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  • Microsoft set to unleash celebrity assault in Windows Phone 8 promotion

    Looks like a fair chunk of Microsoft's massive marketing drive for Windows Phone 8 is going toward celebrity endorsements. After the Redmond-based company's CEO Steve Ballmer had his turn at a video, it's decided to trot out the celebs. UK tabloid The Sun reports that some of the stars set to appear in Windows Phone 8 adverts include rapper Jay Z, singer Gwen Steffani, and Gavin and Stacey star James Corden. In the UK, reports The Verge, the company is already using popular television presenter Holly Willoughby promote Windows Phone 8 and the Kids Corner feature, which lets you dictate which...

  • Wireless charging: the tech’s here, standards are the new headache

    You would once have had to be a nutty professor or James Bond to do the stuff that I am about to talk about. Imagine dumping your “out-of-juice” mobile into your handbag and taking it out some time later, fully charged. Or walking into a room with your "dead" tablet, and re-charging it without ever plugging it in a socket charger. Fallacy or fact? Let me put it this way -- the white coat R & D scientists tell us that wireless charging of devices is a laboratory success. Within the next year, you may be able to place...

  • Life under Google and lies on Twitter: 5 top stories you have to read

    Google is greedy. Twitter lies. Colour is simple. Data is boring. Processing power is all that's important. Well, maybe. This instalment of top tech stories may make you think otherwise... Google casts a big shadow on smaller web sites Sometimes it feels like it's Google's internet and we're all just left... um... googling everything. From Android, advertising, email and maps to analytics and more recently, Google+ local, Google has become much more than a search engine -- but is it becoming too dominant? It says its only concerned with meeting the needs of its users, but it's being investigated for possible...

  • Editor Chris Anderson leaves Wired for drones

    Wired magazine's long time editor, Chris Anderson has resigned to run his 3D robotics company fulltime. The renowned editor has been with the publication for more than 10 years. In his leaving statement, Anderson calls the move an "opportunity for me to pursue an entrepreneurial dream." "I’m confident that Wired’s mission to influence and chronicle the digital revolution is stronger than ever and will continue to expand and evolve," he adds. The move comes only a few weeks after the release of his latest book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Anderson in the book talks about what has happened...

  • Google brings data free mobile search Gmail, Google+ to the Philippines

    While the smartphone revolution is well established in most mature mobile markets, there’s still a long way to go in some countries, particularly in some Asian regions where the transition from feature phones is not moving as quickly. But a new partnership between Google and Globe Telecom in the Philippines promises to bring a number of Google’s internet services – namely Gmail, Google search, and Google Plus – to feature phone users in that country. ‘Free Zone powered by Google’ is a mobile internet bundle now offered by Globe that does not come with any data charges. Users can access the...

  • MasterCard launches next gen touch screen bank card in Singapore

    As part of a partnership with Singapore’s Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard has launched its next generation interactive card, which features an embedded display and touch-sensitive buttons, in the country. Currently, banks and other financial institutions require the use of a separate authentication token or device (usually the customer’s mobile phone) for online transactions. This innovative two-in-one device by MasterCard, which combines the functionality of a standard payment card with a state-of-the-art security token, simply reflects the customer’s one time password(OTP). It's the first interactive card to launch in the country. The card, manufactured by NagraID Security, looks and functions almost...

  • It’s Thanksgiving: Do we have another Rebecca Black on our hands?

    Remember Rebecca Black? If you don't I truly envy you. The genius behind Black's viral sensation, "Friday", is back with another mind-boggling ode to turkey and mashed potatoes. From the dark recesses of YouTube comes a song so bad and utterly pointless it will leave you wishing you didn't have access to the internet -- yes it's that bad. "It’s Thanksgiving" is not just a song really, it is a celebration of the iconic November Thursday night dinner. Patrice Wilson really has outdone himself here with this new song, which shares a number of classic traits of his...

