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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Beaufort West’s Gamka Dam hits 0%

    Beaufort West, the largest town in the Western Cape's arid Karoo region, has officially run out of dam water. This according to the Western Cape Government's media liaison James Styan. "The town has run out of surface water but has relied on boreholes for a long time," he tweeted Monday morning. #WCDROUGHT Note: Beaufort-West has NOT reached day Zero. The town has run out of surface water but has relied on boreholes for a long time. — James Styan (@jamesstyan) November 13, 2017 He did however suggest that the town, home to nearly 40 000 people, has not reached "day Zero" -- suggesting that there...

  • Viral video: Johannesburg Metro police officer attacked in Hillbrow

    A video of a group of people attacking a Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) officer has gone viral on both Twitter and Facebook. The video of the incident, which was captured in Hillbrow on Sunday, depicts members of a Johannesburg church congregation pushing, disarming and beating a JMPD officer. The cause of the incident was reportedly the towing of an illegally parked car. Quoted by News24, JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said that the officer at the centre of the incident was left "beaten" and "unconscious" and was later "rushed to Milpark Hospital". The two-minute-long video, initially uploaded to Facebook by Yusuf Abramjee, received more...

  • Disney wants to undercut Netflix’s price ahead of 2019’s streaming war

    If you feel that Netflix charges users a bit too much for its streaming content, don't worry, Disney's CEO thinks so too. Quoted by MarketWatch, Disney CEO Robert Iger said that the company's streaming service, set to debut in 2019, will be available at a "substantially" lower price point than its soon-to-be rival. "I can say that our plan on the Disney side is to price this substantially below where Netflix is," he told the publication. "That is in part reflective of the fact that we'll have substantially less volume." Netflix's base price in the US is currently US$7.99. Announced in August 2017 after purchasing...

  • Crime reporting app Namola now available across South Africa

    South African crime response app Namola is now available to use across the country, the company and its partner Dialdirect announced Friday. The app, which was initially available in Tshwane, allows users to request police or emergency assistance by sharing acute details with officials, including current location, and the nature of the emergency from their devices. It has been dubbed the "Uber for police". "For genuine alerts, police, other emergency response and citizen responders are then dispatched and monitored," the company noted in a press release. According to Dialdirect's executive head Warwick Scott-Rodger, the app is a "smart compliment" to other police dispatcher...

  • Instagram’s ‘new’ feature lets users follow hashtags like people

    In some cases -- consider breaking news as an example -- it makes more sense to follow a hashtag with its wide stream of information rather than a number of individuals, right? Instagram apparently agrees. According to a tweet noticed by TNW, Instagram is currently trialing a feature that will let users "follow a hashtag to see top posts and recent stories" much like you would with individual accounts. Ok this is new. What does this do @SimonSocialMM @BizPaul @NatalieTFG any ideas? I've followed 2 but can't find what that means!! pic.twitter.com/LlCBk4Wmfv — Pippa Akram (@Social_Pip) November 9, 2017 Akram's tweet also suggests...

  • UberEATS adds five-star ratings, tweaks recommendations and faves

    A star rating system, personalised recommendations and an improved layout for favourites is heading to the UberEATS app, the company announced Thursday. In similar vein to Uber's five-star rating system, users' ratings for restaurants will now be visible on the app appearing below the establishment's description. "Sharing ratings is a win-win, as restaurants can use this real-time feedback, including detailed comments on their Restaurant Manager dashboard to grow their business," added the company's product managers Ambika Krishnamachar and Calvin Lee. The company also confirmed that users will now receive "personalised menu recommendations" for each establishment they browse within...

  • This is how Snapchat’s UI will likely change come December

    Snapchat's app redesign, first announced by CEO Evan Spiegel earlier this week, will debut on 4 December according to a report by Business Insider's Alex Heath. Quoting sources "familiar with the matter", the publication claims that Snap employees were notified internally regarding the planned release date. Along with said date, details of the actual redesign of Snapchat's app have also been outed. On the face of it, nothing will change. Snapchat's home screen will still open on the camera screen, but it's what lies either side of the app that does receive a nip-tuck. The left-hand side of the app will house...

  • Truecaller reveals the top spam callers in South Africa

    Spam calls are part of daily life for most with a cell phone in South Africa, but which industry is most responsible for making them? These statistics and more were this week provided by Scandinavian company Truecaller, best known for its spam alert and management app. For Truecaller, South Africa has become an integral market. It's where the company is experiencing its fastest growth (120%) on the African continent, and boasts around 3.2-million users. With that growth and user pool stems some interesting statistics regarding spam calls in the country. South Africa ranks fifth on its list of countries most affected by spam...

