By 19 February 2014 | Categories: feature articles


February was a exciting, eventful, interesting and sometimes outright weird month. Need proof? Take a look at the below facts and figures of some of the standout happenings in tech, science, games and all things geek.

2015. Year in which Marty McFly’s self-lacing power laces from Back to the Future 2 will apparently become a reality on Nike’s shoes, according to an announcement by the shoe manufacturer. This would coincide with the year in which Marty travelled to try fix his present and the past from, um, the future. As for that hoverboard, we’re still waiting with bated breath.

$19 billion. Amount Facebook doled out to acquire popular messaging app, WhatsApp, and garner the apps approximate 450 million monthly users. For the time being, WhatsApp will retain its brand and remain as a service separate from the social media titan. The acquisition has been touted as complementing Facebook’s existing messaging and chat services.

5.2 million. Number of PS4s sold by the first week of February. This is ahead of the company’s stated goal, back at the end of last year, of its intention to sell 5 million of the next-gen consoles by the end of this month. Since comparisons are bound to be made, the PS4 apparently outstripped the Xbox One’s sales (in the regions in which Microsoft’s console is available), which had garnered 3.9 million as of the third week of January.

250 million. Number of machine-to-machine links we can expect in this year alone. Often called ‘The Internet of Things, this would signal pervasive growth of the trend, as last year saw ‘only’ 195 million such machine to machine connections. This is according to mobile network organization, the GSM Association (GSMA). Why should you care? Because it means that the rise of the machines is a reality – and not just something dreamed up by James Cameron.

In the future, Marty McFly wont be the only one enjoying self-lacing shoes. Nike has the tech first shown in Back to the Future II dialed in to its Delorean, I mean, agenda.  

6 out of 20. Number of South Africans that made it to the 20 semi-finalist shortlist for Google’s Africa Connected competition. Entrants from a broad range of categories, including education; entertainment, arts and sports; technology; community, non-governmental organisations and small business, were  asked to demonstrate how the internet had transformed their lives and work. 

50 million plus. Number of times the mobile game, Flappy Bird, was downloaded before, in the strangest mobile story of the year so far, its creator Dong Nguyen shut it down. Apparently, not even the $50 000 in ad revenue the extremely difficult game was earning per day was enough to blunt the torrent of abuse Nguyen received via email and Twitter from its players.

100 million. Number of licenses that Windows 7 has outstripped Windows 8 by, meaning that at 15 months,  Windows 8’s predecessor was considerably more popular than Microsoft’s latest. The comparison showed that after 15 months, Windows 8 has sold 200 million to Windows 7’s 300 month in its similar launch period. In another blow to Windows 8’s ego,  Microsoft reversed course on its 30 October deadline for when PCs would no longer ship with Windows 7.

Most curved TV in the world. Samsung’s 78” U9000 Curved UHD TV, which boasts a curve radius of 4 200R, has been asserted as providing a wider field of view than other TVs, while its panoramic effect apparently makes the TV seem even bigger than it is (although at 78”, it’s far from small). Along with offering twice the enhanced contrast ratio of a flat TV, Samsung’s latest also caters to those who hate those pesky glasses needed for most 3D displays, doing away with them altogether.

Winter is coming...and so is this, a highly detailed 1 200 piece and 3D puzzle of the map of Westeros. 

347 000. Number of mirrors used, all facing the sun, to generate some 392 megawatts of electricity, and provide enough clean, green energy for in excess of 140 000 homes. The project, which is situated near the border between sunny California and Nevada, has being billed as the world’s largest solar thermal initiative.

$2.7 million. Proving that there really is no honour amongst thieves and drug dealers, this is the amount in Bitcoins apparently stolen from Silk Road 2 after it was hacked. The site is the rebirth of the original online black market which was unceremoniously shuttered by the FBI last year. Somehow, we don’t see Silk Road 2 administrators filing a police report anytime soon.

$527 million. Amount attributed to Zynga’s last ditch effort to regain its former glory, after the gaming studio paid this to acquire NaturalMotion. The company’s big gamble is that so alluring is the NaturalMotion’s tech that players will once again flock to its games, like they did at the height of its success on Facebook.  

Ten years time. This is when scientists believe that the first pair of grown lungs will be ready to be transplanted into human subjects. While we wouldn’t hold our breath before you would be able to pick up a new pair of the vital organs at your local Pick ‘n Pay, progress on the breakthrough is happening speedily. Lungs grown in a lab will be tested in pigs within a year.

Tuesday. A new poll by Accountemps has found that apparently this is the most productive day of the week, with people at their most focused and likely to ‘get things done’. The least productive days were obviously Monday, Wednesday and then Friday, with the latter being when most people are looking forward to the weekend ahead.

"Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetle.." "Wait, wait, are you sure this is a good idea?"

$500 million. Amount that Candy Crush developer aims to raise in lieu of its announcement that the highly popular mobile game will join Facebook in its intention to go public and file its own initial public offering (IPO). It begs the question whether mobile games will become a force to be reckoned with on stock exchanges in the future, with investors of tomorrow perhaps buying shares in games rather than conventional brick and mortar companies.

1200. Number of pieces in a newly showcased 3D puzzle map of Westeros, the primary setting of Game of Thrones. The puzzle boasts three separate layers, each building on one another, and includes well known sites such as King’s Landing, Winterfell, The Wall and The Eyrie. The puzzle, which was unveiled at the International Toy Fair last month comes with a $60 pricetag – unless you are the Mother of Dragons, in which case you can just take what is yours.

26 years. It has only taken more than a quarter of a century, but finally it was announced that a Beetlejuice sequel could be on the cards. It was confirmed last month that Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are in talks to discuss the venture. The original is still a classic, off-the-wall ghost story, and also features a much, much younger Geena Davis and Wynona Ryder.  

30. Anniversary edition of  Lego fan Brent Waller’s Ghostbuster set submission, which has been confirmed by Lego as becoming an official set later in the year. Waller’s submission beat out four other fan ideas for Lego’s approval, and won – without even having to cross proton streams. Included in the set will be the iconic car and miniature figurines; sadly though, it looks like the Ghostbusters’ headquarters building will not be manifesting, ectoplasmically or otherwise.

Who you gonna call?



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