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  • South Africa votes: The online ‘chatter’ [statistics]

    The general consesus emerging amongst the chattering classes is that tomorrow's elections in South Africa will become known as "The Toilet Elections of 2011." However, had that matter not so spectacularly erupted in the face of both major political parties, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC), this election could have very well become known as South Africa's Social Media Elections of 2011. Just as electioneering has stormed through social networks across the world in other countries -- mostly since Barack Obama utilised it in such a spectacular fashion in his run for President in 2008 -–...

  • China bans time travel

    The Chinese government recently announced its latest contraband: time travel. Or at least time travel as it’s depicted in fictional enterprises such as films and television. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) cautioned filmmakers and producers that movies with time-travel thematics tend to “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” Although China has not issued an outright ban as yet, its firm censorship laws in almost all areas of public consumption likely means a practical prohibition for all intents and purposes. From the reports...

  • Iraq to bring banks to the masses — by mobile

    When one thinks of Iraq, the last thing on one's mind is innovation in the tech sphere, however that is just what is happening. Following in the footsteps of the very successful M-Pesa of East Africa, Baghdad is hoping to close the gap by getting people to open accounts, make payments and transfer cash -- all via mobile, as only one-fifth of Iraqis have bank accounts, but 70 percent have mobile phones. In a country that is one of the most corrupt and violent in the world, the initiative is aimed at securing Iraqis' funds, and strengthening the banking sector...

  • Nokia ditches Ovi label

    Four years ago, in what was widely seen as a ill-conceived move, Finnish mobile giant, Nokia, announced the launch of Ovi. Finally, after sticking with the venture for what many feel has been way longer than necessary, Nokia has decided to move on... well sort of... Ovi was seen as Nokia’s answer to Apple’s wildly popular iTunes and as such was the brand under which Nokia sold music, games and apps for its mobile phones. Although initially Ovi was slated, by 2011 it has grown substantially to the point of having its user base downloading an average of 5 million...

  • China’s online population rises to 477 million

    China's spiralling online numbers have turned the internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions, albeit covertly. The number of internet users in China, already the world's largest online market, hit 477 million at the end of March, a senior government official was quoted by state media as saying on Monday. The growing strength and influence of the web population has prompted concern in Beijing about the internet's potential as a tool for generating social unrest, and authorities have stepped up surveillance in recent years. The government blocks web content that it deems politically sensitive in a vast system dubbed...

  • Live TV on my iPad: Hands-on with the Drifta

    The idea of being able to watch live satellite TV on my iPad, iPhone and laptop sounded just too good to be true. So it wasn’t long before I had the Drifta, DSTV’s much-publicised DVB-H mobile TV decoder, in my hands. It’s an amazing little innovation, designed locally, that brings nine selected DSTV channels like SuperSport, ENews and others to your laptop, iPhone, iPad or selected Nokia phones. There are also future plans to bring the broadcast to Android phones and ... Read full story on Gearburn.com 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");

  • iPaid 2 much for this damn thing so of course it’s great

    On a recent trip to LA, once hotel check-in and bag-dumping was done, some colleagues and I went downstairs for a beer. Just the one, because by then the taxi was outside, and it was off to the nearest Best Buy. Not one, not two, but three grown men of otherwise thoughtful and pragmatic disposition were literally gagging to get their hands on an iPad 2. And they were not the only ones, because there was a waiting list at the Apple Store, and even the Best Buy store clerks needed a good brow-beating to get them to hand one...

  • Crowdsourcing: A new kind of social media marketing campaign

    Adam Skikne recently noted in a column, that social media marketing tools are not really like "the intrusive, traditional forms of advertising that have continuously interrupted our daily lives since the 1950’s". He contends that they are "permission marketing," in that, be it by "Liking" a brand’s Facebook page or by "following" it on Twitter, you allow it to "interrupt" your daily life. However, a social media marketing campaign, when properly executed can and should be something far more interactive than these more passive examples. We all know of T-Mobile's "Life Is For Sharing" campaign as an example...

  • How to do market and competitor research that wins investment

    Regardless of whether it’s an angel investor or venture capitalist you are approaching, every funder will narrow things down to one major question: “Who is your target market and who are you competing against?” This is the warning of Alex Fraser, who drives home the fact that preparing a market and competitor analysis is a vital part of any business plan or pitch deck. Fraser is based at at InvenFin, an early stage capital company. She says she often receives business plans with no competitor analysis, leading her to request one from entrepreneurs with the need for more information. It’s...

  • Google Music: What it is and what it means

    The internet and music industry waited with baited breath for the highly anticipated Google Music to finally make its first appearance. With the massive amount of clout that Google has online, people have wondered how Google Music might change the digital landscape and perhaps offer some sort of competition to Apple’s dominion over online music. After much talk and speculation, Google finally launched Google Music beta by exclusive invite to certain users in the US. So what exactly is Google music? In short Google Music is a cloud based music streaming service. It allows users to upload up to 20 000...

  • BlackBerry PlayBooks recalled over ‘integral issue’

    After a long wait, and less than a month into it being available to the public, Research In Motion's (RIM) much awaited, slated but also debated PlayBook tablet -- the answer to the iPad from BlackBerry's parent company -- is already facing what some are describing as its first major problem. Though RIM tried to keep the news quiet, the news of a batch of 16GB Playbooks being recalled was leaked over the weekend with a list of corresponding serial numbers. Though it was clear that this was an official recall, the actual problem with the Playbooks had not been...

  • Insights into what really happens at Googleplex

    Douwe Osinga, a software engineer, recently left Google after seven years. He's written a series of blog posts explaining why he left and also describing what it was like working there, and he dispels some of the many myths about Google. For example: The 20% time myth. The myth might have been that you basically get a day off a week to do whatever. It is still work. And you’re still held responsible for what you do. So yeah, you can do whatever you want to, but you have to actually want it and it is still for Google... Also, it isn’t...

  • Sony battles to regain trust after data breach

    Japanese entertainment and technology giant Sony faces a battle to regain the trust of millions of consumers after online networks integral to its strategy were hacked, say analysts. One of the biggest data breaches since the advent of the internet could cost it around US$1 billion, but deeper damage to Sony's brand image could undermine efforts to link its gadgets to an online network of games, movies and music. "It is difficult to make profits on such devices without networking functions", said Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi. "What is necessary is for Sony to restore consumer confidence." The cyber attacks on...

  • Obama proposes new cyber-security law

    With "hacktivism" on the rise -- practiced by organisations and groups such as Anonymous -- and in face of the Sony saga to name just two examples, the White House proposed draft legislation on Thursday aimed at toughening the defenses of government and private industry against the growing danger from cyber-attack. The White House said in a statement, "Our nation is at risk... Cyber-security vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety, and economic prosperity." The statement continued, "It has become clear that our nation cannot fully defend against these threats unless...

  • 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...