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  • Privacy? Why you should actually be concerned about being tracked online

    Hilton Tarrant recently wrote a piece on Memeburn entitled, "Privacy? Why you should let Google, Facebook and others track you online". I had a few issues with the piece. My feeling is that he's uninformed on the matter, made bad assumptions owing to a technical error and decided to ignore some legal complexity, then presented us with a false-dichotomy between ugly display ads and personalised advertising. Let's pick these apart one at a time. Uninformed In general, Hilton makes a common error when it comes to discussion of privacy, and online privacy in particular; he assumes he knows what he's talking about....

  • SXSW opening weekend: rain, social, comedy

    There wasn't much sun around for the opening weekend of the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas -- actually there was none -- but that fact, like many of those attendees new to the overwhelming schedule that makes up the annual event, soon found itself lost, among the dozens of other facts -- about social media, about the future of video blogging, about online journalism -- that were offered up by this year's panels in the festival's first days. An embodiment of all that SXSW has come to represent, comedian and digital editor for The Onion, Baratunde Thurston, was one...

  • Crowdsourced traffic app Waze to launch in SA

    Crowdsourcing seems to be all the rage. It’s been used for everything from funding startups to forming national constitutions. But what about traffic? If the people behind Waze, a free, user generated traffic app, are to be believed then that’s been taken care of too. Waze calls itself the world’s first community-based traffic and navigation app for smartphones. The app allows drivers to outsmart and beat the traffic together by sharing the information the app passively transmits about a user’s speed and location to identify where traffic is moving slowly. The company claims to have a user base of around 12-million...

  • ZunguZ wants to turn Facebook into a bank

    Facebook’s great for a lot of things. Keeping up to date with friends, promoting your brand, and organising your social diary are just some of the things you can do on the world’s social network. But what if you need to pay someone you know on Facebook? Surely you’d have to at least have their banking or PayPal details right? That might have been true in the past, but a company called ZunguZ is looking to change all that. The company which has presences in Silicon Valley and Cape Town claims that its product allows social network users “to...

  • CNN to buy Mashable for $200-million [Rumour]

    Rumour has it that international news giant CNN is in possible talks to buy popular tech news site Mashable for upwards of US$200-million. The rumour comes courtesy of Reuters reporter Felix Salmon, who said a "little bird" informed him of the possible purchase. According to Salmon, citing unnamed sources, the announcement should come as early as Tuesday. CNN seems to be following AOL's acquisition trail. The news giant already acquired iPad magazine publisher Zite for US$20 million to US$25 million back in August 2011. If the rumour proves to be true, CNN's acquisition of Mashable will be the latest in a string...

  • Youku, Tudou put aside rivalry in merger deal

    Chinese online video giants Youku and Tudou have announced plans to merge. According to Tudou the deal will take the form of a 100% stock-for-stock transaction, with the new company to be called Youku Tudou Inc. "We intend to lead the next phase of online video development in China. Youku Tudou Inc. will represent a differentiated leader in the online video market in China with the largest user base, most comprehensive content library, most advanced bandwidth infrastructure and strongest monetisation capability within the sector," said Victor Koo, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Youku. "Youku Tudou Inc. will...

  • Marvel unveils next line of AR comics

    Geeks of the world rejoice. Marvel is going high-tech. The comics giant has announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform. According to TechCrunch, the new partnership will allow people to view video trailers of the books they see in store. The AR app will also reportedly allow people to view, among other things, 3D animations and recaps by holding up their phones to the comics. Speaking at South by South West, Marvel representatives said they hoped “build out DVD and Blu-Ray extras into the comic book itself.” Marvel Infinite Comics will apparently be “the first marvel comics built strictly for digital. They’ll use...

