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      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
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  • Whip out your credit card! How online made Black Friday a global phenomenon

    Today is Black Friday and you know what that means -- you’ll be hunting shops galore for amazing specials with discounts of up to 60% off selected goodies. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s the official start to the holiday season and retail outlets across the US will shell out huge discounts to attract as many Christmas Dollars as they can. It’s referred to “Black Friday” because it’s traditionally the first opportunity companies have to put their balance sheets “back in the black”. Last year shoppers in the US spent a staggering US$52-billion on Black...

  • Why taxing Google News is a terrible idea for newspapers

    In 2009, Rupert Murdoch famously called Google News and other news search engines, "content kleptomaniacs", before denying them access to his publications the next year. In September this year, he changed his position and decided that news snippets from his publications should reappear. Of course, traffic was going down, meaning a loss of income. Now new ideas are emerging at the headquarters of cash strapped newspapers. "Couldn't we start taxing Google and the others for publishing our content by creating an extension of the copyright?" is the musing of media CEOs. By creating a collecting society for Google tax,...

  • Now that it’s got more than a billion to burn, what could Baidu buy?

    Chinese search giant Baidu recently got a whole lot richer when it raised US$1.5-billion in its first ever bonds issue. And it's going to put that money to good use: the company's spokesperson, Kaiser Kuo, said that the "bond offer is really about having a ready war chest that gives us flexibility for a range of future strategic uses. That certainly could include M&A ". But what exactly is Baidu going to do with its billions? Perhaps it will go on a buying spree in Southeast Asia? We redirected the question to Baidu but didn’t get much...

  • Samsung NX1000 review: performs as good as it looks

    Mirrorless cameras are the next big thing. They are not completely there yet, but give the technology chance. The Samsung NX1000 shows the "I’m-a-big-boy" attitude by combining DSLR like picture quality in a smaller less expensive package. And a prettier one as well. You will be hearing that word a lot: pretty. But it’s not just all pretty roses for this pretty camera. Okay, enough now. The NX1000 is an entry-level camera for the budding pro, with the same if not more specs and goodies offered by larger more expensive pro cameras. Read more on Gearburn.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");

  • Windows 8 app store hits 20k mark

    The Windows 8 app store has passed the 20 000 app mark, of which 18 000 are free. No one's quite sure when it happened but WinAppUpdate, which keeps track of this kind of thing, reckons it was probably some time on Tuesday. Today's totals: 20,610 apps worldwide in the Windows Store (broke 20,000 on Tuesday, I believe). 17,958 of those are free (87%).— Win App Update (@WinAppUpdate) November 22, 2012 As The Next Web notes however, not all of those apps are available in all markets. Canada has more apps, at 13 882, than the US (12 675) for...

  • Google Now gets Popular Science’s Innovation of the Year

    Google Now has won Popular Science's Innovation of the Year, putting it in the company of past winners such as the Large Hadron Collider, the Toyota Prius and the Mars Curiosity Rover. In giving the award, the magazine calls Now "the first virtual assistant that truly anticipates your needs". Since its initial launch with Android Jelly Bean, the virtual search assistant has grown up a little bit. Now incorporates elements of Knowledge Graph, but also acts as a personal assistant. It tells you the day’s weather, how much traffic to expect on your way to work, and can give you...

  • Disney’s Star Wars droid-lookalike robot plays catch, could let dads stay on couch

    Whether inspired by its recent acquisition of Lucasfilm or not, Disney Research is developing a robot that can play catch, juggle and interact with human counterparts. Using a theme park-type animatronic humanoid robot that looks eerily like the droids from Star Wars, Disney has developed the robot to the point where it can play catch with a human. Many robots have the ability to juggle, and theme park robots are typically just a viewer attraction at the moment, but in future we could see them physically interact with guests, giving the idea that I, Robot was not just another blockbuster,...

