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  • 10 words and phrases that can help or harm your Twitter click through rate

    After compiling a dataset of more than 200 000 link-containing tweets to generate a Click Through Rate (CTR) heatmap, I decided to dig into what words, phrases and characters correlate with higher (or lower) CTR. Below are my findings. And yes, I know correlation isn’t causation, but to quote Edward Tufte: "It sure is a hint." The first "word" I analysed was the hashtag. I found that there is very little difference in the CTR of a link whether it is accompanied by a hashtag or not. They don’t seem to hurt or help. Perhaps the most surprising thing...

  • I can haz photoshop ur Pepperspray Cop

    When does copycatting become a meme? A new craze has kicked up in the US in the wake of an "occupy" protest at the University of California in Davis where police lieutenant John Pike strolled down a line of students sitting with arms linked, and casually pepper sprayed the lot of them. And then the photoshopping started. This picture has now become the germ of a new meme: Inserting Lt Pike into the Christ with Little Children, Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence and Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. More rapidly followed, and whole pages...

  • China’s weibos pass 300-million user mark

    Months after revealing that its online adult population had gone past the 500-million mark, Chinese state authorities announced that more than 300-million people in the country have microblogging accounts. The microblogs, known as weibos (pronounced wei-bohr), emerged and went from strength to strength after Chinese censors blocked Twitter in 2009. Two of the country’s internet powers, Tencent Holdings and Sina Corporation are the largest weibo providers in the country. Their products integrate a number of the services from their chat and blogging portals and should not, therefore, be mistaken for mere Twitter clones. On Sina Weibo, for instance, users...

  • FXI Cotton Candy. PC. Onna stick

    File this under, “Oh my word that’s cool.” A previously unknown Norwegian company called FXI Technologies has demonstrated a working prototype of it’s "computer on a stick". It looks like a standard flash drive with an extra HDMI port opposite the USB plug. Stick it into a TV via HDMI, or into the USB port of a Linux box, PC or Mac, and it takes over the environment and lets you get on with your cloud computing via its own built-in Wi-Fi radio. It can also take up to 64GB of additional storage through a microSD slot. 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...

  • 40 000 apps and counting for the Windows Phone Marketplace

    The Windows App store is inching ever closer to relevance with the landmark availability of over 40 000 applications for its line of smartphones. Earlier this year, the Windows App store celebrated its first anniversary and surpassed 35 000 apps. According to Microsoft, 165 items per day are being added to the store. Almost 85% of the apps are non-gaming, with the remaining 15% of them games. Paid apps make up 23% of the store, while 68% are free. The exact number of Windows apps currently sits at 40 200. Based on the continuous rate of growth, the Windows App Marketplace will reach 50 000...

  • Ben Parr fired from Mashable

    Mashable's prolific editor-at-large, Ben Parr, has parted ways with the leading tech site under circumstances that apparently were less than amicable, reports technology news site AllThingsD. "Ben Parr is a technology journalist, web entrepreneur and aspiring world changer. He is best-known as the former editor-at-large of Mashable where he focused on technology trends, the companies behind them, and the intersection of technology, media and society. Ben's 3+ year career with Mashable began when he joined as a writer in August 2008," reads his Mashable bio. Parr was rumoured to have been paid US$250 000 cash bonus to stay until...

  • Local search firm Incubeta in R100m buyout of online media player Interface

    Incubeta Holdings, a holding company for global search specialists Clicks2Customers has purchased Interface Holdings, a South African online media company in a deal worth R100-million. The company believes the acquisition will give it a foothold in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector. According to Incubeta Holdings, the move is part of the company’s bid to increase its global footprint. This global footprint, it says, includes “clients and offices in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Brazil”. Interface Holdings (also known as "iFace") bills itself as an "integrated online media company", which houses a number of "well known...

