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All posts by Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch).
  • Facebook Creator app launches on iOS

    Facebook has taken a leaf out of YouTube's book and launched an app and website specifically geared towards "creators" (people who post videos to its platform). The app is essentially a rebrand of the celebrity app Facebook Mentions, which was promoted as a better way to build communities. In fact, users will only be able to find the new Facebook Creator in the App Store when searching "Facebook Mentions", despite the actual title having changed. The app is meant to make it easier for creators to post videos, go live, and connect with their communities. It offers exclusive features like adding intros and...

  • TWR #130: SA Black Friday deals, Silicon Valley, Battlefront 2, and more

    Welcome to The Weekly Roundup, where we discuss the latest in tech and startup news. This week, Hadlee Simons hosts Stephen Timm, Andy Walker, and Julia Breakey. Stephen kicks off the week by discussing the Silvertree founder who criticised the Silicon Valley model of glorifying the pitching of ideas, rather than helping entrepreneurs to better execute on these ideas. We then move on to the lighter topic of Justice League, the latest superhero movie to hit the big screens. While Julia says it should win the hearts of fans, it may not be enough to convince non-believers that superhero films are worth the time. Moving...

  • Twitter updates verification process after verifying Nazi

    Twitter landed itself in hot water last week after verifying a known US white supremacist -- and now it's trying (again) to allay criticisms of its complicity in the rise of global nationalism. Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2017 Twitter's first response was that it didn't realise verification status was being used as an...

  • 150k Russian Twitter accounts targeted Brexit referendum

    More than 150 000 Twitter accounts -- previously only tweeting about the conflict in Ukraine -- turned their focus to Brexit in the days leading up to the June 2016 vote, data scientists from Swansea University and the University of California, Berkeley have revealed. The researchers looked at accounts that tweeted in English, but had their language set to Russian. These accounts, which posted 1000 tweets a day before the vote, amped their activity up to 45 000 in the last two days, and 39 000 on the day of the election. It is unclear whether these accounts were pushing for...

  • Netflix survey suggests users are unashamed of watching in public

    The invention of the television pulled many people away from public cinemas and back into the privacy of their own homes. But now, as smartphones make it easier to watch movies and series anywhere you go, entertainment is finding itself once again moving out into the public sphere. Interested in the way its users were interacting with its content outside of their homes, Netflix surveyed over 37 000 users in 22 countries (unfortunately not including South Africa). It found that 67% of users were willing to watch content outside of their homes. These users are apparently so into their streaming that they...

  • Justice League movie review: idk it’s just good

    If you're a fan of DC comics, and have, like the rest of us, been disappointed by Zack Snyder's direction of the cinematic universe, then feel free to let go of that breath you were holding: Justice League is no Batman v Superman. It's narratively coherent, only two-hours long, includes believable plot points and characters you root for. Simply put, the film is thoroughly entertaining. In an attempt to catch up to Marvel's dominance of superhero cinema, DC has finally placed its winning team up to bat. For the first time in cinematic history, Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash...

  • Amazon to produce ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

    Amazon has acquired the global television rights to adapt Lord of the Rings, based on the classic novels by JRR Tolkien, into multiple seasons. The series will not follow the beloved story of Frodo and his friends, but rather new storylines set in Middle Earth preceding The Fellowship of the Ring.  "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings," said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. If all goes to plan, Amazon's deal will include the potential for spin-off shows. Peter Jackson's...

  • Uncovering the science behind the internet’s best viral video trends

    How often do you think about the sheer coincidence of your existence? The fact that that you were the sperm that reached the egg, that you were born to your specific family in that country in this time period? Your life is a mixture of very specific moments in history coming together to create right now. Ready to take that concept and make it less deep? The same is true for viral videos. And while we can't explain all of the random events that led to their existence, we can explain (or give educated guesses on) some of the science. So here's what...

