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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Battleborn review: a poor man’s Borderlands with MOBA stuff

    You wait for a fantasy-style online first-person shooter and two show up. Yep, May has seen both Overwatch and Battleborn launch in an attempt to win over your dosh. Is Battleborn a reskinned Borderlands though or will it make me a believer in this FPS MOBA claptrap (heh)? There have been some questions over just how much of that Borderlands DNA has been injected into Battleborn by Gearbox Software. And truth be told, there's quite a bit... There's the cartoony graphical style, a coop story mode and visual elements to denote how much damage you're doling out to an enemy. Then there are the short cutscenes to...

  • Make panoramas great again: Facebook 360 photos roll out

    We've covered it last month, but Facebook has finally started a worldwide rollout of its 360 Photos feature. The feature allows users to upload their panoramas or 360 photos to the social network as if it were a normal photo, with users then able to tilt their phone around to view the shot. Of course, those with an Oculus Rift or Gear VR headset can simply look around to view the 360 snaps. "360 photos are easy to identify in News Feed: just look for the compass icon on the right-hand side of the photo. Explore a 360 photo on mobile by...

  • How many BMW i3s have been sold in South Africa?

    BMW South Africa has revealed just how many i3 electric vehicles have been sold in the country. In a press release to announce the UberGreen promotion in Cape Town, BMW and Uber noted that 124 cars have been sold in South Africa since its March 2015 launch. The UberGreen promotion will see BMW i3 cars available as an option for Uber users in the Mother City, albeit for a limited time only. BMW and Uber also revealed that “close to 50 000” BMW i3s have been sold since its international launch in 2013.

  • Get an electric ride with UberGreen promo in Cape Town

    Several months after its Johannesburg promotion, Uber has announced the launch of UberGreen in Cape Town. The Cape Town initiative will last from 13 June to 18 July and will feature BMW i3 vehicles being operated at uberX prices, the company explained in a statement. Johannesburg's UberGreen initiative in April saw Nissan and BMW electric vehicles being used by over 15 000 riders, covering 5300 kilometres, Uber added. Woolworths WRewards members would be the first to have access to the electric vehicles before it opens to the public at large. "UberGreen was a great success in Johannesburg and we are delighted to announce the pilot project will now be available to Cape Town riders....

  • Tencent in talks to acquire Clash of Clans developer – report

    Chinese firm Tencent is reportedly in talks to acquire a majority stake in mobile game studio Supercell, creators of the mega-popular Clash of Clans franchise. According to TechCentral, citing people familiar with the matter, the deal could value Supercell at a rather significant $9-billion. The publication's sources said that talks were still in the early ages and a deal might not be reached. They added that Supercell's valuation could change as talks continue. If successful, the acquisition could make South Africa's Naspers an even wealthier company, as it has a minority stake in Tencent. Tencent already plays host to successful mobile offerings, such as WeChat, while also having a minority stake in veteran mobile gaming...

  • Nokia study reveals reasons why consumers switch mobile networks

    A new study by Nokia has revealed the main reasons for people choosing their current mobile network. Of course, price was the number one reason, but there are a number of interesting trends nonetheless. Nokia's 2016 Acquisition and Retention Study polled over 20 000 users in 14 countries (including South Africa), covering both "mature" and "transition" markets. Why are people on their current network? The study unsurprisingly found pricing to be the main factor, with 45% of users choosing this as the number one reason for joining their carrier. It was a tight race for second place, as best network coverage/quality (26%), best geographical network coverage...

  • Beyond Windows & BlackBerry: 4 niche mobile OSes that still exist

    It’s hard to ignore the marketplace dominance of Apple and Google, as their iOS and Android platforms consume over 90% of the mobile platform market. Unfortunately, this dominance has largely come at the expense of other mobile operating systems — and we’re not talking about BlackBerry 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. Instead, we’re looking at mobile platforms that are less prominent than even the likes of BlackBerry and Microsoft’s offerings.

