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Africa Tech Riot coming

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From 19 August to 3 September the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival is back in Johannesburg to explore and celebrate technology and creativity by Africans for Africa. |From 19 August to 3 September the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival is back in Johannesburg to explore and celebrate technology and creativity by Africans for Africa. 

The 2016 festival has cast its central theme as ‘Afro Tech Riot’ as community, femininity, notions of the spiritual, and exploring African knowledge systems in the creative, innovative and technological space come to life in an unmissable calendar of events.

The Tshimologong Precinct, previously Inc nightclub, is located at 47 Juta Street in Braamfontein and extends half the city block along Juta Street and between Station and Henri Streets. It will be transformed into an energetic techno-sphere for two weeks of playing, making, shifting, and sharing through seminars, talks, exhibitions, game arcades, workshops, performances, innovation riots, installations, tech demos, pitches, parties and future sounds. All events are open for public particpation and are aimed at all levels of experience, from ‘just interested’ to professional developers. Keep your eye out for the full program on www.fakugesi.co.za by the end of July.

Now in its third successful year, Fak’ugesi was originally founded by Prof Christo Doherty and Tegan Bristow from Wits Digital Arts, together with Prof Barry Dwolatzky from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). From the isiZulu term meaning “add power” or “put on the electricity”, Fak’ugesi acts as a platform that brings together diverse digital and technology sectors to collaborate and share skills in digital media and technology innovation.

In the spirit of celebrating African technology and innovation through creativity, and supporting the festival in its project to develop Johannesburg’s ICT capacity, the primary sponsor for Fak’ugesi 2016 is the City of Johannesburg. The festival’s annual partners also include the JCSE, Wits University, the British Council’s ConnectZA and InnovationZA and the Goethe Institut, together with new partners Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Innovation Hub.

2016 Festival Director, Tegan Bristow, says that The Tshimologong Precinct, which has been under construction for the last year and a half, will officially launch with this year’s Fak’ugesi Festival with what promises to an outstanding line up geared towards bringing tech innovation to people in a fun, accessible and playful way.

In 2016, annual favourites return to the festival, including:

Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Residency, in which artists and creative technologists work together to better understand and explore contemporary technology from a creative perspective. In 2016 the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Residency is supported by and is being produced in collaboration with Pro Helvetia Johannesburg. Visitors can attend exhibitions and workshops with artists.

Agile Africa Conference, the software developer’s conference organised by the JCSE. Developers, testers, project managers and line managers participate in three days of sessions focused on the challenges of software development in Africa. The conference will run from 22 to 24 August.

Members of the South African Maker Collective together with the ConnectZA lead Market Hack, to present playful activities around electronics, digital making and general Saturday fun on the 27 August alongside the weekly Neigbourgoods Market in Braamfontein.

A MAZE Johannesburg, a festival in its own right focusing on both local and international indie gaming and playful media will take place from 31 August to 3 September. Visitors can look forward to talks and workshops, as well as playing in the A MAZE Arcade.

Soweto Pop Up, started in 2015 in collaboration between A MAZE Johannesburg and Maker Library Network (ConnectZA), this is a day-long festival pop–up that aims to bring digital making and playful media to locations outside of Braamfontein.

In addition to annual favourites, the following will be key events in this year’s brand new and exciting program:

ALIGHT, led by Between10and5 and Create Africa in partnership with the French Insitut and ConnectZA this street event is a spectacular showing of light art, light sculpture, architectural light installation and light based interactive games.

Future Sounds, in this project Berlin based artists and technologists, The Constitute, (hosted by Goethe Insitut Johannesburg) will collaborate with Johannesburg based Create Africa in a project that will bring together SA’s hip-hop and electronic music artists, local filmmakers lead by Lebo Rasethaba and technologists. The outcome of the collaboration will be performed live at the festivals ALIGHT party.

Smart City Day, a day focusing specifically on Johannesburg and the city’s drive towards better ICT and will feature the 2016 Hack Jozi finalists, the School Project in collaboration with Wits Digital Arts and much more.

