• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!
  • 5 reasons why you should kill Buzz

    Within a week of launching Google Buzz, I killed it. Despite my love of the threaded commenting, unlimited by character count and the opportunity it presented to discover new and interesting people, I killed it dead. This is why... Reason #1: The twits made me do it You know who I mean. Those people who saw a really cool tool for sharing and discussing the golden nuggets they found scattered across the interwebs AND THEN PLUGGED TWITTER INTO IT. As my mum says: "A place for everything, and everything in its place." If I wanted a social sharing service that aggregated...

  • WordPress – way more than just a blogging platform!

    Since 2003 WordPress has grown to be the largest self-hosted "blogging tool in the world", with millions of sites being powered by this easy-to-use, extremely flexible, freely available content management system (CMS). The common perception by the vast majority though is that it is limited to being a blogging tool. And a blogging tool to many businesses sounds like something they don’t need and are not interested in. All they want is an online brochure, a simple web presence, a 5-page static website with a contact form. So they approach a web designer, a design agency or an employee's brother-in-law who...

  • The HTC Tattoo and my teenage crush

    Remember that crush from high school, the one you wanted so badly that your heart literally ached? Remember the perfect life that you envisioned for the two of you together? But then you grew up, got a real education and a real job and settled down with a sensible partner for a sensible life. Now imagine that your high-school dreamboat calls you up out of the blue, tells you that he/she is single and wonders if you’d like to go out for a drink. A world of possibility opens up in front of you, and you rush to embrace it....

  • Don’t build a pay-wall laager; just do a deal with the plumbers

    Take a gathering of the retired editors in February 2010. They’re putting their greying heads together to judge this year’s Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Journalism Awards. They are veterans of maybe 500 years spent in newspapers, and they’re celebrating the contribution of their industry to society. Stories that sizzle. Like surprising Shabir Shaik at the shops, when he’s supposed to be on his death bed. Uncovering an epidemic of bullying at larney Jo’burg schools. Fat cats milking Land Bank funds intended for emerging farmers. A new government pledged to the poor – and its ministers pandering to privilege by acquiring top range...

  • How to lose customers and alienate people

    South African websites repeatedly make basic usability mistakes. The results: frustrated customers, negative brand impact, reduced online sales, and poor return on investment for the whole web project. The best advice for making an impact online is to Zig when others Zag. Stand out. Be amazing. Give a shit. But if you work for a South African corporation, I’m sure you’ll feel much more comfortable following the herd. So here are five instructions for making sure your ecommerce site delivers industry-standard quantities of pain and frustration. 1. Let the programmers write the copy Here’s an error message Flow discovered during a usability...

  • Rebooting innovation in South Africa

    Since I became the United States Ambassador to South Africa last October, I have met truly inspiring South Africans with great ideas almost every day.  I have been very impressed with South Africans’ ability to link abstract knowledge and real-world application. With such talent, it seems natural that this beautiful, vibrant country should become a global innovation hub for the 21st century. Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan emphasised in his 2010 Budget Speech that “successful developmental states are built not just through public policy and state action, but also through national identity, social cohesion and responsible citizenship - through building social capital that reinforces trust and co-operation, in the...

  • Why PayPal sucks and Kwedit doesn’t

    One of the biggest factors, apart from bandwidth and audience size, that’s restricting the development of the internet and the emergence of startups in South Africa is the lack of a safe and convenient method for consumers to buy goods and services online. The recent announcement that PayPal have officially entered the country through a partnership with FNB could help to solve this problem, but it still comes at a price and only benefits those of us who bank with FNB and have the patience to put up with the rigmarole of getting your PayPal account approved for sending and...

  • The quest for the perfect search result

    When Google launched its search engine a little more than a decade ago, the internet contained less than a billion individual pages. Today, the web grows by several billion pages each day - pages that are ever-more complex, dynamic, and interactive. While organising this information grows more challenging, users' expectations only rise: today people expect the right answer immediately, in the first result and in the language of their choice. People want to be told if there are things about their search that they failed to consider. Don't just tell me what I think I need to know, tell me if you know something that I don't know I need to...

  • The colour of your shit can matter

    We have been talking about "digital" for a while now. Mostly about the tools. Right now it's Apps and iPad, Twitter and Facebook, measuring tools and publishing tools and reading tools. But tools are just that: tools. We have all managed to learn to use some, even the thickest of us. And then we managed to learn to use some more. Tools however, are pretty useless without context, the why, when and where. Context is difficult. Tools are easy. We are lazy. Digitalisation is a much deeper change than learning to use new tools. Digitalisation is a serious shift in...

  • How people use social networks: an anthropological view

    I recently read an article on Scientific American about the relationship between loneliness and depression and people’s use of online social networks. The scientists explained that people who feel alone because of depression or other reasons are quicker to use social networks than those who don’t feel this way. But when these individuals use online social networks they may not know how to handle certain situations. For instance, people who feel alone may misinterpret the fact that someone does not respond immediately to their messages on Facebook. This finding is the starting point for this article, since my work on social...

  • Zoopy’s top 5 funniest SA videos

    Remember when the DA's Helen Zille was accused of "sleeping around" by the ANC Youth League? Or what about that shocking/hilarious rendition of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika before the Boks played France? And let's not forget dear old Julius Malema and the multitude of things that have splayed forth from his mouth, making him a prime target for parody... Memeburn brings you the top 5 funniest SA videos from the local video-sharing website Zoopy.com. Enjoy...! 1. Nando’s interview with Julius Malema from ANCYL Nando's takes on Julius Malema from the ANC Youth League, just before the 2009 SA Elections. Uploaded 11 months ago...

  • Freeconomics: The art of making money by giving things away for free

    At the same time that Chris Anderson was penning a Wired article that would become the seed concept for a controversial best-seller, Vinny Lingham was launching yet another internet business. It was 2008 and both Anderson and Lingham were obsessed with the same concept – making money by giving away things for free. Anderson’s article - Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business – would prove to be the precursor for his book Free. The Future of a Radical Price, while Lingham would launch Yola , a business based on giving away websites for free, and would raise $25m...

  • 5 Nokia apps to make your toes curl!

    I'm sick of all the iPhone fan boys/gals telling me how cool their little Apples are. I mean, like, really - they launched without copy and paste. It takes a special kind of talent to forget that. Chumps. The iPhone is genius because it showed the world that applications are the future, and that the device is merely a platform for innovation. But it was not Steve Jobs and his unironed shirt-wearing cronies who made the iPhone what it is today. The thousands of  application developers who forgot to bath while writing apps for the phone can claim that honour. They...

  • Are we becoming Firefox icons?

    A few weeks ago in a very bizarre dream, I was a beautifully customised icon on my Firefox browser, adorned in bright colors with HC on the bottom right. HC didn't stand for HealthCrunch, nor was it an alternative to creative commons. What it stood for was Human Connector. The difference between this multi-colored creative HC icon and all the others was that it could jump from one Firefox browser to another. It could also pop in and out of people’s IE and Safari worlds, hang out, and observe their behavior. HC didn’t have a face, but had a magical wand...

  • Roodepoort’s answer to SXSW

    Brendan Jack, of MTV's Footskating 101 fame, has created what he thinks will be a new conference to rival the well-known Austin-based SXSW. He's going hyperlocal and hyperactive and just plain hyper for his conference, called "South By South West Rand". The lawyers are going to be all over this one. The lucky place that will get to host the new event, guaranteed to attract the country's social media elite of about three people, will be Roodepoort. Good luck Brendan, Memeburn will certainly be on board as a media sponsor. Not. var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");