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All posts by Andy Walker: Editor

  • Stats SA: fuel, toasters and cell phones all cheaper in 2017

    If you love eating pineapples while browsing the internet on your smartphone, you'll love the latest batch of statistics from Stats SA. The latest Consumer Price Index report suggests that South Africans are paying less for fruit, telecommunications services and telecommunications equipment when comparing January 2017's prices to those from August 2017. "Postal and telecommunication services, recreational equipment, fuel (petrol and diesel), hotels and appliances all experienced slight price decreases," Stats SA wrote in a release. Stats SA: telecommunications equipment prices have fallen by 36% since January 2014 "If you prefer using 93 octane petrol and you live inland, filling a 45 litre...

  • ‘Ready for a Dove shower?’ Cosmetics brand angers the internet with ‘racist’ ad

    Cosmetics brand Dove has become the bane of the internet after it posted an advertisement considered to be racist. The ad, which was last week posted to Facebook, takes the form of a three-second long GIF. It depicts a black, dark-haired woman removing her shirt, to reveal a white red-haired woman. Screengrabs of the advertisement later appeared on social media. Lol did this even look right to y'all? I mean your whole team sat down and cleared this bullshit right here? How? pic.twitter.com/WzsZfpkxAr — Musimbwa (@UNcubeOthungayo) October 7, 2017 "Ready for a Dove shower? Sulfate Free with 100% gentle cleansers, our body wash gets...

  • Get the Google Assistant app in South Africa with this quick guide

    The Google Assistant app might not be listed on the South African Play Store just yet, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work here. With a few jukes and sidesteps, here's how you can get the new Google Assistant app running and functioning on your smartphone right now. 1. Check your smartphone for these apps and features Before we get started, I should point out one thing: Assistant won't be compatible with every smartphone. Your device will need to meet the below minimum hardware and software requirements: Google app version 6.13 or higher must be installed to your device You'll need Google Play...

  • Rocking The Daisies and OppiKoppi 2017: your essential festival app kit

    It's once again festival season in South Africa, and kicking off the year's musical escapades is a weekend double header. Both Rocking The Daisies in the Western Cape and OppiKoppi in Limpopo will take place this weekend in two opposite corners of the country -- but just because you're spending the weekend in dusty tents with limited power supply doesn't mean you can't use technology to make your partying just that bit easier. While there are a few apps you should have on your smartphone for both events (and the festivals to come), we'll take a look at specific apps you should...

  • Cape Town’s temporary desalination plants will be online by ‘February 2018’

    After yesterday's rains across the metropole, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille briefed media, and Twitter, on updates regarding its water resilience scheme. The scheme aims to "avoid a time when users do not have access to municipal drinking water", de Lille explained. "In terms of our Water Resilience Plan to augment supply with schemes, we are expecting the first water to come online by Dec 2017 /Jan 2018," she tweeted. The plan intends to add an additional 500-million litres per day to Cape Town's water supply by using natural springs, aquifers, and desalination. The latter, however, won't be ready this year. "ater...

  • Viral video: Chinese man risks falling to his death to avoid paying hotel bill

    Staying in a hotel definitely has its perks. You needn't ever make your bed, buffet breakfasts are rarely disappointing, and you usually have access to a slew of channels on the telly. But arguably, counting the bill's digits at the end of your stay can be a painful experience. For some, avoiding that awkward check-out experience might even be worth risking your life. That's where this particular Chinese man's story comes to the fore. According to Beijing news publication People's Daily, a man scaled telecom cables spanning across two tall buildings in south-western city of Panzhou on Friday in a bid to...

  • ‘All Yahoo user accounts’ were affected by 2013 hack

    When Yahoo announced that a billion users were affected by its 2013 hack, the internet weathered a collective cold sweat. But the story isn't quite done yet. The internet company's parent firm Oath today released "new intelligence" regarding the breach. "Subsequent to Yahoo's acquisition by Verizon, and during integration, the company recently obtained new intelligence and now believes, following an investigation with the assistance of outside forensic experts, that all Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft," Oath, also a subsidiary of Verizon, confirmed in a press release. That's three-billion users. While Oath confirmed that the orchestrators of the hack...

