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  • What they’re teaching at Harvard about the future of journalism

    Janet Heard is a 2009/10 Nieman fellow of journalism, one of 23 fellows (11 Americans and 12 Internationals) selected to attend Harvard University for an academic year. The Nieman program is aimed at mid-career journalists, each of whom selects their own classes at any of the faculties/schools at Harvard. Heard audited classes in African American studies, African History, the Kennedy School of Government and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, among others. In addition to Harvard, fellows attend classes through the Nieman Foundation. Memeburn spoke to her about her time at Harvard, and about what the pre-eminent American school...

  • Inventor of USB Flash Drive back to topple the SD card

    Henn Tan could have ruled the global market in what became the ubiquitous USB flash drive that helped consign the floppy disk to the dustbin of technological history. But his grip on the ThumbDrive slipped and the market was flooded with a myriad of brands for the handy memory device which could be small enough to dangle on a key ring. Now the Singaporean entrepreneur hopes to prove he was no one-hit wonder. Tan, who holds the patent for the compact data storage device in over 30 markets and the global trademark for the ThumbDrive brand, now has a firmer hold on...

  • The most-watched global YouTube clips of 2010

    More than 13-million hours of video -- approximately 1 500 years -- were uploaded to YouTube in 2010 and more than 700-billion videos were viewed on the site. The top clips of this year worldwide include a quirky television interview "Bed Intruder Song!" by Antoine Dodson, a parody of popstar Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”, and a school pupil's rendition of Lady Gaga's “Paparazzi”. The full list of the top 10, worldwide, below: 1. Bed Intruder Song! – The Gregory Brothers took the quirky television interview Antoine Dodson gave and turned it into a chart-topper. 2. Tik Tok’ Ke$ha Parody -- The pop...

  • Die Antwoord steals the show on YouTube for 2010

    For the year of 2010 South Africans watched clips dominated by music and politics on YouTube, with Afrikaans trailer-trash rap group Die Antwoord stealing the show as one of the most watched for the year. Die Antwoord's singles 'Enter the Ninja' racked up a massive 8,6-million views, while 'Zef Side' received 5,2-million views. Other local videos that drew significant interest included ‘6 Second Poison’ by Locnville (667,170) , 'Show Dem - Make the Circle Bigger (223,944) and Jack Parow’s ‘Dans, Dans, Dans’ featuring Francois van Coke Y (419,100). South Africa saw the launch of a local YouTube domain in April 2010,...

  • Twitter’s great divide: A clash of product and business

    The audience at Le Web in Paris was stunned last week when Jason Goldman, the beloved VP of Product at Twitter for the last four years, announced he is leaving the company. He tweeted afterward: “Thanks so much everyone at Twitter for the best job I could ever imagine. It's been amazing and I think the future will be even brighter.” Goldman’s departure, hot on the heels of former CEO Evan Williams’ resignation, has revealed a growing schism between the product side and business side of the organisation. Twitter’s business folks (led by new CEO Dick Costolo) have begun edging out...

  • Social media shaking up the travel industry

    Facebook, Twitter and a host of invite-only travel websites are fast becoming a key pipeline for well-heeled travellers as well as the budget-conscious to find hot deals and destinations. Bigwigs from the world's elite travel industry, gathered in the chic Riviera resort of Cannes for the annual ILTM trade fair that wrapped up Thursday, had their eyes on social networks as a crucial tool for the future. "Social networks, such as Facebook with its 600 million users, will have a dramatic impact on how affluent consumers make their (travel) decisions," Klara Glowczewska, editor of Conde Nast Traveler, told a conference at...

  • The pros and cons of the game-changing Kinect

    I spent a large portion of last weekend flapping and waving my arms about, throwing phantom roundhouse kicks and trying to maintain a zen-like appearance while side-stepping rapids and plugging up leaks. No, I wasn't attempting kung-fu aboard a sinking rubber dinghy but rather, was engaging Microsoft's foray into motion control for the XBox360: The Kinect. The Kinect turns the XBox360 from being predominantly a single-player console into a multiplayer, family-oriented machine with endless possibilities. It's also buckets of fun, much more so than the Wii in my opinion and XBox's full-body, controller-less gaming experience lives up to it's expectations....

