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  • Adolf Hitler wades into AWB, Malema controversy

    It's been a mad week for local politics and internet memes. The latest parody, created by journalist Gus Silber, is hilarious. Following the great tradition of sub-titling excerpts from the Nazi movie Downfall, Silber's take sees a furious Adolf Hitler discovering that "the AWB have called off their machete race war". In the clip Adolf addresses other key subjects of national importance such as ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and his favourite BBC journalist, and of course: the weekend Super 14 Blue Bulls game. The original excerpt from the film is of Hitler launching into a furious tirade in his...

  • 10 easy ways to fail as an entrepreneur

    Many people dream of starting their own businesses and becoming financially independent, but while the idea of organising and operating your own business venture may be thrilling, there’s a good chance that your fledgling company won’t survive unless you identify potential pitfalls and plan to circumnavigate them. Here are 10 ways that you could fail as an entrepreneur: 1. Poor market research Make sure there’s a need for your product or service. Ideally, your offering should be unique and fill a gap in the market, but if there’s already competition in your intended sector, research ways to position yourself uniquely to improve...

  • Learning from the Telegraph

    On May 24 1844 Samuel Morse sent his message over a copper wire from Baltimore to Washington. The telegraph was the starting point of what could be called the first media revolution. Newspapers were afraid they'd lose subscribers to the new messenger. Why would you read a newspaper when a telegram was faster, the press reasoned. Revolutions never go fast, and it took some time before Reuters stopped feeding the pigeons and started the wire service. Reuters became popular, but the service did not kill newspapers. On the contrary, newspapers became the most important clients of the news wires and...

  • Hands on with latest iPhone OS

    Version 4.0 of the iPhone OS was released a few hours ago, and largely due to the much-anticipated addition of multitasking, I was more eager than usual to check out this release. After install and reboot, the first noticeable change is a switch from the plain black background behind the menu icons to an actual picture – and to add to the excitement, Apple threw in the option to customise the picture. This is something that phones have been able to do for around 7 years, but somehow Apple still managed to get me feeling excited about changing my background...

  • Malema, the BBC and AWB: The perfect video-share storm

    From India to London, Seattle and New York, South Africa was making headlines for all the wrong reasons on Thursday thanks to the studio scuffle involving AWB secretary general André Visagie and press conference outburst by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema during a press conference. Regardless of the serious racial tensions that the incidents highlight, both also made for extremely good video-sharing across the net, and as Zoopy CEO Jason Elk points out, the two videos were “almost too good to be true” in terms of viral-sharing suitability. For those of you who have been living under a rock for...

  • 10 lessons for tech startups

    Having been involved in a number of web and tech startups from Vottle.com to a VoIP mobile startup under the auspices of Internet Solutions' ISLabs, I have been lucky enough to have worked with some very bright entrepreneurs, and have learnt some valuable lessons along the way. From Two-Minute noodles, to Darwin, to Ham-and-Egging, here are my 10 lessons for founders. 1. The Boot: Almost every business can be bootstrapped to start, and should be. Not even Google needed outside financing for its first couple of years. Superstar entrepreneurs have an uncanny knack of making money go...

  • How Google Earth played role in historic fossil find

    It has emerged that Google Earth played a key role in what has become known as one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries of recent times. Scientists on Thursday announced the new hominid fossil discovery in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa, revealing at least two partial hominid skeletons in remarkable condition, dating to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years. So how did this come about? Back in March 2008, Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg started using Google Earth to map various known caves and fossil deposits identified by him and his colleagues...

  • Vodacom to allow free mobile browsing via Opera Mini

    Vodacom announced on Thursday that from midnight on Friday 9 April, for four consecutive weekends, Vodacom subscribers will be able to browse the web on their cellphones, free of charge when using the Opera Mini 4.2 or 5.0 browser, enhanced by Vodafone. The free data browsing over weekends is valid from midnight on Friday till midnight Sunday, every weekend from 10 April to 2 May, and will apply once a customer downloads the Opera Mini browser enhanced by Vodafone –- exclusively available to Vodacom subscribers, free of charge. “Opera Mini is built for speed,” says Shameel Joosub, Managing Director,...

