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  • SA Space Agency looks to cyberspace for help with real space

    The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for the country’s citizens to have a say in the drafting of the National Space Programme (NSP). According to agency’s website, the aim of the NSP is to "make South Africa a leading space player by 2030". The site also invites South Africans to share their "thoughts on 'Space Vision 2030' via the face book or Twitter". Speaking to Business Day, a leading South African newspaper, Arthur Goldstuck of internet research firm World Wide Worx said SANSA's move was something of...

  • How I would have stuffed up Twitter: Usability’s quest for simplicity

    I've often wondered what it was like in the early days of creating Twitter. It must have been interesting times working out what the social network would be, what it would look like and how it would function. Of course, no-one then knew for certain it would be the slam-dunk success of today. In those early, startup days of rapid development and innovation, there must have been countless arguments, debates and jousts over how it would look and how it would work. It must have been an exciting, creative and nervous time, with endless testing, trial and error. I've often wondered...

  • We don’t talk about brands online — so what are we talking about?

    Social media is not about brands. It’s throwaway headlines like that which make brands and businesses -- especially SMEs -- shy away from social media and from entering into a conversation with their potential clients online. At first glance this reinforces a marketing manager's preconceived notion that no good can come from his brand engaging online, but what is the truth behind this kind of sentiment? Offline discovery still works Brands are still largely being discovered offline -- this is through word of mouth as well as radio, TV, print and billboards. In a US survey by eMarketer, 30.1% of respondents...

  • Provocative student poster causes sensation on social networks

    A campaign by the student wing of South Africa’s official opposition party is causing a sensation on social networks. The campaign by the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) features a topless white man and black woman embracing. The poster, which is an advert of the organisation’s 2012 membership campaign, also comes with the tagline: “In OUR future, you wouldn’t look twice”. Since hitting Facebook a couple of hours ago, the poster has generated around 150 "likes", 75 shares and 370 odd comments. A number of the comments have reacted negatively to the implied nudity in the poster. “I don't get...

  • RIM co-CEOs throw in the towel, COO becomes new CEO

    Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry smartphones, released a statement today announcing that co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have stepped down in a management shuffle. As a result of mounting pressure by shareholders who watched RIM’s stock price tumble 75% last year, eventually falling below book value, RIM announced that Lazaridis who founded RIM in 1984 will become vice chairman, while Balsillie will continue to sit on the board forgoing any operational roles. Chief operating officer Thorsten Heins will take over as CEO starting today. Heins started at RIM in 2007, having previously worked at Siemens Communications. He took up...

  • Sina Weibo smashes Twitter’s traffic record over Chinese New Year

    The most popular of China’s microblogging services Sina Weibo, saw record traffic over the Chinese New Year. According to Chinese tech site Do News, an average of 32 312 messages were sent per second, while 481 207 messages were sent during the first minute of the year. This smashes Twitter's record 25 088 tweets per second -- achieved when Japanese users took to the social network en-masse during a national TV broadcast of the classic Anime series Castle in the Sky. According to The Next Web, the volume of messages sent this New Year, "is three times higher than...

  • ‘Right to be forgotten’ — EU’s new plan for internet freedom

    The European Union is in the process of proposing new laws on how large corporations handle users' personal data. Speaking at the Digital Life Design(DLD) conference in Germany on Sunday, EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said she thinks governments need to find a balance between policing the internet to protect copyright and upholding freedom of expression. Reding was reacting to a US crackdown on hundreds of websites accused of offering pirated music or movies or counterfeit goods, as well as calls for new legislation to guard intellectual property. "The protection of creators must never be used as pretext to intervene in...

  • Light, sexy and daring, its the Nokia 700

    The Nokia 700 is a beautiful phone, with a dreadful OS and some redeeming features. I tear it apart like a rare fillet in a New York diner. Overall design In a word, solid. In a longer word, rock-solid. The 700 smacks of passion. Its diminutive proportions may be too tiny for my meaty paws, but in a normal sized hand it rests comfortably, like a shivering metal kitten. The 0.9kg weight combined with a length of 11cm is a masterstroke of design. While I hated the shape of the N9, I feel as if Nokia has struck gold with the 700....