  • Social basics: why a static website just doesn’t cut it any more

    Often I get requests to design new websites for clients who think they are going to succeed online with only an attractive online brochure. They believe that people will miraculously start calling them and end up at their doorstep. We are nearing 2013 and thinking you are going to make a big impact online with only a website is very short-sighted in today's digital business world. Of course it's true that when you meet people who might be working with you or applying for certain positions, having a professionally designed website can create a thoughtful online picture of how you...

  • Mimiboard: an African hyper-local ad network and social platform

    With Mimiboards, Umuntu Media is re-imagining the humble noticeboard. You can think of a Mimiboard (pronounced me-me board) as a geographically sensitive, virtual noticeboard. Just like their real world counterparts, Mimiboards are relevant to enclaves within larger communities -- some say "hyper-local". But, that's where the similarity solemnly ends. The fact that Umuntu Media, founded in 2009 by Johan Nel, received a US$1 million seed investment late last year, without any revenue to speak of, tells you that the Cape Town-based company is about more than just virtual noticeboards. 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");

  • App of the week: Summly

    Every few months an app is released that has us all gagging to have a go at it. We watch and share the well produced promo videos and read endless blog posts and tweets about it's coming that create a snowball effect and set the tech environment on fire with anticipation of the release date. Normally, these apps are good-looking solutions to simple problems that we experience in our first world lives, or highly complex games that we would never imagine playing on mobile devices. One thing is certain though, no matter how much hype is generated around the...

  • Former Apple exec: Tim Cook a ‘loner’, ‘poor judge of character’

    If you thought Tim Cook was a more affable, cuddly replacement for Steve Jobs, think again. According to a former Apple executive, life under the Apple CEO is pretty tough. David Sobotta, who was a sales executive for the Cupertino-based giant between 1984 and 2004, recently released a book called The Pomme Company. Apple reportedly took issue with the book, and its legal department sent him a letter that left him felling "extremely upset" and ready to abandon the project. An additional taste of how difficult things can be at the company comes from the fact that three current...

  • Time for more videos: Wikipedia launches new HTML5 video player

    It's been in the works for a while, but now crowd-sourced giant Wikipedia is entering the multimedia era with its new HTML5 video player... and it's about time. The new player will hopefully make it easier for users to contribute more audio and video to Wikipedia articles, which have been largely text-based up til now -- there are only around 15 500 videos on the site at the moment, which are using Wikipedia's old Ogg Theora player which has been in use since 2007. The new HTML5 player is a result of a combined effort between Wikipedia, Google and...

  • Microsoft develops software that lets you speak Mandarin in your own voice

    If you've ever read The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, you no doubt remember the Bable fish. Well, Microsoft has posted a video that shows the next best thing: translating your spoken English word into Mandarin, and possibly other languages in the future, in your own voice. Rick Rashid, head of Microsoft Research, explains how the technology works in a video posted today. It's quite mind-boggling, and is worth watching the entire 10 minutes: The result and response was impressive to say the least. "Just over two years ago, researchers at Microsoft Research and the University of Toronto made another...

  • Facebook unveils new look for friendship pages

    Facebook has refreshed its friendship pages. If you're unsure what the hell that is, click on one of your friends' profiles and click on the gear menu at the top. From there you'll be able to navigate to a page showing your friendship with that person, including posts, photos and events that you and that person have shared. The pages have actually existed since 2010. The update is intended to make the pages more like Timeline. If you've listed yourself as "in a relationship" with someone, you can also visit facebook.com/us to see the friendship page you share...

  • Instagram web profiles: cool idea, but now your photos are open to the web

    There was a lot of happy noise about Instagram's decision to finally allow its users to have web-based profiles. But the decision to switch from an in-app profile page to one hosted on the larger web has brought with it yet another concern: privacy. Previously, the 'only' people who could see your Instagram photos (if your profile wasn't set to private) were the 100-million or so other Android and iOS users who used the explore function in the app to find your images or the search option to track down your username. While you can share images from the...