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  • Instagram hits 100m active users as first shots emerge from North Korea

    It's been an interesting few weeks for the team over at Facebook HQ. With the barriers on international mobile internet access lifted, Instagram has seen some of the first images of North Korea uploaded to the service using a data network inside the country's borders. Meanwhile, over in the US, co-founder Kevin Systrom has been drafting a lengthy blog post about the early days of the photo sharing app and how it has just hit the 100-million monthly active user mark. Despite cries from natives about how they would delete their accounts over the much-discussed changes in its terms...

  • Tech heavyweights get behind teaching kids to code

    There's a greater need for people who can code than will be ever be fulfilled. That's the message behind a new organisation that has the backing of some serious tech heavyweights. The organisation, called Code.org, aims to promote the teaching of code to kids all around the world. It's also trying to tackle perceptions that coding is difficult to learn and build an "authoritative database" of all programming schools, whether they are online courses, brick and mortar schools or summer camps. "Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn how to code," the organisation...

  • India: Apple’s next big market?

    Apple is trying to crack the Indian market for the iPhone in a bid to challenge Samsung's dominance in the emerging market giant. It won't be easy though. According to the Wall Street Journal the Cupertino-based giant will completely overhaul its operations in the country to better adjust to its convoluted distribution process. There's good reason for Apple's desire to get a foothold in the country. Smartphone growth in more developed markets is stagnating and, according to Strategy Analytics, India is poised to become the world's third-largest smartphone market this year After the US and China. One strategy Apple...

  • The Pirate Bay out on open waters, sets course for Spain and Norway

    Sweden's Pirate Party, after continued pressure from a domestic anti-piracy group, has decided to discontinue its hosting of The Pirate Bay (TPB), the world's most popular file sharing website that has been making copyrighted material freely available since 2001. Being internationally infamous does not help TPB, with many countries not willing to (or dissuaded by international pressure) to host the site. While no one knows for sure the exact location of the pirates, according to TorrentFreak, it has been traced to Scandinavia, courtesy of the Swedish Pirate Party. This prompted Sweden's Rights Alliance, which represents the entertainment industry, to...

  • Google has ‘no plans’ to launch retail stores in the near future

    Rumours that Google was set to launch a series of retail stores are false. At least that's the impression Google’s head of Android Andy Rubin gave at a roundtable with journalists today. “Google has no plans and we have nothing to announce,” he is quoted as saying by AllThingsD. In fact, Rubin reckons that there's no reason for the internet giant to ever do so because so many people now decide what devices they're going to buy based on conversations with friends and online reviews. “They don’t have to go in the store and feel it anymore,” he said. He...

  • Visa partners with Samsung to push NFC mobile payments globally

    Some say NFC is just a gimmick -- that swishing your phone around to pay for even something as simple as a cup of coffee just isn't an option for the majority of mobile phone users worldwide. While smartphone adoption rates are increasing and most new devices are now NFC-capable, the mobile payments wave-to-pay revolution is taking a while to reach its peak. Visa obviously sees the potential though, and has teamed up with the world's largest smartphone manufacturer to drive NFC payment adoption rates forward. The company has announced a global partnership with Samsung to offer financial institutions...

  • Dear brand on Facebook, don’t just tell me a story, tell me your story

    I went through a friend’s timeline on Facebook the other day; we had been friends long before Facebook created a millionaire, so it was virtually real. I was interested in how her journey had tangled in with mine. How, like a terribly scripted RomCom staring Ashton Kutcher, we had come in and out of each other’s lives. However terribly scripted the story was, it was a story. A story I was interested in. I spent a lot more time on this story, I invested in it. An hour of my day was up and I had been lost in...

