• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • [Update] Mduduzi Manana: minister called ‘trash’ after assault video goes viral

    Update #2, 3.20pm: The Presidency is the latest governmental department to issue a statement on Nduduzi Manana. "President Jacob Zuma has learned with great concern and is disturbed by the allegations of assault on a woman patron at a nightclub in Johannesburg reported by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana," reads the statement, published to Twitter. "The South African Government has made violence against women a priority crime," President Jacob Zuma states in the release. "Women have a right to safety and security and must not be attacked or abused by anyone, anywhere in the country, regardless...

  • Cape Town: calculate your daily water usage here

    How much water do you consume daily? Considering that the City of Cape Town wants its citizens to use less than 87 litres per day, you may be wondering just that. Thankfully the City of Cape Town has launched a tool that allows users -- albeit rather roughly -- to estimate their daily water consumption, and make changes to their lifestyle and usage habits. The tool itself is extremely simple. It's located on a quick-to-load, single-use website and features a number of daily activities involving water consumption to some degree. This includes showering, washing dishes, washing your hands and face and filling...

  • Despacito vs See You Again: which YouTube video will hit 3bn views first?

    "Despacito" and "See You Again" are currently locked in an epic, brutal popularity battle atop the YouTube charts. As the first and second most watched videos on Google's video platform, both have a chance to become the first ever video to break the three-billion view milestone. At present, "Despacito" is the plucky underdog, standing at 2.889-billion views, but it has caught and passed previous most viewed video on YouTube -- Psy's "Gangnam Style" -- within two weeks. "See You Again" however is now less than 10-million views away from hitting the three-billion view milestone. It became the most viewed video on YouTube...

  • #IfTwitterDidntExist: the internet imagines the 140-character apocalypse

    What would you possibly do if Twitter didn't exist? That's one of the most important questions being asked by the internet right now. Founded in 2006 by now-CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter hasn't had the smoothest existence compared to its contemporaries. It was a breakthrough social network in many ways. While Facebook was toying with personal pages and Google possessed no tangible clue of what a social network is supposed to be, Twitter was the preppy kid with a brief but always sassy opinion. And users' opinion has always been at the fore of Twitter's social mechanics. While things looked up for Twitter prior to...

  • Google Play Store will no longer suggest ‘lower quality’ apps in search

    Google Play Store has made it easier for users to spot the "lower quality" apps on its platform from the genuinely useful. According to a new blog post, the company is actively focussing on privileging apps that exhibit stellar stability, and penalising those that show "excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes". "As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we recently enhanced our search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality," Google Play's product manager Andrew Ahn explains. Google Play rewards well-built apps by pushing them further up search listings "This results in higher quality apps...

  • ‘Hot Jupiter’: You probably wouldn’t want to stay on WASP-121b

    Human beings have long been searching for an alternative, habitable planet to fly to when they inevitably destroy their current home. But the exoplanet dubbed WASP-121b probably won't be labelled as a suitable candidate. Nearly double the size of Jupiter, and orbiting a star 900 light years from Earth, this particular planet was discovered in 2015. But only this week has the planet given astronomers more insight into what they call "hot Jupiters". For starters, the exoplanet has a stratosphere -- a layer in a planet's upper atmosphere that becomes increasingly warmer with height -- something that astronomers theorised exoplanets could...

  • Instagram Stories is a remarkably successful one-year-old

    When Instagram Stories launched back in August 2016, the world just couldn't help but chastise Facebook for copying Snapchat's business model. But 12 months on, a quarter-of-a-billion users later, and yet another possible Facebook revenue stream, it looks to be one of the best digital business decisions made this decade. Snapchat isn't exactly a minnow though. The ephemeral messaging app still boasts an admirable userbase of around 166-million. But it isn't growing nearly as quickly as Facebook's version. Instagram Stories has rocketed to 250-million daily users in a year. In celebrating its birthday, Instagram also shed some more revealing light on Stories'...

