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AppDate: A Mac media makeover

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Elmedia Player for Mac, HelpOut, the Enhanced Harry Potter series, MSC Cruises, New Truedialer, Vodacom Video Play, Tag Me, Impossible Super Ninja, 360 Panorama for BlackBerry and WhatsApp Web.

Elmedia Player for Mac

Elmedia Player for Mac is a great application for playing just about any kind of video and media file on a Mac without first having to convert it. Users are able to either stream online movies, or can store them for later viewing. The free version offers standard streaming and viewing of movies, but the pro version lets users download from YouTube, tweak audio settings and take screenshots while videos are playing.

Platform: Apple Mac OS X and above.

Expect to pay: A free download, with the pro version costing around R275

Stockists: Visit mac.eltima.com

 

HelpOut App

The HelpOut App connects households with registered service companies like plumbers, electricians, and taxi drivers. Users don’t need to trawl the Internet or Yellow Pages to find a plumber or electrician as it is all done via the app by using the phone’s location. This also means that users don’t have to wait too long for someone to get to their place. When searching for a service, only authorised companies are listed, ensuring users get the best services.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Enhanced Harry Potter series

Enhanced editions of all seven books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are now available on the iBooks Store for readers around the world to enjoy on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. Customers can download individual books featuring full original text, interactive animations and  artwork bringing the stories to life. Harry Potter fans will also find annotations throughout their literary journey, written by the author herself.

Platform: iOS and Apple Mac OS X

Expect to pay: R137 per book.

Stockists: Visit the iBooks Store from an Apple device.

 

MSC Cruises app

The MSC Cruises app offers users features like itineraries, shore excursions and even virtual ship tours. Users can also the browse MSC Cruises’ range of holiday choices and gain insights into cruise destinations. The app also allows users to set push notifications to ensure that they remain updated with the latest news and special offers. Thanks to the global positioning feature, one can also track the MSC fleet across the oceans.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

New Truedialer app

The new Truedialer app includes a more intuitive app design, and a quicker, more convenient way to find contacts. Unlike other dialers, the app offers instant access to relevant information on someone a person is about to call, and fills in missing contact information. The dialer uses a simple and easy to use numeric pad to help find numbers within as well as outside of the device’s phonebook. It comes with Truecaller integration, which offers the ability to identify more than 1.7-billion registered Truecaller numbers.

Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and above, BlackBerry OS 10 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Vodacom Video Play

Video Play is an app that uses spare network capacity to download and cache selected video content at a reduced cost.  Users pre-select their content, which is then downloaded during low-demand periods (typically overnight). Instead of billing per unit of data, Video Play bills in minutes, not megabytes, allowing customers to control and manage their spend. At the moment, users can download content from local producers like eNCA, eTV, Urban Brew and MobiTV.

Platform: Android and Blackberry.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Tag Me

The Tag Me app allows selected friends to track each other in real-time by inviting a friend or group of friends to track them. It also has the ability to pin-point their location and raises the alarm if they go off-route or don’t reach their destination when expected. As a result of this functionality, this feature is also of great value-add for cyclists, hikers, runners and others, as it leaves a ‘bread crumb trail’ via blue dot navigation. The chosen rout is displayed and is updated every 10 seconds – showing total distance and time covered and indicates lost connectivity or stops longer than 10 minutes.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Impossible Super Ninja

In Impossible Super Ninja, players slip into the role of a Ninja. They have to clear towers filled with a range of traps and collect every diamond they find along their journey. They have to scale walls, jump and hop using an innovative one-touch control that is easy to pick up, yet rather hard to master. During the course of the game, users are able to unlock all the ninjas of their clan, which are illustrated in a 2D style.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with loads of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

360 Panorama for BlackBerry

Even though the BlackBerry camera offers a range of great functions, including multiple modes, scenes and aspect ratios, there are still some things it can’t do. One of these is taking panoramic photos. 360 Panorama is an app that allows users to take great surround panorama shots. The app is also simple to use: one can save files or share them instantly.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: R50

Stockists: BlackBerry World.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is a fairly old app, very few people know about it and how helpful it can be. Go to WhatsApp.com, click on WhatApp Web and then scan the barcode displayed through the WhatsApp application on your smart device. Once properly scanned, all current conversations are displayed through your desktop’s browser, allowing you to quickly read and reply to messages without touching your phone.

Platform: Most Internet browsers on a Mac or PC.

Expect to pay: Free to use.

Stocksits: www.whatsapp.com

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

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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