  • The Woz gets his own (badass) game character

    Think about Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for a moment. He's big, kind of cuddly and a lot more genial-looking than Steve Jobs was. Not the kind of guy you'd expect to see rampaging around a city with a gun then. But that's exactly what he's been cast as in a new iOS game called Danny Trejo's Vengeance: Woz with a Coz. The retro style action-platformer sees the Woz teaming up with Hollywood badass Danny Trejo to rescue the tech pioneer's kidnapped wife. The game, which will set you back US$0.99 is meant as a tie-in to Trejo's upcoming movie...

  • QikCommerce: Behind the MIH-Obox break-up

    Back in March, we reported that Naspers’ investment arm MIH had teamed up with Obox to launch QikCommerce — a Wordpress-based eCommerce tool that lets users “create an online shop in minutes”. It was an exciting development: a large multi-national internet company had joined forces with local internet entrepreneurs to launch a new ecommerce service that allowed users to create their own online stores on the fly. But just a couple of months after QikCommerce launched, Obox founders David and Marc Perel had left the joint venture. Read more on Ventureburn. 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");

  • HootSuite cosying up to China nicely with new Renren and language updates

    Social management tool HootSuite is taking measures to entrench itself in the Chinese market, reports The Next Web. The company announced that it now supports Simplified Chinese and would be integrating Renren (China's answer to Facebook) into the HootSuite App Directory. "The Simplified Chinese user face is to serve Mandarin-speaking owls who have access to HootSuite in China as well as the ex-pat community all around the world," says the service. A few weeks ago the service included China's Sina Weibo microblogging service and it is currently pushing out a Traditional Chinese version of its service. According to Tech in Asia,...

  • How effective is social media when it comes to customer retention?

    Memeburn gets a lot of mail asking their opinions on various types of marketing or social media best practices; and every so often they throw me a bone, erm… topic, so I can answer some of those questions. Think of me as a digital marketing Agony Uncle! This time around I got a great one to answer. The question basically asked what thoughts we could pen around online customer service on external channels and retention strategies via social networking media and whether or not these are effective strategies. So let’s get stuck in… Dear Kash, thanks for a...

  • Why Google might just be wrong about responsive design in Africa

    Maybe, just maybe, Google is getting it wrong in Africa. I recently attended a very good session on responsive design by Luisella Mazza, and although I think responsive design is awesome, it's not for Africa. She (and Google) recommended that anyone building for an African audience use responsive design to build their mobile sites. What is responsive design? A new feature in HTML5 (or rather CSS3) is the ability to add media queries rules. So inside your CSS you can add conditions that apply to certain screen resolutions. This means you can create one HTML file, but depending on what device...

  • Hitman: Absolution review — open world assassinations

    Hitman: Absolution heralds the return of Agent 47, the bald assassin who kills first and asks questions later. Except, in Absolution, 47 is asking all the questions. This is a tried and tested morality tale that serves up familiar themes of bloodshed and betrayal. But for once 47 isn't merely a contract killer touring the globe at the behest of his superiors. Instead he’s on a mission all of his own, and the blood on his hands is personal. Read more on Gearburn. 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");

  • Tyme Capital: MTN and Pick ‘n Pay team up to launch mobile bank in South Africa

    It seems the mobile money space in Africa just became a little bit more crowded. MTN has partnered with retail chain Pick 'n Pay to offer South African consumers a new mobile bank called Tyme Capital. Tyme (which stands for 'take your money everywhere') is not just a mobile wallet though -- it's a full-scale mobile-only bank that offers most of the services you'd expect from any other banking service. It offers users the ability to send, receive, deposit and withdraw money, as well as make payments and purchase pre-paid electricity and airtime. According to Business Day, customers can...

  • Kenyan government plans to almost double the country’s bandwidth

    Kenya’s government has announced plans to lay a fifth fibre-optic cable in the region, which is expected to practically double the country’s bandwidth capacity from the current 8.6Tb per second to more than than 15Tb per second. According to the country's Ministry of Information and Communications' permanent secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo, improved uptake of the current cable capacity will only be possible once the country adopts 4G. Although he did not specify the timeline, Ndemo said that a firm in the Middle East is in negotiations with the government on the procurement process. While the four existing undersea cables, namely...