  • Firefox Send: Mozilla debuts experimental file sharing service

    The Firefox name is lending itself to yet another product that isn't a web browser. After WhatsApp in July debuted its buffed file sharing service supporting up to 100MB files, the Mozilla-built browser has now one-upped the Facebook-owned chat giant. Located in its Test Pilot service -- in which Mozilla allows the community to test a number of pre-release experiments and features -- Firefox Send allows internet users to kite files of up to 1GB to anyone anywhere in the world. Additionally, said file and link will disappear within 24 hours, or be destroyed after it has been downloaded once. Oh, and...

  • VSCO gains video editing features, but there’s a premium catch

    Popular photo editing suite VSCO has long let users on iOS and Android edit their fancy photographs. But a new update finally lets users tinker with videos. "Although VSCO has long been home to storytelling through photography, we also recognise and celebrate different mediums of creative expression like DSCOs, design, poetry, and videography," the company writes on its blog. There is of course a catch. The video editing tools are only available on iOS for now, and only accessible to VSCO X members -- the app's premium membership tier. The subscription service also gives paying customers access to a bevy of additional...

  • YouTube’s machines are better at fighting terrorism than humans

    YouTube this week took to its blog, updating the internet on how it has been combating extremist content on its platform this past month. Part of this strategy -- outlined at the end of June -- included partnering with the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter to accelerate efforts to nullify online extremism. Beyond this, the company has also implemented a few hardware and policy changes. "We've always used a mix of technology and human review to address the ever-changing challenges around controversial content on YouTube," it writes. "We recently began developing and implementing cutting-edge machine learning technology designed to help us identify...

  • James van der Beek runs a better Diplo Twitter account than Diplo

    As the brains behind tracks like "Lean On", "Cold Water" and, uh, "Bubble Butt", Diplo is no stranger to the limelight. His official Twitter account also boasts around 2.33-million followers, which isn't minuscule at all. But while his timeline is laced with fans' adorable letters expressing their love for his music, his Diplo account isn't quite the best Diplo account. That honour belongs to James van der Beek. Yes, Dawson Leery of Dawson's Creek fame. Van der Beek's parody account -- @_diplo_ and not the more official @diplo -- also boats a verified badge, which makes it notably difficult to tell the actual...

  • Prisoners use peanut butter to escape Alabama slammer

    All the great prison breaks of history and popular culture involved some degree of cunning and invention. But peanut butter? CNN this week reported on what could be one of the strangest prison breaks on record, when 12 inmates of an Alabama prison used the nutty spread to star in the latest season of Prison Break. Now, you might be thinking that they somehow squeezed through the cell bars covered in the slippery spread. But no, the story is even stranger than that. 'Hope they manage to figure out a peanut butter proof way of numbering doors' A comedy of errors, a new...

  • How many days of water does Cape Town have left? This website tells you

    Mentioning the weather is anything but small talk in Cape Town nowadays. For many reasons it should be among the most important conversations you have with your neighbours on a daily basis. According to How many days of water does Cape Town have left? -- a purple gradient single-serving website -- our taps could be running dry as early as the end of September. The site itself is not a novel idea, but does serve its visitors with the most critical of numbers. While megalitres, millimetres and percentages are all vital for understanding the larger water usage picture  in Cape Town, the number...

  • 10 more SA photographers doing beautiful things on Instagram [Digital All Stars]

    Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others. Earlier this year, we took a look at a list of Instagrammers with less than 1000 followers who should seriously have a slew more. In this edition of Digital All Stars, we revisit a previous topic, but instead raise the bar to 2500 followers. Why? For one, we realised that there's a bevy of accounts across Instagram's sprawling...

  • Twitter still has 328m users as growth flatlines

    Twitter's brief positive run of earning results and user growth came to an abrupt halt this quarter. The social messaging company today released its Q2 2017 earnings results, and the numbers definitely aren't steeped in optimism. While its contemporaries continue to experience growth surges -- Facebook's WhatsApp recently topped a billion daily active users, for instance -- Twitter's user base still stands at 328-million monthly active users (MAUs). It failed to match the meekest of estimates too, which predicted a growth of a million users in the quarter. Twitter's positive run of earning results and user growth came to an abrupt halt this...