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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • SpaceX won’t launch Zuma into space tonight

    SpaceX's secretive Zuma payload will not be sent into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket tonight, the company tweeted. "Standing down on Zuma mission to take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer," the company wrote around 1am SAST Friday. Standing down on Zuma mission to take a closer look at data from recent fairing testing for another customer. — SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 16, 2017 The payload, which isn't a hat-tip to the president of South Africa, was commissioned by Northrop Grumman, a US defence technology company. What said payload actually includes remains a mystery. Nevertheless, no new launch...

  • The five-minute story of Zimbabwe’s ‘bloodless transition’

    There are two words you're going to hear a lot today: Zimbabwe, and coup. According to numerous reports, Zimbabwe is now under the control of its military. President Robert Mugabe and the first family has been "detained". Last night the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary. Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife. Today begins a fresh new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us achieve a better Zimbabwe. — ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) November 15, 2017 The latest wave of political upheaval comes after President...

  • Facebook Stories and Messenger Day are now the same thing

    Messenger Day -- the Facebook Messenger version of WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories -- is no more. Instead, the feature has been rehashed and renamed. No longer will Messenger Day be treated as a standalone feed. It will instead form part of Facebook Stories -- a Snapchat clone that already features on the base Facebook app. "Starting today, we are introducing a new experience called Stories, connecting Messenger Day and Facebook Stories," the company wrote on its Messenger page. "Any photos or videos you add to your Stories will appear on both Facebook and Messenger, and will be shared with the same...

  • ‘Writing the Daisies’: UCT’s exam tent has become an impromptu meme

    In the midst of student protests, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has confirmed that exams will go ahead as scheduled. But perhaps not in the venues previously decided. "The university management has had to take the extraordinary step of arranging an examination venue on the upper campus rugby field," the institution's registrar wrote in a statement. "It is a decision that has not been taken lightly. It was an outcome of an assessment of what arrangements would offer the best chance of conducting and successfully concluding the examination programme in the current circumstances of threats of disruption." The venue, pictured in...

  • When will Cape Town run out of water? This tool imagines the scenarios

    For the second week running, Cape Town's dam levels have fallen sharply. As summer draws nearer, the City continues to plead with residents to reduce consumption, as it juggles solutions to the crisis. But taking into account the City's current consumption rate, the dams' current storage levels, and the likelihood of augmentation schemes coming online in the new year, when will Cape Town likely run out of water? It's a multi-million rand question that UCT CSAG's "Big Six Monitor" allows users to imagine. Named after the six largest reservoirs in the Western Cape Water Supply System and created by CSAG's Piotr Wolski,...

  • Cape Town’s dam storage drops again to 36.8%

    Every one of Cape Town's largest dams, bar one, lost storage capacity over the past week, this according to the City of Cape Town's latest dam level report (pdf). This comes after dam levels fell from 38.5% to 37.8% a week ago. The second successive drop in the Western Cape Water Supply Scheme now puts Cape Town's dam storage at 36.8%. That's an overall loss of around nine-billion litres, or just over two-week's worth of water at our current consumption rate. A dam-by-dam breakdown paints an even bleaker picture. Image: City of Cape Town The Theewaterskloof Dam fell by 1.2% over the previous week,...

  • SA Presidency’s website crashes prior to Fees Commission Report release

    The official account of the Presidency of South Africa posted a tweet at 11.51am Monday stating that it will today at 12pm release the much anticipated Fees Commission Report. Officially called the "Report of the Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training in South Africa", the document is a study into the possibility of free tertiary education in the country. President Jacob Zuma had previously been called on by protesting students and opposition to release the report. President Jacob Zuma will release the Report of the Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training in South Africa...

  • MTV EMAs 2017: the winners, the reactions, the tweets

    Last night, media monster MTV hosted the latest edition of its annual European Music Awards (or EMAs) in London. Although likely forgotten by most, #MTVEMAs did trend through much of Europe late Sunday. In South Africa, we were a bit too concerned about the weekend's sporting failures. Taylor Swift was nominated for six awards, but as we all found, nominations don't always mean guaranteed wins (especially when it comes to a social media-based voting system). On that note, we've rounded up some of the winners on the night, and their reactions as told through their Twitter and Instagram posts. Best Song and Best...

  • 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...

  • 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...