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The tiny bug that broke Internet security

The tiny bug that broke Internet security

On New Year’s Eve in 2011, at one minute before 11pm, a British computer consultant named Stephen Henson finished testing a new version of a popular piece of free security software. With a few keystrokes, he released OpenSSL version 1.0.1 into the public domain. Now, more than two years later, the events of that night have

Facebook’s Oculus deal is not all bad

Facebook’s Oculus deal is not all bad

The story of Oculus VR is the kind of garage-to-greatness story that geeks usually love. A passionate, self-taught tinkerer barely out of his teens revives a dead technology and two years later, Facebook buys his company for US$2bn. So, why are many of the company’s earliest backers so angry? Oculus VR makes virtual reality headsets

Neil Young’s righteous music crusade

Neil Young’s righteous music crusade

Neil Young is angry. As he paces the stage at this year’s South By Southwest music conference he growls and spits about the cheapening of an art form, and the hollowing out of an industry by uncaring corporations. But he’s not talking about the record labels — he’s talking about MP3s. For more than a decade, Young has been

All is not well in technology land

All is not well in technology land

All is not well in technology land. The normally ebullient mood at the annual SxSW Interactive conference is darker this year, weighed down by concerns about the prying eyes of governments. A keynote address by WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange over the weekend captured this growing unease. Speaking to a

Behind Facebook’s $19bn WhatsApp deal

Behind Facebook’s $19bn WhatsApp deal

Silicon Valley is as much about creating legends as it is about changing reality. Where else could a guy get turned down for a job and then, five years later, sell his company to the people that turned him down for US$19bn? I’m talking, of course, about

Vodacom, MTN put profits before people

Vodacom, MTN put profits before people

I often wonder if certain captains of industries are entirely disconnected from reality. It’s the only thing that can explain the breathtaking gall of Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, who complained publicly that new regulations would cost his company R1bn in 2015, threatening to sue as a result

Don’t blame the rich

Don’t blame the rich

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s the phrase that’s launched a thousand editorials, most of them decrying the manifest evils of the insatiable 1%. But a large part of this increased inequality is driven not by greed or manipulation, but by technology

Viruses go from nuisance to plague

Viruses go from nuisance to plague

Biological viruses are among the most rapidly evolving organisms on our planet. The same is true of computer viruses, except that malevolent human organisations are driving this evolution, not natural selection. The most recent strains of these digital pathogens are evidence that virus

Why wearables are computing’s future

Why wearables are computing’s future

For many technophiles, 2013 was a slightly disappointing year. Sure, there were one or two groundbreaking launches (such as Google Glass), but for the most part it was a year of consolidation rather than raw innovation. This year is likely to be more exciting as several waves of long-awaited

Some things are best left to computers

Some things are best left to computers

I don’t know my Internet banking password. I don’t know my Facebook password either, or my Web e-mail password. I couldn’t even tell you the first three letters. And no, I don’t have them written down in a book or saved on my phone. Since two months ago, I only have two passwords to remember: the one

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