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All posts by Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat.
  • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns – report

    Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber due to pressure from investors, it has been reported. The Uber CEO resigned after five of the firm's key investors demanded he do so, the New York Times reported, citing "two people with knowledge of the situation". It's claimed that several investors sent a letter to Kalanick in Chicago, demanding that he step down. The Uber CEO had been on an indefinite leave of absence after the death of his mother in a boating accident last month. "I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life...

  • 5 oddly fascinating and serene YouTube food channels

    No matter your hobby or obsession, you're bound to find a YouTube channel that caters to you. Me? I like ASMR and food. But what happens when you combine the two of them? Why, you might get these strangely fascinating and maybe even relaxing YouTube food channels. Food Surgeon One of the more popular channels on the list, the Food Surgeon, as the name implies, conducts surgery on... food. These procedures include transferring the insides of a peanut butter cup onto an Oreo, extracting seeds off a strawberry (and injecting Nutella into said fruit) and repairing a clogged liquorice artery. All of these videos...

  • Interview: Botpress’ Justin Watson explains ‘the WordPress of bots’

    The second Botcon Africa conference took place last month in Cape Town, delivering a number of insightful talks from leaders in the field of bots, AI and more. One of the more interesting companies was Botpress, which joins the likes of Chatfuel as being an emerging bot development platform. We interviewed founder Justin Watson, covering comparisons to Wordpress, what's missing from bot development and more. During his talk at the event, Watson touched on a variety of features/functions missing from today's bot systems. "There's probably not enough integration of the graphical elements," Watson told Memeburn, adding that more graphically rich interfaces are...

  • Watch: US successfully shoots down ICBM in ambitious test

    North Korea is stepping up its nuclear weapons programme, testing ballistic missiles as it seeks to develop a reliable long-range launch carrier. But the United States is making progress in the defense department, having successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this week. The live-fire test saw the USA's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system used to detect and intercept the missile. "During the test, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Multiple sensors provided target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system. The...

  • Mobile in SA Report 2017: Vodacom, Samsung have handy lead

    Tracking firm Effective Measure has released its Mobile in South Africa Report for 2017, having surveyed 4993 mobile internet users from November 2016 to January 2017. For starters, the company found that almost 70% of South African users were browsing the web from their phone, representing a 15% increase from 2015. Who/what reigns supreme? In the network department, Vodacom sat pretty with 53% of the pie, followed by MTN (30%), Cell C (12%) and then Telkom Mobile (4%). It's not immediately clear if Telkom Mobile grew significantly, in light of last year's attractive FreeMe packages. Although a 2016 MoneyWeb report claims that the...

  • BotCon Africa 2017: 8 tips for crafting a good chatbot

    The second BotCon event took place in Cape Town this week, tackling all things chatbot, of course. The event saw talks from the likes of Facebook, Botpress and many other players in the bot/natural language/AI sectors. It's still a burgeoning field though, so best practices and other tips are relatively few and far between. However, attendees had plenty of advice nonetheless. Does your business actually need a bot though? Retro Rabbit's Riana Smit and Francois Scheffer said you should ask yourself what you want to achieve by building a bot. Do you want an additional channel of communications? Are you trying to reduce costs? The...

  • Your company thinking about bots? Check out BotCon Africa

    Who says that Africa isn't on the cutting edge of technology? The continent has earned a reputation for world-leading expertise in mobile money and related sectors, but Africans are also stepping up to the bot challenge. In fact, the second annual BotCon Africa event takes place on 25 May, featuring a pretty high profile list of speakers. Probably the most high-profile speaker on the list is research engineer Martin Raison of Facebook AI Research, with a keynote talk titled "teaching machines to interact with people". Raison originally worked at Wit.ai, a natural language processing platform, before it was bought by the...

  • 11 SA gaming YouTubers to keep an eye on [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. Gaming is massive business on YouTube. Don't believe me? Well, take a look at the most popular YouTuber in the world, PewDiePie. Take a look at the rest of the top 50 most subscribed channels, and you've got gaming personalities like VanossGaming and Jacksepticeye. What about South Africa though? Well, we've got our fair share of gaming YouTubers finding a...

