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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Uber Driver app adds ‘no thanks’ button, rating protection & more

    Uber has been in the news a fair bit recently, from protests involving metered taxis to UberEATS finally launched in Durban. But the company's latest set of tweaks is aimed at improving operations for drivers. It today announced a number of features heading to the Uber Driver app, which the company claims will "make it even easier for driver-partners across South Africa to choose when, where, and how they drive". "Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with over 12 000 driver-partners across South Africa, hearing what they care about when using the...

  • You can soon ‘unsend’ embarrassing, erroneous messages on WhatsApp

    WhatsApp is finally rolling out a feature that will let users to retract and delete messages they've already sent. Although it doesn't seem to be live worldwide just yet, a brief tutorial is available on WhatsApp's FAQ. "Deleting messages for everyone allows you to delete specific messages you have sent to either a group or an individual chat. This is particularly useful if you sent a message to the wrong chat or if the message you sent contains a mistake," it reads. Yes. That means you can now delete an erroneous, embarrassing or awkward message from your device and the recipient's device. Here's...

  • Johannesburg highways disrupted by metered taxi protest, Uber cars torched

    Traffic along Gauteng's R24 route was brought to a standstill this morning, after metered taxi drivers parked their cars on the road in protest. The R24 and R21 are two of Johannesburg and the East Rand's most important routes, linking key Johannesburg suburbs with OR Tambo International Airport. This morning from as early as 6am however, the roads were barely accessible. #TaxiProtest and #HighwayProtest began trending on Twitter across Gauteng Friday morning, as users tweeted pictures of the blockage, and information channels reported on the incident. According to police, two Uber cars were also set alight. This also comes after a spike in...

  • Twitter hits 330m MAUs in Q3 2017, sees booming ad engagement

    It's that time of year when the big tech companies announce their third quarter (Q3) financial results, and Twitter just happens to be on that very long list. The social network hasn't been enjoying a positive 2017 thus far, but its latest results suggests a mini turnaround of sorts is currently in progress. Twitter grew its monthly active userbase by 4% year-on-year (compared to Q3 2016), and now hosts 330-million monthly users. That's a four-million user increase from the previous quarter, which the company also made a point of correcting. "Reported average MAU reflects an adjustment for approximately 1-2 million users per...

  • Uber debuts its very own credit card

    Tech companies very rarely remain in their niche. Over time, we've seen Google become a hardware company, Microsoft transform into a creator of Android apps, and now Uber is introducing a credit card. Yes, that's right. Uber, the on-demand transportation company, is introducing a credit card. Powered by Barclays and Visa, the Uber Card will operate similarly to other credit cards. Only available in the US for now, users can sign up via the app. According to TechCrunch, the card will be available to use immediately on Uber services once credit worthiness is approved, and a physical card will be issued at...

  • UCT scientists find ‘first for Africa’ dinosaur footprints in Lesotho

    A team that included scientists from the University of Cape Town has discovered a new set of footprint fossils that suggests a large carnivorous dinosaur roamed southern Africa around 200-million years ago. The three-toed dinosaur footprints were discovered on a dirt road near the Lesotho capital of Maseru, measuring 57cm in length and 50cm in breadth. Moreover, the size of the footprint suggests that this dinosaur was about eight metres from head to tail, or around four metres shorter than the tyrannosaurus rex. The discovery is a "first for Africa", noted Lara Sciscio, a Postdoctoral research fellow in Geological Sciences, at the...

  • Google Trends uncovers America’s fascination with Halloween

    It's nearly Halloween, the time of year that dentists must absolutely love, and neighbourhood watch organisations absolutely hate. After all, how do you know if a criminal is dressing up for Halloween? Beyond these tough questions, the world -- and particularly the United States -- just loves preparing for the final day of October. The day has become as important as Thanksgiving and Christmas in the States (see below graph), and this year, Google Trends is shedding some interesting and spooky light onto people's habits taken from 3 October to the present. trends.embed.renderExploreWidget("TIMESERIES", {"comparisonItem":[{"keyword":"/m/03lq2","geo":"US","time":"today...

  • EFF kicked out of Parliament (again), politicians react to Gigaba’s speech

    On Wednesday Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba delivered his first mid-term budget report to Parliament. But while it should be a relatively smooth process, it was anything but. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were asked to leave Parliament once again after the party members were ruled to be disrupting proceedings. They didn't go quietly. Calling Gigaba "a Gupta puppet" and labelling Speaker of the House Baleka Mbete "biased", it took just 20 minutes for the party members to walk out. While ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and Mbete weren't quite in agreement with the EFF's claims that Gigaba was implicit in state...

