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  • Staring through a glass screen: The limits of online interaction

    If you’re ever in doubt about how pervasively social media has reconstellated the boundary lines of peer-to-peer communication, privacy, and the online/offline divide, consider the story of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide off the George Washington Bridge late last year. When Clementi’s college roommate, Dharun Ravi, found out he was sharing dorms with a gay freshman ("Found out my roomate is gay":22 August), he began his own voyeuristic cyber-documentary via a streaming webcam and Twitter. ("Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my web cam. I saw him making out...

  • Groupon SA gives you a way to help Japanese disaster relief

    Groupon SA is working with its sister companies around the world to raise funds for emergency disaster relief for those worst affected by the earthquake and flooding in Japan. Japan is a developed nation, but the sheer scale of this catastrophic disaster has left emergency services reeling. The International Red Cross is providing immediate shelter, food and water to desperate people while national emergency services get up and running properly. If South Africans wish to contribute to the Red Cross’ relief activities in Japan, Groupon has set up its systems that you can buy a “Groupon for Japan” through...

  • YouTube Symphony Orchestra debut to be live-streamed on 20 March

    The 101 members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 have arrived in Sydney this week for a gala performance Sunday, March 20, that will light up the sails of Sydney Opera House and be live-streamed to YouTube’s global audience at 11:00 am South African time. Musicians from more than 30 countries — selected through an online audition that garnered millions of views on the YouTube Symphony channel — will join together for a week of rehearsals and concerts around Sydney which build up to the finale event. The March 20 performance will be conducted by award-winning conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas....

  • For developing nations, online music remains out of reach

    It’s no secret that the global established music industry is in a tumultuous period. 2010 saw album sales dropping another 12% in the USA, by far the world’s largest music consumer. The increase in digital sales (which now make up 46% of music purchases) has not been enough to offset rapidly declining CD sales. It has become clear that capturing online music now is key in determining the future music industry superpowers. This is not to say that the battle hasn’t already started. The online music landscape is a crowded marketplace, with many services jockeying for their position. The...

  • Microsoft reveals final version of IE9

    Microsoft's latest version of the Internet Explorer web browsing software is free, it's online and of course, it has been released to counter the challenges posed by competitors Firefox and Google Chrome. "IE9 has just released around the world," a booming voice told a cheering crowd on Monday in Texas, where a launch bash was thrown to celebrate the arrival of the new browser. Internet Explorer 9 or IE9 as it may become popularly known, is available for download in 30 languages at beautyoftheweb.com. "Things are about to change," Microsoft corporate vice president Dean Hachamovitch told journalists a few hours earlier at...

  • Exclusive: Talking internet freedom with Obama’s top official

    On the back of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for global internet freedom late last year, Daniel Baer was sworn in as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour in November. Memeburn spoke to the new appointee of the current Obama administration, taking on issues ranging from the WikiLeaks controversy to internet accessibility in emerging markets. Baer began by outlining that internet freedom has become a US foreign policy issue for the first time. He argues that the implications of this internet-oriented foreign policy approach is unprecedented. "Internet freedom is the application...

  • The effect of the tsunami on Japan’s tech industry

    Japan is still assessing the scale of Friday’s devastating tsunami, but in many parts of the country production has ground to a halt, and any long-term production issues could have a ripple effect on the technology industry. Many computer and mobile device manufacturers, including Apple and Dell source digital imaging and storage parts manufacturing out to Japan which supplies about 40% of the world’s NAND memory - which is used in products such as Apple’s iPad. Japan is also responsible for a fifth of the world’s semiconductor supplies, and produced about 14 percent of the world’s computers, consumer electronics and...

  • Sowambe! 1st social media awards launches in SA

    Are you there? Are you in the social media space? Are you a social web addict? That's exactly what the organisers of the first Social Media Awards in Africa are asking. Founded by young, vibrant and socially-savvy entrepreneurs, Sowambe! is a Nigeria-based social media lifestyle brand aimed at promoting trends and talents in Africa’s emerging digital media industry. The Sowambe Awards is pan-African and recognises the best social media adopters, talents, agencies, celebrities, politicians, personalities and professionals as well as social media-based web platforms in Africa. The awards which launched in Nigeria in February have also been announced in South Africa and...