  • Exoskeletons are fast becoming more fact than fiction for US soldiers

    Think exoskeletons in the military and you probably think of sci-fi movies and video games, granting characters almost super-human abilities in the process. But military colossus Lockheed-Martin is actually making the technology a reality, in a sense. The company has revealed the FORTIS Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD), which hopes to make a soldier's life a little bit easier. So what does it actually do? "It boosts leg capacity for physically demanding tasks that require repetitive or continuous kneeling or squatting, or lifting, dragging, carrying or climbing with heavy loads," read a release on the contractor's website. It's more than just a mechanical...

  • Openserve IPC rate cut could mean more data for your buck [Update]

    Telkom's wholesale company, Openserve, has announced an IP Connect price cut of up to 32%. "Depending on the IPC capacity purchased, ISPs can now benefit from price reductions of up to 32%, effective from 1 June 2017," the wholesale division wrote in a statement. "We are committed to our journey of making broadband more affordable in South Africa. We firmly believe that by stimulating the growth of fixed broadband in South Africa, we are contributing to economic growth," said sales and marketing chief Prenesh Padayachee. The Openserve IP connect price cut of up to 32% should filter down to consumers in the...

  • 5 cool Facebook Messenger chatbots for tech news

    Chatbots saw a massive resurgence last year, as Google, Microsoft and Facebook all jumped on the bandwagon. Facebook has been actively encouraging chatbot development with its Messenger platform, recently making it easier for users to find relevant bots. A few tech publications have taken to adopting bots on Messenger too, but which ones are worth using? We've got a few picks for you. Digg One of the original social news websites, Digg pretty much lost its place to reddit several years ago. But the website has re-emerged in recent times, delivering some pretty interesting content in the process. The Digg chatbot is pretty...

  • Opera to spend $100m to ‘grow African digital economy’

    Opera Software is a mainstay of the African mobile scene, with its Opera Mini browser being used by people across the continent thanks to data-saving features. Now, the company has announced that it plans to spend US$100-million to "grow the African digital economy". "The company will use the investment to speed up internet adoption in Africa and strengthen the internet ecosystem with local partners," read a press release sent to Memeburn. So what does that actually mean? An AI-driven recommendation engine Well, the company has decided to build an AI-powered recommendation engine into its mobile browser. "Opera users in Africa will get fully personalised and...

  • California wants to tax spaceflight, based on distance

    Florida is widely seen as the state of choice for spaceflight in the USA, but California also plays host to its fair share of launches. Now, the state is investigating taxes on spaceflight, being based on distance travelled. According to the San Francisco Chronicle (via Ars Technica), California's Franchise Tax Board is seeking public comments on its space tax proposal. But what does the proposal entail? It would see taxes being applied to any company operating in the state that generates at least half its cash from space transportation. The taxes would kick in when flights travel above the Karman line...

  • 6 great podcast apps for Android you should download

    Podcasts have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity recently, with the likes of Serial and other notable shows responsible for the reinvigorated industry. There are loads of podcast apps out there, especially on Google's platform, which has only recently implemented native podcast support via Play Music. Which clients are worth downloading though? We've got a few you should consider -- but do let us know about your favourite apps. Podcast Republic My go-to app, Podcast Republic has recently received a visual overhaul, bringing the design in line with the extensive feature list. Podcast Republic delivers the expected podcast search functionality (by genre, top charts, search), offline...

  • Where’s the dust? Cassini non-discovery puzzles NASA

    NASA's Cassini space probe has started its Grand Finale, diving between Saturn's rings before crashing into the gas giant later this year. However, the first plunge has perplexed scientists, who were expecting to encounter a ton of cosmic dust. Instead, the probe found a low level of dust, the space agency explained. "The region between the rings and Saturn is 'the big empty,' apparently," said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Cassini will stay the course, while the scientists work on the mystery of why the dust level is much lower than expected." Prior to the...