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  • New Nando’s ad: Europe, planes and Table Mountain

    Fast food chicken franchise Nando's is an international player these days. The South African-headquartered business now has operation across the globe, including Europe. It's hardly surprising then that one of the adverts in its latest campaign, giving people 25 reasons to love South Africa, should include the proximity to Europe. Except there's a bit of a twist in the ad, featuring a famous mountain: The ad is part of its #25Reasons campaign. The campaign, in celebration of the chicken outlet’s 25th birthday, asks the people of South Africa to give 25 reasons they love their country. The franchise has also...

  • Felix Baumgartner jumps from the stratosphere into the history books

    Felix Baumgartner did it. After numerous weather delays and preparations, the extreme athlete has jumped and completed the longest free fall known to man. The experienced BASE jumper broke the previous record set by United States Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger (who jumped from 102 800 feet in 1960) by jumping from 128 100 feet. He then fell for 119 846 feet before deploying his parachute. It was part of the Red Bull Stratos mission. "Baumgartner wants to become the first person to break the speed of sound without the protection of an aircraft while simultaneously collecting data never obtained...

  • How Redbull Stratos chronicled Felix Baumgartner’s jump in tweets

    If you weren't near a stable YouTube connection, or a TV news station, chances are you were following the excitement around Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner's historic space jump on Twitter. The official Redbull Stratos account provided what was probably the most definitive chronicle of events. Baumgartner's mentor Joe Kittinger was there to guide Baumgartner through the ascent and was frequently the voice of the mission: "We are going to get your goal and your dream accomplished Felix." Joe Kittinger from Mission Control twitter.com/RedBullStratos…— Red Bull Stratos (@RedBullStratos) October 14, 2012 "Everything is great and you are on your way to...

  • Google’s African affair: An internet giant puts its money where its mouth is

    At the start of last year I wrote an article for Memeburn with the only slightly tongue-in-cheek headline: “Instead of smallpox Google is colonising Africa with ‘cool stuff’”. As a rule I tend to prefer African solutions for African problems, and am also always somewhat sceptical of geeks bearing gifts (sorry!). Twenty months later, I need to concede that it does look as if Google is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to the African continent. It has offices in eight African countries and has launched, whether intentionally or not, products that have the potential to...

  • Decoding the social influence enigma: Q&A with Klout’s Joe Fernandez

    It must be difficult being Joe Fernandez. He is the founder of Klout: the social media analytics startup that measures users' influence across their social networks. Klout scores people based on their influence on networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The company has come under heavy criticism for its measurement algorithm. The most vocal of these critics is TechCrunch co-Editor, Alexia Tsotsis, who wrote a piece titled: "Nobody Gives A Damn About Your Klout Score", following outcries from users on 26 October 2011 when the platform changed its algorithm. Klout scores range from 1 to 100, with...

  • How Hipstamatic got lost and the patent problem: top stories you have to read

    Every day, tech stories hit the web about everything from Samsung's mini Galaxy S III to Marissa Mayer's tricky new situation as geek girl/CEO mom. But other stories are told too: from discussions about the holes in the US patent system which have allowed patent trolls to thrive and the effectiveness of sponsored content on BuzzFeed to the difficulties of pivoting and 'unpivoting' a startup. Here are our picks for the best tech stories you might have missed. No filter: inside Hipstamatic’s lost year searching for the next killer social app It aimed to be the Kodak of the digital era,...

  • Busted: Apple caught tracking iPhone users… again

    Another day another issue with an Apple product. Sigh. Except maybe you should hold off on that sigh, because this one's serious. Apple has, once again, been caught tracking iPhone users. In April 2011, analysts at a UK security conference discovered that iPhones and iPads running iOS4 had been secretly tracking their users' every movement. Apple then denied that it was tracking users, although it did so without directly addressing the evidence brought forward by the security company. Now it has emerged that Apple has started tracking iOS6 users so it can target them through a new tracking technology...

