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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Imizamo Yethu: Uber will ferry your donations to fire victims

    The Hout Bay and Imizamo Yethu fires have seen numerous organisations and citizens step up to deliver goods and services. Now,Uber has joined the party, launching a two-day initiative that sees Uber drivers serving as couriers for donations. "Uber is working with the Cape Town Disaster Management Team and has created a temporary vehicle view called UberCOMMUNITY, that will allow Cape Town riders to request a vehicle, at no cost, that will collect donations," the smart cab service said in an emailed statement. The service will be available on Tuesday (14 March) and Wednesday (15 March), between 10am and 3pm. Users can't...

  • 15% of Twitter users are actually bots, study claims

    It's common knowledge that Twitter is home to more than a few bot accounts, be it for spam, promotions or political purposes. Now, a new study (via CBS) has found that up to 15% of Twitter accounts are actually bots. If one of the more recent Twitter statistics of 319 million active users is taken into account, then that means that over 47-million users are bots. The study, by researchers from Indiana University and the University of Southern California, saw a framework for bot detection being created. The result? "Our models yield high accuracy and agreement with each other and can detect bots of...

  • 13% of South Africans use ad-blocking – study

    A new report by Effective Measure has found that 13% of South Africans use ad-blocking software. The study saw 2987 respondents being surveyed from December 2016 to January 2017, Effective Measure wrote in an emailed release to Memeburn. As for the reasons why people use ad-blockers? Well, there aren't any surprises here... "The report reveals that the top reasons why ad blockers are used by consumers are because of the disruptive, annoying and overwhelming number of advertisements. Security and speed were also common concerns." How does South Africa's figure compare to ad-blocker usage in the USA and Australia? Well, 26% of people...

  • Wikileaks reveals CIA malware for Android, iOS, Samsung TVs

    Whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks has published its latest cache of documents, revealing CIA malware that focuses on Android, iOS devices and smart TVs. Additionally, the documents also show that the CIA has its sights set on vehicle control systems. According to a summary by Wikileaks, Apple's mobile platform was a massive target for the agency. "Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialised unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote 'zero days' developed...

  • Scientists propose man-made magnetic field for Mars

    Mars is an inhospitable world with an atmosphere that has been stripped away over billions of years. However, scientists at a recent conference have proposed the introduction of a man-made magnetosphere to greatly improve matters. According to Universe Today, NASA's planetary sciences division held the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop last week, to talk about the future of planetary exploration. The workshop saw one presentation which proposed that a man-made magnetic field be used on the Red Planet. "Today, Mars is an arid and cold world with a very thin atmosphere that has significant frozen and underground water resources. The thin atmosphere both prevents liquid...

  • To reveal Tor hack or drop child porn charges?

    The US Department of Justice has asked a court to drop a case against a child pornography website. The reason? The department refuses to reveal details of a hack used to identify visitors. According to ZDNet, legal representatives for the Justice Department are requesting that charges be dropped in the case against dark web child porn site Playpen. "The government must now choose between disclosure of classified information and dismissal of its indictment. Disclosure is not currently an option," read an excerpt of the filing, according to the publication. The team is however calling for the case to be reopened when the hack...

  • Google Assistant hits Android 6.0, 7.0 devices

    The Google Assistant is essentially a supercharged take on Google Now, delivering reminders, answers to more specific questions and more. It was initially limited to the Pixel handsets, Android Wear 2.0 and Google's speakers, but now, Google has launched the tool for recent Android smartphones. As of yesterday (2 March), Google has been pushing the service to devices with Marshmallow or Nougat, the web colossus confirmed on its blog. "Your Google Assistant helps you get more done, in your world. And starting today, it's rolling out to Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow devices with Google Play Services. To get started, touch...

