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  • Skype aims to boost revenue with ads ahead of IPO

    Plans to introduce advertising to Skype in an effort to boost revenue ahead of going public is on the way. This according to the hugely popular free internet communications service on Monday. Skype, which bypasses the standard telephone network by channeling voice, video and text conversations over the Web, said the ads will appear only in Britain, Germany and the United States for now. The introduction of advertising is Skype's latest bid to increase revenue ahead of an initial public offering expected later this year. The Luxembourg-based Skype, which was founded in 2003, announced plans in August to raise up to US$100-million...

  • Why journalists could (and should) become professional explainers

    Information is cheap. It has to be, if a fourteen year old with no security clearance can learn state secrets with a regular dial-up connection. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we all can. But as more and more information is liberated on the internet – by everyone – the piles of it we are left to sort through are overwhelming. If it no longer falls to journalists to discover, or even publish that information, what good are they at all? Why, to explain, of course! Explanatory journalism may seem like a redundant concept. All journalism "explains" some or other sequence of...

  • Games are from the future, but load times are from the past

    I’m not usually one to be a show-off, because history has shown me that whenever I try to show how cool I am, inevitably the fates, or whatever, decide to knock me back down. Case in point. A few weeks ago I had a bunch of friends over and decided to brag with my new PlayStation Move. I hadn’t had a chance to use it at all myself, so unpacking it was a fresh experience for both me and my green eyed audience. I am meticulous about unpacking gadgets, always taking care to note how everything is placed...

  • Google initiates remote app removal for Android malware

    The "Droid Dream" series of malicious attacks to the Android Market last Tuesday saw internet powerhouse Google yet again extend their far-reaching safety net by initiating their "remote application removal feature" on Saturday evening to counter the threat. The attacks, in which malicious code is appended to legitimate applications, could be exploited to gain root control over an Android-enabled phone and steal sensitive data. Initially, within minutes of learning of the issue, Google removed the applications without any further indication as to their strategy around the 50,000 or more apps that had already been downloaded. That is, until Saturday, when...

  • Zimbabwe’s first Facebook arrest

    Zimbabwe is a new addition to the list of countries where governments are arresting users of popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Bloggers and social media users in Egypt, Syria, China and Libya have faced arrest for statements seen as a threat to the ruling governments. Beware of what you post if you are in or travelling through Zimbabwe. A Bulawayo-based user of the giant social network site has been arrested after posting an innocent message on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Vikas Mavhudzi posted the following rather jumbled message on February...

  • Social networking and your health: What’s the big deal?

    The benefits of social media need no further explanation, but what about the drawbacks? Is there really an associated health risk? The verdict is not yet out, but two British scientists think too much time online may be bad for your body - and your brain. "My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment," says Susan Greenfield, a pharmacology professor at Oxford University and the director of the Royal Institution of...

  • Evolution of social media in China [Infographic]

    Six months ago Ogilvy's China social media team created an infographic to show some of the local platforms thriving in place of the major international equivalents. Since then, new social media platforms have become relevant – on both sides of the Great Firewall – and so the team reworked the infographic. They have also widened the scope to include more platforms within some of the categories. Major changes include: Three new categories: professional social networks, which may become more important with LinkedIn’s China future still uncertain, mobile chat, and online music. GroupOn’s Chinese platform: Although just launched, if their planned investment is anything...

  • A maturing Google relies on startups to keep it young

    In a move seen as recapturing its youthful roots, Google co-founder Larry Page is taking charge of the maturing internet giant in the face of competition from hip upstart startups like Facebook. The California firm isn't waiting for Page to formally take the chief executive chair being emptied by Eric Schmidt in April, it is tapping into the energy of nimble entrepreneurs bought with Google's ample war chest. "Any engagement that Google can have with the startup community, with entrepreneurs, we learn and we are inspired," said David Krane of Google Ventures, an arm of the firm that invests in new...

  • WordPress back to normal after attacks ‘from China’

    On Sunday WordPress was running normally after suffering cyber attacks suspected to have originated in China. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg told TechCrunch, a leading Silicon Valley technology blog powered by WordPress, that the first distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks began on Thursday and continued into Friday. In a typical DDoS attack, a large number of computers are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming its servers, slowing service or knocking it offline completely. WordPress, which powers millions of websites, said it had been hit by an "extremely large" DDoS attack "affecting connectivity in some cases." Mullenweg said that 98 percent of the...

  • Why the iPad 2 is actually the iPad 1.5

    The amount of hype leading up to the iPad 2 launch by Steve Jobs earlier this week may have been an unprecedented favourable push in publicity and trends for Apple, but also slightly anti-climactic as many tech enthusiasts shared the same overall synopsis on the unveiled final product: It simply failed to deliver. Now before all the fanboys start blasting me for defiling their consecrated Apple gadget-gardens, let me further say that I'm an avid enthusiast of the iPad, the father of all tablets. I even happen to own one. Yet, with the transition from iPad 1 to iPad 2, it's only...

  • Twitter: 13 follow-worthy CEOs

    Why would a high profile Chief Executive Officer need to make use of a microblogging system such as Twitter? Considering that their very words, sans the 140 character limit and bit.ly encoding, are already an accepted dictum in their respective organisations, what added benefit could a meager tweet further provide? Maybe it's the effectiveness of building on that all-important customer relationship model. Maybe it's the necessity of engaging with employees and providing a more humane side to the otherwise mundane concrete corporate world. Or maybe it's to expose products through a social company mouthpiece. Or maybe, just maybe, it's all about waving...

  • What developments can you expect from email marketing in 2011?

    2010 has come and gone and arguably the biggest industry prediction that came to pass was the rise (and rise) of social media and its relevance and impact on how we use email. Towards the end of the year many marketers were left mumbling when Gmail announced its Priority Inbox and Facebook unleashed Messages, both of which have added a heap of new email deliverability issues, to which answers are still being sought. As far as 2011 goes, I’m loathe to use the word "predictions" when I talk about email marketing, simply because I am not a fortune...

  • Multiple DDOS attacks threaten WordPress and int’l governments

    In a day of multiple cyber-attacks across the web, WordPress, the government of South Korea and 29 international government agencies were threatened by DDOS attacks. South Korea issued a cyber security alert as the websites of 29 government and other agencies came under attack Friday, the Korea Communications Commission said. A commission spokesman said the DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks had initially been expected to hit 40 websites but only 29 were actually affected. They included those of the presidential Blue House, the US forces, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, the ministries of foreign affairs, defence and unification, parliament...

  • The Daily, Murdoch’s digital newspaper is a hit

    Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has fared well with the success of The Daily, a digital newspaper created for Apple's iPad by his company, News Corp. It requires users to pay for the content they view, and has already tallied hundreds of thousands of downloads since its launch a month ago, according to the latest reports. "It's going great," Greg Clayman said at the PaidContent 2011 conference in New York. "We're not disclosing the exact numbers (of downloads) but it's in the hundreds of thousands." Although The Daily has extended a free trial period until March 21, Clayman said a number...

  • Real Time Wine: Wine in 140 characters or less

    We live in the age of the Twitter mindset. If you cannot say it in 140 characters, chances are it's not worth saying. All around the globe, social media wine communities are emerging to educate the masses about wine. US-based social network Snooth, has built an online community for wine drinkers. Users of the site can review and shop for wine. Wine-life in the UK engages audiences with topics, reviews and tales of winemaking in society today. South African site Spit or Swallow allows users to rate and review wine farms along popular wine routes. South Africa's wine community is...