Geekulcha Maker Library Pop Up, is the ConnectZA Maker Library grant recipient for 2016 and will be ‘occupying’ the festival for its full length to bring a series of fun, interesting and playful tech related workshops and events. Their full programme will include everything from learning about 3D to making holograms and even space walking.

Fak’ugesi Festival Talks, a fun and informative talk series featuring the Fak’ugesi Residents and projects, with nights curated by special guests such as Bubblegum Club and more. The series is designed to speak directly to the 2016 festival themes; community, the feminine, and spirituality in technology in Africa.

Along with these key events, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will be packed with smaller events, workshops and engagements aimed at people, young and old, and at all levels of expertise.  The festival invites everyone to claim their territory in the digital innovation movement, and bring together creativity and technology by Africans for Africa.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make in impact in gaming.

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AppDate: DStv jumps on music bandwagon

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights DStv’s JOOX, Cisco’s Security Connector, Diski Skills, Namola and Exhibid.

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DStv JOOX

DStv is now offering JOOX, a music streaming service owned by China’s Tencent, to DStv Premium, Compact Plus and Compact customers.

In addition to streaming local and international artists, JOOX allows one to switch to karaoke mode and learn the lyrics as well as create and share playlists. Users can add up to four friends or family to the service free of charge.

DStv Family, Access and EasyView customers can also log in to the free JOOX service directly through JOOX App, but will be unable to add additional friends and won’t be able to listen to add-free music.

Platform: Access the JOOX service directly from the services menu on DStv or download the JOOX app for an iOS or Android phone.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cisco Security Connector

With all the malware, viruses and trojans doing the rounds, it is difficult for users and enterprises to ensure that they don’t become targets. Cisco, in collaboration with Apple, has brought out its Cisco Security Connector to protect users. The app is designed to give enterprises and users overall visibility and control over their network activity on iOS devices. It does this by ensuring compliance of mobile users and their enterprise-owned iOS devices during incident investigations, by identifying what happened, who it affected, and the risk of the exposure. It also protects iPhone and iPad users from accessing malicious sites on the Internet, whether on the corporate network, public Wi-Fi, or cellular networks. In turn, it prevents any viruses from entering a company’s network.

Platform: iPhones and iPads running iOS 11.3 or later

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

Diski Skills

The Goethe-Institut, in co-operation with augmented reality specialists Something Else Design Agency, has created a new card game which celebrates South African freestyle football culture, and brings it alive through augmented reality. Diski Skills is quick card game, set in a South African street football scenario, showing popular tricks such as the Shibobo, Tsamaya or Scara Turn. Each trick is rated in categories of attack, defence and swag – one wins the game by challenging an opponent strategically with the trick at hand. Through augmented reality, the cards come alive. Move a smartphone over a card and watch as the trick appears on the screen in a slow motion video. An educational value is added as players can study the tricks and learn more about the idea behind it.

 

The game will be launched on 27 October 2018 at the Goethe-Institut.

For more information visit: www.goethe.de

 

Namola

With  recent news of kidnappings on the rise, a lot more thought is going into keeping children safe. Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Have you actually asked them?

Namola, supported by Dialdirect Insurance, is a free mobile safety app. Namola’s simple interface makes it an ideal way for children to learn how to get help in an emergency. All they need to do is activate the app and push a button to get help that they need, even when their parents are not around.

Parents need to install the app on their child’s phone, hold down the request assistance button, program emergency numbers that will automatically be dialled when the emergency button is pushed, and teach their children how and when to use the app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Exhibid

Exhibid could be thought of as Tinder, but for for art lovers. The interface looks very similar to the popular mobile dating app, in that users swipe left for a painting that doesn’t appeal to them, or swipe right for something they like. Once an art piece is liked by swiping right, one can start bidding or make an offer on it. The bid is automatically sent to the artist. Should he or she accept the offer, the buyer makes a payment through the app’s secure payment gateway and the two are put in contact to make arrangements for delivery.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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