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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Totally fake: the false Cyclone Dineo news you should know about

    Yes, Cyclone Dineo is an actual storm. Yes, it also made landfall in Mozambique and is tracking in a westerly direction over northern South Africa, southern Mozambique, and southern Zimbabwe. It's also slowly losing intensity, but is dropping plenty of rain. While those sentences are all factual, there are some examples of fake news floating around social media today. In this article, we'll take a look at what's false, what's absolute nonsense, and what you should do if you encounter any of these online. Memeburn's Cyclone Dineo coverage: - Dineo’s dangerous siblings: 4 other cyclones that hit South Africa this century - Tropical Cyclone...

  • Samsung Group vice chairman Jay Y. Lee arrested

    Samsung Group's vice chairman and de facto head Jay Y. Lee has been arrested, following charges relating to "bribery, embezzlement and perjury" were laid by South Korean prosecutors in January. Lee, 48, was the former COO of Samsung Electronics, and has been at the company since 1991. He effectively assumed control of Samsung after his father, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The South Korean was accused of leveraging his wealth and influence to gain political favours from the country's chief officials. The New York Times reported that Lee paid for support from government (namely an unnamed South Korea advisor to President...

  • Skype’s new preview beta adds a touch of Snapchat

    Remember Skype? The video conferencing tool is a product we haven't covered in a while, and that's largely because its feature set hasn't changed radically since Microsoft bought it from eBay in 2011. But that's about to change, at least judging by this week's news. Skype's mobile app, available on Android and iOS, is set to receive a number of updates to bring it in line with the other instant messaging apps of this world. Skype Chat will now boast a "Find Panel" which will allow users to "easily find and share links, news, sports results, restaurants, the weather, videos and more...

  • Dineo’s dangerous siblings: 4 other cyclones that hit South Africa this century

    Tropical cyclones are fairly common in the Indian Ocean, but they rarely venture anywhere near South Africa's shores. Most of the time, the country lies too south on the continent to be affected by them. But once in a while, they do make landfall. That's largely what Dineo is doing right now. The tropical cyclone is by no means the most intense cyclone to affect South Africa and hit Mozambique's coastline, but it is the first in the age of peak social media. But before the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook really fueled citizen reporting, there were other storms. We take...

  • McDonald’s reengineers the straw for the sake of a milkshake

    When McDonald's isn't making quick and easy to eat food, the company also hires engineers to design straws. "No, seriously." The multi-national food giant published a short clip to YouTube this week, highlighting the lengths it took to design a brand new straw for its Shamrock Shake beverage. The straw, which is a limited edition item, has been designed to better fuse the two elements of the shake -- chocolate and mint -- to ensure drinkers get the correct flavour profile. Two engineering firms, namely JACE and NK Labs, took up the challenge, probably because there wasn't much else to do in...

  • This video of Cape Town’s dams shows just how bad the water crisis really is

    Cape Town is running out of water, there's no denying that fact. This week, the City of Cape Town announced that dam levels are just over 35%, of which around 25% is usable. It sounds incredibly dire, and that's largely because it is. But words and numbers scantly do justice to the problem. Somerset West Drone pilot NicRed, noted this and took to the skies above four of the city's six largest dams -- Steenbras Upper, Voelvlei , the Berg River and Theewaterskloof -- to capture footage of the leaking water stores. "I have been collecting this footage over the last 20...

  • ShowMax expands to Europe, with Poland its first destination

    Africa seems to be just a tad too small for growing South African streaming company ShowMax. The Naspers-owned video-on-demand company today announced that it has infiltrated Europe, with a new service launched in Poland. This is ShowMax's first big foray into Europe, after it initially offered Afrikaans channel KykNET to Europeans, North Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders. To be fair, though, ShowMax's Polish move is a substantial jump from its KykNET offering. "This is a big deal for us, especially coming just 18 months after we launched ShowMax," explains ShowMax head John Kotsaftis. "With more than seven million people paying for online...