  • Google Play Music gets contextually active with Concierge in SA

    Google Play Music has officially launched its Concierge service in South Africa, bringing automatically generated, contextual playlists to the country. Play Music subscribers will receive playlists based on the time of day, mood or activity when they update the app on their Android or iOS device. "Choose an activity to get options for several music stations to make whatever you're doing even better -- whether it's a station for a morning workout, songs to relieve stress during traffic, or the right mix for cooking with friends," the company said in a press statement. Other possible contextual playlists include one for Monday morning, a...

  • Snapchat acquires 3D photo app Seene, expect 3D selfies

    Snapchat is growing at a stellar rate, having surpassed Twitter in user numbers according to a new report, for one. Now, TechCrunch reports that Snapchat has stealthily bought 3D photo startup Seene. Seene's work involves capturing 3D models with a simple smartphone camera - no specialised hardware needed at all. This approach is a different one to the likes of Microsoft's Kinect and Google's Project Tango, which requires infrared cameras and/or multiple cameras. What does Seene do? In fact, Seene has an Android and iOS app out for a while now (the former chalking up between 100 000 and 500 000 downloads), giving users the ability to create 3D selfies, 3D...

  • Facebook teams up with Blizzard for streaming on Facebook Live

    Facebook has teamed up with mega-popular gaming studio Blizzard to stream games via the Facebook Live platform, the two announced. The partnership will first see Facebook Login being implemented for Blizzard's titles such as World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II, and Overwatch., allowing gamers to register and sign in with their Facebook accounts. "Adding Facebook Login will pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook's capabilities as a platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content. As an example, Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook's Live API in order to...

  • 4 Xiaomi mobile devices we’d like to see in South Africa

    You can’t deny that the Xiaomi brand has made quite a splash in South Africa since it landed late last year. The Redmi 2 and Mi 4 (review) smartphones provide excellent value for money, coming in at just under R2000 and R4000 respectively. Local distributor MIA Group hasn’t stopped here either, bringing in the R2999 Redmi Note 2 (review) and the R7999 Mi 5 flagship recently as well. Still, there are a few more Xiaomi phones and tablets we’d like to see on the African continent…

  • What Streisand Effect? Axl Rose tries to remove ‘fat’ photo from web

    We've all had disappointing photos taken of ourselves and published on Facebook, featuring a double chin, red eyes or a bit of a boep. Kicking up a fuss only seems to make things worse, right? Well, someone better tell that to Axl Rose, who probably hasn't heard of the Streisand Effect. According to Torrent Freak, the singer has issued a DMCA takedown notice to Google, demanding that a certain unflattering photo be removed from various blog websites. The publication tracked down original photographer Boris Minkevich of Winnipeg Free Press, who had no idea that his photos were rehosted or that Rose was trying to...

  • TeamViewer confirms compromised accounts, blames other services

    TeamViewer has confirmed that an unspecified number of accounts on the remote desktop support service have been compromised. In a blog post discussing new security features, the company included an open letter to TeamViewer users, informing them of the news. The company pinned the blame on compromised services elsewhere though. "As you have probably heard, there have been unprecedented large scale data thefts on popular social media platforms and other web service providers. Unfortunately, credentials stolen in these external breaches have been used to access TeamViewer accounts, as well as other services," the firm explained. Read more: 427m leaked passwords surface from enormous 2013 MySpace...

  • Twitter’s the top social network for diplomacy, new study finds

    A new study has revealed what some may have already suspected: Twitter is the top choice for diplomats compared to other social media platforms. The 2016 Twiplomacy study by communications firm Burson-Marsteller found that Twitter was used by world leaders or governments in 173 nations - equal to 90% of all UN member states. By comparison, Facebook just missed out on the top spot, being used by 169 governments (87%). Rounding out the top four was Twitter (78%) and Instagram (70%). The study added that governments with large social media teams were also dipping their toes into Snapchat and Vine's waters. "Governments that do not have...

  • Watch the weekend’s major motorsport crashes here

    It was a big weekend for motorsport, as Formula 1 hosted the Monaco Grand Prix and the IndyCar Series held the 100th running of the Indy 500. Only care for the crashes and mishaps? Well, we’ve got you covered you filthy casual, so check out some of the bigger shunts below.