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 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…

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“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”.…

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Before he sold his startup to Workday, MIT-trained Sayan Chakraborty worked at NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an engineer on interplanetary spacecraft; and later on the early commercialisation of GPS. He has seen many new things in a storied career, including as vice president of software development at Oracle. As much as AI is a game-changer, he tells Stuff editor-in-chief Toby Shapshak, “every business nowadays is a talent business”. Workday’s co-president Sayan Chakraborty talks rocket science Also available on Spotify | Google Podcasts | Apple Podcasts

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When both my wife and I each bought our son the same box of Lego, I simply returned the product I had bought to Takealot. I hadn’t even opened the brown cardboard box it arrived in. I wrote the return code on the box – I no longer have a printer at home – in large letters with a black koki. The same day it was collected, Takealot emailed to inform me, “Unfortunately, your return has been declined due to specific criteria not being met in line with our Returns Policy”. What was the reason given? “Item have a…

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Last year I went camping with my six-year-old son. We both loved it. My parents loved the outdoors, and we always went camping. I hiked and camped until my late 20s, after which I could afford to, well, stay indoors. So, when my son’s school had a dads and lads weekend, I was arguably more enthusiastic than he was – until a friend offered us his tent and we set it up in our garden a week before to check it had all the poles and gear. But before my friend’s helpful offer – including the most important new upgrade, sleeping…

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Would you pay a monthly fee for your smartphone software? More specifically, would you pay $15 a month so Android doesn’t track you and send all of that data back to Google? Most of us would probably say no fairly immediately. Why pay R300/m when Android comes “free” on your phone, most might reply. Except it isn’t “free” by any definition. Consumers are paying with their personal privacy and data. Google, which is the very definition of surveillance capitalism, makes money from tracking you and what you do on the internet. Google is guilty of “deceiving and manipulating consumers to…

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For many years, right after returning from the Dezemba holidays, relaxed, I would haul myself into a small metal tube and schlep halfway around the world to Las Vegas. In the first week of January, this year the second, the technology industry all heads to Vegas – a mindboggling 30-hour-ish flight — for the gadget spectacle that is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). For a young South African tech journalist (when I first went), it was glorious. It’s easily the largest consumer electronics show in the world, showing off a veritable wonder of shiny things in cavernous halls, filled with…

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Towards the end of last year, a major bank gave each lunch guest a bag of presents made in South Africa bearing the label “buy local”. It would be wonderful if that applied to more of the South African economy. The label suggests that consumers should buy from a local greengrocer or retailer — and imagine if we used only local digital services. But while the operating costs of these services benefit the economy, the profits go into a bank account in Ireland, where most US tech firms are based because of its lax corporate tax regulations. The media plays…

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Substack has missed the point. Preventing Nazis from spewing venomous hate speech is not censorship. This is not a conversation about free speech – and framing it as such is intellectually lazy and just plain wrong. Nazism is an evil, genocidal ideology that killed 6 million Jews and between 35 million and 60 million people in World War 2. The evil man espousing it, Adolf Hitler, caused a brutal war that dragged the whole world into it. It not only decimated Europe for decades but caused economic destruction that had decades-long effects for hundreds of millions of people around the…

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In a portent of things to come in 2024, Google lost the first of many major antitrust lawsuits on 11 December 2023. After a month in a San Francisco courtroom, Google was found guilty of all 11 counts of anticompetitive behaviour by a jury, in a case brought by Fortnite-maker Epic Games. Further arguments will be made this month but that decision is likely to have a major – potentially existential – impact on Google’s Android business. It charges app developers a 30% fee for sales through its Play store for mobile apps – something that the jury found had…

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