• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • NASA’s Juno probe is just a week away from historic Jupiter visit

    We saw some amazing shots after the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012, delivering panoramas, detailed composite shots and much more Martian goodness. Last year saw NASA's New Horizons space probe fly past Pluto, delivering and continuing to deliver photos in unprecedented detail. The space agency isn't stopping there with the discoveries though, as its next big event will take place at Jupiter on 4 July. Yep, NASA's Juno probe is just five days away from visiting the gas giant in what will be the closest orbit yet. How close though? Well, it'll be flying roughly 5000km above Jupiter's clouds at its closest approach. In fact, Juno has already sent a...

  • Google uses 700 trillion pixels to update Maps, Earth

    We often take Google Maps and Google Earth for granted, but the Mountain View company has updated its cloud-free mosaic with some wonderfully sharp images this week. Yep, the company has taken advantage of new processing techniques and the Landsat 8 satellite to deliver an updated global mosaic - and the results are rather impressive. Google said it sifted through over a petabyte of data to deliver this new mosaic, coming three years after its original Earth mosaic. It added that the petabyte of information was made up of 700 trillion individual pixels. "To put that in perspective, 700 trillion pixels is 7000 times more pixels than the...

  • User takes Microsoft to court over Windows 10 upgrade, wins $10 000

    Scores of people have been complaining about the questionable ways Microsoft imposes Windows 10 on them. Now, one woman has won a court battle against the Redmond corporation. According to the Seattle Times, Terri Goldstein's computer tried downloading Windows 10 without her authorisation, but the process failed. Goldstein, who runs a travel agency with the aid of her computer, found that it would crash and "be unusable for days" at a stretch. "I had never heard of Windows 10," she said, claiming that no one asked her to upgrade. Read more: 10 incredibly cool Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts you should know She initially contacted Microsoft's...

  • Snapchat-inspired Stickers coming to Twitter photos

    Between longer videos, Twitter Engage and targeted advertising for emojis, Twitter has been very busy over the past few weeks. Now, the company has unveiled another new feature in the form of Stickers. Twitter's implementation of Stickers lets you simply place one of hundreds of stickers onto your photo, being a "fun new way to add creativity" to your pictures, the service said. "Soon, you can browse our rotating sets of stickers to join in on real-time conversations, and select from the library of hundreds of accessories, emoji, and props to make your photos more fun. Use them to share what you’re doing or...

  • South African students win supercomputing competition in Germany

    Six South African students have won a major supercomputing competition in Germany this week, beating 11 other teams to claim top honours. The team was made up of four Wits students and two Stellenbosch University students, Wits University said in an emailed statement. The six students are Craig Bester, Sabeehah Ismail, Andries Bingani, Avi Bank, Ashley Naúde and Leanne Johnson. "The South African team is the only team that enters a brand new team each year. This is done to give as many students as possible exposure to the international HPC community," the CHPC said in a statement. The team, put together by the Centre for...

  • Smile Vector bot adds creepy grins, frowns to Twitter celebs

    Neural networks to manipulate photos are all the rage these days, such as Google's Deep Dream initiative. While Google's effort creates trippy art out of your images, the latest neural network-enabled project is rather silly. Twitter bot Smile Vector was created to merely add or remove smiles to photos, using a neural network for help. Created by lecturer Tom White, the bot uses a "generative neural net" to smartly edit photos it finds in the wild, posting the end-result in the form of a video. The results have been refined over time as the neural network receives more data, but it's still rather creepy. Some celebs given digital plastic surgery...

  • Acting SABC CEO Jimi Matthews announces resignation on Twitter

    Acting SABC CEO Jimi Matthews has taken to Twitter to publicly announce his resignation, uploading the letter in question as well. Matthews posted the resignation letter to Twitter, along with a brief message saying "I have quit the SABC". In the letter, directed to the chair of the broadcasting corportation's board, Matthews said it was with "great sadness" that he has to tender his resignation. "For many months I have compromised the values that I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside, passing comment from the side-lines," he elaborated. "In the process, the prevailing...

  • Confirmed: Tencent acquires majority stake in Supercell

    Tencent has acquired a majority stake in Supercell, creator of the popular Clash of Clans mobile title, in a deal valuing the studio at US$10.2-billion. The deal will see Tencent acquire up to 84% of the company, a press release stated. "Following the transaction, Supercell will be owned by the consortium (led by Tencent) and by Supercell's employees," it added. "Every employee will take part in a new long-term incentive plan, and will be able to sell their vested shares annually to Tencent." The agreement will also see Supercell continuing to operate independently, retaining their Helsinki headquarters and existing team. The deal is expected...

