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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • 10 words/phrases we encounter too much at Burn Media

    Being a tech journalist is a dream job for me but, as with any job, it does have a few drawbacks. One of those is that you'll be bombarded constantly with buzzwords that mean nothing and add even less to the subject. In no particular order, here are a few words we wish would just go away. Creative - You hear this a lot when people describe what they do. This is right up there with "social media rockstar" and "design guru" as one of the most generic job titles around. Get a proper title. Lean - Olympic swimmers are lean. Assigning three jobs...

  • Netflix library reportedly down 50% in four years

    Thought the South African version of Netflix was lacking in the content department? Well, it appears that American users are feeling the content squeeze as well. According to Exstreamist, there are currently 5302 titles on the US version of the streaming service, including TV shows and movies. However, this was down 50% compared to 2012, when the service apparently had almost 11 000 titles, insider sources told the publication. Exstreamist claims that this downward trend was due to content owners refusing to give Netflix distribution rights as well as due to the firm decreasing its spend on third-party titles. Netflix is increasingly emphasising original content over...

  • Gartner Cape Town: 10 strategic tech trends for 2017

    Between 3D printing and machine learning, there were plenty of strategic trends predicted for 2016 at last year's Gartner Symposium. Now, Gartner analyst Stephen Prentice has revealed 2017's expected trends, featuring a few of the same entries. But they're no less interesting anyway - here they are, in no particular order. 1. Conversational systems Prentice says that conversational AI systems will form part of the so-called "Digital Mesh" - along with the next two entries on the list. The analyst noted that there are expected to be at least 25 conversational AI systems by 2018, citing examples already such as Siri, Cortana and...

  • United Nations to launch its first space mission

    The United Nations (UN) has teamed up with private space firm Sierra Nevada Corporation to launch the UN's first space mission. The mission, announced at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, is meant to help developing nations launch their own payloads, the space firm announced in a press statement. As for a host spacecraft, payloads will be lifted into orbit via Sierra Nevada's unmanned Dream Chaser "orbital vehicle", being similar to Boeing's X37B unmanned spaceplane. "The dedicated Dream Chaser mission is targeted at providing developing countries the opportunity to develop and fly microgravity payloads for an extended duration in orbit; however, all...

  • Tinder for sperm? London Sperm Bank has an app now

    There have been a slew of "Tinder for X" type services around, but now it's time for sperm banks to jump on the bandwagon. And that's just what the London Sperm Bank has done, QZ reported, releasing an app for both Android and iOS. The bank boasts over 25 000 vials of sperm "at any given" time, according to the app description. But the app makes finding the ideal donor quite an effortless process. Clients can browse through a series of donors, with each donor having a variety of physical characteristics included in the listing. These characteristics include race, "ethnic origin", eye/hair...

  • SpaceX reveals interplanetary rocket, spaceship

    SpaceX has revealed what it calls an interplanetary rocket and spaceship which will take astronauts to Mars. The so-called Mars Vehicle will be the biggest American rocket ever built, edging out the Saturn V rockets used during the Apollo missions. The vehicle will be composed of a giant reusable booster rocket that has 42 new Raptor engines (as opposed to the nine Merlin engines used in the Falcon Heavy), as well as a new "Interplanetary Spaceship". The latter will be capable of carrying 450 tons to Mars, with a "long-term goal of 100+ passengers" per ship. However, refuelling will be an integral part...

  • Gartner Cape Town: 6 things to know about IT and Ops trends

    The Gartner Symposium kicked off in Cape Town this week, and we were fortunate enough to attend a talk from the company's Phil Dawson. The talk, titled Top Ten Technology Trends and Their Impact on IT and Operations, was pretty self-explanatory, if a bit in-depth for most tastes. But there were some takeaways for more than just the average IT manager. Switching to the cloud won't automatically fix your problems Dawson noted that issues you have won't be fixed by simply moving to the cloud. "If you virtualise a mess, it's still a mess," Dawson said. "Don't assume it's going to fix your...

