Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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”

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

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

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”.

Nigerian Twitter & Facebook traffic update service nominated for Shorty Awards

Lagos’ traffic guide Gidi Traffic received a nomination for the globally renowned Shorty Awards which recognize the best short format content creators on the Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. In the “Life Saving Hero” award category, Gidi Traffic is up against 399 other nominees with most of them coming from the United States. introduces daily emails to consolidate its leading position

Local classifieds website 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 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

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.

Are new social media disaster apps suitable for Africa?

Natural disasters always have casualties when they strike, and the drama goes on after the strike when family and friends have no one to answer them when they call to check who made it out and who didn’t. Although a simple phone call can be made, it’s usually not enough to check on all your acquaintances to check on you as well as for you to check on them.

Gizmo highlights from the 2012 Mobile World Congress #MWC12

The 2012 annual Mobile World Congress which kicked off in Spain, Barcelona doesn’t seem to all be about new unheard-of technologies but rather jaw dropping additions to product specifications.

Zambian telecoms regulator fighting cybercrime

A report on BizTechAfrica says Zambia’s telecommunications sector regulator, ZICTA, has established Computer Incident Response Teams in locations around the Southern African country to fight cybercrime. The teams are meant to help with awareness of cyberthreats affecting organisations and individuals.

Telecel skins Opera Mini, offers free access to Facebook Page

We’re getting information that Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers who use Opera Mini on their mobile phones can now access the Telecel website and Facebookpage for free. We’re gathering that the promotion started yesterday in the morning.

How good is your internet lingo?

So, do you talk the talk? We thought of putting together some of the trending internet vocabularies (mostly abbreviations actually) that are dominating conversations on the web, how much do you know?

Mobile manufacturers woot, Internet companies groan

The number of mobile devices will exceed world’s population by 2012. Big deal. It means more and more people are on smartphones and tablets. Nothing interesting or world changing here: or at least that’s what you think, because you’re only a consumer and it’s still Facebook whether it’s on a phone or a laptop.

Telecel goes red for Valentine’s

It appears Telecel has no intention of stopping it’s rapid release of new Value Added Services, just recently they launched their Emergency Credit[link to article] facility and now they have something for couples to enjoy over Valentine’s. By sending an sms to 33511(charged at 10c) you’ll receive a love quote. Let’s admit it, not all of us are Shakespeareans and the card has too much white space when it’s time to scribble something on it.

The changing face of the web development industry

It’s almost safe to say that history is repeating itself. A few years, specifically prior to the year 2008 companies such as Cyberplex were known to rule the roost and getting a website for a company was a comparatively sizable investment. There was the initial cost of getting the site developed, and the fixed monthlies/update fees. The process involved repetitive cycles between the marketing team and the web designers until the two parties agreed on a design concept.