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  • SA government to include e-hailing services in act says Maswanganyi

    The South African government is considering an amendment to the National Land Transport Act that will accommodate e-hailing services like Uber, Taxify and Zebra, according to sanews.gov.za. Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has said that he cannot reveal what the outcome of the amendment will be, but that Parliament considering it proves a "willingness to accommodate innovation". South African meter-taxi operators have been up in arms recently, claiming they are forced to abide by rules that drivers using the digital services do not. The anger has spurred on acts of violence that resulted in the death of an Uber driver earlier this month. The bone of contention lies with...

  • #StJohnsCollege: South Africans react to racist teacher

    Joburg's prestigious St Johns College has found the ire of South African Twitter after failing to remove a teacher found guilty of racist misconduct. Geography teacher Keith Arlow underwent an internal investigation where he was found to have consistently undermined black students' intelligence, labelled Indian students "Nawab" and called Greek students "dirty". He was punished with a final written warning. Parents of the discriminated students told Huffington Post (which broke the story) that they are unhappy with the how the school dealt with the issue and want more than just a promise of "healing". Twitter believes much the same. Just a few hours after the...

  • Telkom overhauls uncapped plans – free landline calls, mobile data included

    Telkom has announced a substantial overhaul of its uncapped internet packages, in the form of 'Unlimited Home Internet' deals. The plans see Telkom dramatically increasing their fair usage policy, depending on the package you take, while also delivering free Telkom to Telkom calls at any time. Additionally, the provider is throwing in between 1GB and 3GB of mobile data, depending on the package. Telkom group communications executive Gugulethu Maqetuka told Memeburn that the price for the plans also included ADSL and phone line rentals. The packages start at R599 a month for 4Mbps uncapped, including a fair usage policy of 360GBs. The...

  • Disney uses AI to predict viewers’ expressions, but it isn’t foolproof

    Disney Research used neural networks to model audience's reactions to its movies, and said it was able to provide data superior to "conventional methods". The AI was apparently able to tell how a viewer would react to the rest of the movie from just a few minutes of watching their face. Dubbed factorised variational autoencoders (or FVAEs for people with less time in their day), the method was able to learn expressions like smiling and laughing on its own. "What's more, they were able to show how these facial expressions correlated with humorous scenes," Ph.D. student Zhiwei Deng told Phys.org. Using this technology, Disney could then find out...

  • YouTube Red and Google Play Music to merge into one streaming service

    YouTube's head of music Lyor Cohen has confirmed that YouTube Red and Google Play Music will be merging into one streaming service, according to a report from The Verge. Speaking at a panel in New York, Cohen acknowledged that the services provide similar offerings and that it was important to combine them. YouTube's streaming services are complicated. YouTube Red costs US$9.99 a month, and includes an ad-free experience, offline watching, and access to original Red content. It also provides access to Google Play Music. Google Play Music offers ad-free music streaming, the ability to make playlists, and offline listening. It costs the same, and a...

  • SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy set for November, but will it even leave launchpad?

    The Falcon Heavy is SpaceX's next big rocket, but it's been a long time coming. It was set to be launched late last year, but a Falcon 9 launchpad explosion resulted in several delays and pushbacks across SpaceX's missions. Now, company founder Elon Musk has confirmed a new date for the heavyweight launch. "Falcon Heavy maiden launch this November," Musk simply wrote on Instagram. It's one of the most ambitious space endeavours yet, as the new rocket is expected to carry a bigger payload to orbit than the now-retired Space Shuttle. And the ambition isn't lost on Musk. The Falcon Heavy has received a...

  • Weekly Roundup Podcast #116: New phones for SA, tech giants’ Q2 results

    Welcome to Weekly Roundup, our podcast discussing the latest tech trends, innovation and news from the last few days. This week, Hadlee Simons hosts Andy Walker and Stephen Timm in studio. We start off on Memeburn's side as Andy talks tech giants' financial quarters. Facebook beat Alphabet for the first time ever, but only because the latter was slapped with a US$2.7-billion fine by the EU. Running far behind them is Twitter, which saw no increase in users this quarter. Stephen then talks about how a tax exemption for grants to small businesses has yet to take off two years after taking effect. Sars spokesperson...

