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  • Why we shouldn’t be worrying about Google’s personalised ads

    Through Google Apps for Business, Google is quickly building a new business model and new revenue stream. But for the time being, Google still makes the bulk of its money, as in more than 90% of its revenue, from advertising. Its business model can be described as: build products that people want use, keep the products free by selling advertising, and attract millions of users. It’s a model that works, is resilient, and helped Google survive what is now referred to as the dotcom bubble burst of the year 2000. A period when a lot of internet companies...

  • Stellenbosch: How a small university town is giving everyone free Wi-Fi

    The small Western Cape student town of Stellenbosch is perhaps best known for the wineries that surround it. But now it’s looking to become one of the most connected places in South Africa by offering free, universal Wi-Fi internet access. The initiative is reportedly a partnership between Stellenbosch, the University of Stellenbosch, and popular instant messaging platform MXit. According to MyBroadband, the service will be available to anyone without registration. The only activity prohibited on the network will be large downloads. A trial area for the network will reportedly go live on Friday, before being extended to the rest...

  • Jailbreaking: Why I’m over it

    The first time I jailbroke my iPhone, I almost vomited from sheer joy. After endless reboots and black screens, a pineapple with a loading bar popped up on my screen, signifying that RedSn0w had done its job. RedSn0w, for the uninitiated, is one of the countless iOS jailbreak methods which frees iDevices from the Cupertino shackles. It’s Jailbreaking, and I'm its ambivalent fan. Why I did it: the case for Jailbreaking I’m not ashamed to admit it, I used to be very frugal with my money. The thought of donating a dollar to Apple's unlimited coffers made my stomach turn. Before...

  • Spam is down, Malware is up: McAfee

    Thanks to better spam filtering techniques, most of us probably don’t see too many ads for “herbal Viagra” and similar concoctions in our inboxes these days, but that doesn’t mean spam isn’t still big business. According to the latest Threats Report by Intel’s online security firm McAfee (PDF), the overall amount of spam went down in the last quarter of 2011. One of the reasons for this, though, is that spammers have gotten a bit smarter and now use a more targeted -- and sometimes even personalised -- approach. Spam down (In most countries) It’s worth noting, though, that while spam...

  • Vodacom rewards ‘App Stars’

    Apps are important. Hell we think they're the future of the internet. It seems Vodacom is increasingly recognising their importance too. The mobile operator has announced the winners of its App Star Challenge -- a competition aimed at providing developers with the opportunity to develop apps designed specifically for the South African market. The competition is an initiative of it own app store, which has been operational since September 2011, and its Developer Programme. Vodacom claims that the store, which is the first developed by a South African network operator, was created with the “express intention” of spurring “the...

  • Flickr set for major design upgrade next week

    Photo sharing website Flickr is scheduled to receive a much-needed makeover according to senior project manager Markus Spiering. In an interview with BetaBeat, Spiering revealed the new user interface would minimize the excessive white space and information currently found on the site – gravitating towards the grid-like photo layouts found on sites like Pinterest and 500px. The update, which is scheduled for 28 February, will hopefully give Flickr the boost it needs to compete with newer photography websites like Instagram. Yahoo! has been criticised for the lack of innovation in design and updates to Flickr – the last major...

  • Twitter rolls out updates for iPhone, Android apps

    Twitter has announced a series of updates for its iPhone and Android apps. The social network claims the updates “introduce new design and functionality improvements” but also “bring back high-demand features”. One of the features making a Lazarus-esque return from the grave is the swipe shortcut. This feature allows users to swipe a tweet in their timeline to “to reply to, retweet, favorite or share it, or view the Twitter user’s profile”, without leaving their own timeline. iPhone users meanwhile can once again copy and paste the text of tweets and user profiles. All they have to do is...

