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  • A glimpse of the future: Pay TV declines in the face of broadband

    The economic downturn has US cable television companies shedding subscribers in record numbers and Americans increasingly "cutting the cord" in favour of cheaper online options, new research shows. The findings point to a growing pool of potential customers for online services such as Hulu and Netflix and newcomers like Apple TV and Google TV, which offer lower prices and more flexibility, analysts say. According to research firm SNL Kagan, US cable operators lost 741,000 basic video customers in the third quarter of the year, the biggest decline since it started tracking the segment in 1980. Comcast, the largest US cable operator, lost...

  • Evly.com first look: Will this new crowdsourcing social network work?

    Sometimes it just so happens that a new technology service really speaks to you. The first time I saw Groupon, I thought that it was one of the most compelling services seen in quite some time. Clearly I was not the only one. Google is rumoured to have made an offer to acquire Groupon for US$3-billion. My first look at Evly however did not elicit quite the same initial reaction. The crowdsourcing social network had a soft launch this month. Its founder, Eran Eyal, of Springleap fame, touted their efforts as cutting-edge and having the potential to revolutionise the internet. Based...

  • Three changes to Google ads you should be aware of

    While Google Instant Preview pretty much stole the show this month, it wasn't the only development in the wonderful world of search. Here’s a brief look at three subtle changes to text ads that occurred in November, which may affect user behaviour and ultimately click through rates from the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Sponsored Links are now Ads Sponsored Links have now been labelled as Ads. This change came into effect during November after testing was reported in October. It is a minor text change which may have been made to accommodate the richer ad formats and extensions which...

  • Wi-fi connection catapults Nepal into 21st century

    It used to take teacher Mahabir Pun more than two days to check his email from his home in the remote Himalayan village of Nagi in western Nepal. The 55-year-old would walk for seven hours to the nearest road before taking a three-hour bus ride along precarious mountain tracks to the only town in the area with an internet connection. Today, all Pun has to do is log on to the wireless network he has set up over the past few years, catapulting more than 100 impoverished villages in Nepal into the 21st century. The technology has transformed lives in some...

  • Salesforce.com in major expansion drive

    Salesforce.com has been on a tear this year with financial results exceeding Wall Street estimates; a massive expansion of its headquarters in San Francisco; a gift of $100 million to build a Children's hospital; and now: luring JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist at UK Telecom giant BT to assume the same position at Salesforce. Larry Dignan, writing at ZDNet, reports: "...Rangaswami will contribute to the company's product strategy and be an evangelist for cloud computing around the globe. Rangaswami will focus on European customers and preaching real-time collaboration." In a statement, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said Rangaswami has "the...

  • WikiLeaks reveals how China hacked into Google

    WikiLeaks has unleashed a fresh torrent of more than a quarter million confidential US cables detailing a wide array of potentially explosive and embarrassing diplomatic communiques. The episode is now being dubbed "#cablegate" after the Twitter hashtag, which started to trend on Sunday night after selected information from the cables was released to global media. Just hours before the revelations hit the press, WikiLeaks had suffered a DDoS (Denial of Service Attack), prompting the organisation to send out this desperate tweet: "We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack." The New York Times, which has seen some...

  • World braces for new ‘extremely dangerous’ WikiLeaks revelations

    Governments around the world braced for the release of millions of potentially embarrassing US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks as Washington raced to contain the fallout. The whistle-blower website is expected to put online three million leaked cables covering US dealings and confidential views of countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel, Russia and Turkey. US diplomats skipped their Thanksgiving holiday weekend and headed to foreign ministries hoping to stave off anger over the cables, which are internal messages that often lack the niceties diplomats voice in public. An independent French website reported that the leaks would be published simultaneously at 2130 GMT Sunday...

  • US authorities in new crackdown on pirate music sites

    US authorities have shut down dozens of websites offering counterfeit goods and pirated music, five months after a crackdown on sites offering movie downloads. Cori Bassett, a spokesperson for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said ICE had "executed court ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names". The ICE spokesperson declined to provide further details, citing an "ongoing investigation," but Torrent Freak, a website about the popular BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, published a list of more than 70 sites it said had been targeted. A visitor to the sites from Saturday onwards is met...

