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  • Microsoft woos devs, hypes up Windows licenses and ‘potential’ customers

    If you thought Microsoft's billion dollar plus Windows 8 ad campaign was just about getting ordinary people to buy its product, think again. The software giant is also trying to woo developers with a few punches aimed squarely at Android and iOS. In the latest ad for Windows 8, the Redmond-based giant shows off some of the apps built for its OS but also takes on the two giants of the mobile and tablet space. The ad promises anyone willing to develop for Windows 8 “A worldwide app store with over 1 billion potential users!” and boasts that...

  • Twitter officially launches filters, takes Instagram fight to next level

    The Twitter versus Instagram episode just went from messy divorce to a no-holds-barred bare knuckle fight. Just hours after Instagram officially shut off card integration on Twitter -- meaning that you can no longer preview its photos -- the social network launched its own photo filtering service. The ability to take and filter photos directly from Twitter has been in the works for a while now. In what looks to be a bid on Twitter's part to claw users away from Instagram, its service offers a few extra options too. Unlinke Instagram for instance, you don't have to have...

  • #IsawSmiley: campaign hopes to break the cycle of homelessness

    Want to help the homeless? Stop giving them money. That's the message behind a campaign that aims to reduce casual handouts and instead encourage responsible donations to organisations working to protect, shelter and educate people living on the streets of Cape Town, South Africa. Driven through a mobi-site and posters around the city's central business district, the Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID)'s Give Responsibly campaign hopes to create awareness about the cycle of homelessness. The posters, which have been added to daily, depict three stories about a character called Smiley, explaining how difficult circumstances led to a life on...

  • SA school kids lobby for free Wikipedia

    A group of South African learners are lobbying operators in that country to provide them with free access to Wikipedia. The open source encyclopedia is already available for free in a number of countries across North Africa and the Middle East. Pupils at Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town have written to the country's mobile operators asking them to do the same. "Our school does not have a library at all so when we need to do research we have to walk a long way to the local library. When we get there we have to...

  • BBM 7 exits Beta, now comes with voice calls

    BlackBerry has just taken version seven of its wildly popular instant messaging service BBM out of Beta, with the ability to make free voice calls among the new features. BBM voice was first announced last month and allows people to make calls to fellow BBM users as long as they're on Wi-Fi. Anyone wanting to run BBM 7 will need to run BlackBerry OS 6 or higher, although the Waterloo-based company says it's planning on readying the app for OS 5 some time early next year. The app will also notify you when there are updates to download straight...

  • Will technology liberate humanity? The hidden message of the Mayan calendar

    With just two weeks to go to the much-anticipated date of the Mayan calendar prophecy, just what exactly did their highly acclaimed calendar system predict – are we about to witness a cataclysmic event, as the Hollywood blockbuster movie 2012 wants to make us believe, or rather an apocalypse in the original meaning of the word, i.e. a revelation that might usher in a quantum leap in technology and a new era of social consciousness? As a historian who has been trained to separate fact from fiction, I have made an effort to analyse the historic records from the...

  • The argument for owned platforms on social media

    Most social media managers throw virtual confetti in the air when their page starts to gain fans or followers at an alarming rate, and why not – it is actually great news; more people willing to listen and engage and the client no doubt showering the agency with praise as that’s the infantile metric he’s being measured on from head office. The problem is, as you grow, it becomes more challenging to target messaging and appeal to the different demographics and needs of your audience. The community manager and client wants to make sure that the messaging and content...

  • Pageview journalism: economic reality or capitulation to pop culture whims?

    Ryan Holiday, writing for the New York Observer, has discovered something very important about the media industry today: The widespread belief is that the media has "reach." Trust me, they don't. Not anymore. It's become almost pathetic. It hit me the other day when I snagged a profile for a client on a well-known website... Dear God, I realized, my client has more readers than they do. The website needed us to attract an audience for them. They wanted the subject of the piece to send his readers over to them rather than the other way around. It seems a bit strange that...

  • 3 ways to get Instagram photos back in your Twitter feed

    It may just be an example of a serious first world problem, but Instagram's decision to disable Twitter card functionality now means that you won't see those delightful little square images pop up in your mobile or desktop feed any more. Instead, you'll only see a standard instagr.am link, and you'll have to click through to Instagram's redesigned website to see the image. Shudder. It's all part of what Instagram claims is a move to improve its users' experience, but which is just annoying for general Twitter users who want to see the image someone is tweeting about without having...

  • Syrian rebels build tank, include PlayStation controller for turret

    So you've taken part in a couple of hackathons, maybe you've built something the people there thought was impressive. We'll wager you've never hacked a PlayStation controller to run the turret on a home-built tank though. That's exactly what a group of Syrian rebels appear to have done as part of the effort in their ongoing fight against troops loyal to president Bashar al-Assad. The video, which comes from the YouTube channel of Russia Today shows the controller being used to zoom in and out of the tank's turret on fairly decently sized monitor. The controller...

  • Meet Mehr, Iran’s alternative to ‘inappropriate’ YouTube

    Iran is launching Mehr (meaning "affection"), an alternative to YouTube which the theocracy declared "inappropriate" in 2009. The site is meant to attract Persian-speaking users and Pro-Iranian content. “From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (IRIB) produced material,” said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali. Iran has a habit of blocking its population from accessing certain Western sites. Earlier this year, it blocked access to Gmail and Google search, while an "Iranternet" -- its own internal internet -- has supposedly been in the works for some time now. Iranian government officials do...

  • Instagram officially kills Twitter photo integration

    The divorce is final. As of today Instagram has officially killed off photo integration with Twitter. Last week users began noticing that Instagram photos on their Twitter feed were showing up strangely cropped, off-center, or not at all. Now they've disappeared from the social network completely. You'll still be able to click-through to the Instagram links on Twitter, but there'll be no way to preview your photos. Given last weeks events, it's hardly surprising that Instagram has completely pulled the plug. It's relationship with Twitter has become increasingly fractious as it cozies up to new owner Facebook. As Engadget...

  • South Korea volunteers wage all out war…on porn

    In South Korea, a volunteer army is fighting what may be the most futile war imaginable. All they're armed with is their computers and internet connections as they seek to eradicate pornography from the web. The so-called "Nuri Cops", made up of around 800 people, spend hours at a time patrolling the internet for porn. They're not deviants though. Pornography is illegal in South Korea -- one of the most highly connected countries on the planet -- and the Nuri spend their time helping government censors find illicit material. As the Associated Press reports, the hope is that cutting...

  • Apple’s map woes continue… and can possibly kill you

    According to a report on ABC News, Australian police in the state of Victoria have rescued six people in the last two months after they were misdirected by Apple's map app into potentially dangerous and life threatening situations. As the information given by the app is incorrect, directions for the small town of Mildura take you about 70km away to the Murray-Sunset National Park Inspector Simon Clemence of the Victoria police said: "It's quite a dangerous situation, so we would be calling for people not to use the new Apple iPhone mapping system if they're travelling from South Australia to...

  • Google doodle pays tribute to original geek Ada Lovelace

    Today's Google Doodle pays tribute to an OG, original geek that is. Ada Lovelace was the daughter of poet Lord Byron, but was also a mathematical genius and computing pioneer. In fact, as Google points out in an official blog post, Lovelace could be considered the world's first programmer having published the first algorithm intended for use on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. We largely have Lovelace's mother Anne Isabelle Milbanke, to thank for the fact that she was so scientifically minded. She was determined that her daughter wouldn't fall into the same kind of behavior as Byron who was described...