  • UberEATS Cape Town gains weight, expands again

    It was just over a month ago that UberEATS launched in Cape Town, coming a few months after the Johannesburg launch. Since then, we've seen the service expand to five other Cape Town suburbs (Bishopscourt, Claremont, Mowbray, Newlands and Rondebosch). Now, the service has used its newsletter to quietly announce its second expansion in the city. "Love free food? Now is the perfect time to share your referral code as we've expanded into Plumstead, Constantia, Wynberg and Tokai," the company wrote in the email. "When you refer a friend to UberEATS, they'll get R50 off their first order and you'll get R50...

  • Has Trump, USA’s entry policy caught out Nigerian software engineer?

    A Nigerian software engineer says that he was given a test at US customs to prove that he was indeed a software engineer. Celestine Omin, working at startup Andela, had just landed in the USA when he was quizzed by a border agent, according to a post on LinkedIn. He was then taken into a small room, where an hour passed before another agent entered the room. "Your visa says you are a software engineer. Is that correct?" the agent asked Omin, who described the official's tone as "accusatory". The agent then took out a pen and paper and asked him to "write a...

  • Mozilla acquires read-it-later service Pocket

    Mozilla isn't known for its acquisition of companies at all. But the company has just announced major news, having purchased Pocket for an undisclosed sum. Pocket is one of the most popular services on the internet, allowing users to save articles and content for offline viewing. Available as browser add-ons and dedicated apps, Pocket has also delved into the content recommendation game recently. "As our first strategic acquisition, Pocket contributes to our strategy by growing our mobile presence and providing people everywhere with powerful tools to discover and access high quality web content, on their terms, independent of platform or content silo,"...

  • ICYMI: here are the Bookmarks finalists for 2017

    The IAB Bookmark Awards takes place on 16 March, but judges have recently narrowed down their shortlist to finalists. "We are thrilled with the response to the IAB Bookmark Awards this year. Each entry tells a unique story of how digital can be used to achieve relevant, lasting results in multiple sectors," said Josephine Buys, CEO of IAB SA, in a statement. "A greater breadth of judging categories has been introduced in 2017. This list reflects the shifting disciplines and technologies within the digital industry. We look forward to recognising the pioneering work in these fields," Buys added. The Bookmarks, in its ninth...

  • WhatsApp Status has landed in South Africa [Photos]

    True to co-founder Jan Koum's words, WhatsApp Status has landed on Friday (24 February), delivering Snapchat Stories-style functionality to the messaging platform. So what should you know then? Well, it's an overhaul of the text-based status feature ("I'm busy", "I'm at the gym" etc). The overhaul lets you post photos and videos as a general status update, much like Snapchat Stories. These updates all expire after 24 hours, again, like Snapchat's effort. It's worth noting though that WhatsApp does keep track of how many people viewed your update -- simply tap on the ellipsis next to "my status" to get a view-count...

  • NASA finds seven Earth-like exoplanets in one system

    In what is a landmark moment in the search for exoplanets and a possible future second home, NASA has announced the discovery of seven Earth-like exoplanets in one solar system. "Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water," NASA said on its website. The agency used the Spitzer space telescope to make the discovery, adding that it was the largest batch of habitable zone exoplanets it's ever found. "This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments,...

  • Here’s how to request TV shows, movies for Netflix [Update]

    Netflix is arguably the most popular subscription-based video streaming service around, owing to its substantial library and homegrown content. Not all locales are as well-stocked with content though, forcing many to use region-hopping services. But what if your desired content isn't on Netflix at all? You might not know this, but the streaming service actually has a page that lets you request movies and TV shows to be added to the platform. What happens after you've hit the "submit suggestion" button, then? "If you've already submitted a request for a title, you can sit back and relax -- we've received your feedback and there's...

  • WhatsApp Status: will it be a Snapchat clone?

    Who knew that WhatsApp originally started out as a way to leave status messages, so others knew what you were up to? Well, it looks like that feature is finally receiving an overhaul this week. "The original idea behind the project was to build an application that lets your friends and other contacts know what you're up to . This was months before we added messaging," said WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in a blog post. Koum explained that the team had always wanted to updating and "evolving" the feature. Who knew that this evolution might be rather similar...