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  • Facebook vs Google: The dirty tricks campaign

    Journalists and bloggers around the world last week woke up to an email screaming in all caps: "Google quietly launches sweeping violation of user privacy!" Rightly so, this claim brought a lot of anger to those who ran the story. However, for some, there was something suspicious afoot... The email, originating from American public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, claimed that a little known Gmail feature, Social Circle, tramples privacy of millions of Americans and is in violation of American fair trade rules. However, as US newspaper, USAToday wrote, "Google said that Social Circle in fact allows Gmail users to make social...

  • InMobi launches global mobile payment solution, ad network combo

    InMobi, a large, global independent mobile ad network, has announced the launch of a performance-based global mobile payments solution it is calling SmartPay. The company says this offering is "a first" because it combines InMobi’s large global ad network of nearly 32-billion ads monthly in 200 countries with a mobile payments solution. The company says that tracking from ad to conversion is a "major leap forward" for developers and digital goods providers globally. The payment solution will enable app developers, game companies, and content providers in the $200bn mobile content and virtual goods space to expand their business and monetise...

  • Ubuntu raises the client OS bar

    On the 28 April 2011 Canonical officially released Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed Natty Narwhal. The controversial Unity Desktop became the standard interface, merging the desktop and netbook versions, creating a scalable client operating system which can be run on desktops, nettops, notebooks, netbooks and tablet devices. Large screen smart phones, in-vehicle infotainment systems and possibly even home appliances such as high-end refrigerators could potentially also run Ubuntu. Aside from the interface overhaul Canonical was determined to push a number of major updates through in this version. I was initially doubtful about their ability to achieve these ambitious goals within their six month...

  • Online sales accelerate in South Africa

    In news certain to buoy South African online retailers, a new research report released this week by independent technology research and strategy organisation, World Wide Worx has found that retail in South Africa has entered a phase of sustained acceleration. 'The Online Retail in SA 2011' study shows that the total spent on online retail goods in South Africa passed the R2 billion mark in 2010 for the first time. It reached R2,028 billion, a growth of over 30% with regard to the previous year. With the industry consensus pointing to 40% growth this year, online retailers are even more bullish...

  • Seoul’s ‘World IT show’ all about 3D and robots

    The "World IT Show" is running in Seoul, South Korea this week. The show is an exhibit of the latest innovation in technology from around Asia and the world, and this year's show was no exception, showcasing 1313 booths with 440 exhibitors including Samsung, LG Electronics and Qualcomm. The aim of the show is to alert the global stage to South Korea's contribution to the world of technology. Big names, such as Samsung and LG, dominating a sizeable amount of the exhibition stage did not deter the hundreds of other companies present. Most of the companies exhibiting products were...

  • Why it’s a good time to be developing mobile apps in Africa

    The African mobile developer community should be smiling right now, what with being ideally placed to take advantage of a number of factors that currently make the region one of the most exciting digital spaces on the planet. Mobile is massive Mobile take-up across Africa took a lot of people by surprise; in hindsight it was obvious. Infrastructure-lag left a gaping chasm of consumer demand wide enough for mobile technology to swoop in and satisfy the need for telecommunications. South Africa now has more active SIMs than it has people. Across the region communication, banking, healthcare, education and many more...

  • China’s web spin doctors spread subversive propaganda

    China employs an army of censors to police the Internet, much to the chagrin of the US, and is strengthening their onslaught by deploying legions of "web commentators" to get the government's message out -- in a crafty but effective way. With nearly half a billion people surfing the net in China, more than half of them using microblogs, the internet has quickly become a vital forum for debate in the world's most populous country -- and a major sounding board. This fact has obviously registered with the country's Communist leaders, who pay careful attention to the conversations that unfold online...