  • What Facebook Timeline means for your brand

    Ruth Sawyer, author of The Way of the Story Teller once said: "I believe it is the easiest thing in the world to tell a story -- and the hardest to find a fine story teller." The art of storytelling has, over millennia, been a pivotal part of the human experience. It ensured the survival of cultural practices all over the globe and of course slight embellishment of said stories also allowed some societies to totally rewrite history, however that’s another story for another day. At its very heart, the new Facebook Timeline is about building a story about...

  • Review: Motorola Razr cuts to the quick

    The Motorola dev people have spent a lot of time on the new Razr. It shows. It oozes loving attention. And not in the old Motorola "WTF did they spend all that time on this arb feature for?" No, the new Razr XT910 simply exudes the scent of hard work, clear thinking, clever features, slick hardware crafted from premium materials – Gorilla Glass, Kevlar weave and machined aluminium. Is this the phone that returns Motorola to the top of the mobile phone pile? The new Razr is striking. Not beautiful, but the ludicrous thinness (7.1mm apart from the big head-bump)...

  • Six ways to make migrating to your new laptop less of a nightmare

    I recently migrated laptops. Alarming how simple that sentence looks. I mean, migrations are long and hard, and things die. They have an alarming inevitability. Everything in their path gets trampled. Being able to express that in a single tiny sentence seems unfair. Unfortunately there's little that can be done about the endless hours and megabytes you will spend on downloading Windows updates, and there's no relief for us Windows XP diehards who now have to come to grips with Windows 7 (having gleefully avoided the Vista bullet). And for some reason, Windows makes it as difficult as technologically possible to...

  • Africa’s mobile operators need to be more disruptive

    Generally speaking, in the 90s, Africa's mobile network operators (MNOs) were highly disruptive. In this last decade however, they have continued to decrease in this. Operators are no longer the offensive, attacking force of yesteryear, instead they’re putting up barriers and defensive walls trying to protect what they have and hide. Instead, the disruption comes from the open web. Whenever the operators put up a blocker to what users want, usually in the form of price or access to their infrastructure, the web finds a way of displacing them. Examples abound in location-based services, text messaging, video and photos. There’s a...

  • Sergey Brin, wife donate $500 000 to Wikimedia Foundation

    The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has received a US$500 000 grant Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki have donated US$500 000 to The Silicon Valley power couple -- Wojicki is the co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe -- made the donation in the name of their own Brin Wojcicki Foundation, as the Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its eighth annual round of fundraising. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is the public face of the campaign, his likeness splashed across the top of every Wikipedia page, appealing for donations. "This grant...

  • Chinese games consortium sues Baidu for copyright infringement

    A group of Chinese game developers has announced that it intends suing the country’s search giant Baidu for more than 30-million yuan (US$4.7-million) for copyright infringement. The group, called Content Provider Union (CPU), represents mobile game developers, has accused Baidu of allowing unauthorised downloads of more than 350 games designed by member firms. CPU is largely made up of small, domestic game developers. That’s according to Tian Lifeng, a spokesperson for the group, adding that the case has been accepted by a Beijing court. "We ask for 30 million yuan in compensation because Baidu stole as...

  • Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire — the experts weigh in

    Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet is bold, competitive and, at US$250, reasonably priced. But is it worth snatching up in a post-Kindle Fire world? Reviews for the Nook Tablet have trickled in and the critics seemingly love this heavily modified Android tablet. MSNBC Wilson Rothman loves the speed of the Nook, calling it "superior to the Kindle Fire" thanks to an overnight power test which saw a 27% improvement in battery life over the Kindle Fire. Rothman enjoyed the "nice big home button" which the Kindle Fire lacks. Another hardware victory comes in the form of the MicroSD card slot, where...

  • Uncovered documents show tools governments use to monitor us digitally

    The Wall Street Journal has published an exposé on technologies being sold to governments to enable them to intercept the publics' digital communications. It describes the expose as "a rare window into a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen in the decade since September 11". Mirroring Wikileaks, the Journal has titled the release "The Surveillance Catalogue," and refers to it as a "documents trove". The documents, which comprise highly secret marketing papers from the companies developing these technologies, tout tools that enable governments to hack into people's cellphones and computers, and so-called "massive intercept gear". "Massive...