  • Here’s what Twitter’s saying about the #FeesCommission report

    The long-awaited Fees Commission Report has finally be released -- albeit over 30-minutes later than advertised -- and Twitter has responded in earnest. After waiting years for the ANC government to take a firm stance on the possibility of free tertiary education, users not only crashed the official website, but also pushed #FeesCommission to top trending nationwide. The first issue on the table? The official document's (found here) 752 pages -- though a few have already offered sub-280 character summaries. Can the law students kindly read and then give us a summary. I practically got a headache just looking at so many words....

  • Last week in trailers: ‘Fish porn’, fate, and Watergate

    Another week, another round of trailers. Let's do this. The Post Steven Spielberg's The Post stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee as they race to catch up to The New York Times in unveiling pivotal Watergate documents. Can you smell those Oscar noms? The Post opens in South Africa 26 January 2018. Fifty Shades Freed This Fifty Shades Freed trailer is the epitome of "Plot, What Plot?" and, honestly, good for it for knowing what it is. For one final show, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are teaming up to pretend they don't completely hate each other while trying...

  • Somaliland, Zimbabwe crack down on social media

    Somaliland, the self-declared republic in northwestern Somalia, and Zimbabwe have cracked down on social media in the face of current and upcoming elections. Somaliland will be restricting access to various social media platforms in an effort to protect voters from "fake news" surrounding the election held Monday, 13 November. The electoral commission asked telecommunications companies to block the likes of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Viber, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Duo, and Google Plus. The companies agreed to the request. NEC declared Social media will be shutting down on the voting day, until the result comes out for fake news avoiding #somaliland. News link https://t.co/JtQJeAd0iR pic.twitter.com/o41CMADFDc —...

  • ‘Incels’ subreddit removed for inciting violence against women

    Reddit has banned the Incels subreddit for its content that promoted violence against women. The community was comprised of men who blamed women for their virginity, or "involuntary celibacy", and sometimes advocated rape. "Communities focused on this content and users who post such content will be banned from the site," Reddit said in a statement. "As of Nov. 7, r/Incels has been banned for violating this policy." This removal is in line with its latest policies, announced in October, forbidding violent content on its platform. Of the first to go were white supremacist and Nazi groups. The r/Incel community consisted of around 40...

  • Twitter responds to Louis CK’s alleged sexual misconduct

    Louis CK joined the likes of sexual misconduct accused Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey Wednesday when multiple women stepped forward to tell The New York Times their disturbing stories about the comedian. Comedic duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov said that in 2002 Louis CK invited them over to an after-show hang out in his hotel room. As soon as they arrived, the man asked if he could take out his penis. He allegedly undressed and started masturbating. A year later, another comedian Abby Schachner says that while on a phone call with Louis CK, she could hear him masturbating in the background. Six years later, she...

  • mother! movie review: antagonising, violent, nauseating

    Stepping into the cinema for Darren Aronofsky's mother!, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I had heard that audiences hated it. I had heard about the intense violence, and I had even postulated to myself on what these heinous acts might be. I was giddy to finally learn -- after months of avoiding spoilers -- what made this film so spectacularly unwatchable. I was an idiot. mother! is a violent and nauseating film that regards its own viewers as sheep who need to experience trauma to understand their own evil. It begs them to empathise, then rips that...

  • The Weekly Roundup Podcast: SA Mate 10 prices, Google’s Launchpad Africa accelerator & more

    Welcome to The Weekly Roundup, where we talk the week in tech and startup news. This week, Hadlee Simons hosts Julia Breakey and Stephen Timm. First on the agenda is Google's Launchpad Africa Accelerator, which is now accepting its first cohort of applications. The tech giant will take on 10 startups in the programme’s first cohort, set to start early next year in Lagos, Nigeria — from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The team then moves to Twitter's latest rules update that, while including some welcome new additions like prohibiting child sexual exploitation and unwanted sexual advances, poses some worrying questions about...