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NYC payphones replaced with smart screens

Published by on Nov 21st, 2012, 1 Comment

With the popularity and prevalence of mobile phones, do you ever wonder who still really uses payphones? Like the iconic red phone booths in the streets of London that stand more vacant than occupied, New York City has realised that more can be done with its under-used payphones. The city has transformed its payphones into something far more useful and appropriate for our technological age with the installation of public smart screen information kiosks.

Launched today, these 32-inch public touch screens provide tourists and locals with a broad variety of information including directions, weather forecasts, emergency broadcasts, public transportation information, tourist attractions and deals that provide coupons for nearby restaurants.

The project aims to have 250 smart screen kiosks installed throughout the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island and Brooklyn), completed sometime in the beginning of 2013.


Watch This! MIT takes Sierre Leone teen prodigy to the U.S.

Published by on Nov 21st, 2012, 2 Comments

This is Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone. He “loves inventing” and now, 16-years-old, he is the youngest individual to be invited by MIT to its Visiting Practitioner’s Program for international development in the U.S. Needless to say, Kelvin is no regular teenager.

Kelvin was first spotted by a fellow Sierra Leone native and current MIT doctoral student David Sengeh at a non-profit event called Innovate Salone that supports high school students in Sierra Leone, looking to contribute to solving the world’s greatest challenges through innovation.

So what was it about Kelvin that attracted Sengeh’s attention? Well, he happens to have created a battery, radio transmitter and generator all without having ever taken a single engineering class. While the battery was used to power homes, Kelvin uses the transmitter and generator, to broadcast news and music from a community radio-station as DJ Focus. Kelvin is entirely self-taught. So off to the U.S. he went to be a guest resident at MIT for three weeks.


Android 4.1 Jelly Bean rolling out on Galaxy S3

Published by on Nov 21st, 2012, 2 Comments

As I am sure many of you have already found out, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is rolling out on all networks across South Africa for the Samsung Galaxy S3 today, 21 November, having already hit some devices yesterday.

If you have not received it yet, get yourself on a WiFi network as soon as possible to get in on all the Jelly Bean goodness. With many brilliant features, it is sure to change your device. With smoother performance, better camera shots and the brilliant Google Now, you are sure to enjoy it.

Samsung Mobile South Africa publicly made it known on their Facebook page this morning. With this, their flagship device, finally getting the update after several months, they are sure to brag that they are the first of the major players in SA to roll out the update,  that’s if you don’t own a Nexus device, or have rooted your phone, of course.

You can check out our full review of Jelly Bean here. Let us know about your experience on the Galaxy S3 with Jelly Bean and what you think of the updated operating system.

Video interview: Alan Knott-Craig Jnr speaks about life after Mxit

Published by on Nov 21st, 2012, 3 Comments

I had the opportunity to sit down, once again, with Alan Knott Craig Jnr, to discuss his high profile exit from Mxit. We spoke about his thoughts on the industry, the future of Mxit and what’s next for him. We met in the very same office as the first interview, which we filmed just after he acquired Mxit.

Alan is currently in America. Why? Watch the video interview to find out.

See the video and full transcript after the jump.  (more…)

Tourism Radio to showcase audio guide at Le Web 2012

Published by on Nov 21st, 2012, 1 Comment

South African travel technology company Tourism Radio is teaming up with French automaker Renault at Le Web 2012 in Paris – the foremost blogging and web expo in the world -  to showcase its audio guides on the Renault R-Link multimedia system.

Renault first announced its fully-connected and integrated R-Link multimedia system at last year’s Le Web, where it was revealed that Tourism Radio would be one of the first applications available for download on the system.

Tourism Radio’s R-link application plays general audio information about the area a Renault vehicle is driving through, as well as information about specific points of interest nearby. It will serve as a personal tour guide, built right into the dashboard of future Renault models. The uniqueness of Tourism Radio’s technology is in its ability to seamlessly arrange thousands of audio clips and organise them into a coherent dialogue, based on location, creating a tailor-made user experience for each vehicle.


Meet Jacques Blom: The 14 year old entrepreneur

Published by on Nov 20th, 2012, 6 Comments

If you think you’ve done a lot in your life, think again. On Friday evening, a boy of 14 got up and presented his idea and business during the Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week (CTEW), and immediately raised the bar for what people of his age should have accomplished by their time.

Jacques Blom is from the Cape and currently attends high school, but that didn’t stop him from spotting a gap in a market and going for it. He was busy on Facebook, trying out a colour changer app that would make his profile look different and exciting – but the app was a hoax and asked him to complete a survey. This got him going on iStyla, a profile theme changer for Facebook. And he’s built it all by himself.

I was quite impressed by the site and how the business model works. New users sign up via Facebook and install free or premium themes. The code for the theme or style is injected into Facebook on the user’s side, through the browser plugin, but such that if one iStyla user visits another iStyla user’s profile page, their Facebook design will temporarily change to that person’s design. Where I got impressed was that Blom’s user base helps create the product – designers can design new styles, and the cherry on the top: an affiliate program which allows users to earn money based on how many new people they refer to iStyla. In fact, a user might just receive a commission for having their current style viewed by someone else! These last two points make me believe this can go far.

Right now, the site already has over 3,000 users and over a thousand Likes on it’s Facebook page. Blom’s profiles on StackOverFlow, StartupLi.st, Crunchbase and VentureBeat prove what the youngster has put into this so far, all on his own. It would seem the site uses a freemium model, with no charge for anything as of yet. And right now, with Facebook covering a billion users a little while ago, all he’ll need is traction.


The Hobbit characters to star in Windows Phone 8 campaign

Published by on Nov 20th, 2012, No Comments

Will Martin Freeman or Bilbo be staring in an upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS advert?

Middle Earth is coming to Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft will be teaming up with the characters of the much anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film to promote its new Windows Phone 8 operating system.

The new campaign, created by Wunderman, is as a result of a partnership agreement formed between Microsoft Inc. and Warner Bros. Studios who have given the company license to use the characters in the US, UK, Germany and France in what has been reported as a multi-million pound digital, press and television campaign.

The new campaign designed around the theme of a “smartphone reinvented around you” will feature a number of celebrities using the Windows Phone 8 OS in a personalised way in a series of television adverts that will showcase the operating system’s “persona-lisation elements”.


Serious iPhone-Videographer? Our Review of the SmartPhocus Lens System

Published by on Nov 20th, 2012, 1 Comment

Once you get into video recording with a modern smartphone you quickly realize how versatile these devices are for even semi-professional grade recording. Cranking out 1080p video from such a small device is great, but you quickly run into a wall if you do want more stable shots. Because of its small size, the iPhone is not very stable to use for longer video use and no amount of Apple software magic can fix that. So what do you do?

That is where professional mounting solutions like the SmartPhocus comes in handy. We previously had some hands on time with the OWLE Bubo (see our review here), which was an impeccably machined kit, but was also quite heavy. Well, the designers have been at work, and this is the replacement. Made from a lightweight polymer, the Smartphocus tightly grips your bare iPhone 4 or 4S, giving it a much more comfortable grip. On the rear you can see the area where your iPhone slides in. (more…)