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  • 17 year old designs news ‘summerising’ app: gets millions in investments

    Nick D'Aloisio has designed an app, Summly, that will summarise the news you want to hear in about three to four paragraphs, receiving millions in backing from all over, including celebrity investors like Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher. The app launches today and has been chosen by Apple as its "app of the week". Nick still lives with his parents. The 17 year-old has been programming since he was 12, having taught himself. Using complex algorithm, Summly will summarise news stories into three paragraphs and allow users to customise categories. If a user likes a specific article, they can...

  • Are Obama and Romney’s campaign sites leaking personal information?

    President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign sites are leaking personal information of visitors on their sites to third-party trackers. So says Jonathan Mayer, a computer science and law graduate at Stanford University. This comes after both campaign parties said that they had safeguarded their respective sites against such breaches. According to Mayer, third parties operating on the site have the opportunity to collect identifying data that includes a user's username, street address and ZIP code, and even the proper name under which someone would register on Obama's site. Romney's site contained information that consisted of a unique...

  • Facebook launches charitable gifts

    Facebook getting into social gifting was big. On a human level at least, giving social gifting a charitable bent might be even bigger. The recently announced addition to the service allows people to make a charitable contribution in celebration of a friend or a family member. The mechanism behind the product works in exactly the same way as the ordinary Facebook gifts does. All that's different is that the gift can take the form of a charitable donation to any one of Facebook's partner non-profit organizations. "We are especially pleased to be launching this test now – when so many...

  • Muted opening day for iPad mini sales in Asia: small device, smaller queues

    While Apple fans lined up in Asia to get their hands on the iPad mini that went on sale today, the crowds queuing were considerably smaller than for the launch of the iPhone 5 and previous iPads, according to TechRadar. Outside of Apple's premier store in Tokyo only about 300 people turned up, and even in tech mad Singapore only 20 people spent the night, compared to about 1500 when the iPhone 4S was launched. There have been many reasons given for this. Online sales seem to have been a major factor and have been very good, as was the...

  • Can Mozilla really disrupt mobile like it did the web? [Tech4Africa]

    Look at the figures. Android and Apple are completely dominating the smartphone space. Despite the best efforts of its competitors, no seems able to break their hold on the industry. Mozilla thinks it can. The open-source organisation reckons it can disrupt the smartphone OS space in the same way it did with desktop browsing, using its web-based Firefox OS. Speaking at Tech4Africa Desigan Chinniah, a "Firestarter" at Mozilla, says that we "absolutely" need an alternative mobile OS and that Mozilla is "making a damned good go of it". Mozilla started off as an offshoot of Netscape. Anyone familiar with...

  • Ralph Simon: mobile success lies in being ‘Glocally’ relevant [Tech4Africa]

    Success in the mobile space is all about “glocalisation”, says Ralph Simon from mobile strategy company Mobilium. Speaking via Skype from Russia at the Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg, Simon talked about the importance of making content that’s in line with global trends but that is at the same time locally relevant in order for it to spread most effectively to its intended audience. This was echoed earlier by Catherine Luckhoff of Bozza, the South African mobile content distributor, who talked about how downloads increase dramatically through word of mouth. It’s this word of mouth that is facilitated best when content...

  • The challenges of ecommerce in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    Building an ecommerce business in Africa is a markedly different process from other, more developed parts of the world as well as other emerging markets. The business models, operations and marketing solutions that work for Amazon, for example, probably won’t work in Africa which is evolving very differently in terms of infrastructure and economic growth. Sim Shagaya, founder and chief executive of DealDey and Konga in Nigeria, has first hand experience building a successful ecommerce business model in a country with limited infrastructure and no real history of structured and formal retail. DealDey has grown into a successful ecommerce, group-buying hybrid...