  • Disable Facebook autoplay videos on all platforms: a how-to guide

    Few things are more annoying than runaway videos on your devices thanks to Facebook autoplay. You can be mindlessly scrolling through your timeline one minute, and the next, some rando in a chicken suit starts dancing on your screen. No one wants that. Thankfully, this system, along with audio accompaniment, is coming to mobile devices too! But did you know that you can switch off the Facebook autoplay system entirely? Absolutely. And here's how you can do just that on Desktop, Android, and iOS. Desktop On Facebook's desktop website, you'll need to navigate to the top right of the site's headline bar and click...

  • Amazon wants to take over the boardroom, silence Skype with Chime

    Internet behemoth Amazon has announced a new workplace messaging and conferencing facility. Dubbed Chime, the product is billed as a "communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust". According to the company, the Skype-rival works across multiple devices, much like the service its going up against. "You can use Amazon Chime for online meetings, video conferencing, calls, chat, and to share content, both inside and outside your organization," Amazon adds. The company claims that a number of features makes its offering unique, including a meeting facility that calls you when a meeting begins. There's also...

  • Donald Trump to call Jacob Zuma today? Here’s what Twitter thinks

    Donald Trump just can't stay out of world news. Jacob Zuma just can't stay out of South African news. A match made in heaven? It seems like it, especially in light of new details that emerged Monday. According to the South African Government's official Twitter account, President Trump wants to ring President Zuma today, continuing the American president's diplomatic olive-branching spanning his first 100 days. The Presidency confirms a request from the White House for a telecon between President Zuma and President Trump this afternoon, 13/2/17 — PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) February 13, 2017 While it's not exactly out of the ordinary for a president...

  • Pangolin love: Google’s Valentines Day Doodle is utterly adorable

    While you might be planning an intricate dinner, a beach getaway, or perhaps even a Netflix and chill session this Valentines Day, spare a thought for the poor endangered pangolin. That's at least what Google wants you to do. In its latest Google Doodle celebrating the 14th of February, the company has gone to impressive lengths to highlight the scaley mammalian's flight for survival using a novel mobile-like browser game. "On a sunny morning in Ghana, the ingredients for pangolin love are falling into place," Google explains its Doodle. "Don’t let its hard outer scales fool you: inside, our friend Pangolin is...

  • China’s Weibo is now worth more than Twitter

    Twitter is just not having a good end to the decade. After disappointing Q4 2016 financial results marred the platform's active role in the US Elections, a new report now suggests that Twitter is valued less than its Chinese rival Weibo. Weibo, now boasting a market capitalisation of US$11.13-billion, shades its American rival by just under a billion dollars. Twitter's cap is around US$10.57-billion at the time of writing. Although this isn't a huge blow to Twitter -- after all, it's blocked in China where Weibo is strongest -- it does put into perspective just how far the company has fallen. Image:...

  • Beyonce sued for sampling Messy Mya: the YouTube legalities explained

    Both YouTube and Beyonce have had a busy start to the month. That trend is seemingly set to continue, at least for the latter. While just a few days ago she was celebrated on Instagram, Beyonce is reportedly being sued for using vocal samples from a deceased YouTuber in her track Formation without permission. Voice clips from social media celebrity Messy Mya's video, Booking The Hoes From New Wildin, is used within the first ten seconds of the Lemonade track by producer Mike WiLL and Queen B. Another sample of another Mya clip can be heard around the minute mark. The three-times...

  • Watch: Twitter captures ugly Sundowns, Pirates fracas

    We've seen some violent scenes in South Africa this weekend largely thanks to the State of the Nation fracas on Thursday night. But when Mamelodi Sundowns took on Orlando Pirates in Tshwane today, no one thought it would end up like this. Sundowns put six goals past Pirates in the first 80 minutes of the game. Yes, six. This didn't seem to sit well with some in the stadium. With some Sundowns fans looking on from the stands, a number of other spectators flooded the pitch, overwhelming Premier Soccer League security, forcing the players back into the dressing room, and...

  • WhatsApp’s two-step verification: here’s how to enable it

    Without much fanfare, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has rolled out its two-step verification system for users on both Android and iOS. But what does that mean? Well, for one, it brings WhatsApp's security in line with the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft -- three companies who already support the system on their services and devices. Moreover, it will also be a lot harder for baddies to gain access to your account. WhatsApp explains that it will remain an optional feature, that users can switch on if they so desire. But we recommend you do. How to enable WhatsApp's two-step verification system It...