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  • Pigspotter is dead. Long live pigspotting!

    The vicious dragnet of the South African police force is closing in on @pigspotter, trapping him in a vice-like grip from which there is no way out. No, not really. But the Metro Cops are randomly checking various drivers' phones around Jo'burg in the hope that they will find someone who looks like he could go by the name of Cliff. In case you've been far, far away, Pigspotter is a Johannesburg-based Tweeter who has attracted the anger of the Metro Police by informing his 14 000 followers about the location of on-duty traffic cops, while insulting them at the...

  • Crowdsourcing: Cash in on the collective

    I’m not a geek. I’m a geek-stalker. I like what digital is doing to the world. I don’t really understand it. But I like it. I like that I can rave about a book on Twitter and get a bashful thank you from the author and four recommendations for other books. I like that I can cruise MySpace and cackle over how boring old whatserface from school has become, since bearing her 13th bambino. But mostly I like the kind of collective, organic, strange creativity that happens in odd corners of the interwebs. The mashups and the memes....

  • Naspers’ internet buying spree continues with new social network purchase

    South African media giant Naspers has added to its growing collection of global internet businesses, recently buying a "controlling interest" in social networking site Multiply. In July, Memeburn reported the company indirectly landed up with a chunk of Facebook via a 28.7% stake in Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the Russian internet company that has invested in Facebook, social network game creator Zynga and owns the mature instant messaging service, ICQ. Multiply is a social networking service with an emphasis on allowing users to share media -- such as photos, videos and blog entries -- with their "real-world" network. The website...

  • iPhone 4 arrives for MTN, Vodacom subscribers

    Cellular network operators Vodacom and MTN are reporting that the sought-after iPhone 4 will be available to subscribers in major city centres as early as Tuesday this week. Memeburn had predicted the iPhone 4 would launch to both MTN and Vodacom subscribers around this time as early as June. MTN now reports on its website that the iPhone 4 will be available at "selected stores from midnight on 21 September 2010". The company reports it will be available at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Sandton City in Johannesburg and Gateway in Durban. The company says that the midnight launch is an...

  • Who else wants a lower electricity bill?

    They say that the only requirement for real personal change is to develop self awareness. With the Efergy E2 power monitoring unit, you start to look at every appliance, every light switch, every lamp with suspicious eyes, because suddenly you’re constantly and painfully aware of how much electricity you’re using. And the beauty of the Efergy is that it makes you want to change your habits. I found that it became a bit of an obsession – watching the readout on the little white wireless box tick up and down on my bedside table as I got ready for bed, watching...

  • Opera co-founder on the future of mobile, computing

    Jon von Tetzchner, the co-founder of Opera, first discovered the internet in 1992 while working at the Norwegian telecoms company, Telenor. Realising the potential of this new technology, von Tetzchner and his partner branched out and set up Norway's first Internet Service Provider, which was one of the first one hundred ISPs in the world. Two years later, they began to work on browsers and launched the company as Opera Software ASA.Today, "Opera develops the Opera web browser, a high-quality, multi-platform product for a wide range of platforms, operating systems and embedded internet products – including Mac, PC...

  • How do SA’s stand-up comics use Facebook?

    Our first look at the biggest local Facebook pages created such a stir we decided to dig deeper into the different ways South Africans are using Facebook to market themselves and their brands. In theory comedians are a natural fit for the Facebook platform - they’re public figures and personal brands rolled into one, and people feel very strongly about them (either way). But how are local comedians making the most of the 3-million local Facebook users? After quite a bit of snooping around, I managed to find these ten examples showcasing the various ways South African comedians are...

  • Is Apple’s porn ban damaging the future of media?

    Everyone knows that Steve Jobs has banned porn and any sexual content from the iPad but is this a wise move? I just started reading Nick Bilton's book "I live in the future & here's how it works" and the first chapter is about his investigation of the porn industry to see if there are any lessons to be applied to the media industry. I've long been an admirer of the porn industry's innovative business models as applied to technology and media. And Bilton does a great job in expanding on that theme. Every time a new technology has been introduced,...

  • Lady Gaga mobilises her social network for political change

    Lady Gaga is using YouTube and her huge following on Twitter and Facebook to mobilise a groundswell of support for the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation which is prejudicial to gay and lesbian members of the military. Fresh from her outrageous appearance at the VMA Music Awards where she accepted her award for Music Video of the Year wearing a dress made of meat, Lady Gaga has made another swift u-turn and uploaded a direct, heartfelt message on YouTube that speaks directly to the United States government. Shot in black and white, Lady Gaga is refreshingly...

  • Is your social network making you stupid?

    Ever heard of homophily? If not, there’s a good chance that you’re in a social network where more of the same isn’t exactly sparking your neural pathways or making you smarter. In fact famed internet intellectual Ethan Zuckerman, with tongue firmly in cheek, would go as far as to say that homophily is making you dumber. “I’m over-simplifying and being a bit cheeky when I say that the internet is making us stupid. However what I mean by it, in a serious way, is that homophily has a tendency to isolate us from certain pieces of information. At the same...

  • SA poised for massive adoption of mobile web

    South Africa is poised to see runaway mobile web expansion, according to Dr K.F Lai, CEO of mobile media company, BuzzCity. Speaking at the company’s annual conference in Cape Town, Dr. Lai gave a sense of the huge opportunities that are being created for advertisers on the mobile web as “the unwired” take to the web through their mobile phones. Currently, Lai pointed out, use of the mobile internet in South Africa is driven by specific apps, such as MXit and Facebook . Many users “don’t even think of themselves as being on the internet, they just see themselves as...

  • Now you can create a social network using your phone

    The next evolution of social networks involves customisable, targeted communities that share specific interests, as opposed to the one-size-fits all mega-networks that exist today. And these new networks need to be flexible enough to take advantage of the massive growth spurt reported that is happening on the mobile web. These two trends have played perfectly into the hands of South African internet veterans, Nic Haralamobous and Vincent Maher who have just created and launched a startup called Motribe, which is “a platform that enables users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own mobile social...

  • ‘Retweet to win’ contests damage a brand

    The local social media scene is awash with companies, brands and personalities diving in and trying their hand at this new "engagement" thing. And while there's nothing wrong with that -- the age-old strategic (nay, common sense) principles will always stand. People commit to something based on shared value. People are people, they have emotions and don't react the way you think they might. People don't always want to engage with you. People need you to understand that there's a time, a place and a medium. People want better products over more prizes, deeper engagement or clever communication - always. It's...

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee on future of mobile, net neutrality and privacy

    Anyone with some web pedigree will know who Sir Tim Berners-Lee is. He's a computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web, making the first proposal for it way back in 1989. He's also a director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an absolutely critical body that oversees standards and the internet's overall development. At the Nokia World Forum in London on Thursday, Berners-Lee spoke about mobile innovation, calling location-based services on mobile phones "just the tip of the iceberg". Surprisingly, it was a somewhat unstructured talk that rambled a bit from a man world-famous for his...

  • Notorious SA tweeter receives huge support

    The best thing that ever happened to @pigspotter was the news that he was being searched for by members of the Johannesburg Metro Police for "defeating the ends of justice." It turned him into a star and his Twitter following has now jumped to over 10 000, almost doubling overnight. The story of pigspotter was picked up by Dineo Ranaka of YFM, then moved on to the BBC, before shooting around the internet, into the print media and onto the radio. Clearly, his actions have touched a nerve and tapped into the popular zeitgeist. Earlier this evening, he tweeted...