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  • Local student wins prestigious Google scholarship

    A computer science student at Rhodes University in Grahamstown has won a prestigious Google scholarship and is set to fly to Zurich this month to take part in a networking retreat there. Sinini Ncube’s master's research programme involved “an investigation into the use of web-based user interfaces for the visualisation of zoonotic disease outbreaks.” The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is awarded by Google in memory of Dr Anita Borg, who was a pioneer in shaping the relationship between women and technology. Ncube, who is “thrilled and amazed by this award”, has been working on ways of using the web...

  • Should we be designing for legacy browsers?

    Web designers have been on the frontlines of the browser-war battlefields for some time now, dodging the shells of legacy browsers exploding all over carefully-crafted pages. Even the design of a simple page would require the designer to have an arsenal of hacks and tricks to ensure cross-browser compatibility. But is it time for the designers and developers to stop fighting the good fight and move the industry forward by refusing to design for legacy browsers? Certainly with the advent of Internet Explorer (IE) 7, some great strides were taken towards a more compatible infrastructure in terms of how designs...

  • Vuvuzela Moment causes ‘first-ever’ World Cup Twitter trending topic

    At exactly noon today, people around the world blew their Vuvuzelas, whistled and honked their horns to celebrate the first Fifa World Cup in Africa, due to kick off in just two days. It was called the "Vuvuzela Moment" and it was celebrated in equal style online as it was offline. Tweeters in South Africa and across the world came to the party in fine style, causing the phrase "Vuvuzela" to trend on the world-famous social networking and microblogging service as fans across the world spoke about and blew their virtual Vuvuzelas in 140 characters. According to Fifa the Vuvuzela Moment...

  • Q&A with Eve Gray: The Kindle, iPad, WWII and the future of publishing

    It is (too) easy to categorise reactionary attitudes like Nadine Gordimer opining that deadtree books are better than screens as a generation thing. It’s easy to assume that an appreciation of new technologies is a generation thing, that an entire generation gets it, but that previous ones don't. I don't think it’s a generation thing, I think it’s a generative thing. There are those who understand the generative potential of new tech and those who don't. Some of those who don't are 18, some of those who don't run tech companies, although perhaps not for much longer. To show...

  • BP Twitter meme sweeps the web

    The explosion on the BP Horizon Oil Rig might have cost BP millions and the environment even more, but the spill has also dented their public image. Less than a month after the spill, an anonymous tweeter created @BPGlobalPR, a fictitious BP public relations (PR) Twitter account that has swept across the web, securing more than 138 000 followers. According to retweetrank, the account is now sitting in the 99.98th percentile for retweets. One can see why with recent tweets such as this: “Try our cap operation at home! Hold a funnel over a firehose, sell what you catch and proclaim...

  • Google Street View makes house-hunting ‘easier’ in SA

    Following Tuesday’s launch of Google Street View in South Africa, RE/MAX of Southern Africa announced that it has become the first real estate franchise in the country to integrate the new technology into their website. Google Street View is a service linked to Google Maps and Google Earth that provides users with panoramic, photographic detail at street level, and users visiting www.remax.co.za can now see the ‘Street View’ of specific properties listed on the site. RE/MAX says that buyers are afforded an improved perspective on the properties in question, and sellers are better able to recoup the intrinsic value of appealing...

  • iPhone 4: The stats you need to know

    With some of the details of the new iPhone 4 leaked a few months ago by tech blog Gizmodo, the hype around last night’s launch of Apple’s latest version of the iPhone was always going to be more about the finer detail Apple CEO Steve Jobs would provide. With a vastly-improved camera-operating system, a richer display, video calls, and some real advancements in the hardware department, the new iPhone 4 demonstrates once again that Apple is the undisputed leader of the smartphone world. Here are the key new features. All New Design The iPhone 4 has a new design we've...

