Toby Shapshak

Editor, columnist, strategist and speaker; Toby writes and speaks about Innovation. And Africa. Most eloquently about Innovation in Africa. Through a range of media, from newspapers to television and radio, he speaks regularly on the trends in technology and innovation; and where they are going.

The Nokia 3310: An iconic device that defined the reliability of the 2G voice era

For something that is still only a rumour, the much-speculated return of Nokia’s iconic 3310 cellphone caused a not-insubstantial wave of media attention last week. There is a nostalgic for Nokia that belies its current status as fallen giant of the pre-smartphone era, a sad reputation it shares with Motorola (the first dominant phone maker) and BlackBerry (whose CrackBerries mostly invented...[Read More]

The Nokia 6310: A look back at a love affair with an iconic cellphone

“Because it just works,” is the standard, almost verbatim reply from people who still use their old Nokia 6310i cellphones told me in 2007. Despite an ever-advancing industry that pumps out new feature-laden handsets at a rate of furious innovation, there is a large contingent of people who cling faithfully to this iconic handset. The recent rumours of a possible relaunch of the equally iconic Nok...[Read More]

Hans Rosling brought statistics alive, as he showed us how far humanity has come

“There’s nothing boring about statistics, especially not today, when we can make the data sing,” the great Hans Rosling once said. And sing they did. Rosling – who died from pancreatic cancer last week aged 68 – was more than a mere statistician, he was that rare kind of genius who could explain the most complex subjects and make them engaging for most. The Swedish professor called himself an “edu...[Read More]

The social media app that pioneered disappearing photographs has proved to be a survivor

The remarkable thing is not only Snapchat’s 158m daily users, it’s that two thirds of them update their content every single day. That’s about 100m people posting something new every day, which explains why parent company Snap will be valued at US$25bn when it IPOs. Its users check the app 18 times on average each day, sending some 2.5bn images and messages. After introducing sho...[Read More]

Elon Musk already having a great new year as his unified vision for green tech evolves

“It’s a good time to be Elon Musk,” Bloomberg wrote last week, summing up sentiment towards the real-life inspiration for the modern rendition of Iron Man’s Tony Stark. The depiction of the fictional billionaire from the super-hero movies is known to be based on Pretoria’s most famous innovator, and he even had a cameo role in the second movie. Stark, the genius playboy ent...[Read More]

After a deflated third quarter, Netflix surges back with strong growth

If you needed confirmation that we live in an online world where people stream their TV shows instead of watching them via traditional television broadcasts, Netflix’s results last week are the definitive proof. Delivering killer quarterly results, Netflix said it had Q4 revenue of $2.48bn and added 7m new customers, of which 3.7m were outside of its United States home market. Netflix now ha...[Read More]

Forget the resolutions, kick off the new year with a few of these useful apps

New Year’s Resolutions are the latest fad to receive the app treatment. My social media timeline have been awash with apps promising to help you fulfil those annual do-better intentions. Instead of apps to help you achieve the unachievable, rather use some good apps that make your life easier and more productive. Every year, my personal favourite app is always Evernote. Evernote is a brillia...[Read More]

Amazon’s Alexa stole the show at CES, signaling that this will be a big year for voice assistants

Talking to yourself in your house has become more of a reality after a slew of new products using Amazon’s voice assistant were unveiled last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the big trends for the future year unfold. The big trends this year, in no particular order: more sophisticated drones, 4K another high resolution televisions, virtual reality, and artificial intellige...[Read More]

Réunion hopes to turn itself into a gateway to Europe in this digital age

Just three and a half hours flight from Joburg, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is the furthermost outpost of the European Union. The tiny island of Réunion is technically still part of France – called a “department” – and uses French law, the Euro as currency and has haughty waiters whose superiority is as good as anything in Paris. But geographically it’s closer to Africa an...[Read More]

Digital photography has come a long way, as the new iPhone 7 and Moto Z demonstrate

In 2005 I bought myself the first digital SLR camera under $1,000. The Nikon D70 was then only the second such “cheap” digital single-lens reflex camera on the market. It was a huge investment for me at the time but it was worth every cent. Not only did it rekindle my love of photography but it opened up the world of digital. I would fill gigabytes of memory with pictures as I rediscov...[Read More]

Year of post-truth – Did Trump become president thanks to a surge of pro-Trump fake news sites?

“Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President,” the headline on Facebook screamed. Another read: “Wikileaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS… Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL!” But neither of these were true. There are part of a massive spate of misinformation and propaganda that many are arguing might have influenced the US presidential elections. “...[Read More]

#SaxonwoldShebeen – Claims of a shebeen in the Gupta’s suburb are social media gold

I never thought I would ever say this, but SA owes a thank you to Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Not for stopping rolling blackouts, but for giving us the #SaxonwoldShebeen meme last week. It was just the good joke the country needed. SA has been a little punch-drunk lately with the dizzying pace of political scandals and corruption uncovered since Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report was finalised....[Read More]

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