  • The ATSB’s final report on MH370 is beyond chilling

    In March 2014, a Boeing 777 designated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing after taking off in Kuala Lumpur. It was due to land in Beijing, China, but never made it. Now, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) -- one of three parties leading the search -- has today issued its final report on the tragedy. The report didn't speculate on what could've happened to the plane, but did shed light on the details of the search for the aircraft. Alongside the Malaysian and Chinese governments, the ATSB covered an area of 710 000 square kilometres beneath the sea, and a further...

  • Cape Town dam levels: September sees below average rainfall

    The City of Cape Town today published its latest dam storage report, but it makes for bleak reading. Although no massive drops have been reported, no substantial increases can be noted either (pdf). And Cape Town needs a substantial increase. Note: see last week's dam levels report here. The largest dam in the system -- the Theewaterskloof -- continued its negative trend this week, dropping 0.1% to 28.3% capacity. Following suit was the Steenbras Lower Dam, now just 45.5% full, down from 46.3% a week earlier. But gains have been made by some of the other stores. The Franschhoek's Berg River Dam, for one,...

  • Afrihost Mobile Data review: an answer to #DataMustFall?

    Data prices is an issue bubbling beneath the surface of South African politics and culture. As more South Africans use social media and other data-reliant technologies, the price of those crucial megabytes have come under the spotlight. And especially so in 2017. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged these issues at the State of the Nation Address in January, while citizens have also made their feelings known through campaigns like #SocialMediaBlackOut and #DataMustFall. Across the fence, telecoms are also making changes. Vodacom launched its Meg Your Day campaign in June, while MTN has reiterated its free Twitter service, albeit with a few bumps. But even...

  • Update: Las Vegas shooting captured in dramatic Twitter, Facebook videos

    Update: 1.30pm SAST: US President Donald Trump has issued a statement on Twitter following the Las Vegas shooting. "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!" he wrote. My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017 Update: 12.50opm SAST: Las Vegas Police have confirmed in "excess of 50 deceased", with more than 200 injured after the shooting. The suspect is believed to be 64-year-old American Stephen Paddock. At this time there is...

  • Elon Musk’s BFR will fly from London to Cape Town in just 34 minutes

    Elon Musk may be nuts, but a remarkable number of the South African-born businessman's ventures have been successful. This week at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, he announced another "really special" proposal. His space exploration company SpaceX is pondering a new method of transporting people from one corner of the Earth to the other. And it involves a space vehicle/rocket system called the BFR. "The BFR will be capable of taking people from any city to any other city on Earth in under one hour," the company revealed. Elon Musk's SpaceX believes a journey from Johannesburg to Sydney could last just...

  • #Elphinstone: Mumbai railway stampede kills 22, Twitter users question govt

    At least 22 people have died after a rush hour stampede at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road train station. The incident occurred as commuters traversed a foot bridge in heavy rains during the city's morning commute. More than 50 people were injured in the fracas. #Elphinstone became Twitter's top trending hashtag soon after the incident, as Indians took to social media to issue condolences to those affected, blame authorities for the incident, and share their struggles of travelling using the city's metro network. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi lead the sympathies. My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to...

  • Earth’s volcanoes are angry: Mexico, Bali and Vanuatu on alert

    The world was supposed to end on 23 September, but we're all still here. However, the planet wants to remind everyone that our existence is hinged on its mood. This week, volcanoes in Indonesia, Mexico and Vanuatu are all threatening eruptions, with some angry craters prompting evacuations. Ambae Island, Vanuatu Around 3000km north of New Zeland in the southwestern Pacific, over 10 000 people have been ordered to evacuate Vanuatu's Ambae Island, in the wake of a possible eruption of Manaro Voui. Citizens will be "evacuated by ship to the neighbouring islands of Maewo, Espiritu Santo, Pentecost and Malakula," Vanuatu Digest reports. #Breaking:...

  • Global airports crippled as check-in systems malfunction

    Fliers at some of the world's busiest airports were unable to check-in this morning due to a network failure. Airlines and airports using the Amadeus Altea check-in service were impacted. The system is reportedly used by over 125 airlines worldwide. The issue was first noted by Twitter account @AirportWebcams around 11am SAST which left check-in services via apps, boarding passes and kiosks dysfunctional. BREAKING: Many social media reports of airline & airport IT systems down: Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore, Paris, London, Johannesburg... pic.twitter.com/PhCPdkloWp — Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) September 28, 2017 Users at Tokyo Haneda, Washington D.C., Melbourne and Brussels were impacted, but disruptions at London...