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  • Microsoft posts first ever loss, no cause for panic

    It was bound to happen. Microsoft has posted a quarterly loss for the first time in its history. A US$6.2-billion writedown isn't exactly great for profit-taking. The Redmond-based tech giant reported a US$192-million loss this quarter. While that might be a "far cry" from the US$5.9-billion it reported during the same period last year, it's worth looking at it with a little perspective. It's a little weird to be saying so with such big numbers, but US$192-million is a relatively small loss to suffer after that massive writedown. The fact that Microsoft can take that hit and keep going,...

  • Nokia results confirm that it is in big trouble

    It looks like Nokia isn't about to stop hemorrhaging any time soon. The release of its latest quarterly report highlights just how bad things are, for the once mighty mobile company. The bright point for investors is that this bad news was anticipated, and mostly factored into the share price. Overall net sales fell by 19% year on year but were a smidgen higher than the traditionally bad first quarter, up three percent. The overall loss was close to US$1-billion for the quarter but cash reserves did shoot up as a result of cost cutting and tighter controls by...

  • Apple ordered to say that Samsung didn’t copy the iPad

    Someone needs to give the judge in Apple and Samsung's UK patent case an award for all the entertainment he's given the tech press. First he said that there was no way the Galaxy Tab was infringing on the iPad's design, because (among other things) the Tab is just "not as cool" as Apple's tablet. Now he's ordered the Cupertino tech giant to publish a notice on the UK version of its website and local print media declaring that Samsung didn't copy the iPad design. According to Bloomberg, Judge Colin Birss said that Apple needed to put the notice on...

  • Google teams up with Tate Modern, lets you collaborate on animations

    Aspiring artists of the world rejoice. Google and renowned British art museum the Tate Modern have teamed for an HTML 5 and Javascript-based online art experiment that lets you collaborate with others to create animations and stories using a web-based drawing tool. Called This Exquisite Forest, the experiment features short “seed” animations from the likes of Bill Woodrow, Dryden Goodwin, Julian Opie, Mark Titchner, Miroslaw Balka, Olafur Eliasson and Raqib Shaw. From these seeds you can add new animations that extend the story or "branch it in a new direction". According to Google, as more sequences are added, the animations grow...

  • Use social media to join a band for one night at London’s 100 club

    The 100 Club in London attained legendary status in modern British music, having played host to some of the most influential artists on the planet since 24 October 1942. Now you have the power to get one of ten bands a gig there using a Facebook app. What's cooler is that by voting you and a friend stand a chance to join them in London for the gig. Renowned shoe brand Converse is looking for South Africa’s best unsigned talent to get out of the garage and be transported to London to play a gig at the 100 Club. The...

  • Mobile money in emerging markets: where to next?

    We recently identified some of the main challenges that have faced mobile network operator (MNO) mobile money (MM) products, and why the concept's overall impact in emerging markets remains a bit of a mixed bag. This week, we look at whether the shift to interoperability heralds a new deal between banks and operators that offers a sufficiently compelling model to make services practical and affordable for the vast majority of the poor and unbanked. The aid and donor community has always strongly supported financial inclusion as a way of bettering the lives of poor people in emerging markets. But...

  • How big tech companies keep journalists under their thumbs

    David Weidner, a 15 year veteran reporter on the Wall Street beat, recently wrote an interesting article about the time he spent reporting on some of the world's biggest companies and financial institutions. He notes that much has changed and a lot hasn't in his time among America's financial elite. Presumably to mark each of his years covering the financial services sector he came up with 15 "takeaways." The one that caught my eye was number three: Too cozy for comfort: It's less of a problem since the financial crisis, but the business media are still too cozy with the powerful...

  • Why nurturing creativity is necessary for innovation

    Without creative individuals, we would not be able to enjoy the innovation that punctuates our lives on a daily basis. How can organisations retain this valuable skill while driving productivity? Creativity has always been the driving force behind human innovation. This unique quality is recognised as the primary contributor towards the ‘spark’ that has brought us each and every basic necessity, creature comfort and technology that we take for granted on a daily basis. Without it, the human race would be little more than creatures in the wilderness. It is creativity that sets us apart and has allowed us to...

  • Google+ to allow third party apps for brand pages

    Late last year Google+ launched Plus Pages as a way for brands to connect with users on the social network. The problem was that these pages couldn't be managed with third party apps. But it seems Google+ is about to change all that. "With Google+ Pages, millions of businesses and brands are now connecting with their followers in meaningful ways online," writes Googler Eduardo Thuler in a post. "... many brands use third party tools to manage their social media presence across the web." It seems over the last couple of months Google has been stealthy testing third party...

  • Nelson Mandela’s birthday: the online conversations [Infographic]

    You may have seen what Nelson Mandela's life story could have looked like if social media had been around since before the fall of apartheid, but what did internet users really have to say on his 94th birthday yesterday? His name trended world wide on Twitter and the YouTube tributes poured in -- and all the while, online reputation management company BrandsEye was monitoring the buzz. Birthday wishes and stories of how people were spending their 67 minutes on Mandela Day were sent from around the world -- from the White House and entrepreneur Richard Branson to South African celebrities....

  • YouTube launches first video sharing anonymity tool

    YouTube has launched a "face blurring" tool that allows users to protect the identity of people in videos. "As citizens continue to play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage from around the world, YouTube is committed to creating even better tools to help them," said the video sharing site on its blog. This service is a first for online video sites -- according to the international human rights organization, "no video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers users the option to blur faces or protect identity." YouTube will offer this option when users upload video. They...

  • Technology is destroying our ability to pay attention, making us rude [Video]

    Technology is addictive and it's making us terrible at our jobs. It's not your fault though, it's part of our evolutionary wiring. That's according Excite founder and Google Ventures Investment Partner Joe Kraus. He argues that the more access we have to the internet the more distracted we're becoming. The numbers seem to back him up too. The average internet user visits 40 websites a day and switches between applications more than 36 times in just an hour. But your brain can’t handle all the information it’s being asked to process, which is why the more things you’re doing...

  • Google rolls out email from SMS service, starting with Africa

    This is very cool. Millions of people around the world have GMail accounts. But a sizeable number of those people who own "dumb phones" have only ever been able to access the service on a desktop computer. Until now. Google has just announced that it's rolling out GMail SMS, a service that lets you send and receive emails as SMSes on your mobile phone. The really cool part though, is that you don't have to be connected to the internet to use the service. Given the large number of people still using phones with zero or limited internet connectivity...

  • 8 YouTube tributes to Nelson Mandela on his 94th birthday

    Tributes have been pouring in for Nelson Mandela on today, his 94th birthday. We decided to cherry pick some amazing inspirational video tributes to South Africa's great leader and a global icon for freedom and democracy. There are so many of them out there but we really liked these ones up you do too! Have any cool ones we missed? Pop a link in the comments box! Mandela's life in social media: We've already written a standalone piece about this campaign, but it's so damn cool that it deserves an entry in this list too. The video plays out Nelson...

  • SA agency wins major US open education contest

    Creative agency Blink Tower has won an award from the US Education Department and Open Society Foundations for explaining why Open Education is important. The South African-based agency beat out 60 other entrants, with a video explaining how standard education models can leave students and teachers working with out-of-date materials and massive expenses. The open education solution would see relevant educational tools being put online, allowing them to be constantly updated and repurposed. The competition was launched in March 2012 to solicit creative videos that clearly communicate the use and potential of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources —...