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  • Surface computing surfaces for real

    We’re all one step closer to a Star Trek future of sliding doors, teleporters, tricorders and big table-sized computers that you touch and gesture and wave at. We saw the first generation of “Surface” from Microsoft a few years back – now it is ready to go large with a hardware partner, Samsung. The SUR40 will go into full production in December and shipping first thing in 2012. It features the second generation of Microsoft’s “Surface” software platform, built on Windows 7, with the PixelSense technology that allows the surface itself to be a distance-sensing element. The OS shows itself...

  • Mobile phone gaming kills casual gaming handhelds

    Is casual gaming, the supposed vampire sucking on the life-blood of the “hard-core” market, heading into a downward spiral? According to a report by analysts Cowen and Company, it is. The report states that 26% of the market is rocking out with the Sony PSP, 3DS or non-3D Nintendo DS, in a slow but steady decline. "Over the last five years, the penetration of dedicated handheld platforms into survey respondents self-identifying as casual gamers has declined by 29 per cent, with the vast majority of that decline occurring in the last two years." 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");

  • Social media tweet off: Vodacom to get Cell C a Ben10 watch

    It is rare to see multi-billion dollar multinational corporations tease each other in a public forum. On social media though, anything is possible. Yesterday, Vodacom, one of South Africa's big three mobile network operator tweeted Cell C, a fast growing giant in the South African mobile network space, happy birthday. Vodacom's tweet read: Vodacom's tweet reads like the words of a trusty father proudly marveling at his little boy's achievements. Cell C launched in 2001 and piggy-backed off Vodacom's network towers for a few years before branching on its own. The offer of a Ben10, a beloved children's cartoon, watch...

  • Google Music: Why iTunes isn’t the real target

    Google launched its Music product this week and the industry’s immediate response was that this launch is aimed at taking on iTunes and that it is eight years too late. Au contraire. Whilst offering a "locker" and a store, it’s the integration with Android and Google+ that holds the key to the broader strategy for Google. The music-in-the-cloud strategy is a no-brainer for Google on the storage front. It’s stored gajillions of emails for Gmail, documents and spreadsheet data for Apps and various other user product data for more than half of its existence. By relying on its advertising...

  • 10 rules for managing ‘brand me’ online

    Former South African television presenter Nonhle Thema was revelling the apparent freedom her current state of unemployment gave her on Twitter the other night. "i can tweet whatever i want," she said "NO 1 will FIRE ME or make me say sorry......LOL..FREEDOM....im FREE". Sadly, most of us aren't free, and we can't say what we like. In the era of the personal brand, how do we manage our online activities when a tweet could be a seriously career-limiting move? In a piece I researched for a print publication recently, it struck me just how challenging this can be,...

  • Review: Vodafone Webbook — cheap, plastic, nasty

    The Vodafone Webbook is cheap, incredibly cheap (around R1 500 ). As such, criticising it feels a little odd. It’s a bit like taking apart a soup kitchen for not having an internationally renowned wine list or the local corner café for lacking the nuances of haute cuisine in its cooking. Here’s the thing though, the Webbook feels cheap, something designed to throw to an unwashed proletariat desperate for the democratisation of technology. I get that there’s a reason it costs so little, but surely Vodafone could have given us just a little bit more? Allow me to return to...

  • The continuing rise of activist media and the demise of the Fourth Estate

    In a recent article, I pointed out that activist media, such as the posts, tweets, photos, and videos produced by the Occupy Wall Street activists, will become increasingly influential, while the establishment media, such as CNN or New York Times, will decline in influence. The reason is that the business model for establishment media is under siege and that means cutbacks in resources. There are simply fewer journalists, editors, photographers, camera operators, and there will be even fewer in the future as cutbacks continue to decimate the ranks of media professionals. But activist media needs no business model, it is staffed...

  • Quitting Facebook is like attending your own funeral

    Quitting Facebook --- It’s one of those things you think about every time your mother comments on a photo of you, or a high school buddy boasts about a new business venture, or a good friend feels the need to fill your day with his newborn’s bowel movements. The first time I gave it any serious thought was when it was reported that facebook had developed face recognition technology, my initial reaction was. "So who cares? It was bound to happen eventually." So what if I have shared so much of my personal life online that a computer program...

  • The world’s cheapest tablet goes live

    The tablet market has exploded with new devices shipping from every vendor under the sun, but most of the media focus has been directed at who can provide a real competitor to the iPad. In India, the Aakash tablet is taking an different tack. It has already picked up over 300 000 prelaunch bookings for its commercial version that goes on sale next month -- it must be doing something right. So what is so exciting about the Aakash that has Indian twitter community tweeting like crazy? To begin with, the Aakash (also branded the Ubislate) is pitched as the...

  • Canadian IT company busted for hosting Syrian govt websites

    Investigations are under way after a think tank based at the University of Toronto reported that Syrian government websites are being hosted on servers based in Canada. The report claims that 17 Syrian websites including those of the Ministries of Culture, Transport, Social Affairs and Labour, as well as Syrian television network Addounia TV, are being hosted by iWeb Technologies, a Montreal-based company, through several intermediary companies. In reaction to the report, iWeb issued a statement saying, "Canada has enacted targeted sanctions against certain Syrian government entities and individuals. Canada has not enacted a broad embargo against doing business...

  • Simon Cowell joins Twitter — mocks employees, battles Piers Morgan

    When news broke that Simon Cowell, a professional giver of opinion, and rumoured transatlantic music mogul had joined Twitter, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Bar the slight Spartacus moment at the end of the tweet, Cowell’s first was the usual Twitter fair, "It's official, I know it's taken a while. It's really me! We're live in 10 minutes. I'll keep you posted. Lots of love #iamsimon". Of course, Cowell is famous for his frankness and it was not long before Twitter-etiquette was forgotten. The following tweets -- all sent out during the live broadcast of his "reality" television...

  • SA’s Praekelt Foundation scoops international mobile marketing award

    The Praekelt Foundation has been named the first South African winner of the Social Impact Category of the 2011 Mobile Marketing Awards for Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, held in Los Angeles. The foundation, which "builds open source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty" was honoured for its YoungAfricaLive project. The project, hosted on the Vodafone Live mobile web platform, is essentially a mobile community where people can discuss “critical issues facing Africa’s youth”. According to the foundation, these include "love, sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS". YoungAfricaLive,...

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 smashes sales records

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has pulled in US$775-million in sales worldwide during its short five-day release period. This puts it in line to eclipse Call of Duty: Special Ops, which managed to rake in US$1-billion in sales. Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision was über-chuffed at the success of his shooter empire saying, “Life-to-date retail sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded US$6 billion worldwide, which makes Call of Duty one of the most valuable entertainment properties in the world.” Comparisons paint a fuller picture of gaming success for Modern Warfare 3.Call of Duty: Black Opsearned US$650-million during the same five-day period, while...

  • Rio Ferdinand, Sepp Blatter engage in tweet war over racism

    In the wake of claims by FIFA president Sepp Blatter that there was no racism in football, Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand has taken to Twitter to express his dismay, resulting in a flood of tweets from the two. Blatter has faced worldwide condemnation and calls for his resignation following the comments. When CNN asked him if racism still existed on the pitch, Blatter denied it and said such incidents should simply be settled by a handshake at the end of the match. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, he made the wide-sweeping pronouncement that "After the World Cup in...

  • PayPal lets friends send money on Facebook

    The combination of online payments and social media has hit a turning point. Online payment giant, PayPal, has released a "Send Money" application on Facebook that allows friends to send each other money. "We are bringing the largest online payments company to the world's largest social network to make it even easier to send money to your friends and family directly from Facebook," said PayPal's senior product marketing manager JB Coutinho in a blog post. "Our new Send Money application on Facebook allows users to turn those wall posts into actual gifts," she said. The app gives people the choice...