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  • Witchdoctors go online and get Social Media-tastic

    If there's one thing scamsters love, it's a new way to hawk their tawdry wares. While it’s not nearly as ancient and powerful as black magic and voodoo, the internet has a powerful juju. And Google AdWords. Welcome to online witchdocters. If you live in a developing country (and who knows, maybe even in some neighbourhoods in the developed world) you occasionally find flyers stuffed under your windscreen wipers offering the services of "traditional healers", witchdoctors and suchlike. They’re normally cheesy design-wise, but promise an astonishing range of cures: for marital problems, HIV and cancer, erectile dysfunction and a host...

  • Facebook, Twitter unveil top trending topics of 2011

    Status updates are at the very heart of the Facebook experience. They’re how its 800-million strong community shares thoughts, emotions and ideas. Now the world’s largest social network has taken those updates and collated them into a list of top trending topics for 2011. According to an official blog post, Facebook calls the method it's used to collate the topics "Memology". It claims to take "the pulse of this global community by comparing this year's status updates to last year's, unearthing the most popular topics and cultural trends -- or memes -- emerging on Facebook". Topping Facebook’s chart is...

  • The future of search is social: Q&A with Google’s Nelson Mattos

    Google's vice president of engineering for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, Nelson Mattos, commands god-like respect among googlers. He is, after all, the man responsible for engineering and product development. Mattos, the brain behind analytics products such as Google Trends and Google Instant, believes that Africa is in a unique position to change the way we experience the web via mobile devices. This is why Google is paying particular attention to the continent. Mattos spoke to Memeburn about the future of search and why it lies with social. He says that Google+ is not simply a social network,...

  • 9 web series worth watching

    The internet is practically heaving with top-quality “webisodes”. As such, selecting the best from a seemingly infinite bunch could be something of a Herculean task. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you and mined the funniest, weirdest and most uplifting web episodes from across the digital highway. Ask a Ninja Ask a Ninja launched in 2005 with its first episode Ninja Mart-Store. Since its debut, the series has released 117 episodes. The star of the show -- the Ninja -- was named one of the top online celebrities by Forbes magazine in 2007. Just two years after it first aired...

  • The week in RIM: Drama, drama, drama and a glimmer of hope

    A record low for RIM stock, drunken rowdiness aboard an Air Canada Flight, a disappointing update to RIM’s fiscal Q3 guidance, and yet, there's hope. It's just another typical week for RIM. Drama RIM announced during an update to its fiscal Q3 guidance, that it no longer expects to meet its full year adjusted diluted earnings per share target of $5.25-6.00. RIM shares have lost more than 70% of their value this fiscal year and ended on a record low of US$16 per share last week, continuing to trade well below book value of $18.92 per share. Trading below this value...

  • Gay teen tells tale of fear, bullying, suicide in viral video

    A simple but heart-wrenching YouTube video, originally posted in August, of gay teen Jonah Mowry telling his story, has recently gone viral across the internet. Set to the haunting Breathe Me by Australian pop-singer Sia, a then-13 year old Mowry -- silent throughout -- displays a series of flashcards in the 4min long video titled "What’s goin on..". Mowry tells of how since he started school, he has faced taunts, jibes, and homophobic slurs from bullying schoolmates."Gay. Fag. Dick. Douche. Homo. Asshole," Mowry writes explaining the hurtful names he’s been called throughout his school career. He goes on to say...

  • Facebook finally rolls out Timeline

    Facebook is finally rolling out its long-awaited Timeline feature. The first country to receive the update to the world's largest social network, announced in September, was New Zealand. According to an update on Facebook's official blog, "over a million people have signed up for the developer beta to access Timeline". The beta was initially designed to service developers looking to build apps on the platform. A number of ordinary Facebook users, however, took to the beta after their interest was piqued by the initial announcement of Timeline. The social networking giant says it will be using the wider roll...