  • This Chrome extension reverts Twitter’s character count changes

    Some people are really, really against Twitter's 280 character tweets. The list includes one Iggy Azalea, the Chrissy Teigen and a Steven King. But if you also really miss living in 2006, there's a Chrome extension that might help. "Whipped up in one night" by Slate's dev team, the aptly named 140 is a snarky, buggy solution to clipping Twitter's wings down to a more manageable and familiar length. "Install our new Chrome extension, 140, and keep the horrifying world of 280-character Twitter at bay for a bit longer," reads the extension's description. "If you’re visiting Twitter in Chrome, 140 will cut everyone’s...

  • NASA, Uber are serious about bringing flying taxis to cities by 2023

    In an unlikely partnership, NASA has sought the services of Uber to build air control software that will manage the flying taxis of the future. Yes, flying taxis. The partnership, announced today at WebSummit in Lisbon, is not beyond Uber's personal ambitions either. In April 2017, the company announced plans to launch a flying taxi programme -- dubbed UberAIR -- in Dubai and Dallas by 2020. Now Los Angeles will also be added to the roster. Uber has also previously toyed with using helicopters in Cape Town in what was more a marketing stunt than feasible city transport solution, but the aircraft Uber...

  • Instagram now lets you upload throwback photos, videos to your Story

    Do you have gigs and gigs of previously captured photos and video you just wish you could publish to your Instagram Story? Well, now you can. If you're running version 22 on iOS or version 18 on Android, you can now publish video clips and photographs that are more than 24 hours old to your Instagram Story roll. This is a stark departure to Instagram Stories' initial focus on ephemeral and live content. "Just like you normally would, swipe up from the camera to open your camera roll or tap the gallery icon. Scroll to choose your photo or video, and tap...

  • Snapchat is ‘redesigning’ its app, hits 178m daily active users

    After seeing its growth stunted by Facebook's similar products, Snapchat is pondering a number of changes to the app. In a Q3 2017 investors presentation, CEO Evan Spiegel announced a forthcoming "disruptive" change to the app that will reportedly make it simpler to use. "One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback. As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use," said Spiegel. "There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our...

  • It’s official: Twitter’s 280 character tweets are rolling out worldwide

    Christmas has come early for talkative tweeters. Starting this week, Twitter will roll out its 280 character tweet limit to all 330-million of its users. The trusty 140 character limit -- which has been in effect since Twitter's launch back in 2006 -- will now become a thing of the past for users not tweeting in Japanese, Korean or Chinese. The company decided to make the change official after a limited trial period in September. During said trial, a select number of users experienced double the number of characters available to use in a tweet. Granted, some didn't quite take it as...

  • Konnect Africa debuts SmartWiFi satellite broadband hotspot service

    Satellite broadband provider Konnect Africa has today announced its new hotspot service dubbed SmartWiFi. The announcement was made by the Eutelsat-owned company at AfricaCom 2017 in Cape Town. SmartWiFi will use Konnect Africa's satellite network to provide connectivity to the likes of hospitals, schools and retailers across South Africa. Unlike traditional access points that usually serve a small area, Konnect Africa's SmartWiFi will be "able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred meters around the hotspot". It can also be expanded further through the use of repeaters. This allows SmartWiFi to be employed in non-urban areas, explained Laurent Grimaldi, the...

  • Cape Town smoke-filled skies caused by Sir Lowry’s Pass fire

    Update, 5.17pm: Sir Lowry's Pass has been reopened to traffic closed once again. Cape Town - N2 Route: #SirLowrysPass (Update): ROAD CLOSED again over the pass - HEAVY QUEUES on the alternative R44 route via Rooiels — Rob Beezy (@TrafficSA) November 7, 2017 At least four houses have also been set alight by the blaze. First houses in Mountainside going up in smoke. Not good with wind gusting at 72kph. pic.twitter.com/OWP9elRpb9 — Gordons Bay, SA (@GordonsBaySA) November 7, 2017 Four homes destroyed by #SirLowrysPassFire, says @CityofCT. Fire ranges from N2 to Streenbras mouth. No injuries. Fire fanned by strong wind pic.twitter.com/KM2hCw3yfr — Cape Argus (@TheCapeArgus) November...