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  • Are YouTube (and Google) investing in VEVO?

    Google, through YouTube, is in the final stages of investing in video site VEVO, reports AllThingsD. VEVO has been a YouTube content partner for a while now and hosts many celebrity channels on the video sharing platform. VEVO was founded in 2009 and is a joint venture music video website operated by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media with EMI licensing its content to the group without taking an ownership stake. According to people familiar with the matter, YouTube and Google have agreed to buy a minority stake in VEVO and are currently waiting to finalise...

  • HelpBridge: the Microsoft app that lets people know you’re okay in a disaster

    Microsoft has unveiled a new app called HelpBridge, which it claims will help people connect with those that matter most to them during a natural disaster. The app, which is available on Windows Phone, Android and iOS is based on Windows Azure and has two basic settings. The first allows you to let your friends and loved ones know you're okay during a natural disaster via an SMS, email or a message to your Facebook wall. The second meanwhile uses the same avenues to let people know you need help. HelpBridge reportedly enables you to build a list of...

  • US Attorney’s office finally speaks out about Aaron Swartz

    The suicide of Aaron Swartz rocked the internet and has dominated online conversation over the last few days. The Reddit co-founder hanged himself in his New York apartment after receiving news that he could've faced 35-years in jail for distributing academic journals protected by paywalls. Since Swartz' passing, there have been several voices blaming US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, saying that her office's intense prosecution led to the 26-year-old's death. A whitehouse.gov petition with nearly 40 000 signatures calls for the removal of Ortiz. Swartz' family also released a statement linking the prosecution to their son's suicide. "Aaron’s death is not simply...

  • Studentology’s mobile payment app attracts international investor attention

    In November last year, eleven promising startups boarded a plane bound for London where they would be introduced to potential investors and mentors. The eleven, chosen as part of Silicon Cape's incubation programme, pitched to a panel of investors that included the Mamba Mentors, a group of South African expats who were also involved in previous pitching rounds. One of the startups, Studentology, a student marketing company with a mobile payment solution, caught the eye of Mamba member, Haji Chana. Chana has a background in private equity, management consulting and investment banking, having worked at Blackstone Group, Mckinsey & Company...

  • ‘App store’ still under fire as Apple, Amazon trade punches over the name

    Apple and Amazon have a trial date set for later this year as the dispute over the term "app store" continues. Amazon has the Appstore, Apple the App Store. The Cupertino-based company is claiming exclusive rights to use the term "App Store", as Amazon found out last year. The judge in charge, US Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte, has however ordered the two companies to come to a settlement, saying: "No participant in the settlement conference will be permitted to leave the settlement conference before it is concluded." Executives from the two companies, with full authority to negotiate and settle the...

  • John Sculley: Apple needs to focus on emerging markets

    So Apple's adamant that it has no intention of building a low-cost iPhone, but if former CEO John Sculley is to be believed that philosophy could eventually cost the company its spot at the top of the tech pile. In an interview with Bloomberg, the man who led Apple between 1983 and 1993 warned that the market for the iPhone in developed countries in Europe and the Americas was fast becoming saturated. If the company is to survive, he said, it will have to focus on emerging markets and that means diversifying its line-up of devices: “Apple needs...

  • US developer outsources his job to China so he can watch cat videos at work

    Straight from the corner of the web that is populated with stories so crazy there's no way they could have been made up comes a case study laid out in a blog post by Verizon's security team. According to the report, last year, one of their clients asked them to investigate a suspicious connection recorded in its VPN (Virtual Private Network) logs, which suggested that someone was logging in with an employee's credentials from China. Even while the employee was sitting at his desk in his office in the US. The security team says the company thought that somehow...

  • Innovating in Google’s shadow: Facebook Graph Search is 2000 and late

    With the launch of Graph Search, Facebook now allows users to see the people who post stupid quotes as content, and avoid them. Far from groundbreaking and definitely not its greatest innovation, Facebook hasn't stolen the march on Google+ at all with its new product. In fact, it's done Google some favours: Anti-trust and FaceBing: (I refer to it as FaceBing because it sounds a lot like Facepalm) Facebook is using Bing to produce web results associated with what is being searched for. It is also playing into Google’s hands by providing a capable competitor which is great in antitrust...

  • Digital allogrooming: why do we tweet so much about sport?

    Sport is one of the great divides on Twitter. Fans descend into atavistic tribalism or pontificate about strategy and tactics while non-fans head for the digital hills – anything to shut out the noise. Twitter is chaos for an hour or two, and then the final whistle blows and life goes on. A few weeks ago, I found myself having an actual real life face-to-face conversation with a fellow denizen of Twitter. Naturally, we were scrolling through our timelines at the time. “Why do people tweet about sport?” she said. “It’s not as if anybody cares about what they...

  • App of the week: Rise Alarm Clock for iOS

    It's no secret that the mobile phone has become a replacement for many extra tools that you use everyday. It replaces your GPS in the car, your calculator at the office and pretty soon, the wallet that you keep in your other pocket. The smartphone has pretty quickly developed into a Swiss Army knife, for life and there must be hundreds of things it could potentially replace. But I'd have to guess that the very first device it replaced for me was the alarm clock, and I'd go even further to assume that nobody uses those awful 90s-esque clock...

  • Google invites developers to play with Project Glass and its API

    Finally! We're getting somewhere on the Google Glass front. Remember how the lucky attendees of Google I/O were given the chance to pre-order the first generation of Google's futuristic specs back in June? Well, if they coughed up the US$1 500 fee, the early adopters just received an invitation to come mess around with the Glass API and try out the prototypes. In what Google is calling terming the Glass Foundry, the developers who signed up to the programme will be able to spend two days testing out the devices and see what they can do with Glass's 'Mirror' API....

  • Tencent’s WeChat passes 300m users, says 100m joined in last 4 months

    The makers of WeChat said recently that the messaging app will likely soon surpass 300 million-registered users – and now that has officially happened. The massive milestone is confirmed by Tencent CEO Pony Ma himself, who hailed the huge growth in the Whatsapp-style app since its launch on January 21st, 2011. WeChat went global in April of 2012 with an English name (it’s called Weixin in China), and its growth seems to have accelerated a bit since that time (see the graph below). But it’s still not clear how many WeChat users are overseas, though an analyst’s heatmap that we...

  • Google celebrates Frank Zamboni with fun retro game doodle

    Those of you unfamiliar with ice rinks probably have no idea who Frank Zamboni is. If you do have a thing for ice, you probably still don't know he is but you'll at least be familiar with the machine that bears his name. Google is today celebrating the inventor's legacy with a fun little game that allows you to control an ice-cleaning machine inspired by the Zamboni. The goal is to clean as much of the ice as possible before you run out of petrol. As the game progresses, more and more children scuff up the ice but they...

  • Facebook unveils Graph Search: could it have stolen a march on Google?

    Right. That's it. Mystery over. Facebook has unveiled a brand new product and it's called Graph Search. Um, what now? Well, it's a form of search but it's different to the kind of web search that Google specialises in. According to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it's all about utilising the connections on Facebook "that can help you get access to things people have shared with you." "We are not indexing the web. We are indexing our map of the graph, which is really big and constantly changing. Almost a million new people every day. 240 billion photos. 1...

  • 5 people you really don’t want designing your website

    Everybody seems to be an expert when it comes to web design. If you are tasked with maintaining or redesigning your website, then be warned: everyone will have an opinion, and most will insist that their opinion is correct. Most people tend to think that the way they use a website, is the way all people use it. I think it’s human nature to think that way. Someone once said that there are as many opinions in a room as there are backsides, or perhaps he used another term! In general, there are five types of people to watch...