  • Microsoft to pump $1.5bn into Windows 8 marketing

    Whether you think that Windows 8 represents a return to "cool" for Microsoft or a last throw of the dice, there's no denying the fact that it's important. Microsoft gets that too. If you want proof, you need look no further than the fact that the Redmond-based giant is set to pump upwards of US$1.5-billion worth of marketing into the new OS. According to Forbes, that makes it the largest campaign for a single product in the history of the industry. It's definitely a hell of a lot more than the US$200-million, the company spent marketing Windows 95. According...

  • Reddit & Gawker: sex, anonymity and free speech

    Well this is interesting. There has been a slow scandal brewing over content posted on Reddit for some time now but it seems it's time to air the dirty laundry. In a recent post, Matthew Ingram of GigaOM talks about the dark side of communities such as the social bookmarking site, Reddit. His piece follows a statement from a Reddit sub-forum, "r/politics" stating that it will be banning links from all Gawker Media properties because one of its writers was planning on exposing a Reddit moderator responsible for "r/creepshots" and "r/jailbaits" pages dedicated to sexualised pictures of...

  • Free Weibo: Get Sina Weibo uncensored

    Just yesterday I wrote a piece about what the internet in China might look like if it wasn't censored, and today I got a note saying things have gotten just a bit more free. Free Weibo is a new site (launched yesterday) that uses Sina Weibo’s own data and data from Weiboscope (which collects blocked and deleted weibo posts) to allow users to search for search terms that are blocked on the Sina Weibo site. Want to search for “Hu Jintao” or look up your favorite evil cult? Now you can actually do it. The site comes from the same...

  • CEO confirms: Amazon doesn’t profit from Kindle ereader or tablet sales

    Yes, the ereaders and tablets that are so popular they have allowed Amazon to sell more ebooks than printed ones in countries like the UK and US are actually not where the company makes its money. In fact, according to CEO Jack Bezos, Kindle and Kindle Fire sales just about cover the cost of their manufacture. Speaking to the BBC at the launch of the new Kindle Paperwhite in the UK, Bezos explained Amazon's business model. "We sell the hardware at our cost," he said. "It's break-even on the hardware. We're not trying to make any money off the hardware....

  • Who ‘owns’ your social graph?

    With all the time we spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (the list goes on) our lives have become intertwined in more ways than we think. If we take recent court cases seriously, then soon our own social media connections could be "owned" in the future. It's also becoming increasingly obvious how important information will be in the future. Companies that have seen the benefits of using social media could increasingly go after their employees' connections, especially after a court ruling rejected the claim by Linda Eagle that her former employer Edcomm prevented her from accessing her personal and critical...

  • Apple and Samsung at it again… ding dong let’s get it on.

    The Apple vs Samsung patent war is heating up again with the two tech giants once more trading punches. The US injunction that the Cupertino company won earlier this year on the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, has been reversed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It said that the district court in California "abused its discretion in entering an injunction". This is a reversal of the ruling that U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who conducted the Apple v. Samsung patent trial, made in July on the 8086604 patent, a "universal interface for retrieval of...

  • ‘No small challenge’: How an intern built Facebook’s mobile ad platform

    In some companies, being an intern means you don't get paid for making the coffee for a few months. Apparently that's very much not the case at Facebook. In a post on the social network's engineering blog, Peter Cottle -- a graduate student in the mechanical engineering program at UC Berkeley -- reveals how he was given the task of building its mobile advertising interface after less than a week's training. According to Cottle, the project was "the natural combination of three recent events at Facebook": the launch of promoted posts, the social network's mobile push and the roll...

  • India mobile sales to hit 250m in 2013, will be 326m by 2016

    India is a mobile country. Earleir this year, it became the first country on the planet to have more people access the web via mobile than desktop. That's because mobile phones entail a much lower barrier to entry than desktop computers do, which helps explain why they've become so prolific in the BRIC giant. Factor in an ever-growing network infrastructure and you can see why tech research company Gartner thinks some 250-million handsets will be sold in the country in 2013. Things are expected to keep growing at a steady rate through 2016 when sales will surpass 326-million units. “The...