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  • Why are Google’s new services failing?

    Google has had a long string of failures. It encourages its engineers to spend 20% of their time developing side projects but when those projects reach launch stage, their take-off is nearly always very disappointing. Take a look at some of Google's failures. Colin Gibbs reporting on GigaOM: Google Lively was a web-based virtual environment that allowed as many as 20 people to sit in a virtual room and chat with each other. The offering debuted in July 2008 only to have Google pull the plug a mere four months later. Google Print Ads was dropped earlier this year after the company's vision of...

  • Desmond Tutu, former Ghana president at major new media event

    A major Africa-focused new media conference, Highway Africa, is to focus on "African Voices in the Global Media Space" from the 4th-7th of July in the small university-town of Grahamstown. The conference, which is expected to be attended by about 500 delegates drawn from over 40 countries, claims to be the largest annual gathering of technology-focused African journalists. This year's speakers include former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, MTN executive Nozipho January-Bardill, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu and online entrepreneur and former Mail & Guardian Online head Matthew Buckland. Tutu is no stranger to the...

  • Could social networking actually be a threat to democracy?

    Most analysis about social networking tends to focus on the phenomenon's utopian qualities, but rarely take the dystopian view which focuses on its negative side effects on society. A more critical view holds that social media in fact works more against democracy rather than for it. The idealists tell us that social media is “democracy in action”, giving voice to millions and breaking down traditional information distribution channels and power structures. At the Fortune-Time-CNN Global Forum in Cape Town on Sunday, we heard a different view. CEO of emerging market media giant Naspers, Koos Bekker, reckons the social networking revolution, now truly...

  • Impressions of Apple’s iOS4: Is it worth the upgrade?

    What makes a great phone is a combination of good hardware and software design. Apple certainly knows what how to do both well and has recently released iOS 4, available on their new iPhone 4, 3Gs, 3G and iPod Touches. The upgrade is available by updating your phone via iTunes. What you will notice The first notable change is the home screen wallpaper. This seems to add a fresh look to the operating system and definitely makes the phone feel more vibrant and alive again. Some application icons have also been updated which adds to the new look. The most important addition...

  • It’s all going wrong for the iPhone 4

    The new iPhone 4, Apple's latest installment of their acclaimed smartphone, seems to be having a less than ideal launch, with consumers around the world reporting bugs and issues with the new device and its operating system. Most prominent among these seem to be that the iPhone 4 has some serious antenna issues, in some cases it loses signal completely if held in a specific way. This is particularly acute for left-handed people. Various videos have popped up all over the web showing the phone's signal bars dropping as the antenna area is touched. Mashable reports that it appears to...

  • The Meme: A powerful form of advertising

    Although the term "meme" dates back to Richard Dawkins and his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”, the more commonplace use of the term refers to internet memes. This term, itself a good example of a meme, has come to refer to concepts, ideas and catchphrases that are spread around the web, gaining recognition and popularity as they spread through email, forums, imageboards and however else, becoming a sort of "personal joke". One common example to illustrate some key traits of an internet meme is lolcats. The term lolcat (otherwise known as a "cat macro") refers to an image of...

  • iPhone 4 in SA early September, now also includes MTN

    MTN subscribers will not have to fork out large boodles of cash to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone 4 because the operator’s South African network will launch it. That’s the word from an industry insider who spoke exclusively to Memeburn, but did not wish to be named. Both Vodacom and MTN should begin selling the iPhone 4 in early September, although an exact date cannot be confirmed at this stage because of brisk sales of the device in both the USA and across Europe. South Africa has traditionally been on a "third tier" level...

  • How to fix your iPhone’s IOS4 upgrade problems

    It seems thousands of Apple fanboys across the world are encountering issues when upgrading to Apple's newest iPhone, iPad and iPod operating system. And this is consistent with my own experience when I tried to update my ageing iPhone 3G. On Tuesday evening iTunes told me that it was time to update to IOS 4. After immediately clicking "download and install" and waiting in anticipation as every minute passed, I sat up till 12 that evening but it seems my iPhone was just not destined to update. It would eventually finish downloading the following morning... half the planet was...

