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  • TED Talk: How Twitter users shaped Twitter

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  • 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 slowly. And it's hard to be anything but sceptical when every year we hear about the "potential" and how its all going to change. I'm sick of...

  • The meaning of it all, in XML

    Here's a relatively new web service for publishers and developers that's a different spin on the semantic web. Amplify is mostly a semantic web service, although it tries to differentiate itself from other semantic services by saying it focuses on understanding content rather than classifying content -- which is what the semantic web has been all about up until now. It's an interesting spin on things. As an aside, perhaps you could argue they're indulging in some semantic footwork of their own, because in a sense they're really just classifying content too. It's fascinating stuff -- and the real power...

  • 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 and printed. For example, family histories could be captured in a published book or budding ornithologists could write a personalised bird book from their very unique perspective....

  • SA bank claims 1-million mobile phone banking users

    Absa, the country's largest retail bank, says it's one of the first banks in the world to notch up a million cellphone banking customers, prompting it to call "2009 the year for Cellphone Banking". It was the first South African bank to introduce Cellphone Banking services in the year 2000. Absa says that over the last few years there has been a surge in uptake, with up to 5000 new clients registering for Cellphone Banking each day. Absa says: “From observing the registration and usage numbers, 2009 will be the year in which Cellphone Banking develops serious traction in the market such...

  • Everything is amazing, nobody is happy

    Hilarious... and too true. See myself in this video. (Received via Facebook from a friend.)var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • SA political party launches impressive, Obama-esque campaign site

    The Democratic Alliance (DA), a local opposition party, has impressed with their new online strategy. Clearly inspired by Barack Obama's web innovation, the political party has launched two websites, although only just squeaking in two months before national elections kick off. The sites are: a social media-type campaigning site, "Contribute to change", (built on BuddyPress by Lightspeed) and the official site, built by World Wide Creative, a Cape Town web dev house. I was impressed that the DA specifically invited bloggers to their website launch event, which I unfortunately could not make because I was doing my regular Thursday Cape...

  • The social network approach to viralising your articles

    One of the key viral elements of content websites, such as news sites, are the "email to a friend" links you see on many articles. Personally, I don't use these, but I know they're valuable: there's a type of user that religiously use these links as a way of sharing. Obviously they introduce new traffic and users to a site, so they're a key growth element. But they're also an outdated viral element. In fact the old "send to a friend" is looking rather late 1990s/early 2000s as a web feature. Since the social networking revolution, contact mining and social...

  • 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 Cape Town, we sought to create a company whose product would change the lives of millions of people by giving them a voice online. " In 2007 Synthasite...

  • Times election site

    The local Times launched their elections play today. It's pretty basic (although I'm lead to believe this is just phase I), but here's what I think is really clever and innovative about it: 1. They've launched it on a completely new domain called "SA elections". That says, "we own election coverage", not to mention the fabulous SEO this will create for them. It's nice positioning and marketing. 2. They're aggregating. They're aggregating their competitors and themselves. They're putting themselves, one step back, in an overview role for the whole elections. Again, nice positioning. 3. The online supporters is neat, basic but neat....

  • How stupidity can lead to innovation

    It sounds crazy, but it's true. There's a famous philosophical phrase that goes along the lines of "The more I know, the more I realise I don't know". I first came across it in my Philosophy II class as a freshed-faced student at Rhodes University. It speaks to the realisation that the more we discover about a subject, the more we uncover seemingly endless complexity and depth around that subject. So apply this to the web. In many ways it shows how people who have been involved in the web for a long time can be tainted. A person new to...

  • Amazing keyboardless laptop introduced by Apple

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  • YFM create iPhone app

    Just got a release from YFM, a Joburg radio station, that says its "the first radio station in Africa and among the first in the world" to release a custom application for the iPhone. (By "among first in the world" I presume they mean amongst radio stations.) This is due to the influence of its CEO Kathan Pillay, somewhat of a tech freak. He's a recovering journalist who has hacked a Linux kernel and majored in Political Science, Princeton University. I write this under correction, but he was also one of the first people in the world to send information...

  • The Top 100: Traditional media losing out to people power

    Here is a list of the top 100 sites from Alexa. Today, I count three traditional media sites (BBC, CNN and NY Times -- just squeaking in at number 100). The web of five years ago would have shown a different picture all together. It begs the question: Will there be any traditional media sites in the top 100 in three years time? Dominating the list are search engines, social media sites and e-commerce sites. Shows how the internet is levelling the playing field, and that traditional media is far from the dominant force it once was. JP Farinha, CEO...

  • "SA companies beat internet giant to the pinch"

    Um, received this rather surreal press release yesterday. Not sure I would have sent this out as a piece of public relations, myself. It's likely that Google will respond, either with a polite phonecall or a legal letter. Or in all likelihood, they just won't care. Be interesting to see how it plays out. After chatting to a Googler here, they pointed out that the same thing is also happening in Germany. Check out: www.gmail.de It starts: If you thought the South African internet domain Gmail.co.za was owned by Google, then think again. Owning what could be considered the internet giant's most...