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AppDate: App reveals free WiFi in Tshwane

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In this edition of his regular AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Tshwane Free WiFi, NLife Africa, WordFlex, miCoach, Hub++, Flapp, Opera with sidebar extensions and Safety Score from Momentum.

Tshwane Free WiFi

Citizens of Tshwane can now find free WiFi hotspots thanks to a new app developed by Project Isizwe, a provider of free WiFi in selected areas. The app is easy to use, with a screen showing a map with the hotspots around Tshwane. A second screen shows hotspot details, including the distance from a user’s current location. The last screen is more interactive, letting a user search for a hotspot by point of interest, for instance all hotspots in clinics or libraries.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

NLife Africa

The NLife Africa app offers users offline maps, live traffic updates and turn-by-turn instructions. The app’s interface is easy to navigate, offering the ability to search for a destination by its address or as a point of interest. Once a destination is chosen, options are given to walk or drive, and the user can chose to stay off high-ways and avoid toll-roads. NLife pulls its maps and data from TomTom and, because it is available offline, no ongoing data charges are incurred. The premium app offers navigation for 19 countries, including South Africa.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A 15-day trial period is offered, thereafter a once-off fee of R800.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

WordFlex

WordFlex is similar to Scrabble, but uses hexagons with letters and lets users build words backwards, forwards, to the left and to the right. It can be played in single-player mode, but also offers the ability to play with friends or complete stranger around the world. After each game, a user is ranked and the score is uploaded to the leader board.

Platform: iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the iTunes Store.

 

miCoach

The miCoach train and run app works with training techniques offered by some of the top Adidas athletes and coaches. It includes GPS tracking and real-time voice coaching to help a user build speed, endurance and strength. Various strength and flex exercises are on offer. The app makes full use of the tile features in Windows 8, giving access to online training videos at the touch of a button.

Platform: Windows Phone 8 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the Windows Phone Store.

 

Hub++

Hub++ is an upgrade to the default BlackBerry 10 Hub notification system. Users can drill down into specific notifications based on e-mail sender, subject line and priority, and activate a variety of LED, vibration, and tone notifications. Hub++ makes managing larger e-mail boxes easier and is great for users who receive high-priority messages that need to be actioned immediately.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: R25

Availability: Visit the BlackBerry App World.

 

Flapp

Instead of searching the Internet for the cheapest flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg, Flapp presents users with list of flights on one screen and though one search. All it needs is a date and time, and corresponding flights from various airlines will be displayed. Once a flight is chosen, the user is re-directed to that airline’s online booking system, where a seat can be booked and paid.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Availability: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Opera with Sidebar extensions

The latest version of Opera for desktops and notebooks brings Sidebar extensions. These are small bits of software that add additional functionality to the browser. For example, a user can decide to have a Twitter window open while still browsing the Internet. A separate extension can be dedicated to a Facebook timeline or even incoming e-mail. Users can also include a notes option.

Platform: PC and Apple.

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit www.opera.com

 

Safety Score from Momentum

Safety Score is an online app that assesses how effectively South Africans protect their homes and vehicles. After filling in the online form, the app offers suggestions on how users can further protect themselves and their possessions. It will offer suggestions like installing burglar bars around the home, or linking an alarm system to an armed response company or even getting involved in community policing forums.

Platform: Any device with an Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A free tool.

Availability: www.momentum.co.za

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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