  • Win a trip to the MTV Europe Music Awards in Germany with Windows 8

    Want to win tickets, flights and accommodation for you and two friends, to see artists like The Killers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Muse, Taylor Swift and PSY perform at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards hosted in Frankfurt, Germany? Head to Twitter and tell @MicrosoftSA and @memeburn what you would do to win... even better, take a picture and show them! Only followers of both @MicrosoftSA and @memeburn are eligible to win. Terms and conditions apply, and this competition is available only to those with a valid South African passport who are able to travel between 10 and 12 November. Don’t...

  • Middle East, Africa to see highest cloud traffic growth through 2016

    The cloud isn't a weird abstract concept any more, it hasn't been for a while now actually. Global cloud traffic is growing massively, especially in emerging market regions like Africa and the Middle East. According to networking specialist Cisco, global data centre traffic will grow four-fold and reach a total of 6.6 zettabytes annually by 2016. For a bit of context, that's 92 trillion hours of streaming music, 16-trillion hours of business web conferencing, or seven-trillion hours of online high-definition (HD) video streaming It reckons that Africa and the Middle East will lead the way with 79% annual growth...

  • Air New Zealand draws on The Hobbit magic for new safety promo

    An Unexpected Journey, the first part in The Hobbit trilogy, is set for release on 28 November -- and Air New Zealand has decided to hitch onto the Peter Jackson bandwagon ahead of the movie's release with its spoof of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Both trilogies were shot on location in New Zealand and helped to raise the tourism profile of the land of the long white cloud, making it famous for more than just rugby. The video, entitled "An Unexpected Briefing", has already achieved more than 635 000 views on Youtube -- impressive, considering it was only...

  • Is Facebook really broken on purpose?

    No, this is not a badly timed April fool’s joke… Facebook has “intentionally” broken its platform. Ok, that was a little hyperbolic, but only slightly. Let’s have a closer look at Facebook to see what’s going on. Here is the thing; since Facebook opened up its promote functionality, things have allegedly not been adding up. In fact, things were not adding up a good few months before that. You see, you would not really have noticed anything being amiss unless you have a considerably large following or generate most of your traffic from Facebook. But slowly but surely the...

  • Why collective thinking through social media is more important now than ever

    Steven Johnson, author of the book “Where Good Ideas Come From”, recently gave a lecture on the spaces where ideas are exchanged. Looking at environments where ideas are born, but more importantly expanded upon, Johnson explains the relevance of the 17th century English coffee-house to intellectuals living at the time. “It was a space where people would get together from different fields of expertise and their ideas could have sex. This was their conjugal bed in a sense.” In these coffee houses, people would ponder of thoughts which they had incubating in their minds. Like most ideas, they took time...

  • IBM taking a seriously big interest in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    There are four key trends that are currently disrupting technology around the world says Tom Rosamilia, IBM's head of global strategy. According to Rosamilia, cognitive computing, data, workload optimised systems and nano devices are shaping the future of technology, and they present particular challenges and opportunities. "Computing has changed significantly -- before the 1960s, all computers did was counting and tabulating," says Rosamilia. He explains that the era of computing has changed significantly since then. With programmable systems, we are in the era of cognitive computing -- systems that can think and learn. Using IBM's Waston, the company's cognitive...

  • Tech4Africa: How usable is your digital product, really?

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” -- Albert Einstein Simplicity is at the core of great digital user experience, whether you’re building a website, app or any other digital marketing campaign. Making sure your user’s experience is slick, smooth and, most importantly, gives them the information they want quickly and easily, will determine the success or failure of your product or campaign. What exactly is “user experience” (UX)? UX is a hot buzzword at the moment, but misunderstanding what...

  • Crowdsourced traffic app Waze gets a fresh lick of social paint

    Collaborative traffic and navigation app Waze has just launched its latest update, which features some snazzy new social tools. Waze calls itself the world’s first community-based traffic and navigation app for smartphones. The app allows drivers to outsmart and beat the traffic together by sharing the information the app passively transmits about a user’s speed and location to identify where traffic is moving slowly. The app currently lays claim to around 30-million users and, with the latest iteration, it looks like they might be able to help each other avoid traffic, and perhaps more importantly, getting lost. You...