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News

  • Personera launches Facebook print calendars

    Whoever declared that print was dead may soon have to swallow their words. Personera, an online-to-offline media technology startup, launched its unique service to Facebook users around the world this week. The company is offering the world's first print calendar that is fully personalised with a user's Facebook friends' birthdays, upcoming events, and photos. The company says it is also first to launch under the banner of the Silicon Cape initiative, a...

  • Opening speech @ #SiliconCape

    Here is the text of the speech I gave at the opening of Silicon Cape in Camps Bay. I'm not alone in saying that this was an inspiring and well-supported event. Welcome everyone and thank you all for coming. A special welcome to the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Mr Johann Rupert. It’s an absolute honour and it’s humbling to be speaking in front of such an important gathering...

  • Bloggers now eligible for major journalism award

    Just been informed that bloggers are eligible for the prestigious Webber Wentzel Legal Journalist of the Year award. They're opening entries to bloggers "in recognition of just how important the blogspace has become in shaping opinion and providing analysis on matters legal..." Off the top of my head I can think of one candidate in particular, Gill Moodie of Grubstreet, for her coverage of the Mpshe-Zuma judgement. Moodie tenaciously tracked down the Hong Kong...

  • Furious MXIT lashes out at media

    MXIT is a world-wide mobile instant messaging tool (now evolving into a social network) with around 15-million users (claimed). It's based in South Africa but has offices around the world and substantial numbers in countries like the Phillipines. Every time there is an incident via their platform, journalists with scant understanding of the technology tend to focus on MXIT as the source of the problem, rather than the real issues. Mainstream media, in...

  • Online chess play scoops $1.25m in funding

    ChessCube has concluded a US$1.25m funding agreement with Venture Capital fund, InVenFin (Pty) Ltd. InVenFin, the VC-focused subsidiary of VenFin Limited, invests in intellectual property-based start-ups with global potential. This transaction brings ChessCube’s total funding to date to US$1.8m. ChessCube is an online chess site, which allows players of all skill levels to compete and learn chess, while socializing with others. With a potential market of over fifty million active chess players in...

  • The internet in South Africa: A tale of woe and hope

    The tale of doom and gloom about the uncompetitive South African telecoms market is all too familiar. It's kept a stranglehold on internet growth in this country, meaning the country has performed way below its potential in this sphere in comparison to the rest of the world. Arguably we are now moving in the right direction, and we should be headed for a belated boom in broadband connectivity. But it's all going very...

  • New launch: Book publishing 2.0

    Wow, this looks interesting. A new social media platform called Crink or “Creative Ink” has just launched, enabling amateur, budding and experienced authors to publish, sell, buy and market their books online. It allows authors to create social networks, personalised online shops, groups and forums around their interest areas and books. Customers can order books from an author’s personalised online shop and have a copy of the book delivered to their doorsteps, bound...

  • Synthasite gets $20-million smackeroos

    Synthasite, the site that creates sites, has just received $20-million more in funding. It's been the worst kept secret in the industry, but now it's official. The site is also about to undergo a name change to secure a much shorter, four-letter .com domain -- but this is yet to be officially announced. One of the founders Vinny Lingham sent a mail saying: "When we began building SynthaSite from our humble base in...

  • Google Chrome first impressions: Fast, clean & not evil

    Downloaded it a few minutes ago and gave it a test run. Noticed a few minor rendering glitches here and there on some sites, probably due to non-standard coding -- but most sites looked perfect. It's a basic browser with only core functionality, which I guess focuses on what needs to be done best: Browsing. Some will find the lack of features an issue. Others will like the clean, minimalist look geared...

  • Help Firefox set a world record

    Firefox is a brilliant browser. It's also fast. I discarded Internet Explorer (IE) about two years ago. It wasn't an ideological decision, I wasn't trying to make a point... it's just that Firefox is a better browser. I still have IE7 on my laptop, but use it only for testing purposes. I find it slow when it browses and hangs longer when you load it. Compared to Firefox, Internet Explorer is just,...

  • Internet Solutions to create new VC fund for web innovation?

    It looks like Internet Solutions (IS) may be creating some kind of incubator or venture capital fund to encourage local web innovation and startups. The details are sketchy at this stage, but it in fact looks like the new initiative will launch as soon as this month, possibly middle of the month, with the launch of their website. I've been promised further clarity on the new venture in the coming weeks. I am...

  • 24.com launches impressive crowd-sourcing tool in Answerit

    Just got a press release today about 24.com's new answerit service. It's based on a similar Yahoo! service, which apparently has done pretty well. 24.com are one of the few players in the country who can launch a service like this, because it requires volume. Last time I checked, they have the volume, or more than 3,000,000 unique browsers. At the heart of the site is an innovative points system which regulates users'...

  • Thought Leader named in international Webby Awards

    Well, well, well, it seems to be the month of awards. The news came in lastnight that our very own political blog, Thought Leader, has been named a Webby Honoree at the 12th Annual Webby Awards, also known as the "Oscars of the internet". Taking a quick look at the other sites that were also bestowed with this award -- Thought Leader is in pretty esteemed company. The blog was named an...

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read Write Web to judge local blog awards

    Congratulations to the SA Blog Award organisers for pulling in some big judges on the local awards this year. Getting in Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read Write Web as a judge is certainly a coup. Read Write Web is a world-famous blog that focuses on social media, web 2.0, and web technology news and analysis. The local judges which include Cape Talk host John Maythem aren't too bad either. The awards came in for...

  • Another SA online ranking site launched

    A newly formed website umbrella body, Website Association of South Africa (WASA), has launched a brand-new web metrics and rankings system for the country. So far it consists of 97 sites and about 20 publishers. At first glance, WASA's stats appear to be overwhelmingly taken from the Online Publishers Association (OPA) Nielsen//Netratings rankings and a few other sites in the country, namely MyAdsl and Bidorbuy, who are using Google Analytics. Google...