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All posts by Stuart Thomas

  • Big-name activist throws weight behind WEF internet initiative

    Education activist and co-founder of the academic support non-profit Olico, Andrew Barrett has thrown his weight behind an initiative from the World Economic Forum's global shpers programme to bring internet access to all in Africa. Called #internet4all, the campaign was announced on Thursday and will officially launch at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 that takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May. The campaign follows a call from Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee for the World Economic Forum, for the internet to become a basic right in Africa. “Technology...

  • Online still accounts for just 1% of total SA retail

    The South African ecommerce space is growing seriously fast -- more than 26% in 2015 alone -- but it still accounts for just one percent of the country's total retail spend. That's according to the latest Online Retail in South Africa 2016 report, released on Wednesday by World Wide Worx. According to the report, ecommerce has maintained a higher than 20% growth since the turn of the century and in 2015 was worth R7.5-billion. While the rate of growth is expected to slow down a little in 2016, the report says that growth in Rand terms is expected to...

  • Panama Papers: 10 things you need to know about the world’s biggest ever leak

    The term "Panama Papers" is about to become a major part of the global lexicon. That's because it represents something very big: the largest data leak in human history. The data comes primarily from a Panamanian law firm and forms the basis of what describes itself as "a global investigation into the sprawling, secretive industry of offshore that the world's rich and powerful use to hide assets and skirt rules by setting up front companies in far-flung jurisdictions". Bigger than both Wikileaks and the Snowden files, the investigation has revealed "a cast of characters who use offshore companies to...

  • Net Prophet 2016 speakers include local tech heroes

    Net Prophet, one of South Africa's favourite geek events, is back in 2016 with a speaker line-up bristling with veterans of the South African tech space. Some, like Travelstart's Stephan Ekbergh have been slogging away at the same venture for years. Others, such as Michael Jordaan and Alan Knott-Craig Jr will be appearing in guises outside of the ones they made their names in. Jordaan, now founder at Montegray capital, rose to prominence as the CEO of FNB, while Knott-Craig briefly lit up the scene with his acquisition of Mxit, before going on to found free WiFi NGO Project...

  • Think you have mad Snapchat skills? Check out this stop-motion video

    This is pretty damn cool. Snapchat user Joe Penna, who calls himself MysteryGuitarMan! on YouTube, has created an 85-second stop motion film which may just be the highest form of art created on the ephemeral social network. Called 8-bit Snapchat, the film uses what Penna describes as "some fruits, Snapchat, and a LOT of free time". The film takes the form of a classic side-scroller and will make you feel even older for being so confused every time you open up Snapchat.

  • Analysts get the iPhone SE, but aren’t sure it’ll succeed

    Among the many announcements made by Apple during Monday's launch event, the new 4-inch iPhone SE was probably the most important. Targeted at the 35% of Apple users who've stubbornly stuck with 4-inch devices, the SE is essential an iPhone 6 stuck in an iPhone 5s' body. It's interesting that Apple is sticking premium internals in a small device at a time when most other smartphone makers have abandoned it, but will it work out for the Cupertino-based giant? With the iPhone SE, tech analysis firm IHS says, Apple is choosing to aim at an underserved segment of consumers...

  • Intel co-founder Andy Grove dies, aged 79

    "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive". Those are the words that have been most commonly used as the tech world gathers to remember Intel co-founder Andy Grove, who died on 21 March, aged 79. A Hungarian immigrant, Grove is credited with being one of the driving forces who helped grow Intel into the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors. He's also been called the "guy who drove the growth phase" of Silicon Valley. Grove was born to a middle-class family in Budapest, Hungary in 1936, the son of Maria and George Gróf. His early childhood years...

  • Kill the PC? The new iPad Pro probably won’t even save Apple’s tablet line

    At a special launch event on Monday, Apple launched a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It's certainly an impressive device -- as Apple's Phil Schiller noted on the day, it has plenty of "grunt" -- but is it the device to convince PC owners to move away from their clunky Windows machines? During the event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller pointed out that there are around 600-million people using Windows PCs that are more than five years old. "This is really sad," he said. The bigwigs at Apple might believe that's the case, but I'm not so sure....

  • Tim Cook kicks off Apple launch with dig at FBI

    Apple launches are usually all about product, whether that's new headline-grabbing device or an update to a piece of its software. On Monday however, CEO Tim Cook, used the occasion of the company's latest launch to have a dig at the FBI. "We need to to decide, as a nation, how much power the government should have over our data and our information," Cook said at the event. The US investigative bureau and the technology giant have been in a protracted battle, with the former looking to Apple to give it access to an iPhone belonging to San...

  • Guptas on our minds: state capture by the social media numbers

    The past week has seen an increasing number of high-profile ANC members come forward to confirm that the Gupta family had influenced a number of cabinet positions. Despite threats and protestations from the wealthy family, the revelations haven't stopped. It's captured headline after headline and, by extension, the country's social media imagination. That much is obvious to anyone spending even five minutes on Twitter, but a look at the numbers shows just how suddenly South Africans have started to care about this issue. According to data from social analytics company YouKnow, the volume of Gupta conversation from 1...

  • This awesomely cheesy video shows why you should build indie games in Cape Town

    There are many reasons to live in Cape Town, from long-warm summers to world-class food and an amazing mix of oceans and mountains. But it's also a great place to build indie-games. At least, that's according to this gloriously cheesy, 90s-inspired promo video. As well as the city's more well-known attractions, the video touts the Rand/Dollar exchange rate, the cheap price of pizza (fuel for game devs), and alternative gaming events as reasons for making the move. We're certainly sold (although already being based in Cape Town means we're probably based). Have a watch and decide for yourself. And...

  • This selfie booth turns you into a hologram

    Massively popular as selfies currently are, there's no getting around the fact that there's a limited amount you can actually do with them. Enter 'The Holobooth'. ‘The Holobooth’, which was revealed at the Design Indaba Festival 2016, allows people to take a holographic selfie of their face and show it to their friends and family outside of the office, home or conference venue. Developed by the Jupiter Drawing room, ‘The Holobooth’ is a 1m x 2m x 2m portable video booth powered by hardware and software. Read more: Are selfie sticks and smartphones the future of TV newsrooms? Here's how...

  • News24 falls for fake Malema Twitter account

    This is awkward. News24, South Africa's largest online publisher, has quoted a Julius Malema spoof account as coming from the EFF leader himself. The falsely attributed Tweet was used in the news organisation's ongoing coverage of admissions by senior members of the ANC that the Gupta family had offered them positions in cabinet. The tweet was not only included in an article, but also quoted in a headline posted on the News24 site as these tweets by advertising news site Marklives show: .@news24 just fell for parody @Julias_Malema account on their live #gupta #jonas feed Not...

  • Volvo XC90 review: a seriously safe Swedish SUV

    Before we start, there's something you should know. I am not, by inclination, a fan of large SUVs. Nor, for that matter, am I all that fond of automatics. So when the very large, very automatic Volvo XC90 arrived at Burn HQ recently, it had its work cut out for it. And while a week with this Swedish giant wasn't enough to convert me on either of those things, I'm fairly confident that if you do like big, automatic SUVs, then you'll love the XC90. Read more on Motorburn.

  • What’s going on with M4JAM?

    This is interesting. WeChat users signed up to microjobbing service M4JAM were on Monday greeted with a message telling them to cash out all the money from their wallets before 31 March. The only reason given for the request, is that “M4JAM is in the process of restructuring the business”. When asked if he was willing to comment on the message, which appears to have been rushed out, M4JAM founder Andre Hugo told Ventureburn that he was about to board a plane and would be able to comment tomorrow.