  • Instagram for Android will be ‘better than iOS app’, coming really soon

    Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, revealed at SXSW yesterday that the Android version of Instagram is coming very soon and "in some ways, it’s better than our iOS app." It's no secret that the world's favourite photo social network is headed for Android, but we seem to be getting very close to an actual release. Systrom showed off Instagram for Android running on a Galaxy Nexus at SXSW yesterday, but didn't give a full demo. During a Q&A session, Systrom promised the Android version would be incredibly fast, scale well on various screen sizes and that the team hopes "to have it...

  • Blog looks to list all the banned words on Sina Weibo

    We all know China is strict when it comes to online censorship. We also know that it’s getting stricter, particularly on the country’s various microblogs, known as weibos. What you might not know is precisely what terms are banned on them. One blog is looking to change that, by listing every single term not allowed on Sina Weibo -- China’s biggest microblog. Blockedonweibo is a tumblr that exhaustively lists the banned terms on Sina Weibo and explains why they are banned. Some of the banned terms include fairly obvious ones such as government agencies and "nude photograph". Other terms, though, are slightly more...

  • 30 brilliant African tech startups

    The methodology behind this list of startups had two simple directives. First, the startup had to have African roots and secondly it had to be brilliant. More specifically, we were looking for that type of brilliance that exudes intelligence, talent, quality or simply, something fresh. Of course brilliance, like most things in life, is subjective, so we went into this journey with an open mind. Tabula rasa if you will and we hoped to recognise brilliance when we saw it. We did, over and over again. Why did we focus on Africa? The continent’s one-billion people are coming online and 600-million...

  • A critical view of social media campaigns

    This morning, we were talking about the KONY 2012 movement, various reactions around it and how easy we share things without even looking at it. How our gut reaction is to act without even knowing what we’re acting on or reflect on what it means. (If you want to delve deeper into the KONY 2012 topic, you can, for instance, read Kony 2012: what’s the real story?). What we want to cover here is the greater scheme of things, social media and how people react. When a social media campaign gains traction, and especially when it becomes widely successful, this seems to...

  • 8 Ways to beat digital writer’s block

    Admit it; just thinking about writer’s block is frustrating you. Writer’s block is a unique obstacle in that it gets worse with time. If you write for a living or for recreation, you know what it’s like to struggle with wording or to find a topic in the first place. Professional bloggers cover a range of topics and often write under irregular deadlines. Here are a few simple tips for getting your creative juices flowing. 1. Just start writing Few sights are as daunting to a writer as a blank Word document. Facing down the white screen is hard enough when you...

  • Angry Birds in space! What could be cooler? [Video]

    The popularity of Angry Birds has proved that there is nothing more fun than hurtling some seriously pissed off birds at some not-so-nice pigs. Rovio Entertainment, the company behind the game, has been working hard to expand the franchise with other versions of the game such as Angry Birds Rio and Seasons. Now they've moved on to space. Let's face it -- everything is cooler in space. The folks at Rovio teamed up with the leading experts  -- NASA -- to bring you the new game. The announcement video for Angry Birds Space features NASA astronaut, Don Pettit -- straight from the...

  • eBooks: Did Apple screw us all, or save the industry?

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the American Justice Department is about to sue Apple and five of the biggest book publishers in the US for colluding to raise the price of eBooks. This means that the Justice Department, which has been investigating eBook pricing since last year, has decided the parties involved violated the Sherman Act. The Sherman Act is a law that guards against business activities that lead to anti-competitive behaviour in the marketplace. The US government’s intention to sue signifies strained negotiations and that we might see a shakeup in the way publishers charge for eBooks. How...

  • Kony 2012: Cause célèbre to internet meme

    If there’s one thing the internet does really well, it’s compressing a serious issue into a captioned picture. The Stop Kony 2012 campaign is a case in point. The campaign gave new meaning to the word viral, with Jason Russell’s documentary getting over 30-million views across Vimeo and YouTube in just two days. Then came the counter-arguments. People pointed out that the Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) hadn’t been active in Uganda for the past five years. Others criticised Invisible Children for its apparently militant stance. Some even went so far as to suggest that the intervention it was...