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AppDate: Get deleted files back

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Disk Drill, KaChing Cashless parking, Opera’s Rovio content offering, JustWatch, USB Network Gate, Bang & Olufsen’s BeoHome Design App, MyFord Mobile app, Rush courier and Office Lens.

Disk Drill

Although Apple computers are renowned for being reliable devices that need little to no maintenance, things can go wrong. Disk Drill by CleverFiles allows users to recover lost files from flash drives, memory cards and internal hard drives on a Mac. The program is even able to recover entire partitions that may have disappeared or have been inadvertently deleted. Disk Drill is easy to use: simply click the scan button and wait while it gathers all storage information on the computer. Once done, click on the recently deleted files and hit the recover button. A few minutes later, they will reappear on your computer in their original location.

Platform: Apple OS X and above

Expect to pay: Three versions are available, a free limited Basic version, the Pro version for one user and three Macs for R1 400, and the Enterprise version for an unlimited number of computers or users for R6 400.

Stockists:  www.cleverfiles.com

 

KaChing Cashless parking

Finding money for parking after a long day of shopping is the absolute pits; inevitably the change you need is nowhere to be found and the parking ticket has mysteriously disappeared. Finding it or finding change can add another 30 minutes before you can get out of the shopping mall. A newly-launched app called KaChing removes these hassles. Once the app is downloaded to a phone, input the car’s number plate along with a voucher or credit card details, and you are set to drive in and out without any queuing at the ticket or pay machine. Additional cameras are installed at shopping centre exits and entrances that scan the number plate and automatically debit the loaded credit card or voucher. At the moment the KaChing service is only available at a few shopping malls around South Africa, but the company has plans to roll out the service to more later in the year.

Platform: Most modern smartphones.

Expect to pay: A free app download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Rovio content through Opera Apps Club

Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, has partnered with Opera to bring its family of games to the Opera Apps Club service. Opera Apps Club subscribers will have access to four of Rovio’s blockbuster titles, including Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Stella and Bad Piggies. Subscribers will also benefit from exclusive deals, promotions and bonuses. These offers are not available in the current free versions of the games and therefore are exclusive to Opera Apps Club subscribers.

Platform: Any device running the Opera Apps Club.

Expect to pay: Free to download but users must be a member of the Opera Apps Club.

Stockists: Access the titles through the Opera Apps Club.

 

JustWatch

With a range of Video on Demand streaming services available in South Africa, it has now become quite difficult to keep up with what content is available on what service. Now, however, there is an app that will help viewers keep track. JustWatch allows one to filter out newly added movies and shows, and search across the various services by genre, IMDB rating or release date. The app even lets a user search for a certain movie based on the cheapest price. The app itself is very easy to use, with a neatly laid out user interface, and is able to search across Netflix, ShowMax, BoxOffice, iTunes, and Mubi, with more providers being added in the future.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

USB Network Gate

The USB Network Gate allows a user to remotely connect USB devices to a computer over a network. Should all your computer’s USB ports be taken, you can still remotely connect to a flash disk or USB camera. According to the company, this can even be done from another country, making it easy to print confidential documents to a remote printer, or access files from an external hard drive without having to lug it around.

Platform: Windows, Linux and OS X

Expect to pay: R1 300

Stockists:  http://www.eltima.com

 

Bang & Olufsen BeoHome Design App

Before going out to spend a good few thousand on one of Bang & Olufsen’s wireless sound systems, it may be a good idea to see how the system will look and function in your lounge. The BeoHome Design app allows a user to virtually place the speakers and sound systems wherever an iPad’s camera is pointed. The user can then select the speaker colour that best suits its surroundings. The app also offers the ability to select the best-sized TV and speaker stands, and lets one move furniture around using augmented reality.

Platform: iPad Mini 2, iPad Air and the iPad Pro.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading instructions.

 

MyFord Mobile app

Although this isn’t exactly the app Pierce Brosnan was using to control his BMW 750iL from the backseat in Tomorrow Never Dies, it does offer some nifty features. The app is designed especially for Ford’s electric car range and can be used on most Android or Apple smartwatches. Once installed and connected to the car, users can view the current range and status of the car’s battery, remotely air condition the car’s cabin and remotely lock and unlock the car. The app will also display the vehicle’s mileage summary, display personal driving habits and even show the user where the car is parked with walking or driving directions to it. (A similar app is available for BMW electric cars)

Platform: Most Android or Apple smartwatches.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your watch.

 

Rush courier app

With Rush, South African consumers no longer need to stand in queues at the post office to get a parcel delivered. The app is installed on top of the WeChat platform and allows users to order a courier to their places of residence at the click of a button. Rush has partnered with Courier Guy, Courier IT, Skynet, RTT and Globeflight, and allows users to choose which company they want to use based on price, delivery time, speed or courier reputation. Rush also offers the choice to insure packages, with insurance underwritten by Hollard Insurance.

Platform: Most devices with WeChat pre-installed.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Office Lens

Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket as it makes pictures of whiteboards and docs readable, as well as trimming and enhancing them. It is then able to save them to OneNote, where they can be used as PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents. The app includes OCR, so that written notes can be converted to characters and the text copied and embedded in documents.

Platform: Windows Phone 8 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Microsoft Windows Store.

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

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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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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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