  • Watch: #UCTShutdown protestors trigger fire extinguishers, disrupt exams

    It has been a tumultuous week for the University of Cape Town (UCT). Although a wave of #FeesMustFall protests have swept through South Africa's universities this month -- including CPUT, the University of the Free State and the Tshwane University of Technology -- #UCTShutdown protests this week propelled the institution's disquiet into the spotlight. A fresh spate of protests began Monday after students demanded a 0% increase to fees for the 2018 academic year. This comes after an 8% hike to fees in 2017. Update:25 Oct 2017, 11:30 The developments regarding attempted shutdown of UCT Read: https://t.co/Mj2vvyFtqa Listen: https://t.co/5JipWNFa5k pic.twitter.com/bcGetDLikT — UCT (@UCT_news) October 25, 2017 On...

  • Cape Town’s new buses will be all-electric come 2025

    Cape Town, along with 11 other major world cities, has vowed to shirk purchasing fossil fuel-powered buses in favour of electric models for its inner city transport networks by 2025. The cities, which include Auckland, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan and Seattle, signed the agreement which is an extension of the already established C40 Clean Bus Declaration Act. C40 cities, of which Cape Town is a member, is an initiative that aims to reduce harmful emissions in city centres and promote green practices. The agreement also ensures that "major areas of the city" will be declared...

  • ‘Cape of Storms to Come’ uncovers the origins of Cape Town’s water crisis

    You must be so sick of hearing about Cape Town's water crisis right now. But it's a huge problem -- and a potential catastrophe -- that isn't about to go away at the snap of a finger. We've seen dam levels gradually rise since June, however five months later, some have yet to breach the 50% mark. The largest dam in the system -- the massive Theewaterskloof -- has yet to breach 30% of its total storage. Considering that plans to augment the surface storage with ground water extraction, desalination and water reuse are still plans, this summer is set to...

  • Video: Bristol man flies balloon-powered camping chair above Joburg

    We know that some on planet Earth believe that Pixar's Up is a simply brilliant movie. We're not about to challenge that sentiment, but there is a point at which using balloons to fly a house across the world becomes markedly unfeasible. But what about a camping chair? That's what this particular Bristol man decided to do north of Johannesburg this week. Tom Morgan, the founder of British adventure-cum-charity company The Adventurists, enjoyed a two-hour flight around 2.5km above Gauteng while sitting in a balloon-lifted camping chair. According to the Bristol Post, the flight wasn't a realisation of Morgan's Pixar fandom, but...

  • #CrimeStats: South Africa’s year of crime outlined in tweets

    The South African Police Service has today unveiled the results of its 2016/17 crime statistics report in Cape Town, and the numbers are anything but comforting. In a precursor to the stats release, Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula issued a brief statement on Twitter. "The SAPS national crime statistics measure twenty-one serious crimes. Seventeen of these crimes are reported by the community and the other four are detected as a result of police-initiated operations," he tweeted. He added that because of this, the 17 are "supposed to decrease" while the other four -- "illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; driving under the...

  • Everything you need to know about Cape Town’s water rationing

    While Cape Town's dam levels are up over last week, water consumption is down, and October rainfall has been promising, the City has announced that water rationing will continue. In a statement published on Monday, the City of Cape Town outlined its water rationing programme in more detail. "Due to the critical nature of available water supply, all water users across the metro must expect water rationing which could lead to water supply disruptions," the City alerted. How is water rationed? It explained that the city is divided into numerous "pressure zones". "Pressure which controls the rate of flow of water is managed by...

  • Cape Town dam levels increase, water rationing pays off

    Cape Town: there's some excellent news regarding the city's current water situation. Not only are levels up this week, but consumption has also decreased according to the City of Cape Town's latest dam report. Total storage is up from 37.4% last week to 38.5% this week -- an increase of 1.1% (pdf). Note: find last week's Memeburn water crisis report here Looking at individual dams, the Berg River Dam remains the top performer. It added 1.5% to its coffers, and now stands at 68.1% full. It's now less than 6% off its 2016 levels. Both Steenbras dams saw an increase. Steenbras Lower is...