  • Interrupted viola player plays Nokia ringtone [Viral video]

    A five-month-old video has a new, viral, lease on life. The video features Slovakian violinist Lukas Kmit, being interrupted by a Nokia ringtone. Rather than storming off or histrionically berating the phone’s owner, Kmit simply started playing the ringtone. The interruption took place while Kmit was giving a recital at a Jewish Orthodox Synagogue in Presov, eastern Slovakia. According to Cnet’s Chris Matyszczyk, the video went viral after a recent incident in which the marimba ringtone of an iPhone brought the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to a complete halt. “In the case of the Philharmonic,” says Matyszczyk, “the marimba...

  • New FFT math could equal 10X faster LOLcat downloads

    I feel like we take compression for granted. It’s like the bass player in a band. While the lead guitarist or singer gets decorated with undergarments from the ladies, the unsung bassist grooves in the background, playing the vital role of filling out the low end of the frequency spectrum and blowing your hair back. Compression technologies and the network infrastructure upon which they function are key to delivering our LOLcats, Nyan Cats, Honeybadgers and Rebecca Blacks, but with all the attention given to terrestrial broadband and 4G, it’s easy for new advances in compression techniques to slip under the radar. Read more on Gearburn.comvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var...

  • Absinthe is here — jailbreak iPhone 4S and iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1 now!

    The jailbreak for both A5 iDevices running iOS 5.0.1, namely the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S has landed. Absinthe runs on both Windows and Mac PCs and is seemingly the easiest jailbreak process yet. Pod2g is the self-confessed “iOS security researcher” who developed the jailbreak along with Team Chronic. A simple process The jailbreak works on the iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1 and the iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0.1 or iOS 5.0. Read more on Gearburn.comvar 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");

  • SOPA author withdraws controversial anti-piracy bill

    Lamar Smith, the author of America's proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has withdrawn the controversial bill. According to Reuters, the Texas congressman decided to pull the bill in the wake of mass online protests from people in the US and abroad. Smith's decision comes shortly after US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said, "in light of recent events" he would postpone a critical vote that had been scheduled for January 24. Smith said that similar legislation would not be considered "until there is wider agreement on a solution." "I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns...

  • SOPA is dead, Twitter cheers

    The internet rejoiced as news of Stop Online Piracy Act's (SOPA) death spread like wild fire. The controversial bill has been the talk of the internet for the last week. A call to action from internet titans such as Google and Wikipedia saw the web go black on Wednesday in protest of a bill that they said would threaten the very nature of the net. Following Texas Congressman Lamar Smith's decision to pull the bill late Friday, "SOPA is dead" quickly climbed up the Twitter trends ladder. A sigh of relief and jubilation could be heard around the web...

  • Google cans Picnik, Social Graph API and open sourcing Sky Maps

    Google’s spring cleaning campaign continues. The company just announced the closure of a number of products, including the popular Picnik online photo editor which, until recently, was integrated into Yahoo’s Flickr, for example. Google is also shutting down a number of underutilized services like the Google Message Continuity email backup service for enterprise customers, its Social Graph API and Urchin, the company it bought in 2005 and that formed the basis for Google Analytics. Needlebase, a database product Google acquired through its ITA acquisition, is also shutting down by June. In addition, Google is open-sourcing its Sky Map Android app....

  • 4 non-mobile tech trends to look out for in 2012

    Everybody is talking about mobiles. If the trends in 2011 were anything to go by, 2012 will revolve around mobile phones and tablet computing. So making predictions and talking about what there is to look forward to is pretty easy if you just want to stick to safe topics. Of course, with Solar Maximum all set for 2012, major solar storms could make it a tricky year for the mobile. So I've decided to take a look at non-mobile related technology to see what other positive things we should look out for. 1. Cheaper hardware Flooding in the far-east made 2011...