  • Nando’s takes bite at Cell C ‘CEO’ campaign [Viral video]

    After the exhaustive stranglehold that comedian Trevor Noah and mobile operator Cell C have had on the South African media landscape, it appears that Nando's is ready to reclaim the attention it feels it rightly deserves. The South African peri-peri chicken giant's commercial features comedian Kagiso Lediga parodying Trevor Noah and his Customer Experience Officer (CEO) advertising campaign, and includes the line "I'm watching you Nandos. Like a chicken". The other CEO of Cell C, Lars Reichelt, is taking the campaign in his stride. "Nando’s campaign gave us a real chuckle, we love the ads and it’s great to...

  • Pirate Bay founders jail sentence reduced, fines increased

    A Swedish appeals court Friday shortened the prison terms of two founders and a financier of Swedish filesharing site The Pirate Bay, but increased the damages to be paid to movie and music firms. "The Appeals Court, like the district court, finds that The Pirate Bay service makes possibly illegal filesharing in a way that entails a punishable offense for those who run the service," the court said in its ruling. Three founders of the site Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, both 32, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 26, were in April 2009 found guilty of promoting copyright infringement with the website. The...

  • Where good ideas come from

    It is often claimed that Cape Town’s Table Mountain contains a greater number of plant species than the entire British Isles. So what is it, exactly, that causes certain environments to flourish with biodiversity and rapid evolutionary specialisation, while others lag behind? Steven Johnson’s latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From, offers several theories. What’s more, it argues that the majority of technological innovations exhibit the same patterns that are successful in natural ecosystems. Traditionally, any discussion about what is “natural” in human progress will begin and end with Darwin’s idea of the “survival of the fittest”. You can’t have innovation...

  • Email marketing in the time of social media

    Email marketing is one of the most powerful weapons in the online marketer's arsenal, provided it is used in a personalised and engaging manner that takes into account the ways that social networking has changed online interaction and communication over the past five years. Ironically, the rise of social networking sites and social media have caused email volumes to soar rather than decline. What's more, industry research shows that many internet users check their email before they do anything else when they wake up in the morning. In a recent study release by the US Direct Marketing Association, it...

  • Philippines gov’t begins broadcasting live online

    The Philippine senate has begun streaming sessions live on the internet, in keeping with President Benigno Aquino's pledge of government transparency, officials said. The online broadcasts, which began this week, are also part of the five month-old government's aggressive use of the internet and social networking media to engage the public and help it fight corruption. Senator Francis Pangilinan, who convinced the upper house of parliament to stream its proceedings online, said the webcasts would allow the public to monitor public hearings on the proposed 2011 budget. "Opening public proceedings to new media of late has become a vital source of interaction...

  • Hackers take Microsoft’s Kinect into unexplored territory

    Giant, monolithic corporations have never been ones for the “sharing is caring” motto. Sometimes they have valid reasons for being against the open source society we are headed towards, but most times they don’t. In fact, it normally comes together around a single issue: the bottom line. For years the powerhouses of the IT industry have been battling against the so-called "abuse" of their endeavours, but have we reached a turning point? Microsoft recently released their Kinect for the Xbox. The Kinect brings an entire new experience to gaming, allowing the users to free themselves of controls – totally. Using...

  • Google turns fashionista with Boutiques.com

    Online clothes shopping has evolved from traditional mail-order catalogues plonked onto a website into a multi-billion dollar industry that gives anyone the chance to own the world’s top designers and brands – if they can afford it of course. Now Google has entered the fray with Boutiques.com, a concept that’s unlike any other, yet quintessentially Google. Back in 2001, Net-A-Porter.com broke the online shopping mould with its exclusive magazine-style site and unprecedented access to luxury clothing. Women simply ‘page’ through the Net-A-Porter online magazines, filled with the latest high-end designer gear, and click on any item to buy it. Want...