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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • #MissSAChallenge: gloves, hygiene and angry tweets flood SA Twitter

    Yesterday Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was in Soweto serving soup and bread rolls to kids. Today, it's one of Twitter's top trending topics. Why? Three words: gloves, hygiene and #MissSAChallenge. On Wednesday afternoon, this tweet published by the official Miss South Africa Twitter account became viral. We're helping @TheMaslowHotel with the #MaslowSoupKitchen here at Ikageng in Soweto. pic.twitter.com/eM25SPl0tS — Miss South Africa (@Official_MissSA) July 5, 2017 Noticeably, Nel-Peters is wearing gloves in these pictures. And Twitter wanted to know why. Some users gave their opinions. Why are you wearing gloves? Scared of catching the Black or?? — Rosalia (@MsZondi06) July 5, 2017 What's unhygienic about touching black...

  • Dear Cape Town, dam levels are rising but you’re still using too much water

    The City of Cape Town believes that the city's residents are still using far too much water. This even after the more stringent Level 4b water restrictions came into effect on 1 July 2017. Level 4b restrictions "requires all water users to immediately use less than 87 litres of water per person per day in total, irrespective of whether you are at home, work or elsewhere," explains the City, but residents are using a lot more than that. Overall, the City is targeting consumption below 500-million litres per day with the latest restrictions, but Cape Town's inhabitants are still using 634-million...

  • Jay Z’s new album hits Tidal, gives the internet plenty to talk about

    Hip-hop heavyweight Jay Z has today dropped his first full-length album in four years, and the internet can barely contain its excitement. For hip-hop fans, you're getting to a 10-track, 36-minute-long reel titled 4:44 produced by No I.D. entirely. For everyone else, it's a chance to comment on the artist's relationship with Beyonce, his kids, and of course, the Kardashians. In terms of 4:44's impact on the internet, Google Trends today shows a marked jump in search for Jay Z and Tidal -- the rapper's music streaming service. More interestingly, the likes of Lemonade -- Beyonce's last album -- has seen a...

  • SA’s Dept of Education website hacked with ‘I love Islamic State’ message

    If you're trying to access South Africa's Department of Basic Education's website at present, you can't. It's down. And there's a very good reason why. The Department took to Twitter to announce that its site has been "hacked". Our website has been hacked👇🏿 pic.twitter.com/ROK4cQChLd — Dep. Basic Education (@DBE_SA) June 28, 2017 "A short while ago we discovered that the Department's website has been hacked," begins an attached press release, published around 9pm Wednesday. Things then get gruesome. "The people who breached the website have since posted gory pictures of decapitated corpses, some of whom are children." The presser didn't go into specifics, but it did...

  • Petya or NotPetya, this is the world’s latest ransomware attack

    Ransomware is yet again sweeping across the world's computers today, and no, it's not WannaCry. It goes by a few names, but it's being commonly referred to as Petya or NotPetya by security experts. While the former was first discovered in 2016, the latter name refers to a newer strain of the ransomware. Yesterday, Petya or a derivative, reappeared in Ukraine and has since spread to countries as far east as Australia, and as far West as the US. While details about the nature of the attack and the attackers' intentions are unclear at present, we do know a few key factors...

  • South Africa’s politicians react to Secret Ballot ruling with subtweets

    The Secret Ballot (or #SecretBallot) ruling has come and gone but the reaction from politicians are only now filtering through social media. To clarify, Chief Justice Mogoeng has ruled that Baleka Mbete does in fact have power to declare a secret ballot during the motion of no confidence against President Zuma. Previously she cited the law as a limiting factor. For some, this is a clear win for South Africa's justice system, but it also now puts emphasis on Mbete -- she can now declare a secret ballot, or choose not to. As for South Africa's other politicians, the ruling was a...

  • #SecretBallot: SA’s ConCourt ruling becomes a worldwide Twitter trend

    Yesterday might've been the darkest, longest night of the year for South Africans, but today is surely one of the brightest. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng today ruled that the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete does have the power to declare a secret ballot during the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. Previously, Mbete stated that she did not have the power to declare a secret ballot. #SecretBallot began trending Thursday prior to Justice Mogoeng's ruling, and hit Twitter's worldwide trend list too In the ruling passed at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, the Chief Justice also stated that members are Parliament...

