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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Cape Town’s temporary desalination plants will be online by ‘February 2018’

    After yesterday's rains across the metropole, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille briefed media, and Twitter, on updates regarding its water resilience scheme. The scheme aims to "avoid a time when users do not have access to municipal drinking water", de Lille explained. "In terms of our Water Resilience Plan to augment supply with schemes, we are expecting the first water to come online by Dec 2017 /Jan 2018," she tweeted. The plan intends to add an additional 500-million litres per day to Cape Town's water supply by using natural springs, aquifers, and desalination. The latter, however, won't be ready this year. "ater...

  • Viral video: Chinese man risks falling to his death to avoid paying hotel bill

    Staying in a hotel definitely has its perks. You needn't ever make your bed, buffet breakfasts are rarely disappointing, and you usually have access to a slew of channels on the telly. But arguably, counting the bill's digits at the end of your stay can be a painful experience. For some, avoiding that awkward check-out experience might even be worth risking your life. That's where this particular Chinese man's story comes to the fore. According to Beijing news publication People's Daily, a man scaled telecom cables spanning across two tall buildings in south-western city of Panzhou on Friday in a bid to...

  • ‘All Yahoo user accounts’ were affected by 2013 hack

    When Yahoo announced that a billion users were affected by its 2013 hack, the internet weathered a collective cold sweat. But the story isn't quite done yet. The internet company's parent firm Oath today released "new intelligence" regarding the breach. "Subsequent to Yahoo's acquisition by Verizon, and during integration, the company recently obtained new intelligence and now believes, following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts, that all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft," Oath, also a subsidiary of Verizon, confirmed in a press release. That's three-billion users. While Oath confirmed that the orchestrators of the hack...

  • The ATSB’s final report on MH370 is beyond chilling

    In March 2014, a Boeing 777 designated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing after taking off in Kuala Lumpur. It was due to land in Beijing, China, but never made it. Now, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) -- one of three parties leading the search -- has today issued its final report on the tragedy. The report didn't speculate on what could've happened to the plane, but did shed light on the details of the search for the aircraft. Alongside the Malaysian and Chinese governments, the ATSB covered an area of 710 000 square kilometres beneath the sea, and a further...

  • Cape Town dam levels: September sees below average rainfall

    The City of Cape Town today published its latest dam storage report, but it makes for bleak reading. Although no massive drops have been reported, no substantial increases can be noted either (pdf). And Cape Town needs a substantial increase. Note: see last week's dam levels report here. The largest dam in the system -- the Theewaterskloof -- continued its negative trend this week, dropping 0.1% to 28.3% capacity. Following suit was the Steenbras Lower Dam, now just 45.5% full, down from 46.3% a week earlier. But gains have been made by some of the other stores. The Franschhoek's Berg River Dam, for one,...

  • Afrihost Mobile Data review: an answer to #DataMustFall?

    Data prices is an issue bubbling beneath the surface of South African politics and culture. As more South Africans use social media and other data-reliant technologies, the price of those crucial megabytes have come under the spotlight. And especially so in 2017. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged these issues at the State of the Nation Address in January, while citizens have also made their feelings known through campaigns like #SocialMediaBlackOut and #DataMustFall. Across the fence, telecoms are also making changes. Vodacom launched its Meg Your Day campaign in June, while MTN has reiterated its free Twitter service, albeit with a few bumps. But even...

  • Update: Las Vegas shooting captured in dramatic Twitter, Facebook videos

    Update: 1.30pm SAST: US President Donald Trump has issued a statement on Twitter following the Las Vegas shooting. "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!" he wrote. My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017 Update: 12.50opm SAST: Las Vegas Police have confirmed in "excess of 50 deceased", with more than 200 injured after the shooting. The suspect is believed to be 64-year-old American Stephen Paddock. At this time there is...

  • Elon Musk’s BFR will fly from London to Cape Town in just 34 minutes

    Elon Musk may be nuts, but a remarkable number of the South African-born businessman's ventures have been successful. This week at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, he announced another "really special" proposal. His space exploration company SpaceX is pondering a new method of transporting people from one corner of the Earth to the other. And it involves a space vehicle/rocket system called the BFR. "The BFR will be capable of taking people from any city to any other city on Earth in under one hour," the company revealed. Elon Musk's SpaceX believes a journey from Johannesburg to Sydney could last just...

