the FBI itself. This was in retaliation for a federal indictment by the US Justice Department which shut down Megaupload, one of the internet’s largest online hosting sites. The "hacktivists" launched attacks on the various government sites (most of which are now back online) and promptly took them down. Over 5 600 denial of service attacks (DDoS) took place at once according to...

  • Apple looks to completely change textbooks with iBooks 2

    Throughout his tenure at Apple, one of Steve Jobs' abiding passions was education. It should hardly be surprising then that the tech giant announced two brand new initiatives aimed at completely updating education during a special event held in New York City. The first initiative looks to completely reinvent the textbook with the launch of iBooks 2. Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller demonstrated the new iteration of iBooks using a biology textbook. The book included a number of interactive elements such as its own intro movie. In landscape mode the interactive elements appeared to be...

  • Volkswagen follow up to 2011 viral success involves Star Wars, dogs [Video]

    Car manufacturing giant Volkswagen has released a teaser for its 2012 Superbowl commercial. The ad will reprise the Star Wars theme of its wildly successful 2011 ad, but with a twist. The teaser features a chorus of dogs, some dressed in Star Wars regalia, barking out the Imperial March. Less than a day after being uploaded, the teaser had attracted nearly 60 000 hits. Volkswagen promises that the canine chorus will make proper sense come 5 February when the full length ad is set to air during the Superbowl, scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana. Volkwagen’s 2011...

  • Google launches Woza Online: Free websites for SA businesses

    Google has launched a service that will allow small and medium-sized South African businesses to build their own websites for free. The internet giant claims that the initiative, called Woza Online, will give businesses "the opportunity to create their own websites... and develop an online presence -- for free, and in under an hour". Google says that having a website means more success for small businesses -- so it's driving home the point by offering them for free. The search giant cites statistics by World Wide Worx, one of South Africa’s leading technology research companies. The research found that 79%...

  • Wikipedia says it’s not done protesting SOPA

    Wikipedia may be back to full working order, but the massive online encyclopaedia says it isn’t done fighting the Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). The Wikimedia foundation, which is the organisation behind Wikipedia and a variety of other Wiki projects, thanked the 162-million or so people who saw its message asking them “imagine a world without free knowledge”. The free online encyclopaedia went on to catalogue some of the achievements of those who felt called to action: You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your...

  • India on track to censor social media, curb freedom of expression

    Spurred on by a lower court ruling, the Indian government has urged 21 companies, including technology behemoths Facebook and Google, to censor objectionable material hosted on their respective services. Many see the move by the Indian government to censor social media as a threat to freedom of expression. Instead of bowing to pressure, the companies in question are fighting back. Unlike classic authoritarian governments in emerging markets such as China and Russia, India has been relatively free. It therefore appears out of character for India to impose censorship on social media and the internet, or does it? Although India has...

  • 8+ ways social media is influencing the ANC

    South Africa's oldest political party, the African National Congress (ANC), is embracing the social media revolution like never before. The party is increasingly using Twitter, Facebook and other internet tools to promote itself and communicate with voters. The hashtag #ANC100, marking the party's recent centenary celebrations, moved through Twitter like wildfire, trending globally. But social media has, at times, also proved to be ill-fitted, with public slanging matches involving high-profile members becoming commonplace on Facebook and Twitter, from a former president dismissing the importance of Twitter to a provincial secretary accusing ANC members of using Facebook to attack party leadership. Here...

  • Will a split Android market doom the OS?

    Antonio Rodriguez, a successful serial entrepreneur and now a VC, is very pessimistic about the future of Android. In this post titled: Android as we know it will die in the next two years and what it means for you, he argues that the splintering of the Android market into many different versions will create an unsupportable multitude of operating systems and mobile hardware that will doom the operating system. I used to think that, as with Linux and web services in the early part of last decade, Android was going to be the mortar for the internet of post PC...

  • Clay Shirky explains why SOPA/PIPA is bad [TED Video]

    Following the 18 January blackout protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act), TED has released a video of renowned New York University (NYU) professor Clay Shirky explaining why the bill passing before congress is bad. The talk, called "Defend Our Freedom To Share (Or Why SOPA is a Bad Idea)", took place at TED's New York offices. The video wasn't part of the company's traditional conference video lecture series about "ideas worth spreading". The 14 minute video begins with a story about a bakery that printed children’s drawings on birthday cakes. This became a problem...