  • Citizen journalism to shake up SA?

    After landing a job as the Citizen Journalism Trainer at Grocott’s Mail, I sat down to do some research on the subject. So I Googled “citizen journalism” and “citizen journalism training”, and eventually “citizen journalism south africa” – the fifth entry looked interesting: "Will citizen journalism shake up SA media?", an article from the Mail & Guardian. Click. Scroll. WHAT?! Under the headline it reads: “ELVIRA VAN NOORT | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Jan 06 2006 17:25”… Whoa! I forgot I wrote that! The article is about Reporter.co.za, a citizen journalism initiative from Johnnic. Back in 2006 their idea was...

  • 6 reasons why the iPad will be the magazine’s saviour

    The web has never really been a good fit for the glossies. Their luxurious, ample layouts have not really translated effectively to the web. Advances in web technology and connectivity have resulted in a more multimedia-friendly web - we’re in the broadband era, Flash is on its 10th version, and YouTube is the world’s 3rd biggest site. Yet magazines just aren’t nearly as prominent as their online newspaper counterparts. We can guess why. Maybe it’s because the web started out predominantly as a text-based platform and, like it or not, that legacy shapes today’s paradigm? Perhaps it’s because the web...

  • 3 things ISPs need to learn from petrol stations

    Recently, I wrote a post about Koos Bekker and MWEB's decisive masterstroke over South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and this post is meant as something of a follow up. It's a, "Okay, so you've been played... now what?" piece. When I was growing up, if you wanted supermarket-style shopping, you had to do it at your local Spar between 9am and 7pm, any later and you'd hit the corner café. This model worked for years until one day a new player came back and obliterated it. That player was 7-11 and it was a major retail breakthrough - supermarket...

  • Mobile social network partners with TV station to create country ‘mood maps’

    The Grid, South Africa’s only location-based mobile social network, has partnered with e.tv to show the daily mood of the country during the morning weather report. Users on the Grid can set their mood to "happy" or "sad", or a range of about 20 other emotions. Using this data alongside users’ geographical locations, the Grid and e.tv are able to create a "Mood Map" of the country, similar to that of the weather map. The partnership, which sees a news broadcaster relying on a social networking platform for statistics, is thought to be the first of its kind worldwide. The Grid claims...

  • Mobile West vs Mobile Rest

    Mobile is the next big thing. Have you heard that before? I have. In fact lately that is all I've heard from every direction and every guru or evangelist out there. And I use the words guru and evangelist very, very loosely. Trying to figure out why everyone is saying that mobile is the next best thing, is actually the next best thing. Everyone is talking about mobile, but no one is being specific. All the big guns: TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, TheNextWeb and many others have constantly been batting around mobile ideas, thoughts and concepts over the past 12 months, but...

  • Q&A with SpeakZA founder

    Sipho Hlongwane is one of the more popular contributors on the Mail & Guardian Online’s Thought Leader blog. At the end of March, he organised an online, blog-based protest against ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu’s attempts to leak a dossier of City Press journalist Dumisani Lubisi’s alleged finances, and the Youth League's subsequent intimidation of journalists who objected to Shivambu’s antics. Hlongwane named his campaign #SpeakZA, after the Twitter hashtag convention. Bloggers who agreed to participate in the protest posted blogs with the tag #SpeakZA in the headline. The online protest received a good deal of...

  • The end of the website

    Having been involved in this industry for a very long time, I have the benefit of a long and wide perspective of the business of making the web. This sometimes narrows my thinking, and I have been accused, for example, of not recognising the importance of mobile, or the revolution that is social media. However, it does allow me see how this industry has evolved, and to plot more points on the graph than many others. That doesn’t make me a seer, but it makes my guesses a little more reliable. This all by way of preamble to positing...