  • Lenovo lays off a ton of Motorola staff – report

    Lenovo has reportedly laid off "hundreds of employees" working at Motorola, apparently leaving less than 50% of the workforce remaining. One source told Droid-Life that over 700 employees out of 1200 will be laid off, while another claimed that Lenovo was moving more operations to China. The Chinese tech firm confirmed the news in a press statement, saying it was part of "ongoing strategic integration" between the two. Lenovo said the Motorola layoffs were part of plans to "streamline its portfolio" of products "Lenovo today announced a resource action impacting less than 2% of its approximately 55 000 employees globally. The majority of the positions being eliminated...

  • Europa: Hubble telescope spots ‘possible’ water plumes

    NASA has revealed possible water plumes erupting from the surface of Europa. The potential plumes were spotted in images taken by the Hubble Telescope, the space agency said. The discovery makes it more likely that a future mission to the Jovian moon wouldn't need to drill through "miles of ice" to sample water from an ocean, NASA said in a statement. "Europa's ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbour life in the solar system, said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. "These plumes, if they do indeed...

  • NASA to reveal ‘surprising’ Europa news on Monday

    Europa is considered to be one of the best candidates for extraterrestrial life of any kind in the solar system, and NASA has some surprising news to share. "Spoiler alert: NOT aliens," the space agency tweeted, in case anyone wanted to get their hopes up though. "Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa," the agency explained in a full press statement. Could we expect solid proof of an ocean on Europa? NASA will reveal all later NASA used images from the...

  • Yahoo hack: is this the biggest in history?

    Internet icon Yahoo! has revealed what might just be the biggest hack in recent history. The company confirmed that a hack, which took place in 2014, saw details associated with 500 million user accounts being stolen. Who could be responsible for these actions? Well, the firm believes that these weren't necessarily bedroom hackers acting on their own... "A recent investigation by Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company's network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor," the company wrote in the statement. Compromised account information may include "names, email addresses,...

  • #datamustfall: Afrihost Mobile offers R1/250MB promotion

    In the wake of the #datamustfall social media campaigns, MVNO Afrihost Mobile has stepped up to the plate with a promotion. The network has announced a special of 250MB of mobile data every month for a once-off fee of R1. "If you use up all of your 250MB in the month you will automatically be capped. You will never pay us another cent unless you choose to buy extra data," Afrihost wrote on its website. It's interesting to note that Afrihost Mobile piggybacks off the MTN network It's not a permanent move though, with the promotion set to run until January 2017. Still, 250MB a...

  • Most popular products on PriceCheck from 2006-2016 [infographic]

    Popular price comparison/ecommerce website has been around for quite a long time, starting out way back in 2006. Now, the company has issued a rather cool infographic, detailing the five most popular products for each year of its existence. "Over the past 10 years, PriceCheck has tracked the most popular categories on its platform, starting with digital cameras in 2006 and 2007. By 2008, smartphones had overtaken the photography addiction, with the Apple iPhone 8GB garnering 1500 views on the site since launch," the company wrote in a press statement. PriceCheck reported a 500% increase in queries for HTC phones in 2014...

  • Feeling impatient? Here’s how to get Google Allo in SA

    It's been a long time coming, but Google Allo is finally rolling out across the world, bringing a variety of cool features to a messaging platform. As with many app rollouts, these things can take a bit of time and Google Play isn't granting access at the time of writing. But if you're feeling a little impatient like us, we show you how to get Google Allo in SA... Enable installations from third party sources For starters, you'll want to visit your settings menu and the privacy or security sub-menu. From this sub-menu, you should be able to enable installations from third party/unofficial sources. You'll need...

  • Employees download malware every four seconds

    A new pair of studies reveals that employees are downloading unknown malware at a staggering rate. The Check Point 2016 Security Report and the SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Study revealed "critical challenges" facing businesses, Check Point wrote in an emailed press statement. The Check Point report saw the company analyse the activity of 31 000 Check Point "gateways" around the world. The SANS study, on the other hand, saw 300 IT security professionals being surveyed. "Researchers found a 9x increase in the amount of unknown malware plaguing businesses. This was fuelled by the employees -- who downloaded a new unknown malware every four...