Author: Toby Shapshak

Toby Shapshak is editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff, a Forbes senior contributor and a columnist for the Financial Mail and Daily Maverick. He has been writing about technology and the internet for 28 years and his TED Global talk on innovation in Africa has over 1,5-million views. He has written about Africa's tech and start-up ecosystem for Forbes, CNN and The Guardian in London. He was named in GQ's top 30 men in media and the Mail & Guardian newspaper's influential young South Africans. He has been featured in the New York Times. GQ said he "has become the most high-profile technology journalist in the country" while the M&G wrote: "Toby Shapshak is all things tech... he reigns supreme as the major talking head for everything and anything tech."

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing the legendary shoot-em-up game of Doom on your robot lawnmower, your (strange) dreams have come true. This is one of the more wacky pieces of new technology on show at MWC Barcelona this week. The world’s largest telecoms conference is also a good place to demonstrate new cutting-edge technology – and in this case, the technology actually does cut edges. Your grass is Doomed Ever wanted to play the original Doom on your robot lawnmower? @shapshak @Husqvarna_ZA#MWC2024 pic.twitter.com/98jWVZh3BU — Stuff South Africa (@StuffSA) February 26, 2024 Husqvarna, the Swedish company that makes robotic lawnmowers…

Read More

For years I have been railing against the ineptitude, inefficiency, wasted marketing spend, and (more recently), outright lies of programmatic advertisers. In short: Google and Facebook lied. They promised a range of never-seen-before, easy-to-communicate nonsense about how to market to individual consumers. But they have never actually delivered on this promise and 25 years later, their hyperbole has become fact. After over two decades of this, the marketing industry is convinced that programmatic advertising actually works. Just like first-time voters in the 2024 election will have never known anything but load shitting, a generation of marketers has grown up thinking…

Read More

On Monday, two friends asked me which iPad they should buy. It’s a question I often get, so I wrote them this article. The first friend is a property developer who hates typing on his iPhone and was thinking of getting a folding Android phone, such as the Samsung Fold 5 or Huawei Mate X3. Let’s call him Paul. “Why are you typing on a smartphone?” I replied. It doesn’t have the screen for 10-finger typing, and it’s not the most efficient way to input data. I have been using two more appropriate options for years. I use a swiping…

Read More

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was roasted by US legislators in January over Instagram’s rampant sexual abuse problem. “You have blood on your hands”, senator Lindsey Graham told him during a hearing of the Senate judiciary committee. “You have a product that’s killing people.” Also in the room, seated behind Zuckerberg, were the parents of children who killed themselves or committed self-harm after being exposed online to unwanted sexual advances.  The Senate hearing comes on top of a lawsuit brought against Meta by the New Mexico attorney-general in December last year that has revealed e-mails and other internal documents in which…

Read More

Most of us can be forgiven for rolling our eyes when told of a new audio format that will enhance our listening. Admittedly, I’m no audiophile, but I have always struggled to tell what the advantage of whatever new Dolby settings did for my listening. I was similarly unimpressed when I started hearing and reading about Apple’s new Spatial Audio feature. I’m not a subscriber to Apple Music because I have been using Spotify from way back and have created custom playlists that mitigate switching to another service. The family option from the gold standard of streaming, if not the…

Read More

Most of South Africa’s youth don’t watch a TV set. Why should they? They have a mobile entertainment console in their hands that can access the new form of television: streaming. Jason Probert, general manager of digital services for MTN South Africa, tells Stuff editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak how he is making it easier and more cost-effective. Who needs a TV when you have mobile streaming Also available on Spotify | Google Podcasts | Apple Podcasts Now Hear: How mobile video use is evolving, with MTN’s Jason Lobel

Read More

“If you made a movie about AI now, it would be called ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’,” joked Jens-Hendrik Jeppesen, Workday’s senior director for corporate affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), referring to the Oscar-winning film. Jeppesen captures the current zeitgeist around artificial intelligence, which was a low-key tech industry buzzword for years before OpenAI’s ChatGPT turned it into the mainstream in November 2022. Now, AI is at its peak of what Gartner calls the “hype cycle” – which most of us remember about the first year of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Unlike that now-faded…

Read More

If Kenneth Nkosana Makate invented the Please Call Me service where is his patent? Or even his patent application? The only patent application was submitted by former MTN lead data consultant Ari Kahn and filed with the Patent Office by Spoor & Fisher on 22 January 2001. His patent was awarded the same day. Kahn told me she briefed MTN’s legal representatives on 16 November 2000, having conceived of the idea the day before.  While Makate was a trainee accountant at Vodacom, Kahn was lead data consultant at MTN from 1994 to 2002 – where he worked on a range…

Read More

If ever there was a delightful phrase, it’s “revenge travel”. That was last year’s mantra. This year’s is much more fun. Xiaomi 20,000mAh 50W charger R1,400 | Makro For the last few years, the most important thing I looked for on a new power bank was a USB-C port. This upgrade from the old square-shaped USB-A is already three times faster, but add extra wattage and the power bank charges a device much faster. Most smartphones can handle 20W to 30W – while laptops range from 30W to 65W. But what if your power bank had very high wattage and…

Read More

“Mr Zuckerberg, what the hell were you thinking?” Senator Ted Cruz asked the Facebook CEO yesterday in an incendiary US Senate hearing about online sexual exploitation. Cruz was referring to an Instagram warning that users might see content containing or concerning child sexual abuse material but asks if they would like to “see the results anyway”. It is unbelievable that such madness even exists but it’s indefensible that it isn’t taken down immediately. Zuckerberg argued that the “basic science behind that… [is] often helpful to, rather than just blocking it, to help direct them towards something that could be helpful”.…

Read More