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All posts by Lauren Granger

  • Nifty250: the photo printing startup making a name (and profit) on social media

    It sounds like the kind of pitch that would leave any investor with a disbelieving smile and a pile of cash stashed safely in a bank account that isn’t yours. You want to start an online social photo printing service? In South Africa? A country which has a tiny ecommerce industry and less than a million Instagram users — because the most-owned smartphone (BlackBerry) doesn’t even support the hipster app? Ha. Next, please. It sounds crazy, but it’s working for Nifty250. The Cape Town-based startup is a self-funded printing service which is not only scraping by, but making a profit...

  • Yup, this just happened: Friskies ranked the top 50 most influential cats on the internet

    The internet can sometimes be a confusing place -- I mean, how do you keep up with all the cats? Pet food brand Friskies has solution: rank them. The company recently launched the Friskies 50, which it is calling the "definitive guide to the most influential cats on the internet". The dedicated site measures each cat's social media reach, engagement rates across platforms as well as mentions in traditional news articles and slots them into the list accordingly. It also provides the internet's cat-lovers with a list of the most popular felines to follow, with quick links to their Facebook,...

  • JK Rowling crashes Pottermore with a new update on Harry Potter’s life

    Desperately missing updates on Harry, Ron and Hermione but not satisfied with the ending of JK Rowling's last book in the series? Of course you are -- after following the life of the boy wizard for seven years, the author left us with a ton of questions: did Harry ever become the auror he wanted to be? What happened to Luna Lovegood? Do they all really live happily ever after? Well, we finally have some answers, in the form of a new piece from Rowling herself. Today on her site Pottermore, she released an 'article' penned by Rita Skeeter, which...

  • Is your favourite cat video buffering? YouTube’s shifting blame to your ISP

    You know the feeling: you curl up to watch a nice video on YouTube, and you're met with that annoying swirling circle. Chances are, in between griping about how this is 2014 and you should be able to watch HD video without buffering (darn it), you're probably feeling some not-so-pleasant feelings towards YouTube. But it may not be YouTube's fault. In a bid to explain why your videos take so long to load, Google has introduced a new pop up which appears underneath the player, allowing you to find out why you're having to wait for the clip to buffer....

  • TwoDots review: beautiful frustration

    What do you look for in a casual game? Something quick and sweet to entertain you while you queue? Or something so addictive and potentially frustrating you'll become numb to what's going on around you, miss your bus stop while intensely sliding across your screen or throw your phone across whatever room you're in? Having just come back from making myself a cup of hot chocolate to calm down (after sending the Gearburn editor an eloquent and descriptive message reading "KILL IT"), I can safely attest that TwoDots falls into the later category. The sequel to mega hipster Tetris puzzler...

  • Tired of text? Meet Emojili: the app that only lets you talk in emoji

    Do your fingers ache when composing a Facebook status update? Dream of a version of Twitter free of clutter? Not ready to reduce the full range of your emotions to 'Yo'? You may be interested in Emojili. Emojili, like the name suggests, is an emoji-only social network. It claims to give you a way to communicate with your friends without the hassle of troll-dodging or scrolling through a stream of memes, hashtags and spam -- after all, emoji are hardly offensive (yet). The creators aim to limit the amount of noise in your life, promising only to email new recruits...

  • Want to start a digital magazine? Here are 9 of the best publishing options

    So you did it -- you wandered into the Newsstand section and fell face-first into the glorious world of digital magazines. Oh, how beautiful! Look at that clever transition! That embedded how-to video! That stunning, full page photo story! You want to make one too, right? You're not alone. The rise of tablets has brought with it a new avenue for publishing: digital magazines. Many existing print publications are looking for the best route to keep existing readers interested and find new ones, while the fact that you now don't need your own printing press and half a forest worth...

  • Yo, Hodor: the parody app that lets you send ‘Hodor’ to your friends

    Imagine there was an app called Yo, which existed for the sole purpose of sending your friends one-word messages, saying 'Yo'. Now pretend that someone created a parody app, using Game of Thrones' signature catchphrase ("Hodor") to allow you to send your friends a greeting of 'Hodor'. The craziest part of this all? That all really happened. Building on the viral success of messaging app Yo, Medium iOS developer Tyler Hedrick used his spare time to build 'Yo, Hodor', a nod to the Game of Thrones character who only says his own name. Like the original app, Yo, Hodor is...

