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  • Why most startups fail … and here’s how not to

    It’s easy to think of the latest startup like a pimple in the middle of your forehead: you wake up one morning and it’s all you can see. And then, one day, for no specific reason, it’s gone. “Anyone know what happened to Whatchamacallit?” After some enquiry, all you’ve got is a handful of rumours and a bucket of spin. All we know for sure is that it’s over. Truth is, most of the time, it failed because of the same reasons so many other startups fail. There will always be special individuals who find exceptional ways...

  • Facebook tests Twitter-like real-time update feature

    Facebook is dabbling with a Twitter-like feature that alerts members in real time to what their friends are up to on the social network. The feature, reportedly called "Happening Now," is being tried by a "fraction of a percent" of Facebook's more than 600 million members, according to the world's leading online social network. "We are currently testing a feature within News Feed that gives people the ability to see what their friends are commenting on and 'liking,' as these actions are being taken on Facebook," the California company said. "In the coming weeks, as we learn more from this test, we'll...

  • Myows: managing your copyright online

    Creative people are generally not well known for being legally switched on. But the challenges of protecting original work in the digital age means bloggers, freelance writers, photographers and web designers should all be prepared to interact with the law to protect their intellectual efforts -- and their businesses. Luckily, the concept of copyright is pretty straightforward: as soon as a work is created in a tangible form – be it on paper, film, online or in sound – it is eligible for copyright. It is automatic and, unlike patents or trademarks, official registration is not required. If, however, there is...

  • The social web increasingly not the ‘people’s web’ – Berkeley study

    A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the social Web is becoming more of a playground for the affluent than an empowering tool for digital democracy. Internet evangelists will often tell you with misty eyes that the internet has made media and content accessible: Anyone with Internet access can generate online content and influence public opinion. But despite the rapid growth of social media – with Twitter and Facebook touted as playing key roles in the Arab revolutions – the bulk of today’s blogs, websites and video-sharing sites represent the perspectives of college-educated, Web...

  • How much will a Gareth Cliff tweet cost you?

    When radio jock and Idols judge Gareth Cliff describes Playboy magazine on his Facebook page as “classy” and “riveting”, does he mean it — or is he being paid to say it? A good word from Gareth Cliff could cost you R20 000, but his 400 000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers may not know that they are reading advertising. Fan or not, there's no denying that Cliff is a character. Whether he’s celebrating the death of a controversial politician, or interviewing Jesus on his radio show, he creates controversy and makes a show of it. For his social media...

  • How HuffPo beat NYTimes.com

    Traffic to the spunky Huffington Post has surpassed visitors to the New York Times for the first time, according to tracking firm comScore. This time last year, the NYTimes’s 32.5-million figure overshadowed the Huffington Post’s 23.8-million. But HuffPo broke through the 30-million barrier this month, receiving 35.6-million unique visitors in May, up from 29.9-million in April. The NYTimes.com received 33.6-million, up from 32.9-million. ComScore’s figures show that traffic figures for the mega US news blog have surged over the past year, while those of NYTimes.com have remained relatively steady. The New York Times began charging readers for full access to...

  • The mobile app dilemma: An electric case study

    Last week saw the Apps World Africa conference, where a bunch of different people stood up to talk about the business of mobile apps. The conversation revolved around: How to build them, how to market them, how to make money out of them? And this is the hardest part -- if you build it, they may not come. Unlike Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams, just being really, really passionate is not enough in the real world. Enter Sebastien Lacour from Powertime, a company that is currently turning over more than R2-million per month on its mobile app, which allows...

  • Is Apple loosening its grip on its apps?

    The word on the street is that Apple is about to relax its iPad subscription rules, a move likely to be welcomed by newspapers and magazine publishers. MacRumors, a site much trusted by insiders, says Apple will no longer require publishers to offer subscriptions through its app store at the same price or less than offered elsewhere. Apple currently takes a 30 percent cut of subscriptions bought through its app store. Some publishers, including members of INMA, the international news industry association, have been critical of the size of the cut. They expressed their displeasure about some of the guidelines laid...

  • ‘Apple created Android’

    “Apple created Android, or at least they created the environment to allow Android to happen.” Those were the words of Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop when he addressed the Open Mobile Summit in London on Thursday. The statement seems fairly innocuous until you start asking exactly what the head of the embattled Finnish communications giant meant by this?var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • HP’s TouchPad on sale in US on July 1

    Hewlett-Packard announced on Thursday that its rival to Apple’s hot-selling iPad, the HP TouchPad, will go on sale in the United States on July 1. The touchscreen tablet computer, which is powered by the webOS software platform bought from Palm, will be available in Britain, France, Ireland and Germany a few days later and in Canada in mid-July, HP said in a statement.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Wii U & Me

    So now we know what Nintendo had up its sleeves. The Wii U controller-tablet hybrid. There was talk that the new Nintendo console would be called simply “Nintendo”. I favoured of that name, since it brought back memories of the days when that word itself was a synonym for video games. Instead, the new Nintendo console is called Wii U, most likely to capitalise on the positive brand image of the original Wii. I was never a fan of the name Wii, and this isn’t lighting my fire either. Name aside, however, I’ll admit that I am intrigued by Nintendo’s...

  • Visa snaps up SA mobile financial services company Fundamo for $110m

    Visa, the world's largest credit and debit card network, has snapped up South African mobile financial services company Fundamo for $110-million in cash. The Cape Town-based Fundamo is a privately-held company which has more than 50 active mobile financial services deployments across 40 countries, including 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The company has been operating since 1999 and has a number of funders which include Cape Town venture capitalists and emerging market investment group PoweredByVC, investment company Remgro and financial services corporate Sanlam. PoweredByVC is also linked to dot.com billionaire Mark Shuttleworth. Fundamo’s deployments currently have...

  • Nokia’s technology chief ‘quits over strategy’

    Nokia has watched its global market share dwindle in recent years, and another nail hovered over the mobile giant's coffin on Thursday. Finland's leading daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that Nokia's head of technology has taken a leave of absence and is not coming back after disagreement over a new group strategy. "Two independent sources for the Helsingin Sanomat say (Rich) Green will be gone until the end of the year and is unlikely to return to Nokia," the newspaper said. The Finnish company told AFP that Green "had taken leave to attend to a personal matter" but did not provide further...

  • Work the look: 5 tips for online clothing retailers

    Clothing is one of the biggest growth markets for online retail, with more people welcoming the obvious benefits of online clothes shopping: no battling the crowds, saving time and often money; not having to faff around in changing rooms; and the confidence of knowing you can always return it if it doesn’t fit just right. And yet apparel is still one of the most difficult things to sell online — a hard truth not helped by the fact that, for the most part, online fashion retailers still don’t do it really well. Reading some of the headlines around the fashion/tech...

  • Can Chinese microblogging sensation Weibo trump Twitter?

    Chinese online media company Sina Corporation is set to launch an English version of its microblogging site Weibo (pronounced Wei-bohr), and it's worth seeing how the site stacks up against Twitter, its Western counterpart. China is often berated for the facsimiles it produces of Western technological innovations. It's no laughing matter. In fact, the Western world can only marvel at the speed and efficiency at which these products are copied, manufactured and then distributed in China — although admittedly the quality is often variable. Whether or not you agree in principle or not is irrelevant. Human progress has been built...