  • #Elphinstone: Mumbai railway stampede kills 22, Twitter users question govt

    At least 22 people have died after a rush hour stampede at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road train station. The incident occurred as commuters traversed a foot bridge in heavy rains during the city's morning commute. More than 50 people were injured in the fracas. #Elphinstone became Twitter's top trending hashtag soon after the incident, as Indians took to social media to issue condolences to those affected, blame authorities for the incident, and share their struggles of travelling using the city's metro network. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi lead the sympathies. My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to...

  • Earth’s volcanoes are angry: Mexico, Bali and Vanuatu on alert

    The world was supposed to end on 23 September, but we're all still here. However, the planet wants to remind everyone that our existence is hinged on its mood. This week, volcanoes in Indonesia, Mexico and Vanuatu are all threatening eruptions, with some angry craters prompting evacuations. Ambae Island, Vanuatu Around 3000km north of New Zeland in the southwestern Pacific, over 10 000 people have been ordered to evacuate Vanuatu's Ambae Island, in the wake of a possible eruption of Manaro Voui. Citizens will be "evacuated by ship to the neighbouring islands of Maewo, Espiritu Santo, Pentecost and Malakula," Vanuatu Digest reports. #Breaking:...

  • Global airports crippled as check-in systems malfunction

    Fliers at some of the world's busiest airports were unable to check-in this morning due to a network failure. Airlines and airports using the Amadeus Altea check-in service were impacted. The system is reportedly used by over 125 airlines worldwide. The issue was first noted by Twitter account @AirportWebcams around 11am SAST which left check-in services via apps, boarding passes and kiosks dysfunctional. BREAKING: Many social media reports of airline & airport IT systems down: Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore, Paris, London, Johannesburg... pic.twitter.com/PhCPdkloWp — Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) September 28, 2017 Users at Tokyo Haneda, Washington D.C., Melbourne and Brussels were impacted, but disruptions at London...

  • Uber celebrates its 4th birthday in Africa

    Uber today celebrates its fourth anniversary in Africa. Our sister site Ventureburn first revealed the company's plans for an African expansion in July 2013. Uber then began secret tests in August later that year. Now, the company operates in 16 cities across the continent. In honour of the occasion, the on-demand transport company dug up some of the numbers behind its four year stint on the continent. Some of the figures are rather remarkable. The company has moved over 1.8-million people within the four years, with more than 230 000 rides scheduled. It also created more than 29 000 economic opportunities within...

  • Playboy Hugh Hefner dies at 91, social media remembers his life

    Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy empire, has died at the age of 91. According to reports, the American passed away "peacefully" in Los Angeles of natural causes. Playboy's Twitter account broke the news around 6.30am SAST, and called Hefner an "American icon". American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef pic.twitter.com/tCLa2iNXa4 — Playboy (@Playboy) September 28, 2017 Notably, Hefner's final tweets aimed to help raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma, which swept through the Caribbean islands and Floridian peninsula earlier this month. "My thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricanes Harvey &...

  • What are Twitter users doing with their 280-character tweets?

    We get it: 280 characters are a lot. Some would argue too many. And while Twitter argues that more room to tweet is beneficial for English speakers, users can't seem to find ways to use all 280 characters. After all, the above two paragraphs only feature 206 characters. If Twitter chose you as one of its guinea pigs, but you have no idea what to do with all the newly bestowed power, look no further than these users and brands for inspiration. They somehow found a solution to the existential crisis that is the longer tweet length, and have overcome. Well, even if...

  • Vodacom’s IoT division now connects ‘three million things’ in South Africa

    Hot on the heels of MTN Business's Internet of Things (IoT) network announcement, Vodacom revealed that its IoT division is now connecting more than "three million 'things'" across South Africa. Deon Liebenberg, the managing exec of Vodacom's IoT division explained that this is a clear indication of the growth of IoT and related technologies in the country. "It’s worth noting that it took us eight years to get to two million connections and it took us only one year to get to three million," he explained. "The rate of IoT adoption is picking up speed locally and with the commercial rollout of...