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  • Samsung to launch smartphone, tablet PC

    South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it would release a smartphone and tablet PC in Japan before December, its latest move in an ongoing battle with US giant Apple. The planned launch of the Galaxy S smartphone and its first tablet PC, the Galaxy Tab, in Japan comes amid growing rivalry with Apple at home and abroad. Samsung launched its Galaxy S domestically in June, seven months after Apple's iPhone hit South Korea. Samsung has since launched its smartphone in China and other countries. The company said NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, would release the Galaxy S at the end of...

  • Apple faces $625-million in fines over patents

    Apple has decided to challenge a legal decision that could see it pay up to 625.5-million dollars in fines for infringing several patents, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. The firm's decision came after a federal jury in Tyler, Texas found Apple had infringed on three patents belonging to a company called Mirror Worlds in products including its iPod, iPhone and Macintosh computers. The jury awarded Mirror Worlds 208.5 million dollars in damages for each patent infringement, but the verdict has not been formally entered by the judge overseeing the case. Apple filed an emergency motion on Sunday seeking to stall...

  • Why Zuckerberg needs a ‘dislike’ button

    Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg may finally have a reason to add a "dislike" button. "The Social Network," the movie about the origins of Facebook, paints an unflattering portrait of the billionaire co-founder of the massively popular site, portraying him as a status-obsessed, socially dysfunctional schemer. In an interview with The New Yorker magazine last month, Zuckerberg said he had no plans to go see the film, which was written by "The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher of "Fight Club" fame. But The New York Times and others reported that Facebook staff, including Zuckerberg, attended a showing of the...

  • A beginner’s guide to user testing

    User testing (UX) is a fundamental component of the web development process. It is conducted as a matter of course in the US, UK and other developed economies during the development of any large website. In emerging markets, the entire field of Usability is still relatively small, and user testing is infrequently conducted. It doesn’t have to be like this, and it shouldn’t be. Let’s begin by taking a look at the kind of situations that warrant user testing, and then some ways of going about it. Why test? To Plan User testing should first be employed in the planning...

  • Is SMSing making your child stupid?

    SMS language or ‘textspeak’ is taking a lot of flak for the general misuse of the English language today – both in spelling and grammar. But is it all negative?Parents and teachers have been blaming cellphones and SMSes for a ‘degradation in the English language’ for years now, and they feel this technology is standing in the way of children learning proper English. What many parents and teachers don’t take cognisance of, however, is that ‘textspeak’ serves a very definite purpose within the context where it is used and is rarely due to laziness, rebellion, or habit. The limited...

  • Under the influence of the social web

    Social networking is the Web 2.0 darling. It's hard to imagine that Facebook didn't exist just six years ago and Twitter only four. Not to mention that Facebook founder, 26-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, recently surpassed Apple's Steve Jobs as well as media mogul Rupert Murdoch on the Forbes US rich list. Worth an approximate US$6.9bn (£4.4bn) Zuckerberg is estimated to be the 35th richest person in the US. Eight members of the list of 400 are under 40. Three, including Zuckerberg, are co-founders of Facebook. Another two of that list are the co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both aged...

  • Mexicans use social media to negotiate the drug war

    In the midst of the brutal drug trafficking war encroaching on their lives, thousands of Mexicans every morning check social network websites to see if they will encounter any unpleasant surprises on the way to work or school. But they are not the only ones. While average citizens go online to let others know where in their neighborhood a body has been uncovered or if they can expect disruptions from cartels or the Mexican military, the drug gangs themselves also use the tools to manipulate public opinion by making threats and warnings. The spread of vital information ahead of the daily commute,...

  • Twitter CEO suddenly resigns

    Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has announced on the company's official blog that he is to step down in favour of the company's COO, Dick Costolo. Williams will now "completely focus on product strategy". Costolo is the co-founder and former CEO of Feedburner, which was acquired by Google in 2007. Writes Williams in a post entitled #newtwitterceo: "The challenges of growing an organization so quickly are numerous. Growing big is not success, in itself. Success to us means meeting our potential as a profitable company that can retain its culture and user focus while having a positive impact on the world. This...

