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  • 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...

  • DStv Walka — Plastic fantastic

    It feels cheap, the sound quality is dire, and the signal is rarely clear. But hell, I love the DSTV Walka. It’s compact, low-res and filled with charm. But is it worth dropping R600 plus the R36 per month subscription? The DStv Walka is a handheld TV with a dubious name, but oodles of personality. The screen is tiny -- a mere 320p by 240p resolution which can by no means compete with the full HD capability of DStv's PVR offering. It's not meant to appeal to that crowd though. 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");

  • China cracking down on microblogs with real name registration

    The Chinese government is cracking down on users of the country's widely popular microblogs, known as weibos, to register using their real names -- making it easier for authorities to track them. Real name registrations began with just five cities in 2011 and internet regulator, Wang Chen, said the scheme would eventually be extended. "This started at the end of last year. At first it applies to new users only, and it will then be expanded to existing users," said Wang Chen, minister in charge of the press office of the State Council -- China's cabinet. He told reporters that weibos had...

  • Facebook launches 60 new apps for Timeline

    Facebook Timeline has added apps from some 60 new media partners. At a special event, the world’s largest social network announced apps for the signature feature from the likes of Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, and TripAdvisor. The new apps allow users to update their timelines with activities relevant to them. Pintrest or Pose users, for instance, can use the apps from those companies to post pictures of their favourite items onto their timeline. In an official blog post, Facebook also gives of examples of how people can use the food or travel apps: If...

  • Widespread plagiarism in Amazon’s erotica section

    Amazon's self-publishing section appears to have entered into a hotbed of a plagiarism scandal. The site's Kindle store seems to be housing a host of fake authors publishing copyrighted material in its erotica section, reports Fastcompany. It would appear that there is more than just lust, incest, fake tans and incredibly obvious clichés going on in Amazon's erotica section. Amazon, it seems, is full of fake authors who are selling erotica copied word-for-word from stories posted on "popular and free erotic fiction site", Literotica. According to Quantcast the site attracts more than 4.5-million monthly users. In an interview with...

  • Facebook apps, Twitter see massive growth in the workplace

    We all know that Facebook apps, particularly the gaming, ones are incredibly popular. What might be surprising, however, is how rapidly the use of Facebook apps in the workplace has grown in the past year. According to new research from network security vendor Palo Alto networks, app traffic in the work place grew from four percent to 14% between October 2010 and December 2011. Time spent on games from specialist social game developer Zynga -- responsible for titles such as FarmVille, CityVille, and Mafia Wars --, meanwhile, now accounts for some five percent of all social traffic in the...

  • Wimpy announces free breakfast on Twitter [Update]

    Wimpy is a great South African brand that has moved with the times, kept up to date, and kept up with consumers. Known especially for its Wimpy coffee -- there are a lot of clever marketing brains behind the brand. The food outlet has had a really great run of ads, playing on South African humour and making us all laugh. Here are two of my favourites: Now check out its new campaign, recently announced on Twitter: on 19 January, Wimpy is offering a free breakfast between 7am and 8am. That’s a pretty bold marketing step if...

  • Google workers accused of ‘vandalising’ open source maps

    Google employees seem, once again, to have pushed the limits of its "Do no evil" corporate mantra. According to Wired magazine, high-ranking members of OpenStreetMap (OSM), an open source mapping project that allows "to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth”,claim that “user accounts attached to a range of Google internet addresses in India have been maliciously tampering with its data". Google, meanwhile, claims the people behind the accounts were contractors using machines on the Google network and were “acting on their own behalf”. Speaking to Wired, a Google spokesperson said...

  • #FactsWithoutWikipedia climbs the Twitter trends amidst SOPA protest

    Wikipedia’s decision to black its site out in protest against SOPA has generally been greeted with enthusiastic support from around the web. The truth is, whether or not you admit it, some of us are feeling a little lost without the world’s most popular tool for settling bar fights and deep intellectual rants -- "the Sun is a star", for instance. That’s why we showed you how to get around the blackout. The Twitterverse has, however, come up with its own solution: a massive trending topic. In fact, hashtags concerning the blackout took up the top two spots on...

  • Social search, at what cost?

    In 2011 "Social Search" became a hot topic as Google introduced "Realtime Search" via the Twitter “firehose” and Bing began to index Facebook. In July, Twitter didn’t renew its deal with Google and Realtime Search was no longer offered. In the past week Google came under fire for including "your world" in their iconic search results and analysts began speaking about antitrust investigations. While analysts discuss the social search race in terms of adoption, partnerships and the invaluable data gleaned from the platforms, what they fail to talk about is the technological investment needed to process the data. In 1997, Larry...

  • SOPA Protests: The day the web went black

    A number of high profile websites are going dark in protest of America’s proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and Protect IP Act (PIPA) currently going through congress. A number of web giants including Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, and WordPress are, to some degree at least, going dark in protest of the controversial bill. The protests themselves have become a globally trending topic on Twitter. Were SOPA to pass, it would see any website deemed guilty of hosting copyrighted content having its domain name rescinded. A similar bill going through the senate called the Protect IP Act (PIPA), meanwhile, would...