  • Halo: Reach Defiant Map Pack available for download today on Xbox Live

    Last week, Microsoft announced that its Xbox 360 flagship shooter, the critically acclaimed Halo Reach may be expecting a new map pack but refused to comment any further on the matter. Now, fanboys, spartans and gamers worldwide can rejoice as the secrecy has been lifted to unveil three new action-packed multiplayer environments bundled together as the Halo: Reach - Defiant Map Pack which becomes available for download today on Xbox LIVE. The Halo series has gathered worldwide success with its intuitive gameplay and engaging storyline and has received a positively high Metacritic score of around 91%. Halo: Reach, a prequel to the original series,...

  • Teenage pop singer goes viral for all the wrong reasons

    Be careful what you wish for. That seems to be the bottom line when it comes to the sorry tale of Rebecca Black and her already disastrous pop career. When the young songstress woke up on Monday morning, her YouTube song "Friday" had only had 10 000 hits. But by the end of the day she had become an internet legend for all the wrong reasons, racking up over 2-million hits and becoming a worldwide trending topic....for all the wrong reasons. The auto-tuned vocals, the disastrous lyrics, the dance moves, the overage rapper and the underage actors....it all comes across...

  • Schabir Shaik trending worldwide on Twitter after re-arrest

    News of the re-arrest of convicted fraudster and former businessman Schabir Shaik has spread like wildfire across popular microblogging social network Twitter with "Schabir Shaik" currently a trending topic worldwide. Tweets have been pouring in following the breaking news with a majority of users in favor of the re-arrest, some sarcastic tweets around his 'failing health' and some who are not in the least surprised. Take a look at some of the top tweets that sent Schabir trending: Correctional Services minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has confirmed the arrest and told Eyewitness News that Shaik will be held for 72 hours until his recent...

  • The devastation of Japan, as told on YouTube [Videos]

    The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan and the tsunami that followed sent shockwaves around the world. The news of the quake sent people scrambling for information online. Japan dominated Twitter with at least four trending topics and, at one stage, with 1 200 tweets per minute. The quake was recorded as the largest to hit Japan since the Hanshin-Awaji quake of 1995. Many followed the devastating event via YouTube. The videos included snippets for new reports and citizens videos taken off the ground. We have picked some of the most awe-inducing videos that captured the magnitude of the destruction...

  • Anonymity is not cowardice, says 4chan founder (SXSW2011)

    He arrives late, sidling awkwardly onto the stage. With his baby face and blond mop it's easy to believe Christopher Poole is 24 years old. What's harder to believe is that he founded 4chan - one of the web's most creative, influential and infamously anarchic communities - when he was barely 15. Speaking at this year's South by South West festival, Poole outlined what 4chan has taught him about building online communities, and how he is applying that to his new project, a collaborative platform called Canvas. "Most of you know 4Chan because of our "random" /b/ board - more than...

  • 10 of the most innovative Kinect hacks

    Now that the dust has settled over the Kinect bounty wars that had the open source community in a 'Kinect-driver' development frenzy and had Microsoft tap-dance around the whole debacle, we can safely return to the comfortable position of reviewing some of the most innovative features to have spawned from last year's hack-the-Kinect phenomenon. The release of an open-source Kinect driver for Windows has seen a huge spike in the number of "hacks", which range from simple 3D user interfaces to robotics, physical science applications and much more. Here's our extended list of some of the better Kinect Hacks: Autonomous Robotic...

  • Virtual surgery: Training without pain (SXSW 2011)

    Surgery is one of the most difficult and dangerous professions to train for on the planet. Before you're skilled at operating you can kill someone, but you can only really learn those skills by operating. Virtual surgery has long held the promise of allowing apprentice surgeons to learn from mistakes without killing patients, but until recent advances in technology, it hasn't had much success. Now two different groups of researches are redefining the technology. Speaking on a panel at this year's South By SouthWest interactive festival, Professor Gregory Wiet of Ohio State University, as well as Frank Sculli and John...