  • iPhone 5 to launch late 2012 [Rumour]

    The iPhone 5 is launching in the Northern hemisphere's autumn according to an “Asian reliable source”. The website can be added to the long list of rumour sites which fuel fans' fires, but the leak does at least follow the pattern of Apple's new launch cycle it began with the iPhone 4S. iPhones are known for launching in the early Summer, State-side. The iPhone 4S however, launched October 2011, so the Cupertino giant has proved it can buck its own trend. Some point the change in release schedule to the iPhone 4S. Is Apple willing to risk a launch a...

  • Online reputation management, now with crowdsource sauce

    This is interesting. Take the field of online reputation management, the practice of managing a person's or company's brand across the web and social networks, then add a bit of crowd source sauce using ranking techniques better known in chess grandmaster circles... and what do you get? Well, you should get improved accuracy in measuring what people are saying (and thinking) about you or your company online -- and you get to pay a whole lot of people to help you do it. This is what the latest iteration of BrandsEye claims to do. BrandsEye is one of many online reputation...

  • Reddit users draft legislation to protect internet freedom

    A group of Reddit users has banded together to write its own legislation aimed at protecting freedom on the web. The group, which has gathered around the sub reddit r/fia, is drafting a piece of legislation it calls the Free Internet Act (FIA). The people behind FIA claim they want to “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation by preventing the restriction of liberty and preventing the means of censorship”. According to the group, “FIA will allow internet users to browse freely without any means of censorship”. It is writing the legislation, it claims, because “users have the right to...

  • New campaign celebrates SA constitution a la Nando’s

    A group of South Africans looking to celebrate the country’s constitution has come out with an innovative advert, borrowing from the style of fast food chicken franchise Nando’s. The advert plays on the immensely popular #mealforsix campaign and its accompanying “Last Dictator Standing” video ad. The Nando’s ad went viral and featured on a number of international sites. The franchise was, however, forced to pull it from Zimbabwean airwaves after militant groups threatened its staff. We the People, the group behind the advert, seems to have targeted this incident especially. Like Nando’s, the group has opted for a...

  • TED Talks open up for public auditions

    Here at Memeburn we love TED. The conference embodies the kind of innovation we so fervently believe in. Imagine our delight then when we found out that TED would be holding public auditions. Conference organisers say there will be series of 14 auditions in cities across the globe aimed at finding speakers for TED2013. This isn’t some half-baked attempt at keeping the fans happy either. The organisers claim that "more than half of the speakers at TED2013" will be found using the audition process. Anyone wanting to audition will be required to send in a send in a short...

  • Indian social network Ibibo claims six-million downloads of mobile “iBrowser”

    Indian social networking site Ibibo claims that its “iBrowser” mobile web browser has been downloaded over six-million times since launching last year. The social network, which is owned by emerging markets internet giants Naspers and Tencent, claims that at least half of those downloads resulted in active users. According to Indian tech site Medianama, Ibibo iBrowser is essentially a repurposed version of Tencent's QQ Mobile browser. Running across the Symbian, Android and Java platforms, the browser can be used on smart and feature phones. In fact, the company claims that its browser can be used on 90% of the...

  • Why you should network when raising funds for your tech venture

    The value of attending networking events is often hard to quantify, as it takes valuable time, but it is worth the effort especially if you are considering starting your own business; building an innovative product or trying to raise funding. Funders invest in companies and founders they know Although we receive many proposals through our website at the VC firm I'm part of, all of the deals that we have concluded (i.e. invested in) to date, have been sourced through our networks. An essential part of our business is the relationships that we’ve been building and nurturing with various suppliers and...

  • From R50m to nothing: Lessons from the Global Vision story

    You hear this quite a bit in the start-up world: The thing about technology companies, or any company for that matter, is you have to “fail to succeed”. Many venture capitalists won’t invest in an entrepreneur who hasn’t failed at least once. Some start-ups rise from the ashes to develop into successful businesses. This is not always the case. Some fail, others thrive, some just evolve. Jon Jacobson, founder of high-profile Cape Town start-up Global Vision, rose to the top of his game, creating a company worth well over R45-million and employing around 90 people at its peak....