  • An international perspective on SA startups [NetProphet]

    Angel investing came accidentally to UK-based Permjot Valia. As the sales and marketing director of Ernst & Young, he became involved in their entrepreneur programme, which in turn led to his new career of investing in startups. By his own admission, Valia’s success rate is a statistical anomaly: while an average of only 3% of investors successfully exit a startup via an IPO, the first company he invested in went public within just seven months. Visiting Cape Town this week to work with local entrepreneurs, Valia shared his experiences, garnered over the course of his 25 or so investments,...

  • 38 emerging South African tech entrepreneurs to watch [Part I]

    The technology space is particularly notable for the amount of entrepreneurial activity it attracts. The word "startup" has become almost synonymous with the tech and online space and there are thousands of entrepreneurs that run small and large companies that are carving out niches for themselves. The high amount of entrepreneurial activity in the tech sector may be explained by the fact that the costs of starting an online business are low. You don't need a factory or heavy-lifting equipment to start an online business, and the people found in the sector are highly skilled. Also, we all know about the...

  • Monetising crowdsourcing platforms through collaboration [NetProphet]

    Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and platforms like Ushahidi, highlight the rise of the civic economy - one in which value is placed more on relationships between stakeholders using that platform rather than on the value of the actual commodity being exchanged. Speaking at the NetProphet conference in Cape Town, SwiftRiver’s Director of Products Jon Gosier compares this new value-based economy to bartering marketplaces in India or Africa. The relationships between the barterers in these places determine whether they’ll interact and do business with each other to create the market in the first place. Analysing this economy and its associated...

  • Live from the NetProphet conference [LIVE BLOG]

    NetProphet was a technology conference in Cape Town. It was held on the 12th of May. This is a live blog of the entire proceedings from the conference brought to you by Memeburn reporter Mvelase Peppetta. To see what happened as it happened, read from the bottom up. : Great day at Net Prophet, in fact beyond great, it was truly inspiring. The future of the tech industry is certainly looking bright. Check here and here for articles written by the rest of the Memeburn team reporting from Net Prophet and watch the site for more in the coming...

  • The African ecommerce opportunity [NetProphet]

    Ecommerce is on the rise around the globe at a rapid pace, driven by the huge successes of online retailers in the US and Europe, such as Amazon.com which has scaled up exponentially in recent years. It may come as a surprise, but the most successful ecommerce market place is actually in the Far East, South Korea to be precise, where the government and private sector are pushing for affordable broadband access, stimulating trust, upscaling, and using cutting edge technology. But where does Africa fit in? Africa’s consumer market is riddled with challenges unique to the continent. Not only is...

  • Mobiflock — Helping parents keep an eye on kids’ mobile habits

    We live in a mobile centric society. To deny that would be foolish. Everyone has a mobile phone -- adults, teens and children. The consequences of children using mobile phones have been constantly featured in the news. Parents fear the dangers that await their children on many mobile platforms. A new startup has entered the mobile stage to help parents keep track of their children's mobile usage. Mobilflock, a Cape Town-based startup, that says it makes "cell phones safe for kids by giving parents visibility over how they use their phones, and tools to protect their children from harm". The...

  • Free Angry Birds for Google Chrome

    Free Angry Birds for Google Chrome. I repeat, Free Angry Birds for Google Chrome. Why are you still reading this? Head on over to the Web Store and install Angry Birds to commence with some serious pig popping action right inside Chrome. Rovio made a surprise appearance at the second keynote event of Google I/O today, and unveiled Angry Birds for the world’s biggest platform - the web - via Google Chrome. Thanks to Google Chrome’s latest GPU enhancements, Angry Birds with exclusive Chrome-inspired levels is available for immediate enjoyment via Google’s Chrome Web Store. Designed using Web GL with an option...

  • Julian Assange recognised as 21st century Nelson Mandela

    Joining the likes of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was, on Wednesday at London's Frontline Club, awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation's top honour for "exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights". The Sydney Peace Foundation selects the recipient of their Sydney Peace Prize and have an overall aim of developing the understanding the value of peace with justice in different contexts across the globe. Assange, who launched the controversial publisher of private, secret and classified media from anonymous sources in 2006, is at the moment fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden where he is wanted for...