  • Social networks, blogs account 22% of all time online, say Nielsen

    Visiting social networks and blogs now account for every four and a half minutes spent online, according to the authoritative Nielsen Company, a leading online analytics and trending company. Publishing on their official blog, nielsenwire, they report that the popularity of social media has now become "undeniable". According to the analytics company three of the world’s most popular brands online are now social-media related: Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia. Nielsen says that the world now spends more than 110-billion minutes on social networks and blog sites, equating to 22% of all time online. WORLD’S* MOST POPULAR BRANDS ONLINE / April 2010 Brand % of...

  • Vuvuzela frenzy: Now embedded in YouTube. Sigh.

    YouTube is the latest to join the world-wide frenzy over the vuvuzela. The South Africa instrument's distinctive drone can now be heard by any curious football World Cup fanatics when they click a newly-placed football-shaped button, found in the bottom right corner of all YouTube video frames. Upon clicking the obscurely placed button, a loud blast from a vuvuzela hits unsuspecting viewers like a 90th minute winner for Team USA. YouTube were so proud of their addition that they tweeted it to the world with, “Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz #vuvuzela” - @Youtube Google early this month also incorporated a vuvuzela into Street View. That...

  • Vuvuzela iPhone app now a world-wide top seller

    A Dutch mobile development company has shot to fame (or notoriety depending on your point of view) for building a Vuvuzela iPhone app that has quickly become the number one downloaded app in many parts of the world. Love them or hate them -- everyone will agree that the Vuvuzela has made the FIFA World Cup in South Africa the loudest in the tournament's history. Everyone has caught onto the Vuvu bandwagon, and sales around the world are skyrocketing. In the UK, Tesco’s recently reported sales of one Vuvuzela every 20 seconds during one of the recent England games. But...

  • Four reasons why advertising doesn’t work in the way it once did

    The industrialised model of advertising isn’t working as well as it once did. For many years brands were built by creating performance and emotional associations with the brand in the minds of customers primarily with the weight of advertising. Share of mind was created by share of voice (ad spend), and this equated to share of market. The Internet, whether accessed via desktops or mobile devices such as cellphones and iPads, has changed everything. This is why: The most powerful force in the Internet is that it connects people, and so pools the knowledge of your friends with yours (so you are...

  • Richard Branson on open source, Twitter and entrepreneurship: The Memeburn interview

    Virgin founder Richard Branson recently slipped into South Africa to check up on some of the success stories at the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg. Memeburn.com caught up with the world-famous entrepreneur to find out his views on open source, Twitter, and how to make it as an entrepreneur in this day and age… Memeburn: In the Internet age, where it should be getting cheaper and easier to start businesses, is it now more than ever an entrepreneurs' world, or is that just a myth? Richard Branson: I don’t think it’s a myth. Obviously the current financial climate has most...

  • Financial Times crowdsources growth strategy with SA company

    The London-based Financial Times, a leading global newspaper specialising in financial and business news, has commissioned a South African company to help it crowdsource ideas on how to increase the number of new subscriptions to its online offering, FT.com. The financial broadsheet approached the Cape Town-based Idea Bounty with the task -- a local community site that allows brands to tap the collective intelligence of creatives all over the world. While crowdsourcing ideas is not a new concept, Idea Bounty claims it is one of the first in the world to award prize money for ideas alone. The newspaper is facing...

  • Six ways “Young World” entrepreneurs are changing the business landscape

    A lot has been written about the “digital generation” – the cohort that grew up marinated in high tech, and whose worldview reflects their constant exposure to information, communication and collaboration, media and multitasking.  But the greatest impact this generation is having on the world is when they have a blank canvas to start their own businesses – and nowhere is this felt more profoundly than in those parts of the world where young people are most numerous: emerging economies. Over the past two years, I’ve been studying the most innovative young entrepreneurs on five continents and observing how the values of...