  • I had fuck-you money and didn’t care – Minecraft creator

    Marcus 'Notch' Persson has been in hot water recently over various comments made on Twitter. Last month, the Minecraft creator took umbrage (to say the least) with the term "mansplaining" and called a fellow user the C-word. Now, in a Reddit post titled "what's up with Notch on Twitter?", Persson himself popped up to give a quick rundown. "Once I realised I had fuck-you money and didn't care about my public image any more because it didn't affect my day to day life in any way, I started speaking out against things I personally thing (sic) are wrong," Persson wrote. Notch said that people privately thanked him but told...

  • Scared policemen, Irish songbirds and virtual coasters: this week’s must-watch viral videos

    Welcome to a new feature at Memeburn, where we take a look at videos worth watching this past week. Whether they're viral, funny, amazing or just plain interesting, we've got you covered. As for our first week's favourites? Well, a South African cop's reaction to a snake, and a VR-enabled rollercoaster are just two picks worth watching -- scroll down for all of them. A police officer lets out a huge scream when he discovers what the dog found... Irish football fans softly sing lullabies to a baby on the train. What happens when you combine rollercoasters and VR? Arguably the fastest F1 pit stop in history...

  • Spotted: Mark Zuckerberg covers up MacBook webcam with tape?

    Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the US government has sophisticated ways of spying on people through their gadgets. We also know that Facebook is no stranger to veering on the wrong side of the privacy line. So when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo to celebrate Instagram's 500 million user milestone, people were rather surprised to see what was done to a nearby MacBook... In case you can't make it out, the MacBook's web camera is taped up, as Twitter user Chris Olson first pointed out. 3 things about this photo of Zuck: Camera covered with tape Mic jack covered with tape Email client is...

  • High IQ equals low piracy rate, study finds, but SA bucks trend

    A new study has found "strong support" that a high national IQ often results in low piracy rates. The study, titled 'Intelligence and Crime: A novel evidence for software piracy', used IQ and piracy data from 2011 for 102 countries. So what did the researchers find? "Our findings offer strong support for the assertion that intelligence is inversely related to the software piracy rates," read an excerpt of the paper. "After controlling for the potential effect of outlier nations in the sample, software piracy rate declines by about 5.3 percentage points if national IQ increases by 10 points." Who are these "outlier" nations though?...

  • Instagram reaches 500m user milestone, posts celebratory video

    Instagram has just crossed the 500-million user mark, with 300-million people using the platform daily, the Facebook-owned service announced. "Our community also continues to become even more global, with more than 80 percent living outside of the United States," Instagram said in a blog post. "Thank you for your creativity, your openness and your passion for sharing your worlds with one another. We can't wait to see what you create next." Instagram hit the 400-million mark in September 2015, crossed 300-million users in December 2014 and hit 200-million users in March 2014. Today, we’re excited to announce our community has grown to more than...

  • Huawei P9, P9 Lite to double SA marketshare?

    Huawei has revealed some interesting numbers for its P9 and P9 Plus, announcing that the phones have sold 2.6-million units globally in its first six weeks. The Chinese manufacturer said this equated to a 130% increase over the P8 for the same period of time. The company added that its global marketshare was sitting at 8.5%, "supported by aggressive growth in the South African market". Charlene Munilal, the general manager for Huawei's Consumer Business Group in South Africa, said that sales of both the flagship and P9 Lite were ahead of expectations. Read more: Huawei P9 trio launched in SA, but more devices to come? "P9...

  • African VOD landscape heats up as TRACE buys Buni.tv

    Local content is a big plus for many video platforms, with pan-African video-on-demand (VOD) service Buni.tv being one of the more notable offerings on the continent. Now, as it prepares for the launch of its own video platform later this year, French broadcaster TRACE TV has announced that it acquired Buni.tv. Buni.tv was launched in 2012 and stands out as one of the three largest VOD platforms in Africa, along with Iroko TV and ShowMax, TRACE claimed in a press statement. "TRACE and Buni.tv share the same strategic vision in that we believe that VOD is the future of television," said TRACE CEO Olivier Laouchez. "We...