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."

Alexey Pajitnov is the most famous game inventor you’ve never heard of. The Soviet software engineer created Tetris in 1985 fuelling a decades-long love-affair for millions of people who play the puzzle-solving game. Not only is it one of the greatest games ever sold, but it is a cultural icon. Years ago I saw the first Tetris shelves, which were designed to hold CDs. That’s how long ago the concept has been kicking around and I’ve always loved the idea. My late father was very dexterous and taught me a range of woodworking and other handyman-esque skills. During Covid, with…

Read More

Is what you’re hearing really real? Deepfake videos have gotten a lot of attention (especially after it happened to Taylor Swift) but more troubling are deepfake audio recordings, Sergey Shykevich, threat intelligence group manager at Check Point Software Technologies, tells Stuff editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak. The dangers of deepfake audio Also available on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Read More

You forget just how desperate the state of Springbok rugby was a mere 18 months before the 2019 World Cup in Japan. It would end so dramatically and with such triumph, sure, but it began at rock bottom. Losing 57-nil to the All Blacks in 2017 was the nadir of Alistair Coetsee’s ill-fated reign as Springbok coach. In came Rassie Erasmus and his partner-in-genius, Jacques Nienabr. They would go on to revolutionise South African rugby, turn around the fortunes of a top-tier but depressed team, scandalise world rugby with the innovative bomb squad of replacement forwards, and win a World…

Read More

The best thing Amazon’s South Africa launch has done is make Takealot better. It may sound reductionistic, but it really is the case. Takealot is good, even if it has had a few unforgivable brainfarts with returns. Takealot still has some tricks up its sleeve Suddenly, next-day deliveries are standard and all-round efficiency and speed have been improved. And that isn’t even with the new subscription service, called TakealotMore. The R40/m subscription offers unlimited next-day deliveries (for over R500) and two same-day deliveries a month. The R100 premium package gives unlimited same-day delivery. I am more than happy with a reliable next-day service,…

Read More

Any conversation with Dr Christoph Nieuwoudt – FNB’s chief data and analytics officer – is always a meandering journey across a range of fields. He delves into how artificial intelligence (AI) is a game changer, and specifically about the immediate gains of generative AI, he tells Stuff editor-in-chief, Toby Shapshak. Also available on Spotify | Apple Podcasts Now Hear: How to nav-igate your life, with FNB’s nav chief Jolandé Duvenage

Read More

Why don’t we buy tech gifts for mothers? My long-suffering business partner, Sally Hudson, asked me earlier this week. Indeed, ahead of Mother’s Day, anxious husbands and kids are looking for something wonderful ahead of the big day. It’s on Sunday, 12 May, if you’re yet to pick up a gift. Sonos Move 2 – R12,900 The upgraded Bluetooth-enabled Move 2 is a gift in and of itself – doubly so if you are already using Sonos’ streaming speakers. It works as part of the system but is also a standalone Bluetooth speaker. Sonos’ automatic Trueplay analyses the speaker’s environment and adjusts…

Read More

When Gmail first launched in 2004, one of its standout features was an abundance of storage. Instead of the small quantities offered by Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, Gmail gave each user a whopping 1GB of space. Instead of painstakingly trying to (constantly) delete emails and stay on top of your inbox, the theory went, you could just search for whatever email you needed. Web-based email was still a newish service then. Hotmail had launched in 1996 with 2MB of storage and was bought by Microsoft the following year for $400m. The idea of hosting your email in what would become…

Read More

When my phone unexpectedly crashed last year, one of the only problems I had was that my entire WhatsApp backup was lost. And… I couldn’t be happier. Despite losing every message I’ve ever sent or received on Meta’s now-indispensable messaging service, my life has not ended. And now, my phone is about 10% less cluttered with a digital archive I clearly never needed. Before the crash, I had noticed just how large the WhatsApp data was becoming on my iPhone. I never back up videos, only photographs. I have changed WhatsApp’s default setting to not save received images to the…

Read More

Where credit cards replaced cheques, virtual cards have replaced plastic ones. But the evolution of payments isn’t over yet, as its contactless future shows, as Ashley Saffy, head of spend and customer value management at FNB Card, tells Stuff editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak. Also available on Spotify | Apple Podcasts Now Hear: How to nav-igate your life, with FNB’s nav chief Jolandé Duvenage

Read More

After I wrote a short travel piece on what essential things to do and see in Cape Town, a lot of people asked me: what about the penguins? What about Table Mountain? And, what else can you do, especially with a kid? Let’s start in town. Table Mountain | You can’t miss it Cape Town’s standout natural highlight is shaped, you guessed it, like a table. When it is drenched in a low-forming cloud, which drips over the edges, that is called the tablecloth. It is beautiful. Use your phone’s wide-angle setting for a picture. The mountain creates a natural…

Read More