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  • Clay Shirky explains why SOPA/PIPA is bad [TED Video]

    Following the 18 January blackout protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act), TED has released a video of renowned New York University (NYU) professor Clay Shirky explaining why the bill passing before congress is bad. The talk, called "Defend Our Freedom To Share (Or Why SOPA is a Bad Idea)", took place at TED's New York offices. The video wasn't part of the company's traditional conference video lecture series about "ideas worth spreading". The 14 minute video begins with a story about a bakery that printed children’s drawings on birthday cakes. This became a problem...

  • DStv Walka — Plastic fantastic

    It feels cheap, the sound quality is dire, and the signal is rarely clear. But hell, I love the DSTV Walka. It’s compact, low-res and filled with charm. But is it worth dropping R600 plus the R36 per month subscription? The DStv Walka is a handheld TV with a dubious name, but oodles of personality. The screen is tiny -- a mere 320p by 240p resolution which can by no means compete with the full HD capability of DStv's PVR offering. It's not meant to appeal to that crowd though. Read more on Gearburn. 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");

  • China cracking down on microblogs with real name registration

    The Chinese government is cracking down on users of the country's widely popular microblogs, known as weibos, to register using their real names -- making it easier for authorities to track them. Real name registrations began with just five cities in 2011 and internet regulator, Wang Chen, said the scheme would eventually be extended. "This started at the end of last year. At first it applies to new users only, and it will then be expanded to existing users," said Wang Chen, minister in charge of the press office of the State Council -- China's cabinet. He told reporters that weibos had...

  • Facebook launches 60 new apps for Timeline

    Facebook Timeline has added apps from some 60 new media partners. At a special event, the world’s largest social network announced apps for the signature feature from the likes of Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, and TripAdvisor. The new apps allow users to update their timelines with activities relevant to them. Pintrest or Pose users, for instance, can use the apps from those companies to post pictures of their favourite items onto their timeline. In an official blog post, Facebook also gives of examples of how people can use the food or travel apps: If...

  • Widespread plagiarism in Amazon’s erotica section

    Amazon's self-publishing section appears to have entered into a hotbed of a plagiarism scandal. The site's Kindle store seems to be housing a host of fake authors publishing copyrighted material in its erotica section, reports Fastcompany. It would appear that there is more than just lust, incest, fake tans and incredibly obvious clichés going on in Amazon's erotica section. Amazon, it seems, is full of fake authors who are selling erotica copied word-for-word from stories posted on "popular and free erotic fiction site", Literotica. According to Quantcast the site attracts more than 4.5-million monthly users. In an interview with...

  • Facebook apps, Twitter see massive growth in the workplace

    We all know that Facebook apps, particularly the gaming, ones are incredibly popular. What might be surprising, however, is how rapidly the use of Facebook apps in the workplace has grown in the past year. According to new research from network security vendor Palo Alto networks, app traffic in the work place grew from four percent to 14% between October 2010 and December 2011. Time spent on games from specialist social game developer Zynga -- responsible for titles such as FarmVille, CityVille, and Mafia Wars --, meanwhile, now accounts for some five percent of all social traffic in the...

  • Wimpy announces free breakfast on Twitter [Update]

    Wimpy is a great South African brand that has moved with the times, kept up to date, and kept up with consumers. Known especially for its Wimpy coffee -- there are a lot of clever marketing brains behind the brand. The food outlet has had a really great run of ads, playing on South African humour and making us all laugh. Here are two of my favourites: Now check out its new campaign, recently announced on Twitter: on 19 January, Wimpy is offering a free breakfast between 7am and 8am. That’s a pretty bold marketing step if...

  • Google workers accused of ‘vandalising’ open source maps

    Google employees seem, once again, to have pushed the limits of its "Do no evil" corporate mantra. According to Wired magazine, high-ranking members of OpenStreetMap (OSM), an open source mapping project that allows "to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth”,claim that “user accounts attached to a range of Google internet addresses in India have been maliciously tampering with its data". Google, meanwhile, claims the people behind the accounts were contractors using machines on the Google network and were “acting on their own behalf”. Speaking to Wired, a Google spokesperson said...

  • #FactsWithoutWikipedia climbs the Twitter trends amidst SOPA protest

    Wikipedia’s decision to black its site out in protest against SOPA has generally been greeted with enthusiastic support from around the web. The truth is, whether or not you admit it, some of us are feeling a little lost without the world’s most popular tool for settling bar fights and deep intellectual rants -- "the Sun is a star", for instance. That’s why we showed you how to get around the blackout. The Twitterverse has, however, come up with its own solution: a massive trending topic. In fact, hashtags concerning the blackout took up the top two spots on...

  • Social search, at what cost?

    In 2011 "Social Search" became a hot topic as Google introduced "Realtime Search" via the Twitter “firehose” and Bing began to index Facebook. In July, Twitter didn’t renew its deal with Google and Realtime Search was no longer offered. In the past week Google came under fire for including "your world" in their iconic search results and analysts began speaking about antitrust investigations. While analysts discuss the social search race in terms of adoption, partnerships and the invaluable data gleaned from the platforms, what they fail to talk about is the technological investment needed to process the data. In 1997, Larry...

  • SOPA Protests: The day the web went black

    A number of high profile websites are going dark in protest of America’s proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and Protect IP Act (PIPA) currently going through congress. A number of web giants including Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, and WordPress are, to some degree at least, going dark in protest of the controversial bill. The protests themselves have become a globally trending topic on Twitter. Were SOPA to pass, it would see any website deemed guilty of hosting copyrighted content having its domain name rescinded. A similar bill going through the senate called the Protect IP Act (PIPA), meanwhile, would...

  • Tweet-by-tweet sex: Would you chronicle your conception attempt?

    Perhaps I have stumbled upon the first ever recorded conception on Twitter... Before the advent of social media sites like Facebook, sex was the biggest industry on the internet. Porn sites have been plying their trade online for years and there have been many embarrassing situations where a worm or virus has loaded itself onto a PC only to repeatedly offer up porn hoping you’ll find something you like and hand over your credit card details. Say what you will, but porn sites have been at the forefront of internet marketing strategies, constantly trying to find new ways to dodge...

  • How to view Wikipedia during the SOPA/PIPA protest

    Fighting online piracy is important, but SOPA/PIPA is not the way to do it. SOPA and PIPA undermine the existing laws that enabled the Web to blossom and permeate the lives of people across the world. Millions depend on it for work, but many more depend on it for information. In protest today -- January the 18th -- major sites across the Internet are “going dark” for 24 hours. Sites like Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress and TwitPic are disabling all or part of their services to raise awareness about these censorship laws that could prove to be detrimental to the free...

  • ANC takes Twitter by storm

    It takes large organisations weeks, or even months, to grasp the power of social media. In the case of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), it took 100 years. Of course, Twitter wasn't around when Africa's oldest liberation movement started, but during the ANC’s Centenary Celebrations the party showed that even it can mean business online. By now, it's no secret that opposition leader Helen Zille is the most engaging South African politician online after recently breaking through the 100 000 followers benchmark. During last year's municipal elections, the party she heads, the Democratic Alliance, made...

  • How Toyota and the Aussie Open are keeping an eye on the social media ball

    The old news: brands are realising the power and necessity of social media. The new news: brands are starting to get creative with the social media space. Some recent examples of brands getting inventive with social media include Toyota and the 2012 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament. Let’s explore these. Toyota’s new campaign is completely social. It has teamed up with Gadget and Slick and, using Facebook as a driving platform (excuse the pun), it's offering consumers the opportunity to create their own rap video using well known cartoon and Muppet characters, during a three day event on Facebook....