  • Explaining Feenix: the Standard Bank-backed solution to #FeesMustFall

    There’s been a lot said about #FeesMustFall — at least in terms of the hashtag and the social movement it propelled. But in its wake, not many solutions have been penned by private institutions or government. That is until now. Feenix isn't known to many in South Africa, even if the initiative was making itself known across universities as early as July 2016. But this week it officially launched to the wider public, backed by an industry heavyweight in Standard Bank. Having some trouble understanding what we do? Here is a step-by-step guide to your future! pic.twitter.com/zGS2h1XxTv — Feenix.org (@Feenix_org) July 6, 2016 What...

  • #SocialMediaBlackOut ironically trends on Twitter in South Africa

    Yesterday we wrote about #SocialMediaBlackOut -- a hashtag that trended on South Africa's Twitter timeline for much of the week. Today it culminate in a 24-hour boycott of all social media activities. But judging by my timeline, some users aren't playing ball. The hashtag, which appeared on Monday as a spinoff of #DataMustFall -- aims to lurch people into taking action against steep data prices in South Africa. As a campaign, the blackout centres on two notions. Firstly, if users refrain from purchasing data, it affects telecommunication companies' bottom line. Secondly, not camping on social media for a day renders social...

  • Cape Town dams 23% full, CoCT ponders ‘reverse osmosis, desalination’ plants

    The good news continues this week, Cape Town. Dam levels have increased for the second week in a row, signalling the start of winter... albeit in the middle of winter. The largest three dams in the system experienced sizeable gains. The Theewaterskloof Dam is now 17.3% full, up by 2% week-over-week. The Berg River Dam is also up by 2% to 34.2%. The Voelvlei Dam is up by 1.4% to 18%. Both Steenbras dams saw a slight increase in its storage, while Wemmershoek remained steady. Overall, Cape Town's dams are now a combined 23.1% full, up from 21.2% last week. The City of Cape...

  • #SocialMediaBlackOut: South Africa, here’s everything you need to know

    If you were scrolling through your Twitter timeline Monday, you might've noticed the hashtag #SocialMediaBlackOut out the corner of your eye. Don't worry though. It isn't some death knell for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram -- they're probably still function as per normal come Wednesday. But there might be considerably fewer users from South Africa on them if the hashtag's primary narrative is to be believed. What is #SocialMediaBlackOut? The thought of one might strike fear into amateur breakfast photographers, but the content isn't the reason for the campaign. It's largely how South Africans access said content. #SocialMediaBlackOut can be seen as a spinoff...

  • Katy Perry hits 100m Twitter followers, but are they all human?

    It's taken a while, but a Twitter user has finally broken the 100-million followers barrier. And no, it's not Justin Bieber, Donald Trump or the Pope. It's Katy Perry. The recording artist, known for hits like Kissed A Girl and most recently Swish Swish, cracked the previously uncharted milestone this past weekend. It's been a long time coming though. Perry gained around 1.8-million followers in May 2017 alone, largely thanks to Backpack Kid no doubt. That swathe of new minions helped the star to break the 100-million ceiling, beating second placed Justin Bieber (96.8-million followers) and third placed Barack Obama (90.9-million) in...

  • 8 apps addressing some of South Africa’s pressing problems [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. South Africa is a unique country with unique challenges, but technology (and innovative solutions using technology) is attempting to solve these issues, or at least reduce their impact on society. With the commonality of smartphones across all income levels of society, running the likes of Android, iOS and Windows, apps have become one of the more essential change...

  • Kitten rescued from Tesla’s bumper, adorable viral videos emerge

    If you're a kitten living life to the fullest on the weekend, what do you do? This particular fluffball thought spending it inside a Tesla would be a great idea. A Tesla Model X owner woke Saturday to find faint meows coming from the car's rear bumper. Because the internet loves cats, he swiftly uploaded a video to YouTube. Adorable right? Tesla CEO Elon Musk also thought so. Probably picking up on the news from feline-loving staffers, he tweeted the video on Saturday which seemingly put the story on the map. Within minutes, the tweet accrued over 600 retweets and 2000 likes. Tesla service...

  • Twitter’s huge UI update ditches old reply button, adds realtime stats

    Twitter has today unveiled its brand new user interface for mobile devices and desktop. The subtle update comes after the company refreshed its brand and mission statement back in July 2016. So fresh. So clean. So live. Check out our new look. 👀👇https://t.co/ClWbwi8CEH pic.twitter.com/nR27POQkEi — Twitter (@Twitter) June 15, 2017 "Today, with lots of feedback and ideas from you, we’re refreshing our product too and making it feel lighter, faster, and easier to use. We listened closely and kept what you love. And for the things you didn’t, we took a new approach to fix and make better," notes Grace Kim, Twitter's VP of...