  • Facebook changed Newsfeed to show how friend’s posts affect your emotions

    In the latest edition of 'what Facebook did to my Newsfeed today', we have the story of how researchers manipulated the posts seen by 689 003 users to judge how updates with positive and negative words altered their emotions. The study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was interested in figuring out if a stream of positive (or negative) status updates in the Newsfeed could have a noticeable affect on the emotional state of others, even without the type of verbal cues or face-to-face interaction that usually play a role in transferring...

  • Hashflags and kissing the Queen: how the #WorldCup’s played out on Twitter

    Let's face it: given the tendency to flock to Twitter to discuss real time events, the fact that so many major players have their own account and the social network's custom team-tracking features, the World Cup was always going to be a big thing on Twitter. But just how big? The team over at Twitter has shared some insight on the group stage of the Fifa World Cup -- and there has been a lot of cause for chatter. Major teams like England, Spain, Portugal and Italy saw their dreams of glory crumble, and a Uruguayan player you may have...

  • Want to know what’s next for Android? Here’s how to watch Google I/O live

    It's almost time: the massive annual event where Google gives us a glimpse into what it's working on (and occasionally lets us watch its co-founder skydive). Yes, Google I/O starts today in San Francisco. While we don't know the specifics of what will be unveiled at the two day event, we can make some educated guesses. We'll probably see a demo and find out more about the new version of Android, the successor to last year's KitKat, which is rumoured to be named 'Lollipop'. We'll also be hearing more about Android Wear, Google's operating system for wearable devices, which is...

  • Pugs of Westeros is the cutest solution to your Game of Thrones withdrawal

    Let's face it: it's over. We will not be catching up with the dragons, the know-nothing Jon Snow and everyone's favourite Lannister (hint: not Cersei) until 2015. So what can you do to get your Game of Thrones fix? Read the books? Yeah, or look at pugs! In what may be the cutest adaptation of the mystical land of Westeros, video-on-demand service Blinkbox has put together a pug-filled promo to celebrate the release of the fourth season of Game of Thrones on its platform. The three pugs (Roxy, Blue and Bono) are dressed up to depict various character in the...

  • Lol. Yo (the app that just says ‘Yo’) got hacked by Doge fans

    Internet, sometimes you are just too much. Not only is there an app called Yo, which exists solely for the purpose of sending your friends messages saying 'Yo', but it has been hacked. Yep, the single-purpose app that has been climbing the app store rankings on the back of US$1-million in funding, succumbed to a security breach today. This comes after a wave of media attention that saw the app pass 700 000 users and 3.6-million 'Yo's sent in a single day. It's currently ranked number one in free social networking apps in versions of Apple's App Store like...

  • This messaging app has $1 million in funding and all it does is say ‘Yo’

    In a world of tweets, status updates, IMs, plus ones, likes, comments, emails and Snapchats, things can sometimes get a bit noisy. Which is why something as simple as an app that just says 'Yo' to your friends is making waves. To clarify: there is an app, called Yo, which exists for the sole purpose of messaging other people with the app to say 'Yo'. That's it. No added functionality, no photos, nothing extra. The app is essentially comprised of one central stripy home screen which allows you to add friends (via Twitter, SMS, Facebook or importing your phone...

  • Stephen Hawking shows he’s awesome while trolling John Oliver [Video]

    "You've stated that you believe there could be an infinite number of parallel universes. Does that mean that there is a universe out there where I am smarter than you?" "Yes. And also a universe where you're funny." As if it wasn't clear enough that Stephen Hawking is quite an interesting guy (from the theoretical physics to his character on The Simpsons), this video sorts out the confusion. It's the new segment of John Oliver's 'Last Week Tonight' where he interviews some of the world's smartest people -- starting with the famous author and cosmologist. During the interview, the two discuss...