  • Razer TRON Keyboard and Mouse review: typing 2.0

    In the world of PC peripherals, Razer products are just a little different. Razer embraces the idea that practicality and eccentricity can work in harmony. A mouse shouldn't simply move a cursor across a screen. A keyboard isn't merely a tool for writing word documents. When Razer has its way, these peripherals become a bombastic extension of your very persona, with a design that overshadows the PC that powers them. Compared to the dime-a-dozen peripherals adorning desks the world over, Razer products sparkle. Furthermore, they’re gadgets catered specifically to the hardcore PC gamer, granting Razer God-like status in these...

  • The need for both makerspaces and incubators in Africa

    Maker Faire Africa 2012 in Pictures from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo. I’ve long been a proponent of getting more spaces set up for hardware prototyping and making of things in Africa. I wrote about it first in 2010 (Hardware hacking garages), then again in 2012 (Fab Factories: Hardware Manufacturing in Africa). I’m one of the founding organizers for Maker Faire Africa and the founder of AfriGadget. I’m not just writing about it either, as we have plans to open up a makerspace in Nairobi this year, which will compliment the FabLab that we already have at the University of...

  • 2013: the year of mobile… again

    We’ve all heard it time and again, the strident claim: “This is the year of mobile.” An overused statement? Possibly. One that rings true nevertheless? Certainly. Because, in fact, every year is the year in which mobile is stronger than it was the year before. And markedly so. While growth in the global mobile market has stagnated, it's worth remembering that there's not much space left to grow, a very different scenario to the one we faced a few years ago. In this increasingly mobile world, we are constantly on the move and need/want to be connected at all...

  • Foursquare, First Data partner to bring Mastercard, Visa discounts to check ins

    The social discounts space seems to be getting more crowded by the day -- and now financial giants Visa and Mastercard have come to the party after a payment provider's deal with location-based social network Foursquare. The expansion of the existing arrangement Foursquare has with First Data and CardSpring, which allows users to sync their account with their American Express cards, allows users to link their Mastercard or Visa debit and credit cards with their Foursquare account and benefit from special discounts from selected retailers. Users just have to check into a participating location (like one of 6 500 Burger...

  • App.net opens up free invite-only tier, allows following of up to 40 people

    Crowd-funded social play and versatile web platform App.net has opened up a free version of its service. Access to the free service requires an invitation from an existing subscriber and will land you 500 Mb of storage space and the ability to follow up to 40 people. According to The Next Web, App.net decided to go invite-only at this stage because it would allow it to scale the influx of users it reckons will come with the removal of the price barrier. The number of invites each existing user gets will apparently be subject to a number of factors...

  • Tencent to open US office to push WeChat

    Tencent, maker of the popular WeChat messaging app, is to open an office in America this year as the Chinese company focuses on taking WeChat global. This was confirmed by Tencent corporate development group vice president Zhang Xiaolong in an email to employees this morning and which was seen by Caijing. The paper says that the new US branch will be a customer relations department for WeChat, which has over 300-million users. WeChat -- known as Weixin to Chinese users -- first went global in April 2012 when the English branding was created. As you can see in the graph below,...

  • Apple to compensate parents whose kids go app crazy

    If your kids have been racking up massive bills on their iDevices then there may be some relief in sight. The company says it will pay to settle a lawsuit over so-called "bait apps". While it costs nothing to download these apps, they do charge for in-app currency, including virtual goods or money. According to GigaOM, Apple will offer a US$5 iTunes credit to anyone who claims that a minor bought in-app items without their permission. If the amount is larger than US$5, then Apple will give them an iTunes voucher to the equivalent value and if it's larger...

  • 5 content lessons everyone can learn from ZANews’ journey [Content 2013]

    Content marketing has become a firmly established trend over the last couple of years. As brands move to become more like publishers, marketing themselves through quality content, there are lessons people more well-versed in traditional content production can learn. A great example of a brand having to market its content, rather than using content to market itself, is ZANews, a puppet-based satirical news network which lampoons South African and global political figures. Thierry Cassuto, who co-founded ZANews with internationally renowned political cartoonist Zapiro, today took to the stage at the Content 2013 conference to share some of the lessons...