  • New iPhone 4 is Apple’s ‘biggest leap’

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the new iPhone 4 at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday evening, calling the redesigned gadget the "biggest leap" the company had taken since the launch of the first iPhone. After tech blog Gizmodo unceremoniously leaked pictures of the new iPhone prototype a few months ago, Jobs' was looking to turn up the hype. Jobs acknowledged the leak by saying: "Some of you have already seen this." Gizmodo failed to crack an invite to the sought-after announcement. Some of the key changes to the new phone include a higher resolution display Apple is...

  • Google: ‘Not every day you find an elephant in Street View’

    It’s not every day that you find an elephant in Street View, or for that matter get to visit most of the new soccer stadiums in one day. But from today people can do both with Google’s newly released Street View images and 3D models in Google Earth. Seven of South Africa’s new football stadiums, including Soccer City in Johannesburg, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane and Moses Mabhida in Durban are now available to explore from pitch-level in 360 degrees, both inside and out. These detailed images were collected over the last few months, using the Google Street View Trikes and...

  • Startup tips from Mark Shuttleworth

    South Africa is the best place to become successful says Mark Shuttleworth, who made it big when he skidded over twenty and then promptly became a billionaire by selling Thawte to Verisign for some R3.5-billion. “The fact that South Africa doesn’t have a Silicon Valley shouldn’t deter anyone from being an entrepreneur in South Africa,” he says. “The existence of Silicon Valley is held up as a reason for California’s success with technology. The simple fact is that there were a bunch of people there who had the confidence and the audaciousness to start stuff, so it has become a...

  • Does Mark Zuckerberg need adult supervision?

    Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is just 26 and has done very well but his young age does often show itself in various ways. He's put his foot in his mouth several times over privacy and has had mixed reviews on his performance in high profile interviews. Here is Chris Pirillo: "Things didn't go well for Mark Zuckerberg when he appeared on the D8 stage two days ago. From all angles, he appeared to be fumbling his way through the answers he was giving. He broke out into a cold sweat and had to remove his trademark hoodie. Bloggers around the...

  • Gazuma: A new option for mobile gamers

    SkillPod Media, a recent finalist in the Excellence in the Management of Systems category of the Technology Top 100 (TT100) awards, claims to have broken the standard mobile gaming mould by launching a new mobile games platform Gazuma. The new platform allows users to play their games directly from their handset’s browser, as opposed to the normal model where users first have to buy the game online and then download it to their handset as an application. With the Gazuma platform, gamers are able to log game scores, enter tournaments, win Pods (SkillPod’s virtual currency built into the platform), challenge friends,...

  • Apple’s folly: Why the iPhone is in trouble

    On the surface Apple looks set to rule the world. The pedigreed Silicon Valley computing company has created what is indisputably the most sophisticated mobile device and operating system (OS) in history. The iPhone, and now the iPad, has forever altered the mobile computing paradigm and these are arguably devices most manufacturers try to emulate. Recently, Apple surpassed its old rival in Microsoft to become the largest technology company in the world by market capitalisation. Who would dare criticise what appears to be one of the most innovative technology companies in history? But a look at history reveals a...

  • Six real ways to measure social media

    Like any zeitgeist, social media has attracted its share of charlatans and snake oil merchants, all peddling their mastery of this mysterious and complicated new medium. But when it comes time to measure the actual results, they pile on the jargon and then skip town with your fat cheque. The truth is that social media, like the web, is highly measurable and no more inherently complicated than any other medium. If you keep your eye on these six sensible metrics, you will have a good idea of whether your social media efforts are soaring or souring. 1. Reach This most basic...

  • Media engineer: Part hack (journalist) and part hacker (software engineer)

    Burt Herman organised a fascinating event a few weeks ago, bringing together journalists and software engineers to produce news apps for the iPad. The first ever Hacks/Hackers event produced 12 apps in just 30 hours, and a panel of judges picked the two best apps: "An iPad application to make news exciting for kids and a location-aware web application where users react to news stories about their legislators." Burt Herman is the founder of Hacks/Hackers -- a group that meets every month to discuss the overlap of technology and journalism, a subject that greatly interests me. For years I have been...