  • Dunkirk movie review: made of the Reich stuff

    The early months of World War Two were known as the phoney war for good reason, as Germany took Poland without Warsaw's allies (Britain and France) committing much in the way of troops on the ground. But the invasion of France in May 1940 finally drew the major allies into the war, as Britain committed her troops to the French. It was an ill-fated move that saw the Allies driven into a small strip of coastline at Dunkirk, France, awaiting evacuation under heavy German bombardment. It's against this backdrop that Christopher Nolan's eponymous take on the evacuation takes place -- and...

  • Disruptive technology: which poses the biggest risk to businesses?

    There’s a great deal of discussion about disruptive technologies today. From 3D printing to block chain to self-driving, autonomous cars and trucks, we’re seeing a world going digital. Thirteen disruptive technologies are commonly in use today, including: Sensors Internet of Things (IoT) devices Telematics Smart buildings Fintech Drones 3D printing Advanced robotics Wearables Blockchain Artificial intelligence It’s not at all hard to find panicked descriptions of the digital world or dire predictions of a world where all knowledge -- even the frightening things that should be kept private -- will be connected to all of the people. We are hearing vast predictions of dangers...

  • Twitter still has 328m users as growth flatlines

    Twitter's brief positive run of earning results and user growth came to an abrupt halt this quarter. The social messaging company today released its Q2 2017 earnings results, and the numbers definitely aren't steeped in optimism. While its contemporaries continue to experience growth surges -- Facebook's WhatsApp recently topped a billion daily active users, for instance -- Twitter's user base still stands at 328-million monthly active users (MAUs). It failed to match the meekest of estimates too, which predicted a growth of a million users in the quarter. Twitter's positive run of earning results and user growth came to an abrupt halt this...

  • Lupita Nyong’o disguised herself at Comic-Con (but she isn’t the first)

    Lupita Nyong'o has raked in tens of thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter after posting a video of her running and dancing around San Diego Comic-Con dressed as a somewhat distorted Power Ranger. As an actress in both the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Marvel's Black Panther, Nyong'o has massive geek pull, and likely wanted to experience the convention without attracting a crowd. Did you see me at Comic Con?! #SDCC2017pic.twitter.com/9Vnx4ss96d — Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) July 26, 2017 But Nyong'o isn't alone in her wish for privacy. So here's a list of other celebs who disguised themselves so they, too, could geek out on the...

  • Mayor: Cape Town to source 20% of energy from renewables by 2020

    Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille today took to Twitter in an hour-long update regarding key issues affecting the City of Cape Town, including the ongoing water crisis, the superblocking in Imizamo Yethu, and climate change. The speech itself was delivered at a city council meeting, but livetweeted from her account before the full speech was published Thursday afternoon. Cape Town's water crisis continues "Let me start with the water crisis and yes despite the recent rains, we are still in a drought," she began, shedding light on the City's plans to combat the low dam levels and drier-than-normal winter. She also lambasted...

  • Foxconn announces $10bn investment in new US-based factory

    Foxconn -- the manufacturer responsible for bolting together most of Apple's products -- is planning to build a factory on US soil, reports the New York Times. The company's move comes after US President Donald Trump's call for companies to build their products in America, with the plant set to be built in Wisconsin. It could be as large as three Pentagons. Yeah, that Pentagon. Numbers quoted includes at least 3000 jobs created by the project, and US$10-billion worth of investment forked into the US by the company. And that's pretty big for the country's waning manufacturing industry. Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn will...

  • Facebook makes more cash than Google in Q2, but revenue slows

    Facebook has brought in a higher net income than Google's parent company Alphabet for the first time in history -- though this has more to do with the massive US$2.7-billion fine the EU slapped on the latter than anything else. The company made US$3.8-billion over the last three months, seeing a 71% year-on-year increase, while Google made just over US$3.5-billion. The moment isn't all sunshine and beating Google, though. Facebook has seen a steady decline in its revenue growth over the past year as it runs out of space for ads on its News Feed. A year ago, it's year-over-year change was 59%; that number has...

  • Black Coffee will host his own show on Apple’s Beats 1

    South Africans are slowly taking over the US entertainment industry. First Trevor Noah's big gig on The Daily Show, and now Apple's Beats 1 has recruited Black Coffee to host a radio show on its platform. The news broke early Wednesday, but only began impacting South Africans later that evening when the DJ formally announced the move on Twitter. Subsequently the hashtag (and name of the upcoming show) #Beats1BlackCoffee began trending. He becomes the first South African to host a show on Apple's live streaming radio service which launched in mid-2015. I'm the newest @Beats1 host. Hear the sounds of global underground...