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Infographic: The Cost of Mobile Broadband in SA

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, 2 Comments

Lilian van Zyl from Moneysmart made this great infographic showing the current cost differences in SA when it comes to mobile broadband. South Africa’s current explosion of mobile phone use have led to massive increases in the amount of data we use. In fact, we are pretty sure that for some some users, the data bundle attached to a contract is of greater concern than the talk time.

Moneysmart‘s infographic focusses on prepaid data rates, and show some very clear differences in price. The current smaller cellular operators are obviously heading for price war in the data sector, which we feel is a lot more relevant than the recent international call decreases. But enough with the chat, see the infographic below:


Basecamp now available for phones and tablets

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, No Comments


Project management platform Basecamp, is now available for mobile phones and tablets allowing users to access all of their projects from where they are that include catching up on project progress, adding comments and viewing  discussions, to-do lists, documents and files.

To view emails received from Bascamp on a mobile phone, users just need to tap the “View in Basecamp” link to read the entire conversation, view attachments, and reply with comments with discussions automatically optimized to view on your mobile device.

No app or installation is required to access the service which is available for all popular phone and tablet devices running iOS, Android and Windows 7.


Microsoft building 7-inch gaming tablet

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, 2 Comments

According to The Verge, Microsoft is building a gaming tablet called the Xbox Surface.

According to the report the production of the 7-inch tablet will be kept tightly under wraps with it likely being manufactured under the same secret production process at the factory that produced the Surface.

This will separate the new tablet from the partners that traditionally manufacture Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.

The company has also gone so far as to limit employee access to its Interactive Entertainment Business division.

Features of the Xbox Surface are likely to include a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM that is designed specifically for gaming tasks and rather than run a full version of Windows, it will run a custom Windows kernel.

Easy2Map wins Startup Knight 2012

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, No Comments

Startup Knight, a competition aimed at South African software based tech startups, was launched on 1 October. Numerous applications were received and the Startup Knight team had the challenging task of narrowing down the entries to compose the shortlist of fifteen finalists. The fifteen finalists were announced on 26 October following the close of online entries.

On Saturday 3 November the finalists were required to pitch their idea to the panel of judges at the Byte Orbit offices. Prior to their pitching session each startup was interviewed to get an insight of what their general thoughts were about the tech scene in South Africa. The interviews were recorded and Byte Orbit will be publishing the video on their YouTube channel as soon as it is back from editing.

The fifteen enthusiastic entrepreneurs presented their innovative ideas to the panel of judges and the competition was tough. After an entire day of inspiring ideas, the judges had finally come to the conclusion and everyone had a short break to freshen up for the Startup Knight Cocktail Evening at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Granger Bay.

Guests were welcomed with a glass of sherry and delicious combinations of snacks were served at the beautiful venue while everybody took the opportunity to network until the winner announcement. The event was very well attended with over 100 guests, which consisted of industry personalities, sponsors, finalists, press and judges.

At 7:30pm Amit Ramdath CEO of Byte Orbit took to the stage to introduce Byte Orbit and talk about his vision for Startup Knight. Prior to the announcement of the winner two startups Virtual Firehouse and Karma Footprint were singled out as runner ups for the competition.


Social network 2go heads for smartphone users

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, No Comments

Mobile social network 2go is extending its successful feature phone app to smartphones, while growing its team of software developers and support staff.

2go currently has over 10 million active users who send more than 6 billion messages a month, mostly on lower-end feature phones in Nigeria and South Africa. “Feature phones have been an incredibly successful platform for us and will continue to be so for the next few years at least,” says Alan Wolff, who founded 2go with fellow student Ashley Peter while still at university. “Research firms such as Informa indicate that by 2015 there will still be 5.6 feature phones in the African market for every one smartphone. But now is the right time to start extending to iOS, Blackberry and Android platforms as well.”

The secret to 2go’s success, say Wolff and Peter, is careful attention to user needs and a rock-solid technical foundation. They say this is especially important in African contexts where users face high data costs and scarce bandwidth.

“We’ve custom-built both the user app and our backend systems to work fast, reliably and efficiently,” says Peter. “We’ve been self-funded from the start and so we’ve learned how to make the most of very scarce resources – we still have a very low ratio of engineers to users.”

“With our recent rapid user growth and the emergence of newer platforms such as Android and iOS, there’s now a need to aggressively grow the team,” he adds. “We are actively recruiting new developers who have an appetite for the technical challenges we’re taking on.”


TaxTim ready for users as deadline approaches

Published by on Nov 6th, 2012, No Comments

As the final deadline draws closer for all salaried employees to submit their tax returns on the 23 November 2012,  digital tax assistant TaxTim, recently chosen as one of Africa’s Top 40 tech startups to present at the DEMO Africa conference in Nairobi, offers a quick and simple solution to help complete your tax return in less than ten minutes.

“It is better to get started with your tax return as soon as possible as some parts of the process can take time. If you earned more than R59 750 for the 2012 tax year (R4 979 per month), you would need to submit a tax return to SARS or you will be fined penalties for every month you are late. TaxTim helps you to complete your tax returns at minimal cost and in record time,” says Marc Sevitz, co-founder of TaxTim.

TaxTim asks you all the required questions in plain language one-by-one, to help you fill out everything on your tax return correctly. Working side-by-side with TaxTim, you can be sure you won’t be overtaxed and will qualify for the maximum possible tax refund if due. The TaxTim service costs from R120 per return and is available in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu 24 hours a day online.

“We understand the confusion and stress that comes with completing your tax returns, as well as the necessity and cost to do so. That’s why we made doing taxes on your own as easy as having a conversation. TaxTim is a fast and simple way of completing everything on your tax return that you need to, an essential service as the close of filing season draws near and tensions are high,” said Evan Robinson, co-founder of TaxTim.


Windows 8 – Our Quick Review

Published by on Nov 6th, 2012, 6 Comments

Last week I was handed a copy of Windows 8 at the launch event in Johannesburg, and I was honestly excited to get home and try out Microsoft’s latest operating system. Every single review out there focusses on the new Metro interface, even though Microsoft can’t call it that – they call it the “modern” UI. Yes, it is a doozy, and it takes some getting used to. But the true magic of Windows 8 lies under that interface, and it’s great to see where Microsoft is heading in the future.

Installing Windows 8

Microsoft is really trying their best to get people to move to Windows 8. Whereas previous versions were pricey to upgrade to, the Windows 8 upgrade is available for $40, provided you have a nice fat broadband connection, because you need to download the image.

If you are upgrading from Windows 7, the upgrade process will transfer all your data and apps without issue. It will run a quick assessment to see what will work with Windows 8, and then off you go. If you are installing to an older hard disk drive, the process takes less than an hour (depending on how many apps you have already). If you have a nice zippy solid state disk, the install is done within 30 minutes. I did an install from scratch to a 7200 rpm hard drive, and the process took about 35 minutes.

Metro / Modern / The UI that killed the Start Button


Instagram rolls out profiles

Published by on Nov 6th, 2012, No Comments

Instagram has announced in a blog post that it will be rolling out online profiles over the next few days, a feature that provides users with a new way to view and share Instagram photographs on the web.

Each profile, that can be easily edited directly from the web, features a profile photo and bio and also displays recently shared photographs for other Instagram users to view. In addition, users can follow others, comment on and like their photos. However, users won’t be able to upload images to their accounts from the web as “Instagram is focused on the production of photos from mobile devices,” states the blog.

The resemblance of the profile layout to Facebook’s Timeline is not entirely surprising as it was acquired by the social network in early April.

Each new profile can be found using instagram.com/username.

What do you think of Instagram profiles?