Author Archives: Sam Takunda

Econet adds chat service EcoChat to its Call Home package in South Africa

August 1st, 2012

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They may not be riding the unlimited calls wagon that the other local network providers are, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t innovating. Last week, Econet’s South African based technical partner, Pattern Matched, announced the launch of EcoChat, a new service that allows Econet subscribers on roaming to chat with friends and family back home [...]

FNB’s Social Banking; all socially, right inside Facebook

July 24th, 2012

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South Africa’s third largest bank by market capitalization recently announced the newest in their impressive suite of value added services  dubbed FNB Social Banking. The service allows FNB customers to check their balance and bank statement, buy airtime, sms bundles, data bundles and Blackberry vouchers all from within Facebook. They join just a few other banks globally [...]

Thieves using Dipleague email classifieds to target their victims

May 21st, 2012

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Beware of two guys and a woman driving a blue Honda RVR pretending to be buyers. They stole a Toshiba laptop, $500(money) and an iPhone 4s from me Saturday afternoon. Value $2500. They called from the following number +263 779xxxxxx. Woman is short and dark in complexion maybe in her mid 30′s and one of men was tall and looked very frail in health. The driver of the car seemed in his mid 40′s and was short n slim.

US House of Representative passes CISPA. Here’s why we should be alarmed

May 1st, 2012

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On April 26 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) by a vote of 248 against 168 despite a presidential veto threat and global opposition. Unlike its predecessor SOPA/PIPA which was opposed and didn’t last, CISPA has the support of large establishments such as Facebook, AT&T, Verizon, Oracle, Intel, Boeing, Nokia and many more.

SMS, USSD and the mobile web: Zimbabwe is not that country

April 11th, 2012

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It was just a few months ago, sitting with the CEO who had moved back into the country after working as a successful starter-up in the US. The interview part hadn’t started and I was shaking a bit (he had come to pick me up in a classy vehicle and drove me to his classy house so yes I’m not used to being so..I don’t know). He was narrating his experiences in the States and how you could earn big from the silliest of apps or nothing from a huge idea. Then he leaned forward, reached in his pocket and brought out a monochrome phone and said “If you want to be big in Africa, you can’t go wrong with mobile. This is the only way. The regular guy knows SMS…[bla bla bla]“. I nodded and shook (50-50). He was definitely not the first to tell me this, and wasn’t the last but I wasn’t and still am not convinced.

WhatsApp says they are no threat to mobile operators

April 9th, 2012

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The co-founder of US-based messaging startup WhatsApp, Brian Acton, has denied popular notion that their startup is a threat to mobile operators’ revenues. In an interview with Reuters a few days ago, Acton said that instead, they were helping operators move their customers to data packages which would prove more profitable in the long run; “It’s all about the data”.

In just 3 months, Google’s Woza Online publishes 11 200 business websites

April 4th, 2012

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In January this year, Google South Africa in collaboration with Vodacom and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) South Africa launched Woza Online, an online business directory whose mission is to help put small and middle sized businesses online. The move has paid off as the company’s Country Manager said at an event that they have published 11 200 websites since launch (their target was 10 000). He also highlighted that there is clearly a strong appetite among SMEs to get online and take advantage of what the web has to offer.

Re-live the Titanic’s story on Twitter

March 31st, 2012

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Ever wondered how it’d be having the experiences of the passengers and crew of the Titanic recounted to you as they happened. Told and experienced in ‘real-time’ for you to follow as if they were happening today hour by hour, day by day? Impossible right? Well, not quite. If you have been able to follow in real-time what your friends and favourite celebrities are up to via their Twitter updates, you’ll find this peek into the Titanic story from a different angle quite fascinating.

SA micro-payments startup, ZunguZ, allows money transfer via Facebook

March 30th, 2012

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South Africa’s Rob Sussman and Lance Fanaroff introduced (officially) in December of 2011 a cost-free money transfer system that allows anyone on Facebook to transfer money to anyone else on Facebook. The two founders have taken the concept to Facebook’s Palo Alto offices and to prominent banks and financial institutions where they have received the nod of approval.

Have websites forgotten about the masses without “mobile apps”

March 24th, 2012

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Whatever you say can and will be used against you. A recent quote from a post on the Google Africa blog reads “[Google:] Making the world’s information universally accessible and useful means making it available to people no matter what device they use”. I suppose in a world where quad-core mobile processors are the headlines it is all too easy to dismiss the group of people who access the web on their phone using Opera Mini and have never caught up with the whole this-app-for-that-purpose craze.

The legal risks of having a .com domain

March 21st, 2012

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If you have a .com, .net or .org domain you are subject to US domestic laws and jurisdiction. This allows the US government to seize your website or even seek your extradition to USA to stand trial, based on allegations of breaking their laws. You’re also at risk from any mistakes and collateral damage according to an article on New Zealand website The National Business Review. There have been many stories of seizure by the US where foreign websites which violate US legislations were taken down.

A brief on the Microsoft Developer Day in Harare

March 17th, 2012

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Microsoft held it’s much awaited Developer Day two days ago on at the Harare International Conference Centre. It was quite impressive how they catered for techies and non-techies who seemed to be the majority of the attendants. One of the strongest remarks made in the early moments of the event was “In Africa, the challenges we are facing are our biggest advantages”.

Classifieds.co.zw introduces daily emails to consolidate its leading position

March 14th, 2012

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Local classifieds website classifieds.co.zw announced in an email yesterday that they will be introducing daily email digests for all or selected categories depending on your subscription preferences. The move comes at a time when several other websites have sprung up following the successes of classifieds.co.zw and they’ve all come for a chunk of what’s arguably the most trafficked website in the country.

Opera Mini Next: Why you should try it out

March 6th, 2012

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Last week at the Mobile World Congress, Opera made available a pre-release version of their next series of mobile browsers which they ave dubbed Opera Mini Next. Opera has been the dominant mobile browser globally, and especially so in Africa where its technologies make it deliver the web faster on GPRS and EDGE mobile internet running on feature phones.