  • Virtual pillow-talk from an iPhone app

    Lonesome South Koreans who have trouble finding true love can now get video calls from a virtual girlfriend, available as an iPhone app. South Korean-developed app, "Honey, it's me!", achieved 80,000 downloads a day during an initial free launch period. It's not the only one: There are a number of apps on the market that can make single men feel a little less lonesome, including a night time app that plays the sound of a female sleeping peacefully on the next pillow. But the "Honey, it's me!" app appears to be the first to make video-calls from a virtual model. Mina, 22,...

  • Gadget fetish of 2010: It’s all about the tablet

    When it came to gadget fetishes of 2010, it was all about tablet computing. Yearning for a device that was bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a laptop made the tablet a defining trend for the year. Of all the tablets, iPad lead the charge, although Apple's rivals were quick to respond with their own high-profile launches. Research company, Gartner, forecasts worldwide media tablet sales to end users will reach 19.5 million units in 2010, driven by sales of the iPad. Media tablets are poised for strong growth with worldwide end user sales projected to total 54.8 million units in...

  • WikiLeaks hacks: ‘More cybermob, than cyberwar’

    Despite the overtones, the attacks on credit card and other websites by supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are more political protest than real cyber war, experts say. Over the past week, the Internet has rung with a call to virtual arms by "Anonymous," a band of computer hackers that has targeted websites of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and others for cutting off WikiLeaks access to funds. "The war is on," the group has proclaimed, vowing to attack any entity with an "anti-WikiLeaks agenda." But the campaign has fallen short of a real cyber war, said James Lewis, a specialist in cybersecurity at...

  • OpenLeaks in bid to rival WikiLeaks

    Former WikiLeaks supporters at odds with founder Julian Assange will shortly launch OpenLeaks, a rival project aiming to get secret documents directly to media, one of them said Friday. "I can confirm that we will be operating under the name 'OpenLeaks'," said former Icelandic WikiLeaks member Herbert Snorrason. Unlike WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks will not publish leaked documents directly online but instead make leaks available to partner media. "This is not a single website that would gather material and publish it but rather a system provider to which people can upload information anonymously," Snorrason said. The domain name openleaks.org on Friday redirected to a blank...

  • Nandos launches new ‘Speedchicken’ viral video

    Shortly after Nando's launched its spoof "CEO" campaign, poking fun at Cell C's Trevor Noah campaign, it received two brand new USB speedsticks with 60GB of data and a personal note from the CEO of the mobile operator, Lars Reichelt, suggesting that Nando's adds "Speedchicken" to its menu. Reichelt wrote: "Nando’s campaign gave us a real chuckle, we love the ads and it’s great to know that our initial campaign is inspiring creativity in other companies. I trust that the Nando’s executives will enjoy their new super-fast internet connection and that they will consider adding “Speedchicken” to their menu It...

  • SA goes crazy for Zef, Bieber and Malema: Google Zeitgeist

    Pop sensations, both local and international, dominated South Africa’s Google search in 2010. From Justin Bieber to Locnville, Jack Parow to Nicki Manaj, local search was dominated by local entertainment icons who managed to squeeze controversial politician Julius Malema and the locally-hosted Soccer World Cup out of the top spots. Every year, Google measures which search topics rocket and which plummet in order to get a sense of the “zeitgeist,” or spirit, of each year. "Doing fast-rising search terms allows us to see what is truly unique about 2010,” Google spokesperson Anne Espiritu said. “Think of fastest rising as...

  • 10 of SA’s favourite women bloggers

    These 10 remarkable women have all captured our online imaginations with their style, wit and wisdom. As the South African blogosphere matures and deepens, we thought you should know and appreciate the established, the new, and the ones to watch. No doubt there are others out there, toiling away, looking for an audience. Let us know who they are and where we can find them. 1. The Magazine Queen Hurricane Vanessa – “Is there more to life than sex and shopping?” The editor of Cosmopolitan SA and editorial director of Associated Magazines, Vanessa Raphaely makes witty observations on popular culture,...

  • Russia’s DST backs Groupon’s rejection of Google

    Alexander Tamas, partner at Digital Sky Technologies (DST), a major investor in Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, and Groupon, defended Groupon's rejection of Google's acquisition bid, saying that Groupon could become one of the most important companies on the Internet. Tamas was speaking at the Le Web conference in Paris. He said that there are very few internet companies that have the potential to define their genre and become great companies. Groupon can achieve much more by staying independent. DST is a Russian-based investment company largely funded by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and run by Yuri Milner. South African emerging market internet media...