  • VC: ‘If you can’t describe your business in a tweet, it’s not a business’

    PoweredbyVC is a venture capital fund based in Cape Town, initially established in 2010 by members of emerging market investment group Here Be Dragons (HBD) -- the company created by famous internet entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. PoweredbyVC now runs HBD's portfolio, and is always on the lookout for businesses to invest in. Keet Van Zyl, executive director at PoweredbyVC spoke to Memeburn about what he looks out for in a startup, discusses the investment environment right now and delivers some sound advice for young entrepreneurs looking to attract venture capital. MB: Is this a bad time to be looking for...

  • Seven essential mobile advertising insights

    I recently attended a London roadshow event held by Mobile Squared, a mobile research agency that provides insight into mobile advertising, content and services. The event was a global gathering focussed on mobile advertising. Here are seven critical insights from the conference: Simplicity works: A factor that was constantly highlighted was that an iPhone and Android-exclusive focus will not reach a broad audience. Simpler devices have more market share, and mobile friendly sites are possibly the primary way to reach a larger audience. The fact that simple SMS based services such as txtlocal are doing so well highlights the fact...

  • The Digital Loeries 2010: Unpacking the Winners

    So the Loeries weekend has come and gone – apart from the hangovers being nursed across Cape Town and Joburg this morning. And the Digital Awards, handed out on Sunday night, have also now officially been released on the Loeries Website. As one of the judges this year, I was privy to the inner workings of how the winners were chosen, and it seems only appropriate that I share some of my views and insights on "the whole shebang". Firstly, it's important to remember that the Loeries is unashamedly about rewarding creativity; that all-consuming, over-used and oft-criticised word that is presented...

  • BitTorrent attempts to shake off ‘illegal’ tag

    I recently attended a media roundtable in San Francisco with top executives from BitTorrent, which invented the popular file sharing technology that now has as much as 80-million monthly users. Here are some key points about how BitTorrent sees itself as a company, and where it wants to go: BitTorrent has been working on a live streaming technology for two years and now it is almost ready to be rolled out. The company expects to launch it by the end of this year. It is described as very robust. I wonder if live streaming could cut down on the practice...

  • Thinkup: A web app to help analyse your social network

    ThinkUp, a free software project founded by Gina Trapani of Lifehacker fame, helps you harvest insights from the conversations you have on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. One of ThinkUp's most compelling features is its ability to collect and organise replies to the questions you pose to your friends and followers on your social networks. The free, installable web-application is still in beta testing but has received a lot of positive acclaim already. With ThinkUp, you are able to store your social data such as posts, replies, retweets, friends, followers, and links from Twitter and Facebook in your own...

  • Nokia’s Ovi store gaining worldwide momentum

    With a global reach of 140-million service users worldwide, Nokia today announced that more than 200 000 people are signing up daily to Ovi and that the Ovi Store is delivering 2.3-million downloads per day. Available in 190 countries, Ovi is predominantly discovered through Maps, Music, Messaging, Apps Store and Ovi Lifetools. Earlier this year, Nokia South Africa introduced operator billing for consumers purchasing applications from Ovi Store in South Africa, making it possible for more consumers to purchase their favourite apps without having to use a credit card. Since the implementation of operator billing, there has been...

  • Facebook movie already being parodied by YouTube and Twitter

    The Social Network, a brand new feature film directed by David Fincher, is due to be released in South African cinemas on the fifth of November and promises to be a dramatic, semi-fictionalised look at the genesis of Facebook and the motivations of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The film has received online acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, and promises to be a must-see for all social media enthusiasts. The movie was adapted by famed writer Aaron Sorkin from the compelling 2009 Ben Mezrich book The Accidental Billionaires, and is rumoured to offer a fairly negative account of Zuckerberg’s career path....