Column Archives - Stuff


Calling founders of Instagram “product leaders” being interpreted as the ultimate put down

When it first burst onto the app scene in 2010, Instagram was a revelation. This little picture-sharing app let iPhone users not only share their pictures but add clever filters at the touch of a button. Suddenly everyone could be Obie Oberholzer, the extraordinary South African photographer whose richly coloured […]

This time there can be no excuses about whose fault it was for 50m users being hacked

This time Facebook can’t blame a third party for last week’s major hacking of some 50m accounts, nor its seemingly scandalous use of cellphone details for marketing purposes when they were logged as security backup numbers. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook tried desperately to paint itself as the […]

Has smartphone innovation peaked? Has our interest in these devices peaked?

As expected… I began writing about this month’s iPhone XS launch and realised that phrase summed up the last few years of Apple product launches. The Steve Jobs years were characterised not only by his showmanship but by his iron-clad insistence on secrecy. No supplier would dare leak any details […]

Twitter initially laughed off the hashtag and now it’s a truly global internet phenomenon

Just over 11 years ago a small word entered our global internet lexicon and is now a part of our cultural firmament: the hashtag. It was first used on August 23 2007 by Chris Messina, who – appropriately – tweeted: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As […]

A month after Apple, Amazon has also passed the magical $1tn valuation figure

Just a month after Apple became the first company to pass the magical US$1tn threshold, Amazon has done the same. Amazon isn’t called the “everything store” for nothing. From its humble origins as an online bookseller, it has morphed into an ecommerce giant and the largest provider of cloud computing. […]

No wonder the telecoms ministry is in disarray, its ministers are among most corrupted by Gupta state capture regime

Perhaps because he seemed like such a breath of fresh air, it seemed like Roy Padayachie was the communications minister South Africa had been waiting for. After the train wreck that was Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the wayward TV format that Siphiwe Nyanda tried to introduce, long-serving deputy minister Padayachie seemed […]

Lower voice call rates, potentially disruptive spectrum allocation in telecoms keep the industry on tenterhooks

Last week there were announcements that set the pulses racing at telecoms operators in South Africa, which could have a long-term impact on consumers and their use of mobile networks. The first was from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) which slashed mobile call termination rates – the […]

How Fortnite rewrote all the business rules

There’s an epidemic sweeping schools and your child could be next. Kids everywhere are challenging each other to do something called the Orange Crush. Some are even filming themselves doing it and posting it onto YouTube. Thankfully, you don’t have to bring in a drug counsellor if you catch them […]

Conspiracy theories, falsehoods have no place in freedom of speech debates. Social networks need to find their backbones

A very interesting debate about free speech is unfolding over the banning by Facebook, Apple and YouTube – but controversially not Twitter – of notorious right-wing internet troll Alex Jones and his Infowars conspiracy channels. Jones is a divisive figure, loved by a large clique of right-wingers who believe what […]

In just nine years Huawei has overtaken Apple and has eyes on Samsung’s number one spot

Most people only know Chinese telecoms giant Huawei because of its smartphones, which this month overtook Apple to take the number two spot both globally and locally. They deserve it. Huawei only started making Android smartphones in 2009 and now make superb devices with luxurious materials, excellent quality screens and […]

Apple defined the mobile internet age, was always on track to be first $1tn company

It was inevitable that Apple would become the most valuable listed company ever by being the first company to reach the magical $1tn figure. It is Apple – with is stylish minimalist design and must-have gadgets – that has come to define this mobile internet age we live in and […]

Having lost $120bn in a day, Facebook has been torn down to earth for its tardy privacy policies

Facebook’s critics would have experienced a fair amount of schadenfreude last week when it lost a fifth of its value when weaker-than-expected results wiped 24% off its share price, the eye-watering amount of $120bn. It’s now the largest one-day sell-off in history, but also the biggest sign to date that […]

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