  • Review: Infinity Blade II

    The gentle learning curve of mobile gaming is ever-present with Infinity Blade II, the sequel to the addictive, but repetitive, swords and sorcery adventure for iOS. Gone is the repetition (kind of), replaced by a branching structure which turns the once-linear cycle of death and rebirth into a whimsical, steel-plated action. Let me explain. A winning formula Infinity Blade II is all about death. Dying evolves your character, and each time you fight your way to the God King (or a similarly cool-looking boss) and are unceremoniously struck down, you begin again, but retain your items and statistics. Your nameless, gibberish-spewing...

  • Russian ‘Facebook rally’ hailed as success despite arrests

    Thousands of Russians gathered at a so-called “Facebook rally”, protesting the results of recent legislative elections in the country. The elections were won by Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party amidst widespread claims of fraud. Several thousand people reportedly gathered in Moscow, in what news service Russia Today calls, "unsanctioned rallies". Mirroring techniques used successfully in the Arab Spring uprisings, prominent Russian bloggers took to Facebook to organise the rallies. The march received no coverage on mainstream television. In fact one of the few channels to show the march, called Dozhd (meaning rain) is privately owned and broadcasts primarily online....

  • Web’s red light district ‘.xxx’ opens for business

    Following a concerted decade-long campaign, proponents of an online "red light district" -- a specific domain for adult entertainment sites -- can finally celebrate with the sale of ".xxx" websites going live this week. With reports that the web was running out of web addresses sparking off fears that an “iPocalypse” was imminent, earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- a global body responsible for managing the internet’s domain name system -- voted to allow for the registration of new generic top-level domains names such as “.com,” “.org,” and “.net”. While ICANN’s decision allowed...

  • Microsoft app store next Feb – as Android Market hits 10bn

    When you’re this far behind, all you can do is be relentlessly up-beat. Which Microsoft was last night in the barn-raiser to build dev interst in the app store for the cross-platform “Metro” apps for Windows 8 devices. The store will go live in February, and offers developers the ability to hit the countless multitudes of Windows desktop and tablet users out there (should they hopefully upgrade to Win8), and the hoped-for buyers of Windows Phones that have so far been warmly received in their Mango incarnation. At the same time, Google’s director of the Android Developer Ecosystem, Eric...

  • Indian minister proposes screening online posts, says ‘not censorship’

    The government of India has asked some of the world’s largest online players to assist it in blocking out any material it deems offensive and defamatory. Meeting with representatives from the likes of Yahoo!, Google, and Facebook, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal requested that all content be checked before it is uploaded onto social websites. "I suggested that these platforms should evolve a mechanism on their own to ensure that such contents are removed as soon as they get to know of it... I have told them that this cannot go on," the minister said. According to the Hindustan Times,...

  • Memeburn going Solomo at LeWeb

    LeWeb Founder Loïc Le Meur speaks at a previous conference in 2009 LeWeb is a special place for Memeburn. The site was founded at the conference in Paris about two years ago with one of its legendary contributors Nur Bremmen. The very first few lines of code and the initial design was put together during the conference. LeWeb this year features the major internet players you know, including Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Sean Parker (Napster and Facebook -- played by Justin Timberlake in the Social Network movie), and Kevin Rose, among others. It's not all geeks -- the famous fashion...

  • Five reasons businesses suck at using social media to talk to each other

    Social media has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Although it retains its primary function as a platform where mates can get together and talk about their likes and dislikes, it is also a brand-infested pool of self promotion and general product marketing. But how are brands and businesses failing to engage with one another? 1. Failing to understand where they are in the B2B buying cycle When a brand is looking for a product or service, it has to go through various channels and different people within the organization are involved in making the purchasing decision. I will illustrate...

  • Steve Jobs: Being an asshole is okay when you’re a genius

    He was adopted and resented the rejection by his birth parents, but abandoned a daughter of his own born out of wedlock. Steve Jobs was a complicated man as it turns out. "The saga of Steve Jobs is the Silicon Valley creation myth writ large: Launching a startup in his parents' garage and building it into the world's most valuable company. He didn't invent many things outright, but he was a master at putting together ideas, art, and technology in ways that invented the future," Walter Isaacson pens. "He designed the Mac after appreciating the power of graphical interfaces in...